Throughout its entire history the CPC(ML) has not only sabotaged the struggle to lay the conditions for the creation of the Canadian proletarian Party, namely: the elaboration of a communist program which rigorously demarcates from revisionism; the unity of all communists around this program; and the rallying of the first contingent of the vanguard of the working class to the proletarian line. It has also tried to revise the very conception of the party and of revolution, in order to provide a theoretical rationale for the aspirations of its class and its desire to impose the hegemony of the radical representatives of the petty-bourgeoisie over the Canadian working class.
The analysis which we have done up to this point of CPC(ML)’s line should be enough to show quite clearly that this neo-revisionist group, far from having made a clear-cut demarcation from revisionism on the essential points of program, has on the contrary taken up and even further developed a revisionist program itself.
CPC(ML) often repeats and has always made a big issue of the fact that they were able to oppose revisionism because of a “new style of work” inspired by the Chinese Cultural Revolution which is based on Mao Tse-tung Thought. But while this “New Look” style might be useful to cover up some of the wrinkles of an aging revisionism, it doesn’t get us one inch closer to a rigorous demarcation from the revisionist program, particularly on the decisive questions of the path of the revolution in Canada. In the 1970 Political Report, which must be considered as the founding document of this would-be Marxist-Leninist party, CPC(ML) takes up the theme of its “victory over revisionism”:
“In the sphere of building the theory and tactics of the anti-imperialist revolution of the Canadian working class and Canadian people, we have begun the development of a genuinely revolutionary style of work, the mass democratic, anti-imperialist style of work, an entirely new method suitable for the conditions of Canada, where the political rights of the broad masses of the people to organize themselves are being violently suppressed by the armed state of the Canadian compradors. With this method of work we have drawn clear lines between ourselves and all social-democratic trends... Thus, in the political sphere, our concrete experience has taught us that following the mass democratic anti-imperialist style of work necessarily leads to the establishment of revolutionary committees... On account of this, we have introduced into the Canadian working class and Canadian people an entirely new style of work.”
We will see in chapter four just what is hidden behind this slogan of a “completely new style of work”...
But if CPC(ML) puts a lot of stress on its “completely new style of work” as the thing which demarcates it from revisionism, and if it reduces political line to organizational tasks, it is even more strongly opposed to the decisive importance of founding the party on the basis of a truly communist program.
“We must study through actual struggles and, following Lin Piao, study only when we have a concrete problem in mind. If we don’t do this we will have a program of self-cultivation which is not revolutionary work. Ideological propaganda at the place of work and organization of the non-unionized workers; this is what we have to do... Out of this will develop a mass struggle which will give rise to class analysis and programme.”
So there’s no use creating the party on the basis of a communist program clearly demarcated from revisionism. No, what we have to do is to develop the struggles of the masses – as if the masses had waited with baited breath for CPC(ML) to come on the scene before they started to struggle! If this is done, then a class analysis and a communist program will emerge like magic out of the “developed” mass movement. And so not only did Bains go out and create his CPC(ML) without any program, but he even admitted in 1975 that “during the period of 1963 to 1975... our theoretical foundation was tremendously weak. Even though we provided analysis of imperialist culture and sorted out certain problems of establishing a Marxist-Leninist Party and leading some general practical work, we have not yet established a solid theoretical foundation for our Party work.”
Does anyone need to be reminded that Lin Piao, the chief inspiration for Bain’s thinking, was a Chinese revisionist who used the little red book of Quotations from Chairman Mao to prevent the masses from grasping Marxism-Leninism by taking Mao’s writings and reducing them down to some kind of cookbook of kitchen recipes? Need we recall that the “analysis of imperialist culture” that Bains is talking about here consisted of elevating “the petty-bourgeoisie, especially university students” to the status of the vanguard of the revolution? Must we point out that among the “problems of establishing a Marxist-Leninist Party and leading some general practical work” that Bains forgot a little something called a class analysis of Canada and a communist program?
Declaring that “the more you study, the more foolish you become”, CPC(ML) set out to work by “clearly” indicating to the Canadian proletariat the main enemy on whom it should concentrate its attack...
“US trade unions are the greatest enemy of the working class”. “The main enemies of the movement and of the people at the present time... are all those who are unwilling to undergo the transformation required of a revolutionary”. “The main enemy of the working class in British Columbia is social democracy”. “The chief enemy of our people is US imperialism”. “The two superpowers have become the main enemy of the people of the world including the Canadian people”.
This long list of main enemies prompted the author of an article in the August-September 1975 issue of the journal Canadian Revolution to add: “We would certainly hate to see what would happen to CPC(ML) if they were to study and become even more foolish!”.
Leaving aside the various reformist platforms which the CPC(ML) elaborated over the years in order to put a little meat onto the bones of the many “united fronts” and other so-called mass organizations they set up, and apart from the electoral programs like the Communist Manifesto for the 1972 Federal Elections, we only know of one programmatic document by CPC(ML) and that is the first section of the Constitution which is mostly, as you might expect, a self-glorification of CPC(ML). Purporting to be a “demarcation” from revisionism, the first sentence of this document tells us:
“The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), as distinguished from the Revisionist Party of Canada, is the political party of the proletariat.”
Having established that fact, CPC(ML) is free to go on and present the essentials of its revisionist line:
“The basic program of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is to complete the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution, whereby the first stage towards the total overthrow of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes will be accomplished...”
After a few pages dedicated to presenting the opportunist history of its own organization in epic form, CPC(ML) gives us its deep and “definite” demarcation with revisionism, which is... the thoughts of Chairman Bains!
“Whenever the Party followed the correct methods of work developed under the leadership of Comrade Bains by creatively applying Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought to the concrete conditions of Canada, our Party moved forward. When we deviated from this correct path, our Party suffered temporary setbacks.”
Of course this document of CPC(ML)’s is more or less obliged to pay lip service to the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat in order not to be immediately exposed. But to understand what CPC(ML) means when it uses this term we must turn to another of the party’s “programs”, namely their electoral program of 1972. It should be clear that even though CPC(ML) doesn’t have a communist program, instead they have lots of reformist and revisionist platforms which have been published from time, to time when it suited their fancy.
“Our problem – the monopoly capitalist class”. This subtitle from the Communist Manifesto for the Federal Elections of 1972 serves as an introduction to the “big problem” in Canada, the absence of a “genuine” and “vigorous” national market which would permit “our own”, “true” national bourgeoisie to blossom. In other words:
“The monopoly capitalist class never developed a national economy in Canada and Quebec. It never strived to develop a national market with its own mines, agriculture and industry. Instead of that we have an economy which after the Second World War was essentially an appendix of English economy, and which is now a branch of the American imperialist economy.”
Having thus diagnosed the cause of all of the “problems” facing the Canadian people, CPC(ML) prescribes the cure.
“The monopoly capitalist class forms the ruling class in Canada and Quebec. The majority of the ruling class are the lackeys of the foreign imperialists, especially the US imperialists. Without the overthrow of this moribund and backward class there can be no genuine peace, harmony and order amongst the working people of Canada and Quebec and our country cannot be genuinely prosperous and democratic and we cannot contribute towards genuine peace prosperity, and proletarian democracy all over the world.” And what do we have to do in order to achieve this new “order” promised by CPC(ML)?
“Elect Marxist-Leninist communist candidates to the National Assembly! Make the working class the class”.
Thus in order to make the working class into the ruling class we should simply vote for CPC(ML) and its branch, the PCQ(ML).
“The Communist Government will be led by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Quebec (Marxist-Leninist) and these parties will make up the main instruments of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
And what are the promises of this future “good government” of the dictatorship of the proletariat? It would take too long to run down the whole list of 43 electoral promises made by CPC(ML). Here are just a few of the most “fundamental” ones:
“The Communist Government will control all enterprises belonging to the Canadian monopoly capitalist class, nationalizing those that supported foreign imperialists and opposed proletarian revolution, and allowing the others to operate under strict price and profit controls.”
“The Communist Government will encourage all non-monopoly enterprises (already in existence) to carry on, but will oppose the exploitation of the working people through these enterprises as well as oppose these enterprises becoming monopolies.”
CPC(ML) promises to nationalize the foreign companies and those misbehaved Canadian monopolies which dared betray the nation and support foreign imperialists. As for the others capitalists, they will be encouraged to continue, but they will not be allowed to abuse this privilege. Capitalist exploitation will be allowed but not “the exploitation of working people”! And where are the capitalists supposed to get their profits from if it isn’t in the exploitation of the labour power of the workers? All of this remains a closely-guarded secret.
If some of our readers are still incredulized by the references to the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and “proletarian revolution” made by CPC(ML) from time to time, the following should put an end to any confusion on that score. CPC(ML) has solemnly undertaken its tasks “in the spirit of the 5 Principles of Proletarian Internationalism”. Number Five, according to CPC(ML) requires that all good communists must:
“Work to establish a People’s Canada Congress controlled by the majority, with the following composition: working class 80%, farmers and small businessmen 15%, and the monopoly capitalist class, a maximum of 5%.”
What a sad joke! CPC(ML)’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” is nothing more or less than a congress in which all classes are represented in proportion to their numbers in the general population. Thus the “communist government” will undertake its program of saving the nation by purging all the “traitors” and combating the foreign imperialists by establishing a new “order” and “harmony” when capitalists and workers can work together and enjoy “genuine peace”, since exploitation will be against the rule. We will all be able to join together, under the leadership of CPC(ML) and PCQ(ML), to take up the noble task of building a “truly” national economy...
Is this a communist program, an anti-revisionist program, or is it not rather the exact opposite, the worst kind of revisionist program imaginable: a program where “peace”, “order” and “harmony” in the form of the most abject class collaboration is advanced under the banner of “saving the nation” and the “national economy”; a program which looks a whole lot like the populism and nationalism in socialist clothing of a certain “national socialist party” in Germany in the thirties and forties. In any case, such a program has absolutely nothing to do with a socialist society when the masses take the revolution into their own hands in order to put an end to the exploitation of man by man.
The working out of a correct program for proletarian revolution in Canada is today still the key question in the struggle to reconstruct the vanguard party of the Canadian working class. There is no shortage of self-styled workers parties in Canada. Form the New Democratic Party (NDP) to the “Communist” Party of Canada, with the multitude of “workers parties” dreamed up by various Trotskyist sects in between, and then on again to the pseudo-Marxist-Leninist party which the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) says they are going to declare in the near future – there is certainly no lack of groups who claim to “represent” the proletariat. But we do not judge a party by the sign it hangs outside its door nor by what it claims to be, but by its program and by how it puts that program into practice. By abandoning the program of proletarian revolution in order to replace it with the revisionist program of struggling for a “democratic State”, a “State of the whole people”, the Canadian revisionist party has taken the path of betrayal and has traded in the program of the proletariat, of socialist revolution, in exchange for the program of the bourgeoisie, of patching up the crisis-ridden capitalist system. And it did all of this even before CPC(ML) ever existed.
More and more discredited in the eyes of the masses, these “workers” (and some even call themselves “communist”) parties have been increasingly unable to divert the desires of the masses for a radical change, for a society rid of its crises, of wars and exploitation. Hence the need for new parties like the CPC(ML) who paint themselves in the reddest red, making out like they are the direct representatives of Mao Tse-tung or Enver Hoxha in Canada. For them it is enough to simply add the words Marxist-Leninist next to the initials, CPC, in order to exorcize the evil of revisionism. At any rate, outside of a few mannerisms, there is really nothing which fundamentally distinguishes CPC(ML) from its older brother, the CPC.
Demarcating from revisionism involves a lot more than just intoning a few oaths against the Soviet superpower or waxing eloquent about the virtues of the Cultural Revolution in China. Revisionism won out in the ranks of the old Communist Party of Canada because it had an objective basis in social conditions which, because they were not vigilantly watched out for, were able to divert the Communist Party from the correct road and eventually to overwhelm it. These conditions exist in Canada today and are even more sharply accentuated.
Bourgeois nationalism in particular has always constituted the favourite doorway for the entry of revisionism in Canada. Indeed, the relative weakness of Canadian imperialism and the massive presence of US imperialism in Canada, as well as the national question in Quebec, have been in the past and are still today objective realities which the proponents of the bourgeois lines use to channel the legitimate revolt of the masses into actions serving to advance of their own class interests ”actions which set back the struggle for a proletarian revolution in Canada. Furthermore, these very questions were at the heart of the struggle in the former Communist Party of Canada between the bourgeois line and the proletarian line. And today again these fundamental questions are at the centre of the struggle against revisionism. The reconstruction of the Canadian proletarian Party depends in large measure on the ability of genuine Marxist-Leninists to demarcate thoroughly from the revisionism and bourgeois nationalism which corrupted the CPC and continued to do the same with a number of other groups who are committing the identical errors again today.
One of the major questions to resolve in reconstructing the revolutionary party of the proletariat is grouping all Marxist-Leninists within a single organization, around a single program. The unity of genuine communists is an indispensable condition for uniting the working class in a single revolutionary movement directed against the bourgeoisie and State power. But unity is not something which can be decreed. On the contrary, it is something which must be won and consolidated through struggle. The unity of the working class is only possible on the basis of the fundamental interests of the working class – liberating itself from the yoke of capitalism and putting an end to all forms of exploitation of man by man. In short, unity is only possible on the basis of the revolutionary program of the proletariat.
The Communist Party of Canada, by betraying the communist program, by revising the scientific ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism, took the road of splintering and splits. The CP is no longer the party of the working class but a party of the bourgeoisie infiltrated into the workers movement, because its program is no longer in practice the program of socialist revolution, but on the contrary one of salvaging capitalism in crisis. We are thus today in a situation similar to that which existed before the creation of the Communist Party in the twenties. Deprived of its party, the working class conducts many courageous and bitter battles, but its ranks are divided and the bourgeoisie and its agents in the workers movement are always taking over and undermining them from the inside. Even worse, the degeneration of the Communist Party of Canada, for all intents and purpose, cut the working class off from scientific socialism, its revolutionary theory, Marxism-Leninism. As a result, the new Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada was born and initially organized in a very dispersed fashion across the country on the basis of local groupings which had taken up, for better or for worse, the demarcation with the revisionist program and the re-establishment of the links with Marxism-Leninism. From this point on, the task which was before all the genuine Marxist-Leninists was to break with the pattern of small circles spread out in isolation from one another across the country and to reconstruct the Marxist-Leninist party. To resolve this contradiction it was necessary to see it as a struggle, a struggle for the unity of communists around a proletarian program which was clearly demarcated from the revisionist program. This is what the group IN STRUGGLE! has put forward since the day of its creation in 1972. Ideological struggle conducted among the masses – for the proletarian party can’t be built anywhere else but among the working masses – which is the struggle to uphold the point of view of the proletariat against that of the bourgeoisie, is the main feature of this historical period in the reconstruction of the single party of the Canadian working class. This single party is the only body that can unite the entire proletariat and people in the war between classes which will lead us to socialism.
If we have taken the space to call to mind several facts and the fundamental line which our Group has defended and applied as rigourously as possible since 1972, the application of which has up to now led to some major steps forward in the struggle for the party, it is because this so-called Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has not only failed miserably to realize the tasks of unifying the Marxist-Leninist movement around a proletarian program, but has also consistently pitted itself against, and violently fought, their realization. When all is said and done the claims by CPC(ML) to have founded not only the party but also the new Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada are yet again nothing less than the crudest falsifications of history based on a complete revision of the Marxist-Leninist conception of the struggle between two lines, between the political line of the proletariat and the political line of the bourgeoisie.
What are the real origins of this so-called “political party of the proletariat”? Is it the product of an ideological struggle aimed at uniting, around the program, the various different circles and groups which had tried to base themselves on Marxism-Leninism in the wake of the revisionist betrayal of the CPC? In short, what is the true history of this group which in 1970 declared the party?
“Comrade Hardial Bains, Chairman of our Party, founded the Internationalists fifteen years ago on March 13, 1963. The Internationalists were to create the conditions for founding our Party on March 31, 1970. The foundation of the Internationalists dealt a hard blow against revisionism and opportunism of all stripes. The Internationalists were a small group at the time of their foundation but in a few months the numbers of members had reached over a thousand... The history of the Internationalists is an uninterrupted history of struggle for revolutionary principles and organization...”
So much for CPC(ML)’s lies. Now let’s look at what really happened. First of all the Internationalists were not founded by Bains. In fact, the Internationalists group that was formed in 1963 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was neither a political organization nor even a study group. It was an academic forum where from 40 to 90 “radical” and mildly liberal professors and students got together every two weeks to listen to papers presented on a wide range of topics from a variety of viewpoints, especially popular being the Marxist anarchist point of view which was gaining popularity at that time in the Canadian and American “new left” student milieu. The very name “Internationalists” come from the name of the building, “International House” where many of the meetings of this academic forum took place. As we can see, reality is very different from the self-serving picture painted by CPC(ML). But what about the claim that “the foundation of the Internationalists dealt a hard blow against revisionism and opportunism of all stripes”? Let’s look a bit first at the historical context of this period.
It was in the years 1963-66 that, on an international scale, the definitive break was made with the revisionist clique in Moscow by the genuine Marxist-Leninists lead by the Chinese Communist Party and the Albanian Party of Labour. Moreover, this great polemic helped to polarize opposition to the revisionist positions within the “Communist” Party of Canada, positions which had been dominant for a long time within the party. It is also in this period that Jack Scott and others opposed to the CP’s revisionist line were expelled from the Party after forming in 1963 the Canada-China Friendship Society in Vancouver. In 1964, Scott’s group formed the Progressive Workers Movement, after having tried without success to constitute a Marxist-Leninist centre on a Canada-wide scale, to conduct the struggle against revisionism and to reconstruct a truly Marxist-Leninist party in Canada. This first attempt at breaking from revisionism was not successful, and after this setback, the PWM was to totally capitulate in face of the task of reconstructing the party of the proletariat, confining its activities to publishing its newspaper, Progressive Worker, in British Columbia and to working for the Canadianization of unions. In addition, PWM was to adopt a nationalist line on the path of the revolution. From that point on, it slid irrevocably into revisionism.
Despite what was to eventually happen to PWM, we must all the same make the point that it was this group around Jack Scott which mounted the strongest attack of the period against modern revisionism as is shown by the following extract from the first issue of Progressive Worker, PWM’s newspaper:
“The communist party has fallen into the hands of the revisionists led by Morris and Kashtan who are supported and encouraged by the Khruschevites. They engage in vicious unprincipled attacks against the Communist Party of China (foremost defender of Marxism-Leninism in the international movement): they promote the “parliamentary” and “peaceful” road to Socialism, thus disarming the working class in the face of capitalist class violence; they abandon the Marxist-Leninist concepts on Socialist Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat: they abandon proletarian internationalism in favour of allying themselves with the Canadian Liberal bourgeoisie; they accept – and try to get the working class to accept – the ideology of social democracy, the main bulwark of capitalism in the labour movement. Having abandoned Marxism-Leninism the CP leadership is quite incapable of leading the struggle for the realization of a program of fundamental working class demands.”
And what was Hardial Bains doing during all of this time to deliver his “hard blow” against “revisionism and opportunism of all stripes”? What was he doing other than looking forward to the day, 15 years later, when he could place on his own shoulders the mantle of “founder of the Internationalists”? Well, for starters, our man “Chairman Bains” arrived in Canada in 1959 and was an active member of the “Communist” Party of Canada, the same party which denounced the Progressive Workers Movement, the party he did not leave until at least after 1965 when he went to take up a lecturer’s post at the University of Dublin in Ireland! Bains even went so far as to raise funds and to publicly support Prime Minister Nehru and India against “Chinese aggression” at a meeting organized by elements in the East Indian community in Vancouver. All of these actions were undertaken at a time when a border conflict had erupted between the two countries, and at a time (1963) when the anti-revisionist militants of the CP founded in Vancouver the first Canada-China Friendship Association with the immediate objective of countering imperialist propaganda against China... So there we have, yet again, the real story of the “anti-revisionism” and the “anti-opportunism-of-all-stripes” of the “great Chairman” Hardial Bains.
As for the thousands of members in the Internationalists and the “uninterrupted history of struggle for principles and revolutionary organization” that was talked about in the same PCDN article, we will leave it to the reader to give these lies their just due. In the meantime let’s give CPC(ML) the chance to continue the account of its “noble history”.
“The Internationalist (...) vigorously launched the revolutionary clarion call: Necessity for Change! Seek the truth to serve the people! The struggle against bourgeois culture was necessarily a struggle for the purity of Marxism-Leninism and a struggle against the theories of bourgeois egoism. Comrade Hardial Bains led, on the level of theory as well as in practice, this glorious struggle which raised high the flag of proletarian revolution for the revolutionary youth (...) The correct analysis presented by Comrade Bains gained immense support, and the Internationalists organized the historic conference on the Necessity for Change, in August 1967, to which revolutionaries from many countries rallied.”
So much for that, now let’s look at the facts. Having obtained a lecturer’s post at the University of Dublin, Bains became, somewhere in between Vancouver and Dublin – we will leave it up to future biographers of the “chairman” to figure out the exact time and place – a “Marxist-Leninist”. While the forum of the Vancouver Internationalists carried on its activities until 1966, Bains appropriated the name of the Vancouver group to create the Irish Internationalists. It is this base which Bains used in preparing the “historic conference on the Necessity for Change” which took place in London in August 1967 and which, it would seem, attracted “revolutionaries from many countries”. Among the speakers invited to address this gathering were Paul Goodman, an anarchist well-known in North America and Stokely Carmichael, leader of the “Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee” (SNCC) and champion of the ultra nationalism of “Black Power” (Black Power was a rallying cry among many Black American groups in this period which were characterized by petty-bourgeois radicalism.). The conference put on by the “Necessity for Change Institute” ended with an appeal by its chairman, none other than Hardial Bains, for the holding of another “International Congress” to adopt “a common program and organizational structure” for the Internationalists to make it into a multinational group operating simultaneously in as many countries as possible. It is strange to see how this same “Chairman Bains”, who had struggled in Canada against those who had taken up the task of denouncing revisionism, should so suddenly find himself deeply involved in organizing an “International” which purported to be anti-revisionist. For, as a document in a recent issue of Bulletin international (Monthly magazine published in France by Patrick Kessel) noted:
“... we can however draw attention to a curious initiative taken by the Internationalists in 1969. Two representatives of the Internationalists, one from Ireland and the other from Canada, traveled all over Europe in the spring and summer of 1969 in order to present to a certain number of Marxist-Leninist parties a proposed World conference of Marxist-Leninist and Revolutionary Youth. Their itinerary took them notably to Belgium, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations approached refused to go along with the invitation from the Internationalists, especially after learning that they had refused to invite The Worker from England and that neither the Party of Labour of Albania nor the Communist Party of China knew anything about their plan.”
What exactly was the content of this “historic conference” which we are led to believe had as its objective to “defend the purity of Marxism-Leninism”? It would take too much time and space to reproduce long excerpts from the document that came out of this conference – a document which, by the way, the PCDN has prudently chosen not to reproduce in its columns as “proof positive” of the “correct analysis presented by Comrade Bains”. We will content ourselves with a few representative samples:
“The consciousness of the struggle against the cocoon at last brings to the attention of the individual the fact that something is straining to be free – to be able to see the light. This something is the root cause of his alienation to the historical crib. This something is his will to be.”
“Going out is looking for a solution outside oneself. The moment going out fails to satisfy a persons’ needs, he goes in and finds that there is nothing in the person but the loneliness so he goes out again. Going in and finding out that there is nothing in the person should show amply and succinctly that the person has never dealt with his anti-consciousness-beyond-in-itself (...)
“Going out is following History as such. Going out is supporting the UN, the Peace Corps, VSO, Church organizations, Charity, Peace movements, etc. Going in is demanding change on the fundamental level. It reveals the reality of the human condition and provides strength to combat the progressive erosion of being by loneliness. The built in phenomenon of the society that provides ready made answers will be questioned once and for all, and the individual will go into existence as existence (and not in the shadow of some other existence).”
We appeal to those readers who are aghast at such aphorisms not to close this pamphlet right here. Read on, for we have no intention of dwelling on this cumbersome document of modern metaphysics. Let’s simply say this mumble-jumble has more than a little bit in common with the psycho-Marxism of Marcuse and the half-digested “pseudo-Marxist anarchism” of many others of his ilk. It has absolutely nothing in common with “the purity of Marxism-Leninism” unless your definition of Marxism-Leninism is the “thoughts of Chairman Bains” – something which is actually included in as many words in CPC(ML)’s constitution!
All of these facts however shouldn’t lead the reader to believe that the vigorous “revolutionary appeal”: Necessity for Change! Seek the truth to serve the people! was to remain a dead letter. In fact the “correct analysis presented by Comrade Bains” was to serve as the point of departure for the setting up of a whole series of groups of provocateurs who called themselves “Marxist-Leninists” in a series of countries or nations: England, Ireland, Scotland, the United States... and of course Canada. All of these organizations were to adopt the same line and had a parallel historical development: the... Internationalists (fill in here the names of countries, nations, provinces, cities or campuses); the... Student Movement; the... Communist Movement; and finally the Communist Party of... (Marxist-Leninist)! But before we take a closer look at the evolution of Bains’ International we should go back and see how the “Leader” was doing in Canada.
In the spring of 1967, right at the time when Bains was in England getting ready for his “historic conference”, a group of students in Vancouver sympathetic to the line of PWM decided to join together and set up a group based on Marxism-Leninism which could conduct common political agitation among students. Influenced by the nationalist deviation of PWM, which had failed to take up its responsibility for leading work in the student milieu, these students were thinking in terms of constituting themselves as a open Marxist-Leninist caucus which would operate within the framework of a broad front against American imperialism. It should be remembered that at this time American aggression in Indochina had prompted the development of a strong anti-imperialist sentiment, especially among the students in both the United States and Canada. Joining up with this initial core were several other students who were to later reveal themselves as being “friends” of Bains who had maintained a lengthy “private” correspondence with him while he was away in Ireland. These latter students insisted that the new group revive the old Internationalists name from the 1963 era.
Then, as fate would have it, Bains suddenly left Ireland for Vancouver to spend his summer vacation. He denounced the original proposal as “opportunist” affirming that the “Internationalists” ought to be organized not on the basis of Marxism-Leninism but rather on the basis of his own document, “The Necessity for Change”, quoted earlier. Further, those elements which were sympathetic to PWM who had dared to criticize his pamphlet must be expelled without any further debate. Although the majority of the students were sucked into Bains’s new proposal, their acceptance of it was only on the condition that this expulsion would be thoroughly debates. When the time for this debate came, one of the “friends” of Bains cancelled the meeting, proclaiming that it was “counter-revolutionary to debate” with the PWM sympathizers! The result: seven out of the eleven students quit the group. Having completed his work of sabotage, Bains returned to Ireland. His four “friends” in Canada were incapable of keeping the remnants of the group together even though Bains continued to proclaim its existence in Europe and in Montreal. And so there we have an indication of how the “correct analysis presented by Comrade Bains earned great support”, how Bains waged the struggle “for the purity of Marxism-Leninism” and “against the theories of bourgeois egoism”!
We are obliged to wait until May of 1968, that is a full year later, before Bains returns to Canada to “reorganize” the Internationalists which had already been founded twice before in 1963 and 1967. Bains, aware that he couldn’t afford a showdown with PWM in Vancouver, decided instead to try his newest moves at the other end of the country, namely in Montreal in the English-speaking universities of McGill and Sir George Williams. Bob Cruise, having been called over from Vancouver to Dublin to study closely the methods of organization used by Bains, was then dispatched to Montreal to organize several “Student Movements”. It was with these “Student Movements” that the action of Bains’s groups among the masses really began.
Since Montreal is situated in the heart of the French-speaking Quebecois nation, the “Bains gang” created a French-speaking Quebecois organization in order to put into practice its viewpoint, very similar to that of the Bundists in Russia, or separately organizing every single different nation, national minority and ethnic minority. This viewpoint has the built-in advantage of allowing Bains to exploit the divisions thus created in order to better impose his leadership everywhere. So Bains went about setting up a new organization: the Intellectuels et Ouvriers Patriotes du Quebec (Marxiste-Leniniste). Relying on its base in Montreal, the Bains’ group made several attempts to set up a branch in Vancouver. Since PWM was still active at the University of British Columbia, it was at another university in the same city, Simon Fraser, which Bains chose to try, without success, to constitute a branch of the Canadian Student Movement. But defeated, Bains changed tactics and in February 1969, started to proclaim publicly that the PWM was the “vanguard organization in Canada”.
As the saying goes (and it is a slogan that is totally contrary to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism) – “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. It is during this period that Bains began to claim that the real reason for forming the Internationalists in the East of the country had been because PWM was in the West and that they had avoided calling themselves the party out of respect for PWM as well. No doubt smelling a rat even before it had climbed out of the sewer, PWM responded by proposing that the Simon Fraser branch of the Canadian Student Movement place itself under the leadership of the PWM. Bains had no other choice than to feign acceptance of the proposition and a series of meetings were arranged to integrate, as sympathizers, the members of the CSM at Simon Fraser. The first set of meetings were an occasion for PWM to advance three formal criticisms of the work of the Internationalists: firstly, the Internationalists had steadfastly avoided doing their main work in the working class; secondly, they had declared themselves as the vanguard instead of taking up the task of building the party; thirdly, they had a sectarian practice which consisted of making no distinction between progressives who disagreed with them and reactionaries. After several meetings, the Internationalists rejected these criticisms and immediately switched over to a new phase in their offensive.
In November of 1969, Bains attacked the Canada-China Friendship Associations by trying to confuse and divide the friends of socialist China in Canada. He even went so far as to create a parallel organization in Vancouver, the “Canadian Friends of China Association” with a name which was almost identical to that of the organization officially recognized by China. The Internationalists had already, after another “historic” conference in Regina in May 1969, changed their name to the Canadian Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist). This change of name had a double goal: to try to escape the discredit which had befallen the Internationalists and to make people believe that they had just created a new movement which had unified all Canadian communists. At the same time, outside of British Columbia, where PWM didn’t exist organizationally but still enjoyed a certain amount of influence, the members of the newly formed Canadian Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist) declared to anyone who cared to listen that Jack Scott was their chairman! Even grosser than that, they went ahead and published in Montreal the Progressive Workers Journal while PWM was still putting out its newspaper, the Progressive Worker, in Vancouver! Finally, in December 1969, Scott denounced these maneuvers and stated in no uncertain terms that PWM did not recognize the CCM(ML) as Marxist-Leninist and that any person who solicited funds or spoke in the name of PWM outside Vancouver should be regarded as an agent-provocateur. Despite all this, Bains continued with similar maneuvers even after the creation of CPC(ML), using the prestige of Jack Scott to serve his own provocateur ends. For example, in 1971, several months after having called PWM the “Neo-Revisionist Workers Movement” that CPC(ML) published a photograph of Jack Scott talking with Mao Tse-tung on the front of its newspaper and the members of CPC(ML) loudly proclaimed that Scott was both a member and chairman of their party. Again Scott denounced these lies and for awhile became Public Enemy Number One of CPC(ML), denounced repeatedly as being responsible for all the imagined conspiracies against the “political party of the proletariat”...
At the same time as this clique of provocateurs was being set up in Canada, Bains was leading the building of the various other “parties” in his International of provocateurs. For example, in May 1969 the American Communist Movement (ML), later renamed the American Communist Workers Movement (ML) “ACWL(ML) ”was formed in Canada. The christening took place at the Conference of North American Anti-Imperialists held in Regina, Saskatchewan. Not long after there was a proliferation of “Communist Movements” in Canada, Quebec, England and Ireland. All of them, except for the American organization, declared themselves to be “parties” several months later.
It’s up to the genuine Marxist-Leninists in England, Ireland, the US, India and so on to make a detailed analysis and draw pertinent conclusions about the representatives of Bains’s organization in their own country. We will thus restrict ourselves to a few facts and statements which are pieces of, what all evidence points to is, a larger puzzle with a definite shape and logic to it.
The Lexington Communist Collective, an organization in the US which worked with ACWM(ML) for a while in 1973 during the period when, at the instigation of Bains, the latter had put forward a plan for a big conference to found the Central Organization of US Marxist-Leninists (COUSML), reports the following:
“Almost every line change of CPC(ML) results in a line change in the related parties or groups in four other countries. This extends right down to details: the Canadians publish a paper People’s Canada Daily News: People’s American Daily News appears in the US. The Canadians publish Canadian Mass Line; American Mass Line appears in the US. North American News Service Daily Release appears in the US. H.S. Bains gives a speech on cultural fascism in Canada. Committees to combat cultural fascism spring up in cities across the US where ACWM has units.”
The Lexington Communist Collective also notes that two out of the five circles that ACWM(ML) hailed in their newspaper as great Marxist-Leninists were later revealed to be direct creations of the FBI. Furthermore, the three others soon withdrew their collaboration with ACWM(ML). This very same COUSML, which was thus in fact nothing more than ACWM(ML) under a different name, was later to write in their newspaper that:
“The role of the Internationalists, led by Comrade Hardial Bains, now chairman of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninists) has been very widespread. Comrade Bains was the only person in the student and youth movement in Canada who supported in a consistent manner the revolutionary proletarian line and who fought uncompromisingly for Mao Tse-tung Thought, which is the basis of our own thinking.”
CPC(ML) in its 1970 Political Report talks about the “anti-imperialist revolution (...) which is mass democratic inform and anti-imperialist in content”. The Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) declares:
“Making a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions we have established that the stage of revolution in England can be characterized as mass democratic in form and anti-imperialist and antifascist in content.”
In the course of talking about the “Necessity for Change Conference” this same party asserts that: “It was at this historic Conference that the decisions were taken that led to the founding of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist).”
On March 31, 1970, the Canadian Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist), alias the Internationalists, declared itself to be the “Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)”. Issue no 12 of Mass Line hails the great event:
“The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is such a Party! Let us follow it. Build it in the course of the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution and become the worthy disciples of Chairman Mao (...) Smash US imperialism and their running dogs and build the people’s republic of Canada (...)
“The birth of our Party is yet another victory for Mao Tse-tung Thought. It is a concrete proof of how the correct following of Mao Tse-tung leads revolution forward. A handful of young people who came out of the concrete struggles in the universities, with complete reliance on the masses and utter devotion to Chairman Mao and Mao Tse-tung Thought, with the staunch revolutionary spirit of daring to struggle and daring to win, has already moved the cause of our mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution forward. Comrades, just imagine what will happen when the hundreds and thousands of workers, small farmers, students and professional people staunchly follow Mao Tse-tung Thought and take the road of revolution! A miracle which haunts the imperialists, revisionists, Trotskyists and their fellow travelers will be performed (...) Our Party has the greatest faith in this miracle!”
The CPC(ML) may believe in miracles but we don’t! Because even if the “Holy Ghost” came down from heaven in person to cast his blessings on each and every disciple of CPC(ML), the pompous verbiage, holy style and puffed up imagery that the CPC(ML) serves up here retains one very earthly objective: to discredit Marxism-Leninism. And no matter how it puts it, CPC(ML) will never succeed in hiding the reality that underlies its inflated rhetoric.
We would simply add here that this same scenario was repeated two months later with a press release announcing the self-proclamation of the “Parti communiste du Quebec (marxiste-leniniste)”, the PCQ(ML). The press release was an almost word-for-word copy of the earlier declaration by CPC(ML) except that it made a call for the “People’s Republic of Quebec” instead of the “People’s Republic of Canada”. And, as it should be, Bains was the chairman of both of these separate parties...
1970 was also the year in which Bains created (in September) the Hindustani Ghadar Party, supposedly representing the vanguard of East Indian immigrants in Canada. In 1969 he had also created another party, the Black Revolutionary Workers Party, with two Black members who had been trained in Canada. The BRWP imitated the line of the Black Panther Party and tried to set up branches in cities where the Panthers had no organizational base. This party had barely been off the ground a few months before the two cadres who had received their training from Bains quit the organization. Asserting that “our Party, with great patience and perseverance has devoted all its energies to the task of slowly but surely conquering its rightful place in the ranks of the International Communist Movement led by the Chinese Communist Party and the Albanian Party of Labour”, CPC(ML) made it perfectly clear that the great feat of forming the “Bains International” was merely the first act in its ambitious project of provocation against the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement. It would be quite wrong to treat this project of Mr. Bains too lightly.
The history of the creation of CPC(ML) is not the history of the unification of Canadian Marxists-Leninists. Because, and the facts are there to prove it, Bains and his group have always stood in opposition to the Marxist-Leninists. Their actions have essentially consisted of sabotaging the efforts of those who had undertaken to break from revisionism. Their international conferences, far from serving to strengthen the proletarian line, had no other objective than to permit Bains’s group to develop its work of provocation in the greatest number of countries possible. The history of CPC(ML) is the history of mystification and hiding behind impressive titles. The apologetics that this group indulges in with greater and greater frequency these days concerning its own history, are nothing but a long string of lies designed to confuse certain young militants in Canada, and especially to fool Marxist-Leninists in other countries so that this group of counter-revolutionaries can carry on with its work of splitting and wrecking.
“The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) will not form an “alliance” or “merge” with any other “Marxist-Leninist” group. There is one thinking, one center, one line and one task. Our thinking comes from Mao Tse-tung Thought. Our center and leader is Chairman Mao. Our political line comes from the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). Our main task is to complete the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution and establish the People’s Republic of Canada”.
This statement, made at the time of the self-proclamation by CPC(ML) in 1970, reveals the profoundly sectarian nature of this group whose “anti-revisionism” can be summed up as the claim that Chairman Mao is our centre and leader and that “Chairman Mao is the direct communist leader of the Canadian revolution.” This latter affirmation is sufficient rationale for these new Red Guards, the self-appointed representatives of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, to conclude that they need not even contemplate uniting with any other group of Marxist-Leninists. In short, in order to create the party, there is no need whatsoever to unite Marxist-Leninists. All that is required is that an ultra-nationalist circle of students declare themselves to be Mao’s personal emissaries and call themselves the party of the Canadian proletariat for all the Marxist-Leninists groups to be suddenly transformed into counter-revolutionary gangs.
After having denounced all the Marxist-Leninist groups as “counter-revolutionaries”, “social fascists” and “police socialists”, the CPC(ML) soon found itself completely isolated, while the genuine Marxist-Leninists who broke more and more completely with revisionism were winning over increasing numbers of vanguard workers. So the CPC(ML) had to present a new unity project to try and infiltrate these groups and destroy them, relying on the most unstable and right-wing elements to do this.
But then let’s look at the new dressed-up 1975 version of their “unity” line:
1. “All those individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninist must be in one revolutionary Party of the proletariat based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is such a Party and all Marxist-Leninists must join and build this Party.
2. (...) In each city, factory, educational institution, neighbourhood and other place of work all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninist should not organize alone anything dealing with the above mentioned question, (e.g. the issues relating to the support of the Canadian and Quebec working class, to the oppressed nations and people of Asia, Africa and Latin America and other countries against superpower politics and for national liberation and independence; the issues relating to support for China, Albania and other countries which are taking a consistent stand against the two superpowers; the issues relating to the national minority and immigrant workers; the issues relating to the struggle of the Native people; the issues relating to the struggles of the workers and issues relating to the democratic struggle against persecution and discrimination by the Canadian government of various strata of the people; and the issues relating to opposing the US imperialist domination of Canada) (...) What should be done is that when these issues arise, all Marxist-Leninists should sit together in a meeting to finalize the line and method of carrying it out on a democratic basis. This meeting should develop policy as well as elect a leadership which will carry out the program. Then this committee will carry the program and no Marxist-Leninist organization has any right to issue their own statements or carry out their own way or organizing. (...) After the united the united front of Marxist-Leninists has reached agreement, it may work for a broad front of people and call another meeting of various organizations in order to mobilize wide support.
3. Each Marxist-Leninist organization should carry on its own activities all the time on issues which are not united front or broad front issues (...)
4. There should be no public criticism of each other’s work (...)
5. ... to refrain from any kind of gossip or rumour-mongering against one another.
6. Each Marxist-Leninist group agrees to disseminate criticism of other Marxist-Leninist groups and about itself on an internal basis (...)
7. Finally, it is agreed that all organizations calling themselves Marxist-Leninist must permit their members and supporters to exchange views on political, ideological and theoretical matters with members and supporters of other organizations and there should be no restrictions to this point. No member or support of any Marxist-Leninist organization should be permitted to divulge any organizational information or differences which may emerge in the united front and no one should be permitted to solicit this sort of information from anyone.”
It is hard to imagine a program for the unification of Marxist-Leninists which could go further... further away from Marxism-Leninism that is. For in fact what the first point of this “General Method of CPC(ML) for Building the Unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Canada and Quebec” is saying could be paraphrased as follows: “We declared ourselves the Party in 1970, therefore we are the Party, thus the unity of Marxist-Leninists can only take place by rallying to our revisionist program... but since we, CPC(ML) haven’t as yet succeeded in smashing the new communist movement, and since the struggle conducted by this movement against revisionism, and, in particular, against our own revisionism, is beginning to be more and more successful and is rallying more and more of the vanguard workers, we must find a new way to shut them up while at the same time imposing our own rightist line”. And how does CPC(ML) plan on going about accomplishing its historical mission? By proposing the unified action of all those persons and groups, no matter what their line or practice is, who have decided to call themselves Marxist-Leninists. But does CPC(ML) propose a forum for public debate where the genuine Marxist-Leninists could confront any new-style revisionists disguised as the reddest of the Red Guards? Not on your life. CPC(ML)’s plan is the exact opposite. It has as its objective to put an end to all forms of public criticism and to hide any political differences that might emerge in the “united front” from the masses. Politics for the Marxist-Leninists – in reality for the bourgeois elements disguised as Marxist-Leninists – and action around practical demands for the masses, that is what CPC(ML)’s reactionary proposal boils down to.
What is the purpose of making such a proposal? Let us assume for a moment (pretend might be a better way of putting it, given what we have seen already about this organization) that CPC(ML) was a real Marxist-Leninist party. Would such a party agree to negotiate its line and its most important political activities – because that’s precisely what point 2 of their proposal calls for. Is it believable that a real party would surrender such powers to a committee composed of people that it had earlier denounced as “social-fascists”, “police socialists” and “counter-revolutionaries”? Obviously not. For, while a Marxist-Leninist party or organization never backs away from publicly confronting opportunist and bourgeois positions with its own, it would never leave it up to the bourgeoisie or its agents to decide what its line is going to be. A correct line which is defended amongst the masses will eventually triumph. That is why a Marxist-Leninist party or group, far from developing its line by making secret deals with different groups of opportunists, ought on the contrary to intensify its efforts to conduct the ideological struggle among the masses against bourgeois points of view. So, if CPC(ML) really was the Party that it claims to be, the self-proclaimed “political party of the proletariat”, it would never even have thought of advancing such a proposal.
However, if we recognize that CPC(ML) has a completely revisionist line which is in total opposition to the interests of the Canadian proletariat, if we understand that CPC(ML) is a group of saboteurs for whom any means at all are acceptable if they help to hold back the reconstruction of the Canadian proletarian party, then this proposal ceases to be so absurd and the counter-revolutionary logic behind it begins to become clear. On the one hand, they are calling for a committee of “people who call themselves Marxist-Leninists” that the “Bains gang” could pack by getting the literally dozens of phoney parties and committees that they have set up over the years to join (point 2). At the same time CPC(ML)’s proposal means that differences inside the committee should remain secret (point 7), which means in practice that denunciation of the revisionist line and practice of CPC(ML) would be forbidden (point 4). In short, what the plan amounts to is that the Marxist-Leninist point of view is gauged. And even more important, this proposal allows the professional clique of saboteurs in CPC(ML) free rein to use one of its favourite tactics, namely systematic harassment of members and supporters of the other groups, which is diplomatically referred to in the proposal as the unrestricted right to “exchange views” (point 7). In reality, it is a well known provocation tactic which consists of meeting militants, to feel out and then to exploit their weaknesses, to systematically harass them trying to build them into a fraction controlled and led by the provocateurs in opposition to the firmest defenders of the proletarian line. This is how these agent-provocateurs hope to split and maybe even liquidate a group. Some people may claim that these charges are mere speculation on our part. But again the facts are there to demonstrate that CPC(ML) has systematically and faithfully put into practice exactly such a line of sabotage and provocation. There are many, many examples.
First off, let’s look at a “successful coup”, namely the rallying of the Partisan organization in Vancouver in November of 1972. In the aftermath of the October crisis of 1970 the bourgeois State used the pretext of a political kidnapping by the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) to send the army to occupy Quebec to suppress what they called an “apprehended insurrection”. It was in this context that the Partisan organization was created in Vancouver. This group, while claiming to base itself on Leninism, defended in practice a reformist and anarchist line inspired by the ideas of the “New Left”. From 1971 on, however, political differences started to develop within the ranks of the organization even if at first they only took the form of a denunciation of the tendencies of a section of the leadership to use manipulative methods. In the following year some elements, who based themselves on Marxism-Leninism, made a systematic criticism of the line of Partisans. This polemic also extended to include a group in Toronto called Red Morning. The struggle launched by certain Partisan members ended in the fall of 1972 with the adoption of a new line which marked a step forward towards the consistent application of Marxism-Leninism to Canadian conditions: it recognized that Canada was an imperialist country where the task was to make a one-stage proletarian revolution; it recognized that the proletarian party didn’t exist and that the building of such a party was necessary with the first step being the formation of a communist organization on a country-wide scale; it recognized that Quebec was a nation oppressed by the English-Canadian nation, etc. Further, several of the former members of Red Morning who had denounced the anarchist line of this organization had expressed their agreement with the new Partisan positions and were working together with Partisans to apply them in practice.
However, although the new line had won out in the Partisan organization it had never really been accepted by the Rathwell-Boughn majority of the central committee. And this is precisely the point where CPC(ML) came into the picture. The aforementioned leaders had already got Partisans involved in an electoral coalition with CPC(ML) during the federal election of October, 1972. In addition, CPC(ML) quickly saw the implications of the development of Marxist-Leninist positions by the Partisans group which were in total opposition to its revisionist line so they jumped on the chance to exploit the opportunism and careerism of the Rathwell-Boughn group to destroy the Partisans. How? By proposing the creation of a “New Marxist-Leninist Centre”. To make way for this “new centre”, CPC(ML) “dissolved” its British Columbia Provincial Committee. In return the Rathwell-Boughn group announced to the members of Partisans the dissolution... of their own organization, the Partisans, and invited them to join the “New Marxist-Leninist Centre” and CPC(ML). Thus we find that on November 4, 1972, there was a “new” branch of CPC(ML) formed in British Columbia of members of the former provincial committee of CPC(ML), ex-Partisans and “ex-Chullima collective” people who were in actual fact those ex-members of Red Morning who had been opposed to the new line of Partisans and had continued to defend to one degree or the other a line similar to that of the American terrorist group, Weatherman (Weatherman was a terrorist group coming out of the Students For a Democratic Society in the USA in late sixties.)! The whole of this merry crew brought together to sail under the mast of the “New Marxist-Leninist Centre” were, it goes without saying, placed under the command of none other than Captain Bains...
And finally we should not that in order to make the prospect of joining up with their gang more appealing, CPC(ML) offered posts on the central committee of CPC(ML) to all those who had been on the central committee of the Partisans.
We could go on and on to cite other examples such as that of the Guelph News Service (a branch of the magazine Alive), of New Morning in Halifax, of the collective publishing the newspaper On the Line in Kitchener, Ontario, etc. In each case the method is more or less the same: first, liquidate all political debate: second, proposals for common practice which turn out in practice to mean using the name of the new group as a selling point for CPC(ML) in its various publications for several months; third, the liquidation of the group and the seizure of its technical and other assets. Indeed the groups which are preferred prey are mostly the tiny groups engaged in publishing local newspapers who own technical assets which CPC(ML) wants to get its hands on.
We should add that in 1975 we ourselves had the opportunity of repelling the efforts at sabotage of our organization by CPC(ML).
If, to paraphrase Lenin, to create and consolidate the party is to create and consolidate the unity of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists then we can say flatly that CPC(ML) has neither created nor consolidated the Canadian proletarian party. Rather they have created and consolidated a clique of provocateurs of the extreme right whose line and practice are aimed essentially at destroying the revolutionary unity of genuine Marxist-Leninists brought together around a communist program rigorously demarcated from the revisionism of the Communist Party of Canada, the neo-revisionism of the CPC(ML) and from organizations falsely claiming to adhere to Marxism-Leninism.
The Marxist-Leninist party is the working class vanguard of the revolution. It is the vanguard detachment of the working class. To talk about a proletarian party which doesn’t contain within its ranks at the very least the first contingents of this vanguard is to talk about a party which in reality does not belong to the working class. Certainly, historically, it is initially the progressive sections of the petty-bourgeoisie who are the first to come into contact with the revolutionary theory of the working class. In our country in particular, where the Communist Party of Canada had already abandoned Marxism-Leninism more than thirty years ago, the new Marxist-Leninist movement, composed originally almost entirely of non-proletarian intellectuals must absolutely rally to the communist program the first contingents of the working class by winning them away from the influence of revisionism and social democracy so that finally the proletariat can reconstitute its own revolutionary party. What has the so-called “Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)” done in this regard? Has it succeeded in the task of rallying the vanguard of the working class to communism?
Having looked at the sort of “communist program” that this “party” likes to put forward, after having seen a few of the maneuvers supposedly serving the “unity of Marxist-Leninists” carried out by this group, we can only imagine what kind of horror stories are in store when we look at the job they have done in this department. Mind you, a bourgeois party can have some influence in the masses. The NDP and the Parti Quebecois have managed it. Even the fascist parties of Hitler and Mussolini had some influence in the masses. But the influence of bourgeois parties on the working class achieved through various forms of deception and trickery, systematic demagoguery and so on is one thing and the process of the proletariat taking up its own ideology and thus taking responsibility for its own destiny is something else again. For this process of rallying is certainly not a matter of being the most popular because what you do is the least offensive. So how can a group like CPC(ML) whose line is so openly opposed to the interests of the working class hope to rally the working class vanguard to communism? Groups which have mastered the use of Marxist-Leninist phrases could no doubt succeed in rallying for a certain time a few of the honest and determined fighters from the working class by plying them with a steady diet of hors d’oeuvres “a la M-L”, that is, they could fool some people for a while by making sure that they were known as the people most militantly in favour of whatever trend of bourgeois ideology was temporarily influential in the working class. But despite the appearances of instant success, the workers who have been fooled like this don’t take very long to figure it out. Completely incapable of presenting them with a truly communist program, the new revisionist groups are scarcely more competent in disguising their true interests than their predecessors were at the same game.
As for CPC(ML), its attitude is that you mustn’t get workers all mixed up in communist politics because that, it goes without saying, is something that should be reserved for the experts in CPC(ML) itself!
“As for the practical activity of workers, they ought to he confined to the daily economic struggles up to the time when they decide individually (and sometimes in the form of small groups and associations) to take up communist politics. To pretend that certain ’conscious workers’ are going to want to ’conduct the political struggle’ rather than ’solely the struggle for reforms’ is simply a bunch of phrases that make no sense. IN STRUGGLE! mixes up the practical activity of communists with the practical activity of workers and vice-versa, in order to create total confusion on this question.” Politics for the party, reformism and economic struggles for the workers, finally the “confusion” of IN STRUGGLE! has given way to the “clarity” of Bains! Yes indeed, Mr. Bains, your position is “clear”. It is the clarity of the unscrupulous kind of bourgeois opportunist who thinks he can lead the working class the way an imperialist general leads his soldiers to slaughter for the glory of Capital.
What demarcates Marxism-Leninism from anarcho-syndicalism, what dictates that the economic struggle is the political struggle, is the recognition of the supremacy of politics over economics of political organization over economic organization. The role of communists consists precisely in intervening in all the economic battles not only to give them immediate support but especially to raise before the workers engaged in struggle the general problems of interest to the working class as a whole, to pose the necessity of a revolutionary political struggle, of socialist revolution, in short, of the struggle to realize the communist program.
To affirm, as CPC(ML) has done, that to call upon the working class to take up the political struggle amounts to liquidating the role of the Party is to say openly that the political struggle is not any business of the masses but only of the bourgeois clique called CPC(ML). This so-called party, like all bourgeois parties, from the NDP on down, claims to wage the struggle in the name of the working class in order to, in fact, lead the working class down the dead-end of bourgeois politics.
As you have no doubt already guessed, this contempt for the revolutionary political struggle of the working class is translated into the crudest kind of economism. We will restrict ourselves to just one example, that of the slogan Make the Rich Pay! which CPC(ML) has been breaking people’s eardrums with since 1975. In its 1973 Political Report, CPC(ML) “vigorously” denounced “all the noise by the revisionists and social democrats to ’tax the rich’ and ’make monopolies pay’ etc.” But just two and one half short years later CPC(ML) takes up exactly these slogans itself:
“Make the rich pay! is a declaration of war on the rich, their State and their foreign masters, the American imperialists. It is a short term slogan, an immediate demand that the workers must accomplish through revolutionary struggle (...) it is a slogan which brings together all the forms of the proletarian struggle, economic, political, and theoretical, against the rich. The workers should launch offensive after offensive against the rich and their State, until the rich pay and the capitalist system is overthrown.”
You might think that strictly speaking CPC(M L)’s slogan is just a contorted way of saying that the labouring masses in our country should resist the offensive of the bourgeoisie to make the people pay for the effects of the crisis. However, as the above quote affirms, the slogan is not a tactical one designed to reinforce the resistance of the masses but is, on the contrary, a strategic concept which they would have us believe leads to revolution! Thus, in the place of the revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie, CPC(ML) wants to elevate the defensive economic struggle against the “rich” – no doubt, a new social class – into a revolutionary strategy which will somehow encompass the “political” and “theoretical” struggle within it. So there we have the “revolutionary strategy” of “Chairman Bains” outlined in all its dialectical brilliance; in plain English, it turns out that all we need to do is to launch offensive after offensive “until the rich pay and capitalism is overthrown”. To apply this glorious “revolutionary strategy” of Chairman Bains we could perhaps suggest that the government institute, as the first step in the “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution”, a special tax on the rich, which, obviously will help immeasurably to pave the way to the overthrow of capitalism...
But if CPC(ML) thinks that we should “make the rich pay” in order to overthrow capitalism, they take a very dim view of the idea of workers overthrowing bourgeois laws which have as their objective precisely to make the workers pay for the effects of the crisis and to promote political reaction on a very wide scale. Indeed in CPC(ML)’s eyes we must not struggle for the repeal of the worst anti-worker laws such as Bill C-73 (the wage freeze) and Bill C-24 (elimination of democratic rights for immigrants) for that of course would be reformism. This “leftist” demagogy which tries to oppose all struggle for “reforms” – including the struggle for democratic rights and against the offensive of the bourgeois State to take away our right to strike, the struggle for free collective bargaining, freedom of association etc. – is completely reactionary and is nothing but a pretext for keeping the working class away from the political struggle and for confining them instead within the narrow framework of the economic struggle. It is in this spirit that CPC(ML) condemned as “revisionist” the use of the epithet “political strike” to describe the first general strike of the Canadian proletariat organized in October 1976 to demand the withdrawal of Bill C-73 (the Wage Controls) (see PCDN, December 15, 1976). According to CPC(ML) we must especially avoid bringing this struggle to the level of a political confrontation pitting, the whole of the proletariat against the whole of the bourgeoisie and its State. Instead we must keep workers well within the limits of the economic struggles against the bosses.
“The entire working class is involved in the struggle against Bill C-73 and against the placing of the burden of the economic crisis on the backs of the workers. It is an economic struggle by the workers. It is the struggle of one class against another. Of the three forms of the proletarian struggle, namely the economic, political and theoretical, it is the economic struggle which is on the rise (...) Already the opportunists (CPC(ML) is referring here to IN STRUGGLE! –Ed. note) are leaping up to ’lead a political campaign’ against Bill C-73 (...) with ’leftist’ phrases.”
To fight against the “leftism” of IN STRUGGLE!, the CPC(ML) ends the article with some typically “vigourous” and “revolutionary” slogans...
“Make the Rich Pay! Defeat the Government! Prepare for the Struggle!” “Defeat the government” and vote for CPC(ML), such is the “revolutionary” path of CPC(ML) leading to the overthrow of capitalism!
No, CPC(ML) has not by any means rallied the working-class vanguard to communism. Far from having detached the workers from the clutches of opportunism and revisionism they have done their best to push them even further away from the revolutionary political struggle against capitalist exploitation and for socialism. Economic struggle for the workers, political struggle for the bourgeoisie: there you have CPC(M L)’s line in a nutshell, basically the same reformist line which is already overwhelmingly dominant in the Canadian workers movement. Whether it’s the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) or Confederation of National Trade Unions (CNTU) or the Centrale de Penseignement du Quebec (CEQ), the Quebec teachers unions, everywhere you turn the union bureaucrats are singing the same song: conduct the economic struggle making sure not to attack capitalism itself and then vote for your favourite capitalist-party-which-will-represent-the-workers every four years, the NDP, the Parti Quebecois, the CP...
In a country like Canada where reformism is so totally dominant in the workers movement, in a country such as ours where the most militant sections of the working class are just beginning to express their revolt by breaking fully with the influence of revisionism and bourgeois nationalism, the creation of a working class party will be a hoax unless it is based on the rallying of the advanced workers to a truly communist program. And far from having won the vanguard leadership of the working class away from the influence of reformism, these parties like CPC(ML) and the “new improved Marxist-Leninist party” that the Communist League is getting ready to declare will never amount to anything more than sects of petty-bourgeois and intellectual elements implanted in the factories who dress up with their lunch-boxes and workers’ overalls with the hope of covering up their revisionist line.
In short, the line and practice of the CPC(ML) amount to sabotage of the rallying of workers to communism, contempt for mass revolutionary political struggle and the most banal economism. Furthermore, this image of a self-proclaimed “working-class vanguard” bourgeois party which tries to impose its hegemony on the working class in fact camouflages a militarist conception of a party which commands the masses while Hardial Bains commands the party.
“We have heard various comrades from our basic organizations, as well as comrades from regional bodies, giving the view that the theoretical work of the Central Committee is the decisive factor. They say such-and-such work of the Central Committee is very important. If we can analyze the whole historical development, then that will defend the Party, and provide the Party with the orientation. We say that this is not the decisive factor. It is only the duty and the responsibility of the Central Committee to carry on investigation and study, to carry on the theoretical work. But the main priority of the Party is to lead class struggle, all forms of class struggle – the theoretical, political and economic forms of class struggle. And who is going to implement the line of the Party? The basic organizations, and the regional bodies which direct... the basic organizations. It is not an accident that we have opportunists crying all over Canada that you meet any member of CPC(ML) and they talk just like Hardial Bains! (laughter, applause). They say that even the pronunciation and accents of the members have changed. They are wrong on this question, as well, because our members speak the language of our Marxist-Leninist Party. Our members implement what the Party wants them to implement. Our members are the soldiers of the Party. And when we talk about the soldiers of the Party, then the basic quality that we demand from our members is they must be soldiers, not marshals, not generals, not sergeants, but soldiers. And then out of the ranks of the soldiers will come the sergeants who drill the masses.” “The sergeants who drill the masses”, that is how Hardial Bains understands the leading role of the party of the proletariat. The rankest bourgeois ideologue couldn’t find a better way of distorting Marxism-Leninism than that. For this long digression of Bains’s, meant to appear like a “vigorous” example of proletarian firmness, is in fact fundamentally anti-Marxist and reactionary.
What does it mean to make the false dichotomy between the task of leading the class struggle and doing an analysis of classes and of history in order to be able to correctly fix the orientation of these struggles? What is this aberrant opposition between the “soldiers” who imitate Hardial Bains’ “vibrant example of Marxism-Leninism” and the generals, “the sergeants who drill the masses”? What this all means is that, for five-star general and commander-in-chief Bains, the function of the leadership of the Party is not to provide a revolutionary orientation based on a historical and materialist analysis of the class struggle so that the masses can grasp this orientation, make it their own, and make the revolution. Just the opposite is the case for our new Napoleon, to lead is to command, to “drill the masses”, relying on his little box full of tin soldiers who can rise up in the ranks to become “sergeants” if they learn how to imitate their commander-in-chief!
This concept of the dictatorship by the most unscrupulous bourgeois opportunists over the working class is in total opposition to Marxism-Leninism and revolution, because Marxism-Leninism leaches us as a first principle that it is the masses who make history or, as Enver Hoxha put it, the masses build socialism, the Party makes them conscious. The CPC(ML) parodies Marxism-Leninism yet again when it takes Enver Hoxha’s formulation and twists it beyond recognition to say the exact opposite. Thus, in Bains’s hands, the phrase that the masses make socialism and make history while the Party makes them conscious becomes, “What the people want the Party does and what the Party says, the people do”.
From the masses, to the masses, that is the leading role of the Party of the working class. The Party does not command the masses, it leads. It provides a perspective, it convinces the masses politically that its slogans and tactics are correct and that they are guides capable of carrying the struggle to victory. The role of communists is not to conduct the political struggle in place of the masses but to show the masses, by making them conscious and getting them involved in carrying out the revolutionary political struggle themselves, that they must make revolution and build socialism.
Is it so surprising after all that the crudest economism and cult of spontaneity advocated by CPC(ML) should be accompanied by the glorification of “sergeants”, the deification of the “leadership” or more accurately of the commanders, and by the naked ambition of this so-called communist party to exercise its command over the masses of the Canadian people? Not at all, because really these are the two sides of the same coin: while the working class is carrying out the economic and spontaneous struggle, CPC(ML) strives to use the workers movement, to harness the force of the working class to its reactionary chariot, using the whip hand to advance the aspirations of its class which are to reinforce Canadian imperialism under the cover of the “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” against Yankee imperialism.
So what is this group called CPC(ML), after all? A group which has broken from revisionism and has developed a truly communist program? A group which has understood how to rally around this program all genuine Marxist-Leninists? A group which has successfully undertaken the task of getting the Canadian working class out from under the domination of revisionism and nationalism? In short, is CPC(ML) the group which has accomplished the historic task of reconstructing the revolutionary party of the Canadian working class? No, absolutely no, on all counts.
The facts reported in this chapter lead us to the conclusion that the logic of CPC(ML)’s actions since its very beginnings, do not lie in the attempt to reconstruct the political party of the proletariat but rather in the attempt to sabotage this struggle. CPC(ML) is now and has always been a group of saboteurs whose conscious actions are directed not only at stopping the rebuilding of the party in Canada but also at forming CPC(ML) into a militarist and fascist organization. The political plans of this organization amount to commanding the masses and regimenting the workers movement behind the banner of its so-called “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” which in practice expresses the basest designs of reactionary and chauvinist Canadian imperialism. The latter wants to impose its own will over the Canadian working class through unrestricted authority over it and then to go on to fulfill its hegemonic ambitions in relation to other rival imperialists, with the US in the first rank of these rivals.
 Political Report, Documents. 1976, pp. 3-4.
 Mass Line, no 5, p. 2.
 Mass Line. May 25, 1975, p. 10.
 Mass Line, no 18, p. 4.
 Mass Line, no 49, p. 4.
 Mass Line, no 6, p. 11.
 Mass Line, no 10, p. 11.
 PCDN. vol. 2, no 12. p. 5.
 Mass Line, no 1, p. 2.
 Resolution of the Toronto Anti-Superpowers Committee, February 1, 1975.
 Paterson, Dave. ”A Reply to CPC(ML)’s Call for Unity”, Canadian Revolution, September 1975, p. 13.
 “Constitution of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)”, Documents. 1976, p. 44.
 Ibid., p. 148.
 Communist Manifesto For Canada and Quebec ”First Draft, p. 1.
 Official election leaflet issued by Paul Levesque, PCQ(ML) candidate in Dorion riding, Montreal, October 1973 (our translation from the French original).
 Communist Manifesto..., op. cit., p. 2-3
 Le Manifeste communiste pour les elections federates, 1972, p. l (our translation)
 “Long Live the Friendship Between Guelph Newsservice and CPC(ML)”, February 12, 1973, reprinted from PCDN in Unity of Marxist-Leninists. 1976, p. 37.
 QCP, March 2, 1978, p. 1. (our translation).
 For more on this question, look at “A Brief History of the Struggle for a proletarian party”. Proletarian Unity, no. 7, p. 18.
 Progressive Worker, vol.1, no I, October 1967. p. 7. QCP, March 2, 1978, p. 1.
 Mass Line, no 10, p. 9.
 Bulletin international. Documents 1, sur quelques provocations internationales (1971-1978), p. 4. (our translation).
 Mass Line, no 10, September 17, 1969.
 See BC Newsletter, vol. 5, no 34, p. 3.
 Mass Line, vol. 5, no 34, p. 3.
 Trotskyism Disguised As Marxism-Leninism: The American Communist Workers Movement Now Calling Itself the Central Organization of US Marxist-Leninists, published in August 1975 by the Lexington Communist Collective, p. 26.
 Mao Tse-tung Thought versus Opportunism. COUSML, 1976, p. 68.
 Political Report 1970. Documents. 1976, p. 8.
 Workers England Weekly News, September 25, 1974.
 Mass Line. April 12, 1970.
 “There is such a Party”, p. 1.
 QCP, August 15, 1975, p.2. (our translation); our emphasis.
 Mass Line. April 12, 1970, p. 1. QCP, April 15, 1975, p. 2. (our translation).
 PCDN, January II, 1975, as reprinted in On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, pp. 144-146.
 Bains, Hardial. “Bref commentaire sur le genre d’opportunisme d’EN LUTTE!”, QCP, October 30-November 1, 1975, p. I. (our translation)
 Political Report, 1973.
 QCP, February 11, 1977, p. 2. (our translation).
 QCP, March 1-6, 1976, p. 1. (our translation).
 PCDN, December 17, 1977, p. 10.
 Bains, Hardial. Report on Albania. 1977, p. 19.