lundi 21 avril 2014

Chairperson of uOttawa Section of the RSM on the Men's Rights Fascists

After the uOttawa RSM was successful at shutting down a men's rights fascist event in Ottawa, the organizers of the action were approached by The Fulcrum, uOttawa's English language newspaper, for an interview (available here). Given the increased interest of this event in recent days, and that The Fulcrum's article omitted much of the political content contained in the interview, we are reproducing the interview in full below.

How and why did the Revolutionary Student Movement come to the decision to protest the event on Friday?

A number of Equality Canada’s posters had been deliberately posted over Proletarian Feminist Front posters, a community organization our club is informally associated with and a number of our members and friends of the club felt that the event was misrepresenting feminism and would make our campus less safe. We are not the only campus that has rejected this type of event, it is clear that other campuses also feel the ideas being put forward by Men’s Rights Activists are dangerous and hateful. An example of the type of hatred these groups promote is of course the recent assault on a feminist at Queen’s University. Although equality Canada denies any connection, it is clear she was assaulted for standing up to a MRA group on her campus and we do not want that type of group here. It was brought to a vote at our general meeting the day before and we decided to attend the event.

Why did the RSM decide to protest in the way they did? In other words, why enter the room and make noise as opposed to protesting with signs at the door or some other form of protest?

We feel that these ideas have no place on our campus and refuse to legitimize them by allowing MRA’s space to organize. As was demonstrated, campus security will not protect our community from events that are harmful to men, women and transpeople in the community so we decided to stand up for what we feel is right.

The term "hate speech" was used a lot by both sides on Friday night. What is your definition of hate speech and do you think either side engaged in it at the event? In what way?

We define hate speech as comments, ideas or opinions, which incite or legitimize further violence against an oppressed group.  We do believe there was hate speech coming from Professor Fiamengo as she made it clear that she did not feel the recent threats made against Anna-Marie Roy were a big deal, stating there was a difference between fantasizing about rape and committing it. This legitimizes rape whether the threat was carried through or not.

Organizers of the event accused members of your group of censoring them. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

As students of the campus and community members we have a right to decide what does and does not happen here.

Any other comments you'd like to add?

We support gender equality between all genders, not just cis-gendered men and women and believe that an essential part of this struggle for equality is recognizing the systemic oppression of women and transpeople. The liberation of all genders ultimately includes fighting for an end to the capitalist system.

jeudi 20 mars 2014

Class Struggle or Democratic Struggle? Message to the YCL on the 'Main Political Report' to the YCL's 26th Central Convention

First and foremost, the Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) would like to congratulate the Young Communist League (YCL) on launching the call for the YCL’s 26th Central Convention. The MER-RSM is a new attempt to build a Canada-wide revolutionary, combative, militant, and anti-capitalist student movement. We aim to organise students in the service of the broader working-class movement, towards communism. We are an initiative of the Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP). Since launching in December of 2012 we have quickly grown and now have active chapters across Canada in BC, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Insofar as we are in favour of disseminating communist politics throughout the student milieu, we see the achievement of your 26th Central Convention to be a positive development in the class struggle in Canada.

As part of building the MER-RSM, we have consistently sought principled unity with other revolutionary forces throughout Canada. To this end, the MER-RSM has for some time now requested that a series of debates on “The Role of Revolutionaries in the Student Movement” be organized between the MER-RSM and the YCL, as a means of presenting and reconciling the two distinct communist approaches to student organizing in Canada. In the absence of any movement on that front, below we have presented a critique of the Main Political Report that was prepared by your Central Committee in preparation for your 26th Central Convention. We hope that this will lead towards a line struggle between our two organizations, and ultimately towards the unity of communist student activists in Canada.

Our critique focuses on three areas of the report with which we disagree. First, the MER-RSM does not believe that the YCL’s Central Committee has an accurate handle on the current world situation. Notably absent from the Report is any mention of the rise of Russian and Chinese imperialisms, and most importantly, there is no mention of the revolutionary processes currently underway in Turkey, the Philippines, India, Afghanistan, and Nepal. Second, we believe that the distinction between revolution and reform is misrepresented within the report; we will present a mass-line solution to this problem. Third, we believe that the understanding of the student movement as a democratic mass movement focused on democratic rights –and by extension an arena in which class struggle is inappropriate and detrimental – is a flawed and fundamentally social-democratic understanding of the student movement.

The World Situation

Given that the job of revolutionaries in Canada is to make revolution in Canada, we will not spend much time dealing with a misunderstanding of the world situation by the YCL Central Committee. Indeed, disagreements over this-or-that international event are likely in any organization; a precondition for unity between communist students in Canada should not be total agreement on international affairs. This being said, there are two important areas to which we wish to draw our comrade’s attentions that are not included in the Main Political Report’s section on the world situation. They are: the rise of other imperialisms (specifically Russian and Chinese imperialism), as well as a lack of any mention of the People’s Wars currently being fought in India, the Philippines, and Turkey, or the revolutionary processes in Peru, Afghanistan, and Nepal.

In the Main Political Report, section #45 specifically mentions imperialism’s renewed interest in Africa. The Report is correct to state that European and American imperialisms are attempting to re-divide the continent amongst themselves, in a process reminiscent of the ‘Scramble for Africa’ of the 1880s. However, the report does not mention that American and European imperialisms are not the only imperialisms intervening on the African continent. Since capitalist restoration in China in the 1980s, Chinese imperialism has also sought the African continent as a new source of super-profits. In the 1990s alone trade between China and Africa increased by 700%; today China is Africa’s biggest trading partner, with over 800 Chinese firms (most of them private) doing business in Africa, predominately in infrastructural development projects and banking. Chinese finance capital bank-rolls the export of Chinese capital into Africa; China has become an imperialist power. Indeed, even aside from expansion in Africa, how else can we understand China’s recent acquisition of the right to exploit 1/3 of the Ecuadorian rainforest in a search for oil other than as an imperialist venture on the part of the Chinese ruling class?

In Section #52, the Main Political Report mentions that the encirclement of Russia and China is the key geo-political objective of US imperialism. However, the Report does not specify that this attempt at encirclement is inter-imperialist rivalry; the implication within the Report suggests that China and Russia are at the very least not imperialist countries.

Given that it is always the job of communists to defeat their own bourgeoisie, why does an understanding of Chinese and Russian imperialisms matter at this specific historical juncture? As Russian and Chinese imperialisms continue to rise, and as American imperialism continues to decline, inter-imperialist rivalry will increasingly become more and more heated. A look at major international headlines over the past several years is all that it takes to confirm this observation; yesterday a crisis in Syria, today a crisis in the South China Sea and Ukraine, each more volatile than the last. As inter-imperialist rivalry increases and becomes more volatile, so too increases the danger of another World War. The current situation in Ukraine, where NATO and Russia posture for supremacy in the region, is a perfect example of such a phenomenon; indeed, the talking heads of the bourgeois media now speak of the approach of a second Cold War. It is only through a proper understanding of inter-imperialist rivalry that communists can equip themselves to combat the war danger as it arises, and organize to prevent a third World War within our lifetimes. That the Main Political Report is silent about this necessity, on the eve of a potential proxy-war in the Ukraine between Russia and NATO, is troublesome.

The lack of mention of Russian or Chinese imperialism is not the only aspect of the current world situation that is missing from the Main Political Report. Most importantly, the report lacks any mention of the People’s Wars being fought in India, Turkey, or the Philippines, or the revolutionary processes in Peru, Nepal, and Afghanistan. These revolutions and revolutionary processes are the most important international events in the world today, from a communist perspective. For instance, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is in the process of fighting an armed struggle across large swaths of the Indian countryside, has been labelled the most significant internal security threat to India by the Indian state. In regions where the Indian state has been effectively liquidated, it is beginning the construction of a new state at the service of the oppressed classes. Because this is taking place in the second most populous country in the world, when our Indian comrades are successful at seizing state power throughout the entire territory of India, such an act will have a world-historical significance not unlike the Russian and Chinese revolutions. Our critique cannot contain detailed information on all of these People’s Wars or revolutionary processes, and so we invite comrades to investigate for themselves these exciting events. However, we do find it disappointing that the Main Political Report would spend so much time on the Bolivarian process, for instance, while ignoring the very real and exciting revolutions in South-Asia and elsewhere. These events provide inspiration for billions of proletarians worldwide; while the methods are not totally transferable to Canada, the struggles of comrades in India, Nepal, Turkey, and elsewhere are a great source of excitement and inspiration for comrades here. Defence of the revolutionary processes in these countries should form a central part of the international solidarity work of communists in Canada; instead the Main Political Report is silent.

Revolution or Reform?

The Main Political Report makes frequent reference to both revolutionary struggle and immediate reforms. Three sections stand out as examples of the way that the relation between these two types of struggle, or two sets of political demands, is conceived of by the YCL’s Central Committee. Section #299 of the Report says that “The YCL is a unique group in the youth and student movement because it ‘gets’ this unity of reform and revolution.”, in section #203b the Report says “There is no contradiction, in our view, between advancing socialism as the only genuine alternative to the current capitalist system, and our principled commitment to work to further the immediate and basic interests of students.”, and in section #166, one finds text reading “This view also has an expression in the ultra-left which sees mass organizations as backward or “inherently reformist” and sees the solution as the formation of small revolutionary groups, whether in labour or the student movement.”. While these sections can be understood as veiled critiques of the MER-RSM, they also point to a base misunderstanding of the role of revolution and reform in the broader revolutionary struggle, and the MER-RSM’s stance on this issue.

On the surface, the MER-RSM agrees with these statements; there does not have to be an antagonism between revolution and reform, and mass organizations –even those that raise reformist demands- have a key role to play in the broader revolutionary process. However, we wish to remind comrades here that socialism and communism are not simply a series of reforms, but rather the conquest of political power by the working class. Thus, while it is correct to say that there is a unity between revolution and reform, it is not wholly correct to say that such a unity exists; it is only a specific type of reformism, or reformism undertaken in a specific context, which advances the revolutionary struggle.

What is the role of the struggle for reforms in the broader revolutionary struggle, according to the MER-RSM? Let us start from the assumption that our goal is communism, and the conditions in which we are working are conditions as they currently exist; that is to say, we have abstract goals (communism) and concrete conditions (reality) as the two poles which must be mediated. Our job is to figure out how to get to communism from here; how to turn concrete conditions into our abstract goal. Being Marxists, we understand that the motor-force of this process is class struggle. Thus, any action that is taken should be evaluated on the basis of whether or not that action advances the class struggle, or, whether or not it concretely advances concrete conditions towards the abstract goal of communism. Specific reforms that are fought for need to be subordinated –and consciously and openly subordinated- to this broader revolutionary process.. Fighting for reforms as part of the broader revolutionary struggle, and having the fight for reforms subordinated to the goal of revolution, is the true unity of revolution and reform.

This is the qualification and method that the MER-RSM uses to decide what sorts of reformist struggles to engage in. And we do partake in reformist struggles, be it the 2012 Quebec Student Strike, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa General Assembly Campaign (which one can also find a veiled critique against in section #201b and #201c of the Main Political Report, though one wonders why such a mass based democratic campaign wouldn’t be supported by the YCL Central Committee...), the University of Toronto Transitional Year Program Preservation Alliance, the fight against Men’s Rights Activists, and so on and so forth. What is important in each of these struggles is that while reformist work is engaged in, a revolutionary line is put forward by the MER-RSM. By applying the mass line –the principles of “from the masses, to the masses” and “unite the advanced, bring up the intermediate, and isolate the backwards”- we are able to use reformist work, subordinated to a broader revolutionary program and line, to produce new communists and advance the class struggle, rather than simply tailing social-democratic campaigns or groups.

In this vein we think it is a mistake to bring up the question of creating or not creating separate groups within the context of the question of immediate reforms. First, the YCL is itself a small group that is organizationally separate from the mass movements into which it intervenes; we are left to conclude from the Report that according to the YCL’s Central Committee, the YCL alone has the right to exist. But, different demands also necessitate different organizations, tailored to different sections of the masses. For instance, when the uOttawa section of the MER-RSM undertook the General Assembly campaign, it struck a separate organization –separate from both the student union and the MER-RSM – to form the organizational basis of the campaign. This was necessary as the student union bureaucrats could not be trusted to carry the campaign to its proper conclusions, and the level of unity required to fight for a general assembly was much lower than is required for membership in the MER-RSM. Such an organization –an organization of the intermediate- was far more successful in organizing the intermediate section of the masses than we would have been had we subordinated ourselves to the student union (as anger against the bureaucrats was a pull factor for the campaign), or dictated that only those that form the advanced section of the masses of students could involve themselves in the campaign through membership in the MER-RSM. At the end of the day the campaign was successful and the MER-RSM at uOttawa grew three-fold, vindicating our understanding of how to engage in struggles for specific reforms and the mass-line. We understand the creation or destruction of organizations to be a question of tactics at any given point, and not a question of principle; the latter is a sectarian position.

This methodology stands in stark contrast to the approach outlined by the YCL’s Central Committee in the Main Political Report. Starting at section #175, titled “Mass Action”, and after advancing a critique of more militant direct action approaches, the Report outlines the key strategy being put forward by the YCL: “The litmus test for evaluating tactics is to identify what tactics move the greatest number of masses into the struggle, in the strategic direction.” While on the surface this seems obvious, there is a populist current that runs through this statement: it is not simply a matter of moving the largest number of people, but of advancing the class struggle. And advancing the class struggle can only happen by moving an increasingly larger number of workers to the correct politics, to communist politics. The decisive necessity of advancing the political level of the masses is lost in the YCL’s argument; instead we get references to uniting various strata of the working class. While unity is important, it must be a principled unity around a correct political line and practice; it is far better for the class struggle to produce ten communists than to produce one hundred social-democrats.

Aside from overtures toward the unity of revolution and reform, it is unclear how the YCL puts this unity into practice. Indeed, it seems that the majority of work that the YCL has undertaken –be it the “Raise the Minimum Wage Campaign”, the Charter of Youth Rights, supporting the Canadian Federation of Students, etc. – lacks any sort of revolutionary aspect. For instance, while the Main Political Report spends some time criticising the right-wing labour bureaucracy (section #169), at the end of the day it re-affirms the centrality of the same labour bureaucracy to the student movement (section #178), in effect defaulting to social-democratic reformism. The same can be found in the Report’s approach toward the CFS. And while the same Report argues for extra-parliamentary struggle, we are left to equate mass-action with “mass political action outside parliament” (section #178) ultimately showing the focus –unconscious or not – of the YCL’s mass work. We do not doubt that there are sincere revolutionaries within the YCL, and perhaps even on the Central Committee of the YCL; however, the political perspectives put forward by the YCL’s leadership are decidedly reformist and lack any sort of unity between revolution and reform in practice.

Class Struggle or Democratic Struggle?

Up until the release of the Main Political Report, we had incorrectly conceived that the main difference between the MER-RSM and the YCL was the role of the CFS within the broader student movement, with our position being to largely ignore the CFS and the YCL position being to support the CFS. While this disagreement remains the main practical difference between our two organizations, there is a theoretical difference that lies at the root: the conception of the nature of the student movement itself.

The YCL conceives of the student movement as a democratic movement (as opposed to a class movement) engaged in a struggle for democratic rights. In section #19 of the Main Political Report, the YCL Central Committee writes “The youth and students’ struggle is not identical to the class struggle of working people because it is also a democratic struggle, a multi-class struggle.” And in turn, the “right” to education is conceived of as a “democratic right of the people” (section #197b). In turn, the main task that the YCL sets itself is to align the student movement with the labour movement as “the progressive, democratic outlook recognizes that the students have interests that align with the interests of the people.”

The YCL is decidedly against applying class struggle politics to the student movement; in section #202, the Report states (and here we quote at length because the perspective is significant):

 It is also very easy to write-off an inactive campus as rancid with apathetic, privileged, or ‘bourgeoisified’ youth. Some ‘left’ critics go further than this ‘blame the victim’ approach and announce that there are ‘proletarian’ and ‘bourgeois’ students and, throwing unity to the wind, advocate an internal struggle within the movement. This might appear to be a logical application of Marxist analysis: identify the working class forces within a movement, and propose that they be pitted against the non working class elements. The mistake, however, is to confuse the class with the movement. Today, it is difficult to find a people’s struggle, other than the labour movement, which is not in some way a class mix. As big business dominates all aspects of social life, and attacks even basic democratic rights, many social strata is [sic] drawn into action. Extending the “class war” into the student movement would be disastrous, undermining the fighting unity of student forces, orienting the struggle inward instead of against the main enemy. This amounts to, unfortunately, empty stentorian posturing about the pure revolutionary student line and helps the right-wing agenda, including defederation.

This section is also a thinly veiled critique of the MER-RSM, directly referencing our position that students can be considered either proletarian or bourgeois. However, the YCL Central Committee completely misses the point of the MER-RSM’s line, and in so doing not only obfuscates issues more than solving them, but advances a social-democratic approach to the question of student organizing in the process.

First, we should take issue with the YCL’s use of the term “student movement”. The YCL implies that there is some sort of vibrant living movement that the MER-RSM has decided to isolate itself from. The YCL locates the student movement in English Canada within the CFS. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth; while the CFS claims to represent over 500 000 students, we would hazard that upwards of 90% of its members don’t even know that the CFS exists. Instead of the leading body of a movement or a mass organization, the CFS is best understood of as a social-democratic lobby organization that sometimes fights for the right to free education; indeed, as the Report itself suggests, the CFS has failed to do even basic membership mobilizations for the past several years. While the Report critiques some aspects of the CFS, the YCL Central Committee does not understand that the bureaucratic nature of the CFS’ activism is itself a result of a politics that subordinates electoral victory –be it at the union or parliamentary level – to all other actions. Thus, the Report implores us to not make structural critiques (even though we advance a critique on the level of politics and practice, not exclusively structure) of the CFS in the name of unity. But, the MER-RSM has to question the content of such a unity that sees a revolutionary organization tied to a defunct social-democratic lobby organization that is only able to retain its membership through lawsuits.

With this in mind, the MER-RSM absolutely recognizes that what passes for the student movement is in fact a multi-class movement. This is perhaps a more appropriate statement in Quebec where there actually is a movement to speak of. We recognize the multi-class nature of the student movement both in terms of objective class composition –i.e. there are students that come from a multitude of class backgrounds –as well as the class horizons of the politics advanced by student organizations themselves. The recognition of the multi-class nature of the student movement is central to our understanding of student struggles. Where we differ from the YCL is that instead of advocating the unity of students from all classes under an innocuous bourgeois-democratic movement and politics (imagining that democratic demands exist apart from the class struggle; more on this later), we advocate that proletarian students organize themselves on the basis of proletarian politics, and in the service of the broader working class movement. This in turn implies recognition that revolution in Canada will not be based on campuses (indeed, proletarian students are likely in the minority on university campuses in English Canada), and instead proletarian students should direct their activities towards the broader class struggle rather than this or that campus issue.

We do not necessarily advocate orienting the “struggle inward”, but we are not against such an orientation either. In fact, we disagree that the “main enemy” is solely the big bourgeoisie; insofar as social-democratic reformist bureaucrats within the labour and student movements also inhibit the development of the class struggle in Canada, these forces constitute a “main enemy” that must be struggled against. However, given that bureaucratic elements are often unable to organize around their political line, they tend to be self-isolating and thus largely ignorable; the majority of our efforts are indeed “outward looking”.

The acknowledgement of the multi-class nature of the student movement and a call to organize students along proletarian lines has no connection, for the MER-RSM at least, to any analysis which sees campuses as “inactive” or students as “apolitical” or “apathetic”. Our insistence on organizing along explicitly radical, militant, and communist (proletarian) political lines suggests that our understanding of the current historical conjecture is quite the opposite! Across Canada the working class is increasingly questioning capitalism; as the Main Political Report correctly mentions, for the vast majority of Canadians there has been no recovery from the 2008 crisis. Our understanding of the current conjecture is that there is a real material basis –possibly for the first time since the Great Depression – for the mass radicalization of large sections of workers, proletarian students included. Thus, it is necessary for communists to advance the radical politics and solutions for which workers will increasingly be looking. Our own experience and success with launching what the YCL Central Committee characterizes as an “ultra-left” student organization requires us to abandon any notions of “apathetic” or “apolitical” students; our organization would not have been possible in such conditions. It is disappointing to see the YCL Central Committee obscure this central point of debate between our two organizations. 

We suggest that a central aspect to the YCL’s misunderstanding of the nature of the student movement is a lack of understanding on the fundamental role of education within capitalist society. In section #148, the Report says that education should be thought of as “a right and a tool of emancipation” and not as “a commodity which is integral to the production of a trained modern workforce”. This is in line with the YCL’s conception of education as being a democratic demand, and the student movement as being solely a movement engaged in democratic struggles. But just as we are reminded that the labour movement doesn’t exist in a vacuum (section #161), neither does the student movement or education. Education under capitalism is either a means by which the ruling class produces and reproduces itself, or precisely “a commodity which is integral to the production of a trained modern workforce”, depending on which class position one occupies. Insofar as production is mediated by the logic of capital, so too will education be mediated by this logic. Capital requires labour for its self-valorization, and therefore requires a workforce capable of doing the type of labour necessary according to the law of value for valorization to occur. Education under capitalism, for the vast majority, has the role of producing those specific types of labour that capitalism deems necessary at any given point.

Education under capitalism, and access to education under capital, are not democratic rights or a tools of emancipation, but simply a means by which class position is enforced and by which class distinctions are produced and reproduced. Thus, the slogan “Education is a right!” is not only misleading (it isn’t a right because rights don’t exist), but also falls short of critiquing the nature and role of education under capitalism. For education to be liberating, it must not be subordinated to the needs of capital. This is why the MER-RSM makes a point of calling for a “broad based education which is scientific and proletarian in nature”; it is not simply enough for the working class to have unfettered access to the university, but rather the working class must destroy the university-as-university and destroy education as it exists under capitalism. This is precisely the political or revolutionary demand that must be put forward by communists, rather than the economistic demand that the YCL puts forward by tailing social-democratic lobby organizations like the CFS.

Throughout all of this, what the YCL Central Committee misses is that there already is a class struggle going on within the student movement. For instance, in the context of the 2012 Quebec Student Strike, how else can we understand the split of the student movement into “greens” (those favouring an end to the strike and tuition hikes) and “reds” (those favouring reduced tuition or an end to tuition)? While it might be easy to dismiss the “greens” as not legitimately part of the student movement, this leads to a debate based on semantics of who can or can’t be considered part of the student movement. We think that a better means of understanding this split is to look at the class forces at play, and understand that this was in fact a manifestation of struggle between students advancing a proletarian political line and a bourgeois political line. And indeed, the absence of any such open struggle except at very low levels in English Canada points to the total domination of the petty-bourgeois or professional “Education is a right!” political line, one that the YCL enthusiastically tails. It is only the incumbent student union bureaucracy that benefits from not bringing class struggle out into the open; supporting the student union bureaucracy is the effect of these calls for unity.

Even if we examine the social-democratic slogan of “Education is a right!” –which suggests that we fight for free tuition and the removal barriers to access to education – we can see a class divide within the student milieu in English Canada. For those students from bourgeois backgrounds, education is a means by which they reinforce their class positions. Thus, bourgeois students benefit from restricting access to education as it is a way of restricting access to their class position. We see this political line manifest itself when bourgeois students complain that increased access to education would make their degrees worth less than they are under the current conditions of restricted access to education. However, for working class students, education is often a means of transcending their class position; thus they benefit, or at least have the potential to benefit, from increased access to education. Even with an incorrect slogan such as “Education is a right!” we can see that the idea that there is a commonality of interests between all students, or that the category of ‘student’ can exist as an all-encompassing identity, does not make sense and is not a scientific understanding of the class forces at play within the student movement. A “democratic demand” such as access to education is actually tied directly in to the class struggle and is a class demand; a “democratic movement” is thus also a class movement, with the class nature of the movement determined by what politics are in command.

At the end of the day, the position put forward by the YCL in the Main Political Report –the conception of education under capitalism as being potentially liberating, support for student union bureaucracy, and against class-struggle – is not a communist political line but rather a social-democratic line. It is not advancing a proletarian agenda within the student movement, but rather advancing a petty-bourgeois agenda disguised by calls of unity. We hope that comrades in the YCL will correct their approach.

The MER-RSM hopes that this critique gives members of the YCL points to consider as the communist movement in Canada continues to grow and re-orient itself towards a proletarian and revolutionary politics. We urge revolutionary minded comrades within the YCL to either vote down or amend the Main Political Resolution to bring it in line with the communist approach advanced by the MER-RSM as a means of moving towards greater unity between our two organizations. The path to communism in this country will not be easy to traverse, but it will be only possible to achieve communism with the correct political approach to the pressing questions of our day. “Unity and Militancy”, as the Report is titled, are both important: but it must be a real proletarian militancy, and a unity around correct politics. We look forward to hearing the results of your Central Convention, and make ourselves available to answer any questions about our line or practice you may have.

dimanche 16 mars 2014

Résolutions de la Troisième Conférence des ÉtudiantEs Révolutionnaires

1) Un comité constitutionnel devrait être établi avec pour tâche d’écrire la constitution de MER-RSM. Ce comité devra prendre en compte les recommandations faites lors de la séance plénière. Toute recommandation devrait être soumise au plus tard deux mois avant la prochaine conférence du MER-RSM. Une ébauche de la constitution devra être préparée et disséminée au plus tard un mois avant la prochaine conférence du MER-RSM.

2) Le MER-RSM est une organisation centrée sur les enjeux touchant la jeunesse et les étudiantEs, incluant les droits économiques et l’accès à l’éducation.

3) Un comité d’information et de propagande devrait être établi. Ce comité est responsable de :
a. Produire un document exposant l’histoire du mouvement étudiant au Canada afin de mieux comprendre notre situation actuelle.
b. La traduction et la centralisation de tous les matériaux existants.
c. Financer et produire ces matériaux.
d. Assurer un certain degré de régulation de la «marque» du MER-RSM.
e. Créer et consolider une présence dans les médias et médias-sociaux.
f. Déterminer les capacités de production de propagande dans les sections du MER-RSM et la coordination de ceux pouvant faire différentes tâches de propagande au niveau de plusieurs sections du MER-RSM.
g. La production d’une publication pancanadienne contenant des contributions de diverses sections du MER-RSM qui agira comme forum de débat politique ainsi qu’en tant qu’organe de publicisation de nos points de vue et de nos luttes actuelles.

4) Un comité de coordination pour l’intégralité du MER-RSM, composé d’au plus 7 membres, devrait être établi. La composition de ce comité n’est pas basée sur la distribution géographique, mais ceci sera revisité lors de la prochaine conférence. Ce comité sera responsable de :
a. S’assurer que le comité constitutionnel et comité d’information et de propagande s’occupent de leurs tâches respectives.
b. Assurer la propagation du MER-RSM (Tels que décidé dans la résolution #7)
c. La coordination entre différentes sections du MER-RSM.
d. La coordination des activités annuelles, entre autre la prochaine conférence du MER-RSM.
e. Assurer la propagation du MER-RSM dans les écoles secondaires, collèges et universités.
f. Agir en tant que leadership central du MER-RSM jusqu’à ce que la constitution décrivant le leadership formel soit présentée lors de la prochaine conférence.

5) Une quatrième conférence des étudiantEs et de la jeunesse révolutionnaires devra avoir lieu à Québec en octobre 2014.

6) Un code de procédure devra être établi pour la prochaine conférence. Le comité de coordination devra s’assurer que chaque section reçoit les matériaux appropriés afin de se familiariser avec ces procédures.

7) Le MER-RSM établira une section à Vancouver et a Kamloops. Un événement de quelque sorte devrait avoir lieu à Halifax avant la prochaine conférence.

8) Un guide d’étude de base devrait être produit afin de promouvoir le développement idéologique des nouveaux membres. Ce guide sera produit par le comité d’information et de propagande. Le document devrait suivre le modèle du cours de base MLM, mais aussi être adapté pour le public canadien.

9) LE MER-RSM souhaite organiser une série de débats avec la Ligue de la Jeunesse Communiste ayant comme thème «Le rôle des révolutionnaires dans le mouvement étudiant». Nous adressons formellement une invitation afin de débuter ce processus.

Resolutions of the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students

1) A Constitutional Committee should be established, and tasked with creating a constitution for the MER-RSM. This committee should take into account the various recommendations made during the plenary session. All recommendations to this committee should be submitted no later than two months prior to the next conference of the MER-RSM. A draft constitution should be prepared and disseminated no later than one month prior to the next conference of the MER-RSM.

2) The MER-RSM is a group focused on youth and student issues, including economic rights and access to education.

3) An Information and Propaganda Committee should be established. This committee is responsible for:
-a) Preparing a history of the student movement in Canada as a means of understanding our current situation in light of this history;
-b) translation and online centralisation of all existing propaganda materials;
-c) the funding for and production of materials;
-d) engaging in some level of brand regulation across different sections of the MER-RSM;
-e) creating a consolidated media and social-media presence;
-f) engaging in an audit of the propaganda capacities of the different sections of the MER-RSM, and the coordination of those that can do different propaganda tasks across multiple sections;
-g) the creation of a pan-Canadian publication containing contributions from different sections of the MER-RSM which can act as a site for political debate and struggle as well as an organ for publicizing our views and keeping up to date on the issues and struggles of the day.

4) A Coordinating Committee for the entire MER-RSM, of no more than 7 people, should be established. The composition of this committee will not be based on geographical distribution, but this will be re-examined at the next conference. This committee is responsible for:
-a) ensuring that the Constitutional Committee and the Information and Propaganda Committee are kept on task;
-b) ensuring the spread of the MER-RSM (as outlined in Resolution #7);
-c) coordinating between various sections of the MER-RSM; 
-d) coordination of yearly activities, including the next MER-RSM conference;
-e) ensuring the spread of the MER-RSM to universities, colleges, and high-schools;
-f) acting as the central leadership body of the MER-RSM, until a constituton outlining formal leadership is ratified at the next MER-RSM conference;

5) A fourth Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students should be held in Quebec City in October of 2014.

6) That a procedural code be developed for the upcoming conference, and that the Coordinating Committee ensure that sections are given the appropriate materials to prepare for this procedure.

7) That the MER-RSM establish sections in Vancouver and Kamloops. That some sort of activity take place in Halifax between now and the next conference.

8) That a basic study guide be prepared to serve as a means of ideologically developing new members. This study guide should be prepared by the Information and Propaganda Committee. It should be modeled on the MLM Basic Course, but updated and refined for a Canadian audience.

9) The MER-RSM wishes to organize a series of debates with the Young Communist League (YCL) on the topic of "The Role of Revolutionaries in the Student Movement". We extend a formal invitation to begin this process.

vendredi 7 mars 2014

Report-back from the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students in Toronto

Want to build a combative, anti-capitalist student and youth movement?

Report-back from the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students 

The Third National Conference of Revolutionary Students and youths, held March 1 and 2, was a success. It further solidified the determination of young revolutionaries from across Ontario, Quebec, and BC in building the kind of organization that’s capable of leading the masses of oppressed and exploited youths in Canada.
Attendees from the conference will report back on the resolutions adopted at the conference. They will also share the knowledge they gained from talking with other revolutionary students and youths.
Revolutionary students and youth who were not at the conference, but who are interested in building a combative, anti-capitalist student and youth movement should come out and discuss the kind of work they’re interested in doing.
Together, we can further the development of a real power to defeat the bourgeoisie in Canada.
The capitalist system is rotten! Down with the system that sucks the blood of proletarian students and youth!
For the Facebook event page, visit:
If you have any questions, please contact the RSM-UofT at

Location: Innis Town Hall, room 209 Time: 6PM-8PM
Light refreshment provided

vendredi 7 février 2014

Communist School at UofToronto - February 10th

 RSM-UofT is having its second communist school of winter 2014 this upcoming *Monday, February 10th from 4-6PM, at the Centre for Women and Trans People* (563 Spadina Ave, room 100). The topic is on the student movement. A more detailed description of some of the issues we will touch on is outlined below. We will also have a speaker from Guelph to talk about the upcoming national conference of Revolutionary
Student and Youth happening in Montreal on March 1 & 2nd. This is a communist school not to be missed!

Coming out of the Quebec student strike of 2012, radical and revolutionary students from across Canada have increasingly tried to emulate the militancy of the Quebec students in their own locales. And yet despite the increasing radicalisation of students, the traditional student associations (the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) have proven unable to advance the student struggles outside of Quebec. In this context, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada initiated
a series of conferences -the third of which is to be held in Montreal in March of 2014, designed to bring revolutionary students together for the formation of a real Revolutionary Student Movement; a truly combative student movement capable of winning real victories and advancing the class struggle in Canada.

What is the role of students within the class struggle? Are students a revolutionary subject? Why aren't the current student associations -the CFS and CASA- capable of advancing the class struggle in Canada and Quebec? What type of organisation is needed among students to advance the class struggle? What is, and why do we need a Revolutionary Student Movement?

lundi 27 janvier 2014

Des nouvelles des camarades l'Université d'Ottawa - Some news from comrades at University of Ottawa

L’Association des Étudiantes et Étudiants Marxistes de l’Université d’Ottawa est impliquée avec le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire (MER) depuis sa conception. Lors des dernières années, notre mouvement s’est agrandi de façon étonnante autant à Ottawa que dans le reste du Canada. Le MER s’est répandu dans plusieurs provinces et nous avons établi de nouvelles organisations sur de nombreux campus. Ici à l’Université d’Ottawa, nos capacités d’organisation se sont aussi grandement développées. Ce fut une bonne année. Cependant, comme l’AÉÉMUO a un nom différent des autres sections du MER nous avons commencé à discuter des étapes requises afin de formaliser le MER en tant qu’organisation (i.e. s’éloigner d’une série d’organisations indépendantes en faveur d’une structure, de politiques et de méthodologie communes).

 On nous demande souvent quelle est la relation qu’a le club avec le MER. Bien que l’Association des ÉtudiantEs Marxistes l'Université d'Ottawa a toujours été en faveur de la construction d'un MER formel, notre organisation précède l'effort pour établir un MER, d'où la différence de nom entre les deux organisations. Le nom Association des ÉtudiantEs Marxiste l'Université d'Ottawa reflète également une approche différente dans l'organisation des étudiantEs que celle qui existe actuellement. Au moment de la formation de l’Association nous étions surtout concentrés sur l’étude et la théorie davantage que sur l’aspect pratique. Cette ligne a été corrigée lors de la construction du MER national. L’Association des ÉtudiantEs Marxiste de l'Université d'Ottawa souhaite éliminer toute ambiguïté au sujet de sa relation avec le MER. C’est pourquoi nous changeons officiellement le nom de l’organisation à « Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire - Université d’Ottawa ». 

Nous croyons que ceci reflète mieux notre méthode d’organisation. Ceci nous unit aussi avec les autre MER à Montréal, Québec, Guelph, Toronto et même ici à Ottawa à l’Université de Carleton et au collège Algonquin. Mais surtout, nous faisons ceci pour montrer que nous sommes sans équivoque en faveur de la construction d'un mouvement canadien d’étudiantEs révolutionnaires uniEs et que nous avons pleinement confiance dans le processus déjà en cours. Nous invitons tout le monde qui souhaite faire partie de ces efforts à participer à la troisième Conférence Nationale de la Jeunesse et des ÉtudiantEs Révolutionnaires qui se tiendra le 1-2 mars à Montréal.

The uOttawa Marxist Students' Association has been actively involved in the creation of the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) since the RSM's initial conception. Over the past year our movement has grown in ways that we did not expect, both in Ottawa and across Canada. We've expanded the RSM to new provinces, seeded organizations on new campuses, and have built our own capacity at uOttawa by an incredible amount. It's been a good year.
However, given that the Marxist Students' Association has a different name than other sections of the RSM, as we begin to look at the concrete steps necessary to formalize the RSM as an organization (i.e. move away from a series of independent and autonomous organizations towards a more overarching structure, politics, and approach to work), we are continually asked about the nature of our relationship to the broader RSM. While the uOttawa Marxist Students' Associaton has consistently been in favour of building a formal RSM, our own organization has existed since before the effort to establish an RSM was underway; hence the difference in naming conventions between the two organizations. Also, the name "Marxist Students' Association" reflected a different tactical approach to student organizing than is now practiced by our organization; at the time of the Marxist Students' Association's creation, we were far less focused on action and far more focused on study. This line has been corrected through our engagement with the building of a Canada-wide RSM.

The Marxist Students' Association wishes to end all ambiguity as to the nature of our relationship with the broader RSM. As such, we are formally re-naming our organization the Revolutionary Student Movement: uOttawa Chapter. We do this to reflect our better approach to organizing. We do this to stand united with other RSM sections in Montreal, Quebec City, Guelph, Toronto, and even here in Ottawa at Carleton University and Algonquin College. But most of all we do this to show that we are unequivocally in favour of the construction of a pan-Canadian united revolutionary student movement, and that we have full confidence in the process already underway.

We invite everyone that wishes to be part of these efforts to organize themselves and attend the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students, to be held on March 1-2 in Montreal.
See you in March!

jeudi 9 janvier 2014

Appel à la Troisième Conférence Étudiante Révolutionnaire

C'est présentement le meilleur moment depuis plus d'une génération pour être révolutionnaire. Les conditions objectives pour l'émergence d'un mouvement révolutionnaire authentique au Canada sont réunies. Le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire fait partie d'une tentative de construire les conditions subjectives – l'organisation consciente des communistes – vers un point où l'on sera capables de faire face aux défis et de profiter des opportunités que l'histoire nous offre.

En ce moment, deux phénomènes inter-reliés ont le potentiel de pousser la lutte des classes au Canada à un degré qualitativement plus élevé et on doit répondre aux deux si on souhaite réaliser ce potentiel. D'une part, le taux croissant de jeunes travailleurs et travailleuses, d'étudiants et d'étudiantes qui arrivent spontanément à des conclusions communistes malgré un isolement relatif les un-e-s des autres – culminant parfois en la création de petits groupes indépendants sur un campus ou dans une ville – et qui constituent presque plus rapidement le noyau, quoiqu'encore novice, de la prochaine génération de leaders anticapitalistes et communistes. Ces forces, qui en général appuient le militantisme et la révolution tout en rejetant le réformisme et le révisionnisme qui ne mènent qu'à rien d'autre qu'à l'échec, commencent elles-mêmes à se rallier les unes et les autres alors qu'elles étaient auparavant dispersé-e-s. Cette tendance à l'unité doit être appuyée de façon à s'étendre davantage, se manifestant par l'unité dans la théorie et dans la pratique.

D'autre part, il y a une conscience politique plus avancée parmi les masses en général. Les travailleurs et les travailleuses qui négligent de participer au simulacre d'élections de la bourgeoisie constituent un nombre record. Les étudiant-e-s du Québec ont montré à nouveau la force de l'unité, de l'action et du militantisme. Les Premières Nations résistent à l'appropriation coloniale de leurs territoires et à l'exploitation de leurs ressources aux mains des entreprises capitalistes avec une fréquence et un militantisme que l'on n'avait pas vu depuis plus d'une décennie. Bien qu'aucun de ces groupes ne soient absolument corrects dans leur vision ou leur stratégie, ils représentent un mécontentement croissant par rapport à l'état actuel des choses et nous indiquent une occasion de rallier les éléments les plus avancés parmi ces tendances dans une ligne politique cohérente qui peut motiver les gens à agir. Les masses n'ont pas été aussi prêtes à être ralliées à une ligne politique révolutionnaire depuis un bon bout de temps.

La spontanéité est commune aux deux phénomènes. Ce dont nous avons besoin maintenant, c'est d'une part la capacité à organiser cette spontanéité, pour la rendre cohérente, stable et permanente. D'autre part, nous devons fournir des réponses révolutionnaires aux questions pressantes de notre temps de façon à faire des avancées parmi les étudiant-e-s prolétarien-nes qui sont de plus en plus à voir leurs diplômes liés à une économie qui n'a plus rien à leur offrir, sauf le chômage, les dettes et une vie où l'on s'en sort à peine. Ce n'est pas une question que nous devrions laisser au hasard, c'est plutôt une raison pour laquelle on doit s'organiser et se préparer. Cette préparation va demander que l'on développe une approche théorique solide, une capacité pratique et une structure organisationnelle.

Ce phénomène est l'impulsion pour le mouvement étudiant révolutionnaire national uni que nous construisons. Imaginez : une organisation nationale, unie autour d'une politique explicitement communiste et active dans la construction d'un mouvement révolutionnaire avec le souffle et la profondeur nécessaires pour réellement menacer le capitalisme. Une organisation avec de la propagande systématique, des campagnes coordonnées et une perspective politique claire. Une organisation qui peut puiser dans les expériences des organisatrices et des organisateurs révolutionnaires partout au pays, qui peut synthétiser ces expériences dans des stratégies et développer la théorie et la pratique pour être capables d'amener des sections significatives des masses à agir.
Avec ce but en tête, le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire lance un appel pour toute la jeunesse, tous les étudiants et toutes les étudiantes révolutionnaires à se rassembler pour la 3e Conférence de la jeunesse et des étudiant-e-s révolutionnaires! Prévue en Mars 2014 à Montréal, cette conférence a pour but de :

  • Déterminer les pré-conditions nécessaires pour fonder une organisation nationale

  • Évaluer la situation actuelle à la lumière de ces pré-conditions;

  • Déterminer les étapes nécessaires pour rencontrer ces pré-conditions

Suivant les 1ère et 2e conférences à Toronto et Ottawa, notre réseau s'est étendu substantiellement en taille et en portée. Notre travail des derniers mois, que ce soit en organisant des communistes conscient-e-s ou en amenant nos politiques vers les masses où nous les avons rejoints dans les luttes qu'elles ont initiées, a généré des gains significatifs et des leçons importantes qui devraient être systématisées, et cette conférence sera l'occasion parfaite pour le faire.

L'époque où l'on se contentait de cacher nos politiques communistes, en les effaçant toujours plus dans chaque mouvement pour une nouvelle réforme socio-démocrate, est désormais révolue. Nous avons appris dans le développement de nos luttes respectives que si nous ne mettons pas le communisme sur la table, personne ne le fera.

Nous invitons les organisations locales et les individus à produire des contributions concernant ces questions et à les soumettre six semaines avant la conférence pour les compiler dans un document qui sera remis aux participant-e-s à la Conférence.

Les inscriptions se font dès maintenant en ligne, ici. Pour plus d'informations, écrivez-nous au

C'est maintenant le temps d'avancer et de créer quelque chose qui pourra changer le paysage politique sur les campus et au-delà. C'est le moment d'aller plus loin que les limites du monde dans lequel nous sommes nés et de commencer à transformer le monde pour nous-mêmes. C'est le moment de nous affirmer nous-mêmes, c'est à nous maintenant de marquer l'histoire.

On se voit en mars.

mercredi 8 janvier 2014

Call-out for the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students

Call-out for the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students

Montreal - March 1-2, 2014

This is the best time in over a generation to be a revolutionary. The objective conditions for the emergence of a genuine revolutionary movement in Canada exist. The Revolutionary Student Movement is part of an attempt to build up the subjective conditions – the self-conscious self-organization of communists – to a point where we can face the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities history is presenting us with.

Right now, two interrelated phenomena have the potential to push the class struggle in Canada to a qualitatively higher level and we need to respond to both if we intend for this potential to be realized.

On the one hand is the increasing rate at which young workers and students are spontaneously reaching communist conclusions in relative isolation from one another – sometimes culminating in the formation of small, independent groups on one campus or in one city – and which is ever-more-quickly creating the core, though still in its infancy, of the next generation of communist and anti-capitalist leaders. These forces, who in general embrace militancy and revolution while rejecting the reformism and revisionism they've seen come to nothing but failure, are themselves beginning to rally toward one another where once they were scattered. This tendency toward unity needs to be fostered so that it can expand, manifesting itself as unity in theory and practice.

On the other hand is the perfusion among the masses generally of more advanced consciousness. Workers in record numbers are neglecting to participate in the bourgeoisie's sham elections. Students in Quebec showed again the power of unity, activity and militancy. First Nations are resisting the colonial appropriation of their territory and exploitation of their resources at the hands of capitalist enterprise with a frequency and militancy not seen in well over a decade. Though none of them absolutely correct in vision or strategy, they represent a growing discontent with the current state of affairs and indicate an opportunity for us to condense the most advanced among these tendencies into a coherent political line that can galvanize people into action. The masses have not been so ready to be won over to a revolutionary line for some time.

Common to both these phenomena is their spontaneity. What we need now on the one hand is the ability to organize that spontaneity, to make it coherent, stable and permanent. On the other we need to provide revolutionary answers to the pressing questions of our day in order to make headway among proletarian students who are more and more staring down the barrel of graduation into an economy that has nothing to offer them but unemployment, debt, and a lifetime of barely getting by. This is not a matter we should leave to chance, it's one we need to organize and prepare ourselves for. That preparation will require that we develop a robust theoretical approach, practical capacity, and organizational structure.

These phenomena are the impetus and impulse for the nation-wide, united, revolutionary students' movement we're building. Imagine: a national organization, united around explicitly-communist politics and active in building a revolutionary movement with the breadth and depth necessary to actually challenge capitalism. An organization with systematized propaganda, coordinated campaigns, and a clear political perspective. An organization that can draw from the experiences of revolutionary organizers across the country, synthesize those experiences into strategy, and develop the theory and practice capable of moving significant sections of the masses into action.

With this purpose in mind, the Revolutionary Students' Movement is extending a call for all revolutionary youth and students to come together for the 3rd Conference of the Revolutionary Youth and Students! Scheduled for March, 2014 in Montéal, this conference aims to:

-Determine the necessary preconditions for founding a national organization
-Evaluate the current situation in light of those preconditions
-Outline the steps necessary for those preconditions to be met

Following the 1st and 2nd conferences in Toronto and Ottawa, our network has expanded substantially in size and scope. Our work over the past months, whether organizing conscious communists or bringing our politics to the masses where we join them in the struggles they initiate, has generated significant gains and valuable lessons that should be systematized and this conference is the perfect opportunity to do that.

Gone are the days where we content ourselves to hide our communist politics, sublimating them into one after another disjointed movement for social democratic reform. We have learned in the development of our respective struggles that, if we don't make the case for communism, nobody will.

We request that local organizations and individuals develop contributions toward these questions and submit them six weeks in advance of the conference for compilation into a document that will be distributed to those in attendance.

Registration is now open. For more information, email 

Now is the time to push forward and create something that will change the political landscape on campus and beyond. It's the time to move beyond the limitations of the world we were born into and start shaping that world for ourselves. It's time to come into our own. It's time to make history.

See you in March.

(PDF Version Available)

lundi 30 décembre 2013

Registration - 3rd Revolutionary Student Conference - Montreal 2014 - 3e Conférence étudiante révolutionnaire - Inscription

This is the best time in over a generation to be a revolutionary. The objective conditions for the emergence of a genuine revolutionary movement in Canada exist. The Revolutionary Student Movement is part of an attempt to build up the subjective conditions  to a point where we can face the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities history is presenting us with.

For any question, contact 

C'est présentement le meilleur moment depuis plus d'une génération pour être révolutionnaire. Les conditions objectives pour l'émergence d'un mouvement révolutionnaire authentique au Canada sont réunies. Le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire fait partie d'une tentative de construire les conditions subjectives vers un point où l'on sera capables de faire face aux défis et de profiter des opportunités que l'histoire nous offre.

Pour toute question, contacte le