The Debate on Canadian
Response to the Counter-Resolution
LSA/LSO Discussion Bulletin #51, April 1973
Where the United Tendency
Counter-resolution Goes Wrong
by John Riddell
Two weeks before our convention, on April 3, the United Tendency
submitted its counter-resolution, "A New Stage in Canada-U.S. Relations."
In contrast to the eleven contributions of UT members previously printed
in the discussion bulletin, the resolution aims to set down the UT’s
thesis on nationalism in systematic form. The assessment of this
resolution is an important task before us. These limited comments aim to
point out some of its key errors.
The Two Theses of the United Tendency Resolution
The resolution breaks down into two distinct propositions. The first is
the assertion that a process of "economic integration" is underway between
Canada and the U.S. The second is the theory that a progressive Canadian
nationalism has emerged, with an anti-capitalist dynamic.
The theory of "economic integration" is a relatively recent element in
the nationalism debate, having been first advanced in the Dowson-Lomas
statement of Nov. 15, 1972. During the previous months, the concept of a
progressive nationalism had been argued on empirical grounds. The
experience of the Amchitka protests, the evolution of the Waffle, and
other events were said to have proven the progressive character of this
Even after the introduction of the "economic integration" thesis, it
has stood without any logical connection to the conclusion that Canadian
nationalism is progressive. Facts have been presented in quantity, but
unrelated to the conclusion. This is clear in the resolution, as in the UT
statement of March 16, 1973.
Let us attempt a simple experiment to test this. Let us assume for the
sake of argument, that everything the United Tendency says about "economic
integration" is correct. Do their pro-nationalist conclusions flow from
their assumptions? Or are they false, regardless of the possible
correctness of their view of "economic integration."
After this experiment, we will return briefly to the "economic
integration" thesis, to examine two of its central errors.
The UT’s Description of Canada’s Progressive Nationalism
What is the United Tendency’s view of Canadian nationalism? Here are
the most characteristic passages of their resolution on this key point:
"The new Canadian nationalism ... is a key element in the unfolding
radicalization.... This nationalism is not chauvinist. It is not
federalist.... It is anti-imperialist and thus essentially
"We see it as essentially progressive in its thrust—progressive in
that it raises the class question in this country and leads to a
heightened internationalist consciousness."
"The Canadian bourgeoisie and their state acquiesce to this process
of integration and by so doing violate the growing national
aspirations.... these national aspirations lead toward conflict with
the Canadian state, and toward a linking with the tasks of the
Canadian and international socialist revolution."
"What establishes the progressive essence of this nationalism—what
gives it its radical thrust—is the process that has led to the
integration of the Canadian economy...."
"While composed of opposing aspects ... this nationalism contains
an essence which is progressive."
"(we) present our Trotskyist program of democratic and transitional
demands in a way which will link to the essentially anti-capitalist
dynamic of this new nationalism."
As the United Tendency sees it, therefore, this nationalism is
progressive. It has an independent dynamic: it is anti-imperialist,
it raises the class question, it is essentially internationalist.
It has a radical thrust and an anticapitalist dynamic. It is
not chauvinist. It leads toward conflict with the Canadian state.
While the United Tendency recognizes the contradictory expressions of
this nationalism, it confidently ascribes to it this impressive list of
essential characteristics. Canadian nationalism, in the UT’s view, has
these features independently of circumstances or of the intervention of
revolutionaries. The UT view of nationalism thus contrasts, not only with
the Political Committee theses, but with the earlier views of two UT
members, comrades Roberts and Jennings, whose contributions (Bulletin #30
and #34) held this nationalism to be contradictory and did not ascribe to
it an inherent anticapitalist dynamic.
The United Tendency even goes so far as to ascribe to this nationalism
the logic of permanent revolution in the colonial world—for national
consciousness in Canada, we are told, "leads towards a linking with the
tasks of Canadian and international socialist revolution."
No wonder both the founding statement of the United Tendency and its
present resolution call on us to "identify with" this nationalism. Any
social phenomenon with such a profound anticapitalist character compels us
to identify with it, and much more—support it, promote it, build it, and
develop a program for it.
What Does the UT Think Nationalism Is?
Despite its glowing description of Canadian nationalism, the United
Tendency resolution makes no attempt to define the phenomenon. (To
complicate matters further, the UT warns us of the perils of reliance on
the Oxford Dictionary!) Fortunately, a clear definition has been provided
by Dennis Lomas, secretary of the UT. He states: "We will use the term
Canadian nationalism to refer to the developing feeling of national
identity of the English-Canadian population." We must assume that the UT
accepts comrade Lomas’ definition, since they provide no other.
The Lomas definition of nationalism coincides, moreover, with the
definition used by the Political Committee in "Canada and the Crisis of
World Imperialism," a definition which seems to have met with general
acceptance in this debate:
"In general terms, nationalism is an identification with the
integrity, independence, values, culture, or language of the nation;
the belief that the nation as a whole has common problems, goals or
tasks; and the concept that a common struggle or process of common
endeavor in pursuit of these goals is called for."
The UT Dumps Our View of Nationalism
as an Instrument of Bourgeois Rule In Canada
The UT resolution contains a recognition of the general character of
nationalism as an instrument of bourgeois rule.
"In the imperialist stage of development, however, in the epoch of
capitalist decay, nationalism in those countries which have
established their national independence and sovereignty takes on a
fundamentally reactionary character. It serves as an instrument of the
capitalist class to mystify its rule, to delude the workers, to deter
them from developing a class consciousness and organizing along
independent class lines. It has been used to pit them against one
another in interimperialist and colonial wars."
Canadian Trotskyists have always held nationalism to serve this
function for the Canadian ruling class. (See the 1968 resolution on
"Canada-U.S. Relations," or Comrade Dowson’s description of the
nationalism of the NDP in his 1970 contribution on "Our NDP Orientation.")
Why is the UT unable to apply this analysis to Canada today? Not only
has a new, progressive nationalism arisen, according to the UT, but the
old, reactionary nationalism seems to have disappeared without leaving a
trace. Were the previous positions of Canadian Trotskyists wrong, or has
there been a transformation of the character of the Canadian ruling class
in the last two years?
"Nationalism finds little expression among the Canadian bourgeoisie,"
the UT informs us calmly, assuming that because the Canadian bourgeoisie
have close social connections with their U.S. counterparts, they will be
unable to utilize nationalist demagogy as an instrument of capitalist rule
in Canada. The UT analysis contains no word of any possible bourgeois use
of Canadian nationalism in any form: neither as the ideology of the
bourgeois parties nor as the ideology of Stalinists and of the
social-democratic NDP leadership; neither anti-U.S. nationalism, nor
anti-Quebec, nor anti-Native, nor antiunion, nor anticommunist!
What can one say in the face of such extraordinary and stubborn
blindness to the basic facts of political life in Canada?
(The UT’s criterion for dividing the world into zones of progressive
and reactionary nationalism—a masterpiece of formalism—is strangely
ambiguous. Is nationalism reactionary in semi-colonies, which have won
political independence—such as Cuba while Fidel and Che were still
fighting in the mountains? But perhaps, in the UT’s view, Cuba under
Batista was not "really" independent, just as they may hold that Canada is
not "really" independent today. The UT would do better to start, not with
the superficial criterion of political independence, but with the division
between imperialist countries, on the one hand, and the colonies,
semicolonies, and oppressed nationalities dominated by imperialism.)
A Progressive Nationalism—Unrelated to National Struggles
In contrast to bourgeois theories of nationalism, the Marxist view is
rationalist and materialist. It holds that national consciousness has a
progressive character only where it promotes the struggle against real
aspects of national oppression suffered by a people. The struggle is
progressive; therefore national consciousness which promotes the struggle
But nowhere has the United Tendency ever spoken of struggles for
national rights, or against foreign domination in Canada, which it regards
as progressive. In fact it considers one of the main virtues of Canadian
nationalism to be that it does not lead to an "anti-imperialist movement,"
that is, movements against an enemy outside of Canada. (How does the UT
explain the Amchitka demonstrations—as anti-Trudeau?) For the UT, the
progressive dynamic of nationalism is a purely mental process: being a
Canadian nationalist tends to make you acquire anticapitalist
This analysis breaks with all we have previously written on the
character of progressive nationalism. It is in total contradiction to our
analysis of Québec nationalism. In general, it dissociates our conceptions
of the development of class consciousness from the process of the class
A "New Nationalism" Unforeseen by Marxist Theory
Marxists have regarded national consciousness as progressive where it
corresponds to real national tasks (winning of national independence,
establishment of a national language, etc.), tasks which originate in the
epoch of bourgeois revolution but were left unachieved by this process.
The present epoch has produced new variations on this theme, such as
the creation of new nationalities (Blacks in the U.S.) or the continuation
of national struggles within workers states (e.g. the Ukraine, etc.).
National consciousness of a progressive character, in such situations,
nonetheless corresponds to progressive national tasks.
The United Tendency specifies that there are no such national tasks in
Canada. It specifically rejects the concept that a struggle against
"economic integration" of Canada and the U.S. is progressive. The UT holds
that the process of "economic integration" is not to be condemned; its
general impact on the Canadian economy is to speed industrialization.
Canadian nationalism grows out of mass opposition to "economic
integration." The opposition, it seems, is not progressive—we are
cautioned against identifying with it. But the nationalism that goes with
The reply of the average left-wing Canadian nationalist would likely be
this: If we’re not going to oppose integration with the U.S., then what
sense is there in Canadian nationalism, except the stale and reactionary
identification with the Canadian status quo?
No wonder the UT stresses the "uniqueness" of the Canadian situation,
and the "newness" of this nationalism. The progressive essence they
ascribe to nationalism has no basis in objective reality, or in
progressive national tasks.
Why an "Anticapitalist Dynamic"?
Canadian nationalism has a "radical thrust," the UT informs us, an
"anticapitalist thrust." For the UT, Canadian nationalism inherently turns
against capitalism, independent of the intervention of revolutionary
Marxists have spoken of an anticapitalist dynamic of a national
struggle in the following, precise, and limited sense. The national
liberation of an oppressed and colonized people can be achieved in its
totality only by a struggle against the capitalist order, which achieves
victory through a socialist revolution and the establishment of a workers
state. Therefore, though such a national struggle can go through prolonged
periods of ebb, and can remain under bourgeois leadership for long
periods, it cannot achieve victory in the capitalist framework. This is
why, in the long view, it has an "anticapitalist dynamic."
An analogous statement can be made about the character of the struggle
for women’s liberation: Women cannot achieve liberation within the
Why does Canadian nationalism have an anticapitalist dynamic? Can
Canadian national aspirations be satisfied only under socialism? The
concept is patently absurd.
Ascribing anticapitalist dynamics to ideas which are unrelated to
anticapitalist struggles is an idealist deformation of the Marxist
How Does Economic Integration Generate Canadian Nationalism?
It is the process of economic integration which gives Canadian
nationalism its progressive essence, the UT tells us in its resolution, in
its attempt to ground its conclusions in the facts. How does this work?
The evidence that follows is revealing in its bankruptcy. Integration
eliminates the ability of the bourgeoisie to utilize nationalist demagogy,
we are told—in itself a startling assertion. But what is generating the
"new nationalism"? The UT mentions "a few disenchanted high government
officials and bourgeois ideologues." It refers to the problems of Canadian
scientists and researchers who realize that more research per capita is
carried out in the U.S. than in Canada. It talks of the nationalist
reactions of Canadian workers against the U.S. based bureaucracy of the
international unions. And that is all. Nor do the many documents of UT
members provide other suggestions of how economic integration impels
Canadians to nationalist conclusions.
We can only conclude that Canada’s progressive nationalism is basically
irrational. Canadians think that U.S. corporate ownership is the source of
their problems; in fact this is not the case.
Surely this would be the first time Marxist theorists have ascribed an
anticapitalist dynamic to an irrational sentiment!
The "Four Great No’s" of the United Tendency
1. Economic integration is not harming Canada, or Canadian industry.
2. There is no anti-imperialist movement in Canada—nor is there going
to be one.
3. There are no national tasks in English Canada, nor is there any
4. Canada is not a colony or a semicolony, nor is it undergoing a
process of colonization.
These four brief propositions of the UT resolution, each quite correct,
contradict four basic assumptions of all other pronationalists in English
Canada who argue from the standpoint of "Marxism." The UT’s propositions
do more: They eradicate the connection between the UT’s "progressive
nationalism" and objective reality; between its theory of nationalism and
The approach of the UT contrasts sharply with the materialist approach
of the theory generally identified with the Movement for an Independent
Socialist Canada (MISC). The MISC theory holds that U.S. investment is
deindustrializing Canada, turning it into a colony of U.S. imperialism,
and undoing, if you will, the work of the Canadian bourgeois revolution.
MISC believes that Canadian workers will feel the effects of U.S.
investment in the massive unemployment it creates, and in other ways, and
that this very real and tangible colonization of Canada drives Canadians
to nationalist conclusions.
The MISC theory is dead wrong. But from the point of view of a
materialist method, it stands far closer to Marxism than the view of the
A Program for the Objective Situation or for the Moods of the Masses?
"We will project our Marxist analysis," the UT tells us, "and present
our Trotskyist program of democratic and transitional demands in a way
which will link to the essentially anticapitalist dynamic of this new
This guideline for developing our program stands in sharp contrast to
the position of the Political Committee. The PC advocates presenting our
program in a way which will link to the real class grievances, the
progressive essence, which may take a deformed, nationalist form.
The UT declines to spell out the implications of its position for our
programmatic intervention, aside from the banal advocacy of
nationalization of monopolies, including those which are U.S. owned. Its
failure to put its position to the test of program demands of the movement
that it buy "a pig in a poke." If we accept the UT’s definition that
Canadian nationalism is progressive, then and only then will we find out
the implications of our decision for the Trotskyist program.
We must note however that in Québec, where Trotskyists have "linked
their program to the essentially anticapitalist dynamic of nationalism,"
this has led us to adopt slogans such as "For an Independent and Socialist
Quebec," "French the Language of Work and Instruction," and "Nationalize
Supporters of the UT have made various attempts to begin to work out a
program for English Canadian nationalism. Harry Kopyto, speaking for the
UT in the Metro Toronto assembly April 1, advocated "Canadian textbooks"
and "a Canadian sports industry." Another UT member, William Brant,
writing in Bulletin no. 34, defended the demand for a Canadian studies
department, and also the strange demand: "Open the resources of the
university to the struggles in the interests of the Canadian people."
It might aid clarity if the UT would explain where they stand on such
slogans as "Nationalize U.S. Monopolies," and "For an Independent,
The UT’s position on linking our program with Canadian nationalism,
combined with its denial that Canadian nationalism has any roots in
objectively posed national tasks or real national oppression, constitutes
a deformation of the method of the transitional program. In explaining the
transitional program, Trotskyists have always pointed out that it is
founded on the objective situation, and the objective tasks before the
masses. This basic concept is denied by the argumentation of the United
Implications of the Nationalist Error
The UT’s position on Canadian nationalism constitutes a fundamental
break with the basic Marxist principles on the character of nationalism.
It would lead us to discount and disregard the capacity of the Canadian
state to utilize nationalist demagogy, and ignore the very real evidence
of this demagogy all around us. It would lead us to accept the confused
nationalist concepts of the Canadian working people as progressive and
anticapitalist in their dynamic, rather than developing a Marxist critique
of these concepts which could serve to lead Canadian workers forward to
class-struggle conclusions. It would have us "identify" with the
nationalist confusions of Canadian working people, rather than educating
them to cut across false nationalist consciousness and develop a
It establishes a false theory of nationalism which breaks with the
Marxist view on this subject and would disorient us not only in Canada,
but in every country of the world where nationalism is a factor in the
Where the UT Theory Takes Us
In "identifying" with Canada’s "progressive nationalism," the UT
states, "we will not become nationalists or some breed of national
communists; on the contrary, we will be acting as Trotskyists—as
internationalists—which we are to the core."
Many of the statements of UT supporters indicate, however, that the
dynamic of the UT’s position is to substitute a nationalist for a class
analysis of key aspects of Canadian reality.
Comrade Lomas, after defining Canada’s progressive nationalism,
continues by spelling out its "progressive essence."
His document speaks of an arising "feeling of common goals,
self-identity, and collective pride." He says "a Canadian nationalism
distinguished by a positive democratic spirit, self-respect, and
resentment towards domination has arisen." In his view, this is the first
time in Canadian history that any form of Canadian nationalism has evoked
a broad response.
"This nationalism," he continues, "is democratic in character. It is a
nationalism that expresses a desire for popular rule, represents the
needs of the whole people, reflects the aspirations of people for liberty
and equality, and directed against the Canadian capitalist class which
stands in its way." The concept of the people as a whole, emphasized by
repetition, stands in sharp contrast with our traditional class analysis.
He continues by approvingly quoting the nationalist self-identification
of Margaret Atwood, who describes how nationalism arises from the
impossibility of being a "citizen of the world," and from the inborn
"sense of territory" which demands that we "discover our place." Her
description remains the only explanation of the precise source of Canadian
nationalism so far offered in the pages of UT members’ documentation.
Speaking for the UT in a Metro Toronto Assembly April 1, Harry Kopyto
talked of the impact on Canada of the U.S. takeover, in outright
"Do you think that the key industries of Canada can be taken over
by the American bourgeoisie, that the banks can pass into the control
of the American ruling class, that the Canadian state can be reduced
to a virtual tool of this process of integration, that the American
capitalist can come up here and dispossess the Indians, and pollute
the Arctic, and dump their wastes in the water, and shut down the
plants, and bring in all the economic and social and political
contradictions that they have spawned in their own country, and
superimpose these contradictions on top of our own capitalism’s
contradictions, without a heightened awareness of exploitation,
without a nationalist reaction against Canada’s ruling class, which
aids and abets this process...."
In such comments, the nationalist "mask has become the face."
Such outright nationalist statements, we have been told, do not
represent the opinion of the UT as a whole. We can accept the fact that
they represent only the personal attempts of UT spokespersons to apply the
UT’s pronationalism to the reality before us. But do they not represent,
in a sense, a good indication of the real "thrust", the real "dynamic" of
the United Tendency’s position on nationalism?
The Politics of Sensitivity
Speaking for the United Tendency in the April 8 Metro Toronto Assembly,
Comrade William Brant explained his view of the real issue in the debate
Comrade Brant’s view is reminiscent of the position of the Political
Committee last July. The Political Committee "Memorandum on the Use of the
Term ‘Canadian Nationalism’," which explained to the movement its advocacy
of terming Canadian nationalism progressive, explained the change as a
purely terminological question and a change required to intervene more
effectively in the mass movement. (The memorandum, which the PC withdrew
three weeks later, is appended to this contribution. Comrade Dowson
indicated his agreement with the general line of the memorandum.)
It is correct for comrades to work to help us achieve a more adroit
intervention in the mass movement; a more precise assessment of the moods
of the masses. But this must not be done at the expense of our program or
our theoretical positions.
Would it facilitate our intervention in the MISC if we stopped telling
its members that revolutionary socialists should work in the NDP? Would it
facilitate our intervention in the Quebecois nationalist milieu if we
dropped our characterization of the Parti Quebecois as bourgeois? Would it
facilitate our intervention in Quebec unions if we dropped our
characterization of their leadership as a bureaucracy, and ceased calling
on them to launch a labor party?
No, we do not change our theory, or our program, in order to be more
sensitive to the moods of the masses. Our theory and program enable us to
intervene effectively, and give revolutionary leadership to these
Comrade Jennings of the United Tendency has accurately summed up our
task in relation to the rise of Canadian nationalism. "We must free this
rising class consciousness from its swaddling rags of nationalist
illusion." (Bulletin no. 34) The United Tendency calls on us to carry out
this task by identifying with this "nationalist illusion," convincing
ourselves that it has an "anticapitalist dynamic," and dumping our
long-standing principled position of the nature of "nationalist illusion"
in imperialist countries. This is the result of the "politics of
The Debate on "Economic Integration"
All of the above comments have been written in the framework of our
"experiment"—we have assumed that the United Tendency is correct in its
view of "economic integration." We have seen that their view of
nationalism does not follow from their theory of "economic integration,"
and must be rejected, whatever the truth of the "economic integration"
theory. Let us now look briefly at two key aspects of the United
Tendency’s views of the "U.S. takeover" of Canada.
What Is This "Economic Integration"?
The UT points out that the economic integration, which it believes to
be now in process between Canada and the United States, is historically
unique and unprecedented. Yet it makes no attempt to define what "economic
integration" means. Many of the trends described by the UT are very real;
others are incorrectly described, but we can hardly take a stand for or
against the theory of "economic integration" until the concept is clearly
The position of the Political Committee on this question has been
summarized in the following propositions:
1) There is a Canadian bourgeoisie, imperialist in character.
2) The Canadian bourgeoisie controls the Canadian state.
3) The Canadian bourgeoisie, tied to the U.S. and world bourgeoisie
by common interests, also has distinctive national interests.
4) It defends these interests as best it can.
The discussion on "economic integration" cannot seriously get underway
unless the proponents of this theory explain how it relates to these
central ideas—how it qualitatively changes the class structure and the
class relationships in Canada. The "dynamic" of the UT’s position, it
seems is to deny each of these four propositions. But its spokespersons
have evaded taking an explicit position on any of these questions.
The Character of The Canadian State
The UT’s resolution, however, takes visible steps towards a concept of
control of the Canadian state by the U.S. bourgeoisie. It states coyly
that the U.S. takeover has "posed questions" as to the nature of the
Canadian state, carefully avoiding the posing of any answers. It states
that "the Canadian state has not gotten stronger as a defender of private
Canadian capitalist interests"—has it "gotten weaker" or stayed the same?
If conflicts between U.S. and Canadian capital have occurred (the
resolution does not seem sure whether this is the case), the Canadian
state acts to reconcile these conflicts in the interest of the whole i.e.,
of continental capital. Beneath the tortured ambiguities of the UT, we
find a clear implication: the Canadian state defends continental capital,
and continental capital is overwhelmingly U.S.
William Brant, making the United Tendency presentation to a Metro
Toronto Assembly on April 8, paraphrased this section of the resolution,
making its meaning much more clear: "Integration means that the major
decisions about the development of Canadian economy are made in the U.S.
The Canadian state is under the increasing control and guidance of another
power. The Canadian state serves the interests of integrated, mainly U.S.,
This conclusion, implying a fundamental shift in power in Ottawa from
Canadian to U.S. hands, has massive implications for revolutionary
politics in Canada, and gives the debate on "economic integration" a
sudden relevance and urgency. Unfortunately, the United Tendency has yet
to argue their case or give any evidence for their theory, if it is their
theory, of U.S. control of the Canadian state. Hopefully, the brief time
remaining before the convention will permit them to explain their view on
The Commanding Heights
The only proof of this thesis—if it is their thesis—has been the
proposition of a metaphor: the commanding heights. "U.S. ownership and
control of the commanding heights of the Canadian economy necessarily
changes the national character of the Canadian state." This would seem to
be the argument that the UT seems to be advancing.
The metaphor of the "commanding heights" is drawn from left
social-democratic thinking. The left of the British Labour Party, and to
some extent the CCF and NDP in Canada, have traditionally defined the
"socialist goal" as being the nationalization of the "commanding heights
of the economy." This, they believe, will change the dynamic of the state
and the economy, and set us on the road to socialism. Marxists have always
objected that this concept abstracts from the crucial and determinant role
of the state. Workers must win state power, and use it to take over
ownership and control of the economy. Only then will the road to building
a socialist society be open. The UT argument has the same flaw. It uses
the concept of "commanding heights" in order to abstract from the role of
the state. In doing so, it abstracts from politics, elaborating a concept
that shifts in the economic base are automatically reflected in the
A further innovation of the UT resolution is the concept that Canada-U.S.
economic relations are exempt from the main tendencies of imperialist
development. Whereas elsewhere we see interpenetrations, in North America
we see integration. Whereas elsewhere interimperialist rivalry increases,
here it vanishes.
If this is true, then North America clearly represents a breakthrough
for world imperialism, which offers it a new perspective of harmonious
growth—as soon as "integration," North American style, can supplant
"interpenetration." But why, if this is the case, do we see such
persistent signs of concern by the Canadian bourgeoisie about its
competitive position on the world market, about the potential for sales of
Canadian-made goods beyond Canada’s borders—including in the U.S.?
In fact, increasing foreign investment and foreign trade makes Canada
more and not less vulnerable to international competition. As a general
rule, economic interpenetration—or integration, if you will—increases
interimperialist competition. Political integration is required to
overcome it. So far, world capitalism has made no progress towards
achieving real political integration of its national units.
European capitalism has achieved a tariff union—but subsidies have
emerged in place of tariffs as a competitive means of increasing
investment inside the national frontiers. North American capitalism has
taken steps towards closer monetary ties, and the business cycle, the rate
of inflation, etc., is largely synchronized within the continent.
But Canada and the United States have separate states. The class
struggle in each country has its own dynamic; the relationship of class
forces is strikingly different on the two sides of the frontier. The rate
of profit is determined independently, and can rise on one side of the
frontier while it declines on the other. This, as well as other factors,
can give rise to strong shifts of capital northwards or southwards—all the
more because of tight trade and investment ties. Regardless of the degree
of U.S. ownership, capitalism within Canada’s frontiers is in competition
with capitalism south of the border.
The Canadian state is controlled by bourgeois whose interests and
holdings are concentrated in Canada. It therefore tries to promote the
relative prosperity of Canadian industry, of capitalism in Canada. To do
so, it must defend capitalism in Canada, as best it can, against the
impact of foreign competition, including competition in the U.S. This will
remain true unless the Canadian state comes to be controlled by what is
called, in the semicolonial world, a "comprador" element of the
bourgeoisie—that is, an element whose fundamental allegiance is to foreign
capital, rather than to capital within the national frontiers.
Despite the "commanding heights" theory, there is no evidence that this
is the case in Canada.
A Final Word
The United Tendency resolution gives evidence of a political position
A characteristic example, is its startling definitions of
"imperialism," "colony," and "semicolony". "Colony" and "semicolony" are
defined in such a way as to place Québec in the same non-colonial category
as English Canada; "imperialist" is defined so as to place a Québec ruled
by a René Lévesque puppet government in the imperialist category as
English Canada. Doubtless we will hear more on this theme.
Hopefully, the future evolution of the thinking of United Tendency
members, and the future course of the discussion, will lead them to
discard the false and disastrous pronationalist theory of the UT
resolution. On this point, we trust the last word has not yet been spoken.
One point is however clear. The arguments of the United Tendency have
not successfully challenged the positions of the Political Committee
resolution "Canada and the Crisis of World Imperialism" on any major
point. The adoption of the general line of this resolution by the coming
convention is the necessary next step towards the further development and
elaboration of our understanding of Canada, its class structure, and its
relationship to U.S. and world imperialism.
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