In Struggle tries to hide its attacks on Lenin and the communist international by denouncing the Bolshevik Union for its position on the Native national question, saying that the Bolshevik Union “revealed themselves in their political positions as the worst kind of nationalists. Their analysis of North American Indian society is not a class analysis, but rather a collection of idealist and nationalist prejudices about a supposed North American Indian nation extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic, whose national languague is supposed to be.. .English.” (Sept. 29, p. 13)
As we have pointed out time and time again, and there can be no doubt that In Struggle knows, Lenin indicates that there are three nations in Canada, the English nation, the French nation and the Native nation. (See LCW 39:714). In LINES OF DEMARCATION no 1, we pointed this out along with the fact that the Second Congress of the Communist International confirmed that native people are a colony and thus have the right of self-determination up to and including succession. What In Struggle objects to is that Leninism broadened the conception of self-determination from nations arising out of feudalism to include colonies. Stalin pointed out, “the idea of self-determination stood in danger of being transformed from an instrument for combatting annexations into an instrument for justifying them.. .Leninism broadened the conception of self-determination, interpreting it as the right of the oppressed peoples of the dependent countries and colonies to complete secession.” (Foundations of Leninism, Peking, p. 71)
In Struggle sees only the type of development that produced the French nation and insists that any other nation has to pass through the same development to be a nation. It thus attempts to use the correct basis on which to determine the right of self-determination for the French nation as a means to deny that right to the Native nation. In Struggle totally ignores the great struggle against social-chauvinism of the Second International on the national question by Lenin and Stalin.
It is not Lenin, Stalin, the Communist International and the Bolshevik Union that are the “worst kind of nationalists.” Rather it is In Struggle which collaborates with the Parti Quebecois in denying Native people their national rights in Northern Quebec and collaborates with Canadian imperialism in denying Native people their national rights throughout the North, where they form a large proportion of the population.
In order to cover up its own national chauvinism, In Struggle once again distorts and deliberately lies about our positions. First, In Struggle mentions “their analysis of North American Indian society.” The Bolshevik Union has never made an analysis of “North American Indian society.” We have only made an analysis of Native people in Canada. In Struggle claims that the Bolshevik Union claims the existence of a “North American Indian nation.” This once again is a complete lie. We have only maintained that there is a Native nation in formation in the North of Canada because it is a colony of Canada. We would agree that to postulate a “North American Indian nation” now would be to base oneself on “idealist and nationalist prejudices.” In Struggle is trying to defeat our correct line on this question by characterizing it as something that it is not – this is pure sophistry and demagogy!
And again, In Struggle has to fabricate statements by the Bolshevik Union in order to ram its “demarcation” against us down the throats of the Canadian proletariat. In Struggle says: “Bolshevik Union took advantage of the Second Conference to wage an all-out struggle, brandishing new questions like that of the Native peoples so as to decree that all the groups, itself excepted, are social-chauvinist (socialist in words, chauvinist in practice) and representatives of the labour aristocracy.” (p. 13) Needless to say, the Bolshevik Union never made such a statement. What we said was that groups which denied the right of Native people to self-determination were doing so as social-chauvinists and representatives of the labour aristocracy. We never said that these groups were “all the groups, ourselves excepted”. We do not consider In Struggle and the League, which of course are representatives of the labour aristocracy in Canada, to be the be-all and end-all of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada. For example, the Cercle Communiste (ml), split and wrecked by the efforts of In Struggle and the League to divide the movement between them, upheld the right of Native Canada to self-determination.
The Bolshevik Union did not “brandish the new question” of Native people in Canada in order to promote ourselves. We took the opportunity in the third workshop to defend the right of Native Canada to self-determination. In Struggle, again, as in the case of the international situation, sees the defense of the general line of the international communist movement to be a conscious act of sabotage, it sees the raising of political questions at “its” conferences as splitting and wrecking. What the Bolshevik Union splits and wrecks is the deadly fog of ignorance which Gagnonites use to keep their followers in line. Because it is only if their followers are kept backward, ill-informed, and contemptuous of Marxist-Leninist theory that Gagnonites can realize their careerist aims.
In Struggle deliberate distortions reveal something more, however, they reveal In Struggle’s social-imperialism. It is the imperialists who have shown complete disdain for Native people by simply calling them by the name that Columbus gave them because he thought he had “discovered” India! In Struggle’s narrow nationalism and social-imperialism is even more exposed when it denigrates Native people for using English as a common language to communicate between tribes with different languages.
The Inuit in northern Quebec have been battling the PQ’s rascist provision in Bill 101 that denies Native people in northern Quebec the right to use English. This is nothing but an attemps by the PQ to destroy the growing unity of Native people in Canada and the PQ is trying to isolate Native people in northern Quebec in order to facilitate the PQ’s attempt to annex this area as a colony for an “independent” Quebec. To counter this racism and imperialism of the PQ, Native people in northern Quebec are more and more talking about their right of self-determination and their right to secede. Both the League and In Struggle are doing their utmost to aid the PQ in its cause and to continue to aid Canadian and US imperialism in oppressing and exploiting the Native nation in Canada.
One would think that from In Struggle’s “tone” and “definiteness” on this subject that In Struggle had done some sort of concrete analysis of Native people in Canada. The fact is that In Struggle has done none. The mere thought of Native people having the right to self-determination is enough to send the Gagnon leadership clique into hysteria. In a rare show of democracy in In Struggle the membership at the last congress passed a resolution saying that In Struggle should not take a position on the Native national question before doing a concrete analysis and that a position not to be taken until this concrete analysis had been done. The Gagnon leadership clique ignored even its own membership in order to engage in its wild attacks on the Bolshevik Union. This is how important it is for Gagnon and his clique to deny the right of self-determination to a colony oppressed by its “own” bourgeoisie. Lenin and Stalin had definite ideas on what must be done to social-chauvinists like this.
Socialists who fail to demand freedom of secession.. .are behaving like chauvinists, like lackeys of the blood-and-mud-stained imperialist monarchies and the imperialist bourgeoisie. (Lenin On The National And Colonial Questions, Peking ed., p. 6)
References (must be made) to:.. .the actual identity of the chauvinists and those Social-Democrats, particularly the Social-Democrats of the Great Powers.. .who fail to champion the freedom of secession for the colonies and nations oppressed by “their own” nations. (Ibid, p. 18)
Hence the necessity for a stubborn, continuous and determined struggle against the dominant-nation chauvinism of the “socialists” of the ruling nations...who do not want to fight their imperialist governments who do not want to support the struggle of the oppressed peoples in “their”colonies for emancipation from oppression, for secession. (Foundations Of Leninism, Stalin, p. 79)
The prevailing hypocrisy remains unexposed, agitation is dull and does not touch upon what is most important, basic, significant and closely connected with practice – one’s attitude to the nation that is oppressed by “one’s own” nation.. .No matter what the subjective “good” intentions of Trotsky and Martov may be, their evasiveness objectively supports.. .social-imperialism. (“The discussion of Self-Determination Summed Up ”, LCW22: 359-360)
What is the social-chauvinists’ programme on the national question? They either entirely deny the right to self-determination.. .or they recognize that right in a patently hypocritical fashion, namely, without applying it to those very nations that are oppressed by their own nation or by her military allies.. .“National autonomy”, if you please, is enough! ( “The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination”, LCW 21:411)
Social-Democrats of an oppressor nation, particularly of the so-called Great Powers, must demand the right to self-determination – the right to secession for the oppressed nations, upholding this right not only in the legal, but especially in the illegal, press and especially in wartime.
In view of the elementary, ABC nature of (this) thesis..., its acceptance by all democrats and Marx and Engels 1848-76, and its confirmation by the experience of the war – Social-Democrats who do not recognize this thesis should be treated as enemies of the proletariat and deceivers of the worst kind, and expelled from the party. (“Notebooks on Imperialism ”, LCW 39: 737-738)