May Day 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Finally, after decades of being told that capitalism is the end of history, communism is again on the agenda. Nearly three decades since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, a time during which the capitalists triumphantly pursued every form of brutality and told us that socialist revolution was a colossal mistake, communism is losing its stigma. Capitalists have reacted by increasing their ideological campaign against communism. They go out of their way to remind the working class that there is no hope, by constructing monuments to the “victims” of communism and chiding “millennials” for daring to speak this word anew. Communist revolution remains the great fear for those invested in defending capitalism.
Since the early 1990s the rallying cry for communist revolution could be heard from the global margins, through massive insurrections and people’s wars, and now it is beginning to be heard even at the heart of the imperialist countries. Multiple imperialist wars, an exponential increase in worldwide oppression and exploitation has not silenced resistance or the demand for communist revolution. While it is the habit for the ruling classes to call their victims “naïve” for daring to struggle for a better reality, it is also the habit of these victims to struggle to exist and demand a world deemed impossible by those who would seek to annihilate the majority of life just so capitalist production and profit can persist.
On the global battlefield the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed masses is becoming more apparent as the most powerful nations seek to secure their interests by bombing and invading more and more regions. Imperialism becomes more parasitic and predatory as it sinks into patterns of attrition: since the invasion of Afghanistan fifteen years ago, the War on Terror has truly shown itself to be a war without end. Imperialism as a system is also reaching its own internal contradiction, the contradiction between competing imperialists, as the unilateral world conceived by the US as a “new world order” crumbles. The contradictions between the US and Russia, between the UK and the EU, between even the US and Canada in certain regions, both produce the possibility of a third world war, but also for increased anti-imperialist resistance.
Within the imperialist nations the contradiction between the capitalists and the working class is increasing, no longer as muted as it was even a decade ago. Austerity measures, anti-scientific refusals to deal with climate change, a pitiless war upon multiple oppressed communities, the continued attack on working-class organization and living standards, and even the specter of fascism undermines the myth of capitalist utopia. The long crisis that began in 2008 is still not over for the vast majority, even if profits for capitalists have “recovered”; the most exploited and oppressed have been made to pay for the sins of capitalist mismanagement. All of this increases the possibility of the working-class rediscovering its destiny to overthrow capitalism. Class conflict is increasingly the order of the day.
To borrow an old phrase, the ‘great storm under heaven’ means that the situation is excellent. So many openings, so many rejections of the capitalist vision of reality, innumerable brush-fires that the ruling class attempts to snuff out. Unfortunately, although the objective circumstances are indeed “excellent” the subjective circumstances are still lagging behind. Movementism is still the norm. Revisionism and social-democracy continue to dominate the political left. False hope in social reformism and the electoral circus remains despite failure after failure. Identity politics have succeeded in splintering movements and transforming anti-capitalist struggles into sites for opportunism and NGO careerism. Conversely, old chauvinisms such as racism and sexism continue to infect understandings of the working-class within the socialist old guard. Chauvinisms such as transphobia and cissexism infiltrate the broad movement. In settler-colonial contexts such as Canada the necessity of Indigenous self-determination continues to determine every anti-systemic struggle. Most alarmingly, fascism has reemerged as a serious obstacle because the broad left has failed to create a movement capable of stamping out its return.
Now, more than ever, the failure of the establishment left should be clear. Against the movementist, revisionist, and reformist tendencies we continue to maintain that a contemporary return to the revolutionary communist party is necessary. It is in fact egregious in the face of environmental destruction, austerity measures, the rise of the so-called “alt-right”, imperialist wars, and a disarmed worker’s movement to persist with unaccountable and undisciplined movementism or the kind of revisionist “communism” that appeals to historical recreation societies. The very real dangers of fascism and environmental catastrophe, if we take them seriously, demand that we get our house in order.
We have spent a decade organizing according to this revolutionary ethos. We continue to uphold the necessity of: building a party to wage war upon capitalist reality, organizing the hard-core of the working class for revolution, and taking these tasks seriously. Since our foundation in 2007 we have spread across Canada, and have put these politics in command in all of our efforts. We encourage others to join us in building towards revolution. The overthrow of capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism will not be easy, but it is both possible and necessary.
100 years ago, the working class in Russia overthrew their masters and began to build socialism, a process which set the entire 20th century on fire. 100 years later, despite twists and turns, successes and failures, we carry that legacy forward, and promise to do the same to the 21st century.