The Workers' Paradise Still Beckons
The Workers' Paradise Still Beckons

The Workers' Paradise Still Beckons

June 1 st 1992

Hard to believe as it may be, Marxism is not dead in Canada, notably among academics and trade unionists. You want proof?

Barry Weisleder, writing to the editor of Our Times (May 1992, p.6), castigates his moderate leftwing friends for going along with plans to reorganize Algoma Steel into a largely employee-owned company. Weisleder angrily believes that such a move merely plays into the hands of the capitalist exploiters because it overlooks the crucial questions about industrial strategy and social ownership. It is, he writes, "a very poor substitute for nationalization, without compensation, under workers' control." Weisleder was also upset that the trade union leadership failed to support a general strike last fall to protest against the federal government's wage policies. He is of the opinion that "workers can exercise real control only when we control the economy—at least at its commanding heights."

We ought not to be too surprised that people still believe the greatest nonsense, including Marxism, though it has been exposed as a cruel hoax at the expense of the blood and suffering of millions of people. It is disturbing, however, when people who believe in this destructive ideology occupy leading positions. Barry Weisleder is an executive board member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, an important union that plays a major role in developing labour relations policies in this province in cooperation with its union-beholden allies in the Ontario government.

Defending the absurd

Not to be outdone by the Weisleders of our time, Dawn Raby, who teaches Latin American History at the University of Toronto, delivered a defence of Fidel Castro's Cuba in the Marxist magazine Canadian Dimension (June 1992, pp. 26-28). While the critics of that regime (see, for example, Armando Valladares's Against All Hope) have revealed that Castro's regime is a cruel, tyrannical dictatorship that has imprisoned and killed untold numbers, there are still ideologues in the West who stubbornly cling to their faith in the Workers' Paradise.

Castro has succeeded in destroying the Cuban economy by forbidding all free forms of enterprise, including the sale of farmers' products. But armchair socialists like Raby can pontificate about a system that has brought heart-rending hardship and poverty to others from the safety of a free and prosperous Canada. They are not the ones who suffer the consequences of their absurdities.

Raby still believes in the virtue of Cuban one-party, socialist rule. She defends this kind of dictatorship by saying that free elections would destroy socialism. One-party democracy is not a sham in Cuba, writes Raby, who extols Castro's dictum, "Within the Revolution, everything; outside the Revolution, nothing."

This remarkable defence of tyranny is an astonishing example of the power of ideology. Yet people holding such views are appointed to places of trust where they are able to inflict their destructive ideas on unsuspecting students. In fact, they are even paid for doing so with our tax money. If Christian teachers would, with the same conviction and assurance, promote their Christian ideas in a university classroom, they would soon be denounced as bigots. But in this egalitarian age in which truth and falsehood are hopelessly confused, some people and some ideas are more equal than others.

Harry Antonides
 
Harry Antonides

Harry Antonides came to Canada in 1948, initially working as a farm hand and railway labourer. After over a decade working in a chemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Harry joined the newly forming Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in 1962 as a field representative. By 1970 Harry became director of research and education. In 1974, he was a founding member of the Work Research Foundation (now Cardus) and publisher of their sole publication, Comment magazine. A prolific writer and dynamic speaker, Harry delivered lectures all over North America and published numerous articles, reviews, and essays. He is author of several books on Christianity, labour, and economics, including Multinationals and the Peacable Kingdom (1978) and Stones for Bread: The Social Gospel and its Contemporary Legacy (1985). Harry is retired and lives with his wife Janet in Willowdale, Ontario.

Bio
The Comment Reader The Comment Reader