[Marxism] Re: Regarding Canada's international role

David Walters dwalters at marxists.org
Tue Aug 16 11:09:23 MDT 2005

This is one of those situations where "the Cubans have to do their  
thing and we have to do ours". That Canada has a softer policy on  
Cuba vis-a-vis the embargo that few countries, including all  
imperialist ones, have abandoned is a 'good thing' of course. When I  
was in Cuba in 1980, the Canadian tourists I met LOVED the embargo by  
the US...it's one of the only places in the world they could go to  
where there were no Yankees. Ha!

I agree with the point that the Canadian trading policy, independent  
of Washington, is a point of pride for the Canadian gov't; the  
Canadian version of the Mexican position (which supported Cuba,  
diplomatically, from day one of the revolution there). It also plays  
into the make-believe fantasy of Canadian political culture that  
seems to define itself as "Canadian" by how un-yankee they are. I  
love that when I visit Canada!

It also has some less humorous aspects, such the ecosystem. In the  
Alaska pan-handle, Alaskans, overwhelmingly Republican BTW, are  
almost up in arms over British Canadian aquaculture: farm-raised  
Atlantic salmon, high in concentrations of PCBs and escapees that  
dilute the wild salmon industry that the Pan-handle folks depend on.  
When I was in Vancouver, interestingly, I met some forrest activists  
(young HS activists and ex-ISOers as it happens) that simply  
*despised* the US housing boom because it means that 80% of Canadian  
forrest products travel south to support the boom, depleting  
Vancouver and BC old-growth forrest (Canada has little, it seems, in  
the way of protection of these old growth forests, so American  
victories in this area have a negative consequence in up North).

I agree with Walter's sentiments to the degree that socialists ought  
to point out that Canada's trading policy with Cuba, factually, is  
not reactionary and is something of a parity between two countries  
with diplomatic relations. I would think any socialist candidate for  
office would not only defend this but want to expand it and direct  
portions of Canada's foreign aid to Cuba as well. I do agree that  
touting it as a solution to Cuba's problem is down right wrong  
politically since it implies that all we need is better trade (a la  
Communist Party's 'peaceful co-existance') and not the overthrow of  
capitalism in Canada and the rest of the world.

My whole point is that the Canadian revolutionaries need to develop a  
totally independent position vis-a-vis politics in the Canadian state  
and not subordinate their positions to what is on the minds of the  
Cuban Foreign Ministry on any given day. This also means, and  
especially, how to extend solidarity to Cuba, from the point of view,  
and from the parameters of, the Canadian working class and oppressed  

David Walters

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