Next year will bring important developments for the Communist Party of Canada, which continues to grow and rebuild across the country. The CPC’s Central Committee met in Toronto over the Nov. 17-18 weekend, holding an intensive discussion on plans for 2019, including an update of the Party’s basic program at its 39th Central Convention. The CPC is also beginning initial preparations for the next federal election, scheduled to take place in October.
Elected in May 2016, the Central Committee has members from coast to coast, and leads the CPC’s work between conventions. The CC meeting discussed a detailed Political Report on recent political developments in Canada and internationally. Presented by leader Liz Rowley on behalf of the party’s Central Executive, which leads its work on a day-to-day basis, the report pays particular attention to the growing global dangers of war, fascism and environmental catastrophe.
“Since our last plenum,” the report says, “US imperialism has launched a massive new drive to war and regime change, threatening the entire world, without a murmur of opposition from the Canadian government.
“This includes US withdrawal from the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) Agreement, which put a pause on the development and stock-piling of nuclear weapons. A whole new round of nuclear weapons development and deployment is now on the agenda.
“”The US has also increased its military budget from $610 billion in 2017 to $700 billion in 2018 and $715 billion in 2019. The combined military spending of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom and Japan at $578 billion is $137 billion less than the US will spend next year. These are funds that could and should be diverted to a global campaign to stop climate change. The October report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that the world has 15 years to stop global warming, or face long-lasting and irreversible changes, including to global geo-systems, human health and well-being…
“The US is preparing for new wars and ramped up wars against the states most frequently mentioned by President Trump, including regime change and the overthrow of socialist and popular governments, against the popular opposition inside the US, and against refugees and immigrants attempting to find protection in the US against the wars launched or funded by the US in their home countries.
“We are witnessing a descent into fascism in the US, driven by the insatiable greed of the transnational corporations and the ascendancy of the most reactionary and violent sections of capital and the military to power, through the Republican Party headed by Donald Trump.”
The Political Report goes on to analyze the various forms of working class and popular resistance to this drive towards war and reaction, from new labour struggles across the US itself, to opposition in many countries against imperialism’s attempts to install compliant leaders and governments.
In a section on the situation in Canada, the report examines the accelerating drive to the right, as seen by the election of right-populist governments in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, the formation of Maxime Bernier’s so-called “People’s Party of Canada,” and the activities of many far-right, white nationalist and neo-nazi groups.
On the other hand, there have been a number of important labour struggles since the last CC meeting in March 2018, as well as big popular mobilizations by students, environmentalists, Indigenous peoples and other groups. But the divisions in the trade union movement and the CLC’s relative inaction remain a barrier to a stronger fightback.
“To turn this situation around,” the report says, “the left must get organized, get stronger, and build its influence in the trade union movement with demands for unity around strong policies, for militant action on the job and in workplaces, for independent labour political action and social unionism, and for unions that are membership-driven, active and accountable to their members.”
The final section of the Political Report examines the growth of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League, pointing to the increasing popularity of socialist ideas in response to the crisis of capitalism and the rise of the ultra-right.
The Party’s previous 38th convention took the decision to update “The Future is Socialism”, the program adopted after widespread internal discussions in early 2001. This meeting of the CC heard a special report on the program, and approved an extensive set of recommendations to update six important policy areas: the environment, women and gender issues, social democracy, the national question in Canada, changes in the composition and structure of the working class, and the dangerous growth of far-right populist and fascist movements.
These recommendations are being circulated to Party clubs and committees across the country for full debate and feedback over the next several months. After delegates to the 39th Central Convention finalize the changes, an updated version of the program will be printed and posted on the Party’s website, www.communist-party.ca. In the meantime, the proposed changes will be publicly available for interested people to read.
The CC meeting adopted several special resolutions, including solidarity with Communists under attack by right-wing gangs in Venezuela, support for the big strike by interns in Quebec, and condemnation of the Ontario government’s move to slash services for Franco-Ontarians.
The Central Committee will meet again in February 2019, to issue an official call to the 39th Convention (planned for the May 17-20 long weekend in Toronto), and to launch the Party’s formal pre-convention debate.