This past Monday night, supporters of the revolutionary movement in Vancouver convened at Metrotown Skytrain Station, a main transit hub in one of the most gentrified neighborhoods in the Greater Vancouver Area. While the crowd was small, the spirit of each of the attendees resonated around the surrounding area. Amidst the torrential downpour, the chants of “Workers Struggle to Be Free, Disarm the RCMP!”, “Boycott Their Elections!” and “No Pipelines, No Tar Sands! Decolonise Indigenous Lands!” could be heard. Passersby were handed leaflets detailing the contents of the Peoples’ Agenda, and many stopped to listen to the speeches of the various speakers present. These speakers came from various groups, including supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Revolutionary Student Movement, and the Revolutionary Peoples’ Movement, as well as the International League of Peoples’ Struggles and Anti-Police Power Surrey. Each of these speakers all spoke on the demands of the Peoples’ Agenda and the bankruptcy of these capitalist elections.
Throughout the rally a collective sense of anger became apparent. People were frustrated and fed up with the conditions of society. People were angry about a system in which they exist paycheck to paycheck, a system where violence against minorities runs rampant, a system where the exploitation of the environment, taking place on stolen indigenous land, threatens the very future of their children. All month the capitalist class and their lackeys have tried to shove propaganda down the workers’ throats, decrying those who correctly understand the pointlessness of voting in a system that is designed so that the working-class loses. This year especially, the state poured hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote their sham elections, yet despite this, the voter turnout decreased by 2% compared to the last election .
At some point in the rally, two police officers showed up, attempting to talk to activists, mocking them for their actions, proclaiming that “you all need us”. To this, one young speaker passionately berated the police for their role in the exploitative system, condemning them as traitors to the working-class and the foot-soldiers of the capitalists. Another speaker denounced the police for their role in the overdose epidemic in BC, where the police criminalize addicts, and do nothing to actually stop the flow of drugs into working-class communities. To this the crowd cheered in agreement, yelling “Shame!” to the two officers, who quickly left while snickering to themselves. Their reaction to the very real demands of the masses showcase their true character as being fundamentally anti-people. As an institution the police are rotten to the core. This election, like all previous elections, it is important to highlight that no matter which Party is in power, the police continue to exist and work to preserve the status quo. It does not matter to them if the Liberals, Conservatives, or NDP are in power, for they operate in the interests of the capitalist class. In essence the increasing brutality of the police cannot be checked by any federal Party, as each of these parties serve the same class that the police do. As various speakers noted, the question of police brutality cannot be addressed by the elections, it is only through revolution that this issue, like so many others, can truly be solved.
With the outcome of this election, it is clear that no true change can come from the ballot box. The re-election of Justin Trudeau, despite his failure to achieve the popular vote , is just one aspect which shows the complete failure of this so-called “democracy” that we live in. Predictably, the various revisionists, liberals, and social-democrats whine about the need to vote next time around, and the need to “fix the broken system”. They fail to grasp that this system is not broken, but rather that it is operating exactly as it is designed to. No matter who wins, the working-class has to lose for capitalist society to be able to reproduce itself. These capitalist elections represent nothing more than a clever ploy to pacify the working-class. Many of the masses fall victim to this ploy, thinking that “this time it will be different”, that by voting they are “enacting change”, yet in reality their vote is insignificant and unfortunately meaningless. Power can never be won for the working-class within a system that is designed specifically to protect the rights of the capitalists to oppress the workers. Never in history has any class relinquished their control over society. On the contrary, such shifts in power from one class to another was and remains only possible through revolution and violent class struggle. Even today this fact holds true, and so while many clamour for fundamental change, it is the duty of revolutionaries to “put revolution back on the table” so to speak, and show the masses that our victory lies in People’s War and not in these sham elections.
Despite the gloomy weather and the general tone of frustration held by those passing by the train station, there was a clear sense of revolutionary optimism among those present. The demands of the Peoples’ Agenda, unlike the outcome of the election, are not temporary, but a springboard for revolutionary organizing. While the politicians revert back to their natural state of ensuring the continuation of the status quo, revolutionaries remain dedicated to the struggles to come. Although the crowd was small, the revolutionaries affirmed that capitalism is in crisis, and that through patient struggle, the call for the electoral boycott will continue and grow in the years to come. Organizers remained determined and ready to face the challenges head on. To end off the night, one final call echoed through the Skytrain station and the surrounding blocks: “One Struggle One Fight, Workers of the World Unite!”