First Published:Spartacist Canada No 17, June 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In recent months, the Peking-loyal Stalinists of the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) (CCL[M-L]) have escalated their use of goon violence against other tendencies on the left. On several recent Montreal demonstrations, CCL(M-L) goons have tried to prevent other left groups from distributing literature and selling newspapers. At this year’s May Day demonstration, “marshals” from the 1,000-strong CCL(M-L) contingent attempted to force a feminist contingent off the march. In Toronto, CCL(M-L) has launched a number of gangsterist assaults on Trotskyist League (TL) sales and postering teams.
Concurrently, CCL(M-L)’s paper, The Forge, has been filled with vituperative diatribes against Trotskyism, and against other Maoist groups (in particular In Struggle [IS]) who are supposedly guilty of “conciliation with Trotskyism.” Denouncing In Struggle’s policy of “exposing and unmasking the Trotskyists” through “ideological struggle,” CCL(M-L) recites the usual litany of Stalinist lies and slanders to “prove” that Trotskyists are “agents of the bourgeoisie.” Therefore, concludes the April 28 Forge, with Trotskyists, no “ideological struggle is possible:
How should we deal with them? The way has already been indicated in advance. We must exterminate these vermin, wipe them out and be rid of them, No mercy for the Trotskyists.
CCL(M-L) has already consigned almost every other left tendency (including fellow Maoists of the Communist Party of Canada [Marxist-Leninist] and the Bolshevik Union) to the camp of “counterrevolutionary saboteurs.” Now it is using the issue of “conciliation with Trotskyism” to create doubts about the “Marxist-Leninist” legitimacy of its main Maoist competitor, In Struggle. Thus the April 8 Forge threateningly queries: “What kind of Marxist-Leninists are you anyway, IS comrades ?”
The Forge’s attacks on In Struggle for “softness” toward Trotskyism cite in particular events at two IS-sponsored public meetings held in Vancouver during March. The meetings – the first to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), and the second to mark the publication of IS’s Manifesto Against Bill C-73 and Wage Controls – were both attended by members and supporters of the Trotskyist League and the fake-Trotskyist Revolutionary Marxist Group (RMG). Despite vociferous objections by snarling CCL(M-L)ers, TL and RMG members were allowed to distribute literature and participate in discussions during the meetings.
The RMG was its usual servile “family-of-the-left” self, praising the IS “Manifesto” as “quite a good document in the main,” and making no protest when IS attempted to limit discussion in the IWD meeting to the telling of New Left encounter group “personal experience” stories. IS broke the meeting down into several little discussion workshops so as to better control the content of the discussions. A participant in one of the workshops commented that he had not been involved in such a mindless discussion since he was a sensitivity trainer for the United Church.
IS also ran its anti-wage-controls meeting in a similar bureaucratic manner – workshops were intended as a means to hear participants’ “concrete experience” and to “build unity” around the IS “Manifesto.” Debate, counterposed strategies and theoretical or historical discussion were ruled out in advance as “disruptive.”
Nevertheless, the TL was able to intervene forcefully in the discussions at both meetings. To the discomfort of all the assembled Maoists – in particular the CCL(M-L)ers – TL speakers denounced the bureaucratic rule and pro-U.S. foreign policy of the Chinese deformed workers state, and counterposed the revolutionary program of Trotskyism to IS’s domestic trade union economism. IS’s failure to forcibly silence the TL was, for CCL(M-L), a betrayal of the Stalinist tradition.
According to CCL(M-L), “conciliation with Trotskyism is conciliation with the bourgeoisie.” But who is really guilty of conciliating the capitalists ? Certainly not the international Trotskyist movement, which has always waged an unrelenting battle for the independence of the proletariat and for revolutionary leadership.
During the 1930’s, the Trotskyists in Spain fought against the Stalinist Communist Party’s popular-front alliance with the bourgeoisie, which led to the decimation of the Spanish proletariat at the hands of Francoist reaction. The Vietnamese Trotskyists sought to lead the working class and poor peasantry in the struggle against capitalist rule, while Ho Chi Minh’s Stalinists helped drown the 1946 Saigon workers’ insurrection in blood and supported the returnof French imperialist troops to the country.
Today, the international Spartacist tendency is the most trenchant critic of Peking’s counterrevolutionary foreign policy – its alliance with NATO and U.S. imperialism against the Soviet degenerated workers state. Trotskyists call for proletarian political revolution to oust the bureaucratic parasites who reign in Moscow and Peking, while standing in unconditional defense of the USSR, China and all other deformed workers states against imperialism and domestic capitalist reaction.
But what about CCL(M-L)? These Mao/Hua worshippers are well-trained in the Peking school of conciliation with the imperialist warmongers and their “second” and “third” world gendarmes like B. J. Vorster and the Shah of Iran. They have stomached China’s unholy alliance with the South African army against the Angolan MPLA, and cheered as Peking gave millions of dollars worth of military aid to the reactionary Iranian regime. Closer to home, they have called for the strengthening of the imperialist Canadian armed forces, in the name of “national defense.”
CCL(M-L)’s politics – based on the counterrevolutionary heritage of world Stalinism – can quite accurately be termed “conciliation with the bourgeoisie.” In order to consolidate his bureaucratic grip on the USSR, Stalin had to physically exterminate hundreds of thousands of revolutionary oppositionists, including Trotsky and the majority of the Bolshevik old guard. CCL(M-L)’s present-day anti-Trotskyist campaign is in keeping with this Stalinist tradition – gangsterist violence in the service of bankrupt class-collaborationist politics.
CCL(M-L)’s core of founding cadre issued from a 1972 split in the Montreal branch of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC [M-L]). Since its formation in the fall of 1975, the group has enjoyed a rapid growth in both Quebec and English Canada. To a significant degree, this growth has been due to CCL(M-L)’s projection of a more sane and serious image than the one-time unchallenged king of Canadian Maoism, Hardial Bains’ cult-like CPC(M-L).
CPC(M-L) has long been reviled throughout the Canadian left (including by all other Maoist organizations) for its extreme sectarian gangsterism and fanatical megalomania. Yet (with the exception of a few bizarre personal touches provided by the organization’s venerated Chairman Bains) CPC(M-L)’s evolution into a crazed violent sect flowed logically from its attempt to apply consistently Mao Tse-tung’s brand of Stalinism to Canada.
Today, as it reigns supreme in the Canadian Maoist movement (including significant recent growth at the expense of In Struggle), CCL(M-L) is coming more and more to resemble its hated forebearer. Gangsterism, political megalomania and bootlicking fealty before its masters in Peking’s Heavenly Palace are becoming the hallmarks of CCL(M-L), just as they became the most prominent characteristics of CPC(M-L) several years ago.
Having hardened up as the most consistent of Stalinists and the most loyal parrot of the new Peking line, CCL(M-L)’s onslaughts against its Maoist rivals are becoming increasingly bizarre. Thus in the April 8 Forge we are informed that “... the Bains gang is trying to split the world communist movement and is trying hard to divide socialist China and Albania.”
CPC(M-L)’s descent into mindless zealotry has reached the point where its salesmen proclaim that the dictatorship of the proletariat reigns on street corners in Toronto. Yet even these crazed cultists would be surprised to discover thay they have the authority to provoke a split between Hua Kuo-feng and their “beloved” Enver Hoxha!
While CCL(M-L) today seeks to project a “left” image on domestic trade union questions, its occasional rhetoric is cheap and ephemeral. The same anti-Sovietism which led it to call for building the Canadian army will lead it into the arms of the most right-wing, anti-communist cold warriors in the labor bureaucracy. CCL(M-L)’s inevitable destiny is to become a vile, openly reformist sect.
CCL(M-L)’s current crusade against the revolutionary politics of Trotskyism will be to no avail. The Trotskyist League upholds workers democracy and opposes violence within the workers movement. But the TL has always defended itself against violent attacks, and will continue to do so.
CCL(M-L)’s Mafioso goon tactics will not go unanswered. And these tactics will ultimately leave their perpetrators only further isolated from and despised by the class-conscious proletariat, as it rises up under Trotskyist leadership to deal the final blow to the capitalist system.