We are happy to share news about one of the first events in our party’s new campaign ‘Build the Fightback, Join the Communist Party.‘
This past weekend, members and close friends across Montréal joined Elizabeth Rowley for an informative discussion about the political situation internationally and fightback in Canada. Rowley is the leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario Committee) and member of the Central Committee’s Executive. The meeting also heard a report by Robert Luxley about the mass demonstration of over 50,000 workers in the streets of Montréal the day before, confronting the provincial Couillard Liberal’s theft of municipal workers’ pensions.
Rowley highlighted the troubling and dangerous developments within the imperialist alliance of NATO which is now openly presenting itself as a global ”strike force” and taking a deliberately belligerent approach in the civil war in the Ukraine. Rowley called for the immediate, unilateral withdrawal of Canada from NATO and applauded the labour and peace forces in Québec which have taken up this rallying call. This key struggle for peace must be more powerful, broad and visible right across the country, she said, and force the Harper government to either act — or get out of the way.
She also addressed the continued oppression of the Palestinian peoples. Referring Foreign Minister John Baird’s complicity with the Israeli government’s genocidal war in Gaza, Rowley said that in the view of the Central Committee of the CPC, Canada must make a 180 degree turn and implement a new, independent Canadian foreign policy with the objective of a free Palestine. The Parti Communiste du Québec, which has just purchased a button maker, is rolling off ‘Fire Baird, Free Palestine’ pins as part of its first series from the button press.
Rowley also said she was happy to learn about the recent Saturday-closure of the NAOT shoe store on rue Saint-Denis, which has been the target of local Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaigners for several years with a Saturday afternoon information picket. The store has been targeted because the Israeli-based company shoe factories operate with maquiladora-like conditions in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. While the store remains open on other days, rue Saint-Denis (a popular brunch destination for weekend shoppers located in the heart of Montréal) is at its busiest on Saturday. The BDS campaign in Québec has been one in which a broad section of labour and progressive movements have joined, including the Parti Communiste du Québec. Our members are always warmly received in these actions and we need to keep up our work in this area, one PCQ activist said.
Party building campaign launched in Montréal
Speaking about the party building campaign, which was launched in Montréal at this meeting, Rowley strongly agreed with the assessment of the Central Committee the weekend before that renewed interest was being seen in the Party, along with positive signs in the labour and people’s movements within the fightback, like the People’s Social Forum and the defeat of right-wing business trade unionist Ken Georgetti in the Canadian Labour Congress elections. The necessity to build the fightback was very urgent, she said, agreeing with the campaign’s slogan that brought together that need with the importance of building the Communist Party as a decisive ingredient in the class struggle.
Rowley told the meeting that increasing the party’s visibility was key to recruitment. Almost every club of the party in Ontario gained new recruits during the summer provincial election campaign when the party ran campaigns in five cities across the province. She highlighted the example of London, where the campaign of Party candidate Dave McKee helped galvanize friends a and supporters behind his candidacy for office and the Ontario Party’s ‘People’s Alternative’ campaign. Rowley, who was in London just two nights before, said that a new Party club is going to be chartered in that city this fall.
Speaking about the major pension protest the day before, Robert Luxley said that the reforms amount to a theft of the workers’ wages and a form of super-exploitation. Contrary to the corporate media’s perspective, municipal workers in Québec do not receive golden pensions and retires are in fact generally living below the poverty line and below most other OECD countries. Luxley, who edits the Parti Communiste du Québec’s quarterly newspaper Clarté, noted that the paper’s latest issue which exposed this un-truth was being well received by working people.
Yesterday’s mass protest at Parc Lafontaine and other actions by several trade unions come at the same time as the labour movement’s re-formation of the Common Front for public sector negotiations. After some division in their analysis towards the minority Parti Quebecois government, the labour and people’s movements are clearly re-mobilizing to fight the new Liberal regime which is a welcome sign and must go further, Luxley said.
Three new members of the party joined at the end of the meeting. The clubs of the PCQ resolved to continue to bring in more new members, expand the Clarté subscription list, and hold a mass public event celebrating the life of Cuban Revolutionary Che Guevara between now and January, when the campaign will come to a close — and the Québec communists will hold their National Congress.
In coming blog posts we will profile new and long-term members of the CPC and why they think the Communist Party is important.