First Published: In Struggle! No. 101, November 10, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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From one end of the country to the other, more than 2,000 people got together in the past little while to celebrate IN STRUGGLE!’s fourth anniversary. Despite the vast anti-communist campaign now gathering steam, and despite the intimidation and the pompous decrees of excommunication from the Communist League, all these hundreds and hundreds of people came out to show the bourgeoisie, the labour bosses and the opportunists that they support IN STRUGGLE!’s revolutionary work. And this alone takes on all the more meaning because this is the first anniversary of a communist group celebrated from Vancouver to Halifax since the degeneration of the old Communist Party of Canada.
This year, the celebration’s major theme was the communist newspaper, its role and the need to make it into a weekly in order to better counter the bourgeois propaganda machines of Power Corporation, Southam Press and the other media monopolies all in the service of the ruling class.
“The readers’ circle was a really excellent experience for me. Before, I wasn’t sure if the system was good or not. Now, I’m very sure that it stinks!” said a working class mother, once a housewife and now a worker, to more than 1,500 people who came to celebrate the group’s birthday in Montreal. They responded enthusiastically to this woman’s lively account of her struggle to grasp Marxism-Leninism with the aid of the newspaper IN STRUGGLE!, the reticences she had to overcome and the positive outcome.
“Most difficult of all was getting into the habit of reading it,” she recounted. “When I heard about making it into a weekly, I said to myself, “They’re crazy! It already takes me two weeks to read it” But in trying to understand why IN STRUGGLE! had taken up the call for a weekly, and in understanding that the newspaper had become “like a small pair of pants on a growing boy”, she came to support the project. For if the paper appears more frequently, it will be more and more up-to-date, more and more linked to current events and therefore closer and closer to the masses.
Other important events also took place during the evening celebration. A representative from the regional struggle committee against wage controls invited the audience to take part in this coalition to demand that the Wage Control Act and all other forms of wage freeze be withdrawn. This appeal took on even more meaning when a woman worker from Bell stood up and told the audience about the wage cutbacks she and her fellow workers were just dealt by the AIB.
Then, Charles Gagnon, Secretary General of the group IN STRUGGLE! addressed the hall. He pointed out that although the bourgeoisie is weaving a web of repression, piling one reactionary law onto another, the working-class movement is also growing and its conscious elements are joining the ranks of the Marxist-Leninists. In fact, the most outstanding thing that has happened in our country in the past few years has been the rebirth of a genuine communist movement, a communist movement that is moving forward by leaps and bounds in the struggle for the unity of the Canadian working class and for the creation of the proletarian Party.
Interspersed between the speeches, was a play, songs of struggle, and folk music. As the first song on culture so rightly put it:
Worker, in your body and in your mind,
Live your work, your struggles and your hopes
Make our songs, our dances, our celebrations
into weapons for victory!
The role of readers’ circles and the newspaper in the campaign against wage controls, the new immigration Act, and unemployment were at the centre of the discussions at IN STRUGGLE!’s celebration in this region.
“The circles helped me to overcome my aversion to struggling”.
“They are a good thing because they are also a way for the communists of IN STRUGGLE! to investigate and learn. They aren’t just a one-way street”. As one participant said:
“The fourth anniversary was an excellent chance to exchange ideas and learn from the suggestions... We should have this type of event between anniversaries, too”.
Aside from the fact that the 170 comrades and friends of IN STRUGGLE! who attended the celebration had the opportunity to see two very special events, a mime show and a slide show on the history of IN STRUGGLE!, the major aspect of the anniversary was the call to develop a solid network of correspondents across the country.
And so, a correspondent from Rimouski who came to speak about her work and its importance emphasized how such input into the newspaper was clearly linked to the newspaper’s very goal of increasing its links with the masses. “The more correspondents there are, the more people will read the paper and the more people there will be working to make the Canadian revolution go forward. Writing for the newspaper helps you to see particular situations more clearly, whatever the situation may be. It also makes us feel less overwhelmed by the reality of capitalist exploitation because we know that we’re contributing to giving ourselves a way to get out of the situation”.
The call to write to IN STRUGGLE! was also taken up by ORHAP (Haitian Anti-Imperialist Organization). After heartily greeting IN STRUGGLE!’s fourth anniversary, ORHAP’s representative stated that the group was going to seriously undertake the task of informing IN STRUGGLE! and the Canadian working class as a whole about the manoeuvrings of the Canadian bourgeoisie in their country. He concluded with: “Long live proletarian internationalism! Long life to IN STRUGGLE!”
Fifty people came to celebrate IN STRUGGLE!’s fourth anniversary in this region. A sketch which communist workers helped prepare used the example of the Noranda workers themselves to emphasize the importance of continuing to fight wage controls. It also pointed out the role of the newspaper as a guide in this struggle. A women worker stood up and explained the basic difference between the bourgeois press, where the working class and the organizations it has built to defend itself are treated as “trouble makers”, and a communist newspaper like IN STRUGGLE!, which defends the immediate and more long-term interests of all the exploited.
As well the teachers’ union of North West Quebec came forward and expressed its solidarity with the struggle for the weekly and for the construction of the Canadian proletarian Party.
In Vancouver, there were 100 people, including more than 25 “new faces”. Workers and progressive intellectuals from the area participated enthusiastically in the celebration. Theater took pride of place: Indeed, five sketches were presented, recalling the development of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the region and criticizing with humour past mistakes, as in the sketch in which the workers struggle while the communists “continue a complete and thorough inquiry”, avoiding above all getting mixed up in the class struggle.Another sketch illustrated the enormous progress made in the ways of distributing the newspaper, from the time of the slogan “shouted against and in spite of everything” to the present time when the distribution is a moment of political discussions and interesting debates around communist ideas.
In Toronto more than 60 persons participated in the evening. Two speeches were given, one being given by a communist worker from Ste-Therese, Quebec about the important role of the newspaper as an educational tool on important political questions.
After the speech a short play dealing with the newspaper was presented and a Chilian cultural group sang a few songs. The evening was a very mobilizing first step in the struggle for the weekly newspaper.
Comrades and friends, IN STRUGGLE! thanks all those who have supported its work in recent years and emphasized that it has the firm intention of intensifying its contribution to the struggle for the reconstruction of the Party of the proletariat in Canada. We believe, as several people have told us, that the fourth anniversary has been a very important moment in this struggle.
As the comrade from ORHAP pointed out in Quebec City, “The development of a Canadian communist newspaper constitutes a victory for the creation of a revolutionary vanguard tempered in the crucible of the proletarian science. At the same time it is a victory for all the peoples oppressed by the Canadian bourgeoisie. For by weakening the bourgeoisie in its own country, the Canadian proletariat helps to strengthen the struggle of all the people oppressed by this same bourgeoisie”.
IN STRUGGLE! for a weekly communist newspaper!