We, the Revolutionary Communist Party, are very excited to issue the call for the Fourth Canadian Revolutionary Conference. By holding this Conference in Halifax (following successful conferences in Montreal in 2006, Toronto in 2010, and Vancouver in 2014), we are beginning our plans to expand the presence of revolutionary communism in the Maritime provinces, as a means of gathering and building the forces necessary to end capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism. In turn, this document contains our perspectives on the current state of the class struggle in the Maritimes, both in terms of the general context of the class struggle as well as criticism of the current left. It is intended to guide organizers through the period of the accumulation of forces, as they begin the work of deploying revolutionary communist politics across the Maritime Provinces.
Capitalism: The Cause of the Maritime’s Problems!Insofar as we live in a capitalist society, all problems can, in one way or another, be tied back to capitalism’s merciless drive to extort profit at the expense of the working-class and the planet. To say that capitalism causes problems, in and of itself, actually gets us no closer to solving the problems faced by humanity. It is, in a sense, a platitude. However, in the Maritimes the connections between misery and capitalism are clearer than they are in, say, Southern Ontario. Thus, revolutionaries in the region need to put the destruction of capitalism at the centre of their organizing efforts.
The central underlying political fact of the Maritime Provinces is the relative level of economic underdevelopment of the Maritime’s economy when compared to the rest of Canada. In the Maritimes, the concentration of capital is lower than in the rest of Canada. The main industries in all of the Maritimes are either extractive (agriculture, forestry, fishing, and in some regions mining) or tourism. In turn, 43% of Nova Scotians live in rural areas, more than double the Canadian average. Workers in the Maritimes work, on average, harder than those in the rest of Canada; for those able to find work, they work more hours per year than other Canadian workers. However, the concentration of capital in the Maritimes is lower than in the rest of Canada. As a result of the low concentration of capital, labour productivity (the amount of capital that is able to be worked by an hour of labour) in Nova Scotia is only 75% that of the Canadian average; PEI and New Brunswick have even lower rates of labour productivity. As a result, any investments made by capitalists in the Maritimes are less profitable than elsewhere in Canada, further reinforcing the lack of economic development. It seems unlikely, especially with the falling price of oil, that the bourgeoisie will be able to solve this basic problem within the context of capitalism.
What is the reason for the relative level of economic underdevelopment in the Maritimes? The bourgeoisie tends to invest in the centres of Canadian monopoly capitalism. Areas around Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montréal all enjoy relatively high concentrations of capital. In turn, the bourgeoisie uses the “peripheral” areas Canadian capitalism as a reserve army of labour, intentionally keeping development low in order to take advantage of cyclical and chronic unemployment to drive down wages elsewhere and increase profits. Further proof of this is that the economy of Nova Scotia is less “exposed”, to use the terms of the bourgeoisie, to the world market than other provincial economies outside of the Maritimes, which is to say that the local economy is less entwined with Canadian monopoly capital and therefore Canadian imperialism. The economic hardships of the Maritimes exist by design; ever since Confederation the Maritimes have been sidelined in capital’s westward expansion. The Maritimes are poor because Toronto and Montréal are rich.
In a cruel sense of irony, despite not benefitting from the “fruits” of Canadian monopoly capitalism, the Maritimes are forced to carry the burden of Canadian imperialism. A full 40% of the Canadian Forces’ assets are housed in Nova Scotia, and there are four Canadian Forces Bases in the Maritimes. The military is the single largest employer in Halifax. As a result, enlistment rates tend to be higher in the Maritimes than in the rest of Canada; the Maritimes is one of the few places in Canada where a “poverty draft” exists, with young people enlisting to escape poverty and unemployment. Cynically, the Canadian bourgeoisie have chronically underdeveloped the Maritimes, only then to use the conditions they have created to bolster Canadian imperialism, to enrich the centres of Canadian monopoly capitalism, and continue to exploit the people of the Maritimes.
As a direct result of the level of economic underdevelopment, unemployment is also an issue that plagues the workers of the Maritimes. Much of the employment in the region, especially in primary industries, is seasonal; in the winter months, work simply does not exist. This is not a new issue: in the 1980s there was almost simultaneously the end of coal mining on Cape Breton Island, closing of many of the region’s fisheries due to overfishing, steel plant closures, and military base closures. Tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs as the economy “modernized.” While there was a brief rebound in the 1990s with the discovery of offshore oil, economic growth slowed again in the 2000s only to then be hit by the economic crisis in 2008, and again by the falling price of oil. When, taking advantage of the 2008 economic crisis, the former Conservative government began to attack Employment Insurance, some of the hardest hit were workers in the Maritimes. While those EI “reforms” have since been overturned, unemployment is still an issue. The rate of unemployment in Nova Scotia, for instance, is 8.9% (higher than the national average), but it rises to as high as 13.6% in less urban regions like Cape Breton Island. Workers in the Maritimes are expected to shoulder the burden of purposeful underdevelopment and over-reliance on seasonal industries; when times are good the capitalists profit, and when times are bad workers are pushed further into poverty. The workers of the Maritimes, moreso than other parts of Canada, are considered to be disposable by Canadian monopoly capital.
The effects of chronic unemployment are particularly devastating to the region. As of 2015, Nova Scotia was the province with the most hunger in Canada, followed closely by the other Maritime provinces (the only regions with higher rates of hunger are the North West Territories and Nunavut). While poverty and hunger are the obvious effects of unemployment, there are other effects as well. As a result of a lack of opportunities, large numbers of Maritime youth move westward, particularly to work in Alberta. The flight of Maritime youth exists to such an extent that in the entire region, only Halifax, Fredericton, and Moncton have growing populations. In turn, it is estimated that by 2021, 39% of Nova Scotia’s population will be over the age of 55, putting further stress on the provincial healthcare system. Purposeful economic underdevelopment resulting in chronic unemployment is literally bleeding the Maritimes of its future generations.
While the precarious state of work in the Maritimes is bad for all workers, more marginalized sections of the working class are particularly hard-hit. Women in Nova Scotia have far higher rates of poverty than men in the province. 61% of employees that earn minimum wage are women, and the average woman’s wage is $29,460/year (compared to $42,545 for men). There is still a pay equity gap of over 30% for women workers; it is particularly damning then that the province of Nova Scotia closed its pay equity commission in 1999. Low pay and poorer working conditions for working-class women are compacted by the lack of access to sexual health services in the Maritimes; women in PEI were just able to access abortion this year, for instance. While capitalism in general creates miserable conditions for workers, and Canadian monopoly capitalism further detracts from the conditions of Maritime workers, patriarchy in turn further attacks working-class women allowing capitalists to increase their profits.
The situation is even more dire for workers from oppressed nations. Among black Nova Scotians unemployment is 14.5%, and the labour force participation rate is only 70.3% (compared to 74.9% for all of Nova Scotia). Average incomes are far lower than the provincial average: 70% of the provincial average for black men and 84% for black women. The immiseration of the indigenous working-class is even worse: only 0.9% of public sector workers in Nova Scotia are indigenous despite comprising 2.4% of the population, and the labour force participation rate for indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia is 67.5% (53% on reserves!). Canadian monopoly capitalism relies on a firm foundation of colonialism and the continued dispossession of indigenous peoples and oppressed nations; capitalists are in turn able to take advantage of colonialism and the general impoverishment of the working-class in the Maritimes to further pad their pockets.
While purposeful economic underdevelopment and chronic unemployment are important problems faced by the workers of the Maritimes, they are not the only issues of the region. The national question is also particularly acute in the Maritimes. As communists, we stand for full national self-determination, up to and including secession, for all oppressed nations. In a region that is overwhelmingly (and disproportionately compared to the rest of Canada) white, Christian, and Anglophone, any survey of organizing perspectives for the Maritime Provinces should include some account of the national oppression of Acadians, Black Nova Scotians, the Mi’kmaq, Passamquoddy, and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet).
The history of Black Nova Scotians is well documented. The first Black peoples to settle in what would become Nova Scotia were largely black loyalists who fled the American Revolution. They settled in their own distinct communities, developed their own institutions, and were frequently subject to white-supremacist terror on behalf of the white-Anglo settler nation, such as with the demolition of Africville. In many ways the conditions and history of Black Nova Scotians are more similar to Black populations in the United States than other Black populations in Canada which are largely comprised of immigrants; it is unsurprising then that the only section of the Black Panther Party in Canada, the Black United Front, existed in Nova Scotia. Black Nova Scotians constitute a distinct nation, kept in subjugation by the “prison-house of nations” that is Canada.
Today, Black Nova Scotians number 20,790, or 2.3% of Nova Scotia’s population. The poor economic condition of Black Nova Scotians has already been detailed above. However, it is also worth pointing out that despite comprising 2.3% of the population of Nova Scotia, Black Nova Scotians comprise 18% of those that go through the prison system. Black Nova Scotians are less likely to finish high school than white Nova Scotians, and only 77.7% (compared to 85.3%) have some form of post-secondary certificate or diploma. By looking at the conditions of Black Nova Scotians, we conclude that not only are Black Nova Scotians a distinct nation, but also an oppressed nation. It is the duty of all communists to unite with the most advanced elements of the Black Nova Scotian nation and fight for the right of Black Nova Scotians to self-determination.
The Acadians are also an historically oppressed nation. Forced out of their homelands by the British after the conquest of New France, many settled in the Southern United States with small populations hanging on in New Brunswick. With the upsurge of Quebecois nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s, the Acadians also developed their own political institutions towards self-determination, such as the Parti Acadien. However, as the Parti Acadien moved towards a separatist position and further left, the Canadian state was able to work with elements of the Acadian comprador bourgeoisie in order to undermine the Acadian nationalist movement, which fell apart by the end of the 1970s. The impact of the movement was lasting; New Brunswick adopted a policy of official bilingualism, and as a result Acadians, due to their bilingualism, became in many instances favoured government employees. With the rise of Canadian bilingualism, Moncton, with a large francophone population, also became home to the headquarters and customer service centres of many Canadian firms. As they entered the provincial and corporate bureaucracies, the material deprivation of the Acadians was lessened. While firm statistics of the conditions of the Acadians today are difficult to find, we do not consider the Acadians to be an oppressed nation, despite being a distinct nation. However, the legacy of national oppression continues to find expression in small ways; Francophones in New Brunswick, for instance, are less likely to hold management positions. This being said, all communists should unite with progressive Acadians in their struggle for continued language rights, which have begun to come under attack due to provincial austerity programs.
There are three existing indigenous nations in the Maritime Provinces. The Mi’kmaq are the largest, numbering 40,000, with another 25,000 living in Newfoundland. Of the 40,000, nearly 11,000 still speak Mi’kmaq. The Wolastoqiyik, otherwise known as the Maliseet, number 3,000 with another 1,800 living in the North-Eastern United States. There are still 650 native speakers of the Wolastoqiyik language. Finally, there is also the Passamquoddy. The Passamquoddy have no legal status in Canada as they mainly live in the United States, but some also live in New Brunswick. In 2012 attempts to unite all native nations in the Maritimes (and North-Eastern United States) by reforming the Wabanaki Confederacy began; this process is still ongoing.
It almost goes without saying that the three indigenous nations of the Maritimes are also oppressed nations. Indigenous peoples in the Maritimes were the first to bear the brunt of colonialism and contact with European settlers; in fact, the Beothuk were totally exterminated in the process. Indigenous peoples in Canada have endured a long history of dispossession, purposeful starvation, displacement into reserves, placement of children into residential schools, and countless other horrors at the hands of the colonial Canadian state. In turn, Indigenous peoples in the Maritimes have constantly asserted their sovereignty and have weathered a constant onslaught from colonial authorities attempting to prevent them from doing so; one thinks here of the 1981 Restigouche Raid against Mi’kmaq fishers asserting control over traditional fisheries. Today, despite being only 2.4% of the population of Nova Scotia, indigenous peoples account for 11% of the prison population. The destruction of indigenous nations is a basic prerequisite for the existence of Canada; there can be no talk of remedying the condition of indigenous nations without the destruction of Canada and full self-determination for indigenous peoples.
In part because of their connection to the land, and also due to their general impoverishment due to Canadian colonialism, indigenous peoples in the Maritimes have been on the front lines of environmental struggles in the region. The Wabanaki Confederacy has declared their opposition to environmental destruction in general, specifically targeting fracking, forestry (largely by the Irving Forestry Company; the same Irvings who are colloquially known as the owners of New Brunwsick), tungsten and molybdenum mining, and pipelines. Militant opposition to fracking erupted among Mi’kmaq in Elsipogtog in 2013, with armed confrontations between Mi’kmaq warriors and the RCMP taking place in defence of Mi’kmaq land. While the Mi’kmaq were successful, many of their number were arrested, and the RCMP continued to harass Mi’kmaq communities in retaliation well into 2014. The struggle of the Mi’kmaq against fracking was one of the most notable struggles in Canada in the past decade, and serves as an example to be upheld and emulated by revolutionaries everywhere. It is also worth pointing out that there is a deliberate policy of placing environmentally dangerous infrastructure in or nearby poor, black, and indigenous communities; environmental racism is a fundamental fact of life for people from oppressed nations in the Maritime Provinces.
Revolutionary Unity Against a Common EnemyAs already discussed, chronic underdevelopment has resulted in a lower concentration of capital in the Maritime Provinces. As a result, there is an over-reliance on extractive industries (forestry, fishing, agriculture, mining, oil and gas) for jobs in the region. The indigenous peoples of the Maritimes have a long history of anti-colonial resistance; whenever colonial capitalism attempts to open new frontiers to exploitation and destruction, they are able to mount effective and sustained resistance in defence of their territorial sovereignty and the land. In turn, the settler working class relies on extractive industries for its existence, because of chronic underdevelopment. These contradictions—between the working class and the capitalist class, between the needs of capital and the environment, between the settler working class and indigenous sovereignty—cannot to be resolved under capitalism and therefore there are outbursts of class struggle that become some of the most intense in Canada.
The contradiction between the settler working class and indigenous sovereignty also contains within it a transformative element. Chronic underdevelopment has both created the conditions by which there exists a disproportionate reliance on extractive industries in the Maritimes and the conditions of impoverishment which force the settler working-class into extractive industries. Thus, the apparent contradiction between the settler working class and the indigenous nations in the Maritimes (often expressed as the more crude statement “jobs VS trees”) is in reality a contradiction created by the Canadian monopoly capitalists, largely residing in Central Canada. The Canadian monopoly capitalists do a double disservice to the people of the Maritimes: they not only create the conditions that result in the poverty and misery of indigenous peoples and the settler working class, they do so in such a way that undermines solidarity between these two oppressed groups.
The contradiction between the settler working class and indigenous sovereignty does not have to be antagonistic: both the settler working class and indigenous nations have a common enemy in the conditions which create chronic underdevelopment in the Maritimes, namely Canadian monopoly capitalism. In the absence of a political movement making this fact apparent, the contradiction takes on the appearance of being antagonistic, when in reality there is a material basis for an alliance between the settler working class and indigenous nations in the struggle to end capitalism and colonialism. It is the job of communists (both from settler and indigenous nations) to actualize the alliance between the settler working class and indigenous nations, and break the hold of Canadian monopoly capitalists over the settler working class. The Maritimes are the perfect place to begin this endeavour.
The main issues facing the people of the Maritimes—underdevelopment, chronic unemployment, national oppression, and environmental destruction—all find their origins in Canadian monopoly capitalism. Any solution to the problems of the Maritimes needs to tackle issues at their source: there is no solution for the people of the Maritimes, indigenous or settler, without ending capitalism.
Struggle, Sometimes Hidden, Sometimes OpenThe problems generated by capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism give rise to resistance. This is true for the Maritimes. However, the resistance that can be found in the Maritimes is of a peculiar character. On the one hand, the left (both the “loyal opposition” and the radical left) is perhaps the weakest in all of Canada. On the other hand, some of the most militant and most important struggles in Canada, both historically and in recent years, have taken place in the Maritimes. How does one explain this apparent contradiction?
The establishment left in the Maritimes is remarkably weak. In New Brunswick and PEI, the NDP has only ever won five positions in provincial legislatures. In Nova Scotia the NDP under Darrell Dexter formed the provincial government between 2009 and 2013, but during the 2013 elections lost spectacularly. And the reason for the loss should not be surprising to anyone: instead of bettering the condition of the working class in Nova Scotia, the NDP government was an austerity government which cut funding for education, raised tuition fees to be the third highest in Canada, abolished rent control, supported so-called public-private partnerships, and also increased subsidies to private corporations, such as an over $300 million subsidy for Irving Shipyard. In fact, the NDP government did very little for the working class in Nova Scotia, aside from a few small amendments to trade union legislation. The NDP is not a party of the working class, but rather is a party of the left-wing of the capitalist class; this fact is made even more apparent when looking at the NDP’s record in Nova Scotia.
While the majority of Nova Scotia’s working class has clearly had enough of the NDP, the same cannot be said of the establishment left. Like most other regions in Canada, there exists in the Maritimes a core of leftists who jump from cause to cause, but in the end essentially run left cover for the NDP. In Halifax this phenomenon takes on a particularly organized form with Solidarity Halifax, a self-described “membership-based, pluralist, non-sectarian, democratic, anti-capitalist organization.” Solidarity Halifax engages in a number of campaigns including worker solidarity (largely confined to solidarity for state-sanctioned unions), anti-racist solidarity, indigenous solidarity particularly around Idle No More, a campaign for public ownership of Nova Scotia Power, and others. In the last municipal elections, Solidarity Halifax ran a number of candidates, all unsuccessfully.
Despite Solidarity Halifax’s left posturing, insofar as it refuses to maintain independence from the bourgeois state and the NDP, its actions actually pull people back into the establishment left. Many of Solidarity Halifax’s leading members have gone on to work for the Nova Scotia NDP, or the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. Many of them have written articles calling on people to vote for the NDP, even in the 2013 elections after four years of NDP-imposed austerity. Some leading members of Solidarity Halifax helped author the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) latest alternative budget for Nova Scotia, which contains within it a plan to more effectively run the bourgeois state. The CCPA is quite self-aware about this: contained within the alternative budget, one can find statements such as “Increasing private sector unionization is good for economy and allows workers’ voices and opinions to strengthen business.” Solidarity Halifax endorsed the budget on its website. So much for anti-capitalism.
The labour movement in the Maritimes is perhaps the weakest in Canada. In Nova Scotia the unionization rate is 30.8%, below but close to the Canadian average. However, 75% of union members are public sector, and only 13.8% in the private sector. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour seems to focus mainly on lobbying, and does not seem to be engaged in extra-parliamentary campaigns. Indeed, unions in Nova Scotia have actually worked with the state to undermine working-class radicalism: after a wildcat strike of nurses organized with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU) in April of 2014, the provincial government passed a piece of legislation in October of that year which regulated union membership, effectively enforcing one union per industry. As a result, 8,200 members of the NSGEU were re-assigned to CUPE, Unifor, and the Nova Scotia Nurses Union (NSNU): much safer unions. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, CUPE, Unifor, and NSNU were silent.
In the rest of the Maritimes the situation is similar. In New Brunswick the New Brunswick Federation of labour (40,000 members) is currently focusing on EI reform, but does not seem to be engaging its base to struggle. In turn, there seems to be currently a push for organization of Atlantic Superstores (Loblaws) with UFCW, one of the most anti-worker unions in Canada. In PEI union representation is quite low; currently CUPE PEI is attempting to get its members to spend 10% of their money locally, to help boost PEI’s economy. Absent in any of the Maritime unions—in PEI, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia—is any sort of radicalism, a rejection of legalism, or anti-capitalism. Aside from UFCW’s cynical ploy to organize more dues-payers, there is no real push to organize unorganized workers. Politically this is not different than the mainstream labour movement throughout the rest of Canada, but the low unionization rates, especially in the private sector, prohibit the labour federations from exercising any political power at all.
The student movement in the Maritimes is similarly small. In New Brunswick, and PEI it is effectively non-existent; while small campus groups and affinities do exist around specific issues, there is no over-arching structure which attempts to unite students. The Canadian Federation of Students only exists, in the Maritimes, at a few schools in Nova Scotia. The CFS is as ineffective in Nova Scotia as it is in the rest of Canada; even in the context of a “friendly” NDP government between 2009-2013, the CFS was unable to prevent tuition increases, and mounted practically no resistance against them.
What of the radical left? The radical left in the Maritimes is quite small. In Nova Scotia both the Communist Party and the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) tail Solidarity Halifax. In both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia there are a core or anarchists who, while principled and anti-capitalist, suffer the same problems that anarchists everywhere face: namely issues with the contradiction between organization and autonomy. Recently the anarchists attempted to establish a Maritime Anarchist Initiative; they were unable to do so, and the class struggle in the Maritimes suffers for it.
The bright spot of resistance in the Maritimes is the movement for indigenous sovereignty. Historically, it was indigenous women from the Maritimes who challenged the Indian Act’s patrilineal provisions, which ignored the inheritance rights of indigenous women. Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, a Maliseet woman, was largely responsible for the passage of Bill C-31, which recognized matrilineal rights for indigenous women. As was already mentioned, the Wabanaki Confederacy is vocal and active in their opposition to fracking, forestry, mining, and pipelines. And the anti-fracking resistance in Elsipogtog in 2013 is an example that it is possible to fight back against the colonial state’s repressive apparatus and win.
It is worth noting that much of the militant indigenous resistance in the Maritimes has involved officially recognized band leadership. This is peculiar for Canada; on many reserves the colonial-state recognized leadership exists in contradiction with traditional elders, hereditary chiefs, and more militant sections of the community. However, the militancy of certain sections of indigenous leaders in the Maritimes does not undermine the existence of a basic contradiction between indigenous peoples and the indigenous comprador bourgeoisie (those leaders that gain power and legitimacy from the Canadian colonial state); if anything, it is a testament to the level of organization and effectiveness of groups like the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society.
Sharp conflagrations are not limited to indigenous nations. The struggle against EI reforms took on a more militant and sustained character in the Maritimes than elsewhere in Canada. Indeed, in 2013, unemployed workers in New Brunswick moved beyond the contours of resistance “allowed” by their union leadership and put up blockades in protest of the reforms. This was the single most militant act in the struggle against EI reforms; fear of further radicalization and escalation likely played a part in the government’s decision to overturn the reforms.
What can we draw from these two contradictory phenomenon, from the weak state of the establishment left existing side-by-side with some of the most important and militant struggles in Canada? It shows that the objective conditions for the existence of a strong and mass-based revolutionary movement exists in the Maritimes. What is currently missing are the subjective conditions, namely the courage to put forward radical anti-capitalist politics and solutions to the problems of the Maritimes, but in an organized and disciplined fashion. Our goal with the fourth Canadian Revolutionary Conference is to lay the foundations for these subjective conditions to arise.
The Way ForwardTo quote Marx: “The point, however, is to change it.” The entire “point” of this analysis has been to chart a path forward for revolutionaries in the Maritimes, and to help lay a foundation for the growth of a large and vibrant revolutionary movement. The central political task of revolutionaries in the Maritimes is to get organized. As was discussed earlier, capitalism lies at the heart of the problems faced by the people of the Maritimes. While struggles against particular issues cannot be ignored, they need to be linked together in a more comprehensive and holistic way, by an organization that is radical, anti-capitalist, and independent of the bourgeois state. This is the primary role of the revolutionary party.
To that end, we put forward the following suggestions.
1. Establish RCP Organizing Committees! The objective conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary movement exist in the Maritimes. What is missing are the subjective conditions, namely organization. To this end, we suggest that revolutionaries across the Maritimes begin to organize themselves into RCP Organizing Committees. The RCP Organizing Committee should put forward a revolutionary political line, should maintain independence from the bourgeois state (and the bourgeoisie’s political parties, unions, NGOs, etc.), should engage in local work, should serve as a focal point for the unity of various struggles, and should begin a study of Maoist politics. The RCP Organizing Committees should endeavour to unite people from multiple political tendencies—communist and anarchist—on the basis of support for expansion of the RCP into the Maritimes.
2. Expand Partisan! RCP Organizing Committees should publish monthly newsletters, called Partisan, to help popularize revolutionary perspectives on local issues.
3. Unite Across Nations, for National Self-Determination! Revolutionaries should unite with radical sections of the indigenous nations of the Maritimes, as a way of actualizing the alliance between the settler working class and indigenous peoples. Revolutionaries should unite with radical sections of the Black Nova Scotian nation. Revolutionaries should support Acadians in their struggle for language rights.
4. Against Environmental Destruction! Revolutionaries should oppose oil and gas development, including fracking, pipelines, off-shore drilling, and the Alton Gas Project. Environmental activism should be linked with struggles for indigenous self-determination.
5. Against Patriarchy! Revolutionaries should support the struggles of women and non-men against patriarchy. This may take the form of organizing sections of the Proletarian Feminist Front, but proletarian feminist politics should be put in command in general. Specifically, this means seeing the fight for access to abortion in PEI through to its conclusion, as well as struggling for access to sexual health services across the entire region.
6. For Affordable Housing! The struggle against gentrification in the Maritimes is growing more acute. Poor, working-class, black, and indigenous peoples are currently being pushed out of north Halifax, and the only answer the municipal government can give is that they “can’t stop capitalism”. We can. Revolutionaries should struggle against gentrification.
7. Support the Revolutionary Student Movement! Sections of the RSM currently exist in PEI and Halifax, but there are a number of universities, colleges, and high schools across the Maritimes. Revolutionaries should help expand the RSM to areas where it is currently not organized, with special emphasis placed on New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island.
8. For a New Workers’ Movement! The current labour movement is not capable of fighting and winning gains for the working class. Workers in the Maritimes must find new ways of organizing and fighting for their interests. Revolutionaries should begin this process by engaging in local social investigation into the conditions of work in their regions, launching organizing drives in small shops, and attending the founding conference of the Revolutionary Workers Movement—a new attempt to coordinate efforts to build a new workers movement across Canada—in Montréal in September. These struggles should be linked up with the struggles for EI reform.
These proposals, while broad, provide a basic plan of work for the short time after the end of the CRC. They are by no means exhaustive; we expect that new issues and perspectives will arise in the act of attempting to build a revolutionary movement and put the decisions of the CRC into practice. We are however optimistic; the objective conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary movement in the Maritimes exists, and we hope that these proposals will help to guide revolutionary activists as they begin to concretize their work.
Towards RevolutionThere are few places in Canada where the contradictions created by Canadian monopoly capitalism are more apparent than in the Maritimes. Canadian monopoly capitalism treats the workers of the Maritimes as a disposable reserve army of labour, and as a result, keeps the region in a state of underdevelopment and the working class in a state of precarious (un)employment. In turn, the sovereignty of indigenous nations is trampled, the environment is destroyed through forestry, mining, over-fishing, and oil and gas pipelines, and Black Nova Scotians are kept in a state of subjugation due to white supremacy. The problems of the Maritimes are many.
But, we can change things. Insofar as the Maritimes show, in a focused form, the contradictions of Canadian capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism, the Maritimes also show, in a focused way, the necessity of revolution. There is no way to solve the basic problems of the Maritime Provinces without revolution. And there is no way to build towards revolution without strategy, organization, and hard work. This is what we, the Revolutionary Communist Party, hope to bring to the region. The objective conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary movement in the Maritimes exist; to these conditions we add our plan for revolution (protracted peoples war), organization in the form of the Maoist Party of a New Type, and our determination to make revolution in Canada.
The contradictions of capitalism have never been clearer, the solutions have never been more obvious, and the conditions to organize have never been so good. Let’s get to it.