By Peter Cherry
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that $221 million in public and private funding will be allocated to a ‘Black Entrepreneurship Program’ aimed at redressing centuries of racism in Canada. This program will not benefit the vast majority of working class Black people in Canada, but instead only serves middle class owners.
Canada has a long history of racial segregation. After slavery was abolished in 1834, many freed Black Canadians did not own land or residential housing, were restricted from white Canadian primary schools, and were not allowed in many public places, relegated to the lowest strata of the working class in service-oriented work where wages were low. Likewise, even though they are more of a minority of the population than in the US, Black people are still disproportionately locked up in Canadian jails and prisons.
Trudeau’s program aligns with the false promise of “Buying Black” as a way to Black liberation. This capitalist logic ignores the fact that the period of “free market” capitalism is over and that the world is in the stage of monopoly capitalism, or imperialism. This means that while there are thousands of Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, they largely cannot compete with the few hundred monopolies that produce exponentially more commodities and make outrageous profits, largely pushing these smaller businesses downward towards declaring bankruptcy.
Canadian imperialism is using the super profits its monopolies get from investing capital in the Third World to bribe off sections of the working class in an attempt to tame rebellion against racial oppression and economic crisis. Trudeau and others in the Liberal Party hope that they can project a false image of care for Black Canadians while at the same time exacerbating class stratification and social contradictions among the Black working class. As is already seen in the Third World through similarly exploitative ‘entrepreneur’ programs that encourage land titling and micro-enterprises, a few get ahead while many are plunged into deeper poverty.