Published: Mass Line, April 12, 1970.
Reprinted: Literature & Ideology, No. 6, 1970.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
Publisher’s Note: We print below the transcript of the first in a series of talks organized in Montreal by the Necessity for Change Institute of Ideological Studies in April, 1970 in order to deepen and broaden the struggle against fascism on the ideological front. The talk was delivered by the Chairman of the Ideological Institute.
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The key question facing the whole working class and working people in North America today is not merely to begin discussion on WHAT IS FASCISM, but to move the struggle against fascism to a higher level. There have been many struggles which have been waged by the broad masses of the workers, students and national minorities against the terrorism of the imperialists and many important lessons have been learned. The point is to take the struggle to a higher level. Whether the struggles were against racial discrimination and repression, or the struggles of the workers to organize themselves politically, or the struggles of the students against fascist rules and regulations; the central theme running through all these struggles was the seizure of state power from the handful of imperialists and their lackeys.
In Quebec, the broad masses of the working people have consistently stood against the terrorist assaults of the Quebec compradors and their masters, the U.S. imperialists and the Anglo-Canadian colonialists, and have deep hatred for their rule. Every day struggles develop and the broad masses gain new militancy and determination to abolish the system of exploitation of man by man and to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The revolutionary masses in Quebec are astir and it is only a matter of time before they rise in a huge storm against their oppressors.
The U.S. imperialists and their lackeys exploit and repress the broad masses of the people of Quebec, Canada and the U.S. in many ways. In doing so, they have wild dreams of sucking the blood of the people forever. The basic arsenal in the hands of the exploiters is:
1. The bourgeois state machine: the courts, the armed forces and police, the civil service, the parliament, etc.
2. The church, educational institutions, certain professions.
3. The imperialist mass propaganda machine, the newspapers, radio and television.
The bourgeois state machine uses:
1. Direct repression when the broad masses rise to defend their rights, and
2. Indirect repression through constant inculcation of imperialist and fascist ideas, living style, and art and literature. The ideological preparation for the acceptance of fascism is the EVERYDAY ACTIVITY of the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys.
Thus to fight the terrorism of the imperialist state, revolutionaries in Quebec are doing propaganda on the ideological front as well as developing the initiative of the broad masses to stand up and resist and overthrow the criminal rule of the U.S. imperialists and their Anglo-Canadian colonialists.
Several violent struggles have already taken place in which the communist revolutionaries played an important role. In October 1968, taxi drivers and students fought tit-for-tat struggles against Murray Hill Limousine Service and their defenders, the Anglo-Canadian lackey police. In 1969, workers and students fought several battles with the lackey police and the number of struggles is already increasing in 1970.
Side by side with the development of revolutionary initiative, communist revolutionaries have distributed on a large scale the works of Chairman Mao, fought against racism and chauvinism in the ideological front, confronted and repudiated various fascist writers and developed a general climate in which the works of Chairman Mao, the ideology of communism and other anti-imperialist ideas are widely discussed. Everywhere in Quebec, discussions are raging on the ideological front as to whether to support fascism or whether to oppose these ideas in concrete form.
Thus the Anglo-Canadian colonialists and U.S. imperialists are repressing the revolutionary initiative by direct terrorism and creating public opinion in support of open fascism; the communist revolutionaries are developing the revolutionary initiative of the broad masses of the people against U.S. imperialism and Anglo-Canadian colonialism and preparing public opinion in support of the elimination of U.S. imperialism and Anglo-Canadian colonialism.
In very concrete terms, then, the working class forms the class basis of the anti-fascist alliance; it is rallying around itself the most advanced sections of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie as well as the democratic sections of the bourgeoisie. The class basis of fascism is the big bourgeoisie (Bell Canada, etc., Pro-Canada Committee). It is also attempting to rally around itself the most undemocratic and decadent sections of the bourgeoisie as well as the most decayed sections of the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie. Some workers are also being mobilized by the big bourgeoisie in support of the terrorism of capital against labour. The struggle between working class and big bourgeoisie is first taking place on the national struggle level.
It is in the interests of the big bourgeoisie to take the initiative for national struggle away from the working class and convert the struggle for national liberation into a struggle for the consolidation of foreign monopoly capitalism. This is why the bourgeois and petty bourgeois of all hues and colours have attempted to come forward and serve those interests. In the ideological sphere, the greatest ally of the big bourgeoisie is social democracy and the social democratic ideas. Out of social democracy spring all the anti-communist, “nationalist” and chauvinist ideas. Instead of supporting les Intellectuels et Ouvriers Patriotes du Quebec–Mouvement Communiste Quebecois (Marxiste-Leniniste) as the leader of the national liberation struggle, they are attempting to build an alliance of sold-out working class leaders and scholar despots. And today it is this force which is most vocal in support of bourgeois democracy against communism.
From “Knights of Independence” to “Pro-Canada Committee” to trotskyists and social democrats of various hue and colours, they have all come up against the development of the revolutionary initiative of the broad masses of the people and in opposition to the large scale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought and the smash-up of fascist ideas on the ideological front.
The working class, on the other hand, has also mobilized rural and urban petty bourgeoisie around itself, who have begun large-scale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought as well as struggled against fascist rules and regulations at the place of work, in the universities and in the communities. For the first time, the working class has come up to lead the national liberation struggle and has waged a tit-for-tat struggle against the agents of the big bourgeoisie.
Those who suggest that the struggle between the big bourgeoisie and the working class has to wait and that fascism, latent as well as active, cannot be resisted at this time are also part of the big bourgeoisie. They are also playing their role in the service of the big bourgeoisie.
The rise of I.O.P.Q. has shaken the alliance of the social democrats so much that they have come out openly to attack the liberation movement and to support the open terror of the fascist state.
The political programme of the big bourgeoisie is to increase the double tactic of exploitation and repression through armed terror against the working class and the people, while the political programme of the working class and the people is to overthrow violently the big bourgeoisie and to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. All classes and strata are making up their minds as to which class to support. All are being called upon to take their sides at this important junction of history.
On all fronts the struggle between the big bourgeoisie and the working class is taking place.
On the ideological front, the big bourgeoisie has come forward with its decadent and moribund arsenal of the medieval times: Mysticism, Racism, Nihilism and Pessimism. A dying class can do nothing else. In its deathbed, the big bourgeoisie could give rise to no optimism, no hope for the future, no development of science and no elimination of the diseases which it has wrought upon itself. The working class, a developing and growing class, a class which is moving toward world-wide victory, is eliminating mysticism, racism, nihilism and pessimism. By nature, the working class opposes all the moribund and decadent theories of the big bourgeoisie.
The strata which have come forward to serve the big bourgeoisie are the scholar despots, a section of the petty bourgeoisie, decadent artists, actors and actresses, writers, singers, musicians, painters, etc. They follow the life style and social practice which serve best the interests of the big bourgeoisie. The life style and social practice of the big bourgeoisie are characterized by:
1. Eclecticism in attitude or general outlook.
2. Detachment from the real problems of the people (especially the working people).
3. Isolation from the real, material world.
4. Parasitism in life style and parasitism on the labours of the working people.
5. Exuberance about decay–heading towards total decay.
In short, the outlook of the bourgeoisie as promoted in art and literature, life style and general social practice, consists of eclecticism, detachment, isolation, parasitism and decay. The core of this is bourgeois individualism, the festering “ego,” and complete opposition to anything healthy. By using this outlook, the bands of hooligans parading themselves as artists, scholars, and writers constantly prepare the material conditions for the acceptance of fascism. They attempt to present themselves as a class or over and above classes, but they are totally entrenched within the decadent system; and amongst them as well class struggle has already started.
We have seen the rise of the opposite, of those who are:
1. Dialectical in their general attitude.
2. Participating daily in the solution of problems of the working people, particularly in class struggle against the big bourgeoisie.
3. Integrated with the real world–this means they are materialists as opposed to idealists.
4. Productive in life style.
5. Oppose everything moribund and decadent in the society.
Out of the attitude of the big bourgeoisie come moribund theories like “Reality is a matter of interpretation and definition.” In so doing, the big bourgeoisie attempts to take the science of dialectical and historical materialism away from the working class and people and introduce in their midst the moribund theory of bourgeois individualism, self-centredness, abstractions, metaphysical idealism, and mechanical materialism. Since 1968, this flimsy theory has come under fire and, in fact, at various places the dividing line between revolutionaries and counter- and non-revolutionaries has been whether or not they advocate that “reality is a matter of interpretation and definition.” The working class, by nature, knows that “reality is not a matter of interpretation and definition.” Exploitation and repression on the part of the big bourgeoisie are real, independent of how you define it, and there is only one road to ending it, by establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The big bourgeoisie attempts to cover up its double tactic of exploitation and repression by using the double-dealing tactic of: Hypocritically pretending that they are unaware of the cause of exploitation and repression, and openly making preparation for the further consolidation of exploitation and repression. It is only amongst the petty bourgeoisie that the idea that “reality is unknowable” has currency. The double tactic of exploitation and repression through armed terror and the double-dealing tactic of hypocrisy and deception is the true nature of the big bourgeoisie. And this nature will never change. The working class, by nature, opposes the nature of the big bourgeoisie. The nature of the working class also will never change.
At this time, in Quebec, Canada and the U.S. the main propaganda that “the nature of the big bourgeoisie will change and that the working people should agree with the notorious blackmail and believe in the sensibility of imperialism” is being carried out by the social democrats of various hues and colours. The whole idea of benevolent imperialism is the counter-revolutionary double-dealing tactic of the social democrats. The social democrats shed many tears in favour of “revolution,” “social change,” “equality,” but in practice, support the imperialists’ double tactic of exploitation and repression. The working class clearly and without wavering is determined to uphold the bright red banner of Mao Tsetung Thought and oppose the rule of the big bourgeoisie by overthrowing it.
In the final analysis, the social democrats, revisionists, trotskyists and their fellow travellers raise many “objections” about communism, vilify the People’s Republic of China under various hoaxes, oppose the national liberation! struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and propagate the idea that imperialism is “invincible” and cannot be defeated. They are against all scientific analysis and the development of systematic and conscious revolutionary struggle. They use microscopes to find fault with the working class and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and at the same time ignore even the most glaring double tactic of exploitation and repression on the part of the imperialists.
The outlook of the big bourgeoisie desperately attempts to discredit the scientific analysis and sow large-scale confusion on all fundamental questions. The bourgeoisie deceives the people because it is in its interest to do so.
The double tactics of exploitation and repression at home and the double-dealing tactic of deception mean wars of aggression, plunder and genocide abroad. In this manner, the U.S. imperialists have dug their own grave, because this has earned them the utter animosity of the people at home and abroad.
The fundamental question on the ideological front is – WHO DO WE SERVE? Do we serve the big bourgeoisie or the working class? In summing up the historical experience, the petty-bourgeois intellectuals serve the big bourgeoisie. They blame the working class and the people for all the misdoings of the big bourgeoisie: they applaud to the skies the “progress” made by the big bourgeoisie. They analyse the material conditions in order to consolidate the status quo. In serving the working class, the revolutionary people and the communist leadership concentrate the revolutionary experience of the masses, and build guidelines based on this experience for the sole purpose of advancing the struggle forward. In the beginning, when the struggle was at a low level, many petty bourgeois came forward to claim leadership of the revolution, accused the working class of being non- or counter-revolutionary, and did grave damage to the revolution. But the historical trend eliminates each counter-revolutionary force one by one, in a systematic manner. For example, in the struggle against imperialism the first traitors to the revolutionary cause of the masses were the petty bourgeois of the Proudhonist and Bakuninist type. They were followed to the grave by Kautsky, Bukharin, Trotsky, Khrushchev, Liu Shao-chi. Counter-revolutionaries like Proudhon are being revived to do further damage to the cause of the people. In Canada, after the historical betrayal by the revisionists we have the neo-revisionists coming on to the scene to follow their predecessors. And as the revolution develops, more and more moribund and putrid forces, in the name of the working class and revolution, will come forward to be smashed.
In answering the question – “Whom do we serve?” – we must answer the question, “HOW DO WE SERVE ?” The big bourgeoisie contends that there is no other ideology than the ideology of counter-revolution and we must smash them by PUTTING MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT IN COMMAND OF EVERYTHING. In dealing with the cause of the people, communist revolutionaries are enthusiastically propagating Mao Tsetung Thought. They are going deep into the masses and integrating with them.
In resolutely opposing the ideology of the big bourgeoisie, we have always opposed its concrete manifestations. There are two basic methods of looking at the problem: To look at the problem in order to describe it; to look at the problem in order to solve it.
During the past year and earlier, several comrades have raised the question: What is Fascism? And they have attempted to answer this question. They have read several books, made comments on the terrorist states of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo and have arrived at simple conclusions: At a certain stage of the development of the revolutionary initiative of the working class, the big bourgeoisie brings into being open terror of capital against labour. After arriving at this conclusion, they say that nobody in his right mind can say that the Canadian comprador state is a fascist state. They commit two basic errors in their analysis:
1. The classic formulation by Georgi Dimitroff (Fascism is the most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people; Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and annexationist war; Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution; Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and all working people.) will not suffice for the present day. While the general formulation is correct, it is devoid of all practicality. It is an abstraction which is applicable in general but leads us nowhere in terms of actually fighting fascism. Thus, for our purposes, we say that it won’t do at all to be satisfied with this general formulation. Those who are satisfied with just “understanding” are not anti-fascists or revolutionaries yet.
2. The second error made is in terms of looking at the bourgeois state and the problems of revolution as abstractions only, and not based on actual summing up of the experience of the masses.
These two basic errors do not lead to the development of fighting programmes against fascism but, instead, divert the attention of the masses from the real problem. These comrades exhibit a high degree of intellectualism and subjectivism because they support what they profess to oppose. Our experience has shown that the big bourgeoisie would and, in fact, does encourage discussion only when it is merely a discussion divorced from the problems of the masses. Our point of departure with these comrades is:
1. We advocate ORGANIZE TO CHANGE THE WORLD! In the process of changing the world, we will understand the world better. Chairman Mao points out: “In order to have a real grasp of Marxism, one must learn it not only from books, but mainly through class struggle, through practical work and close contact with the masses of workers and peasants.” This means learning through actually changing the material conditions. Our learning of fascism is also by developing anti-fascist struggles in close contact with workers, farmers, students and small businessmen.
2. We advocate study only when we “. . . have specific problems in mind. . . ” and we study Mao Tsetung Thought in the main to use it as a guide to action.
These comrades have raised several objections against this method. They insist on the “necessity of knowing the history,” “going into details,” “learning what actually did take place.” But they are completely mistaken about this point also. Learning without actually participating in the struggles of the masses is abstract learning, a dead and woody, sterile and putrid knowledge which is of no use to the broad masses of the workers and peasants, and it does not reflect their true experience. True knowledge can only be the knowledge gained by the masses of workers, peasants and intellectuals in their three revolutionary struggles: Class struggle, Struggle for production, and Scientific investigation.
To handle correctly the problems posed by our comrades, we insist on developing class struggle on the question of method. The question of method is the key question and, in fact, is the deciding factor in whether we will oppose imperialism, fascism and revisionism, or whether we ourselves will degenerate and become a decadent force.
The fascist method mainly consists of: Building abstract, medieval notions about state, country, people, race, history, law and order, culture, and human nature: proving these abstract notions through pure speculation, which means a purely non-scientific method. This method, in essence means: Concoct “facts” in order to “prove truth,” as opposed to SEEKING TRUTH FROM FACTS. The two methods are in constant struggle. In the fascist method, the fascist mainly rely on “experts” to develop anti-working class anti-people and anti-progressive theories as well as to develop practical plans to smash the working class, to commit genocide against the people, and to attempt to stop the forward march of history. In the name of the working class these fascists build anti-working class, anti-people and anti-progressive black terror. The fascists contend that the broad masses of the people are ignorant, incapable of understanding, and helpless; they require experts from the superior race to do what is good. They say that the broad masses of the people do not understand what is good for themselves. In the proletarian method of work, the main force is the working people, the core of which is the industrial proletariat, which rallies around itself the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie. The proletarian method holds that “people and people alone are the makers of world history,” that they are the rich source of knowledge, and that in order to gain this knowledge we must integrate with them and learn from them.
The fascist method necessarily depends on “experts,” learning from books and going away from the masses, and relying upon mysticism, obscurantism and irrationalism. The proletarian method necessarily begins with integration with the masses. We ourselves, when we were isolated from the masses, learned mainly from books and understood nothing. When we were faced with the oppression of the imperialist culture, in which we were forced to live completely decadent lives like the imperialists, we looked for answers. And our answer to our problems was integration with the workers.
The fascist and non-scientific line is the line of the bourgeoisie hidden amongst the people. They describe the problem in order to build road blocks in front of the revolution. The line is based on: Seek facts in order to prove preconceived notions. This line usually gives rise to “Convince me first line.” This means that the communist revolutionaries must not organize to change the world, but to organize to answer various questions or objections put forward by the bourgeoisie. In other words, this attitude leads to passive acceptance of the bourgeoisie and active opposition to the revolution.
The scientific line is the line of the working class. Being the most practical and scientific class in history, the working class describes the world only to change it. They have an active attitude towards solving problems; they eliminate the roadblocks set by the bourgeois line. This means resolving contradictions amongst the people on the non-antagonistic level by opposing actively the bourgeoisie.
These two lines came into sharp struggle within our revolutionary ranks right from the beginning and developed into an active struggle against bourgeois hang-ups. The struggle against bourgeois hang-ups was a struggle between the interests of the working class and those of the bourgeoisie. In Canada and Quebec as well as in the U.S.A., the salient feature of all previous movements has been their primary emphasis on subjectivism and intellectualism; thus they acted as counter-revolutionary movements. Right from the beginning we opposed subjectivism and intellectualism, opposed division between private and public lives, and demanded that the theory and practice of all who proclaim themselves to be revolutionary must be integrated. In this way, we sharpened the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletarians and actively opposed the counter-revolutionary influence in our ranks.
We also showed the living connection between one’s social practice and one’s consciousness and pointed out that communist revolutionaries should pay special attention to the social form. In this way, we linked the subjective transformation of the individual with the objective development of the revolutionary struggle. To begin, we must oppose all that is bourgeois and is holding back the revolutionary struggle and, in order to continue the struggle, we must sum up the experience, build future guidelines, and practice criticism-self-criticism.
On the ideological front, imperialism has reached the highest degeneration and the whole superstructure as well as the economic base of imperialism is falling apart. This is why imperialism is openly advocating all the fascist theories. In this respect, as well, as in the respect of open fascist terror irrespective of all bourgeois national and international legalities, U.S. imperialism is rapidly developing fascism; the time to combat and oppose it is now. In order to oppose it, we must hit where imperialism is the weakest. Imperialism is weakest in the ideological field on all basic questions. We must tirelessly do propaganda against it, especially amongst the national minority groups where the national consciousness is progressive and exploitation and racism is maximum. Amongst them various agitations are going on already.
For a systematic and conscious development of struggle against the fascist ideology of U.S. imperialism, we must wage a tireless struggle. We must explain to the broad masses of the people:
1. The basis of change, development and motion.
2. The role of consciousness in history.
3. The relationship of the superstructure to the economic base.
The whole fascist ideology of U.S. imperialism is centred around confusing and mystifying these three aspects.
The fascist ideology of U.S. imperialism is doing constant propaganda that:
1. There can be no progress without exploitation.
2. Whosoever opposes exploitation is against “progress” and is against fascist law and order.
3. The basis of change, development and motion in society is “experts,” “imperialists” and other anti-people and “educated” strata.
4. There is no role of consciousness in history. The history of the world is a series of accidents.
5. The superstructure is immutable, unchangeable and above everything.
6. The problem facing man is some abstract “human nature” and it can never be solved.
7. The working and oppressed people of the world cannot live without being exploited and repressed.
8. The working and oppressed people are racially inferior.
9. What the fascists need is “peace” to carry on exploitation and repression of the world’s people.
10. The world will end because of the problems of overpopulation and pollution.
Basically, this ideology of the U.S. imperialists is racist, anti-communist, anti-progressive and anti-people.
The fascist ideology of the U.S. imperialists can be smashed if we follow these two basic guidelines:
1. PUT MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT IN COMMAND OF EVERYTHING.
2. DEVELOP THE REVOLUTIONARY INITIATIVE OF THE MASSES.
The broad masses of the people understand that their problems originate from the U.S. imperialists and that their lot will not improve without the total defeat of U.S. imperialism.