In the era of capitalism which has reached the stage of imperialism, the socialist revolution represents the path of progress for all of humanity. Since the glorious 1917 October Revolution in the Soviet Union, with the liberation movement of the oppressed and colonized peoples, and especially with the Chinese and Albanian revolutions which then begun the construction of socialism, the world imperialist system has been greatly shaken and the socialist revolution has been proven to be the only real solution.
The path of the socialist revolution, however, is not an easy one. The history of the working class movement proves this. It shows us that since the time of Marx and Engels, the revolutionary ideology of the proletariat has always been exposed to the manoeuvres of the bourgeoisie which not only viciously crushes all threats to its power, but also constantly tries to lead the proletariat along the path of collaboration and compromise.
The struggle for the triumph of proletarian ideology, which has won major victories under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hoxha, always had to and still today must be led not only in confrontation with the vast means of propaganda and repression of the bourgeoisie, but also within the very midst of the workers’ movement against the class collaborators. Usually coming from the labour aristocracy or the petty-bourgeoisie, these class collaborators are found in the union bureaucracy and the reformist parties and organizations (including the Canadian Communist Party, a party which has degenerated into revisionism since the 1940’s) which still pretend to serve the interests of the working masses. They are also found within the ranks of the communist (Marxist-Leninist) movement itself, where there is a continuing struggle between two lines, between two roads, proletarian and bourgeois; a struggle that will not end until the final abolition of social classes.
At the center of the present concerns of Canadian communists is the struggle for the creation of the party of the proletarian revolution. When will we be able to proclaim the creation of the Marxist-Leninist Canadian communist party? When will the conditions be ready for the party to properly play its role as the battle-headquarters of the proletariat struggling for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism under proletarian dictatorship? On the day when Canadian communists include in their ranks the most conscious fighters of the working class, when they are finally united on a single program, and when they are therefore ready to unite in a single organization from one end to another of our vast multi-national country.
The possible proclamation of one and – who knows? – two or three more so-called communist parties, between now and the time when the tasks of creating an authentic revolutionary party have been realized, shouldn’t worry us too much. If this should happen, then these so-called parties will inevitably end up like their predecessors, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC(M-L)), the Canadian Party of Labour (CPL), and the Parti des Travailleurs du Quebec (PTQ), (a Quebecois independentist group which has sunk into oblivion). Their proclamations are worth less to the history of the revolution than the paper they are written on. Sooner or later, these phoney revolutionary parties are rejected by the masses, as has been proven by the history of the international workers’ movement which has already known dozens, even hundreds of similar opportunist groups.
Canadian communists, no matter what group or organization they belong to today, must be conscious of their historical responsibilities to the future of the revolutionary struggle of the Canadian and international proletariat. They should avoid the monumental error of proclaiming the party before having realized the greatest possible unity on the Marxist-Leninist program within the ranks of the movement. This requires the undisputed victory over the opportunist deviations presently at work within the Marxist-Leninist movement.
It is precisely with the goal of contributing directly to the realization of the conditions for the creation of the party that our group is now presenting this Draft Program for the Canadian Proletarian Party to its members, to its sympathizers, to the communist movement in Canada and internationally, and to the proletariat and working masses of Canada.
The decision of our Second Congress, held in the fall of 1976, was that our program must first be submitted to the criticisms of the masses in the form of a draft, before its final adoption. This decision is the expression of a political line, a line that says that communists are the servants of the masses, that the party is built in the masses, and that the masses make the revolution while the party makes them conscious.
The decision of our Congress was a correct decision, for the struggle which has been waged for more than a year right within our group has shown that the question of the program is in fact a central question, and that it brings out all the fundamental questions posed by the correct application of Marxism-Leninism to revolutionary practice in our own country. Furthermore, these questions are not just of concern to communists; they are of the utmost importance to all of the Canadian proletariat and working masses. Therefore it is quite correct for us to submit our Draft Program to the test of practice, especially to the test of criticism by the masses, in order to increase the ability of each person to make their judgement before its adoption.
It’s not by accident that the document we are publishing at this time is presented as the draft program of the party. Last year we put forward the idea of first publishing the program of the “organization of struggle for the party” and we said that it would be this organization which should lead the struggle for the party and, along with its other tasks, draw up the party program. But even if all communists are not yet united, because of the existing fundamental differences on questions of line, and also because of the particularly sectarian and splittist practice of some, today the situation in the movement itself and of its relations with the proletariat and working masses has evolved considerably.
The struggle against opportunism and revisionism has become more pronounced, the unity of Marxist-Leninists has enormously progressed on a Canada-wide scale, and the fusion of Marxism-Leninism and the working-class movement has developped. In practice, the questions of the program of the proletarian revolution are already at the heart of the line struggle within the movement. The struggle to determine which positions on these questions are Marxist-Leninist and which are opportunist and revisionist must be continued and intensified, as much within the working-class movement as among Marxist-Leninists. Thus, to pursue the objective of a pre-party organization, an objective which is in fact out-dated, would be to drag the movement backward rather than to make it advance.
As a Marxist-Leninist group whose organization now extends to several important centers from one end of the country to the other, IN STRUGGLE! is calling for the unity of communists on the program of the revolutionary proletariat. This program must be the basis for uniting all conscious workers, and also the basis for uniting all others who recognize it as correct and as the synthesis of the Marxist-Leninist line which must govern the creation of the party of the proletarian revolution in Canada.
The document we are now presenting has two main components: the program and the commentary. This represents a conception of the program which, in certain respects, is rather different from the programs of many Marxist-Leninist organizations and parties around the world at this time. We base ourselves on the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, who dealt explicitly with the questions concerning the program, both of its content and of its form. We think that the program of a communist party should not be confused with a “manifesto” or a detailed statement of political line.
The program is a brief expose of the essential theses of the party, which defines the goals and the general tasks of the proletariat for the period of the socialist revolution. It is therefore the fundamental guide for the party in all its activity and it is at the same time the principal instrument of its unity, because its content completely binds and directs all the bodies and all the members of the party.
As for the commentaries, they provide the necessary explanations to understand the program and its foundations as a correct application of Marxism-Leninism to revolutionary practice in the particular conditions of our country.
The defence of the program, the forms of its application in one situation or another, nationally or internationally – these are questions that are mainly of a tactical nature and that the party must resolve by various means: in its Congresses, in its press, and in its different activities.
The Canadian Marxist-Leninist Group IN STRUGGLE!
Montreal, November, 1977