Vancouver is the birthplace of the Internationalists. Vancouver was also the birthplace of the first anti-revisionist centre. Vancouver also gave rise to the Partisan Organisation. Vancouver, to our estimation, is the leading city in progressive consciousness and politics. This glorious city has now given birth to another organisation. The New Marxist-Leninist Centre, branch of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
On November 4th, 1972, members of CPC(M-L), Partisan Organisation and Chullima Collective met in a conference – The First Conference of Unity of the BC Marxist-Leninists. There they announced that all three organisations in BC are dissolved, making way for the establishment of a new organisation.
Delegates to the Conference participated in deep-going discussions on questions facing the Marxist-Leninists in Vancouver and BC and exchanged views on how to serve the proletarian revolution. After going over various points extensively, the delegates unanimously adopted several resolutions, one of which established the 50 member BC Provincial Committee of CPC(M-L) and the New Marxist-Leninist Centre for Vancouver. The revolutionary people of BC received the news of the Conference and its decisions with prolonged applause and great satisfaction. They were presented with the news and the decisions of the Conference through a public rally held on the same evening.
Revolutionary people in Vancouver have had a long-cherished goal to have one Marxist-Leninist Centre which guides the struggles of the proletariat there. Young workers and students have a deep desire to come under the discipline of a Marxist-Leninist Centre. They always looked towards one for guidance. For instance, during the early phase of the rise of the youth and student movement in 1963-65, progressive students received the news of the formation of Progressive Workers Movement (now defunct) with great enthusiasm. The student leaders often went downtown and engaged the anti-revisionist workers in many discussions on basic questions concerning the revolutionary mass movement and sought their advice. The student leaders were always eager to support and sympathise with the struggles of the anti-revisionist workers and valued their counsel. But PWM simply refused to provide any revolutionary guidance. They misdirected the revolutionary youth and students from revolution to reformism, from Marxism-Leninism to “critical acceptance of Marxism-Leninism” and from resolute support of China to “critical support of China”. Under their leadership, direction and encouragement, the Vancouver Committee in Support of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, the Unemployed Citizens Welfare Improvement Council, some Native people’s organisations and some student organisations were simply liquidated. While they used the basic sentiment of the revolutionary youth and students for their own self-promotion, they sapped them of all revolutionary energy and drove them in pursuit of reformism and pleasure-seeking. Disappointed, the revolutionary youth and students had to take things into their own hands and were driven to establishing their own centres. Many centres of leadership sprung up all over Canada and Quebec. The Internationalists was one such centre in Vancouver. There was the Movement for Socialist Liberation in Montreal and there were several others in various cities. These centres tried through their own initiative to solve some of the problems of leading the revolutionary mass movement in Canada and Quebec. Many youth and students, middle-aged and older workers joined these organisations. The Internationalists emerged as the most vigorous and most principled organisation of all. It was built literally from scratch, it attracted large numbers of youth and students and it led to the formation of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). The revisionists and trotskyists attempted to lead the other centres (the ones which did not join with the Internationalists to form the Party – the Movement for Socialist Liberation was one of the first to join the Internationalists followed by several later on) into the blind alley of anti-communism, anti-Marxism-Leninism and to reformism and terrorism. From 1968 to 1972 these groups struggled on various questions. Some of them failed to make a transition from opportunism to Marxism-Leninism and collapsed. Others attempted to study and apply Marxism-Leninism on their own. In the main, the enthusiasm of the young workers and students for Marxism-Leninism and revolution did not dampen in spite of much misleadership provided by revisionist and trotskyists. These organisations are now coming forward to join CPC(M-L) and to give rise to much needed Marxist-Leninist centres in various areas.
The First Conference of Unity of the BC Marxist-Leninists held in Vancouver on November 4, 1972 accomplished the long-cherished goal and much needed organisation of all Marxist-Leninists. It is a great victory for the line of persisting in upholding principle and engaging in hard struggle and having deep faith in the revolutionary capacity of the masses. It is a great defeat for the forces which attempt to bind the revolutionaries to subjectivism, one-sidedness and which attempt to divide them.
What is going on in Vancouver today is just the forerunner of events which will repeat themselves in all the cities of North America. A clear division between the revolutionary activists and the bourgeois intellectuals has taken place in Vancouver. On the one hand are the revisionists and the trotskyists wooing the bourgeois intellectuals and opposing these is the growing unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Vancouver and BC. There is nothing in between anymore. A sharp class struggle is brewing between the two camps. The Marxist-Leninist camp is inspiring the workers, youth and students and national minorities to advance along the revolutionary road of establishing the Party in all areas of work and developing the revolutionary mass movement. The over-all revolutionary situation is clarifying itself. The intellectuals are increasingly siding and uniting with the social democrats and forming a block with them to oppose CPC(M-L). CPC(M-L) is digging deep roots in the community, at the place of work and amongst youth and students and is sharpening its sword to overthrow social democracy once and for all.
The New Marxist-Leninist Centre, right from its birth, is paying very close attention to building the Party on the shoulders of cadres coming out of the mass movement and building the mass movement under the leadership of the cadres trained by the Party. Much attention is being paid to the two aspects. There is no one-sided reliance on the spontaneity of movement and on the expectation that a professional party will emerge from it on its own accord, nor is there undue emphasis on Party building away from the needs of vigorously supporting the manifold struggles of the workers, national minorities and youth and students. The Party is being developed in the course of developing the mass movement for achieving any goals. The New Marxist-Leninist Centre in Vancouver is the concentration of all that was good in the revolutionary youth and student movement and for that reason it is extremely aware of the need to let the masses have their own experience, go through manifold struggles and is confident that they will also take the revolutionary road. What is most valuable in the New Marxist-Leninist Centre is the resolve to oppose those who deny historical experience and attempt to provide idealist and metaphysical formulae for solving problems.
When comrades were discussing various questions during the Conference – there was an air of freshness there. On every question, comrades would come forward to narrate their experiences and correlate these to the international communist movement. There was a great atmosphere of enthusiastically admitting mistakes, having self-criticism and learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones. When Comrade Bains talked in detail about 1. the question of methods of work and 2. the question of ideologically arming the masses, the delegates came forward to affirm what Comrade Bains was saying. They repeatedly exclaimed that it was also their experience. Detailed discussions on the questions of mobilising women for Party work and establishing the Party apparatus at the place of work and the questions of a national agitational paper were all held with a great spirit of unity, the spirit of learning from one another and in the spirit of coming under the discipline of the Party. All these events go to show that a new revolutionary storm is in the making in Vancouver. Vancouver smells of the same freshness, liveliness and vitality which was the feature during 1963-65. But this freshness, liveliness and vitality is much more concentrated and deep and much more wide-spread amongst the masses and is at a higher level. With the New Marxist-Leninist Centre providing leadership in all areas of work, we are convinced that Vancouver will lead the way for the development of the new revolutionary mass movement. This time it will be the working class which will be brought into the struggle and it will further shake the rotting foundations of the capitalist system.
(This article first appeared in People’s Canada Daily News, Vol. 2 No. 12, November 8, 1972.)