First Published: In Struggle! No. 277, January 12, 1982
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In the framework of preparation for its 4th congress, IN STRUGGLE! is organizing a national conference next January 30-31 in Montreal around the theme: “The socialist alternative in Canada: what should IN STRUGGLE!’s role and contribution be?”
The conference is an important step in the preparation for the congress. On the one hand, after many months of discussion the fundamental questions are coming out more and more clearly and different political positions are developing; on the other hand, there are still inequalities in understanding the stakes and various positions. People don’t necessarily share the same perception of the problems and perspectives. The main objective of the conference, then, is to collectively take stock of the debates with a view to establishing a common understanding, at a country-wide level, of the main questions facing us.
One question is increasingly standing out among all the others as important: what should IN STRUGGLE!’s basis of political unity be today? The whole question of orientation and the tasks to be taken up to build a revolutionary socialist movement in Quebec and Canada in the present situation is a thread running through the debate. The discussions don’t only concern the members of IN STRUGGLE!. On the contrary, the second objective of the conference is to involve sympathizers and militants of other socialist and feminist organizations.
Lastly, recognizing the national character of the conference, the third objective is to facilitate the exchange of points of view and experiences of militants coming from different cities and regions of the country. In this regard we are striving to promote presentations and interventions during the conference inspired by summations of the practical experience in each region since the Third Congress.
Saturday: The conference will open with a plenary whose central theme is the question of the basis of unity of IN STRUGGLE!. Different positions will be presented on the matter as they’ve developed up till now. (See the reference texts below). The forms and modalities for this plenary remain to be defined but, militants, committees and caucuses can begin right away to prepare their contributions on how they see the terms of the debate and their stand.
The afternoon will be devoted to workshops on various themes. The themes have been chosen in light of the most important political questions which have been raised to date. (See box) To get the debates going we could have a presentation in the workshops of different positions from Organization members. We want as well to encourage contributions by people from other organizations. There will be many workshops by theme to permit maximum participation.
Sunday: The morning will be a “free” period allowing comrades and committees to take initiatives and organize various kinds of discussions. For example, special workshops on themes not broached by the conference could be organized at your own initiative. It’s possible, therefore, that workshops on gays and lesbians, on the question of the USSR in relation to national liberation struggles, etc... could be held. This could also be a useful time to hold caucuses and meetings of people from different regions. All those having proposals to make should contact the organizers of the conference.
In the afternoon, the closing plenary will be held but its precise role remains to be determined based on the evolution of the debates between now and the conference. One thing is sure, this will be a spot for evaluating the conference. This might also be the best time for special remarks by comrades from other organizations.
Here is a resume of the main reference texts which reflect the different positions being developed on the main themes of the conference.
On the basis of units: there are Charles Gagnon’s pamphlet On the crisis of the Marxist-Leninist movement, “A contribution to the debate from the British Columbia region”, which appeared in issue 273 of the newspaper; “For a more materialist approach to the struggle for socialism”, in issue 276; “lN STRUGGLE! must make serious changes” in issue 267; “The very existence of IN STRUGGLE! is at stake”, letter published in issue 269.
On the tasks of communists: the majority of the texts mentioned above touch on this question: there is also the text entitled “Reject all models” distributed last fall which deals with this question.
On the question of organization: several letters on this subject have been published in the paper; there is also the text “A critique of the foundations of the structure and functioning of IN STRUGGLE!” in the Liaison Bulletin no.1; the text from British Columbia also deals with this question.
On the question of women: there is the CC resolution from last April which was published in issue 251 of the paper; Josee Lamoureux’s text “To transform everything, even the way we see the world” published in Liaison Bulletin no. 1.
For more information: call 514-253-2041.