IWD 2018 Greetings – Women* Rise Up!

IWDMarchingThis year, women will celebrate International Women’s Day with a renewed sense of strength. In many places around the world women are taking stands against sexual harassment, and sexual violence. While in North America this is often connected with what is called the #metoo movement, it is also happening in countries as diverse as India, Ireland and  Japan. We know that sexual violence is still common – in particular women who are Indigenous, racialized, trans, homeless, or sex workers are disproportionately at risk. In war zones, rape is a weapon.

This January there was a second year of marches where those who are gender oppressed displayed resistance against patriarchal violence, inequality, exploitation and oppression perpetuated by capitalism across the globe. Many of the marches had demands that included support for economic equality, women’s right to freedom from violence, full reproductive rights and freedom, full equality rights for the LGBTQ community, racialized peoples, workers, immigrants, those with a disability, for civil rights and environmental justice, and against police brutality and racial profiling, demilitarizing law enforcement and ending mass incarceration.

This fightback is important, but often there is no lasting organizational structure to support it.

The gains of women and the working class, are directly related to the strength and unity of the organizations that fight for their rights.

The retreat and foot dragging of the Liberal government on such matters as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry; pay equity; improved sex work legislation; and a universal, accessible, affordable, quality public childcare system – stands in contrast with their quick stands in favour of Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL pipeline projects, support of the Site C dam, the theft of Indigenous lands and continued genocidal violence.

The government’s support for capitalist globalization and free trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP extends Canada’s imperialist agenda, where corporations will gain further power and profits, but working people – women and their families – are denied food security, the ability to form or join a trade union, access to affordable housing, healthcare, education, prescription drugs and more. This government, like the Harper Tories, continues to ignore the longstanding demand to create a universal, accessible, affordable, quality, public childcare system.

Women in Canada are losing ground in terms of pay equity and pensions. The gender gap in Canada is now double the global average; racialized women make only 68 cents for every dollar made by non racialized men. The Liberal government has no plans to rectify this situation. Recent pension reforms roll-back gains women had achieved by excluding the years taken off on maternity and parental leaves in calculation of their final pensions. These are not “improvements”; this is austerity. Women are being forced to pay the price for the ongoing capitalist economic crisis and for continuing corporate tax cuts and giveaways. It’s no wonder that a recent study on the Global Gender Gap reached the damning conclusion that at the current rate, it will take 170 years for women to reach equality.

There has been a rise of racist, fascist, and extreme right-wing groups in Canada. Gendered Islamophobic violence occurs all too often in Canada. Muslim women are often verbally attacked and have been physically assaulted by having their hijabs ripped off or worse. As this violence escalates, the government sits idle while the media perpetuates the lie that Western military intervention in the Middle East is required to “save” Muslim women. The Liberals have capped refugee migration and sponsorship to Canada while making war on their North African and Middle Eastern homelands, and exploiting them for photo-ops. This is not feminism.

The truth is, PM Trudeau and the Liberal government cannot claim to be feminist while advocating and defending corporate power and super-profits. Policies and decisions that perpetuate violence against Indigenous women and territories, that deepen and expand gendered and racialized economic inequalities, that impose war and austerity at home and abroad, are all part of the capitalist agenda – an agenda that is incompatible with the demands of working-class women from all communities for peace, equality, democracy and economic and social security for themselves and their families.

Historically the labour movement in Canada has played a major role in building unity for women’s rights. However, women in leadership of the labour movement is on the decline, and those that are left to fight are weakened by the exit of Unifor. We must demand the return of inspired, progressive women into the leadership of the labour movement to unite our class in the fight against the main enemy – capitalism.

We need to continue to Rise Up! We need to organize! The Communist Party of Canada demands Full Gender Equality NOW:

  • Restore funding for women’s equality programs.
  • Close the wage gap – legislate full pay and employment equity.
  • Guarantee accessible and publicly funded abortion and reproductive rights services in every province and territory.
  • Create a universal, accessible, affordable, quality, public childcare system, with Canada-wide standards and union wages for childcare workers.
  • Protect women’s right to EI maternity coverage; expand parental benefits to 52 weeks.
  • End all forms of violence against women and provide adequate funding for crisis centres and transition houses. Repeal Bill C-36!
  • Scrap NAFTA, TPP and other treaties for corporate rule.
  • No to Islamophobia! End US, Canadian, and NATO intervention in the Middle East, zero tolerance for Islamophobic and gendered violence, and open Canada’s doors to immigrants and refugees. Repeal the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement. Repeal Bill C-51, stop Bill C-59 and other unconstitutional and undemocratic security state laws.
  • Repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, which the Trudeau Liberals supported.
  • No to austerity. No to war. People’s needs – not corporate greed!

*Note: Women in this statement includes All Women.

Women’s Commission & Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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Justin Trudeau’s trail of broken promises

PeaceRiverPrime Minister Justin Trudeau won the 2015 election largely by pledging to take a different course than the Harper Conservatives on many key issues. This included his call for a new nation-to-nation relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, full acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and promises to act on all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). If these promises had actually been carried out, this would have meant a sharp break with the historic policies of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, which have always imposed various forms of colonial, assimilationist and genocidal policies upon the Indigenous peoples within the borders of the Canadian state.

Instead, over two years after the Liberals took office, their list of broken and failed promises to Indigenous peoples grows longer every day. The Communist Party of Canada condemns the Liberal government’s abysmal record, as a repetition of the same old pattern of delays and excuses while the resource wealth of traditional Indigenous territories is plundered for the profits of big capital.

Going back on their pledge to engage in meaningful consultations over resource extraction projects, the Liberals continue to ignore the dissenting voices of First Nations and other affected communities. The Liberal government’s backing for the Site C dam and the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline are among the most outrageous examples of favouring the profit-hungry of big energy monopolies, in direct violation of the principles of the UNDRIP and the TRC.

In late January, for the fourth time in two years, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued another order for the federal government to stop removing children from indigenous families, and to end the pattern of racial discrimination in funding for First Nation child welfare agencies. While Minister of Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott has promised to implement the latest Tribunal ruling, the government’s foot-dragging on this issue does not inspire confidence that this form of cultural assimilation will be ended soon.

Similarly, the recent emergency meeting convened by the Assembly of First Nations to discuss the longstanding crisis of lack of clean drinking water on reserves and indigenous communities also drew attention to a related problem – the lack of government action on a wide range of crucial infrastructure needs on reserves across the country, from sewers and sanitation, to all-weather access roads, to completely inadequate health care and education facilities. The first two federal budgets presented by the Trudeau Liberals contained token amounts and vague promises of future funding; it remains to be seen whether things will be different in the upcoming federal budget.

Perhaps most symbolic of this pattern has been the achingly slow progress of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. The previous Tory government’s stubborn refusal to call such an Inquiry was an important factor in Harper’s political defeat. But after being launched with high hopes, the Inquiry has been largely bogged down due to inadequate planning, limited funding and failure to respect Indigenous protocols. There are growing calls for a “reset” of the Inquiry, so that it can be conducted in a truly respectful, nation-to-nation manner, with a mandate to expose the systemic reasons for violence against Indigenous women and girls, and also to point to the institutions and individuals in governments and police forces which failed to treat this violence as an urgent priority.

The Communist Party of Canada demands that the Liberal government offer a full and meaningful apology for these and other broken promises. We demand that the government drop its backing for the resource extraction projects promoted by big energy monopolies. The upcoming federal budget must contain adequate funding to provide clean drinking water to all reserves and indigenous communities, not years from today, but now. The budget must also provide the funding to overcome the woeful lack of decent housing for Indigenous peoples, and comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings on child welfare issues.

Anything less than full and immediate action on these issues would be yet another case of a federal government doing the “same old, same old” game – prioritizing the interests of the big corporations while paying lip service to the rights of Indigenous peoples. High-sounding words and artistic tattoos are not enough to erase the shameful legacy of centuries of racist, colonial oppression. At this crucial moment, we urge the labour and democratic movements across Canada to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who are calling out the Trudeau Liberals for their broken promises.

Special resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Feb 11th, 2018

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Solidarity with Indigenous peoples’ demands for justice!


The acquittal of Gerald Stanley, who fired the shot that killed Colten Boushie, is a stinging indictment of the systemic racism which permeates the entire policing and legal system. The Communist Party of Canada stands in full solidarity with the demands of the Boushie/Baptiste family for genuine reforms to the institutions which continue to systematically deny justice to Indigenous peoples and racialized communities.

Like many others, we are angered that this murder trial had an all-white jury, presided over by Martel Popescul, a white judge who represented the RCMP at the trial of Carney Nerland, the infamous white supremacist from Prince Albert, who in 1991 shot Cree trapper Leo LaChance in the back and received only a four-year sentence for manslaughter. From the moment the RCMP began to investigate, Colten Boushie’s family and friends were treated as criminals and thieves. His friend Belinda Jackson was taken into custody, interrogated without food or sleep for 19 hours, and his mother was told to “get herself together” as cops searched her home. In the eyes of the RCMP and the courts, Colten Boushie was not the victim of a deadly crime; he was portrayed as a dangerous home invader. The defence claimed that Gerald Stanley’s firearm may have misfired, but why would a Saskatchewan farm family even have a handgun, which is useless for protection against predatory animals?

The question points to the shocking depth of anti-Indigenous racism in Saskatchewan. This racism has its roots in the occupation of the prairies by British colonialism and the emerging Canadian capitalist state, which gave away Indigenous lands to European settlers, whose interests were protected by the North-West Mounted Police, the paramilitary force later renamed the RCMP – notorious for smashing labour strikes and spying on Communists. After the military suppression of the Metis Resistance of 1885, Indigenous peoples were forced onto reserves, banned from travelling without the permission of Indian Agents, denied the right to vote or to hire legal representation. Their children were sent to residential schools where many died and their languages were banned. The policies of the Canadian state through both Liberal and Tory governments, and the colonial policies of Britain and France before that, aimed to accomplish the genocide of Indigenous populations either through mass murder, assimilation, or both.

In this context, the social and political progress won through a century and more of struggles by Indigenous peoples is far from full equality. Despite official apologies for the residential school system and the welcome recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indigenous peoples still face high rates of incarceration, unemployment, suicide and infant mortality; substandard education, healthcare, and housing; lack of access to clean water; violence against women and girls; the effects of mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows, and on and on. Canada today is a country where a white farmer can put a gun to the head of a young Indigenous man and pull the trigger, without being convicted of any crime. Before reconciliation can become meaningful, the depth of racism imposed on Indigenous peoples must be recognized and addressed. The elimination of racism must become the work of governments, schools and educational institutions, religious and cultural institutions, and child and social welfare institutions which were all used to deny Indigenous people their rights and their lives up to the present. Reconciliation means fundamental change and justice.

The capitalist class benefits from such racism, using it as a tool to weaken resistance to neoliberalism and austerity. The Communist Party of Canada calls for unity of all working people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – against the corporate drive to extract and export raw materials from the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples. The struggle for justice within the Canadian state can never advance without a consistent fight by the labour movement and all democratic forces against every form of exploitation and oppression, including the denial of the national equality rights of Indigenous peoples, Quebec, and the Acadians. This includes the right to social, economic and political equality, the right to self-determination and nation to nation relationships, and the inherent right to land and resources. The campaign to win justice for Colten Boushie and his family is an important part of this wider struggle. We will continue to support their just demands and fight for equality and justice and an end to the genocide against Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

MMIWThis February 14th, as in past years, marches will be held across Canada to commemorate the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The February 14th marches demanding justice have been being held for almost three decades, but the current need for action is as great as ever before.

The Communist Party of Canada continues to stand in solidarity with the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and all those fighting for an end to the ongoing violence.  We demand the government act now to deliver on long delayed promises to address the violence against Indigenous women and girls and to reset the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls.

Indigenous women and girls have no other choice but to struggle against racist violence caused by capitalism, patriarchy, the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the denial of their national rights to self-determination. The lives of Indigenous women are shattered and cut short by this capitalist social crisis and the negative actions and inaction of the Federal government and police forces across the country.

Part of the fight to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls is the ongoing fight for a national inquiry. One of the Trudeau government’s many promises to Indigenous peoples during the 2015 election was an immediate national inquiry. From the outset Indigenous women have been fighting for an inquiry capable of substantive action to stop the violence.

Included in this is the fight for the inquiry to include a review of individual files of murdered or missing women and of police conduct, after this was deliberately excluded from the initial terms of reference for the National Inquiry. Police actions and inaction are both a cause of violence towards Indigenous women, as in Val d’Or where police officers were the perpetrators of wide-spread sexual and physical assault, or in many cases of murdered women where police failed to take investigations seriously due to deeply ingrained racist views within law enforcement. After public demands from families and allies fought to have the scope of the inquiry widened there is now a commitment to include police behaviour and individual files in the terms of reference.

Indigenous leaders and women’s organizations have expressed serious concerns over communication with the families of victims, the transparency of the process, staff resignations, funding and timelines. In December of last year, a gathering of chiefs hosted by the Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution calling on the Trudeau government to reset the inquiry by demanding that chief commissioner Marion Buller be replaced.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada, who have been campaigning for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls for four decades, issued a call to action in 2017 to demand a comprehensive inquiry: “We are not asking anyone, especially families, to be patient with this Inquiry as it progresses. We are asking that you remain strong and face adversity with the same determination that has made this Inquiry possible. In solidarity, we will not back down until this Inquiry is what we were promised.”

As calls for an inquiry reset mount and the report and recommendations lose credibility, we demand that the Federal government allow a new leadership for the inquiry to be named through a process of full engagement with Indigenous survivors and families.

The February 14th Day of Action to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women has been instrumental in breaking the silence. The Communist Party of Canada stands in full solidarity with these actions across the country. The fight for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women is bound together with the fight  for an equal and voluntary partnership of nations within Canada, for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination and for an end to racism and discrimination.

Special resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Feb 11th, 2018

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Women’s March On Canada Returns for 2018

WomensMarch(Original People’s Voice article can be found here)

One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington signalled the emergence of mass people’s resistance against the far-right, patriarchal agenda of Donald Trump and his fascist supporters, dozens of rallies and actions across the country will be held as part of a 2018 “Women’s March on Canada.” Details of local times and places can be found below.

Since then, women’s equality issues have remained in the headlines, such as the #MeToo movement, making it clear that men in positions of power will be challenged for their harassing, abusive and violent acts.

The Vision Statement and Guiding Principles of the 2018 Women’s March on Canada raise issues and demands which are just as vital today as they were twelve months ago.


Making the equality of women in Canada the new norm. The work that we do, our vision and values can be explained in a unifying framework called H.E.R.S., which spells out the women’s rights priorities of: Health, Economic Security, Representation, and Safety:

HEALTH — Healthcare is the foundation of women’s well-being and economic stability. Women’s March Canada advocates for access to affordable and inclusive women’s healthcare regardless of nationality, age, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

ECONOMIC SECURITY — Women are powerful drivers of economic growth, and their economic empowerment benefits all nations. Women’s March Canada supports the dismantling of economic barriers that obstruct women’s full and equal access to local, national, and global economic systems.

REPRESENTATION — Women are under-represented globally, adversely affecting our collective health, safety, and economic security. Women’s March Canada seeks fair and just representation of women locally, nationally, and internationally.

SAFETY — Every woman has the need and right to feel physically secure, and security for women should be assured through sound legal practices. Women’s March Canada stands behind the principle that women are not to be held accountable for actions that are outside their control — particularly regarding all forms of assault — and that fair legal action must be applied to prevent these crimes.”


Women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability. We practice empathy with the intent to learn about the intersecting identities of each other. We will suspend our first judgement and do our best to lead without ego. We follow the principles of Kingian nonviolence…”

Activists and women’s organizations have come together across the country to organize rallies. Here’s a list of many of the actions taking place:

March On – 1pm – 3pm – Alberta Legislature Building

Women’s March – 12pm – 2pm – Bankers Hall

Women’s March – 11am – 1pm – City Hall – 1 Centennial Square

March On Vancouver – 10am-1pm – Jack Poole Plaza – 1085 Canada Place

Fraser Valley
Women’s March – 11am – 1pm – 9046 Young Rd, Chilliwack

Women March On – 10am – Diana Krall Plaza

Women’s March Kamloops – 10:30am – 300 Lorne Street

March On Canada – 11am – 2pm – City of Kelowna – 1435 Water Street

Women’s March – 10am – 11 am – Government of Yukon Administration Building – 2nd Ave Whitehorse

Women’s March – 10am-12pm – Amphitheatre at River Landing – 414 Spadina Crescent E

Women’s March – 10am – 1pm – YWCA Regina – 1940 McIntyre St

Women’s March – 11am – 1pm – Winnipeg City Hall – 510 Main St

Women’s March – 10am-1pm – Victoria Park (NW Corner) – 5180 Clarence St

Women’s March – 10am-1pm – Kitchener City Hall – 200 King St W

Thunder Bay
Women’s March – 12pm – 3pm – 1700 Dease St

Women’s March -11am – 12pm – 350 City Hall Sq W

Women’s March – 11am – 12:30pm – Bell Park, Paris Street & York Street

Women’s March Forward Summit – 9am-1pm – Hamilton City Hall

Women March On Toronto – 12pm – 2pm – Nathan Phillips Square

Women’s March on Ottawa – 12pm–3pm – Parliament Hill

Manif des Femmes Montreal – 11am-1pm – Esplanade de la Place des Arts

Women’s March – 2pm – 4pm – City Hall

Saint John
Women’s March – 12pm – Queen Square – South End

Women’s March Halifax – 12pm – City Hall – 1841 Argyle Street

More info on the “Women’s March On Canada website: http://www.womensmarchcanada.com/
& the “March On Canada” website: https://marchoncanada.ca/

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“Vancouver Group Summit”: Escalating imperialist threats of sanctions & war

ROKPeaceThe so-called “Vancouver Group” Summit on January 16 will bring together the 14 countries which waged war against Korea in 1950, plus South Korea and Japan – invited by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, allegedly to seek “a diplomatic solution to the Korean crisis.” The Communist Party of Canada condemns this reunion of warmakers as a further step towards new imperialist military aggression against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The North American media has portrayed the Vancouver Group Summit as a “reasonable alternative” to Donald Trump’s threat to annihilate the entire population of the DPRK. Such a US attack would be the most shocking war crime in history, violating every international law which bans military aggression against other countries. It would mean the deaths of millions of people across the region, and could easily spark a nuclear exchange threatening the entire planet. Trump’s latest boasts about his “bigger nuclear button” are a warning that the possibility of such a devastating catastrophe is quite real.

But the Tillerson-Freeland “good cop-bad cop” scenario is not a path away from war. Rather, it is a cover for the ongoing imperialist strategy to bring the people of the DPRK to their knees, by escalating economic and diplomatic sanctions with the aim of forcing their government to end to its nuclear programme. Both approaches are based on the premise that the US has the right to “punish” any country which refuses to accept the dictates of imperialism. Both Trump’s threats of mass murder, and the Tillerson-Freeland strategy, include the continued presence of tens of thousands of US troops at bases and vessels in and around the Korean peninsula, and regular war exercises to remind the DPRK that a new imperialist aggression could be launched at any moment.

The US is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in war, and possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. The US continues to develop and promote nuclear weapons technology and is poised to spend an additional $1 trillion on its nuclear arsenal, through its current Nuclear Posture Review. The DPRK, on the other hand, was almost totally destroyed and impoverished by the “Korean War” waged by the US and its allies, a war which artificially divided the peninsula along the 1953 ceasefire demarcation line – for the crime of defending itself against threats of foreign invasion and coup d’état. While the US and NATO maintain a policy of “first use” for nuclear weapons, the DPRK committed to no first use in 2016.

We demand: the US must end its provocations, withdraw its massive military forces in South Korea and east Asia, sign a peace agreement, and allow reunification to proceed on the Korean Peninsula according to the right of the Korean people to self-determination and sovereignty free of external threats and provocations. This remains the only road to long-term peace and security.

As the Vancouver Group Summit nears, we call on the labour and democratic movements, and the peace movement in the first place, to say NO to sanctions and war against the DPRK – and YES to peace, peaceful coexistence, mutual security and to global nuclear disarmament, beginning with the arsenals of the United States and NATO.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

Throughout November, celebrations around the world will mark the centenary of the outstanding political event of the 20th century: the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. By overthrowing the Russian capitalists, landowners and aristocrats, the workers, peasants and soldiers of the Tsarist empire opened the door to a new society in which humanity’s dreams of peace, equality and democracy began to become reality. The storming of the Winter Palace, signaled by the guns of the Aurora cruiser, began the historical epoch of the transition towards a socialist society, based on cooperation and social justice, not the  exploitation and oppression inherent in the profit-driven capitalist system.

The October Revolution was far more than a change in government. It was a fundamental social upheaval, a sharp break with thousands of years of class-divided societies. For the first time, the working class took lasting political power, shattering the myth that only the owners of wealth can rule.

Under the slogan “Peace, Land, Bread” and with the support of the overwhelming majority of the working class and poor peasants, the Bolsheviks (the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was then called) began the long and complex effort to build a new “system of civilized cooperators,” as the great revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the essence of socialism.

The new Soviet government immediately issued its famous “decree on peace”, taking Russia out of the imperialist slaughter by the leading capitalist countries for the re-division of wealth and colonial possession they had plundered from the world’s peoples. Land was transferred to millions of impoverished peasants, and industrial, financial and other capitalist companies were nationalized. Workers were guaranteed employment. Education and health care became universal and free. Nations oppressed under the Tsarist heel were guaranteed equality and self-determination, including the right to secession. Patriarchal laws were replaced by the full legal and social emancipation of women.

The imperialist countries, including Canada, sent armies to crush the young Soviet state while the “baby was still in its cradle”, as Winston Churchill said. Surrounded by counter-revolutionary forces and invading imperialist armies, the Soviet government and the Red Army triumphed, with the support of workers around the world acting under the slogan “Hands off Russia!” The heroic example of Soviet Russia inspired working class struggles and insurrections throughout the world, including the Winnipeg General Strike and the formation of the Communist Party of Canada in this country.

The Soviet revolution shook imperialism as never before. Yet it stood on the shoulders of more than one hundred years of working class and national liberation struggles. Millions of workers had supported the First and Second Internationals, whose goal was world peace and socialism, in sharp contrast to the imperialist strivings of the leading capitalist countries.

The Internationals were inspired by the slogan “Workers of all lands, unite!” and by revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who declared that the working class was the agent of socialist revolution. The working class movement was steeled by persecutions, and educated by the bloody vengeance of the French and Prussian capitalists in 1871 against the Paris Commune – the world’s first working class state. When opportunist leaders of the Second International backed their own imperialist governments during the First World War, the revolutionary sections of the working class movement, including Lenin and the Bolsheviks, courageously struggled against imperialist war. Nearly fifty years after the Commune, the October Revolution gave a new impetus, content, and energy to the world revolutionary movement.

Great October holds a unique and honoured place in history, as the first socialist revolution to achieve and retain political power, withstanding both internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. It dramatically changed world politics, breaking the hegemony of imperialism, and establishing a new and fundamentally different approach to relations between peoples, nations and states.

The October Revolution proved that socialism could become more than a utopian ideal. The working class and its allies could move beyond sporadic resistance to challenge the capitalist system as a whole, and achieve social emancipation. The exploited and oppressed, through conscious and united struggle, could shape their own destiny. It was this truth about the Russian Revolution that filled the privileged classes with a fear and hatred of socialism, from the earliest days of the Soviet state.

Despite unremitting imperialist hostility and subversion, the Soviet Union endured for over seven decades, scoring many great achievements, overcoming unemployment, illiteracy, and social deprivation. Socialism in the Soviet Union transformed an economically and culturally “backward” country into one of the world’s leading powers, and made great advances in culture and science.

It was the Soviet Union which led the heroic military struggle to defeat Hitler fascism on the battlefield, creating the conditions for the emergence of other socialist states in Europe. The Soviet Union championed the cause of anti-racism and decolonization, gave crucial material and political support to liberation movements, and provided vital assistance to the former colonies as they won their independence. The changing international balance of forces was a key factor in helping the peoples of China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to carry out their own socialist transformations. The USSR’s peace policy also restricted – though it could not entirely suppress – imperialism’s tendency to military aggression.

The gains achieved by workers under socialism inspired the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, compelling the ruling class to concede reforms around labour rights, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, health care, public education, and pensions. The progress toward economic and social equality by women in the USSR was a powerful stimulus to the struggles of women in the capitalist countries for pay and employment equity, and for child care and other social programs which would weaken the patriarchal double burden of capitalist exploitation and unpaid domestic labour.

Ultimately, however, the first workers’ state was overturned and capitalism restored, due to a combination of interrelated internal and external circumstances and contradictions which culminated in the temporary victory of counter-revolution.

The defeat of socialism in the USSR became a powerful ideological weapon in the hands of monopoly capitalism. We categorically reject the bourgeois contention that the causes of the crisis and defeat of the Soviet Union were rooted in the intrinsic nature of socialism. Rather, that historic setback resulted from the extremely difficult conditions under which socialism was built, especially the destructive impact of decades of imperialist pressures and subversion, and from distortions and departures from Marxist-Leninist theory and practice.

Whatever the failures and mistakes which occurred during that first great experiment in building a new, higher form of society, these do not detract from the enduring significance of Great October. Socialism’s historical balance-sheet was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the people of the Soviet Union but indeed for all humanity. The misery and impoverishment which have befallen millions of people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since the early 1990s (especially women whose equality gains were rolled back), and the massive profiteering by those who took advantage of the restoration of capitalism, is painful evidence of what happens when counter-revolution succeeds.

Despite its so-called victory, capitalism itself remains in profound systemic crisis. The widening gap between rich and poor, the endless wars and conflicts spawned by imperialism, and the environmental crisis which threatens human civilization, all show that the private profit system, driven by personal and corporate greed, cannot meet the fundamental needs and interests of the people and the global environment.

As capitalism generates war, austerity, and catastrophic climate change, people everywhere are yearning for freedom. Struggles against imperialist globalization have grown sharper, and in many countries, the working class is mounting fierce resistance against the corporate drive for higher profits. The powerful example of Cuba’s socialist revolution continues to inspire workers, youth and oppressed peoples around the world.

Imperialism is responding with growing reaction, militarism and war. In the US, Canada, Europe, India and other regions, far-right, racist and neo-Nazi forces aim to divide and weaken the working class movement, and to roll back the equality gains achieved by trade unions, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But the forces of imperialism and reaction cannot hold back the irresistible power and attraction of socialist ideas, the growth of the international working class, and the striving of the vast majority of humanity for social progress, a sustainable environment, and peace.

Not least, the Great October Socialist Revolution proved the importance of creating the “revolutionary party of a new type” – solidly grounded in the working class, and based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and the principles of democratic centralism. At a time when working people increasingly reject both the old-line capitalist parties and social democratic opportunism, it is more critical than ever to strengthen the revolutionary political parties which can win the working class for a genuine socialist alternative.

Nothing can erase the accomplishments of Great October. The Communist Party of Canada will celebrate Great October for its great achievements, for its historic lessons and for the unequaled inspiration it has created for the future of humanity – a socialist future!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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