Don’t Vote! Develop Dual Power Instead!

 [Graffiti for the election boycott spotted in Vancouver]

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!” This statement is as true today as it was over a hundred years ago when it was first written by Lenin in “State and Revolution”. This coming month, the proletariat of British Columbia will again be given the choice of which faction of their oppressors they prefer. On October 20th there will be elections throughout BC’s municipalities. Two days later this will be followed by a mail away referendum to switch the province’s electoral system from first-past-the-post to proportional representation. The Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP), supports the boycott of these elections as they are nothing more than attempts to legitimize a rotten system as being “democratic”. Regardless of which electoral system is put in place, the capitalist state continues to exploit, oppress and trample over the proletariat. No amount of electoral reform can cure the rotten disease of capitalism. The only solution is nothing short of a total upheaval of society through Protracted People’s War.

Bourgeois democracy always serves the interests of those in power and acts to sustain their rule. The so called “democracy” practiced in Canada is a farce and one that will not benefit the proletariat in any meaningful way because it is a “democracy” only for the ruling class. Elections simply act to legitimize the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, while the proletariat become further marginalized and their problems are further aggravated. Any gains the proletariat make are superficial and only serve to act as concessions to maintain the status quo. These concessions can and will be revoked as soon as material conditions allow the bourgeoisie to rollback reforms. We see this in places like Ontario with the Ford government, we see this locally with the context of the continued housing crisis. Elections are a tool used by the capitalist class to blind the working class from its long-term goals of revolution. It emphasizes a fixation on alleviating the short-term ails of the proletariat and in doing so ensures that revolution is not seen as a viable method for establishing workers power. It is impossible for those elected under this system to truly aid the oppressed proletariat despite such rhetoric. The interests of the ruling class are in contradiction with those of the workers. Our understanding is that any bourgeois election is merely fought between separate factions of the ruling class who disagree on secondary issues like taxation, and social housing. Each of these factions are all united in their belief in the necessity of the capitalist state to secure the right to private property, and thus the right to exploitation. None of these parties call the system into question, and none of the bourgeois parties seek to abolish capitalism. Democracy only works toward the interests of the proletariat under socialism, where the working masses have seized control over the means of production and state power. Any speech by a social democrat, NDP, or COPE politician that claims otherwise is a lie.

The majority of the proletariat understand that these elections are an illusion to portray this state as a fair and democratic society. This is evidenced in the voter turnout for the previous municipal elections, in 2011 the voter turnout was as low as 34.11%, while in 2014 the turnout was 44.13%. This low turnout shows that the proletariat hold no stock in bourgeois elections and they see through the class enemy’s lies.

The left is largely composed of two competing camps who take different perspectives on this passive boycott by the proletariat, the safe institutional left, and the revolutionary left. Those of the “safe-left”, seek to encourage the proletariat to participate in the bourgeois electoral process rather than organizing them toward more productive ends. Groups that fall into this camp are part of the bourgeois ideological state apparatus because they act as bullhorns for the propaganda of the ruling class, as such they are enemies of the people. They are not revolutionary, they are traitors to the working class and they must be isolated, exposed, and swept into the dustbin of history. Opposite them is the PCR-RCP, the vanguard party of the Canadian proletariat that seeks to elevate the passive electoral boycott into an active militant one that works toward the establishment of Dual Power through Protracted People’s War.

Vancouver in particular has become a hotbed for those of the “safe-left” who are more accurately characterized as social-fascists. Individuals like Jean Swanson and the so-called Coalition of Progressive Electors are examples of those who belong to this social-fascist camp. All the accomplishments of these traitors are of a counter-revolutionary character because they hinder revolutionary development and seek to alleviate the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat without actually attacking the system itself. Instead these groups legitimize the system, they vie for their slice of the pie caring only about clinging to what they perceive as power. These social-fascists are nothing more than careerist politicians who have proven that they side with the state against revolutionaries as soon as struggles become militant and violent. It is key to understand that social-fascism is based on an undialectical understanding of the state. That is, it assumes that state power naturally follows from government, whereas in reality it is the exact opposite. First, a class seizes state power, then it establishes a government to provide administration.

The election in Surrey represents one particular example of the sham that are elections here in Canada. It requires an in-depth analysis due to its implications for its largely working-class population. It must be understood that this election is primarily being fought over two key issues. The first issue is regarding the debate over the allocation of funds for a municipal LRT system versus using such funds for expansion of the SkyTrain from Vancouver. Numerous candidates are campaigning on a platform of not building the LRT, instead promoting the Skytrain expansion. These individuals are aiming to parasitically co-opt the real gripes of the masses regarding the struggle of commuting via a system that is overburdened. Many workers are forced to use the strained train system to commute for over an hour to work in Vancouver, and are justifiably angry at this long commute which extends their already long work day. In reality, these careerist politicians are deliberately misleading the masses in an opportunistic attempt to form a government for the faction of the bourgeoisie they represent, namely those with a vested interest in promoting the Skytrain. They claim this will alleviate workers’ commute times and will be more beneficial than a local transit system. This point is essentially moot however, due to the fact that the LRT has already been decided upon and funds for it have already been allocated by both the federal and provincial governments. Beyond this, the LRT has also been cleared by both levels of government. Therefore, this issue has already been settled and if the LRT is not built, the funds will be withdrawn. In this case we see a clear and blatant attempt by these careerist politicians to put themselves into positions of power by lying to the masses and using their struggle as a means to elevate themselves. This hypocrisy embodies the essence of bourgeois electoral candidates: use the struggles of the working class, promote populist change to “fight for the people”, but in reality solidify the repressive state and quell revolutionary upsurges amongst the masses by diverting them away from revolution and violence and into the system of bourgeois parliamentarianism.

The second prominent issue of this election is regarding the matter of the law enforcement. One group of parasitical politicians calls for keeping RCMP jurisdiction over Surrey, while the other calls for the formation of a Surrey Police Department similar to Vancouver’s. This represents another opportunistic attempt by politicians to capitalize on the masses’ opposition to drugs and gang violence within their neighborhoods. The camp that calls for localizing law enforcement knows perfectly well that Surrey is in a long-term contract with the RCMP, and it is unlikely that they would be able to bring about the change they have been campaigning on anytime soon, if ever. This idea of a Surrey Police Department is related to gang violence in Surrey, which has been a pressing issue since the 1990s and the RCMP’s inability to do anything about it. The people of Surrey’s anger about the RCMP’s inability to do anything meaningful about gang violence recently led to a spontaneous crowd of mostly east Indian people gathering to question the RCMP’s capabilities to handle these killings. This anger about the Canadian state’s inability to deal with enemies of the people such as drug dealers is one reason behind the ongoing passive boycott.

This gang violence largely revolves around the drug trade and for this very reason it can never be solved under capitalism. Drugs have always been used as a weapon of class warfare by the capitalists. Capitalism forces the proletariat to sell their labour to the bourgeoisie to get by. This creates a sense of alienation disconnecting the proletariat from their labour. Alienation brings about feelings of anxiety and apathy, the trigger that leads many to drug abuse in a search of an escape from their harsh reality. The capitalist state directly benefits from this because drugs act as sedatives to revolutionary organizing. Drug abuse is also a tool for imperialist domination. In Canada the aboriginal population is far more likely to die by drug overdose than those from the settler-colonialist population. This aids the Canadian state in their ongoing silent genocide of the aboriginal peoples and helps to weaken their society in a similar manner to how the British Empire was able to undermine Chinese society in the Opium Wars.

Ultimately, our view on this issue is that a pig is a pig no matter their uniform. Whether they are Surrey Police or RCMP they are a part of the repressive state apparatus whose only purpose is to oppress the proletariat. They represent the armed wing of the bourgeoisie and thus represent the enemy to the working class in the struggle against capitalism. No matter what form they take, we must oppose them at all stops and expose them as enemies of the working class. These politicians attempt to lie to the masses claiming that the solution to gang violence and drug use in proletarian neighborhoods is more police. They seek to prey on the fear of the masses regarding gang violence by promoting “safety” and “security”. In actuality, these politicians would only flood our communities with more class enemies, further intensifying the oppression of our class. We affirm that the drug trade and associated gang violence cannot be effectively combated while alienation and by extension, capitalism exists. To fight drug addiction and gang violence requires a fight against capitalism. This is the fundamental truth that neither side of the Surrey law enforcement debate is willing to acknowledge.

The passive boycott already exists in Vancouver and its surrounding cities, but we must develop it further into an active one. The people already recognize they are being cheated and they are angry at the system that tries to grind their will into dust. The PCR-RCP, as the vanguard party, must harness the flames of discontent and anger and forge them into dual power. This means to go beyond not voting, it means attacking the existing state apparatus, and developing dual power. In doing so, we break with our dependence on bourgeois institutions, by developing our own proletarian ones. In Vancouver, we will be taking the first step toward the establishment of this proletarian self-reliance. We call on all proletariat to join with the PCR-RCP in actively boycotting the elections. We hope that we can begin the process of building Dual Power in the comings months via the initiation of the Revolutionary Peoples’ Movement (RPM), a movement that will work to organize power in the heart of proletarian communities. Instead of relying on ballots the RPM, as an extension of the Party, will assert itself through revolutionary action organized on the basis of the mass line. RPM will not be an organization run by careerist activists, but will instead be a campaign run by the Proletariat, led by the PCR-RCP.