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New Socialist Webzine

"It is Not Enough to Be Anti-Capitalist": Quebec Socialist Declaration

The Front d'action socialiste (Socialist Action Front) is an organization of socialist activists launched publically in Montreal on May 1, 2014. We are publishing an English translation of its founding declaration as a small contribution to strengthening much-needed links between socialists in Canada and those in Quebec and because we find its non-sectarian emphasis on building movements and its revolutionary humility admirable - NSW

Declaration of Principles

We are revolutionaries

We confront the dangers of an increasingly inevitable ecological crisis; the ruthlessness of austerity measures in North America and Europe; the spread of poverty and exploitation in Asia, Africa and Latin America; the atrocity of imperialist wars in the Middle East; the systematic undermining of democracy and erosion of human rights around the world; renewed attacks on the right to abortion; a justice system that criminalizes poverty and whitewashes greed. In the face of such injustice, we no longer believe that this system can be reformed. Social democratic promises have not been able to modify this trajectory. Only a profound change can do that. That is why we believe it is necessary to build a revolutionary movement to overthrow the patriarchal, racist, colonial and imperialist capitalist order.

We are socialists

It is not enough to be anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist or anti-colonial. The revolutionary movement needs a project that gives direction to the struggle. We argue for a project of collective emancipation: socialism. For us, socialism is not simply an economic doctrine, it is a project of social transformation that aims to end the exploitation of workers, women's oppression and racial discrimination.

It is a project for society based on the principles of democracy, equality and freedom. We are not talking about the facade of democracy in the service of the rich, but real democracy where the economy is socialized and controlled by the people. We are not talking about an equality that is limited to equal treatment or even equal opportunity, but rather an equality where each person will actually play a part, without having to apologize for being in the minority. We are not talking about the artificial freedom that allows us to choose between car colors or between bosses, but a real freedom organized around our individual and collective aspirations.

We are Marxists, feminists, internationalists and ecologists

Our analysis of capitalism takes its inspiration from the Marxist tradition. We believe this is a system of exploitation based on the accumulation of capital in the hands of a class of exploiters at the expense of the vast majority - the workers - who do not own or control the means of production and forced to sell their capacity to work on the market.

It is also capitalism that is responsible for environmental problems, and any solution to these will require an economic transformation that challenges the productivist model and is oriented instead around human well-being and sustainability for the fragile ecological balance for our planet.

Our analysis of gender relations is resolutely feminist. We believe that patriarchy is a real structure of oppression whose existence does not depend solely on capitalism. Specific struggle against patriarchy is necessary to end the oppression that women experience. We want to break with the ranking of social problems. For us, socialism is built with all, whether before, during or after the revolution.

We are committed to the principles and practices of internationalism against imperialist wars, colonial structures and racist discrimination. We stand with progressive struggles globally and aim to build concrete solidarity that can transcend borders and goes beyond mere membership in an International. These principles also guide our fight against racism and colonialism within Quebec's borders.

We call for revolutionary solidarity and constructive debates

We do not claim to be building the revolutionary party nor to know the road to emancipation. We believe revolution is a collective and dialectical process that is built through engagement in concrete struggles and constructive debate. We want to work actively with other progressive and revolutionary groups and to contribute modestly to the emergence of a new revolutionary synthesis.

We believe mass movements are the basis of social change

We do not believe that a small elite can bring about socialism - or at least not the emancipatory socialism we seek. We also believe that the parliamentary system is a minefield, forged by the capitalist class to cover oppression with a facade of democracy. Only a revolution based on the active involvement of large sections of the population can bring about the change we seek.

Our three major strategies are based on this orientation.
 
First, we aim to participate in popular, progressive struggles, even when their demands are reformist. We are revolutionaries, but we believe at the same time that immediate improvements in the material life conditions of the population are equally important. Socialism will not emerge from these sectoral struggles, even from an accumulation of victories. But it is these struggles that make possible the radicalization needed to achieve revolutionary consciousness. These struggles create the crises that lay bare the problems of the system. We want to help build these movements, and to radicalize their demands and practices. But we are not talking about entering movements with a hidden agenda; we will be involved in them while being open and honest about our revolutionary politics.

Secondly, we aim to build long-term infrastructure (media, unions, associations, cooperatives, etc.) that will help sustain protest and become more powerful as radicalization spreads. Our goal is to build institutions grounded in popular support that will allow them to shift towards the revolutionary camp once we have convinced a critical mass of the population. 

Thirdly, we want to develop and spread a revolutionary socialist culture, providing the means to: discuss and debate the socialist project and clarify its contours;  to draw a growing number of comrades into the revolutionary process; to disseminate practices that are antagonistic to the system and to build relationships of concrete solidarity within all sectors of society.


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