The 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) firmly established the basic concept that the working class is the main force of revolution. This concept cuts across all the confusion created on the question by the holy alliance of the “left”. They, at one time, give the ultra-left slogan that the working class is the only revolutionary force and, at another time, give the rightist slogan that the working class is the backward force of revolution. With these slogans they, first of all, attempt to detach and isolate the struggles of the allied force, the petty bourgeoisie of both rural and urban areas, as being non-proletarian and thus create an irreconcilable contradiction between the working class as the main force and its allied force. Secondly, by giving the rightist slogan that the working class is the backward force, they impose the leadership of the backward sections of the allied force on to the working class and thus liquidate the struggles of the working class.
The 2nd Congress took a firm stand against these positions of the holy alliance of the “left”. The analysis of the general political line taken at the Congress shows that the working class does not exist merely as an economically determined oppressed class. This is one aspect of the matter and it is the secondary aspect. There is also the working class which exists as a politically determined revolutionary class. This is the other aspect – the decisive aspect. True, it is the economic position of the working class which has put it in the social condition in which it finds itself, but it is the same very fact of its social condition which arouses it to overthrow that social condition. It is in this consciousness to overthrow that social condition wherein lies the main and the leading aspect of the working class, that is, the revolutionary aspect. Irresistibly, on a daily and continuous basis, the working class seethes with the ideas and visions of overthrowing the social conditions which are keeping it down. It is this ferment which gives it a very distinguishing character and differentiates it from all the other classes. The working class finds itself weighed down under the whole capitalist class, as well as all the auxiliaries and off-shoots of the capitalist class, and for the working class to rise, it must overthrow completely, totally and finally all the social conditions that are keeping it down.
It is this revolutionary aspect of the working class that the holy alliance attempts to hide. The holy alliance look at the utter oppression, cultural backwardness, economic wretchedness, political and organisational imbecility which exists and, under the guise of going “from the masses to the masses”, they condemn the working class as the backward class. However, the actual facts of the matter are quite different. The “utter oppression, cultural backwardness, economic wretchedness, political and organisational imbecility” exists precisely because of the capitalist domination over the working class. Furthermore, it is because the working class innovates and gives rise to something unique to itself, that which characterises itself as distinct from everything else, that it not only comes up against everything the capitalists stand for, but it also rejects all the political and organisational methods imposed on to it by the holy alliance to keep it enslaved and bound up with the capitalist system.
The holy alliance denies the very existence of that something, the proletarian revolutionary line, the line of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman Mao, the line of the Paris Commune, of the October Revolution, of the Chinese People’s Democratic revolution and other anti-feudal, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and anti-bureaucrat capitalist revolutions, and of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Once this glorious heritage is denied, then, of course, the working class is the backward force with its bourgeois socialism and radicalism (Proudonism, Kautskyism, Bukharinism, Trotskyism, Titoism, Khrushchevism, etc.), with its bourgeois trade unions and class-collaborationist social democrats, with its total spinelessness and utter incapacity to deal with the social conditions and overthrow these social conditions. The holy alliance strips the working class of the glorious heritage by either mixing up the two traditions, or totally denying the revolutionary tradition, or totally detaching the present from the past and saying that the past is not applicable to the present and that the material conditions have changed.
The 2nd Congress took a firm decision to pursue only the revolutionary tradition, for there is much to be learned and applied from it, while the other tradition of bourgeois radicalism and class-collaboration is merely to be studied as a teacher by negative example in order to oppose their present-day adherents. The entire heritage of proletarian revolutions from the time of the Paris Commune and the development of proletarian ideology from Marxism to Leninism to Mao Tsetung Thought concretely shows that the working class is the main force of revolution and that this is the only class which is thoroughly revolutionary and its secondary, backward and non-revolutionary character is due solely to the influence of the bourgeoisie amongst the working class. The leading force of revolution, the organised contingent of the proletariat, the highest organisational form of which is the Communist Party, struggles irreconcilably against the backward force in the working class by 1. Striving hard to overthrow the social conditions – that is, to overthrow the capitalist system, 2. Continuously educating its own class against alien bourgeois influences, and 3. leading the struggle between the two lines inside the Party itself.
The revolutionary struggle to overthrow the capitalist class itself gives rise to immense enthusiasm and optimism amongst the working class and arouses it to take up its historical mission of emancipating itself. The revolutionary struggle to educate the working class against the alien ideological and organisational and political influences welds the advanced elements together, mobilises the middle elements around the advanced elements, and arouses the backward elements. The struggle between the two lines in the Party constantly purges the alien and non-class elements and strengthens the unity of the general headquarters of the working class. The holy alliance are absolutely against these struggles. For them, the struggle against the monopoly capitalist class is “adventurism”, the struggle to educate the working class is “sectarianism” and the struggle between the two lines inside the Party is “fascism”. Because they are non-class, alien and non-revolutionary elements, every hint of class struggle disrupts their dream of “harmony” and “order” within the capitalist system and they hate anyone who messes things up for them right at a time when they are “making it”.
In the fall of 1970, Comrade Cruise advocated that “under certain conditions Party leadership and Party organisation are not necessary.” Comrade Bains mobilised the entire Party against this line which was rightly characterised as the bourgeois reactionary line of Comrade Bob on that front. Comrade Bob offered public self-criticism and took measures to rectify himself as well as to oppose that line in the Party. The Congress took note of the struggle and undertook close investigation of the state of the holy alliance of the “left” outside the Party and found that, in fact, Comrade Robert A. Cruise was not the leader of this line. It was Jack Scott who in 1968 gave the line that “under the present conditions the Party is neither possible or necessary” and “the Party will grow out of some independentist Party”. This was also the line of D.R. Varma for whom the Party was just a collection of branches without centralised leadership which may or may not support the correct proletarian revolutionary line. It is also the line of opportunists and bourgeois nationalists like Gary Perly and is, of course, the same counter-revolutionary line from down south which is being pushed north through Toronto and other places. For these individuals “party organisation and leadership are (also) not necessary”. They support instead the building of so-called “pre-party collectives” and under this hoax they are peddling their opportunism, trotskyism and revisionism. And, finally, Charles Gagnon, the sociologist, ex-terrorist and ex-trade unionist, also picked up that line and is preaching it. So the line that under certain conditions the party organisation and leadership are not necessary is the line of the holy alliance of the “left” and it suits them to peddle this line for it is only in the absence of a strong proletarian party and leadership, that they can push their counter-revolutionary lines. The analysis of the struggles which took place during the 2nd. Congress (which were nothing but the concentrated expression of the struggles that take place daily in the course of our work in the local areas) showed that basic ideology and thinking of the holy alliance of the “left” is very much entrenched in certain Secretaries, certain members of the Central Committee and certain members of the National Executive. It is only natural that this is the case. Their line exhibited itself in this manner: They recognised the Party organisation and leadership when in a meeting, conference or in a discussion group, but they had no ability to execute the tasks of the Party by coming under the discipline and leadership of the Party. They put into practice “their” views instead of putting the views of the Party into practice. In essence they follow the line that in the course of executing a task “Party leadership and organisation is not necessary” which is the most damaging to the work of the Party and liquidates the Party organisation where it is put into practice.
The 2nd. Congress, apart from taking measures to rectify the Party work, went further in this investigation and found that, in essence, this line is the logical extension of their line that the working class is the only revolutionary force (which in practice means that they are the only revolutionaries around and that they should organise on the basis of just working hard themselves without taking the task of 1. Uniting the advanced force, 2. In order to mobilise the middle force, 3. In order to arouse the majority of the people so that the particular task is executed but instead they remain detached from the task of building the Party and leading the masses) and that the working class is the backward force (which means that they declare themselves as “leaders” and “spokesmen” of the “working class” on one hand and then turn around and viciously attack and slander the working class on the other hand, and instead of gloriously leading the working class to victory over the capitalist class, they remain detached critics and by-standers thus concretely exposing themselves as the real backward elements and representatives of the bourgeoisie in the working class) and that under certain conditions the Party organisation and the Party leadership is not necessary (which is to say that they themselves are a better substitute for Party leadership and the Party organisation).
While for the holy alliance of the “left”, the working class is the backward force, they also see the necessity of getting some currency in the working class from time to time and treacherously present themselves as the biggest “supporters” of the working class. They take up the ultra-left stance that the working class is the only revolutionary force and through this slogan suggest that only workers are capable of making revolution and no one else. Furthermore, they vehemently oppose the Marxist-Leninists leading the struggles on the ideological front in the universities or at the place of work, and they oppose the participation of the working class in the political affairs of the country by binding them hand and foot to the reformist and opportunist struggles, flattering themselves as being those who are building the “grass roots” movement (like the worms that crawl around, they are, indeed, in touch with the grass roots), etc. Furthermore, they detach the struggles of the students against the decadent bourgeois educational system or against the fee increases, or the struggles of the farmers and the fishermen against the foreign and national monopoly capitalists, from the overall struggles for proletarian revolution. To the students they counsel that they should not wage any ideological struggle against the bourgeois decadent educational system nor wage any political struggle to unmask the role of the universities in suppressing the working class and their struggles. They forbid any revolutionary activity as they advocate that nothing can be done in the universities. When out of the universities, their counsel is not to integrate with the workers and build their revolutionary organisations but, instead, support the labour aristocracy and refrain from revolutionary politics there. Quite simply, they would leave the student politics in the hands of the reactionary student councils and worker’s politics in the hands of the reactionary trade unions. While in the university, they get employment with the reactionary student councils or their student newspapers, and when outside the universities, they can find a niche in the trade unions and other segments of the monopoly capitalist society which recruit social fascists and promote them. Cutting through all their mumbo-jumbo and pious hysteria “in favour” of the “working class”, and by lifting the veil off their stinking faces, you find a resurrected Kautsky (a trade unionist) or a Trotsky (a disruptor and imperialist and fascist stooge) and nothing else.
We do not advocate that the working class is the only revolutionary class. We say: the working class is the main force of revolution while the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie and even some capitalists, are the allied force. The Party is built on the shoulders of the advanced sections of the main force, and the Party also leads the struggles of the allied force and strives to lead these struggles as part and parcel of the proletarian revolution. It does this by first paying attention to the fact that to lead the main force, the Marxist-Leninist political line is decisive and to lead the allied force, the Marxist-Leninist political line is equally or more decisive. So the Party pays attention to developing the proletarian politics in all sections of the society. It works hard to influence the general organisations of the workers (the trade unions) and of the allied forces (farmers’ unions, students’ unions and professional organisations, etc.) and prepares these organisations to be used as the tool for proletarian revolution. But this entire struggle cannot be waged by:
1. Creating confusion as to the condition of the working class and the aspirations of the working class;
2. Creating confusion as to the condition of the petty bourgeoisie and the aspirations of the petty bourgeoisie, and
3. By advocating that “Under certain conditions the Party organisation and leadership are not necessary”.
The 2nd Congress boldly opposed the bourgeois reactionary line on these questions. The 2nd Congress affirmed that Comrade Bains has been boldly leading the Party to take a clear line on these questions and that it is his line which is the proletarian revolutionary line and that, in the main, his entire leadership should be supported. Comrade Bains always recognised the necessity of coming under the discipline of the proletarian party. Even when there was no Party but only small anti-revisionist groups, Comrade Bains fought for the youth and student movement to come under their discipline. It was Comrade Bains who spearheaded the campaign to forge close links with the Progressive Workers Movement (the only anti-revisionist organisation up until their degeneration and exposure in 1968-69-70), thus following the line that the youth and student movement must come under the discipline of the Party. It was he who advocated building the disciplined group within the Internationalists on the basis of recruiting the advanced elements who came out of the struggle in 1966-67 and onwards and opposed the recruitment of chance individuals. It is he who has been fighting for the implementation of the line that all our activities must be centered amongst the main force and has been striving to build the Party, establish links in the mass movement and doing everything to disseminate Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought, undertake providing general political analysis of the country and participate in the political affairs of the country. It is he who has tenaciously upheld the line that the Party organisation is necessary and decisive under all conditions and has been actively opposed to the modern-day Browders who are showing their puny heads all over again. It is he who has opposed adventurism and sectarianism and has upheld the line of 1, Uniting with the advanced force in order to 2. Mobilise the middle force in order to 3. Arouse the vast majority of the people. The 2nd Congress adopted the line of Comrade Bains as the proletarian revolutionary line of the Party.
The revolutionary concept that the working class is the main force of revolution is tied up directly with another revolutionary concept that the working class is the opposite of the capitalist class. The working class finds absolutely nothing good in the capitalist class and finds the capitalist class an absolute obstruction and roadblock to the working class in its road to fulfilling its aspirations. This basic concept of class struggle cannot be modified or changed. It reflects the laws governing the real world. The holy alliance of the “left” attempt to change this law. They look at the working class through the eyes of the bourgeoisie. According to them, the working class is not absolutely opposed to the capitalist class. There are “certain aspects” of the capitalist society which the working class despises (that is, the unequal sharing of the fruits of the modern means of production and distribution) but basically its “aspirations” are the same as those of the bourgeoisie. Quite simply, they do not see class struggle as the law governing this world. They only see struggle between one set of bourgeois and another. The logical extension of their line is that there is no such a thing as the working class and that there are only bourgeois: some of these bourgeois are more “fortunate” like Trudeau and his ilk and others are less “fortunate”, for example, the majority of the Canadian people. So the struggle is between “fortunate” bourgeois and “unfortunate” bourgeois. According to them, the capitalist system and its institutions are absolute, eternal and unchangeable and it is an everlasting framework through which the two categories of the bourgeoisie will fight. This basically social democrat view of class collaboration is the view of the entire holy alliance of the “left”. Amongst them, there may be various varieties, but their entire leadership is sold-out to this bourgeois view of “class struggle”, and they confuse a large number of their honest followers. By taking this view of class struggle, then, it is evident that for them the working class exists merely for the purpose of having an intellectual exercise and not as a concrete phenomenon in the real world. So they see no distinct working class aspirations or ideology. They call us “sectarian” because we believe that there is an irreconcilable aspiration of the working class which is opposed to the capitalist class and that there is a working class ideology which is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Also, they call us sectarian because we believe that culture exercises an active influence in revolutionary politics and that it is for this reason that we must make self the target of revolution and the masses the targets of revolutionary propaganda.
The holy alliance considers the question of mobilising the workers merely tactically, that is: without mobilising this massive humanity they will not be able to achieve their bourgeois political aims. For example, the New Democratic Party speaks in the name of the working class purely for the purpose of deceiving the workers and “winning” their support. It is very interesting to see that the Revisionist Party of Canada supports the NDP, while the NDP supports the Liberal Party which shows to what extent the holy alliance is entrenched in opposing the basic aspirations of the working class. The 2nd Congress completely opposed this position and considered the working class as the revolutionary class which can and will mobilise the vast majority of the people around itself and will isolate the monopoly capitalist class to the maximum and hit it. The holy alliance is attempting to isolate the working class to the maximum and make it the target of the attacks of the monopoly capitalist class in order to liquidate its struggles.
The analysis of the 2nd Congress showed that our delegates, alternate delegates and observers were absolutely forced to consider the working class as the main force and as the only class capable of overthrowing the rule of the monopoly capitalist class and leading the society from capitalism to communism through socialism. There was absolutely no “freedom” on this question and proletarian dictatorship was used through and through. There were also certain questions concerning basic Marxist-Leninist political lines on which no “disagreement” was permitted. In fact, it was clearly pointed out that one of the tricks of the holy alliance of the “left” is to convert the basic theoretical positions of Marxism-Leninism into a matter of discussion, definition and interpretation while for them the basic bourgeois theoretical positions are absolute and accepted without question. For example. Jack Scott’s bourgeois notion (which is supported by others) that “we should maintain a critical approach to Marxism-Leninism” is such a trick. Why is he suggesting such a thing? Towards which aspect of Marxism-Leninism should we have a “critical approach”? Which theoretical position should we discuss and follow only “critically”? He does not tell us. He does not tell us because his is a bourgeois world view and he deliberately mixes things up. It is true that we must be objective, scientific and base our concepts on the laws governing the real world. But he does not tell us that. Instead, he puts up Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought for debate to make sure that basic theoretical positions are never applied in practice but are merely talked about. Through this method he desires to convert the Marxist-Leninist science as a basic theoretical foundation for proletarian revolution and the proletarian party into a gabfest and a topic for discussion amongst bourgeois intellectuals and other windbags. The 2nd Congress took a firm stand against this view. The basic theoretical positions of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought are not up for debate. The WORKING CLASS IS THE MAIN FORCE OF REVOLUTION and it does not matter how much the bourgeoisie hates this fact and attempts to convert the working class into a non-revolutionary class and part and parcel of its own class.
(This article first appeared in People’s Canada Daily News, Vol. 2, No. 76, April 14, 1973)