Source: House Photography/Flickr

A new poll by the Innovative Research Group found 35 per cent of Canadians are in favour of “moving away from capitalism”—while only 25 per cent “oppose” or “strongly oppose” the idea. 

The Aug. 13 report found 53 per cent of those polled believe “we need to radically transform our economy.” A majority of those polled expressed support for greater health funding, higher wages for “essential workers,” affordable childcare—and ending capitalism.

Asked if they were in favour of “moving away from capitalism”, 35 per cent said they were either supportive or strongly supportive.

While 31 per cent were undecided, only 15 per cent said they were “strongly” opposed and 10 per cent “somewhat” opposed to ending capitalism.

All told, this suggests more than 66 per cent—or two-thirds—of Canadians polled lack strong feelings in favour of capitalism. And this appears to mark a trend. Back in 2019, a separate Forum Research poll found 58 per cent of Canadians have a positive view of socialism, despite decades of propaganda and slander by the ruling class.

The opposition to capitalism is highest among youth—49 per cent of women and 43 per cent of men aged 18-34. But it remains high among older workers as well. Thirty-four per cent of women over 55 and 24 per cent of men over 55 also expressed support for ending capitalism, despite them living through the Cold War.

At 35 per cent, opposing capitalism appears to be more popular than voting either Liberal, Conservative or NDP in the 2021 federal election. In the most recent election, the NDP won the support of just 11 per cent of Canada’s 27.4 million eligible voters, the Liberals won just 20 per cent and the Conservatives 21 per cent.

Yet, in 2021—as in 2019 and other elections before it—the election offered no major anti-capitalist option. The NDP establishment, represented by its current leadership, indeed campaigned in part on the party’s role in pushing the Trudeau government to extend its already enormous package of corporate bailouts.

Nor indeed are most of Canada’s trade union leaders mobilizing to end capitalism. Many of Canada’s largest unions and the Canadian Labour Congress backed the corporate bailouts as well.

Yet, a large share of Canadians instinctively are realizing that capitalism has failed. And it isn’t hard to see why. 
Even after the Trudeau Liberals prepared over $700 billion in corporate bailouts last year, the capitalists are failing to provide a future for the working class. COVID-19 was allowed to kill 15,000 Canadians, infect thousands directly at work and lower the average life expectancy. And yet the only guarantee this system offers workers today is increasing rent, insolvency and unemployment. The most recent Bank of Canada survey found a persistent “excess supply of labour” in the economy, with a large share of business owners polled expressing doubt they will increase hiring to even 2019 levels for several years even assuming the pandemic ends. Meanwhile, many of those same business owners had no problem finding the money to increase their own bonuses.

So long as capitalism exists, these people will be free to abuse the wealth of society as they see fit. And, as always, it will be the working class and the poor who suffer the job losses, the wage cuts, the rent hikes, the evictions, and the devastation of long-underfunded schools and hospitals which result. We cannot trust these people and this system to run our lives.

On its own, support from 35 per cent of the population is not enough to end capitalism. But it is more than the 25 per cent who support capitalism, and it is more than enough to build a mass movement to win over the 31 per cent who are undecided. There is a desperate need for the organizations of the working class to adopt a clear anti-capitalist program and fight to win over a majority. We are repeatedly told that socialism is unpopular, when the reality is that it is capitalism that is increasingly unpopular. People understand that this system must end. With organization, working class people can be united so that understanding can be turned into reality.