First Published: People’s Canada Daily News, Vol 6, No.3, January 14, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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A year ago, on January 11, 1975, People’s Canada Daily News published an important editorial: “The general method of CPC(M-L) for building the unity, of the Marxist-Leninists in Canada and Quebec.” The significance of the editorial was that it set forth a clear and practical program for all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists to unite together to build the political Party of the proletariat in order to implement the general political line of the communist movement, namely guide “the proletariat in its struggle to overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat so as to achieve communism.” The editorial was a call and appeal to the whole revolutionary movement in Canada. This includes all those forces in Canada who oppose U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, who oppose trotskyism, social democracy and modern revisionism, and who uphold Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as the theoretical basis for building the political Party of the proletariat. The editorial look into account the specific historical needs of the Canadian revolution. That is on the one hand Marxist-Leninists have already united their forces to a considerable degree and have in the course of revolutionary struggle against old and new revisionism, as well as in revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie and its state actually built a political Party of the proletariat, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
On the other hand the editorial recognised the fact that there are still a number of revolutionaries struggling to move forward to Marxism-Leninism but who are still hesitant or unwilling to join CPC(M-L). What complicates the political situation is that there are a number of opportunists who command various groups, cliques and circles of followers and who are doing their utmost to disrupt the process of uniting the Marxist-Leninists in Canada. The editorial offered a practical program of action which would assist the genuine revolutionaries to unite their ranks, and force the hand of various opportunist leaders in order that they would expose themselves to the masses, force them to take a stand on the central political question facing the revolutionary movement, namely uniting all the advanced forces who ran be united, and building the Party of the proletariat in struggle against revisionism.
In accordance with the practical needs of the Canadian revolution the editorial proposed a series of seven practical steps which should be taken. They were as follows: “1. All individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninist must be in one revolutionary Party of the proletariat based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is such a Party and all Marxist-Leninists must join and build this Party,” This first point takes into account that since the founding of the anti-imperialist youth and student movement, the Internationalists, at the University of British Columbia in 1963. the leadership of the movement has struggled step-wise to build an anti-revisionist revolutionary movement. Since. 1968, after the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the leadership of the Internationalists boldly dared to mobilize the most advanced elements of the youth and students to widely disseminate Mao Tsetung Thought throughout Canada. Thus in political practice the Internationalists, and later all those who joined the public call in 1970 to build the political Party of the proletariat, began the process of Party building on the theoretical basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. By January 1975 CPC(M-L) had established itself as a definite political trend in Canada with branches in all major cities, and an all-Canadian daily newspaper. Thus the call for Marxist-Leninists to arouse themselves and move forward to join and build CPC(M-L)was not a call to build some sect, but a call to participate in the Canadian revolution as disciplined soldiers of the proletariat and build the Party of our class in order to seize state power and save our country from devastation and ruin being perpetuated by U.S. imperialism and the monopoly capitalist system. To join and build CPC(M-L) is the most resolute and practical way in which a revolutionary can participate in the Canadian revolution and be of use to the Canadian people.
At the same time the Party called on “All those individuals and organisations who claim themselves to be Marxist-Leninist but are either reluctant or are opposed to joining CPC(M-L) and building it should come forward to support the following programme of action which will lead to the unity of all Marxist-Leninists: In each city, factory, educational institution, area and other place of work, all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninist and base themselves on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought must agree to carry out one policy on all united front issues.“ The editorial then listed a number of issues around which there is plenty enough reason for Marxist-Leninists to unite: “issues relating to the support of the Canadian and Quebec working class, to The oppressed nations and people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and other countries against superpower politics and for national liberation and independence; the issues relating to support for China, Albania and other countries which are taking a consistent stand against the two superpowers; the issues relating to the national minority and immigrant workers; the issues relating to the struggle of the Native people; the issues relating to the struggles of the workers and issues relating to the democratic struggle against persecution and discrimination by the Canadian government of various strata of the people; and the issues relating to opposing U.S. imperialist domination of Canada. This is a minimum of basis of unity and all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninist should at least wage united struggles on these issues.”
In addition the editorial laid out a practical method how to achieve working unity in struggle. Revolutionaries must overcome the sectarian spirit of cliques and circles, learn how to sit down together, and with communist largeness of mind democratically establish working committees in order to organize unified programmes. In the course of such practical activity which will unite the most advanced elements to struggle against the revisionist and trotskyist lines in the united front of the masses, those who are interested in proletarian revolution and not in advancing their personal careers, fortune or “name” will find ways of sorting out non-antagonistic contradictions amongst the revolutionaries through ideological struggle in the course of solving actual practical problems. This process will enable the Marxist-Leninists to greatly strengthen their forces and inflict serious blows against the modern revisionists and social democrats, i.e. the straight forward representatives of U.S. imperialism and social-imperialism in the Canadian working class.
The third point made in the editorial was that “Each Marxist-Leninist organization should carry on its own activities all the time on issues which are not united front or broad front issues; that is, building their organisations, holding meetings, selling newspapers, implantation of the working class, etc., etc..” This point emphasises the non-sectarian nature of CPC(M-L)’s proposals for unity of the Marxist-Leninists. Many opportunist chieftains run reactionary propaganda that CPC(M-L) is some kind of monopoly capitalist operation our to swallow-up competitive enterprises. This reveals the thoroughly bourgeois outlook of these opportunists. Communists have no interests outside of communism. They work for proletarian revolution with heart and soul, and they have no interest whatever to “possess” some group or circle. But there are opportunists who cling to their political circle like a miser clings to his gold. These opportunists are not interested in uniting as proletarian revolutionary fighters with others, but are interested in building cliques and circles with the distant hope that some day one of the superpowers will call upon them to rule the Canadian state on behalf of a foreign master. Just as so-called “socialists” and “progressives” in a number of countries serve as the lackeys of either U.S. imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism. CPC(M-L) resolutely opposes such traitorous activity. The Party calls on the revolutionaries to build their organisations, deepen their analysis, go into the factories but at the same time adopt the spirit of communism, and reject the petty bourgeois spirit of sectarianism. CPC(M-L) for its part will certainly never liquidate its Party organization, its newspapers, its various Party-led mass organisations in order to accommodate a practical unity with groups and circles who call themselves Marxist-Leninist. At the same time we enthusiastically take up the necessary task to make links and share struggles in the practical politics of the country in order to weaken the hold of revisionism on the mass movement which is stultifying and paralysing it from a surge against the main enemies of the Canadian people.
Point 4 says, “There should be no public criticism of each other’s work and there should be no exchange of slanderous and incriminatory remarks.” This fourth point is not merely a tactic to achieve some immediate political advantage. Slanders and recriminations are a petty bourgeois method of dealing with contradictions. The bourgeoisie are liars, They are a bankrupt class, and to retain some hold over the masses they have perfected telling lies and made it into a profitable industry. The more desperate and on the verge of collapse an imperialist power is the bigger its lies and slanders. Those who have the mentality of imperialists but who disguise themselves as “communists” and “socialists” such as the new and old revisionists are the worst liars and slanderers of all. Look at the lies and slanders heaped by U.S. imperialism upon the people of Cambodia, Viet Nam and Laos for waging a war of national liberation against their oppressors. Today Soviet social-imperialism tells even more horrendous lies about the revolutionary fighters in Angola led by UNITA. The experience of Marxist-Leninists in Canada is that old and new revisionists tell the same lies and slanders as their imperialist and social imperialist masters. Furthermore, the state actively engages in “implanting” itself in revolutionary circles to spread lies and slanders to disrupt the unity of the revolutionaries. Case after case of FBI and CIA activity on this front is reported in the bourgeois press. The Marxist-Leninists must resolutely oppose this counter revolutionary process. Anyone who is a revolutionary will actively arouse the people to denounce the publication of slanders and recriminations in the revolutionary press. The proletariat has no interest whatsoever to engage in “blood: feuds” or heap abuse on others through slanders, lies and recriminations. It was the likes of Bakunin, Kautsky and Khrushchov who introduced such bourgeois methods into the working class movement. It is up to all genuine revolutionaries to resolutely oppose this means the bourgeoisie uses to corrode and dissolve the revolutionary forces of the proletariat.
Point 5 says “All members and supporters of all the Marxist-Leninist organisations should be called upon to refrain from any kind of gossip or rumour-mongering against one another.” Gossip and rumour-mongering is the political habit of the petty bourgeoisie. This class is characterised by its small-mindedness, selfishness, vacillating nature. It is subjective in its thinking and can not analyse facts in a scientific manner in order to solve problems. The proletariat in Canada is a relatively new class; until World War Two over half the population consisted of rural petty bourgeois. Even today there are large number of urban petty bourgeois and the proletariat is surrounded by this class and its bad habits and faulty thinking. Therefore Marxist-Leninists have to make it a matter of conscious policy to overcome the spontaneous bad habits of the petty bourgeoisie. This is most important in a country like Canada where there is a very weak communist tradition and the pernicious habits of North American individualism and egotism are extremely strong. Some pure spirits proclaim themselves to be “genuine Marxist-Leninists”, and then enthusiastically proceed to carry on every reactionary habit and social form of the North American petty bourgeoisie, a class quite thoroughly corrupted by U.S imperialism, as has been a large section of the upper strata of the working class. So consciously opposing reactionary habits and methods will greatly assist the Marxist-Leninists to forge links with each other, and get on with our pressing historical tasks. CPC(M-L) for its part resolutely opposes gossip and rumour-mongering, and educates its members and supporters in the proletarian method of criticism and self-criticism using scientific analysis and reasoned arguments.
Point 6 says, “Each Marxist-Leninist group agrees to disseminate criticism of other Marxist-Leninist groups and about itself on an internal basis and agrees to answer such criticism or make comments about it in good time.” This point makes perfectly clear that CPC(M-L) in no way seeks to obscure differences, or avoid struggle on questions of ideological and political line. There are very definite difference of analysis over a whole range of political and organisational questions. If there were nor we would not be faced in the Canadian communist movement with the problem of how to unite Marxist-Leninists and further the work of building the Party of the proletariat. But opportunists have an opposite attitude from Marxist-Leninists towards differences which exist in the revolutionary movement. Marxist-Leninists make every supreme effort to overcome differences through ideological struggle, debates and reasoning things out amongst themselves away from the prying eyes and ears of the imperialists. Opportunists use differences precisely to tell the imperialists that they are not revolutionaries, but are in fact willing to capitulate and collaborate with imperialism. Inevitably real differences do emerge in the camp of the proletariat. These differences reflect the different classes in society, as well as the contradiction between old and new. Such contradictions are the source of life, of motion, growth and development in a revolutionary movement and Party. But there are quite a few opportunists in Canada who start their activity in politics with their first premise being to attack CPC(M-L) and from there they invent any number of “differences” to do everything possible to influence people to keep away from CPC(M-L). These opportunists continually disgrace themselves in this effort because in order to invent “differences” over which to wage “polemics” against CPC(M-L) they have to concoct the most utter nonsense imaginable and try to pawn it off on new and inexperienced people as “genuine Marxist-Leninist”. These opportunists do not want to sit down in a friendly manner and frankly present their criticisms on an internal basis. While CPC(M-L) encourages and participates ,vigorously in analysis of line, using the method of criticism and self-criticism to advance revolution from a lower to a higher stage, the Party takes precautions against providing the state with any information or ammunition to be used against the revolution. We warn the revolutionaries still under the influence of various opportunist chieftains that all their proclamations about “ideological debate”, “struggle over line” is an intellectualist cover to 1) inform the state they are not “dangerous”, and 2) to prevent serious struggle necessary to advance the objective process of building the Party of the proletariat in order to protect the private interests of the opportunists.
Point 7 says “Finally, it is agreed the all organisations calling themselves Marxist-Leninist must permit their members and supporters to exchange views on political, ideological and theoretical matters with members and supporters of other organisations and there should be no restrictions on this point. No member or supporter of any Marxist-Leninist organisation should be permitted to divulge any organisational information or differences which may emerge in the united front and no one should be permitted to solicit this sort of information from anyone.” This proposal underlines CPC(M-L) is motivated to strengthen the political and ideological unity of the Marxist-Leninists while resolutely opposing any sort of “raiding” or conspiratorial politics. Communists use their grasp of theory as a tool to change the world, to educate the proletariat and conduct revolutionary propaganda amongst the masses in order to explain how things really are in Canada and the world. Opportunists however use their “theory” as an instrument to exercise domination over others. They are deathly afraid the ordinary revolutionary masses will break out of their “control”, and will acquire the science of Marxism-Leninism, will stop thinking like petty bourgeois revolutionists, and begin thinking like communists. This is why every opportunist leader, from William Kashtan to Jack Scott, makes every effort to prevent their “followers” from engaging in lively, open and vigorous political and ideological struggles. By making the question of “knowledge” a matter of “book-learning” and “erudition”, instead of a matter of social practice, the opportunists perpetuate the reactionary thinking of the bourgeoisie and push the line that those who work with their brains are “high” and those who work with their hands are low”. By creating a fear of “devils” and “demons” with their horror stories, slanders and gossips about CPC(M-L), they hope to intimidate the revolutionary masses, “shelter” them from rigorous discussions on political, ideological and theoretical questions with activists from CPC(M-L). What are the opportunists afraid of? They are afraid of self-exposure. CPC(M-L) for its part insists as a communist duty that its members and supporters engage in vigorous discussions on political, ideological and theoretical questions in the revolutionary movement. As for the chieftains of cliques and sects their interest is clearly to have a “base” which they ran use to sell to the imperialists when the time is ripe, and thus they aspire to become the new political managers of Canada on behalf of some foreign masters, like some Fidel Castro in Soviet social-imperialist dominated Cuba.
Of the seven points outlined in “The general method of CPC(M-L) for building the unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Canada and Quebec”, the joining and building of CPC(M-L) and the building of a united front of Marxist-Leninists with one policy are the most important. In the course of struggle over the last year both aspects of the Party’s line on uniting Marxist-Leninists have been put into effect with success. The Party has mobilized revolutionary activists, united its ranks more solidly, and has good working relations with a number of groups and individuals who consider themselves Marxist-Leninist but who are reluctant or unwilling to join CPC(M-L) at this time. But of far greater significance to the development of the process of uniting Marxist-Leninists in Canada has been the self-exposure of the opportunist chieftains. Their hysterical activity since the Party published its practical proposals for uniting Marxist-Leninists has educated the revolutionaries a good deal. They have carried out their historic role as teachers by negative example, and are forcing the political Party of the proletariat to overcome their obstruction to revolution. In this way the opportunists are forcing CPC(M-L) to train a whole fighting force to overcome opportunism on the theoretical front, and thus tactically prepare the proletariat to accomplish its historic tasks.