The ideological drift of Canadian communists, from Vladimir Lenin to Vladimir Putin through Subhas Chandra Bose, and the urgency of communists rediscovering Lenin and Luxemburg.
By Stephen Gowans
March 2, 2023
If anyone should be challenging Russian president Vladmir Putin’s nonsense about Ukraine existentially threatening Russia by proposing to join the EU and NATO, it’s communists, who effectively showed in WWI how capitalist powers invented similar casus belli to justify plunging the world into the abyss of war. “When and where,” asked Rosa Luxemburg, “has there been a war since so-called public opinion has played a role in governmental calculations, in which each and every belligerent party did not, with a heavy heart, draw the sword from its sheath for the single and sole purpose of defending its fatherland and its own righteous cause from the shameful attacks of the enemy?”
All the same, it’s nominal communists (who think communism is defying the United States and therefore admire Putin for spearheading the project), along with the Far Right (which admires Putin’s reactionary values), who propagate the Kremlin leader’s nonsense. Rosa Luxemburg would be shocked to discover that the Communist Party of Canada (CPC), one of whose clubs bears her name, has tossed aside her thinking on war and imperialism—and even more shockingly, that of Lenin—to join the Putin Club.
Of course, that’s not how the party sees it. In a statement on the first anniversary of the war, the party conceded—as we’ll see, disingenuously—that Russia’s invasion is not justified. It made this concession only after a) listing a series of actions undertaken by NATO over three decades which the party says provoked Russia’s aggression, and b) describing the war as one in which the United States seeks “to weaken and destabilize the Russian government and foment ‘regime change’ in the Kremlin, and ultimately to carve up Russia into four or five weak and dependent mini-states in its place.”
To be sure, in its wildest dreams, Washington would love to topple Putin and replace him with a president it could control, while fragmenting Russia. But there is a wide gulf between wild dreams and actual plans. The party offers no evidence that these are the war aims of Washington and not just the fantasy of party leaders. Unless the US state has suddenly fallen under the sway of lunatics, it very likely has no such plan. The United States couldn’t defeat the rifle-toting Taliban; opted not to invade military pipsqueak Syria after the going got tough in a crippled Iraq; and shied away from giving tiny North Korea, with its rudimentary nuclear deterrent, a bloody nose. With a record like this, it’s highly improbable that anyone in Washington has serious thoughts about invading a country that possesses the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. While the party doesn’t say so, the implication of its line of argument is this: Moscow is defending itself against a leviathan bent on achieving a highly ambitious plan of destroying the Russian state. If what the party says about NATO’s actions and aims are true, could it sincerely believe that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is unjustified?
Lay aside for the moment that the origins of the Third International, the very same organization from which the CPC sprang, are found in the rejection of, and disgust with, socialists who blamed war in the modern era on one capitalist power provoking another. Lenin and Luxemburg wrote scathingly of socialists who invoked the idea of defensive war to justify their betrayal of socialist commitments to stay away from choosing sides in wars between capitalist states. These wars were never about self-defense and always about securing advantages for one capitalist class at the expense of another—an inevitable feature of a capitalist-driven, friction-producing, rivalry among states for profit-making opportunities.
What, according to the Putin Club, is Russia—or more precisely, the Russian oligarchy—defending itself against? Apart from the party’s evidence-free attribution of the war to the desire of Washington to overthrow Vladimir Putin and carve Russia into a series of weak states, club members cycle through a litany of reasons why we should understand Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as a defensive war, some matching the CPC reasoning, others bearing a close resemblance.
One argument is that Russia was provoked by NATO’s encroaching on Russia’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. This is true enough, but the argument follows with the false claim that Russia is thus justified in responding with war. To say that Russia is justified in maintaining a sphere of influence, is to justify empire and imperialism. That’s hardly the kind of argument one would hope to hear from a communist.
A related argument identifies Ukraine’s desire to exit the Russian sphere and attach itself to the EU and NATO as an economic and military threat to Russia. This is true. But does the threat justify Russia’s aggression against Ukraine? Cuba’s exit from the US empire threatened the United States economically and militarily, but that hardly justified a US invasion. Indeed, the exit of one colony after another from the empires of former colonial powers threatened all these powers economically and militarily, but no self-respecting communist would argue, for example, that the French war in Indochina was justified because Vietnam’s exit from the French empire threatened French profits and undermined the economic base on which its military power resided.
Others stoop to hyperbole to argue improbably that Russia is threatened existentially by NATO. The existence of an anti-Russian alliance is not equivalent to an existential threat. The Kremlin certainly faces threats, but not all threats are existential. Moscow, it should be kept in mind, has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and a formidable triad of nuclear-tipped ballistic and cruise missiles, strategic bombers, and ballistic missile submarines. A hostile military alliance may loom on its Western frontier, but the likelihood of NATO trying to do to Russia what Russia has tried to do to Ukraine is approximately zero. While NATO may threaten Russia militarily, few military threats are existential, a fortiori in Russia’s case, considering it commands the world’s most formidable nuclear deterrent. One NATO tank on Russian soil is the path to Golgotha, a reality unquestionably understood at the Pentagon. Russia is no more threatened existentially by NATO than Europe is threatened existentially by Russia (the Biden Club’s matching contribution to the flurry of nonsense.)
China, too, is a nuclear power, though compared to Russia it is far less formidably equipped with weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. It is also boxed in by rivals. By the reasoning of those who exculpate Russia for its aggression against Ukraine by depicting the aggression as a defensive war against a US proxy, the logic for a Chinese invasion of South Korea is even more compelling. The Korean peninsula is home to a complement of 27,000 US troops, stationed at the largest overseas US military facility in the world, backed by a sizeable South Korea military that serves under the de facto command of a US general. If any country is threatened by a US surrogate on its periphery, it is China by South Korea, and yet few people would defend, in advance of the fact, a Chinese invasion of the Korean peninsula. Significantly, few of the people who today defend the Russian invasion of Ukraine did so in advance of the actual invasion. They dismissed US warnings in late 2021 that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent as preposterous; mere US propaganda intended to besmirch Russia’s reputation. They believed then, as those of sound mind believe today, that such an act would be morally repugnant. And yet today, after the fact, their minds are changed. The mental journey from “Russia would never conduct itself in such a morally objectionable way” to “Russia has conducted itself in this way and its conduct is morally defensible” proceeds along the following path:
- Defying the United States is morally excellent conduct.
- Any country that defies the United States is morally excellent.
- Russia defies the United States therefore it is morally excellent.
- Prior to February 24, 2022: A morally excellent country wouldn’t invade its neighbor, therefore US warnings that Russia is about to invade Ukraine are preposterous, and are aimed at calling into question Russia’s moral excellence.
- From February 24, 2022 forward: The invasion of Ukraine was undertaken by a morally excellent state. Therefore, the invasion is morally defensible.
Those who have travelled along this path are guided by no principle, but one: Defend whoever defies the United States. In this they reveal themselves to be unprincipled, grubby, propagandists.
This is surely not the path of communists. But it is a path that had been trod by non-communists, and rather disreputable ones at that. Take, for example, Subhas Chandra Bose. A charismatic leader of the Indian anti-colonial movement, and at one point leader of the Indian National Congress, Bose allied with Hitler initially, and Imperial Japan subsequently, in a failed effort to defeat British imperialism in India. While the project of evicting the British from India to remove an impediment to Indian independence was admirable, allying with empires that rivaled that of Britain to achieve this goal was not only morally unconscionable, but shockingly naive. Bose thought he could use imperialists to achieve an anti-colonialist aim, and imperialists agreed to use the anti-colonialist Bose to achieve their imperialist ends. By allying with Hitler and Tojo, Bose elevated the goal of ending India’s oppression above the goals of liberating from the yoke of his patrons’ imperialism Jews, Slavs, Koreans, Chinese, Indonesians, Indochinese, and Filipinos.
Germany and Japan sought to destabilize Britain’s colonial holdings in order to weaken Britain and defeat the empire in war. The outcome, had Britain lost the war, would have been the division of British colonial assets between Germany and Japan, not India’s independence. Bose’s naivete in believing that imperialist patrons would help him deliver India from the yoke of imperialism would have been touching in a child but was revolting in a man who had not been officially certified as feeble-minded. Kim Il Sung mocked nationalist leaders, like Bose, who joined forces with imperialist powers. He said they were like the man who appeals to the robber outside his house for help in evicting the robber already in his house.
Bose’s error was to fail to see that the oppression of India could be brought to an end with less difficulty and greater moral clarity as part of a project to end all oppression. Communists were committed to the project of freeing humanity from all oppressions, not just some. Bose’s approach was an affront to the communists’ universalism. He set the liberation of India above all other struggles against oppression, and indeed, even colluded in his alliance with Germany and Japan in the oppression of other nations. Brecht, the Marxist, wrote: “Everything or nothing. All of us or none.” Bose’s dictum, in contrast, was, liberate India from oppression, and damn the rest. Bose’s echo is heard in the Putin Club’s siding with Russian imperialism against that of the United States. The communist alternative is to oppose imperialism, tout court.
The Indian nationalist’s allying with the Far Right in the pursuit of a very restricted Leftist goal contains within it a cautionary lesson for advocates who today urge the Left to join with the Far Right in an alliance against NATO arming Ukraine.
The goals of the Left and Far Right in connection with war are fundamentally different.
The Marxist Left has been guided historically by five principles.
- War is the result of capitalism.
- The are no defensive wars between major capitalist states in the modern era.
- To end war, capitalism must be transcended.
- Working people have no country.
- The working class does not take sides in wars between capitalist powers.
In contrast, the Far Right:
- Sees no causal connection between capitalism and war.
- Defends the idea of war guilt.
- Supports the bourgeois order.
- Promotes identities related to country, nation, people, religion, or civilization.
- Takes sides in wars between capitalist states.
Hence, on questions of war, the Marxist Left and the Far Right are on different pages. So how could anyone think there is sufficient common ground between these two groups to even begin to talk of an alliance? The answer is that proponents of the alliance define the Left, not as the Left of Lenin and Luxemburg, but as the Left of those who think communism is defying the United States and defending anyone who spearheads the project—in other words, the Left of the Putin Club and not the Left of Lenin and Luxemburg. The Putin Club and Far Right do indeed agree on a few points and hence, are possible allies. They agree that: there is no connection between the war and capitalism; Russia’s war is defensive; NATO should cease all support to Ukraine. As we’ll see, four of five of the abovementioned Far Right characteristics are present in the CPC, which isn’t to say the party is Far Right (it isn’t) but that, unlike the traditional Marxist Left, it intersects in matters of war with the Far Right. Significantly, none of the five guiding principles of the Marxist Left are present in the party in connection with its stance on the war in Ukraine.
The Putin Club is not committed wholly to apologizing for Russia’s aggression by invoking the concept of defensive war. Club members sometimes deploy another argument: Russia’s war in Ukraine is a humanitarian intervention. According to this view, Moscow has launched a special military operation, not a war, to defend Russian-speakers in the Donbas, who, according to Mr. Putin and his votaries, are the objects of a campaign of Nazi-inspired genocide. The basis for the genocide claim is that Russian-speakers have been dying in the civil war between the secessionist Donbas republics and Kyiv government, the latter inspired by Ukrainian nationalism and nostalgia for Stepan Bandera. Where Bose collaborated with the Nazis against British imperialism, Bandera collaborated with the Nazis against what he saw as Russian imperialism. To the Putin Club, Bose is fine because he joined forces with the Nazis against British imperialism, which they dislike, but Bandera is reviled because he collaborated with the Nazis against Russia, which the Putin Club admires.
The Kremlin presents the civil war deaths of Russian-speakers as genocide by claiming Kyiv is motivated to liquidate Ukraine’s Russophone population. The problem is that (a) there’s no evidence of this and (b) a plausible alternative explanation is that the deaths happened in the course of a civil war, not because the Ukraine government seeks the annihilation of people who speak Russian as their first language. The fact that Moscow has not invoked the Genocide Convention, which it would do if it truly believed its allegation had any substance, is significant.
The Putin Club’s rallies against the war are aimed at NATO. Stop NATO! No to NATO. End the War. Nowhere does the club demand that Russia reverse its aggression or withdraw from Ukraine. This comports with the club’s position that NATO provoked Russia and that Russia is engaged in a defensive war. To end the war, NATO’s arming of Ukraine most stop, that is, NATO must stop impeding Russia’s invasion. In the hands of the Putin Club the demand “Stop the War” becomes the tacit “Stop Trying to Stop Russia.” This fits with the Club’s view that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a defensive response to a NATO plan to annihilate the Russian state and disarticulate it into a handful of easily controlled statelets answerable to Washington.
The Club’s position on the origin of the war represents a substantial departure from the thinking of Lenin and Luxemburg. The Marxist giants held that wars between capitalist powers originate, as Luxemburg put it, in roots which “reach deep down into the Plutonic deeps of economic creation.” Less poetically, Lenin urged his followers to consider “the economic essence of imperialism” as the key to understanding modern war and modern politics. The Putin Club will have none of this. “Bosh!” they say. “Russia is defending itself from an existential threat. Economics (i.e., capitalism) has nothing to do with it.” A fine analysis for communists!
Pressed on why, if they’re really against the war, they don’t demand Russia withdraw its forces from Ukraine, the Putin Club falls back on sophisms. “We’re dealing with our own imperialism first,” its members retort. One can only influence one’s own government, they explain. Non-Russians can demand Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, but because non-Russians exercise no influence over the Russian government (on par, it might be added, with most Russian citizens), the demand would be pointless. One can only influence one’s own government. Therefore, it’s only of one’s own government that demands should be made.
The first problem with this argument is that it’s made by people who have long histories of picketing the embassies of governments that are not their own. Canadian communists have held countless demonstrations outside the embassies and consulates of the United States and Israel, to name just two, demanding changes to the policies of these foreign governments. But now, when asked why they haven’t demanded Russia reverse its aggression on Ukraine, they answer that it is pointless to make demands of foreign governments—that Canadians must deal with their own imperialism first. That the argument is hypocritical is evidenced by the fact that one chapter of the Putin Club held its last “antiwar” rally outside the US embassy. It didn’t darken the doorstep of the Russian embassy. Unless the Canadian members of the Putin Club have a special influence over the US government about which we know nothing, their argument is constructed on a foundation of dishonesty. It is also the case that those who make this argument rhapsodize about the coordinated international protests that were organized against Apartheid South Africa and the war-obsessed George W. Bush administration. None of these people, so concerned about focusing only on the government they can influence and dealing with their own imperialism first, sat out these demonstrations. Their craven mendacity is revolting.
Imperialism is the relationship between countries competing for opportunities to accumulate capital on the world market. Any discussion of imperialism necessarily involves a discussion of two or more countries. One cannot talk of imperialism and talk of one country alone. When Hilferding, Kautsky, and Luxemburg wrote about war and imperialism, they didn’t limit their remarks to Germany, on the grounds that the German government was the only one over which they had influence and that discussion of the conduct of other governments was pointless. When Bukharin, Trotsky, and Lenin wrote on imperialism and war, they, like their German comrades, covered the world. They didn’t restrict their attention to Russia. They did this because they saw themselves as part of an international movement whose scope was all humanity. They rejected the idea that they were dues-paying members of a parochial party whose horizons stopped at national borders. “Working men have no country,” said Marx.
An antiwar campaign that says No to NATO but not No to Russian Aggression is like campaigning to ban boxing as a sport, by pressing Canadian boxers to hang up their gloves, and ignoring boxers from other countries. It entirely misses the point that the problem isn’t Canadian boxers—it’s boxing itself. What’s more, were the campaign successful and all Canadian boxers persuaded to stop boxing, the sport would continue anyway, just not with Canadian boxers. A campaign to pressure all boxers, regardless of nationality, to quit the sport is better, but still doesn’t go far enough. If boxing is to end as a sport, the conditions that support it must be overcome.
Lenin argued that a campaign to pressure all countries to lay down their arms wouldn’t end war, because it would fail to address what makes countries go to war in the first place. In his view, the peace movement was utopian; it promoted the illusion that peace could be achieved without eliminating the cause of war in the modern era—capitalism. The CPC’s stance on the Ukraine war doesn’t even rise to the standards of Lenin’s utopian propaganda of peace. That’s because it targets only one side of the war—like asking Canadian boxers to quit, while turning a blind eye to boxers from other countries. If peace campaigns are ranked from worst (presses only one side to lay down its arms) to better (presses both sides to lay down their arms) to best (seeks to overcome the conditions that compel countries to take up arms in the first place), the CPC campaign ranks as worst. Lenin would be dismayed.
The Putin Club relies on another sophism: We must remain silent on Russia’s aggression, or at least minimize what we say about it, lest we add to the cataract of invective against the country, thereby fueling belligerence against Russia at home and strengthening the hand of jingoists who wish to escalate the war. But if Russia has committed an egregious aggression, known to all, not least because Russia’s war-making is covered exhaustively in the media, then pretending it hasn’t happened, or trying to exculpate Moscow by blaming its aggression on NATO, is not only dishonest, it’s a losing strategy. Those who deny an obvious crime, or seek to blame it on others, are, for very good reasons, ignored, and should be. Far better and honest to show that two states, the US and Russia, are at dagger’s drawn, that their mutual hostility arises not from lofty motives but is rooted in economic rivalry, and that the confrontation of these states over economic advantage threatens the entire world.
Thus, there is an important sense in which making a demand of the Russian government from outside Russia is not pointless: when doing so establishes one’s credibility as a champion of the proletariat against all bourgeois governments involved in a war, and when not doing so arouses suspicions (true in this case) that one is not a champion of the international proletariat but an apologist, defender, and votary of one side of a bourgeois-led conflict which has arisen as a necessary consequence of the capitalist-driven, friction-producing, rivalry of states for profit-making opportunities.
The concept of imperialism was central to the writing of Bukharin, Lenin, and Luxemburg, but its meaning has eluded members of the Putin Club, some of whom believe Russia exists outside the circle of imperialist powers; that the country is a target and victim of imperialism, not a participant in it. In the classical view of Marxist imperialism, Russia is as much a part of an imperialist world order as is the United States, the European Union, and China. This is all too much for those whose politics is defined by the necessity of finding a state of presumed moral excellence to defend. And so, in self-defense, they dismiss the classical Marxist view as out of date, because it defines Russia as part of an imperialist system and thus oppugns the moral excellence they so desperately want to believe Russia embodies. Their ostensible reason for rejecting the classical Marxist view is that it was developed more than a century ago and therefore is out of date. Confining the counter-argument to the overt reason offered for rejecting the theory: If we’re to judge the utility of a theory based on how long ago it was formulated, then Marxism is also out of date—the Communist Manifesto was published 175 years ago. So too is the second law of thermodynamics and Darwin’s theory out of date by this reasoning.
Of course, the utility of a theory should not be judged by its age but whether it rests on sound principles and accounts for the facts.
At the core of the classical Marxist theory of war and imperialism are two propositions:
- Capitalism incessantly drives states to seek expanded profit-making opportunities beyond their borders.
- In a world divided among states, where each state competes against every other for profit-making opportunities in the world market, war is inevitable.
This view was expressed in the resolution of the 1907 Stuttgart Congress of the Second International, which Lenin and Luxemburg took a hand in writing. “Wars between capitalist states are as a rule the consequence of their competition in the world market, for every state is eager to preserve its markets but also to conquer new ones.”
The theory follows naturally from Marx’s and Engel’s observation in the Communist Manifesto about the expansionary nature of capitalism. “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” Significantly, all of capitalism’s nestling, settling, and connecting, has been orchestrated by states, each vying with the other.
The classical view was hardly new or unique to Lenin and Luxemburg. It was expressed at the Second International’s London Congress as early as 1896. “Under capitalism the chief causes of war are not religious or national differences but economic antagonisms.” In 1910, the Copenhagen Conference reiterated this view: “Modern wars are the result of capitalism, and particularly of rivalries of the capitalist classes of the different countries over the world market.”
This, dear members of the Putin Club, is the classical Marxist theory of war and imperialism. As to the question of whether it is out of date, we must ask:
- Has capitalism’s expansionary character changed since Marx and Engels commented on it 175 years ago?
- Is the world no longer divided among capitalist states?
- Is competition no longer a fundamental characteristic of the capitalist world?
- Are states no longer under the sway of oligarchs scouring the world for profit-making opportunities?
All of these questions must be answered in the negative. However, the CPC disagrees. In its statement on the first anniversary of the war, the party declared the classical Marxist theory of war and imperialism to be “not a completely accurate or particularly helpful assessment, especially at this critical moment.”
The Second International in its vast majority was uncomfortable with what the classical Marxist theory demanded of socialists at the “critical moment” of war. So too is the CPC today. Above all, socialists, according to the Stuttgart Congress, were not to be misled by “national prejudices” that are “systematically cultivated in the interest of the ruling classes, in order to divert the mass of the proletariat from their class duties and international solidarity.” Ignoring this, socialists abandoned the radical Marxist apercu that the cause of war is the system itself and instead looked for a guilty party (and not a guilty system) to blame. War would not be seen as caused by a friction-producing rivalry among states driven by capitalist expansionary imperatives; instead, it was to be understood through a Manichean lens of conflict between evil states, starting aggressive wars, and good states, trying to defend themselves. With the Putin Club’s conviction that a morally excellent state, Russia, is defending itself from the provocations of an aggressive alliance, NATO, it’s clear on what side it has come down; not the side of Marxism and the international proletariat, but the side of Putin and the Russian bourgeoisie. Lenin and Luxemburg insisted on adding the following to the Stuttgart resolution: Socialists will “utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war in order to rouse the masses of the people and thereby hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.” The CPC has followed a different plan. It is trying to rouse the masses of the people to pressure NATO to get out of the way of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Putin Club’s ideology arises out of the Marxism that developed in connection with solving problems related to the defense of the Soviet Union. The peace movement that Lenin had scorned for fostering the illusion that peace was possible in a capitalist milieu became useful as a project to be assigned by Moscow to Communist parties in the US orbit. To occupy the time of nominally revolutionary parties operating in what Moscow saw as a non-revolutionary time and place, Communist parties in the capitalist world would be given the task of mobilizing support for peaceful coexistence between the capitalist and Communist worlds. Their role was not to “to rouse the masses of the people and thereby hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule,” using “the economic and political crisis created by” great power rivalry, as Lenin and Luxemburg had done. The times had changed. Rivalry among capitalist states for economic advantage had been superseded by rivalry between a US-led capitalist world and Soviet-led socialist world. The job of the Communist parties in this new world was to promote peaceful co-existence, so the Soviet Union could recover from its devastation in WWII and develop economically, free from the necessity of diverting critical resources to military competition with the capitalist world. They were to forget about revolution, pursue reforms within capitalism, and work, through the peace movement, to stay the aggressive hand of the United States. For many Communist parties, their main role became one of working on behalf of a foreign state to oppose the aggressions of their own state. For some, like the CPC, the mission carries on, even though the conditions that inspired it long ago quit the scene.
Times have changed. The Soviet Union has dissolved. The Russian state is vehemently anti-communist. China, whose “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is a euphemism for “capitalism as a tool to develop the means of production,” is integrated into the US economy as the United States’ main manufacturing center, but, at the same time, competes vigorously with its own home-grown capitalist enterprises against US, EU, and Russian businesses, and pursues the construction of its own informal empire by means of the Belt and Road Initiative. The bipolar rivalry of capitalism vs. communism has been replaced by a return to great power competition. Nowadays, the world looks much more like the one Lenin and Luxemburg inhabited than the one that shaped the politics and thinking of the CPC leadership.
When the Soviet Union dissolved, the Marxism that developed in connection with questions related to how to build and defend a socialist state in a collapsed empire devastated by war became an anachronism. When China took the capitalist path, and Soviet socialism was dismantled, the world turned more strongly toward the status quo ante. Rivalry between the capitalist and communist worlds metamorphosed into a competition among capitalist states in a world in which capitalism was triumphant. The new world was one Lenin and Luxemburg would recognize. All the same, communists who cut their political teeth during the Cold War, carried on as if nothing had changed, failing to grasp that the Marxism of Lenin and Luxemburg had become relevant again, while the problems addressed by the Marxism of Stalin and Khruschev—how to build and defend a socialist state in the old Russian Empire, and what role communists in the capitalist world were to play—had dissolved.
Today the CPC remains what it was during the Cold War. It promotes reforms for the working class within capitalism and works to restrain the aggression of Canada and its US patron against foreign states. It is indistinguishable in most significant ways from the social democratic NDP, expect that a) it proposes more robust reforms for the working class, many of which are utopian within a capitalist context, and b) opposes Canadian militarism, where the NDP generally supports it. It is a party of social reform and anti-militarism which reflexively springs to the defense of any state that defies the United States for the sole reason that it defies the United States. Compare the party against the four characteristics of the Far Right mentioned earlier in connection with the question of war:
- Sees no causal connection between capitalism and war.
- Defends the idea of war guilt.
- Supports the bourgeois order (by pursuing reforms within the capitalist system).
- Takes sides in wars between capitalist states.
This is not a party of which Lenin or Luxemburg would approve or recognize as communist.
It behooves communists to rediscover Lenin and Luxemburg, the giants of Marxism. Their insights have more relevance to the world we inhabit than the anachronistic Weltanschauung and politics of the CPC and the Putin Club.