Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

February 28, 2010


Cheryl-Anne Carr of Winnipeg CPC led the Convention in aboriginal Song

(The following article is from the March 1-15, 2010 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

Delegates at the 36th Central Convention of the Communist Party of Canada finished three days of spirited and constructive debates on Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Steelworkers Hall in Toronto. The Convention concluded with a rousing call for broad political mobilizations to defeat the Harper Tory government, and to build support for a People's Alternative to the capitalist crisis which continues to devastate working people in Canada and around the world.

Earlier on the final day of the Convention, delegates re-elected Miguel Figueroa as the leader of the Communist Party. They also chose a new 20-member Central Committee from across Canada, including Communists who are active in the trade union movement, anti-war campaigns, and a wide range of struggles for Aboriginal rights, civil liberties, increased minimum wages, social equality, municipal reform, defense of public education, and many other issues.

The CC elected a new Central Executive Committee of the CPC, including Figueroa, the leaders of the Party in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia - Liz Rowley, Sam Hammond, and Pierre Fontaine - and People's Voice editor Kimball Cariou. The new CC will hold its first full meeting in late March.

The Convention followed four months of extensive discussion at the local and provincial levels, based on the draft political resolution issued by the outgoing leadership. The amended resolution will guide the Communist Party's work over the three years, including plans to nominate 20-25 candidates in the next federal election.

As the main resolution stressed, "Unprecedented developments are shaking global capitalism to its very core, less than two decades after its so-called `final victory' over socialism. It is mired in the deepest world-wide economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Meanwhile, structural aspects of its systemic decline continue unabated - especially militarism and war, and an intensifying environment crisis, both of which threaten the very survival of humanity. The root cause of the crisis lies in the private ownership of the means of production and its contradiction with the increasingly social character of production... Anti-capitalist sentiments and advocacy of socialism as the systemic alternative to decadent capitalism are growing to varying degrees. These are dynamic times indeed, full of dangers and challenges and also with the potential of resurgent socialism."

The resolution outlines "a comprehensive action plan - an economic and political solution which serves the interests of people, not profits." This plan includes a wide range of immediate and longer-term policies to create jobs and advance the living standards of working people, to protect the environment, and to defend Canadian sovereignty and world peace. Unlike any other party in Canada, the CPC calls for expanded public ownership of key industries, withdrawal from NAFTA and other corporate "trade deals," a shorter work week with no loss in take-home pay, and immediate return of Canadian troops from Afghanistan.

As the resolution says, "Only united action on a mass scale, drawing millions of working people into struggle, can breathe real life into such a comprehensive anti-crisis plan. That is why we have urged the leadership of the labour movement - the Canadian Labour Congress, the labour centrals in Quebec, and all of their key affiliates - to come together along with its allies in the social movements in an emergency conference to articulate such a unified program of demands, a fightback strategy based on escalating mass action, and with committed resources to see it through.

"Such a perspective could help to bring together a broad People's Coalition which our Party has long advocated. Such a Coalition would of course emerge largely from the united grassroots struggles in communities across the country, fighting in the workplaces and on the streets to defend the people's vital interests. As it matures, a People's Coalition would become Canada-wide in character, moving the mass struggle onto the offensive, eventually taking on an electoral expression. This is the kind of Coalition required by our class and our country at this time of profound economic and political crisis, and our Party will work tirelessly to help forge such a new alternative."

In the next election, "the Communist Party will call for the defeat of the Harper Tories - the most deadly expression of the corporate domination of Canada - and to block the right, by also denying a majority to the pro-corporate, pro-war Liberals under Ignatieff, whose differences with the Tories are primarily over the pace and scale of imposing the continentalist and corporate agenda."

Delegates also endorsed special resolutions on a wide range of issues, from solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in Colombia and the Philippines, to support for protests against the painful social spending cuts being imposed on British Columbians during the Winter Olympics.

Several guest speakers addressed the 36th Convention, including the Vietnamese ambassador to Canada, Nguyen Duc Hung; prominent civil liberties lawyer Barbara Jackman; Canadian Arab Federation national president Khaled Mouammar; Cuban Consul-General Jorge Soberon Luis; Venezuelan Vice-Consul Scarlet Salazar Quiroz; and Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny, authors of the 2004 book Socialism Betrayed, which analyses the destruction of the Soviet Union during the late 1980s and early '90s. Greetings were received from some 42 Communist and Workers' parties from across the planet.

Delegates and guests at the convention took the Saturday evening to enjoy a special dinner and cultural program, featuring performances by jazz musician Wally Brooker, Quebec folksinger Norman Raymond, poets Harjit Daudharia and Salimeh Valiani, and a set by Toronto chamber punk band Red Monkey.

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