Letter to NEFAC

Reformism, Pacifism & Anarcho-Opportunism

The following letter was sent to the Montreal branch of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists.

5 September 2006


On 6 August thousands of people marched in Montreal under the slogan “Quebec stands up for justice and peace in Lebanon…NOW!” The demonstration also included calls for “respect of international conventions, international law and ‘all’ UN resolutions on the Middle East,” as well as a demand “that the [Conservative] Harper government disassociate itself from the policies of the U.S. and work for justice and peace in the Middle East.” The list of endorsers included Arab community groups, the Bloc Québécois, civil-rights organizations, trade-union federations, as well as Québec Solidaire and the anti-war Collectif Échec à la guerre to which the Montreal branch of the Fédération des communistes libertaires du Nord-Est (Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists [NEFAC]) belongs.

The platform of the Collectif Échec à la guerre is characterized by bourgeois utopian calls for “a world of peace, based on international relations of justice, equity and solidarity,” and the “reconversion of the Canadian military industry to civilian purposes.” It also advocates the transformation of the United Nations:

“The Échec à la guerre Collective calls upon all nations of the world to firmly oppose the hijacking of the United Nations to benefit U.S. war plans or the marginalization of the UN through unilateral ‘faits accomplis’ that violate International Law and the very Charter of the UN. In this respect, we call upon the Canadian government to work towards the reinforcement of the role of the UN General Assembly in order to face the new international situation and stop U.S. military hegemony.”

How does any of this fit NEFAC’s posture of revolutionary opposition to all imperialist state powers (including the Canadian one)? Social-democratic reformists may dream about imperialist powers “reconverting” their militaries into humanitarian agencies, but revolutionaries know that only victorious workers’ revolutions around the globe will bring “world peace.” As for the UN, it is essentially an imperialist tool, as has been repeatedly demonstrated since the Korean War of the early 1950s.

A genuinely revolutionary organization would never sign its name to the pacifist drivel espoused by the Collectif Échec à la guerre. NEFAC’s willingness to participate reveals a profoundly opportunist tendency to cater to whatever is currently popular with its hoped-for audience. Any members of NEFAC who are at all serious about the goal of working-class revolution must decisively reject all social-democratic illusions about the bloody predatory system of world imperialism somehow being transformed into a mechanism for peace and social justice. Those who aspire to help the working class carry out a social revolution to uproot capitalist exploitation must begin by calling things by their right names.

Yours for Permanent Revolution,
Jordan Briggs,
for the International Bolshevik Tendency