Wage Slave News - Contents
15th December 2006
On Saturday, December 2nd. 2006, Stephane Dion was elected as the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. In a process lasting almost a year, party members elected delegates to attend the leadership conference and choose a new leader from several candidates. It sounds democratic but the reality is that delegates attach themselves to a particular candidate and then virtually become his property to dispose of as he pleases. For example, candidate Gerard Kennedy, when eliminated from the ballot process was able to take his delegates over to the eventual winner and become the ‘king maker’ even though Dion trailed Ignatieff and Rae and had polled only 20% of delegates on the first ballot.
The reaction to the election of a new leader was equally befuddling. From the delegates, radio talk shows and some political journalists, there was conveyed a sense that this was a new beginning, a fresh start, a new pathway to the promised land of equal opportunity and fair treatment for all Canadians, and this is the man to do it. Socialists are well aware, however, that no leader, no party, can make the current system based on profit attain these ideals, save The Socialist Party of Canada which would end this system of exploitation altogether. Haroon Siddiqui, in an article in the Toronto Star (Dec 7th. 2006) entitled “The Dawn of a New Day”, cited the election of Dion, who was against the Iraqi war and ‘skeptical’ of our role in Afghanistan, along with the recent repudiation of Bush’s policies by The Iraq Study group, as indicators of a new world order. Environmentalists’ hopes were raised as much was made of Dion’s position in the last Liberal government, that of Minister of the Environment. However, Tory opponents were quick to point out that while holding that position, Dion presided over a 35% increase in greenhouse gas emissions and Canada ranked 27th. out of 29 developed nations in the clean air category. The Council of Canadians noted that he promoted the privatization of water around the world and the Calgary Sun (December 4 2006) reported that he wanted to find a way to make Alberta’s tar sands more sustainable so that ‘megatons of money’ could be realized in the future. Not that any sane person believes that one man or one party or even one country can solve the world’s pollution problem. The blame for the sorry situation we find ourselves goes to the capitalist mode of production in all countries. The Socialist Party of Canada has continually shown that, while there may be some subtle shades of difference between the main political parties of the world’s developed countries, they all support and work in the interests of the current economic system that is the underlying cause of the ailments afflicting the world such as poverty, war and deprivation of necessary goods and services. So long as we keep as we keep electing these parties, so long will those afflictions continue no matter which party is in power or how many new leaders arise. “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” (Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte).
On the other hand, when socialism replaces capitalism, there will be no leaders, no political parties, and no states, as they are expressions of a class-based society. In socialism, which can only be established by the democratic will of the majority of the working class, it will be up to the people to decide how their society will operate. Elected delegates will carry out the will of the people with no more special powers or privileges than anyone else and would be accountable and recallable at any time. Leadership implies the investiture of special powers in a person and subservience of all others to those powers. Decision-making and policy-making are taken out of the hands of the majority as being incapable, and left to the leader and his small cadre of “experts”. Once the leader is elected, the rank and file who elected him are expected to go away and remain quiet only to be trotted out for support every four or five years. We cannot be led into socialism for if that were the case, we could be led out again by a so-minded politician. It will only be the understanding of the socialist case and the desire for it by the vast majority that will give birth to and maintain a socialist society of common ownership of wealth production and distribution in the interests of all. “ All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.” (Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto). The Socialist Party has no leaders, only elected officials following the directions of the membership.