There Is an Alternative!
– Hardial Bains –
Speaking at an enlarged plenum of the Central Committee in November 1992, CPC(M-L) leader Hardial Bains proposed the theme There Is an Alternative! for the 6th Congress of the Party to be held in 1993. In the course of his remarks, he elaborated how the view that there is no alternative was posed and why it should be countered with a pro-social alternative.
“The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the working class and popular masses do not accept the notion that there is no alternative to a ‘free market economy,’ that destruction and pain are the only alternative,” Comrade Bains pointed out. “Just because the Conservatives are incapable of advance and can only hanker for the past, which they paint in beautiful colours, does not mean there is no alternative,” he said. Referring to the media portrayal of Conservatives and Radicals in the former Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe which abandoned socialism, he pointed out that “the same is the case with the Radicals who, ignoring the entire experience of the peoples with capitalist misery and exploitation, also claim that there is no alternative to a capitalist free market economy and its attendant ills.”
Comrade Bains continued: There is an alternative! the empowerment of the working class and broad masses of the people; the path of ending class privileges and the renewal of federalism and democracy. It is an alternative that puts women and men at the centre of the solution of the problems facing them. By affirming themselves, they can ensure that the economic system is in their service and that they can fulfil their aim of abolishing exploiting classes.
Radicals and conservatives, those who stand for a free market economy and those who hanker for what is called a command economy forget one thing: they only speak from the perspective of the past and see no future.
It is most important to start afresh. The new fresh start must be firmly embedded in the present. Women and men must have both feet planted on the ground. This is the alternative to feigning to start afresh while actually preserving the past by conjuring up past images.
The working class alternative is to present itself a program for its own emancipation. The middle strata also have an alternative: to present themselves with a program for their own emancipation.
The capitalist class is in power. It is already free in the true sense of the word. It enjoys the fruit of all that is best the society can provide. It has no alternative but to perpetuate its own rule.
Knowing very well that both radicalism and conservatism are in the service of the capitalist class, it tells the workers and the middle strata that either radicalism or conservatism are the wave of the future. The working class and the middle strata look at this in puzzlement. How can these be alternatives?
The Conservatives ruled the roost in the past. They did not empower the working class. They did not create the conditions for ending class privileges and the exploiting classes.
The Radicals, on the other hand, openly declare that the wave of the future is to restore class privileges and the exploiting classes. How can this be accepted by the working class and the popular masses as the future of the society? They cannot accept such nonsense.
In Canada, people in their hundreds and thousands have openly proclaimed that they want to be at the centre-stage of developments. They want to participate in the political process and they want to effect changes by bringing the situation under their control. They are demanding that mechanisms be put in place to empower them. They are seeking an alternative and it can be said that what they are doing is an alternative. To say no to the blue prints of the Radicals and Conservatives is the alternative.
When the electorate in Canada defeated the Charlottetown Accord in the 1992 Referendum, it proclaimed that it would not go along with the attempt of all those who have power in Canada and enjoy its privileges to perpetuate the status quo. The electorate was in effect declaring loud and clear that it has an alternative.
Those who comprise the Establishment in Canada were devastated. They had never seen such a thing in their lives. They nervously chided them. “We trusted you,” said Bob Rae, “Now you should trust us.” But the people pronounced themselves differently, showing that there is an alternative.
Even though the Establishment was united during the referendum campaign for the Yes, it is divided on all other issues on a partisan basis. Those forces cannot unite the people behind their proposals to preserve the status quo. There were not a few establishment forces during the referendum campaign who made proposals about this and that but the working class and broad masses of the people found their own alternative. They boldly proclaimed their No! to be their alternative.
The break-down of the statistics of the patterns of the vote showed that more workers and youth voted No! than any other group, concretely proving that the alternative lies with those who are the future of the society.
Starting from the present and taking the analysis into the past, it becomes clear why such an alternative is the real one. Who should have power at this time? Who should benefit from the universal suffrage? Who should wield the legal will of the society? Should the legal will not be in harmony with the popular will? The alternative is making itself heard loud and clear. There is no escaping the fact that there is an alternative.
[…] What is required is to vigorously clear the path theoretically and practically for the people to march on, to bring about the renewal of the society, which is the order of the day. Such a clearing out is the alternative to remaining in the shadows of a past that is no more.
It has been historically proven that all those on the world scale who have been making promises over the past forty years or so have not kept their promises with a very few exceptions. Capitalism started with the promise of eliminating unemployment but has come to accept it as a “necessary evil.” The social safety net, which was provided as a “sacred trust” is now reaching the point where it could well be eliminated altogether.
The Radicals claim they are going to eliminate the ills of the command economy by introducing the very same measures that have failed in those countries such as Canada, which are presently in deep crisis. There was the promise that the initial stage of building socialism would be taken to a highly developed stage as a prelude to communism. This was transformed first into a pseudo-socialist system, during which time class privileges were restored, to the complete elimination of socialism altogether, during which time classes themselves are being restored.
The Conservatives are speaking about the gains the working people made under socialism, which they have now lost. But those Conservatives refrain from dealing with the present condition and pointing to an alternative.
When Margaret Thatcher openly proclaimed that there is no alternative, she was speaking on behalf of both the Radicals and Conservatives for whom the alternative of empowering the people and putting women and men at the centre-stage of the developments is an anathema.
They speak of ideas and institutions, structures and superstructures as if these are the only living and permanent things. For them, women and men do not matter, as they are merely incidental to their manipulations, to fulfilling their program of keeping their class privileges and the exploiting classes forever.
The Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) with its theme THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE! would bring to life the freshness of the theoretical propositions that come out of the analysis of the present. Such a theory is in the service of empowering the working class and people so that they can participate in solving the problems of their social and natural environment. Within this, they could affirm their humanity and make the society fit for human beings.
In the final analysis, the alternative is to humanize the environment, the centuries-old work that has been undertaken by generation after generation of humankind, by all those who were never cowed down by the threats of those who sought to live in the past or by the challenges the future imposes on the present.
Such a theme for the Sixth Congress would, besides other things, empower the delegates and observers and all others to deliberate on the most important features of the present conditions and affirm themselves by ensuring that the Congress takes the required decisions. The Sixth Congress will be a Congress of affirmation of human beings, of their aspirations and their strivings to humanize the environment. It will bring to an end once and for all the notion in the society that a political party can be an instrument in the hands of some individuals who seek to put their ideas on a pedestal so that there is no possibility for any advance whatsoever.
The congresses and conventions, which the capitalists hold, put the ambitions of an individual or a group of individuals at the centre, and with class privileges and power in their hands they go on to whip up hysteria in their support. The 6th Congress of the Party will be a Congress in the service of the people, so that they can open a path for themselves and build their future.
In making this proposal, I am also convinced that this theme, There is an alternative! will further increase the political and ideological space in which the Party operates, ensuring that it always remains in the van of the society. After all, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has no other aim than to transform the society, using those methods that empower the people.
Such an empowerment is a giant step towards all revolutionary transformations and is the order of the day. Such an empowerment belongs to all people. It is crucial that the people participate in inventing and fighting for the mechanisms that will achieve this aim of empowerment and that the Party is the instrument to facilitate it.
As this work advances and the concrete changes take place, the conditions themselves will cry out that There Is an Alternative!
(TML Daily, November 9, 1992)