Proposal for a New International

What Does the Communist Party of Canada Have to Say?

Don Currie, Chair Canadians for Peace and Socialism

April 15th 2010

The proposal last November 2009 to organize a new international having the support of left-socialist revolutionary parties in Latin America, on the initiative of Hugo Chavez, is an important development in the anti-imperialist movement urgently in need of credible communist analysis.

Socialist Project, a quasi-trotskyist group, that also includes some well informed writers, as usual is first out of the blocks with their commentary on this development. Where the term “Fifth International” has come from is not clear. The still born Fourth International was a trotskyist organization that since its inception in 1938 has fractured into a series of smaller groups.

The Communist Party of Canada (CPC) leadership has once again been caught flat footed. To my knowledge the CPC leadership has said nothing publicly about this development. If they have good information about it, in their usual lofty manner, they keep it a secret. Supporters of the CPC as usual are the last to know and left to try and figure out such matters as best we can.

This is not 1914 on the eve of World War One when the opportunist leadership of European mass socialist parties of the Second International betrayed the working class and went over to the support of their respective ruling classes and helped their imperialist masters lead the workers to the slaughter. The Bolsheviks and Leninist core of forces in working class parties condemned the opportunist leadership of the Second International for the betrayal and under the leadership of Lenin on March 19th 1919 formed the Third International popularly known as the Comintern that united all of the Communist Parties of the world under its leadership until dissolution in 1943.

After the Soviet Union had defeated the Nazis in WW2 there followed a series of International Meetings of Communist and Workers Parties usually convened together with CPSU Congresses and its  work was published in World Marxist Review as the main theoretical organ of that movement. The Communist Party of Canada played an important role in that work.

Today things are different. The forces coming forward with the proposal for a “Fifth International” are not Communist Parties but are left anti-imperialist revolutionary parties some of which are in power and proclaim socialism as their goal. These movements act in solidarity with socialist Cuba and the Bolivarian revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia and are not overtly anti-communist.  Within this movement there are also some pronounced pseudo leftist meddlers involved in the process in particular the usual claque of trotskyist and anarchist groups who do nothing but spread confusion.

The suggestion by Socialist Project that the proposed “Fifth International” should be modeled on the World Social Forum is an example. It is not only absurd, it is reactionary. Big tent feel good talk fests is not what is required now. The petty bourgeois radicals prefer such loosely organized movements in which they have unrestricted freedom of movement to spread their doctrine of “world revolution”.  The proposal by Socialist Project to build socialist unity in Canada on the basis of “unity in diversity among left working class forces” with eco-socialism as a centre piece has been around for some time and continues to be ignored and never discussed or challenged by the leadership of the CPC.

Eco-socialism as a theory, championed by that august trotskyist oracle Ian Angus, who never tires of attacking Tim Buck and his memoir, “Yours in the Struggle” has simply been ignored in the Communist press. Of course, we can only suppose that the question of environmentalism is better left to the Pembina Institute and the energy issue to the Lakeland Institute. The CPC leadership has very little to say in its own name about these critical issues. 

It is a grave mistake not to do so. I urge anyone who has a tittle of interest in the energy issue and its centrality to the future of our country to go to the “news” section of and catch up on what is happening on the energy file in our country. It is not a pretty picture and demands our urgent collective response if we do, as we proclaim we do, “love this country” and care about its future.

There you will find all of the schemes of finance capital with the blessing of the Harper Government to drain the energy life blood of our country to the USA and along with it the jobs of millions of Canadians. At the same time go to the Publications  section of and find a letter from Tim Buck to Don Currie from 1967 where Buck outlined in his exemplary visionary style what could be done if the natural resources of the west and in particular its water and energy resources were developed in the interests of Canada and its people. There you will find an example of what real Communist leadership should be in our time and how to speak to workers about it.

These developments underline, once again, the extremely low level of theoretical work and the weak ideological partisanship for the fundamental ideas of Marxism Leninism in Canada. The responsibility for that situation lies with the present leadership of the CPC that has done nothing to distinguish its specific position from that of the social radicals on a range of crucial issues.

An article, "Organized Labour and the Politics of Class Struggle Today",  appearing on the home page of Focus On Socialism addressed to the CPC before its recent Convention, discusses the urgency of engaging in polemics with all forms of social radicalism, pseudo socialist theories and to formulate an economic program of unity for the mass movements of the people. If you haven’t read it I would ask you to consider doing so and to forward any comments to 

Why is this important now? A case in point is the recent article appearing in Georgia Straight by Derrick O’Keefe Co-Chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance. ( who with the best of intentions, draws comparisons between the lawful actions of the Soviet Union in coming to the aid of the people of Afghanistan in 1980 and the current surge of US-NATO imperialist forces in the present day unlawful aggression in Afghanistan. O’Keefe’s article has been widely distributed to CPA members and affiliates. The item makes concessions to discredited cold war comparisons between the Soviet Union and US imperialism.

CPS has responded to the CPA co-chair assertions.

I mention this because Derrick O’Keefe is a militant fighter for peace. He works with communists in the peace movement. Here is the rub. Do we take issue with his concessions to anti-Sovietism and the discredited cold-war “Two Super Power” theory behind which the pseudo-left of that period tried to span anti-communism and anti-imperialism, or do we let it slip because it is a bit of a sticky wicket. Anti-communism of yesteryear was pro-imperialism and remains so today. How do we deal with it? That is what the CPC leadership pointedly avoids discussing.

The IMCWP is beginning to provide answers to the problem of confronting the wrong positions of social democracy and social radicals of all stripes. The (IMCWP) has now completed 11 International meetings to develop a unified line and to re-establish the supremacy of the ideas of Marxism Leninism within the international working class and people’s revolutionary movements. Great progress is being made on re-establishing the fundamentals of Leninism in the era of imperialism in particular how to conduct the struggle for socialism in non-revolutionary situations and unite all of the anti-imperialist forces.

There is no organized structure to the IMCWP movement except through the medium of Solidnet.  A more advanced organization structure may be under discussion. Undoubtedly it will emerge at a certain conjuncture of both urgency and need and growing organizational strength. There is no doubt in my mind that it will eventually happen.

The CPC cannot move forward, regardless of all of the omnibus resolutions it produces, all of the hosannas, if there is not a corresponding rise in the level of its theoretical and ideological work and by its independent effort begins to provide for the advanced working class activists of the organized labour, farmer, peace and democratic movements of our country, relevant and timely communist analysis in the realm of the struggle of ideas.  We in CPS say without fear, that is not being done adequately and must be addressed and urgently.


Don Currie

Chair, Canadians for Peace and Socialism.