First Published: In Struggle! No. 274, December 1, 1981
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In the past few weeks, members of the Organization have raised major criticisms concerning the political orientation of the newspaper. More recently, members of the British Columbia region unanimously adopted a resolution criticizing the newspaper for not mainly applying the Organization’s line but instead mostly upholding positions which are not those of the Organization. Certain members have even gone so far as to state that the newspaper is now serving one particular political position, that of the newspaper editors.
More specifically criticized were the editorial in issue 266 on self-management in Poland, theinterview with NDP MP Dan Heap (issue 260), the analysis of the positions of the French far left on Mitterand’s election and the publication of Varda Burstyn’s position on the origin of women’s oppression (issue 263). The publication of the letter from the newspaper director and the correspondents editor calling for a radical transformation of IN STRUGGLE! at its next congress obviously heightened these criticisms.
The Political Bureau thus considers that it is important to make a public statement on the situation. First of all, it must be recognized that the comrades working on the newspaper have an extremely difficult and thankless task to accomplish at the present time. Each week they have to apply the Organization’s political line to a diverse series of events, at a time when basic aspects of this line, including our programme, are openly being questioned by a large part of our membership and of the central leadership itself. If we add to this that these questions are quite varied and sometimes contradictory from one cell or work committee to another, or one region to another, it becomes easier to understand how difficult it is to give a unified vision of the line of IN STRUGGLE! in the newspaper.
Under these circumstances, the Political Bureau considers that we can not ask the newspaper to apply our programme in the same way that it could have two or three years ago. In practice, this means that it can, and even should, openly raise questions and point out the limits of our line in terms of developments in the overall political situation or in specific struggles.
One example we could take inspiration from is the approach that has been taken to the women’s question in the past year.
This also means that there must be room for different interpretations of our line on certain disputed subjects. Thus, on the question of our attitude with regard to social democracy and the NDP, the newspaper has expressed different views coming from different regions (B.C., Ontario, the Maritimes) and from the national level. In the same way the B.C. and Quebec regions have expressed different points of view on the question of nationalizations.
Having said this, and without taking a position on every specific article, the Political Bureau considers that the newspaper is correctly accomplishing its task of making known the Organizations’ views on the main events of the day, and that, more specifically, it is respecting the orientation adopted by the Political Bureau last August which was published in issues 258 and 259.
It considers that the newspaper should continue reflecting, as much as possible, the diversity of viewpoints present in the Organization, while being careful not to present them as the viewpoint of the whole Organization when they only represent the views of this or that militant, or this or that cell or region.
In closing, the Political Bureau wants to mark its disagreement with those who claim that the leadership of the newspaper slants the articles so that they serve to promote its own point of view. It reaffirms its confidence in the honesty and political judgement of the leadership and the members of the newspaper committee.
The Political Bureau
December 1, 1981