First Published: In Struggle No. 72, October 9, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The present day situation is characterized by an important development of the working class struggle against the Canadian monopolist bourgeoisie and its dictatorship state which has been imposing its infamous Bill C-73 for almost a year.
These wage controls summarize, in a general and concentrated attack, the completely reactionary policy of the imperialist bourgeoisie which governs and exploits us.
But, as the working class consciousness grows, under the leadership of its vanguard elements, its struggle is intensified, takes a deeper political character, and is being generalized across the country.
In spite of all attempts of the sold-out and collaborationist union bosses such as Morris and co.. either to stop the movement or to diverge it towards their bourgeois careerist interests, the October 14th general strike will draw important lessons from the most exemplary struggles of the spontaneous labor movement this year. It will also be the first step towards a greater development of the struggle in order to sweep overboard the crisis measures of the bourgeoisie.
Thus, the necessity for Marxist-Leninists to take hold of the tasks to build a strong proletarian party in Canada is clearly evident. But more immediately, the present situation, and the coming general strike, as it is a privileged and extremely opportune moment for political education in the working class, forces the Marxist-Leninist movement to face its responsibilities: to unity, as much as possible, their interventions in this Canada-wide action of the proletariat, in order to stand together as one movement. This the only correct path consistent with the immediate and long term interests of the working class and the people in our country: to intervene and counter all of the dead end solutions of the reformists, revisionists, trotskysts and other opportunists of all kinds trying to mislead the masses.
At the present time, only Vancouver Marxist-Leninists have firmly waged this struggle for tactical unity by creating a regroupment of six Marxist-Leninist groups. In fact these groups have reached tactical unity, unity in action based on a Marxist-Leninist platform that will guide their intervention among the proletariat of British Columbia. This represents a very important step, as much in the movement for party spirit within the movement, as in the struggle to integrate communist agitation-propaganda within the masses more and more with their practice.
IN STRUGGLE! considers the actions of the Vancouver Marxist-Leninists very positive. Because these groups have posed the question of tactical unity of Marxist-Leninists, we think very important in the present situation to take a position on it.
Our group has been working for some time, to prepare its intervention around October 14th. But in spite of our early intentions, we have, in fact, neglected to put before the masses the question of the need for tactical unity of Marxist-Leninists around this important event. But, this question must be put, as the Vancouver comrades showed, for it is part of the struggle to ensure the victory of party spirit; a spirit towards which the movement is tending. Indeed the question of our immediate tasks, as communists, in the general strike is part and parcel of this struggle.
Even if the positive aspect of the present situation is the fact that young and, in some ways, less experienced groups have largely contributed to the defense, within our movement of the correct line in this issue, we think, however, that we have to self-criticize for the delay in calling upon Marxist-Leninists to unite in action around October 14th. This shows that small groupism is still a danger threatening the movement. This also reveals the presence of a capitulationist spirit within our own group when confronted with the real obstacles to tactical unity of Marxist-Leninists, especially in Quebec where sectarianism has been and still is destructive. But a task consistent with the interests of the working class, no matter how difficult it may be, must be put forward, defended, and openly presented to the masses along with all the problems involved, so that they can identify them, take positions and struggle under our leadership to eliminate the obstacles to its achievement.
ON THE BASIS OF THE PRECEDING ANALYSIS. IN STRUGGLE! THUS CALLS UPON THE DIFFERENT MARXIST-LENINIST ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, CELLS, COLLECTIVES AND INDIVIDUALS, TO BUILD TACTICAL UNITY IN THE UPCOMING DAYS, IN ORDER TO DEVELOP COMMON COMMUNIST INTERVENTIONS IN THE WORKING CLASS.
But we do want to explain the meaning of this call in relation to our line concerning the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, so that everything is made clear.
First, we reaffirm, in case any doubt exists on this question, that tactical unity between communist groups, in spite of its positive effects, is not the principal and decisive form of the struggle for unity of Marxist-Leninists. What constitutes, according to us, the principal way to achieve unity, and a country wide debate in our movement, has been explained in the first issue of our journal, PROLETARIAN UNITY, so there is no need to repeat ourselves here.
Since the tactical unity of Marxist-Leninists is a secondary aspect in the general process of unity, why then should we be struggling to put it forward at every possible opportunity? Because to act differently would be to refuse to assume our responsibility towards the working class and the people: to intervene as a single and unified movement, fully able then, to educate and unite the broad masses. This does not deny the existence of different groups and the possibility for them to work on their own basis. But tactical unity is the best way to give the masses a correct and single Marxist-Leninist political leadership. To neglect or to reject the need for tactical unity of communists, especially in important events like the coming general strike, also means to ignore the boomerang effect it could have on our central tasks: to unite all Marxist-Leninists into a single Canadian Marxist-Leninist organization, and to rally the advanced elements of the working class to Marxism-Leninism. These effects were correctly pointed out by the Vancouver comrades in their call for tactical unity in their region, where they said.
By confronting the bourgeois line with the proletarian class stance, the line struggle will be sharpened amongst the class and through this process a better understanding of the nature of our ideological and political tasks will enable us to further consolidate the struggle for unity within the Marxist-Leninist movement.
We must not separate mechanically: 1) tactical unity from the main form of the struggle for unity; 2) the task of the struggle for unity from that of the struggle to rally the vanguard of the working class; 3) development of the political line from practical intervention in the class struggle. On the contrary, we must try to see the dialectical links between all these aspects of our work. We will thus be able, without forgetting what is principal, to understand the full impact of tactical unity of Marxist-Leninists, and determine the correctness of the call for tactical unity around the 14th.
Today, in order to show true “party spirit”, Canadian Marxist-Leninists will have to stop approaching problems only from the point of view of their own group or organization, and to start approaching them form the point of view of the whole movement, and the tasks which now face it.
Let us apply this point of view in the way we carry out our tasks for the general strike.
UNITE IN ACTION AROUND OCTOBER 14th!
MAKE THE 14th A DAY OF POLITICAL STRIKE AGAINST THE FORCES OF REACTION!
BUILD THE PROLETARIAN PARTY!
BRING THE CONSCIOUS LEADERS OF THE WORKING CLASS INTO THE STRUGGLE FOR THE UNITY OF MARXIST-LENINISTS!
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At the same time that it launched its October 1, 1976 call, IN STRUGGLE! invited all Canadian Marxist-Leninist groups to concretely get together in issuing a common declaration from the Marxist-Leninist movement on a national level, on the occasion of October 14. Such a common action is very important because it would allow us to present to the masses the unified viewpoint of the Canadian M-L movement in regards to the orientation to give to the current struggle of the proletariat and the people for the repeal of the wage freeze.
As well, following the example of the Vancouver comrades, our call advocates the organization of common actions, such as meetings, speeches, or any other form of presence among the masses, on a regional basis around the country.
Make the correct initiative of Vancouver Marxist-Leninists become the general pattern everywhere.