The Third Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists is coming to an end. It has been a year now since the First Conference took place, and as a comrade said a while ago, I think that we must consider the Third Conference, like the two before it, as a success.
We live in a large country in which many Marxist-Leninist groups have been created in the past few years. A year ago, these groups had a very scanty and poor knowledge of each other, and this remains the case for some groups at the present time. However, it is undeniable that the conferences have enabled us firstly to learn of the existence of some groups, and furthermore to gain a better knowledge of their positions and of their point of view. And more than that, in the case of groups and organizations whose positions were more set and better distributed, the conferences made it possible to initiate and, in some cases, to develop greatly the demarcation of their positions.
Thus, I would like, in the name of IN STRUGGLE!, to thank the groups who have participated in this conference, and to express, once again, our regret and disagreement with the League’s non-participation in the conferences. Indeed, except for the First Conference where the League was present, the League did not participate in the National Conferences wither by sending a spokesperson, or by its active presence, or otherwise. I wish to thank the participating groups, as well as the anti-imperialist groups, whose presentations enabled all to acquire, a more concrete knowledge of the nature of the struggles which are being waged in certain countries, and of the perspectives for the development of the struggle which these comrades have, and therefore, of the role which our support can play in the development of their struggles.
It was normal and desirable that the greatest possible number of anti-imperialist groups come to a conference on the international situation, to make known the developments of the struggle in their countries. This constituted an important contribution to our conference.
As I was saying, the Third Conference, as the preceding ones, constitutes a step forward, a progress and a success. To the extent that the Conference made it possible to raise the level of understanding of the different lines in the Marxist-Leninist movement, to better understand the pratical and political implications of the different positions – and I think this has, to a large extent, been achieved – we can consider this a success.
A question was raised during the conference: “Do these conferences serve to build unity?” If we consider that serving unity means that in a relatively short lapse of time we arrive at organizational unity, then I would say that if the conferences are serving to unite, they are a means which certainly take a long time. But if we consider that one of the essential elements of the struggle for unity is demarcation, the clear identification of differences, we must consider that the conferences serve to unite. They serve to unite to the extent that, on the basis of practice and the examination of the lines, they permit us to better identify which are the Marxist-Leninist positions and which are the opportunist, revisionist, and nationalist deviations.
It is in this respect, that I feel that the Third Conference, just like the previous ones, served the cause of the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement. And as we have always said, unity must be achieved on a political basis, on the basis of a programme; unity must not simply be the organizational unification of Marxist-Leninists.
As we can see the struggle for unity, whether it be in our country or on a world scale, is not always easy. I think that if we consider the situation in the international communist movement at the present time, we have to realize that the struggle for unity, to maintain and develop it, is not always something obvious.
That’s because the communist movement, in individual countries as well on the world scale, is a living reality within which contradictions and differences develop, in which erroneous points of view appear, develop to one degree or another, are combatted, and reappear in another form. Finally unity around a correct line, on the international scale as well as within different countries, is a constant struggle. In that sense, once again, I feel that today’s conference permitted us to take a step forward.
However, from our point of view it is undeniable that there exist certain gestures within the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement which manifest a tendency towards splittism and not towards unity. Already during the ’60’s and in the early ’70’s, we witnessed a party (the “C’PC(ML)) which proclaimed itself to be the great leader of the Canadian workers’ movement and of the proletarian revolution in our country, and which developed a splittist and divisive line according to which those who weren’t in the party weren’t communist, those who didn’t recognize the line of the party weren’t communist, etc. This line wasn’t a line which could bring about unity and in practice it didn’t bring about unity. Thus, I think that practice is the confirmation of the erroneous character of this line.
Today we find comparable tendencies within the Marxist-Leninist movement to those which the “C’PC(M-L) had manifested and which have since consolidated within this so-called party. This tendency consists of saying: “You’re communist to the extent, and only to the extent that you recognize the “three worlds theory”. The League employs similar methods which lead it to conclude and to write in its newspaper about IN STRUGGLE!, because IN STRUGGLE! criticizes the ’three worlds theory’: “IN STRUGGLE! rejects socialist China or criticizes socialist China!”
Today and yesterday during the conference we witnessed an attitude of the same nature. The Bolshevik Union (BU) ways: “We must accept, defend, and support the line of the international communist movement, that is, the latest declaration of the Party of Labour of Albania”. And if we don’t, we are lining ourselves up in the camp of revisionism. We believe that attitudes like that are attitudes which do not lead to unity but rather to division. Such attitudes transform the line struggle, a struggle based on principles which seeks to correctly establish how to apply Marxism-Leninism in our country and in the world, for the epoch that we are living in, into a struggle between important people or between great Parties. This attitude is incorrect.
If we add to this the fact that regularity since the beginning of the three conferences, BU has adopted an attitude which in our minds does not favor line debate but rather obscures it under a ton of quotes or else behind unfounded accusations, thrown out in profusion... We consider that we must seriously ask the question: does the participation of BU at the Conferences of Canadian Marxist-Leninists make the struggle for unity go forward or does it hold it back? The question must be asked. I’m not saying that we must pass a decree according to which tomorrow morning or this afternoon, BU will be excluded from the Canadian communist movement. But the very specific question that we put forward following today’s conference, and the preceding one, is the following: if one comes here not with a spirit of unity, but with a spirit of splittism, of division, if one does not come to struggle to unite communists around correct ideas, around ideas which make the revolution advance, if one comes here only to throw out general and very serious accusations, well then why come, if one is not adopting an attitude which serves unity, which is precisely the goal of these conferences.
Comrades, I said just a while ago that the struggle for unity is a difficult struggle, a continually ongoing struggle. It’s a struggle which we are waging in our country, and which is currently being waged on a world scale. I believe that the situation on the world scale, as well as in our country, is serious. The conditions of class struggle call the communists, as well as the proletariat in our country and in the world, to take up important tasks, to take up historic tasks which are to advance the camp of the revolution, to make the revolutionary movement progress, and to constantly weaken, to destroy the camp of the reaction. To achieve these objectives the proletariat must be united, and the communist movement must be united.
We are going to pursue the struggle for the unity of communists in our country and in the world, a struggle which we are going to wage on the basis of principles and which we are going to wage first and foremost to better serve the interests of the proletarian revolution.