First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 9, April 28, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Bolshevik Union (BU) is a small group claiming to be “Marxist-Leninist” that was created in 1976 by some activists who split from the magazine Canadian Revolution. Despite its claims Bolshevik Union is not a Marxist-Leninist group. It is a counter-revolutionary splittist gang.
Since its creation the BU has given itself one task – to sabotage and split the communist movement. Everything it does is guided by the principle: combat Marxism-Leninism.
BU carries on no revolutionary work among the proletariat to win the most advanced workers to communism. Its sole activity is to go around trying to sabotage the work of genuine communists. The examples arc numerous.
For openers we can note that the activists who began BU stole 200 copies of the review Canadian Revolution when they left the collective. BU has engaged in other such memorable activities such as denouncing by name militants of the League who have been involved in labour work (see Lines of Demarcation No. 1). This is surely a practice that would win BU an extra medal from the RCMP.
BU came to the League’s first public assembly in Toronto on the struggle of the peoples and countries of the world against the two superpowers. At this assembly nearly twenty members of different Trotskyist formations attempt to distribute their counter-revolutionary trash to those who wished to attend the meeting. BU of course was to be found with the Trotskyists handing out their own leaflet which denounced the CCL(ML). BU could not hold its own assembly so it came to sabotage the communist work of the League.
At the League’s anti-imperialist conference in Montreal last February BU tried a similar trick. They stood up in a workshop on Canadian imperialism in the Caribbean, denounced the League and tried to break up the proceedings. BU tried to turn the discussion to the situation of native peoples in Canada, in order to attack the CCL(ML). However with the support of the several hundred participants the League comrades harshly exposed this counter-revolutionary act and the discussion proceeded.
At In Struggle’s first “unity conference” BU made a speech attacking the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada. Claiming to be the only real communists, BU harangued the League and In Struggle for every crime in the book. About the League they said “... right opportunism redoubled its efforts to stop the formation of a genuine communist party by throwing up the CCL(ML| in our path. Thus the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement took a step back with the formation of the League” All that interests the BU is to attack the real communists and spread confusion at any price.
In fact, BU has only one reason to exist – to go around the country from meeting to meeting trying to sabotage and foment confusion.
BU’s review Lines of Demarcation is devoted to attacking Marxism-Leninism. It is not interested in carrying out ideological struggle in order to further communist unity and chart a correct path towards the revolution. BU simply attacks everybody else. There are hundreds of pages of text, confused, abstract, with endless quotations from Lenin torn out of context, perpetually railing against this or that about the League or In Struggle (see Lines of Demarcation, 1, 2 or 3 as examples).
BU’s idea of demarcation is to attack everyone else. They take different positions on questions, just so that they can attack others. Their publications are reminiscent of the hysterical ravings of the CPC(ML) and the Trotskyists. Not all that surprising. All have the same purpose: to serve the bourgeoisie and attempt to split, smash and destroy the growing communist movement in Canada.
What do all these examples illustrate? That BU is a counter-revolutionary group whose sole purpose is to serve the bourgeoisie and attack the communist movement. In many cases the BU could not do a better job if they were being paid by the police.
BU’s counter-revolutionary line is clearly manifested in the political positions they have adopted on a number of different questions. Here are a few illustrations.
On the international situation: Bolshevik Union rejects the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the existence of the two superpowers which presently constitute the main enemies of the peoples of the world. They deny the need to build a united front of the peoples and countries of the world against these two imperialist giants. While paying lip-service to the analysis that there are two superpowers in fact the Bolshevik Union says the USSR is the real enemy and is for siding with the USA against the Soviet Union. Bolshevik Union is for supporting one superpower against the other!!
Bolshevik Union states! “Those who find a United Front with the second world countries of Europe, and possibly with the United States, inconceivable, do not understand what it means to say that the USSR is imperialist, fascist, and the main danger to the peoples of the world!” (emphasis in original) (leaflet of the Bolshevik Union at the League superpower meeting in Toronto)
Yes, the Soviet Union is the most dangerous of the two, because it is the rising superpower, but there are presently two superpowers, not one. Any question of forming a “United Front” with the imperialist USA, the bloody exploiters of the peoples throughout the world is a disgusting betrayal of the international revolutionary struggle.
It is the fierce contention between the two superpowers which will lead sooner or later to the outbreak of a new world war. This will be an imperialist war for the redivision of the world, which must be actively opposed by the peoples of the world. The Canadian people have no interest in being drawn into such a war and used as cannon fodder for the superpowers. But not according to Bolshevik Union!:
But what if one of the western European countries, Norway for example, is attacked by the Soviet Union? Does this mean that there is no question of Canada fulfilling its treaty obligations in NATO to help defend Norway because the US too is in NATO?
The Bolshevik Union takes the position that to properly prepare the Canadian people for war means not just preparing them for direct threats against Canadian sovereignty but also preparing them for the possibility of Canada’s active participation in a United Front against fascist military aggression in Europe.(ibid)
So the Bolshevik Union is for the slaughter of Canadian workers in Europe to defend the interests of US imperialism. NATO is an instrument of US imperialism, US troops sent to Norway in the event of Soviet aggression will be there not to “liberate” Norway, but to favour the hegemonic interests of the US imperialists.
Bolshevik Union is in fact for supporting the US imperialists and is adopting a social-chauvinist line. Bolshevik Union tries to confuse who is the main enemy of the world’s peoples and thus sabotages the international revolutionary struggle. Its line on the international situation is not just mistaken but outright opportunist and counter-revolutionary.
On the situation in Canada: The BU holds an opportunist line on every question – a wrong line on the principal contradiction, the role of the two superpowers and a neglect of the Quebec national question.
But the Bolshevik Union’s real “contribution” in analyzing the situation in Canada is their line on the native people. Here Bolshevik Union has established beyond any doubt that they don’t care a bit about Marxist-Leninist principles but will resort to any ruse to defend their bankrupt counter-revolutionary positions.
BU maintains that the north of Canada is part of the third world, and is a colony of Canada, and that the native people are an oppressed nation, a colonized people who must carry out a national liberation war to achieve independence. In so doing the BU adopts a totally anti-Marxist position.
The native people in Canada were victims of colonial oppression and now they suffer from the brutal oppression of the Canadian bourgeoisie. Their national rights must be defended. The Native people in Canada have inalienable rights to their national culture, languages, and territory, and the whole Canadian working class must take up the struggle to defend these rights of the native people and their struggle against capitalist exploitation. Marxist Leninists must take up the task of accomplishing a rigorous analysis of their situation. But whether or not the Native people constitute a nation as such or an oppressed national minority, the line that BU advances is splittist and anti-Marxist.
Is the northern part of Canada in the third world? No. Canada is a developed capitalist country of the second world. Canada is an imperialist country, not some hybrid 2 and 1/2 world country. BU hopelessly deforms the communist analysis of the international situation and the nature of Canada.
Their call for the native people to wage a struggle to separate the north, and to form their own independent revolutionary’ organization is splittist. This will not only weaken the Native people but all the Canadian working class in their struggle to overthrow their main enemy – the Canadian bourgeoisie. This is direct sabotage of the revolutionary struggle.
To “prove” that the native people are a nation BU does not hesitate to throw Marxism-Leninism out the window. They openly state that Stalin’s definition of the nation does not apply today: “We do not consider it essential to use this definition (Stalin’s) at all in our discussion of the Native national question...” (Canadian Revolution. Vol. 1, No. 4)
J.V. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist whose brilliant exposition of the national question and the communist attitude to this question remain pertinent to this very day. By throwing Stalin out the window, BU shows simply that its only interest in Marxism-Leninism is to take on its name.
BU even goes so far as to accuse the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada of social chauvinism towards the native people, and to claim that the proletarian dictatorship in Canada would “oppress” the native people if it did not apply BU’s “analysis”.
BU’s total disregard for the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, their eagerness to rewrite revolutionary theory to their liking, and their outright splittist, divisive, and sabotage line on the struggle of the native people gives us a good example of Bolshevik Union’s “contributions” to the revolutionary struggle in Canada.
As for the tasks of communists, BU wants to create isolated propaganda circles (under their leadership) that will somehow lay the basis to found the “party”. And in the struggle for the unity of communists they believe that right opportunism is a “majority in the Marxist-Leninist movement” (Lines of Demarcation. No. 2. p. 48). If so then there wouldn’t be a communist movement!
They attack the method of unity-criticism-unity advanced by Chairman Mao Tsetung to resolve contradictions among the people, saying it does not apply to unity among communists.
The raising of the formula “unity-criticism-unity” to the level of principle in the struggle for unity in our movement is a cover for liberalism, for the sabotage of ideological struggle, for liquidating the tasks of the first stage of building the party...and for seeking to combine right opportunism with Marxism-Leninism.(Lines of Demarcation.)
What an attack on Marxist-Leninist principles! For BU the word unity twice together is too much to take.
We could go on and on. On every question the BU’s counter-revolutionary line is evident.
BU is a counter-revolutionary group that must be destroyed. Its task is to split and sabotage the communist movement. Like the other counter-revolutionaries, such as CPC(ML), the revisionists, and the Trotskyists it must be ideologically unmasked and organizationally eliminated. There should be no co-operation or compromise whatsoever with this pack of wreckers, only struggle to get rid of them once and for all.
Down with the counter-revolutionary BU!
Long live Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought!