In Canada and the rest of the industrialized countries, unemployment has become a permanent and officially-accepted social ill that affects tens of millions of workers. This situation will only get worse in years to come, and its main victims are young people.
The social services that were supposed to ensure that no one suffered too much when times were hard are now being chopped estensively – just when they are most needed. The money saved with these cutbacks is used instead to produce more arms faster to wreak destruction on a scale never before seen in the history of the world.
At the same time, there is a rapid upsurge in right-wing and ultra-right-wing ideas and organizations. The disease of racism is flourishing in all countries. Its targets are Blacks, Asians, North American Native peoples, Jews; more often than not, it attacks all immigrants, in general.
All the hopes of a better future and the promises of prosperity just around the corner have come crashing down, one after the other. And all this has been happening in the very heartland of the tiny handful of advanced capitalist countries that consume close to three-quarters of the world’s wealth.
For other countries, for two-thirds of the world’ people, the situation is much, much worse. Poverty. misery, famine disease, illiteracy and war are daily realities in these countries. The Brandt report, sponsored by the United Nations, talks about the survival of humanity being in danger.
This is the context within which we have to look at the fairly impressive development of revolutionary struggles, that is of armed confrontations with the regimes in power – in Iran, southern Africa, the Philippines, Central America... all around the world. Within the advanced capitalist countries, the struggle against the rise of the right, racism, preparations for war and crisis measures are bringing together larger and larger sectors of the population.
What perspective should this movement develop? How can all these struggles be united and directed towards the common goal of overthrowing capitalism and carrying out the socialist revolution? These are the crucial issues confronting the most conscious forces involved in these struggles.
These questions are made all the more vital by the fact that many people are trying, in the name of socialism, to channel these struggles in the direction of a simple reform of capitalism.
The past experience of the social-democratic and pro-Soviet communist parties is fairly eloquent in this respect. The same applies to the libertarian socialist tendency which often does little more than promote a more modern version of some very old illusions about socialism without revolution, without a leading party.
In this situation, the Marxist-Leninist movement – The movement that grew out of the criticism in the 1960s of the pro-Moscow communist parties – seems weak, divided and troubled. So far it has been unable to provide a real alternative to the reformist solutions.
This situation has been aggravated with the recent setbacks in the struggle for socialism in China, and perhaps more especially with the very real difficulties in trying to explain them scientifically. This is why we can rightly speak of a crisis in the international communist movement. This crisis is particularly obvious in the advanced capitalist countries where there are not really any revolutionary situations.
This is the historical background for the work undertaken by our Organisation, in particular since June 1980 (see IN STRUGGLE!. no. 211). This is the context in which we are publishing this special supplement on the main decisions adopted by our Central Committee at its last meeting.
In a difficult situation, there are several possibilities. You can retreat and turn in on yourself. Or you can capitulate and renounce the goals you were fighting for. In practice, the first attitude often leads to the second. This is not the way IN STRUGGLE! has chosen to respond.
We have chosen to fight. We have not tried to hide the many questions facing us. Nor have we tried to answer them by reaming off quotations unrelated to reality. Instead, we have tried to pose the questions openly and find answers that are solid both scientifically and politically. We have chosen to go to the masses and confront their questions and criticism so while at the same time stating our disagreements and criticizing what we consider to be erroneous points of view.
In this respect, the fact that we are making public decisions that examine and discuss a number of our Organization’s “internal” problems is in itself a decision that reflects our desire to wage the struggle and our confidence in the masses. There are very few organizations – regardless of whether or not they are Marxist-Leninist – that openly state and discuss the problems they encounter in their work. And it is not because there are never any problems.
We have opted to take up the struggle precisely because we are ready to struggle. Some of the things the international communist movement said and did in the past were mistaken, but not all its work was mistaken. There are also many positive lessons to be drawn from this history. Once these have been more precisely identified, we can build on them in our present and future work.
The same applies to our Organization. After seven years of work, IN STRUGGLE! is now an Organization that is active in all the main mass movements across the country. Our Programme and our publications are more grounded than ever in concrete analyses. Through our work we have proven to many that were capable of defending our point of view and at the same time accepting correct criticisms of our ideas and work.
We would like to mention that the resolutions are not written in the most elegant or lively language and style. There are also some facts and positions referred to that are not necessarily known to readers who do not belong to the Organization. This may make them somewhat more difficult to read, but we have chosen publish the original resolutions as they were written so as to preserve the meaning understood by those who framed and adopted them as faithfully its possible. This was also a necessary choice if we were to publish them rapidly. For readers who would like to know more about the decisions, we will be organizing public meetings in the coming months.
As of now, we invite all our readers, whether or not they belong to our Organization, to send us their points of view, questions and comments on the issues raised here or on other topics they think should be dealt with.
This does not mean that IN STRUGGLE! intends to become a study group for the next period of time. Our members will of course continue to take part in the struggles and organizations they are involved in and in the debates going on there. This is one of the lessons we have learned from our own experience: we think it is essential to routinely link our research and study with our work in immediate struggles and our participation in the debates being waged in various organizations. Research, study and debate are necessary if we hope to guide immediate in a truly revolutionary direction. But this work of study, research and debate must be developed in relationship to the current political situation and the struggles being waged and the political concerns of those involved in those struggles. In this sense, these discussions are not internal; these issues should be debated with all interested workers and progressives.
Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Organizition of Canada IN STRUGGLE!
May 15, 1931