Revolutionary activists from various areas in the Maritimes gathered last weekend at the 4th Canadian Revolutionary Conference, convened in Halifax by the Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP). Following successful conferences in Montréal (2006), Toronto (2010) and Vancouver (2014), the main objective of this CRC was to propel the expansion of revolutionary communism in the Maritime provinces, as a means of gathering and building the forces necessary to end capitalism, imperialism and colonialism.
As a result, we are proud to announce the official formation of PCR-RCP Organizing Committees in Halifax, NS and Charlottetown, PEI. The comrades involved in these committees will begin a study of Maoist politics and engage in mass work in their communities, as a way to develop the subjective conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary movement across the whole region.
The conference opened with the presentation of a document summarizing the main characteristics of the class struggle in the Maritimes. The document highlights the relative level of economic underdevelopment of the Maritimes’ economy when compared to the rest of Canada. The bourgeoisie uses this “peripheral” area of Canadian capitalism as a reserve army of labour, intentionally keeping development low in order to take advantage of cyclical and chronic unemployment to drive down wages elsewhere and increase profits.
The national question is also an important issue shaping the class struggle in the region. The conference recognized that African Nova Scotians and other African communities in the Maritimes constitute distinct nations, kept in subjugation by the “prison-house of nations” that is Canada. It also supported the struggle of the Acadians for continued language rights.
Participants reaffirmed their support for full self-determination for the three indigenous nations of the Maritimes—the Mi’kmaq, the Maliseet and the Passamquoddy. Indigenous peoples in the Maritimes were the first to bear the brunt of colonialism and contact with European settlers. Like other indigenous nations across Canada, they have endured a long history of dispossession, purposeful starvation, displacement into reserves, placement of children into residential schools, and countless other horrors at the hands of the colonial Canadian state. In turn, they have constantly asserted their sovereignty and have weathered a constant onslaught from colonial authorities.
Anti-colonial and anti-racist resistance of the indigenous peoples and the African nations are central to the class struggle in the Maritimes. In fact, the whole region is characterized by a web of contradictions—for example, between the working class and the capitalist class, between the needs of capital and environment, between the settler working class and indigenous sovereignty—that cannot be resolved under capitalism. Therefore, there are outbursts of class struggle in the region that become some of the most intense in Canada. At the same time, the establishment left remains very weak and is totally integrated into the system.
Participants at the conference agreed that the objective conditions for the existence of a strong and mass-based revolutionary movement exists in the Maritimes and that what is currently missing are the subjective conditions, namely the courage to put forward radical anti-capitalist politics and solutions to the problems of the Maritimes, and to do so in an organized and disciplined fashion.
Various sessions were held during the weekend to present and discuss the PCR-RCP conceptions on revolutionary strategy—namely Protracted People’s War—on mass line and on building a vanguard proletarian party that could serve the revolutionary movement. There was also a lively discussion on the differences and possible points of unity between anarchism and Maoism, with participants having drawing from the experience of anarchist organizing in the Maritimes.
Activists also reported on their already existing political activity, especially in building local chapters of the Revolutionary Student Movement and studying and popularizing proletarian feminism.
The conference concluded with the unanimous adoption—after a series of amendments—of nine resolutions charting a path forward for revolutionaries and help laying a foundation for the growth of a large and vibrant revolutionary movement in the Maritimes (see below).
The PCR-RCP salutes the commitment of the participants at the CRC and calls all revolutionary-minded people who were unable to attend the conference or are new to revolutionary politics to get organized and support the expansion of the Party into the Maritimes.
Resolutions adopted by the 4th Canadian Revolutionary Conference:
1. Establish RCP Organizing Committees! The objective conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary movement exist in the Maritimes. What are missing are the subjective conditions, namely organization. To this end, we suggest that revolutionaries across the Maritimes begin to organize themselves into RCP Organizing Committees. The RCP Organizing Committee should put forward a revolutionary political line, should maintain independence from the bourgeois state (and the bourgeoisie’s political parties, unions, NGOs, etc.), should engage in local work, should serve as a focal point for the unity of various struggles, and should begin a study of Maoist politics. The RCP Organizing Committees should endeavour to unite people from multiple political tendencies—communist and anarchist—on the basis of support for expansion of the RCP into the Maritimes.
2. Expand Partisan! RCP Organizing Committees should publish monthly newsletters, called Partisan, to help popularize revolutionary perspectives on local issues.
3. Unite Across Nations, for National Self-Determination! Revolutionaries should unite with radical sections of the indigenous nations of the Maritimes, as a way of actualizing the alliance between the settler working class and indigenous peoples. Revolutionaries should unite with radical sections of the African Nova Scotian nation, other African nations in the Maritimes and other oppressed nations. Revolutionaries should support Acadians in their struggle for language rights. They should also engage in social investigation to better understand national oppression.
4. Against Environmental Destruction! Revolutionaries should oppose oil and gas development, including fracking, pipelines, off-shore drilling, and the Alton Gas Project. Environmental activism should be linked with struggles for indigenous self-determination as well as struggles against environmental racism.
5. Against Patriarchy! Revolutionaries should support the struggles of women and other gender-oppressed people against patriarchy. This may take the form of organizing sections of the Proletarian Feminist Front, but proletarian feminist politics should be put in command in general. Specifically, this means seeing the fight for access to abortion services in PEI through to its conclusion, as well as struggling for access to sexual health services across the entire region. Revolutionaries should also support the creation of supportive networks and services for survivors of sexual violence and assault.
6. Decent Housing for the People! The struggle against gentrification and poor housing in the Maritimes is growing more acute. Poor, working-class, black, and indigenous peoples are currently being pushed out of working-class neighbourhoods, for example North Central Halifax where the only answer the municipal government can give is that they “can’t stop capitalism”. We can. Revolutionaries should struggle against gentrification.
7. Support the Revolutionary Student Movement! Sections of the RSM currently exist in PEI and Halifax, but there are a number of universities, colleges, and high schools across the Maritimes that lack revolutionary organization. Revolutionaries should help expand the RSM to areas where it is currently not organized, with special emphasis placed on New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island.
8. For a New Workers’ Movement! The current labour movement is not capable of fighting and winning gains for the working class. Workers in the Maritimes must find new ways of organizing and fighting for their interests. Revolutionaries should begin this process by engaging in local social investigation into the conditions of work in their regions, launching organizing drives in small shops, and attending the founding conference of the Revolutionary Workers Movement in Montréal in September. (The RWM is a new attempt to coordinate efforts to build a new workers movement across Canada.) These struggles should be linked up with the struggles for EI reform.
9. Against White Supremacy! White supremacy, both unacknowledged and overt, is woven into the fabric of Canadian society. As a result, large sections of the masses in the Maritimes are oppressed by white supremacy. It is the job of revolutionaries to struggle against it. This includes both opposing ideological white supremacist organizations and combating the generalized systemic white supremacy, which produces and reproduces the oppression of racialized people. A recent example of this system playing out was when the Chronicle Herald made up a story about a Syrian teenager assaulting a Canadian with a chain while yelling about ISIS, which inflamed Islamophobic and racist tensions in the community. Struggles against white supremacy should take the form of various anti-racist initiatives in the community. Struggling against white supremacist ideology also means doing so within our own organizations in order to correct errors and rectify incorrect practices, as a way of building a healthy movement that will foster the participation of all oppressed people.