Recent events in the Middle East have been carefully orchestrated to show the United Nations as the Hero of Peace. As always under capitalism, the reality is more complex however. Since the world itself is a ferment of inter-imperialist rivalries, it should not be surprising that the United Nations reflects this. Since the first war of intervention into Iraq- the so called >Desert Storm= of 1991 - the peoples of Iraq have been in an appalling misery. But the overall goal of the United States imperialist remains to re-impose its= own hegemony on the world. Its hegemony has at times faltered over the last twenty years. But its position as the Chief Imperialist power is un-diminished. The USA was helped in maintaining its position as such, by the First Iraqi war.
Progressives and Marxist-Leninists have no illusions about the vicious character of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Hussein was for years a stooge of the Khruschevite revisionists, and a comprador bourgeois for the pseudo-ASoviet@ state of Khrushchev. But then following the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Iraqi regime switched imperialist masters to the USA, which then supported Hussein for years. By February 1982, the USA had removed Iraq from an international list of states that supposedly Asupported international terrorism@. The USA now wanted to align the Iraqi state against Iran, now that their puppet in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran had fallen. Another USA puppet, Saudi Arabia extended massive aid to Iraq. But the USA itself had direct trade too :
SO WE SHOULD ASK, WHY WAS WAR AVERTED?
Firstly it should be noted that despite all the self-righteous posturing of UNSCOM and the USA, Iraq=s neighbours are not necessarily convinced of the need for a war :
5 permanent members of the Security Council are being .. fractious. Russia
is even more unpredictable than usual... France is once again freelancing
trying to show that it is the only member of the Western Alliance that
is true friend to the Arab world. China is grumpy,.. Only Britain is sticking
unequivocally by the Americans.@
Globe & Mail; Toronto; 6.3.98.; p. A13.
THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS
So the United Nations secretary General Kofi Anann was not quite so independent as the world=s press is insisting. Thus Barbara McDougall insists in the Globe that it is too soon to write off the UN as Amoribund and passe@. McDougall is credited at the end as being A a director of several Canadian corporations and a former Canadian minster of external affairs.@ 6.3.98; p. A13. Indeed her view of the USA would lead her to a favourable view of the UN mission of Kofi Anann. But more clear headed observers recognise that Kofi Anann was playing the hand of the USA :
Hands Off The Iraqi People! For the Self Determination
of All Oppressed Peoples! For the Liberation of the Kurdish Nation! For
the Liberation of the Palestinian Peoples! Down With All Imperialisms!
THE MISERLINESS OF PREMIER MIKE HARRIS OF ONTARIO - THE CASE OF THE DIONNE QUINTUPLETS
Under capitalism the lot of most of
its people are miserable. So many of us have stories of woe and harrowing
deprivation. Each story cannot be told. But some are especially revealing
of how disgusting the system is. So was the case of the Dione Quintuplets.
It obviously touched many ordinary people, who realised through that just
how heartless and hypocritical Tory Premer Mike Harris of Ontario is. Of
the five quintuplets, only three are still alive at the age of 63 years.
They are frail and have lived in poverty for most of their adult lives.
When they were born, they were a source of curiosity. At that time, quintuplets were very unusual as being small, they often died. As babies and as children they were turned into a public spectacle and the Government of Ontario sold visitors tickets to see them. The circus even exhibited them as babies in incubators, all receipts going to the state. The Government of Ontario set up a trust fund for them out of the monetary receipts. But it was stolen by the Government of Ontario, to build a pleasure and recreation facility.
When this was news was released much later, forced by the independent sleuthing of a son of one of them, the Government refused compensation. It has taken a biter fight for them to win their case. As recently as last week premier Harris again stone walled their three year struggle for recognition of injustice. After the Quintuplets went public, an outpouring of public anger the Harris government forced the Government to recant. A 4 million dollar award with a promise of an enquiry into the events surrounding the Fund embezzlement has been made.
The Sisters said :
The culture of North American society
is predicated on the capitalist model of economy. That being said the personal
views held by so many, within our culture, often serves interests that
are foreign to their own. Workers often still have a basic belief, that
the relations between the employer and themselves are based on recognised
and static understandings.
This >comfy= myth serves to placate their denial of the bare crudity of the exchange of labour power for earnings. Struggle must be identified in hard economic terms by the worker to melt such myths. The frontal assault of the engineered political agenda, linked very formally to the business class, creates a greater awareness.
This awareness generates anti-Government
sentiments. But unfortunately, these seem not to quickly deepen awareness
of a direct association between the Government and business. The main
political parties are all adherents to the capitalist economy - each
with a slightly different >spin
on it=. The dissatisfaction and
negative responses pf people, look to an alternative vision. But often
the perceived vision is simply : AThe
lesser of evil politics@. This
is usually the sole offer available.
Consistency and class conscious alternatives and vision, is the role of any credible vanguard. Electoral fear and immediate appeal are the motivations that as helpful as a dirty dish rag.
The working class will only rule, its= own existence when it holds the economic levers= and furnishes the entire society with the unspeakable wealth it creates. This is the leadership so sorely required today.
CANADA IS A BI-NATIONAL STATE : Canada is a multi-national state, more correctly it is a "Bi-National" state. These two nations are the English Anglo-Canada and French-Quebecois Canada. The original natives of Canada were long ago forcibly removed from any Anational@ status. The British set up Lord Durham=s Commission , which proposed that Upper and Lower Canada be united. This placed the French as a minority in a composite province. From then, the two nations were united under one state umbrella. Canada as a bi-national state is endorsed by many Francophone Quebecois. The analysis conforms to Stalin's criteria of a nation :
IN BETWEEN USA AND BRITAIN - DILEMMA OF THE CANADIAN COMPRADORS
Canadian capitalists have had two historical disadvantages. They were firstly late on the scene. The world had been carved up already by other finance imperialisms. Secondly, like any colony, they faced disadvantages in accumulating capital to build industry. They had a resource rich country, Ahewers of wood and drawers of water@, epitomised Canada's position. By 1857, the Hudson's Bay Company pulled Pounds Sterling 20,000,000 out of Canada, mainly in fish and fur trade. Protectionist laws tried to boost Canadian industry. When in Britain, the Whigs repealed the Corn Laws, the Canadian borugoeise promptly raised its= own import duties. The British resisted, but were faced by the Canadian Finance Minister A.T.Galt. But the Conservative Party was still pro-Great Britain. Led by John A. Macdonald, it developed a so called ANational Policy@, which damped Reformist tides. French Conservatives led by George-Ettiene Cartier, were allowed into Parliament in a Federation. This defused French separatism. Macdonald Union directly led to the British North American Act of 1867, with Confederation of Canada, under British hegemony, the Chief executive officer was the Governor General appointed by Britain.
A more or less subservient comprador bourgeoisie was fostered by, and dependent upon British imperialism. But inevitably, a weak national bourgeoisie did develop, who were bound to want to keep Canadian profits >for themselves=. Led by the Liberal Party and Sir Wilfred Laurier, refused in 1896, to refused a permanent Imperial Council with powers of Empire tariff, saying ACanada is a nation. Canada is free, and freedom is nationality.@
The First World War war time boom, provided impetus to industry, and to the nationalist capitalist class. The USA began luring the Canadian pro-British comprador capitalists to link themselves to the USA. The war marked the transfer of Canadian debt to New York from London. Direct investment in Canada by the USA rose more than threefold . But the Canadian national capitalist class resisted, by using enormous State subsidies - particularly to railways - to industrialsie. But, Canadian capitalism could only go as far as it was allowed to go, by the dominant imperialists. The underlying history of Canadian capitalism, is that of a Junior Partner to the big Imperialists. Links of the Canadian compradors, now were with USA imperialists, rather than British imperialists.
The nationalist Canadian capitalist class, struggled wherever possible for independent positions. In retreat, they tried to use the weaker British Imperialism as a crutch, to fend off USA.The NDP became a pro-Canadian nationalist force on the whole, but it was always tied to the policy makers of the Liberals. The most consistently pro-comprador, party was the Tories, once pro-British, now pro-USA. The Canadian 1935 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, gave the USA Most Favoured Nation status. US exports to Canada went from $303 million in 1935 to $487 million in 1938; and exports from Canada to the USA in 1935 were $304 million and in 1938 were $423 million . By the Second World War, USA domiance was clear. Canada was in hock to the USA, in a rapidly growing deficit. Canada ended Imperial Preference (ie favoured trade with the UK) and joined the US General Agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT). Still the Canadian national captilsit class tried to maintain some independence. John Diefenbaker, the Tory Prime Minister from 1956, again moved Canada back to the British sphere. The USA torpedoed Diefenbaker by publicly refuting his denials on the defence policy. Canada had accepted nuclear missile from the USA and he had tried to deny this. The Liberals under Lester Pearson in 1963, again tried to fend off the USA. He immediately put Walter Gordon into the finance ministry. Gordon as Chair of the 1955 Royal Commission, identified US investment into Canada, as leading to AEventual absorption@. Gordon raised taxes at 30% on all share sales in Canadian companies to non-residents; and the 15% withholding tax on dividends to non-residents was revised to favour shareholders in companies that retained substantial Canadian ownership. But howls of business protest, and Governor of the Bank of Canada warnings of "massive attempts at liquidation" of American investment- forced the takeover tax being rescinded. The final and perhaps most successful attempt of the Canadian national capitalist class to exert its role, came under Pierre Elliot Trudeau=s Liberal administration of 1968. President Nixon had imposed a 10 % surcharge on all dutiable imports. Canadian business had a lot to lose by this surcharge. Trudeau argued : AWe will have to reassess fundamentally our relations with them-trading political and otherwise.@
This prompted the so called Third Option, heralded by the Herbert Gray Report, which pointed to the US spectre. It called for massive state intervention, to take over or review all foreign owned companies, to license and franchise all foreign companies; and to establish a Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA) to vet foreign money and ownership from the Anational benefits@ view. Huge energy reserves were found in the Arctic and the West of Canada. Under the New Energy Policy (NEP) of 1980, the Finance Minister Allan MacEachen proposed that by 1990 there would be at least 50 % ownership of all oil and gas companies in Canada. It was : AThe most significant act of government intervention since the Second World War. It was the most ambitious effort ever undertaken by Ottawa to reverse the foreign control of a major industry in favour of Canadian control.@. The oil Acrisis@ had been manufactured by the big oil USA controlled companies, "The Seven Sisters", whose profits were affected by the NEP. By 1980 when Ronald Reagan came to the US presidency, the American capitalist class had blocked the NEP. Pipelines from the North were blocked on grounds of environmental safety, and Hibernia oil drilling in the Atlantic off Newfoundland was abandoned. FIRA was never enacted rigorously. After this massive defeat suffered by the capitalists of Canada, it became clear it them that in the newly so called globalized economy, that the Canadians could definitely no longer go it alone. They decided to once and for all, get well and truly into bed with their elephantine neighbour next door.
SHAKING OFF A NATIONAL HERITAGE: But a Canadian identity, people and indeed a single Bi-National state existed. The capitalists class had to disillusion the people of Canada. They had a welfare system; a social security system; a functioning health care system; cities instead of murderous gun ranges; a stronger labour organisation; a social democratic tradition; and a way of life distinctly less brutalised than the people of the USA. The Canadian people were hardly going to give this up easily, in favour of a USA type of society. Their faith in a separate way of life had to be profoundly shaken. Now AFree Trade@ became the dominant note - a code for penetration of the USA into Canadian market. The pro-USA compradors were led by Brian Mulroney, in the election of 1984. After Trudeau=s resignation, a poor candidate was selected for the Liberals, John Turner. His dismal showing allowed the Tories to enter with a stated agenda - Free Trade.
Mulroney got firmly onto the USA band wagon. For two terms, no effective opposition was presented to challenge him. The Second term election became a referendum on Free Trade with the USA. The Liberals and the New Democratic Party, despite signals from the rank and file labour, sabotaged the struggle, by the simple expedient of not organising a comprehensive well run anti-Free Trade Coalition. The Mulroney forces after election forced through Free Trade. However one further task was left to be completed by Mulroney. This was to rupture the relative harmony that had been present in the functioning of the state between French Quebecois and Anglo-Canadians. This would allow the possible disintegration of the Canadian state leading ultimately to a wholesale absorption into the USA. This was the function of the so called Constitutional Crisis which engulfed Canada over the last two years.
The British North American Act of 1867 had formed Canada=s Constitution, and was renamed the Constitution Act. This established the House of Commons and the Senate, the powers of each, the provincial powers, the Federal powers, legislation etc. In 1982 there were two amending acts. The Canada Act transferred to Canada the power to amend the Constitution from the British House of Parliament. This is known as the Apatriation@ of the Constitution. he Second amending act was the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982, which entrenched in the Constitution protection of individual rights and freedoms of religion, assembly, association and the press.
But the Constitution Act of 1982, had not been signed by the Quebec Premier, Rene Levesque. He refused saying that the Act did not adequately protect the French interests. Manifestly, this refusal had NOT impeded Government in any way since 1982. But it was made the pretext of a new constitutional move. This was the Meech Lake Accord, where Quebec would be Aincluded@ into the Constitution. When in 1987, the Quebec Government under Liberal Robert Bourassa, was asked to agree, it presented five pre-conditions. These aimed at preserving and extending Quebec's privileges :
1. The process was deliberately designed to alienate the people of Canada and set up rivalries and chauvinist sentiment. It was supposedly Asecret@ without the public knowing the clauses. But these were leaked, inflaming people by the >secrecy=.
2. Quebec was/is a different nation, and yet this truth was not acknowledged. >Privileges= for Quebec (and not eg. to Newfoundland) were only justifiable because Quebec is a separate nation, and Newfoundland is not. But as stated before : Recognition of a separate nationhood up to and including the right of secession, does not automatically mean that there has to be separation. The capitalists of course knew that this tangle would not be resolved. They also knew and calculated upon the side-effects of obfuscation and alienation of the public.
3. The Tories and the capitalists could not lose either way. The actual Accord itself, contained very retrogressive clauses which the Conservative Government knew would be exposed. If Meech, despite all odds passed; then the job of disintegration of Canada would have been done. If it did not pass, the whole process would alienate Canadians, facilitating later attempts at disintegration. At a minimum the Federal link would be dissolved into provincial power. In fact all the Federal programs including Health would be now subject purely to Provincial specification.
The Meech Lake Accord was very patently never meant to pass. Whether by pre-arranged subterfuge or by deceit, the Premier of Newfoundland, Mr. Clyde Wells, was forced into a position by the Tories, whereby he had to reject the Accord. As a bonus, prominent Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly (MLA) native Indian chief, Mr.Elijah Harper, also rejected the Accord (On the legitimate grounds of no recognition of the native Indians as a >distinct society=). After this, the Charlottetown Accord was similarly and tortuously launched. Again it was launched in order to fail. This time after a Referendum, during the process of which deliberate obfuscation of the real issues bored and disillusioned the masses of Canadians who tried to understand the issue. A national rejection of the Accord at the Polls, allowed the growth of further regional parties. Particularly in the West with the openly pro-fascist Reform Party. In addition the much depressed Parti Quebecois had a resurgence under the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois working together. The Bloc Quebecois was led by Lucien Bouchard, a former lieutenant of Mulroney=s whose spectacular departure (under supposed acrimony over the future of Quebec) from Cabinet signalled the new strategy of the ruling classes of Canada.
In the 1993 elections, the strategy was fostering regionalism, to begin the process of dissolving Canada, to place free trade in a situation where it could not be reversed, and ultimately to join the USA. The bogey of Quebec had been given a high profile by the Constitutional shenanigans. In carrying out its mission, the Mulroney Government had performed its task. But it had alienated the Canadian people to an extraordinary degree. The cynicism of the electorate was virulent against the Tories. The ruling class now had a degree of unanimity on the issue of the USA. The Liberals had signalled that they were in line. Accordingly, the capitalist class had every reason to facilitate the Liberal take over of the reins of Government. An arrogant elitist clone of Mulroney, one Kim Campbell was made leader of the Tory Party. To ensure her campaign would fail, it was at key times sabotaged. For instance, her handlers allowed her to say that elections were not the times that the electorate could be informed about serious policy decisions abut welfare and health.
This allowed the Liberals to sweep into power again. What then are the class allegiances of the current main parties in Canada? Undoubtedly, they all represent capital. The Conservative party represents that section of Canadian capitalists whose interests have until now been mainly linked to USA capital. They have been in the main representing finance capital. They have been strong proponents of the reduction of inflation wing identified internationally with Mrs Thatcher and the Ronald Reagan. The Liberal party represents that section of capital whose interests have until now been mainly linked to Canadian owned business. They have been representing both finance and industrial capital of Canada. They have now become accommodated to the policy of future linkage with the USA. The New Democratic Party represents the social democratic face of the Canadian capitalist class. Their approach is designed to divert the most advanced section of the working people, into objectively support for Canadian owned finance and industrial capital. They have been critical in the implementation of a harsh and brutal attack on the living standards of the Canadian people. They have been in several provinces responsible for implementing cost cuts, regressive labour laws, and savage lay offs - that the Tories and Liberals would not have been allowed to get away with. Consequently, they are seriously discredited with the rank and file. The Parti Quebecois has always been the representative of the Quebec national capitalists class. The Bloc Quebecois has been the vehicle by which the Anglo capitalist class signalled to the old Quebecois that they had some use for Quebec nationalism. Finally, mirroring the fissiparous tendency in Quebec, is the Reform Party of Western Canada. These newcomers to the political stage are representatives of the confused petty bourgeois, and appeal to the most chauvinistic section. They are dangerously full of open fascists and have signalled big business their willingness to Aplay their part@, if Business calls.
OUR SLOGANS MUST BE : BUILD THE MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY!
DOWN WITH SO CALLED "FREE TRADE"! DOWN WITH AN IMPERIALIST
NORTH AMERICAN BLOC! FORWARD TO THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!
WHERE ARE THEY NOW??
They do their damage to the workers, and then get rewarded
as the fat cats they are .... by their Own Class:
Pictures and blurbs from 'Globe and Mail', Financial pages, of
i) Ex-Premier "The Honourable David R.Petersen PC, QC"
A GLOWING PICTURE OF A TANNED PETERSEN WITH THIS CAPTION:
"The Honourable David R. Petersen, P.C., Q.C. Madan M. Bhayana, Chairman and Chief 'Executive' Officer of ‘Office Security’ Inc.; is pleased, to announce the election of The Honourable David R. Peterson PC, Q.C.; to the Company’s board of Directors.
Following a distinguished career in politics, which included serving as Premier of Ontario between 1985 and 1990, the Hon. David Peterson became a senior partner in the Toronto law firm of Cassels, Brock & Blackwell. He currently practices corporate/commercial, as well as international trade law with them. He is Chairman of Chapters Inc.' and Founding Chairman Of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club, He is also a director of a number of corporations and is active is active on the boards of several cultural, environmental and sports foundations. March 2nd 1998; Globe & Mail; p. B8.