First Published: The Forge, Vol. 1, No. 10, May 6, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) has as its principal task the rallying of advanced workers to communism. At the same time however, it has not neglected to do communist agitation and propaganda among university and CEGEP students, for in the past many of these students have been won over to Marxism-Leninism and to the positions of the working class. To carry out this task, the League has set up circles of sympathizers in the universities and CEGEPs.
CEGEP and university students are not a class or a fraction of a class; they do not have a fixed position in the social division of labour. On the contrary, they are in transition; they come from different classes (mostly petty-bourgeois), and they have different class destinations – thus they do not have common class interests.
While students as a whole do not take definite political positions, a majority of them can be won over to one position or another. The development of class struggle and the presence of Marxist-Leninists will push many students to side unequivocally with the proletariat or the bourgeoisie.
To accomplish the tasks of the League, the circles do large-scale agitation and propaganda in the schools in the Montreal area. They distribute The Forge, set up literature tables and defend Marxist-Leninist positions in the classroom. They do everything possible to win over progressive students from the swamp of corporatism, reformism, and bourgeois ideology.
The circles have been active participants in the campaign against the Trudeau law. Conferences were held at some campuses to denounce this repressive law; at others, tracts were widely distributed explaining the League’s position on this question. Several hundred students attended conferences held by the League on a regional and central basis to denounce the law.
At different Montreal and regional CEGEPs (junior colleges), displays and conferences put forward communist positions on the oppression of women on International Women’s Day (March 8). These activities played an important role in the struggle against bourgeois feminism which is very strong in intellectual circles.
The League circles have also had a number of conferences and assemblies to denounce and expose the imperialist aims of the two superpowers and to show how a world war between the USA and the USSR is inevitable. These activities are extremely important, especially since the nature of Soviet social-imperialism is not totally understood by a certain number of honest, progressive people.
Aside from the large-scale agitation and propaganda undertaken by the circles (at the present time this agitation is centered around Bill 23 and the resistance of the Common Front to the attacks of the bourgeoisie), the circles also lead a number of Marxist-Leninist study groups and Forge discussion groups. These are two indispensable tools for the rallying of students to Marxism-Leninism and to the positions of the working class.
In the past, work by Marxist-Leninists in the student milieu has been characterized by economism and right opportunism. Communists didn’t identify themselves as such; they didn’t do open communist agitation and propaganda, but buried themselves in vaguely progressive, anti-capitalist organizations. They didn’t link work in the student milieu to the central task of Marxist-Leninists which is the building of a new communist party.
This year, the League has taken a large step forward in correcting these errors. Its open communist agitation and propaganda has attracted a great many sympathizers and plays a leading role in the struggle against counter-revolutionary groups which abound in the student milieu (the CPC (ML) and different Trotskyist sects).
Open communist work in the student milieu clearly exposes the two lines for work among students: the proletarian line and the bourgeois line. The bourgeois line puts forward the defence of the “common interests” of students, lowers the level of propaganda, aiming not at the capitalist system but at the government or the administration and is consciously reformist. The proletarian line, on the other hand, consists of rallying students to Marxism-leninism, and linking and subordinating student struggles to the central task, the creation of a real communist party.