37th Central Convention of the Communist Party of Canada
Draft Main Political Resolution

Section I – The International Situation

1. The 37th Convention of our Party takes place at a particularly complex and dangerous moment in the workers’ and people’s struggle. The systemic crisis of capitalism in Canada and internationally has continued to deepen over the past three years, reflected in ever-widening social disparity, intensified economic and social attacks against the people, fresh assaults on labour and democratic rights, the further degradation of the national and global environment, and increasing militarism, aggression and war.

2. The maturing structural contradictions of the global system of capitalism, which have been steadily gaining pace throughout the last century and particularly since the 1970s onwards, created conditions for the current global cyclical crisis – a crisis which erupted in 2007-08 and which continues today, making it one of capitalism’s most acute cyclical crises in history. This crisis in turn has exacerbated all of the structural aspects of the general crisis of the capitalist system, resulting in greater instability, insecurity and intensified class struggle.

3. The austerity policies pursued by ruling circles in all of the leading imperialist states, including Canada, to resuscitate economic activity and profits on the backs of the working class and working people in general have failed miserably. The economies of the U.S., Europe and Japan – the ‘tripod’ epicentre of this global crisis – remain stagnant or in absolute decline. The crisis and the intense, all-sided offensive launched by the ruling class in its wake are exacting a heavy economic, social, cultural, psychological and environmental cost on all humanity.

4. The main target of this anti-social offensive of Capital is the working class, especially its organised section, the trade union movement. It is also falls heavily on women, youth and students, indigenous peoples, pensioners and the elderly, peasants and small farmers, the extreme poor and marginalized sections of the people, and on all those reliant on the social functions and services of capitalist states – benefits that have been won through many decades of hard struggle.

5. This capitalist offensive is understandably creating an atmosphere of insecurity and desperation among wide sections of the working class and the people, but it is also giving rise to increased resistance and struggle against ruling classes and their governments around the world. While this fightback is still predominantly defensive in character, it is growing almost everywhere around the world. Anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist sentiments are on the increase, and the size and capacity of forces consciously embracing the socialist alternative are continuing to grow, albeit unevenly and still as a minority current in most countries.

6. The counter-offensive of labour and people’s movements is also growing across Canada. The historic Québec student strike and social struggle which took place in the spring and summer of 2012, and the Canada-wide “Idle No More” protests of Aboriginal peoples and their supporters which began last December are particularly significant in this regard.

These struggles, taken together with the determined struggle of teachers in Ontario and many other mobilizations in defence of labour, social and equality rights and in defence of our environment, signal a qualitative change in the mood of the working class and its allies to fight back against the austerity agenda of Capital and its governments.

7. The challenge for our Party at this 37th Convention is to reach an objective assessment of the nature and trajectory of this capitalist offensive, to identify the class and social forces which are moving into action to resist and defeat this offensive, and to situate the Communist Party and its work so that it can best make its contribution to the building of a mass, united people’s coalition, and to the building of a larger, stronger and more influential Party in the process.

8. More than six years since its onset, the global economic crisis of capitalism continues to deepen. While periodic cyclical crises of (relative) over-production are standard fare at every stage of capitalist development, the current crisis has unique features: (1) it is also a crisis of over-accumulation of capital, due to the very high degree of financialization of the capitalist economy and its internationalization; (2) it is truly global in scale, afflicting all three imperialist centres simultaneously and rapidly cascading to all other national and regional economies; and (3) it merges with and further aggravates other structural crises under capitalism, not least the food and environmental crises.

9. This helps to explain why this crisis is so acute and protracted, with no ‘sustainable’ recovery in sight. In January, 2012 the World Bank was forced to revise its predictions for global growth to 2.5 percent, down from its June 2011 estimate of 3.6 percent, adding that the Euro area may actually contract 0.3 percent, compared with a previous estimate of a 1.8 percent gain. By last October, the International Monetary Fund had reduced those forecasts even further, predicting a 15 percent chance of recession in the United States in 2013, 25 percent in Japan and above 80 percent in the Euro zone. The languishing global economy and associated fears about state debt defaults and bankruptcies in Europe and the continuing fiscal crisis in the U.S. are putting downward pressure even on the robust Chinese economy and other relatively buoyant economies in parts of Asia and Latin America.

10. A number of European countries, especially Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal are mired in deep recession. The imposition of vicious austerity measures demanded by the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank as the price for credit extensions to avoid sovereign debt default have further deteriorated social conditions, resulting in staggeringly high levels of unemployment, mass poverty and despair. Even the relatively stronger economies in Germany and France are now faltering.

Claiming that emergency measures are necessary to preserve the EU and the integrity of the Euro currency, monopoly capital is using the Eurozone crisis to erase the last vestiges of the ‘social contract’ and to further consolidate and centralize financial and political power in Brussels, in violation of the democratic rights of the peoples and the national sovereignty of its member-states. Labour and mass democratic struggles across Europe in response to the consequences of crisis and austerity policies have been unprecedented, marked by countless general strikes, mass demonstrations and factory occupations. Millions have come out into the streets of Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, Italy and elsewhere to demand jobs, decent wages and pensions, to defend labour rights, to insist on the restoration of health, education and other public services, and to denounce the austerity policies dictated by the EU at the behest on European bankers and monopolists.

11. On the other hand, the crisis conditions are also being used by the extreme right to whip up narrow nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and anti-communism. There has been an alarming growth of ultra-right and neo-fascist movements and parties in a number of European countries, fearfully reminiscent of the rise of fascism in the 1930s. Today, as in the past, the fascist movement is a dangerous ruling class tool used to weaken and divide the working class and popular forces, blunt class consciousness, and attack the left and revolutionary forces.

12. These conditions graphically confirm the utter bankruptcy of the prevailing bourgeois economic ‘model’ of neoliberalism to overcome the crisis. But this ‘failure’ masks a more fundamental and insidious process underway. International finance capital is using the current crisis and its consequences as an opportunity to impose its own set of ‘reforms’: to accelerate the erosion of the social rights of the people to accessible healthcare, education and other social programs and benefits; to fundamentally transform the capitalist state into an ever more efficient, repressive instrument to facilitate the further concentration and centralization of capital; and to weaken and undermine all social and class forces capable of mobilizing resistance to its agenda, in the first place the organized trade union movement and the Communist parties. The Portuguese comrades placed this process succinctly at their recent congress:

“Imperialism’s hegemonic rule is… destroying gains and rights that had been achieved by the struggle of workers and peoples throughout the 20th century. Its goal is to reinstate 19th-century levels of class exploitation and national oppression. Capitalism’s exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature has been exposed further by the devastating consequences of the [current] overproduction crisis…” [from “Theses – Draft Political Resolution: 19th Congress of the PCP, October 29, 2012 – emphasis added]

13. The austerity agenda is entirely consistent with and indeed flows from the neo-liberal economic formula of ‘free’ trade (i.e., the unbridled mobility of capital within and beyond national boundaries), privatization, deregulation, and the systematic gutting of the social functions of the State – policies which has predominated for almost three decades. It would be quite wrong however to conclude that these economic policies are simply the product of ‘wrong thinking’ or ‘poor political choices’ by the capitalist elite and the governments they control. On the contrary, they are a result of how state-monopoly capitalism objectively functions today, and illustrate that capitalism itself is rapidly approaching its developmental limits.

14. The August 2011 Central Committee noted that:

“[I]n the 1970s the rate of profit began to fall precipitously for monopoly capital, dragging down growth rates in the U.S. and other leading capitalist countries as well. In order to arrest and reverse the decline in profit rates, monopoly (through the auspices of the State) introduced neoliberal policies – ‘free’ trade, deregulation, privatization, etc. – first in Britain under Thatcher and the U.S. during the Reagan years, and then throughout the advanced capitalist economies and beyond. The ‘free trade agenda’ was never primarily about freeing up the international movement of goods and commodities, but rather about radically increasing the mobility of capital flows across borders, thus increasing the grip of international finance capital … That the banking and the financial service sector began to expand rapidly following the introduction of neoliberal policy was hardly coincidental. This sector has overtaken basic industry and manufacturing and non-financial services (where value is actually produced) in virtually all of the advanced capitalist economies today. Neoliberalism was the structural instrument facilitating the movement of capital from ‘value producing’ to non-value producing (parasitic) forms of investment.”

15. It was precisely this objective class interest in reversing the decline in the rate of profit which dictated the abandonment of Keynesianism in favour of neoliberalism and all of its most brutal manifestations – financial speculation, the intensified exploitation of workers and peoples, the stepped up plunder of the natural environment, and increased drive to militarism and war. The imposition of the neoliberal policy doctrine was facilitated by socialism’s defeats in the early 1990s and the corresponding change in the international balance of class forces in favour of imperialism which resulted from those setbacks.

That this fundamental policy shift in turn laid the foundation for the even more intense and protracted global cyclical crisis when it finally burst into the open in 2007-08 does not diminish in the least the essential truth of the underlying features of the general crisis of capitalism and the maturation of its most basic contradiction – that is, between the increasingly social nature of production on one hand, and the private nature of appropriation of the fruit of that produced wealth (ever more centralized and concentrated in the big banks and corporate conglomerates, and the monopolists who own and control them), on the other.

It is a harmful, reformist illusion therefore to fantasize about a return to the ‘good old days’ of Keynes, the capitalist ‘welfare state’ and the social contract between labour and capital; modern international finance capitalism has all but shredded that possibility. While the fight against capitalist offensive and for meaningful advances and reforms under the present socio-economic system is both necessary and urgent, we must never lose sight of capitalism’s true nature – exploitative, aggressive and predatory – and of the fundamental reality that the next wrung on the ladder of human social development can be none other than socialism.

16. The necessity for that transition to socialism in Canada and internationally has become all the more urgent in the face of the deepening environment crisis which increasingly threatens the very future of humanity and the liveability of our planet. Every effort to substantively overcome and reverse the impact of climate change and other environmental damage already committed, and to ensure environmental ‘sustainability’ into the future, is compromised not only by the specific policies of governments or decisions of corporations, but in fact by the socio-economic formation of capitalism itself.

By its very nature, capitalist development prioritises private gain over social interests and over the protection of the natural environment. The drive for profit and the accumulation of capital trumps all other considerations. Indeed the very concept of capitalist economic growth, based on the limitless expansion of commodity production and depletion of resources, and the universalisation of the ‘cult of consumerism’, is fundamentally incompatible with the objective need to preserve our ecosphere for present and future generations.

17. The failure of the recent summit in Doha to once again make any meaningful progress in requiring mandatory reductions in fossil fuel emissions – despite resounding appeals from the scientific community and world public opinion – is compelling evidence of that basic contradiction between capitalist development and nature. The Harper Conservatives must be held to account for their shameful role in largely contributing to that failure.

18. Militarism and the drive to war are directly related to the global economic crisis, and the costs associated with the arms build-up and imperialist aggression and war – more than one trillion dollars a year – bleeds vital resources from the education, health and the social developmental needs of humanity, further intensifying its consequences. Military spending is one of the most effective and lucrative ways of redistributing wealth via the public purse at the expense of the working class and the people.

In order to carry through such a large-scale ‘diversion’ of public wealth, U.S. imperialism and the other imperialist powers including Canada exploit and inflame local and regional conflicts, and in some cases cynically manufacture perceived threats to national security, They arrogate to themselves the role of defending a global ‘civilized order ‘, with the ‘responsibility to protect’ the victims of alleged ‘rogue’ states and their demonized leaders, creating a permanent war mentality to justify bloated defence and security budgets at home, and aggression and war abroad.

19. But the stepped-up drive to militarism and war has a much more profound basis than the desire to transfer vast sums of public resources into the swollen coffers of monopoly capital. War is an inherent feature of capitalism, especially in its final, imperialist stage of development. The scramble of rival imperialist states and centres to capture, dominate and exploit markets and resources – “to divide and re-divide the world” through the export of capital backed up by the use of military force – is one of its most basic and important features.

The overturning of socialism in the former Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries, which had acted as a counterweight blunting the imperialist drive to war, and the current acute economic crisis which has intensified competition to control markets and resources, have both served to spur this predatory dynamic of imperialism.

20. Indeed, the U.S. and other leading imperialist powers have stepped up their aggression and war preparations in the recent period, despite their fiscal problems arising out of the global crisis: the continuing war of occupation in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan; the costly ‘intervention’ against Libya; preparations for direct aggression against Syria and possibly Iran; the U.S.-financed Israeli attacks on Gaza; military interventions and “police actions” in a number of African states; ominous threats against North Korea (DPRK); the proliferation of foreign military bases and expansion of naval fleets around the world; and massive investments in ‘next generation’, high-tech weapons systems. International treaty law and the rights of nations to sovereignty and national independence can also be counted among the casualties of this rapacious drive to dominate and exploit the entire globe.

21. The current crisis has also accentuated another basic feature of capitalism and imperialism – the law of uneven development. While certain shifts in the relative strength of the imperialist centres – the US, EU and Japan – were discernible well before its onset, the crisis has brought the structural weaknesses of all three centres into sharp focus. To some extent, this has forced the main imperialist centres to seek agreement on joint strategies to overcome the crisis in a manner which advances their mutual interests. At the same time however, it has sharpened underlying inter-imperialist contradictions, competition and rivalry between the imperialist blocs.

22. Meanwhile emerging powers – most notably the People’s Republic of China and the other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – are increasingly asserting their economic power and political influence. These states are quite diverse – some have left or centre-left governments while others are ruled by bourgeois national elites (e.g., Russia, India). All are manoeuvring to protect and advance their own interests in the context of the global capitalist system, interests which often conflict with the hegemonic ambitions of the U.S. and other imperialist centres.

U.S. imperialism, while still the most powerful economic and military power, has been hard hit by the crisis. It is fighting back, using its control of supranational financial institutions (the IMF and the World Bank) and the NATO alliance to preserve and extend its dominant position globally. The political/strategic policy ‘shift to Asia’ is part of U.S. imperialism’s counterattack, aimed at containing China’s growing regional and global influence and encircling it militarily, an ominous development fraught with peril.

23. Even more dangerous is the U.S.-led strategy to fashion a “New Middle East” to consolidate its domination over that region’s precious energy resources and trade routes. Cynically manipulating mass discontent which has been building across the Middle East and North Africa against the region’s monarchies and autocratic regimes, stirring up tribal, ethnic and sectarian differences, and forging ‘unholy’ alliances of convenience with religious extremist forces, it is moving to close off any genuinely democratic, secular and progressive or anti-imperialist changes in the region. It aims to ‘slice-and-dice’ the entire region into a patchwork of weak and compliant mini-states policed by Zionist Israel, its local gendarme, with Turkey and Saudi Arabia as secondary, supportive powers. The dismembering or ‘balkanization’ of Sudan and Iraq is well underway, and following the imperialist-led overthrow of the Kaddafi government of Libya, groupings based in the Eastern part of the country are now demanding autonomy and self-rule. A similar fate could befall both Syria and Iran, the remaining obstacles to its regional agenda.

24. The conflict in Syria is reaching a critical moment. Intervention by the imperialist powers and some of the reactionary Arab states (especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar) to topple the El-Assad government is already well advanced, arming and coordinating the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups and channelling foreign mercenaries into the conflict. Preparations for direct NATO military intervention, including air and naval assaults, are also being made, even in the absence of any UN mandate.

“Regime change” in Damascus and its replacement with a more pliant, pro-imperialist regime would compound this catastrophe for the Syrian people. It would also dramatically alter the regional balance of forces, weakening the anti-imperialist forces, and providing a launch pad for NATO/ Israeli aggression against neighbouring Iran. Our Party calls for full respect of Syrian national sovereignty and independence, the removal of sanctions, an immediate halt to all financial and military support to the armed groups inside Syria, and the renunciation of a military “solution” in favour of a ceasefire by all combatants and a comprehensive national dialogue to restore peace in Syria.

25. The Harper Conservative government is playing an aggressive role in this “New Middle East” strategy of imperialism. It enthusiastically participated in the NATO-led war on Libya, and has been in the front ranks of the campaign to economically and diplomatically squeeze both Syria and Iran in the hope of toppling their governments, and has signalled support for any future direct military aggression against these countries. Since coming to office, the Conservatives have also dramatically shifted Canadian foreign policy to brazen support for Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands and the negation of the national right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Every anti-Palestinian move of the Israeli state – from the repeated bombardments and siege of Gaza and the construction of the “Apartheid” Wall in the West Bank to the continued expansion of illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories has been supported by the Harper Tory cabinet. To its shame, Canada was among the very few states which voted against granting the Palestinian Authority non-member “observer state” status at the recent UN General Assembly.

26. U.S. imperialism, with the backing of the Harper Tories, has also increased its efforts to reverse progressive changes which have been gaining pace across Latin America in recent years, although with limited success to date. The imperialist-orchestrated overthrow of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 has not been followed by any other significant reversals. President Hugo Chavez Frias was successfully re-elected as Venezuelan President and leader of the Bolivarian revolution in that country despite feverish attempts to unite the right-wing, proto-fascist and anti-Chavez forces, and efforts to destabilize the Bolivian and Ecuadorian governments have fizzled.

Meanwhile, the Communist and other left forces have scored limited gains in Chile and elsewhere. Throughout Central and South America, workers and their allies are fighting against the pernicious and exploitative role of Canadian mineral monopolies plundering their resources. After many years of the ‘dirty war’ against the insurgency in Colombia, the Santos government has been forced by public pressure to enter into peace negotiations with the FARC-EP. This most welcome development however is still at an early stage, and it remains to be seen if the talks can reach agreement for genuine peace, national independence and social justice for the Colombian people.

27. Our Party continues to stand in full solidarity with the Communist, progressive and anti-imperialist forces and governments throughout Latin America struggling to defend their national sovereignty in the face of imperialist plunder and dictate, and to advance the class and social interests of the masses of their own peoples, and the sovereignty of the region as a whole through the ALBA and related initiatives. We once again convey our longstanding solidarity with the Cuban government and people in their efforts to reform the economy while safeguarding its socialist character and the gains of their Revolution, to break the U.S. blockade, and to free the Cuban Five.

28. We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to end the Occupation, to secure a genuinely independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and win the right of return for all refugees displaced by decades of Israeli expansionism. We stand with the peoples of Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq and other countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa who are struggling against imperialist aggression and local autocratic rule, and to defend and advance their democratic and social rights. And we stand in solidarity with all the workers and peoples in Africa, Asia and elsewhere around the world in their fight against imperialism and for peace, democracy, national liberation and socialism.

29. At the 37th Convention we also extend our warmest solidarity to our sister Communist and Workers’ parties, as well as to national liberation and revolutionary movements around the globe. We continue to support the “International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties” (IMCWP) process and work to advance ever higher levels of political and ideological unity and the active cooperation of its member parties and organizations on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

March 2013