First Published: In Struggle! No. 266, October 6, 1981
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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A few weeks ago, we announced that we were doing the preparatory work for IN STRUGGLE!’s 4th congress. This week we are going to explain the basic outlines of what that preparation process will involve.
Publicly debating questions to come before a congress is nothing new for IN STRUGGLE!. What’s new is that this time we are announcing the congress, and the fact that the public debates are connected to it, in advance. This should improve things considerably for our readers and supporters and other organizations concerned with the same debates. We are seeking their active involvement in major issues that the Congress will be making decisions about. We are organizing things with the expectation that their contributions in the public debates will influence our internal debates and decisions. That is why we ask people outside our organization and other organizations to not only participate in our meetings but to speak to one of our members or leadership people if you want to invite IN STRUGGLE! to participate in ones you are organizing.
We are planning a series of public meetings between now and December in Montreal, Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec City, the Lower St. Lawrence region, Halifax, Moncton, Regina. Edmonton or Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa.
The general theme for the meetings will be What has happened to the struggle for socialism in Quebec and Canada? Precise dates will be announced in these pages. The format for the meetings will not necessarily be the same in all places. Some might be a speech and debate-after sort of deal, others might start with a panel. It depends on what people want and can do in each town. But generally, the meetings will try to put forward one or several viewpoints that try to open up the debate over how to fight for socialism in Canada and the tasks that the revolutionary forces should be taking up in the present situation.
On top of the public meetings there will be smaller debates between opposing views or talks organized by different cells or regions on more specific issues. We will be announcing those in the paper too.
All this will lead up to the 8th anniversary celebrations of IN STRUGGLE! in December. We will sum up at that time where we are at in the internal and public debates.
In January 1982, we are planning to hold a two-day conference with people coming from all parts of the country. The resolutions which have been drafted for debate at the Congress could be made available for the conference and subjected to public debate. After the conference, a new phase in the preparatory process will begin. That will be detailed at the time.
Readers will have already noted the new weekly column. “The 4th Congress: Food for Thought”. The idea is to use it to sum up the debate on a whole range of issues. The objective is to stimulate debate by allowing divergent views to be expressed. Our readers will learn what the main points in the debate are and the differing views that exist in relation to each.
Three controversial and important issues have already been raised in the column. In the next few weeks we expect to be dealing with others like the criticisms of working-class comrades, what kind of organization we need, what the situation in the Canadian left as a whole is, the crisis in the international and Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, the women’s movement, IN STRUGGLE!’s mass work and its overall history etc.
That’s a lot of issues, and it doesn’t exhaust the list. But we fully expect that the debate will soon develop to the point where the main points at issue will become clear. This will make it possible to see the connections between each one of the particular issues. So consider yourself invited to supply the column with letters, summaries of debates held by a group of people, interviews or whatever. There will be comrades available to help those who have a hard time putting their thoughts to paper.
Besides the column, there will likely be a few supplements devoted to a specific theme or to give an overview of where we are at in the debates.
The next issues of Proletarian Unity will be given over mostly to the pre-Congress debates. However, issue 5 of International Forum will not come out until after the Congress.
Finally, the internal bulletin will carry letters and articles which are not written for any of the publications.
A Congress preparation committee has been set up. Its job: to keep people informed about where the debate is at and to intervene in it. The committee will be responsible for the public conferences and meetings, internal meetings and the forums for debate (newspaper column, PU, supplements, internal bulletin). So people should make sure to inform them of any debates or meetings that are planned. Committee members arc available to sit in on or make speeches at any sort of pre-Congress meeting. Any contact that can be made publicly should be made by writing to: Congress Preparation Committee. P.O. 340, Station M, Montreal, Quebec, HIV 3M5. Tel: (514) 253-2041.