First Published: People’s Canada Daily News, Vol 6, No.28, February 14, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Note: What Kind of Friendship was the title under which Hardial Bains welcomed the representatives of ZANU and UNITA to the conference on Zimbabwe and Angola held in Montreal, February 7, 1976. We reproduce this article which is based on the speech by Hardial Bains and is edited by him for publication.
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The attitude the proletariat of the capitalist and imperialist countries and of the social-imperialist and revisionist countries takes towards the national liberation struggles of the peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America is decisive to determine whether the proletariat in these countries is taking a revolutionary, non-revolutionary or reactionary stand. Chairman Mao Tsetung teaches:
...the world revolution can only succeed if the proletariat of the capitalist countries supports the struggle for liberation of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples and if the proletariat of the colonies supports that of the proletariat of the capitalist countries. (In Memory of Norman Bethune)
The proletariat in the capitalist and imperialist countries and in the revisionist and social-imperialist,countries can be progressive only if it takes a very positive attitude towards the struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and considers the struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America as their own. This means that the proletariat of the imperialist and capitalist countries, the revisionist and social-imperialist countries must:
1. oppose their own reactionary ruling class;
2. enthusiastically learn from the struggles of the peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America; and
3. launch staunch campaigns to isolate and hit at the main enemies of the world’s people.
This is the banner of proletarian internationalism. This is the red banner upheld by the Bolsheviks and the Leninists who followed the Third Internationale, which came into being at the time of the First World War. It was presented by Lenin and went against the Yellow Banner of social democracy, which stood for social chauvinism and capitulation to imperialism and colonialism.
A correct attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America is decisive when we consider the question of What kind of friendship we want to build. When we sum up the lessons of the building of the solidarity movement in Canada during the past ten years and more, we can see that although ithas gone through various phases and twists and turns, its main features have remained the same: one line has always regarded the struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America from a social chauvinist, position. The advocates of this line are the advocates of the Yellow Banner. They push all sorts of social chauvinist and national chauvinist theories, theories of humanitarianism, Christianity, and everything save the revolutionary unity between the proletariat of the imperialist and capitalist countries and the revisionist and social-imperialist countries with the proletariat of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The other line has always regarded the problems of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America from a proletarian internationalist standpoint and sees in the victories of the oppressed nations and peoples their own victory. Right from the beginning, our organisation has upheld the latter line: We are in unity with the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America because we are ourselves anti-imperialists. Their victories, big or small, are a great lesson to us. It is very important to grasp this because to belittle in any way the struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples is to hurt the interests of world revolution. It is in this light and to further this cause that we have organised this programme. Our friendship with the fighting people of Asia, Africa and Latin America is a revolutionary friendship based on a common struggle against our common enemies. In no way do we consider ourselves to be better off and the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America to be underdeveloped and oppressed such that their struggles do not contribute to the success and victory of the world revolution. Our friendship is based on the principles of proletarian internationalism and no other.
It was to uphold the basic guidelines and theory of proletarian internationalism that we organised the Necessity for Change Conference in London. England, from August 1-15, 1967. We organised this conference to oppose another conference being held at that time under the name of “Dialectics of Liberation”. All sorts of bad elements from Europe and North America attended the “Dialectics of Liberation” Conference to popularise ideas which were inconsistent with the revolutionary movement, ideas of individual and personal liberation. For instance, the smoking of marijuana in front of everyone was presented as an act of liberation, as were the theories of Black Power and fascist psychiatry. We organised the Necessity for Change Conference to provide an opposite point of view and, instead of various bourgeois and reactionary professors we invited the representatives of revolutionary organisations from various parts of the world. We are very proud to declare to you at this time that our relations with ZANU and UNITA, as well as with other organisations from Africa, including the Congo and other countries, date back to this Conference. It was at this Conference that for the first time, a consistent stand was adopted in support of the struggles of the people of Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Azania, the Congo and other countries. Over 25 liberation organisations participated in the programme, including representatives from the Middle East. This Necessity for Change Conference, was the beginning of our solidarity movement with the struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Having established relations with these fighting organisations, various subsequent programmes were organised in support of the struggles of the oppressed peoples. In the fall of 1967, a representative of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) was invited to visit Canada and his tour was as successful as that of Comrade Mawema, if not more so, in the sense that it launched the solidarity movement in Canada. The following year, in the,fall of 1968, a representative from UNITA spoke right here at McGill. Since that time, the relations with the organisations from Southern Africa, as well as other countries have been deepening and broadening and a regular solidarity programme has been launched under the banner of Afro-Asian Latin American People’s Solidarity Movement (established in April, 1969) which is an organisation of revolutionary solidarity of Canadian people with the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America and other countries.
Over the past 10 years, two types of propaganda have been carried out to oppose our work: One type has been carried out by the ’liberation support committees’ which follow the thesis that revolution is not possible in countries like Canada, the United States and the countries of Europe and what is decisive is to organise “support” for the struggles in other countries, like Zimbabwe, Azania, Angola, etc. They have slandered the Internationalists and slander CPC(M-L) on the grounds that we do not support the people of the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. However, the fact is that when Comrade Mawema visited over 24 cities throughout Canada and Quebec he found tremendous support for the just cause of his people. This kind of support does not generate spontaneously. In fact, the people throughout Canada who came to support the just cause of the people of Zimbabwe were very much informed about the situation in Southern Africa. They did not come to the meetings completely ignorant , about the nature of the struggles being waged by the people there, the content of their struggles and the form of their struggles. Without CPC(M-L) to provide the backbone for the solidarity movement, only spontaneous upsurges of the sort that give rise to humanitarian and Christian feelings can take place. Anyone who attempts to build “solidarity” without building close links of friendship with the revolutionary parties cannot build a lasting solidarity movement which advances on a systematic basis. The essence of the propaganda put forward by the ’liberation support committees’ that revolution is not possible in countries like Canada, the United States and the countries of Europe, is that the struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are not part and parcel of the world revolution. Because, once you declare the proletariat in Europe and North America as non-revolutionary when these countries comprise the largest majority of the world proletariat, this is to say that world revolution is not possible. It is entirely wrong to say that a revolutionary situation does not prevail in Canada, the United States and the countries of Europe, because these countries are part of the world and revolution exists in all countries at various levels. No people, nor the proletariat any country, can remain indifferent to the needs of world revolution. If CPC(M-L) has been successful in building the solidarity movement with the struggles of the oppressed nations and people, it is because the theoretical and political basis of solidarity movement has been: 1. proletarian internationalism and 2. anti-imperialist socialist revolution in Canada.
The statement of our Party released on November 1, 1975 clearly pointed out: “The revolutionary struggle of the proletariat of the capitalist and revisionist countries and the struggle of the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America against old and new colonialism and the hegemonism of the two superpowers constitute the decisive force in the world anti-imperialist socialist revolution. The struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America against old and new colonialism and against hegemonism of the two superpowers comprise the, motive fierce of world anti-imperialist socialist revolution.”
The second type of propaganda presented in Canada to oppose CPC(M-L) is that the struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America should only be supported if they are “socialist”, “communist” or “Marxist”. It is under the hoax of this thesis that a line has been presented in a serious attempt to disintegrate and split the solidarity movement. In 1966,1967 and 1968, various individuals tried to split the solidarity movement in support of the Indochinese people under the hoax that President Ho Chi Minh was a revisionist and that the Vietnamese people were not following the line of people’s war. It is these very same people who in 1976 have created the hoax that because UNITA is not “Marxist”, it deserves to be decimated and crushed by either one superpower or the other, or both in alliance with each other. This line within the solidarity movement is also based on an incorrect theoretical and political line, because the issue is not whether an organisation is “Marxist” or “socialist”, but whether it 1. resolutely stands for the national independence of its country, and 2. whether its activities, its acts of liberation, assist in weakening imperialism, social-imperialism and all reaction on an international scale. While it is possible that some liberation organisations, after their countries are liberated. may take up the banner of socialism and that some may in fact become neo-colonies of another country, our support for their national liberation struggles cannot be based on a ’guarantee’ that their struggle will always be socialist. It is the responsibility of the proletariat in the capitalist and imperialist countries, in the revisionist and social-imperialist countries, to give unqualified and enthusiastic support to all the liberation movements and liberation organisations.
Today, in 1976, the situation exists, as in the past, that a liberation organisation, UNITA, is being attacked under the hoax that it is not “Marxist” and “socialist”. Although it is very painful, it is also a very instructive experience to see how the advocates of this thesis overlook an open act of intervention and armed aggression and support the reactionary thesis that the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America should fight each other. It is also painful to see how a country like Cuba, which itself for many decades suffered from foreign intervention and aggression, is now sending its people to Africa to slaughter the African people, all under the hoax that one liberation organisation is “Marxist”, while another is not.
In the present class alliance of forces in Canada, it is the imperialist and social-imperialist press, the reactionary professors, the trotskyite organisations (which are straightforward fascist organisations at the beck and call of international reaction) and various other opportunists which have formed a united front in support of social-imperialism and the MPLA. The issue, comrades and friends, is not whether one supports the MPLA or one supports UNITA. The issue is whether one sanctifies the armed intervention in Angola by the Soviet Union and their Cuban puppets, or whether one opposes it. This is the fundamental question.
A similar class alliance of forces took place on the question of the armed intervention in East Pakistan in December, 1971, aided and abetted by the Soviet Union. Under the hoax that the then President of Pakistan, Yahya Khan, was a fascist and that the government of Pakistan was a government of big landlords and capitalists; these reactionaries propagated the thesis that the Indian reactionaries had the right to organise a so-called “national liberation movement” in East Pakistan and dismember the country under the orders of the Soviet social-imperialists. Mujibur Rahman, a fascist assassin of the Indian and Pakistani people, was presented as the “leader” of the “national liberation movement”. And these same people who supported the dismemberment of Pakistan, today, in 1976, now that it has been amply proven that Mujibur Rahman betrayed the people of East Pakistan and sold out the country to the Soviet social-imperialists, remain silent and do not support the people of East Pakistan who are actually organising armed struggle for the national liberation of East Pakistan led by the Communist Party of East Pakistan (Marxist-Leninist). While in 1971 they presented the thesis that the intervention into East Pakistan was legitimate because Yahya Khan was a fascist, today they have been, on the international scale, cultivating various lies to the tune that UNITA is a CIA front, backed by the Portuguese and South African racists, to the tune that the Soviet Union and Cuba are in Angola merely to support the cause of the MPLA against South African racism and U.S. imperialism, following which they will “disappear from the scene”. According to them, the Soviet Union and Cuba are so revolutionary that they liberate other people through armed intervention. Why then did the Soviet Union and Cuba not participate in the armed intervention prior to 1974 and send expeditionary forces against the Portuguese colonialists? According to their reactionary thesis, Brezhnev and Castro should have a licence to send expeditionary forces to all the countries around the world that they think have a reactionary government in power, in order to ’liberate the people’. At the basis of this reactionary thesis is to not support the sanctity of nations, national independence and national sovereignty. It is to support imperialist, social-imperialist and fascist intervention on a world scale and justify such intervention under the hoax that it is “revolutionary”.
Throughout 1946 to 1975, it was under the signboards of “democracy”,and “freedom” and “protecting the free world” that U.S. imperialism participated in open and covert intervention throughout the world, groomed puppets everywhere, and is still doing so. The armed intervention on the part of the Soviet Union, under the hoax of supporting “Marxists” and “socialists” is no different and equally unjustified. Hitler operated under the banner of “socialism” and Mrs. Gandhi invaded East Pakistan under the signboards of “democracy” and “national liberation”.
To conclude this point, I would like to emphasise that the hoax being presented by this reactionary alliance of forces, is that the Canadian proletariat can only support a national liberation movement if it is “Marxist.” and “socialist”. This line is in part of the conspiracy by imperialism and social-imperialism to liquidate the revolutionary solidarity of the proletariat of this country with the fighting people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The basic point is that in dealing with these questions it is necessary to adhere to revolutionary principle. As far as the relations between individual organisations are concerned, each can have their choice. It is our choice to support the revolutionary Anglolan organisation UNITA, but at no time have we been a source of rumours and slanders against any other organisation. It is very important that the proletariat in the imperialist and capitalist countries, in the social-imperialist and revisionist countries not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. To support a particular organisation and have relations with a particular organisation is not interference in the internal affairs of a country. Whoever supports the MPLA should do so. But they should not, as they are doing, go to others’ meetings, attempt to disrupt them and “throw stones“ at the other liberation movements in Angola. We disagree with the policies of the MPLA which have already brought disaster to Angola and which, if they persist in this policy, can only cause further disaster for Angola, but this does not give us the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Angola. To uphold the revolutionary principle of building friendship with the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, it is fundamental to uphold the principle of national independence and sovereignty of nations. Anyone who supports intervention under whatever pretext cannot be called a “revolutionary”, a “progressive”, a “democrat”. This is a basic and fundamental point.
At the heart of the slogan of upholding proletarian internationalism is to uphold the principle of the national independence and sovereignty of nations. Ever since Khrushchov usurped power in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union has been presenting itself as socialist for the sole purpose of liquidating the national liberation struggles of the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America and seizing control of these countries for their own nefarious ends. The sham socialism of the Soviet Union was plain for everyone to see in their refusal to support the just cause of the people of Cambodia. The so-called “greatest supporters of the Indo-chinese people” in fact supported the reactionary Lon Nol clique under the hoax that it was “republican” while Prince Sihanouk was a monarch. On the question of Cambodia, our slogans were that U.S. imperialism should get out of Cambodia and should not interfere in the internal affairs of the people of Cambodia. As far as the Lon Nol clique was concerned, it was not an issue because once the U.S. imperialists were forced to stop interfering in the affairs of Cambodia, the Cambodian people themselves could deal with it in a matter of hours. A parallel situation exists in Angola, foreign troops should withdraw from Angola, the Soviet troops should withdraw, the Cuban troops should be sent back, South African fascist troops should be crushed and the U.S. imperialists should stop meddling in the internal affairs of Angola. The issue is not whether UNITA will take over the MPLA, or vice versa, or whether the FNLA will be wiped out: it is up to the people of Angola to decide how they are going to bring about the unity of all the genuine national liberation forces. It is their internal issue. It is up to us to 1. Staunchly support their national liberation struggle and 2. vigorously denounce all foreign intervention in Angola.
The reactionary alliance of forces is presently running the hysterical propaganda that the Soviet and Cuban forces will be successful in a matter of weeks. They claimed they would hold a victory celebration in Toronto on February 4th on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the MPLA. But what kind of a victory will they be celebrating? What kind of victory is this which is based on the slaughter of the Angolan people? If such a “victory” takes place, it will be an extremely temporary victory. It will actually hasten the process of the total defeat of Soviet social-imperialism and its puppets on the world scale. This is because Angola does not stand alone in its struggle for national liberation. The Soviet Union has taken precisely the same interventionist and hegemonist attitude toward the revolutionary movement of the Indian people and the six hundred million Indian people have common cause with the people of Angola. When the Soviet social-imperialists slaughter our comrades and friends in Angola they are committing a crime not only against the people of Angola, but against the people of India and the entire world.
This same alliance of reactionary forces supporting the armed intervention into the internal affairs of Angola is suggesting that the revolutionary policy of the People’s Republic of China, although correct on all other questions, is not “quite correct” on the question of Angola. Comrades and Friends, revolutionary principles are not and cannot be molded according to one’s whims and some “peculiar conditions”. How is it possible to believe that a revolutionary principle an be molded such that People’s China was correct on the question of Cambodia, but, is wrong on the question of Angola? Ever since the People’s Republic of China came into being in 1949, it has followed the consistent revolutionary policy of supporting the struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America and sympathising and supporting the\ revolutionary struggles of the people of the countries of Europe and North America, as well as all other countries. It is very important to understand that China upholds a revolutionary foreign policy and it is not a matter of having one attitude towards one country and another attitude towards another country. Similarly, it is important to understand that the Soviet Union has not committed some “mistake” in Angola. Soviet social-imperialism has also been following a consistent policy, a consistent counter-revolutionary and social-imperialist interventionist foreign policy since the death of Comrade Stalin in 1953. The Soviet Union has been committing crimes against the people of the world and towards every nation and people they take the same attitude as they have done in Angola. To mention but a few examples of their policy of sanctifying naked and open intervention in the affairs of sovereign nations, they have amassed over 1 million troops on the borders of People’s China; they have an occupational armed force in Czeckoslovakia; they supported the Indian reactionaries’ invasion and dismemberment of East Pakistan; they attempted to take over Egypt through the sale of arms and blackmail, but also failed. In fact, whenever they claim to assist a country their motive is none other than to seize control of the people of that country and place the entire nation within the social-imperialist orbit. The attitude of the Soviet Union is precisely the same as the attitude of the U.S. imperialists. It cannot be termed a matter of “mistaken policy”, no more than China’s correct revolutionary stand can be termed a matter of “mistaken policy on the question of Angola.” When the reactionaries claim that China has committed a “mistake” on the question of Angola, it is very important to uphold principle on this matter.
In Canada, also, the two lines are very clear and have been for a long period of time, It was only CPC(M-L) and its friends who opposed the intervention and dismemberment of East Pakistan and firmly supported the right of nations to self-determination and national sovereignty. CPC(M-L) vigorously denounced the Indian reactionaries for attacking Pakistan as well as the Soviet social-imperialists for aiding and abetting the Indian reactionaries in their dirty work. On the question of the Middle East again it is CPC(M-L) which has resolutely taken a stand against Zionism, imperialism and against Soviet social-imperialist interference into the internal affairs of the Arab and Palestinian people as well as in support of the PLO. On the question of Cambodia the opportunists in Canada provided the revolutionary movement with a very clear lesson: although they claimed to support the national liberation struggle of the people of Cambodia, they carried a campaign of silence and did not organise so much as a rally, a demonstration or pass a resolution to mobilise the Canadian people. Again it was CPC(M-L) who led and built the solidarity campaign in support of the struggle of the heroic Cambodian people. It was only after the Cambodian people liberated themselves that the opportunist elements held one or two meetings to cover up the fact that they had concretely opposed the solidarity movement in support of the people of Cambodia. Now, on the question of Angola, the two lines are crystal clear once again. The opportunist groups promote every lie dished out by the imperialist and social-imperialist press against the people of Angola, against UNITA and against those organisations and countries in the world upholding the principled stand of noninterference in the internal affairs of Angola. At the same time, they have presented no opposition whatsoever to the armed aggression of Soviet social-imperialism and their Cuban puppets. They quite shamelessly promote the theory that South Africa is a bigger enemy than Soviet social-imperialism: Comrades and Friends, I am very confident that if Soviet social-imperialism was not interfering in the internal affairs of Angola, if U.S. imperialism was not interfering in the internal affairs of the people of Southern Africa, the people of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Azania would make short work of the racists and raze the white racist regime to the ground in no time. To suggest that South Africa is a bigger enemy than Soviet social-imperialism is to stand truth on its head and confound right and wrong.
CPC(M-L) upholds the principles of proletarian internationalism as the basis for its solidarity campaign, as the basis for its solidarity with the oppressed nations and people of Africa, Asia and Latin America. CPC(M-L) is not a “fly-by-night” organisation which says one thing one day and then abandons the struggle.CPC(M-L) is not seeking out jobs in the office of the Secretary of State of the federal government, or within the United Nations. CPC(M-L) is rooted in the historic struggle of the oppressed people of Canada. Quebec and the national minorities resident here and its policy is not dependent on what direction the wind is blowing. CPC(M-L) does not get confused because one or two imperialist and social-imperialist newspapers are concocting lies and spreading confusion about the struggle of the world’s people. Right from its inception, CPC(M-L) has advocated the line of proletarian internationalism, the line of peaceful co-existence as the principled revolutionary basis for the building of friendship and solidarity with the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. We do not demand that everyone should follow our policy, but neither do we create the illusion that those elements who are doing the dirty work of U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism can be called “revolutionaries”, “progressives” or “democrats”. In this respect, we have a duty to stick to our principles and we do not take a lenient or conciliatory attitude towards those individuals and organisations who are taking a conciliatory attitude towards Soviet social-imperialism.
In Canada, the line of the reactionary alliance of forces supporting Soviet social-imperialism intervention in Angola is crystal clear. The trotskyists are in the forefront of advocating this line and our party has always been very clear that trotskyism means fascism and we do not expect much from the trotskyists. What is interesting feature of the situation in Canada within the last few years, however, is that various opportunists who call themselves “genuine Marxist Leninists” are also claiming to be confused on all questions of basic principle. Today, it is these opportunists who claim to support China on every other question who claim to have “critical support” for China on her correct stand on the question of Angola. It is organisations such as those which claim to be “genuine Marxist-Leninists” which are doing the real dirty work for Soviet social -imperialism. Counter-revolutionary propaganda is being carried out that for victory the oppressed nations and people have to depend on one superpower or the other in opposition ro the Leninist thesis advanced by Chairman Mao that: “A weak nation can defeat a strong, a small nation can defeat a big. The people of a small-country can certainly defeat aggression by a big country, if only they dare to rise in struggle, take up arms and grsp in their own hands the destiny of their country. This is a law of history.”
The opportunists have revised this thesis into “a small nation can defeat a big... with the support of ’socialist’ countries”. Here they expose themselves as agents of Soviet revisionist social-imperialism as it is the thesis of Khrushchov-Brezhnev-kosygin that the “socialist camp” is decisive for victory of national liberation struggles. We are opposed to A. Neto of MPLA when he presents a gravely mistaken thesis that:“Over these ten years of revolutionary struggle, our movement, our people and fighters – the advanced contingent of Angola’s anti-colonial drive – have experienced the friendship and support of the Soviet people. We consider the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to be one of the chief forces on which we rely on developing our liberation drive.” What Neto says is neither, genuinely Marxist nor genuinely nationalist. This is a thesis of capitulation to one of the superpowers and sell-out of the national aspirations of the Angolian people to the Soviet social-imperialists.
We are opposed to this reactionary thesis as we are opposed to the reactionary thesis that opposition to Soviet social-imperialism necessarily means support for U.S. imperialism. In fact, the opposite is true. Failure to oppose Soviet social-imperialism is support for U.S. imperialism.
I would like to conclude my remarks by saying that support for the liberation movements and organisations in Asia,Africa and Latin America is a matter of principle. This correct principle for Marxist-Leninists is proletarian internationalism. Because we base activities on this correct and fundamental principle, our approach, our methods, our form of organising in not in the least sectarian. As far as CPC(M-L) is concerned; neither will we create illusions about groups and individuals which are not genuinely in support of the revolutionary movements of the oppressed nations and people and, at the same time we will not oppose those organisations and individuals who are non-revolutionary such as certain Christian, social and humanitarian organisations or organisations of the broad masses such as trade unions or professional organisations which come forward to support the just cause of the people of Zimbabwe and Angola. These organisations or the members of these organisations whose main motive is to support the cause of the people of Zimbabwe and Angola are welcome to join and work within the solidarity organisations.
Comrades and friends, the principle on which CPC(M-L) is organising the solidarity movement in building the friendship between the Canadian and Quebec people and the oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, is the Leninist principle – it is based on proletarian internationalism and it is a revolutionary friendship. This friendship will last forever!! Thank you.