First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 1, January 6, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The victories that have been realized over the past year in the struggle against opportunism and in particular right-opportunism are not the result of luck. They have been achieved because of the relentless fight that the Marxist-Leninists and especially the League has waged to expose opportunism. The lesson is clear. If we hit hard and decisively opportunism can be crushed. If we capitulate, maneuver, and waver the opportunists will grow and flourish. And those who waver and capitulate to opportunism can fall sooner or later into the same opportunist swamp.
Mao Tsetung explained: “Everything that is reactionary is the same; if you don’t hit it, it won’t fall. This is also like sweeping the floor; as a rule, where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of itself.” (Quotations)
Over the past year the Marxist-Leninist broom has been very busy indeed. In the last Forge we referred to the family of five opportunist groups in Quebec: the RCT, the CRIQ (later the GAS), APLQ, Mobilisation and NPE (now CC(ML) . Of these five groups four have now been liquidated as a direct result of the struggle undertaken by the Marxist-Leninist movement. Only the CC(ML) remains.
This is good progress. Nevertheless we must not be self-satisfied. The struggle against opportunism is not over. Right-opportunism, including revisionism and economism, remains the main danger in the workers’ and in the communist movement. It will continue as long as classes continue to exist, since opportunism is but the tool of the bourgeoisie in its struggle against the proletariat. Here in Canada the fight against opportunism will go on. But at each step forward that we take the opportunists will be obliged to camouflage themselves even better. Lenin explained “Every opportunist is distinguished by his adaptability... and the Mensheviks as opportunists, adapt themselves on principle so to speak, to the prevailing trend among the workers and assume a protective colouring, just as a hare’s coat turns white in winter.” (Purging the Party, Vol. 33)
Yes, the struggle against opportunism will continue. But it will be waged on an ever-changing terrain. Nevertheless there are certain lessons which can be drawn from the destruction of the opportunist groups in Quebec which can serve in the future struggle. It is for this reason that we will be presenting a series of articles in coming issues of The Forge dealing with lessons from the struggle against opportunism in Quebec.
Mobilisation no longer exists. The struggle that the Marxist-Leninist movement has been carrying out for the liquidation of this opportunist group has finally borne fruit. The second Conference of Mobilisation voted unanimously for the dissolution of the group and called on all the members and supporters of the ex-Mobilisation to place themselves under the direction of the CCL(ML) in order to continue their self-criticism. This is a good thing.
Mobilisation has always been an opportunist group. Its line and practice have always been characterized by right-opportunism, revisionism and economism. It grew up in a bitter struggle against the young communist movement in Canada.
The Marxist-Leninists carried out a firm struggle against the opportunism of Mobilisation. It was this struggle that created the conditions which permitted the militants of Mobilisation to publish their self-criticism in the spring of 1976 especially because of the criticisms made by the league.
Since this time Mobilisation has been an opportunist group in rectification. Despite the correct characterization of many of the group’s errors in this self-criticism Mobilisation’s opportunism continued under more subtle forms. The small group mentality that has always characterized Mobilisation was not clearly exposed, and after its self-criticism Mobilisation pretended that it had magically been transformed into a Marxist-Leninist group. They chopped off the “transformation” from the process of “criticism, self-criticism, transformation”, and pretended that identifying their errors was enough to qualify them as a Marxist-Leninist group.
Readers of The Forge are aware of the firm and principled position that we assumed in the different articles which appeared in the newspaper on the question of Mobilisation over the past year. While welcoming the desire of the militants of Mobilisation to break with their past we have always maintained a rigorous definition of the Marxist-Leninist movement, and opposed opportunists’ attempts to worm themselves into the communist movement. We have always maintained that Mobilisation was an opportunist group in rectification. In numerous other articles in The Forge we have detailed our criticisms of Mobilisation. We shall not return to them here.
What is new is that this group Mobilisation, which caused so much damage to the struggle to build the party in Canada, which spread right-opportunism and confusion among the working class, is at last eliminated.
In the struggle to liquidate Mobilisation the League used a variety of methods; open polemics, encouraging debate and discussion at the base and discussions with the leadership of Mobilisation. Throughout, the objective was to eliminate this opportunist group, and lead the re-education of those of its members who sincerely wished to base themselves on Marxism leninism.
Our basic objective has been attained. This constitutes a victory for Marxism Leninism over opportunism. Now the militants of Mobilisation have voted enthusiastically to dissolve their group and accept the leadership of the League in the continuation of their self-criticism and transformation.
For the Marxist-Leninist movement the question of Mobilisation is now resolved – Mobilisation no longer exists.
For the members and sympathizers of Mobilisation however there is still much to be done. With the liquidation of the group the struggle against right-opportunism can move to a new stage, but these militants must exert every energy to continue the fight against opportunism, integrate themselves into the communist movement under the leadership of the League, and take up the struggle for the party.
The Groupe d’Action Socialist (formerly CRIQ) has decided to dissolve itself and has called on its members to rally to the League. It made this decision once it recognized that it was an opportunist group defending a completely erroneous line, one strongly influenced by modern revisionism. As explained in the conclusions of its self-criticism:
“After ideological struggle with the League, the members of GAS recognize that they upheld an anti-Marxist line; they recognize the correctness of the League’s political line. This is why they want to rally to the League, so as to work for the creation of a real communist party in Canada.”
GAS, created in December 1975, grew out of CRIQ, a group which devoted itself to research and which had ties with other opportunist groups in Quebec (Mobilisation, RCT, APLQ). In January. 1976 it published two texts, one on the principal contradiction in Canada, the other on the tasks of Marxist-Leninists. A short time after the publication of these texts, GAS undertook debates and ideological struggle with the League. It was these debates and this struggle which led GAS to clearly see its opportunism and its erroneous positions, and to undertake a complete self-criticism under the leadership of the League.
GAS did not base itself firmly on Marxist-Leninist principles, and did not apply these principles to revolutionary practice in Canada. It its own words: “GAS thought of Marxism-Leninism more or less as a sampler of principles from which it was possible to pick and choose. A formal and eclectic attitude such as this toward Marxism-Leninism is characteristic of modern revisionism.”
GAS never fought against opportunism. It never had a revolutionary practice; its practice in the working class was completely economist and reformist.
GAS was an opportunist group. However, its members showed a serious attitude toward their study of Marxism-Leninism and a willingness to struggle to understand and to apply its principles. This is what permitted them to understand, analyze, and criticize their errors. This is what made GAS an opportunist group in the process of rectification.
GAS had a right-opportunist line in particular on a key question: that of the principal contradiction in Canada.
The analysis of the principal contradiction in Canada, as being that between the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian bourgeoisie allied with American imperialism, was completely empiricist; GAS had accumulated a pile of statistics on the economy but ignored the Marxist analysis of imperialism and of the state.
In the first place GAS did not proceed from the point of view of the world proletarian revolution in order to analyze the situation in Canada.
In addition, GAS’s analysis went against Lenin’s theory of imperialism: it did not understand the four main contradictions which characterize imperialism, and reduced them all to the one opposing the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Ignoring the fact that one of the specific contradictions characteristic of imperialism opposes the oppressed peoples and nations to imperialism and social-imperialism, GAS did not see that American imperialism oppresses not only the proletariat but the whole Canadian people.
And in denying the existence of contradictions between imperialist powers, GAS saw only the alliance and not the struggle between the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism.
It was by going against Lenin’s theory of imperialism that GAS formulated the principal contradiction as opposing the Canadian proletariat to the Canadian bourgeoisie allied with American imperialism.
Taken to its logical conclusion this position leads to the rejection of the Marxist analysis of the state. GAS spoke of the Canadian state as though it were a partnership of the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism. Instead of being an instrument for the domination of one class by another, the state in this way becomes an instrument for an alliance between two imperialist bourgeoisies.
GAS’s position on the principal contradiction liquidated the struggle for socialist revolution in our country by not identifying the principal enemy. Also, it liquidated the struggle for the defense of Canada’s independence, which is threatened by the two superpowers, particularly American imperialism. And as for Soviet social-imperialism, GAS did not see it as an enemy of the Canadian people of the same nature as American imperialism. This seriously incorrect position on the world situation today disarmed the Canadian people against the danger posed by the most aggressive superpower.
This is another important point on which GAS defended a right-opportunist position.
Because they did no communist agitation or propaganda, when GAS spoke of the necessity of Marxist-Leninists “developing ties with the masses”, it was in a completely right-opportunist and economist way.
GAS did completely intellectualist work with workers who joined its study groups.
“What GAS tried to give to advanced workers with whom it came in contact was not a definite political line, an application of Marxist-Leninist principles to the situation in our country, but only the principles themselves. This intellectualist attitude was fundamentally anti-party because it refused to rally workers to a political line, to a well-defined way of leading the struggle for the creation of the party.”
Finally, the interventions made by GAS among the masses were completely economist and reformist. It did not spread communist ideology, but bourgeois ideology, participating in economic struggles without a revolutionary perspective, and putting forward the struggle for “democratic and reformist” unions.
The dissolution of GAS is a good thing; it is a step forward in the struggle against opportunism. GAS members who rally to the League will be able to work steadily in the right direction in tne struggle for the creation of a genuine communist party in Canada.
 Regroupement des comités de travailleurs (Grouping of Workers Committees), Centre de recherches et d’information du Quebec (Quebec research and information center), Groupe d’action socialiste (Socialist action group), Agence de présse libre du Québec (Free Press Agency of Quebec) Noyau des petites entreprises (Small factory cell).