Revolution or War n°24

(May 2023)

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Public meeting in Montreal of the "No war But the Class War" Committee

Following the Internationalist Appeal of the ICT [1], the third meeting of the No War But the Class War (NWBCW) committee was held in Montreal on March 26. Comrades from Klasbatalo, the Canadian section of the ICT, put up 500 posters in the streets of Montreal and, working together with the IGCL, hundreds of invitations were distributed at various events for this public meeting. It was agreed that a member of the IGCL would present Klasbatalo’s text The Tundra Trenches [2] on the militarization of the Canadian Arctic. Before presenting the text, the IGCL affirmed its political agreement with this article. We also mentioned that the IGCL actively supports this ICT initiative and has been involved in organizing NWBCW committees in Paris and Toronto.

The Klasbatalo comrades then presented a first text on The Terrace Mutiny of 1944 [3], relating the struggle of Canadian soldiers in British Columbia. The other presentation was on ’The Good War’ of 1939-1945 [4] and dealt with labour struggles in Canada during the war. We can say that the meeting was a success with the participation of about twenty people. The interventions were either in French or in English and a translation from English to French was possible if needed. A third point on the agenda was added on the fight against the pension system in France.

A period of discussion directly followed the different presentations. A first comrade intervened, arguing that the unions are organizations in which the proletarians should gather to defend themselves and develop a relationship of force against the bosses and the state. A comrade from Klasbatalo replied that since the unions are integrated into the bourgeois state, they are not even able to ensure the simple day-to-day defense of the living conditions of the workers. An IGCL member gave the example of a workplace – Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec – where the proletarians are divided into two different unions of the same central, the CSN, and where the unions prevent with all their strength the extension of the struggle by organizing demoralizing half-day strikes on different dates.

A comrade mentioned that there are already a multitude of anti-war groups, associations and organizations. What then differentiates NWBCW from other anti-war committees? It was answered that all the other committees have an outright pacifist orientation, while NWBCW is for revolutionary defeatism. In other words, all current anti-war organizations advocate diplomacy and negotiation so that, without touching the present social order, the various bourgeoisies will come to their senses and stop the war. Our perspective is that capitalism is war. So the only way to stop the war is to transform it from an imperialist war into a civil war, into a communist revolution.

One participant asked what we were really doing against the massacre of workers in Ukraine. He added that it was a privilege for us to gather and discuss while Ukrainians are suffering bombings and daily violence. In fact, under a radical phraseology, this participant was putting forward a frankly defencist orientation that can only lead to the defense of the Ukrainian democratic homeland against the Russian fascist invader. He was told that it is precisely the establishment of NWBCW committees in many countries and cities that is a way to attack our own bourgeoisies in their march to world war. Another comrade answered him – with panache and aplomb: we must welcome the political clarity of his intervention – that what he was basically asking for was a right of intervention in Ukraine for ’humanitarian’ reasons. The comrade recalled that the American intervention to get rid of Saddam Hussein in Iraq had also a humanitarian veil and caused the death of 500 000 Iraqi proletarians. The solution for the Ukrainian proletarians is not to fight the Russian proletarians under the leadership of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, but to fraternize with the Russian proletarians against their own Ukrainian bourgeoisie. And the Russian proletarians must do the same by turning their weapons against their own bourgeoisie. The enemy is not in the neighboring country, but in our own country!

One comrade suggested a boycott of certain products, especially those based on lithium, as a way to weaken the military industries. A comrade replied that it is more politically effective to promote collective struggle and the regroupment of all proletarians behind common political orientations – which is exactly what the NWBCW committees are aiming at – at the expense of individual perspectives that are ultimately sterile and have the direct result of demobilizing collective struggles. Another comrade added that the bourgeoisie and its governments use this individualistic argument to try to blame climate change on each individual. The bourgeoisie and its ultra-polluting industries can then disclaim responsibility and say to each small proletarian with a starving salary: “Climate change is your fault. You consume too much!”

A comrade asked for a clarification of the position of the Communist Left towards the USSR. A comrade from Klasbatalo replied that the CL had not supported any imperialism during the Second World War. The comrades of the Communist Left in Italy or in exile have intransigently rejected the defense of the USSR.

Finally, a comrade of the IGCL made a short presentation on the struggle of the proletarians in France against the pension reform. The struggle is tightly controlled by the bourgeoisie, by its police, its left-wing parties and the unions. There is nothing radical about it. Everything has been done to prevent a mass strike and even to discuss the idea. The unions, supported by the left-wing parties, have put forward small one-day strikes spread over several weeks to exhaust the workers. The winner of this struggle is democracy with the debate on Article 49-3 of the Constitution [5] and the revitalization of the parliamentary circus. Another comrade pointed out that not everything was negative and that the working class would remember this struggle and use it for future struggles.

R/N, April 2023

Public Meeting of the NWBCW Committee in Toronto

The Toronto NWBCW committee held a public meeting on April 22. Only three people from outside the committee attended the meeting. The discussion focused on the political confrontation with one of them, a former member of the Trotskyist group International Bolshevik Tendency – a group that originated from the International Spartacist Tendency. For non-English readers, this group is characterized, among other things, by its support for the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR’s “red army” in 1979. This highly politicized element led to discussion of various issues not directly related to the committee’s function, such as the trade union question. For him, these have a “double character: that of protecting the rights of the workers and at the same time the bureaucracy sabotages the workers’ struggles.”

But it is especially on the question of proletarian internationalism that the confrontation of class between the traditional Trotskyist positions and the positions of class proletarian was carried. The former member of the International Bolshevik Tendency criticized the slogan No war but class war, “in the name of the distinction to be made between military support and political support for the bourgeois state.” He defended that “revolutionaries should give military support to the Syrian state in the context of opposition to U.S. imperialism.” One of the other non-committee participants, apparently a former member of the Stalinist Communist Party of Canada, supported the Trotskyist’s interventions, including this last openly non-internationalist position. As a result, these elements do not fit at all into the internationalist terrain that is the main criterion for participation in the NWBCW committees.

Even if the results of this meeting are not as positive as those of the Montreal meeting, the Toronto committee intends to continue its interventions, especially at strikes and picket lines as well as at street demonstrations, and to hold other public meetings. The fact that new committees are springing up in North America, in Chicago, in Florida, shows that the period is ripe for the constitution of such committees which, as a reminder, we consider for our part to be struggle committees whose criterion for membership is the consistent defense of proletarian internationalism.