Our primary goal, as proletarians, is to overthrow the Canadian bourgeoisie and to conquer state power. From there a new stage will begin—the building of a new socialist society—as a prelude to communism, where we will see among others the disappearance of state, of party, bourgeois law, social classes, money and market relations.
This stage must be understood as a transition period. It will serve to destroy the remnants of the old society in terms of mode of production. The old society will linger on. We will have to eradicate it entirely and prevent it from reshaping itself. But we must also work at building communism. To move on to communism we will need to prepare greatly in material terms, i.e. productive forces will have to be developed and transformed in order to eventually satisfy everyone’s needs. But mostly, there will have to be a lot of political and ideological work done to prepare for this next step. Social relationships will have to be deeply transformed; proletarian ideology will have to triumph over bourgeois ideology. Human beings will have to learn not only to manage their lives but also to manage it in concordance with the well being of the whole of society.
When we speak of communism, we are talking of a society without exploitation. Co-operation will have replaced competition. This does not mean that individual differences will vanish and that individual needs will be all the same. The needs will vary according to the individuals, the regions they inhabit, the epoch they live in. However, these differences will not be sources of inequality. Because society will be able to satisfy everyone’s needs.
In order to do this, productive forces will have to develop consequently. It also implies that the classes and most of all, the bases on which they rely (private property of the means of production, sexist relations as well as social division of labour between intellectual and manual work) will have disappeared. By eliminating classes, this will also lead the disappearance of the state as being the tool for one class to dominate over another. Society will be collectively managed by the people.
To allow such a society to develop, imperialism will have to be vanquished, i.e. not only shall the bourgeoisie have been overthrown and the period of transition towards communism be undertaken in Canada, but throughout the vast majority of the world’s countries. The time will then be ripe for humanity to overcome the barriers of nations. Co-operation on equal terms, between peoples, will see the light of day.
The transition period called socialism will serve to prepare society to advance towards communism. This transition period is important, for society will not change dramatically from one day to the next.
To establish the dictatorship of the proletariat
This “political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat,” Karl Marx spoke clearly about its main objectives: “This Socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.” (The Class Struggle in France 1848-1850)
Why did Marx, and after him the revolutionary communists, speak of socialism as a period of “dictatorship” when it is supposed to be an epoch where people emancipate themselves and develop their potential? Simply because the proletariat—that is the only class that has an interest in abolishing all forms of exploitation and oppression and lead society on the path of communism—will have to constantly face stubborn opposition from the bourgeoisie. This opposition will be felt at the national as well as the international level. A bourgeoisie according to Lenin “…whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections of the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production. […] And small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” (Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder)
Once the proletariat is in power, it will have to suppress the bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionaries. It will also have to assume leadership of the transition process, i.e. chart its own path through the guidance of its most advanced elements (convened within a party). It will have to lead (or neutralize) the other classes that are not hostile to socialism, but who will not necessarily feel that great of an incentive to push society forward towards communism.
Finally, the dictatorship of the proletariat will consist in the fierce repression of the reactionaries, and at the same time the enhancement of democracy among the people, and among the revolutionaries.
To eliminate the bourgeoisie as a class and build proletarian power
Here is how Lenin described what socialism is about: “…We are faced with a new and higher form of struggle against the bourgeoisie, the transition from the very simple task of further expropriating the capitalists to the much more complicated and difficult task of creating conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise.” (The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government)
This transition period will be one of struggle and debate on ideological, political and economic fronts. The proletariat at the helm of society will have to put to widespread use the positive experiences in transforming social relationships it will have been successful in accomplishing at any given point. This also means encouraging the experiences that will have already been undertaken before the seizure of power. The consolidation and the generalization of new forms of power that will have been undertaken during the revolutionary struggle will also help the proletarian masses in learning to govern society. Revolutionary committees such as the Soviets will have to be encouraged so that the proletariat and its allies can achieve their goal.
Lenin spoke clearly on the chores of the proletariat in establishing and consolidating its power: “Our aim is to draw the whole of the poor into the practical work of administration, and all steps that are taken in this direction—the more varied they are, the better—should be carefully recorded, studied, systematized, tested by wider experience and embodied in law. Our aim is to ensure that every toiler […] shall perform state duties without pay; the transition to this is particularly difficult, but this transition alone can guarantee the final consolidation of socialism.”
This will be a guideline to help us judge the correctness of our work in the period of socialist construction. Any policy that helps eliminate capitalism will be a good policy. Any policy that will prevent the restoration of capitalism will also be good. Whatever fosters and helps consolidate new social relationships will also be welcomed. This period, as we have underlined, will be characterized by struggle. There will be steps made in the right direction and there will be setbacks. At certain times, the proletarian revolutionaries will have to make tactical concessions to the enemy. But we will have to make sure that our overall strategy paves the way towards communism. Otherwise capitalism will reappear as has been witnessed in the USSR and in China.
Nothing guarantees that socialism and communism will prevail at first trial. The only thing we can be sure of is that the struggle that will take place after the seizure of power will be a relentless one. Social classes will not have disappeared. The main social contradiction will once again be between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the same as in capitalist society. Under socialism however the proletariat will have the upper hand.
When we talk about the continuing existence of social classes, what we mean is that the material basis for their existence will not have been totally swept away. Firstly, the threat of capitalist restoration will come from the elements of the old bourgeoisie. They will have been stripped of their ownership of the means of production and will no longer retain political power, however, because of their knowledge, their social relations, their ability to lead (whether it simply be by mere habit), they will try to play some kind of leading role in society.
Also, the relations of production will not have been radically transformed at first in all shapes and forms. Certain types of small production will remain, division of work also will not have been totally eliminated either. Other inequalities will persist such as those between the leaders and the led. The old ideas of the bourgeoisie will not have magically vanished either (even though revolutionary struggle will have considerably weakened them). To certain degrees, individualism, among proletarians too, and the bad habit of passing along to others (because of more education or experience) decisions that one could make him or herself will be other types of undesirable behaviour.
New bourgeois elements will come from this basis. Some of them will issue from the Communist Party itself, especially from its higher levels, who will try to consolidate and extend their privileges. This new class of bourgeois will advocate ideas, conceptions and measures—in a nutshell, a political line—that will make society regress and move backwards towards capitalism.
History has shown us that this new bourgeoisie is the biggest threat to socialism. One reason is that they are integrated within the very heart of the state apparatus and of the party. These phoney communists are very deceitful in that they are often mistaken for real communists. And they nestle in the state apparatus. As Mao said after 25 years of struggle to consolidate socialism in China: “You are making the socialist revolution, and yet don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party—those in power taking the capitalist road.”
Carry on revolution until it’s done!
The contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, class struggle that continues under socialism, will define the struggles that will take place in the new society. Historical experience shows us the path we must follow, the overall orientation that we must take. This struggle will take the form of a struggle between two paths, or two lines. The fiercest of this struggle will be within the party itself and will last during the transition period.
Contrary to the belief of those who wish for a smooth course, without impediments, revolutionary communists do not fear political struggles. Quite the opposite, we know that it will happen, regardless of our wishes. This is why we are eager to engage in it and resolve it. The general interests of the proletariat will be at stake—the communist point of view will have to prevail.
This two-line struggle is not a bureaucratic one. It is not a struggle that will be restricted either to the highest levels of the state apparatus or to the political party. To wage struggle only in these places will not be sufficient in order to prevent capitalist restoration. The threat of capitalist restoration lies within the very heart of the socialist society. This is what Mao explained when he unleashed the Cultural Revolution: “The struggle against the capitalist roaders in the Party is the principal task, but not the object. The object is to solve the problem of world outlook and eradicate revisionism.” Then: “If world outlook is not reformed, then although two thousand capitalist roaders are removed in the current great Cultural Revolution, four thousand others may appear the next time.”
This new bourgeoisie will have to be pushed aside with all the might that the dictatorship of the proletariat can muster. The participation and the support of the masses will be needed. This is the only way we will be able to better the understanding of the masses in the historical chores that they will have to undertake to move society towards communism. This will be a way to transform their conceptions of the world, as Mao put it. It is by mobilizing the masses, by getting them involved in the process of struggle against the bourgeoisie that it will be possible to implement new policies, new ways of doing things. This will make our will to transform things more concrete.
This is the profound meaning of the Cultural Revolution that Mao had successfully set off in China. This is one of the phases that have to be undertaken to move from socialism to communism. The Cultural Revolution represents the most advanced experience of revolutionary transformation in the history of the international proletariat. In order to vanquish capitalism, make necessary rectification and reach communism, we will have to wage many Cultural Revolutions all along the transition period.
The state that will exist during the socialist phase, but will progressively “wither away,” must lead the masses into assuming leadership of society. The conditions to allow them to do this must be set. This will require spare time for the masses (provided by the reduction of the working week); a collective take over of household chores; the furnishing of tools such as ink, paper, along with locations and information to hold meetings must also be provided so they can express themselves freely, etc.
They must also work in destroying privileges that are imparted to those who are in positions of leadership. One way to do this is to enable them to vote and to revoke leaders. The reduction of salary disparities between leaders and the proletarian masses and the participation of managers in labour are also tasks that will have to be undertaken.
In the long run, everyone must assume leadership. Not only that of a firm or of a neighbourhood (although this will be a necessary step in the process of learning), but equally that of society as a whole. This means the organization of its activities and the mastery of the direction it will be headed for.
In order to make this type of participation possible, and to insure it is something authentic and unlike the bogus consultations the capitalists hold on occasion for the people to give them the impression that they are partaking in a democratic process, the state itself must undergo change. It must give birth to new types of leadership, based on the participation of the masses.
At the end, we must remember that socialism is not only—nor even at first—a type of ownership being transformed through nationalization and state appropriation of the means of production. Most of all, socialism means to transform the relations of production and all social relations. It is through that change in the material bases of the society that we will be able to achieve a true revolutionarization and transformation of the whole superstructure: that is to say political institutions, education, culture and ideology. This will be an ongoing struggle to truly eliminate the social pyramid, and strive for the definite seizure of power by those at the bottom and their allies. They are the ones that must become the true masters of society.
The revolutionary proletariat will have to undertake a series of measures and tasks once state power is won over. This has nothing to do with empty “electoral promises” like the ones of bourgeois parties. Rather it is a partial list of measures that give an indication of what kind of transformations will have to be undertaken so that the historical period of socialist building may be successful, i.e. to foster the destruction of the capitalist mode of production and prepare for communism.
As soon as the bourgeois regime is brought down, the revolutionary proletariat will set up a new state that will be the instrument of its dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and a tool to consolidate its new power. This state will grow out of revolutionary councils, some of which will have already been set up through the development of the revolution, in the very tradition of the communist soviets of Russia. This ultimate form of expression and organization of proletarian power must consequently be spread out and standardized throughout the country. The revolutionary councils will determine and implement all of the necessary measures for establishing and developing socialism. They will be the main organs of power around which the dictatorship of the proletariat will evolve.
- Expropriation without any compensation of the big bourgeoisie, namely the banks, big corporations and communication networks; nationalization of property and movable property wealth, of lands, the subsoil and water resources; development of socially and collectively organized means of production; putting together, in all production units, of a type of management that will see to the overall interests of the proletariat, i.e. to the satisfaction of collective needs and abetting the revolution world wide; management of workplaces according to national and local plans that will assign tasks to be carried out, allocate resources and determine the destination of products.
- Cancellation of loans, household loans and all other types of loans owned to banks, the state and the imperialist bourgeoisie. Cancellation of loans and credits incurred from other countries. Transformation of the financial assets of the workers and petty bourgeoisie in the form of savings devoid of interest rates, of which the holders may use as supplementary or differed revenue; the value of these savings must be maintained at their primitive value in terms of buying power. Immediate dissolution of investment funds and risk capital, including those of the trade unions; safeguarding of savings, pensions and all other means of subsistence earned by the workers.
- Partaking in socially useful types of work, except for those recognized as too old, ill or incapacitated. Recognition, collectivization, and “desexization” of housework (with popular kitchens, laundries, household upkeep, etc.); wages decided by the organized groups of workers themselves in relation to the quality and quantity of work; granting a universal allocation to all those who cannot perform a socially useful task (kids, students, elderly, handicapped). This will help women overcome male domination and children overcome domination by their parents.
- Constant and progressive reduction of salary gaps until their complete elimination, be it between manual labourers and intellectuals, men and women, leaders and those who are under their leadership, between the more educated or more qualified and others who have less, between cities and the countryside.
- Salary of top management or any other officer to whom a public office job was confided to according to the average salary of a worker (also called the “communist maximum”). Locals, means of transportation, office furnishings needed to perform their tasks should remain public property.
- Safeguarding of individual property of autonomous workers while keeping in mind the overall collectivization of property as an objective; support in the application of the most perfected, safest and most productive technologies; planned system of orders and furnishings and guarantee of outlets; progressive and voluntary transformation of individual or family businesses into production and distribution coops, to be eventually transformed into collective property.
- Participation of all leaders, including those from the party, in basic tasks.
- Management courses in various workplaces as to enable the periodical replacement of managers and their mandatory return to the performance of basic tasks in order to avoid the renewing of the bourgeoisie through the creation of function specialization.
- Political education of the most advanced elements from the masses as to insure the replacement of party leaders who shall be forced to perform basic tasks in order to avoid embourgeoisification of the party.
- Development of economic exchanges with other countries through reciprocal interests with respect to national independence; immediate end to occupations of native territories; development of friendly relations with socialist countries.
- Dissolution of the army, police and all other repressive organs of the old bourgeois state; expulsion from Canadian territory of all foreign armies, police and spies; arming of the masses and constitution of proletarian militias that will strive to develop and defend the new state power; upholding of a permanent red army responsible of preventing counter-revolution and of defending our country against any foreign threat.
- Cancellation of all military, political and commercial treaties signed by the old reactionary regime, including those who maintain the aboriginal nations in a position of subservience; expulsion of all diplomats, officers and agents of foreign states who do not respect the decisions taken by the revolutionary authorities, who try to influence the masses or whose presence is useless; material and active political support to revolutionary proletarian organizations and to organizations fighting against imperialism.
- Dissolution of public administration bodies of the old bourgeois state (at the federal and provincial level, the aboriginal band councils, municipal councils, school boards or groups who managed the health system, etc.).
- Power must be given in at all levels (central, national, provincial, regional, local…) to a unique revolutionary council composed of elected delegates, being removable at any time by those who elected them; this council must reflect a fair representation between men and women, the youth and the older, activists within or outside the party, etc.; proletarians as well as all of those who participate in the socialist construction can vote.
- Dissolution of professional associations and organizations of the bourgeoisie (Chamber of Commerce, Conseil du Patronat, etc.); abolition of political and civil rights of members of the monopoly bourgeoisie; obligation for all other bourgeois people to submit themselves to workers collectives if they want to keep these rights; repression of any move by the bourgeoisie attempting to restore its ancient privileges and power, to use its moral authority and other of its means in order to influence the masses and social life.
- Election and revocability of justice officers, public office managers and armed force or militias commanders.
- Absolute equality of all languages and nations; recognition of the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations; interdiction of any form of discrimination on the basis of spoken language, knowledge of language, belonging to any nationality or coming from any ethnic origin; respect of national and minority group rights, including the right to an education in one’s culture as well as its preservation.
- Reduction and limitation of daily work hours; interdiction of mandatory overtime or forced night shifts, beside when this would be absolutely necessary; limitation on hours worked at difficult or health hazardous tasks, planned rotating work shifts.
- Valuation of volunteer work, performed outside regular working hours; as production increases and when the situation allows it, vigorous implementation and generalization of distribution of the fruits of production to “everyone according to his needs” rather than “according to his work;” transformation of all social activity into volunteer work allowing free expression of creativity and emancipation of each individual; reduction of mandatory work until its complete elimination.
- Recognition of the right to strike and to organize, of the liberty to demonstrate for the proletarian strata as main means of expressing their dissidence.
- Nationalization of urban real estate assets belonging to capitalists; collective attribution of housing to answer the needs of the proletarian masses; collective improvement of cleanliness and quality of housing; free and secure use of public utilities such as electricity, gas, water systems; availability of real estate assets and public space for social and community activities.
- General organization of the masses and direct overlooking of their performance in managerial tasks by their very own popular organizations in an increasing number of social realms: economy, culture, health, education, justice administration, public order, territorial defence, struggle against counter-revolution, organization of proletarian militias, etc.
- Parental leaves and paid leaves for taking care of children must be generalized to all workers; physical and moral protection for pregnant women during their pregnancy and in the period after delivery must be ensured; as well as the right to abortion and free access to contraception; free day-care centers for children must be put in place in all working places and neighbourhood.
- Recognition and education concerning child care issues being a collective responsibility and so, being also the responsibility of the working units, of the public administration and of mass organizations; measures instituted to help the youth free themselves from their immediate family in order to foster their full development as well as their emotional welfare; participation of the youth in productive labour with respect to their capabilities, in order to help them acquire experience, knowledge and social skills that will help them emancipate themselves.
- Mobilization of the masses to fight against exploitation and violence towards women and children and against submission of women to men; launching of frequent and generalized political campaigns against sexist and traditional values and valuation of the participation of women in all realms of social life; neutralization of reactionary elements who act against the full emancipation of women; re-education and punishment of rapists, incest perpetuators, child molesters, sexual exploiters and recidivists.
- Abolition and interdiction of racial discrimination under all shapes and forms: at work, in regards to housing, access to public services, etc.; bestowing of equal rights to all workers, migrant or not; dissolution of racist and supremacist organizations; valuation of cultural exchanges between workers of different nationalities; opening of borders to workers who come from abroad.
- Consistent struggle against homophobia and all forms of discrimination towards gays and lesbians and other sexual minorities.
- Recognition of everyone’s right to health care and social services; free access to hospitals, health centres and recognized health care giving; universal sanitary education and struggle against private propriety of medicine.
- Nomination of elected and revocable work inspectors endowed with the authority to intervene and take the necessary measures to protect hygiene, assure security in workplaces and environmental sites.
- Creation of work dispatching centres bearing the responsibility of managing the workforce in a rational manner; developing work skills and knowledge in order to reduce differences between intellectual and manual labour, management jobs and task performers; spreading of knowledge and experience between firms.
- Balancing out of industrial development throughout the country in order to fight capitalist tendencies to form “megacities;” protection of natural heritage; development of equal political and economic relations between cities and countryside.
- Recognition of the right to live in dignity for elderly people, including the possibility of putting to good use their experience to help forward the overall revolution, namely in their role to coach younger generations.
- Complete and total separation of church and state; freedom to practice religion, and propagation of science and atheism by the revolutionary state.
- Availability and freedom of access to public services, including telephone services, mail services, radio, Internet, public transportation (including inter city transportation), museums, etc.
- Development of collective control on environment and resources; preservation and protection of all that is necessary for the satisfaction of collective needs and the advancement towards a classless society and the realization of communism throughout the planet.
- Putting together a collective tool box and collective goods available to the community for community work.
- Free public polytechnic and scientific schooling mandatory for youth; development of close links between education and productive work; dismantling bourgeois universities that will be transformed in research and development centres to serve the revolution, of which access shall be free and will be accessible on a class basis and on the basis of one’s willingness to serve the people and the revolution; obligation for upper level students to participate in productive work; opening of schools to youth coming from countries oppressed by imperialism and representatives from liberation movements; schools shall be led by the revolutionary councils that will name their managers, who will be revocable anytime.
- Development of a comprehensive and varied cultural life that will help the masses and the workers understand the problems they face and the world situation, find appropriate solutions and move ahead to solve them; creation of a climate that allows liberty of expression, struggle against reactionary ideas and the consolidation of proletarian power: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend;” free access to the press, radio, television, information networks, locals and necessary means to develop worker’s democracy.
- Valuation of intellectual work that serves the masses and the revolution; utilization of knowledge and scientific heritage to improve material, moral and cultural conditions for everyone; abolition of intellectual property, patents, author’s rights and artistic property.