Report on NWBCW Montreal

Not long after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Internationalist Communist Tendency launched the No War but the Class War (NWBCW) initiative. This launching was opened by an initial call to action, which was based on twelve points highlighting the war in Ukraine as an imperialist war resulting from the system crisis of capitalism, marking a clear escalation in the tendency towards the generalization of capitalist war. On this basis, NWBCW serves as a political reference point in which all those who adhere to internationalism can gather around working class politics and develop a clear practice of militant intervention against worsening conditions and increasing threat of generalized imperialist war. Recognizing the emptiness of reformist, pacifist, and leftist illusions which either falsely believe that the threat of war can be done away with through the present state of things or take the side of one nation against the other, NWBCW aims to take the position of turning imperialist war into class war.

Nearly immediately after the ICT launched NWBCW, the call was taken up and supported by the International Group of the Communist Left (IGCL), which has a presence in Canada and France. Klasbatalo quickly embraced their support and began common work on the basis of the initiative. First, on May Day 2022, we jointly handed out the NWBCW Liverpool statement on the war in Ukraine, working class conditions, and the working class struggle. There we distributed hundreds of leaflets at three different May Day manifestations. Afterwards, we and the IGCL met together and began preparations for a first public meeting of NWBCW Montreal.

On July 22nd, NWBCW Montreal held its inaugural open and public meeting at Bibliotheque DIRA, a local anarchist library, to discuss the 12 points of the call to action, the 1972 Quebec General Strike, and the working class struggle in relation to inter-imperialist war. Discussion was opened up with a presentation on the 1972 strike, emphasizing the importance of the independence and self-organization of the working class in its struggle against capital, the politicization of that struggle, and the necessity for a working class political organ. It also addressed the national question from the perspective of the working class. As the meeting had a good turnout, free-flowing discussion revolved around the connection between capitalist war and many crackdowns on the working class struggle, including the plight of Lithuanian chemical workers and North Sea oil rig workers. The meeting was an overall success with high turnout and engagement. It was an encouraging starting-point for NWBCW Montreal.

After the inaugural meeting in the summer NWBCW Montreal wrote its founding statement to double as an announcement and as a general agitational leaflet. The statement connects the war in Ukraine to the recent growing militancy of the working class, particularly in North America and stresses the necessity of independent working class politics and organization. NWBCW Montreal used this leaflet as the basis of intervention at a climate march, anarchist bookfair and a public meeting on the cost of living “ben trop cher”, and several sympathetic militants dropped them off at a number of workplaces throughout Quebec. While plans to distribute it at the Aylmer SQDC (cannabis dispensary) strike fell through, there is an agreed direction of focusing on more strike interventions.

Following NWBCW Montreal, NWBCW Toronto was launched on October 8th. While Klasbatalo is not directly involved in NWBCW Toronto, it did give suggestions and send a delegation to the meeting. NWBCW Toronto was launched by militants of the IGCL and Group of Revolutionary Workers (GRW). The subject of the meeting was based on general points around the war in Ukraine, the wider nature of imperialism and working class struggle. We were encouraged to see these comrades share our emphasis on the necessity on communist intervention in wider working class struggles highlighting the GO Train strike in Ontario and the looming teachers' strike.

The second NWBCW meeting was held on October 23rd, 2022 on the topic of the interconnection of the ongoing capitalist crisis and inter-imperialist rivalry, as laid out in the Winter 2022 edition of Mutiny. We again highlighted workers’ strikes being shut down in the name of national unity, using the case of the Lithuanian chemical workers as a prime example and went into the details of the capitalist response to an economy steeped in crisis and how they are, in effect, a direct attack on the working class. This runs in conjunction with Mutiny’s opening article “Tighten Your Belts and Forward March!” as we demonstrated how capitalism's only solution to its crisis was massive economic attacks on our class next to tightening imperialist competition, which of course our class will be required to pay the heaviest price.

All in all, NWBCW Montreal has thus far been a modest success. It comes with the grave recognition that no outside force will fight for our class – it is up to us to fight in whatever capacity available against the misery and militarism imposed on us by the capitalist class. With this in mind, we are already planning another public meeting on the history of mutinies and strikes by the working class against imperialist war and are orienting NWBCW towards interventions in strikes and other struggles as has been Klasbatalo’s focus during the strikes of the Covid pandemic.

NWBCW Montreal
December 2022
Wednesday, December 7, 2022