Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

The root of “left” and rightist errors is in methods of work

First Published: People’s Canada Daily News Release, May 17, 1972
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and 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.

Toronto (PCDN) May 16 – On December 9th, 1970, the National Executive of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) issued a Statement on the “War Measures Act” – “Public Order Act”, the situation in Canada and Quebec and the tasks of the Party. Reprinted below is an excerpt from that Statement, the full text of which was printed in MASS LINE, Vol. 2, No.37, dated December 10, 1970. The partial text of the Statement follows:

To rectify the “left” and rightist errors is to rectify the erroneous methods of work pushed by those who do not have the best interests of the people in command – the bourgeois reactionaries serving “self” under the hoax of serving the people. At all crucial times they attack the Party from within and attempt to liquidate the revolutionary movement. In Canada, the prevailing influence of imperialism, especially that of US imperialism, the most decadent and fascist form of imperialism, on the cultural front also finds expression in the left-wing circles. It is against this influence in the Party and the subsequent struggle against it among the masses which is the motive force of revolution in Canada and the propeller of the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution. The imperialist versus anti-imperialist struggle is acute on the fundamental question: ORGANIZE TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD VERSUS ORGANIZE TO CHANGE THE WORLD. The imperialist agents push forward the counter-revolutionary line that reality is a matter of “understanding”, that “understanding” is not possible, and that history moves because of “experts” and scholar despots.

This means that the people are incapable of solving their problems, they should not take things into their own hands and, seize political power in their own areas, and that scientific analysis varies with one individual to another and that there are some “gifted” individuals who are capable of analysis while the working people must not even think to try. This way they attempt to arbitrarily create slavish mentality amongst the people and build a bureaucratic organisation to serve their interests of exploitation. Our revolution is an anti-imperialist revolution, a people’s revolution. In our revolution it is ordinary people with a deep hatred-for imperialist rule and a long history of fighting against it, and not the bourgeois experts, who are most precious. We hold that only people are capable of real wisdom, that they are quite conscious of their objective oppression and that they are looking towards communist cadres to lead them. The people are quite conscious that scientific analysis is universal and are thus against any bureaucratic method of work. They definitely support mass democratic and people’s method of work, the method by which people gather together to seek truth from facts, build their unity and organise to defeat their class enemies.

Instead of following this correct method and executing the Party line (printed in MASS LINE issues 1 to current) that the present stage of revolution is, anti-imperialist, that we support the national liberation struggle of Quebec but oppose erroneous tactics on a non-antagonistic basis, that while we oppose the slogan of “armed overthrow of Trudeau’s regime” we also support resolutely active and armed resistance to attacks on the progressive and democratic people by fascists, social fascists and the lackey police and that each Basic Unit has full initiative to execute these lines without hesitation, they put the imperialist line in command of creating doubts about political lines and mystifying analysis and thus failed to push the people’s revolution forward. This imperialist line expressed itself during the month of October when various units instead of taking action to oppose the “War Measures Act” and to mobilise public opinion in support of their actions, converted it into one of “understanding” and pushed forward their own individual lines instead of putting the Party in command. On one hand, they ignorantly pushed the line of “armed overthrow of Trudeau’s regime” and supported the FLQ uncritically and, on the other hand they tried to give the line of capitulation to Anglo-Canadian reaction under the hoax of denouncing the “War Measures Act” and also the FLQ.

They arrived at these conclusions by violating the discipline of the Party and by refusing to have concrete analysis of concrete conditions. In actual work they have erroneous attitudes towards the Basic Unit, the Central Organising Committee, the Party and the masses. It is in the Basic Unit that they either run rough-shod on the masses or crawl behind some backward individuals under the hoax of learning from the “masses”. That is why they oscillate between “left” opportunism and right opportunism.

Right opportunism is to put backward elements in command of revolution

“Left” opportunism is to stand away from the masses and to run rough-shod over them

In order to serve the imperialists, the rightists and the “leftists” refuse to serve the revolution in a step-wise manner and in the process build material conditions so that proletarian revolution becomes a concrete inevitability. The rightists refuse to lead the particular stage of revolution and crawl behind the masses while the “leftists” stand on the side-lines talking about how nice it would be to have proletarian revolution while doing nothing to lead the masses, in a step-wise manner, towards it. Two lines emerged on the question of the stage of revolution and our principle task right in May 1968, when the INTERNATIONALISTS were re-organized. The proletarian revolutionary line put forward the analysis that the revolution was weak ideologically, politically and organisationally, and that there were no class conscious cadres who could organise the masses, that the material conditions were ripe for changing this situation, and that our organisation should follow the double tactic of concentrating our forces in one area and using it as a training ground of cadres and organising “LEARN FROM THE PEOPLE CAMPAIGNS” nationally in order to expand our work. Thus we followed the line of CONCENTRATE OUR FORCES IN ONE AREA TO HIT AT THE ENEMY and DIVIDE OUR FORCES TO AROUSE THE MASSES NATIONALLY. We combined concentration with division, consolidation with expansion and local area work with the national work This way we moved from one area to another and from a small group to a larger one.

This line was opposed by the bourgeois reactionaries who raised the abstract questions: How would you organize the working class? How would you organize the Quebecois ? etc. etc. They wanted solutions to problems without changing the real material world and learning from that experience. In the process of defeating those who pursued abstract arguments away from the problems of the masses and carrying through the correct line of (1) Uniting the advanced force (Building the Basic Unit ideologically, politically and organisationally), mobilising the middle force (winning over the vacillating elements and recruiting them into the Party committees and groups but not yet in the Basic Units) in order to arouse the majority of the masses (building the three revolutionary movements), we strengthened ourselves and weakened the enemy. We changed the situation of May 1968, of being weak in all aspects to being strong enough to hit at the enemy by building the three revolutionary movements in 1970. This developed the initiative of the masses, trained, cadres and built the Party on sound footings. In the internal organisational work, we started with the “DIRECTED STRUGGLE UNITS” and through extensive mass work converted them into “ACTUAL STRUGGLE UNITS” and recruiting cadres from the “ACTUAL STRUGGLE UNITS” to begin further “DIRECTED STRUGGLE UNITS”.

The bourgeois reactionaries opposed this whole Party line on organisation, instead of mobilising the masses and recruiting and training new cadres they became dependent for their own existence on the center and instead of advancing revolution became road blocks to it. These were the very people who were completely helpless at the time of the “War Measures Act”, who did not know what to do, had no support amongst the masses and ran around attempting to escape arrest by the fascist police. They violated the three main features of our work in building the “Basic Unit”: The Basic Unit (1) must be built in a particular material base (e. g. place of work, educational institution, community or reserve), (2) must be built on the basis of ACTUAL STRUGGLES of the masses there, (3) must be built to serve the over-all national interest, and (4) must carry through the general work of the Party of disseminating Mao Tsetung Thought only in the context of local work. The Basic Unit must follow the line of (1) recognising there can be no decisive victory on a short-range basis nationally, and (2) preparing for step-wise victories locally in order to consolidate influence and support on a long-range basis nationally.

As a consequence of the erroneous lines in certain basic units, we suffered setbacks during the period following the “War Measures Act”. Various basic units had no unified thinking with the center, no revolutionary initiative to deal with the situation and failed to arouse the masses against our enemies. These comrades failed to grapple with the problem of organisation during the relative peace period and thus had no capability of leading the masses during the “crisis” period. The bankrupt line of “SIT AROUND WHEN THE ENEMY RESTS” and “RUN IN A PANIC WHEN THE ENEMY ATTACKS” lies completely exposed in the Party now. These comrades did not see the necessity of investigation of each step before taking the next step and summing up the experience after it and boldly marching forward preparing solid ground on which revolution could be consolidated Instead, during relative peace periods, they built cosy groups devoid of struggle, pushed the bourgeois line of “increasing” numbers at the cost of militancy and consolidation and did not use criticism-self-criticism as a tool to consolidate the organisation. They carried illusions about mass organisations and mass work, did not see the necessity of building the Party ideologically and ran hither and thither pretending to be busy.

Faced with problems, the erroneous comrades are then driven into a further quagmire and they rush to follow the “LINE OF DESPERATION” as a last straw. This leads them into total collapse and for this reason several comrades had to literally run from the organisation because of “exhaustion” and heat of revolutionary struggle. Instead of solving problems in a step-wise manner and building guidelines based on actual study and investigation by going deep into the masses and training cadres in time for combat by steeling them through various mass struggles, using Mao Tsetung Thought as a guide to action and putting into practice the ideological, political and organizational lines of the Party, they attempted to “solve” their problems by executing a detail in isolation from the over-all work. They pushed the counter-revolutionary line of PUT THE EXECUTION OF DETAIL IN COMMAND – SACRIFICE OVER-ALL TO SERVE THE NARROW AND SHORT-RANGE AND GIVE UP REVOLUTION FOR THE SAKE OF MAINTAINING THE SMALL GROUP. This way when confronted with problems, instead of using the process of solving these problems to arouse the masses and improving the revolutionary capability of the individual, basic unit, the Party and the masses, they put “execution of detail” in command and missed the opportunity to consolidate revolution. Alongside with putting forward this line, they never solved a problem in order to build basic guidelines. and popularise those which could be used and be of some value to others confronted with the same problems. They are against igniting single sparks and their dream of seeing the prairie fire ends up only a subjective hope devoid of objective basis for it. THIS ATTITUDE DISINTEGRATES UNIFIED THINKING, RESULTS IN LARGE-SCALE WASTAGE OF OUR RESOURCES AND ULTIMATELY LIQUIDATES THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT.