The Fourth Conference of Marxist-Leninists on the reconstruction of the proletarian Party comes at an important time for the Canadian working class. Throughout the country a horde of political parties, old and newer, are wooing the proletariat with “their” solution to the workers’ exploitation, and often even with “their” socialism.
In the context of the capitalist crisis in Canada and around the world, the bourgeoisie strives all the harder to prevent Canadian workers and Marxist-Leninist communists from building the proletarian Party, the political tool necessary to guide the struggle of the working class down the path of socialist revolution.
All authentic Marxist-Leninists, and an ever-increasing number of workers, recognize the necessity of reconstructing the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party of the Canadian proletariat and are actively working towards this.
The objective of this weekend’s conference is to debate and define the tasks that must be accomplished to create such a party in Canada. Thus we invite each and every one of you to participate actively in the debates this weekend, and then afterwards involve all those with whom you come into contact, or meet regularly, in the process of realizing this vital task in the revolutionary struggle of the Canadian proletariat.
In the name of the Marxist-Leninist Group IN STRUGGLE!, I welcome all workers, union and community group militants, students, members and sympathizers of the Marxist-Leninist movement, and also all those who, without being yet convinced of the correctness of the Marxist-Leninist line, are nonetheless willing to discuss and debate in a spirit of unity, in a spirit of sincerely wanting to discover which path defends the immediate and fundamental interests of the Canadian working class. I hope that these people in particular will not hesitate to express their opinions openly and honestly.
Mao Tse-tung once said that Marxism develops in the struggle against that which is anti-Marxist. Unfortunately, there are still many who claim to be Marxist-Leninist but who refuse to recognize this dialectical law of the development of knowledge. Authentic Marxist-Leninists are not afraid to confront their point of view with others that differ. It is precisely this spirit of ideological struggle, of struggle between points of view that serve the bourgeoisie and those that serve the proletariat, that has guided the national and regional conferences organized by IN STRUGGLE!, and in several cases in co-operation with other Marxist-Leninist group .
The last three conferences have enabled the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement to raise considerably the level of polemic on the most important questions of the revolutionary program of the Canadian proletariat. They have permitted the creation of a steadily firmer line of demarcation between revisionism and opportunism on the one hand and Marxism-Leninism on the other. If we take into account the influence they have had in the Marxist-Leninist press, these conferences have allowed thousands of workers in Canada to better understand the fundamental issues at stake in the struggle of the Canadian proletariat, involving questions as important as the unity of Marxist-Leninists, the path of revolution in Canada and the internationalist duties of the Canadian proletariat. The previous conferences enabled the communist perspective, the only one that serves the interests of the proletariat, to rally more and more Marxist-Leninists and workers all across Canada. I am convinced that the results of the Fourth Conference will be as positive as those of the previous ones. In fact, we should even say that this conference marks a turning point in the series of conferences organized by IN STRUGGLE!.
With this Conference on the reconstruction of the Party, we end a series of conferences which have primarily served to debate questions of vital importance for the Marxist-Leninist movement. The next conference on the agenda will deal with the Draft Program for the Party. Through these conferences we have achieved important goals. We’ve succeeded, amongst other things, in consolidating the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. If today there is only one group participating in the conference, this is related to the fact that in the last year-and-a-half, many groups from Quebec and English Canada have rallied to the Canadian communist Group IN STRUGGLE!. This has enabled IN STRUGGLE! to become a truly Canadian group with roots all across the country. It has also strengthened the unity of Marxist-Leninists in other ways principally by discrediting counter-revolutionaries like Bolshevik Union which as we have seen, did not come to discuss in a spirit of unity with Canadian Marxist-Leninists. Instead, right from the first conference, they demonstrated a spirit of splitting and wrecking which reached the point of sabotage at the last conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. We succeeded in exposing not only their spirit of division, but also their counter-revolutionary line on the tasks of the Canadian revolution. The way BU intervened in the debates at the last conference confirms our analysis that their actions have more to do with sabotage than with honest line struggle permitting an understanding of Marxism-Leninism and its demarcation from other points of view. Thus we must consider their exclusion and their absence as a group at today’s conference as a positive and important step towards consolidating the ranks of genuine Marxists-Leninists.
However, all is not well in the ranks of the Marxist-Leninist movement and the conscious proletariat of our country. While there is steadily clearer demarcation between the bourgeois and opportunist point of view and that of the proletariat, the principal agents of opportunism are behaving in a sectarian way and withdrawing behind their erroneous viewpoints.
IN STRUGGLE! invited the CCL(ML) and the Red Star Collective of Vancouver to attend the conference and present their points of view. We know that the League has boycotted the national conferences and avoided ideological debate almost ever since it was founded. Rather than frankly presenting its point of view and trying to expose the pseudo-revisionism of IN STRUGGLE!, the League instead avoids ideological struggle for fear of seeing its points of view discredited, and falls back on soliciting workers. It even goes so far as to inform the police about members and sympathizers of the Marxist-Leninist movement who are not linked to the League. This is a tactic taken from bourgeois politics, and is totally unacceptable in both the communist movement and the Canadian working-class movement. If the League wants to solicit, then let it do it elsewhere. If, on the otner hand, it finally decides to debate honestly, raising its level of argumentation and leaving behind the swamp of lies and gossip, then its contribution would perhaps permit us to better distinguish the correct points of view from the erroneous ones in the task of rebuilding the proletarian Party in Canada.
The RSC unfortunately seems to share the same tendency as the League. RSC has, in effect, refused to participate in the Fourth Conference, asserting that the conferences have not allowed them to correctly defend their point of view. It should be pointed out here that RSC has never had any more or any less time than any other group to present their point of view at the national conferences and the regional conferences organized in Vancouver.
IN STRUGGLE! invited four other groups to participate in the Fourth Conference, among them the Vancouver Red Collective, which recently rallied to the ranks of IN STRUGGLE!, and the Red Wind Collective of Vancouver, which assured us of its support for the conference, although it is unable to participate directly, by sending a message that reads, “The Red Wind Collective salutes the Fourth National conference and wishes it the best of success. We support the struggle for unity by supporting this conference and the public debates on political line that surround it. Long live Marxism-Leninism!” We also invited the Victoria Study Group of Victoria, BC, and the Workers’ Unity Collective of Edmonton, two groups from which we have recieved no reply.
In the last year-and-a-half, the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement has undergone important changes. As we said earlier, many groups have united, which is certainly a step forward. However, this heightened unity should not make us forget that, during the same period, opportunist and nationalist tendencies have also been consolidated in some groups. This is particularly true of the League and, despite appearances to the contrary, of another group which has many points of line in common with the League, namely the Red Star Collective.
The consolidation of opportunism within these two groups causes them to flee public confrontations of their positions with others, none the less, this shouldn’t cause debates at this conference to be any less fruitful. On the one hand, as in the other conferences, all the participants are invited to voice not only their questions but also their points of view on the subject of the conference. On the other hand, all militants active in unions, popular groups and anti-imperialist organizations who are daily confronted with people in these organizations who defend points of view contrary to the interests of the proletariat should take it upon themselves to inform the participants of these points of view and to take a stand on such ideas. It’s in this way that the conference will be able to enrich our common understanding of bourgeois perspectives put forward in the workers movement by reformist parties or even by groups that claim to be Marxist-Leninist, and thereby reinforce our conviction and our capacity to defend the point of view of the revolutionary proletariat in all our daily activities.
The struggle of the working class is international in essence, even if it takes on national forms. Canadian workers have always displayed a great internationalist spirit, and continue to do so today. Linking the struggle of the working class and the popular masses of their country to the combat of the Canadian proletariat and people, Marxist-Leninist organizations and organizations of support for the struggles waged in their respective countries have agreed to participate in the Fourth Conference for the reconstruction of the proletarian Party in Canada. We therefore enthusiastically salute the presence of representatives of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, who have agreed to participate as observers in this conference. We also invited another American party, the Marxist-Leninist Party of the United States, but it did not reply to our invitation. We would also like to emphasize the presence of the following anti-imperialist or Marxist-Leninist groups from Asia, Africa and Latin America: l’Organisation revolutionnaire haitienne d’action patriotique (ORHAP – the revolutionary Haitian organization of patriotic action), the Association of Philippine Patriots, the Quebec-Palestine Association, the Mouvement des etudiants africains a Montreal (Movement of African Students in Montreal), and the Confederation of Iranian Students-National Union fraction. We urge these groups to distribute literature dealing specifically with the struggle of the proletariat and the people in their countries, and also to acquaint the participants of this conference with their experience and lessons from the struggle waged in their countries to forge solid leadership for the revolutionary struggles of their peoples.
I wish this conference the best of success, and invite each and every comrade to participate actively in a spirit of unity in the debates that will take place during this conference.