Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

On Unity of Marxist-Leninists

The General Method of CPC(M-L) for Building the Unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Canada and Quebec

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.

2. 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. For example, there are issues on which there are enough reasons to unite; e.g. the 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 basis of unity and all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninist should at least wage united struggles on these issues.

This means that in each city, factory, educational institution, area or other place of work, all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists should not organise alone on the above issues, nor should they attempt to forge cliques with others and thus divide the united front on these issues. What should be done is that when these issues arise, all Marxist-Leninists should sit together in a meeting to finalise the line and method of carrying it out on a democratic basis. This meeting should develop policy as well as elect a leadership which will carry out the programme. Then this committee will carry the programme and no Marxist-Leninist organisation has any right to issue their own statements or carry out their own way of organising. All must work for the victory of one programme.

A distinction here must be made between the united front of the Marxist-Leninists and the broad front of the people. After the united front of the Marxist-Leninists has reached agreement, it may work for a broad front of the people and call another meeting of various organisations in order to mobilise wide support. Sometimes, open bourgeois organisations and opportunist organisations like those of the revisionists and trotskyists can also be invited. This broad front then carries the propaganda under the leadership of the united front of the Marxist-Leninists.

After a said programme is executed, all the Marxist-Leninists together may decide either to disband the committee or make it permanent or to keep it passive for a while so that when the same issue rises once again to the surface, the committee can be re-activated.

3. Each Marxist-Leninist organisation 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 in the working class, etc., etc.

4. There should be no public criticism of each other’s work and there should be no public exchange of slanderous and incriminatory remarks.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Finally, it is agreed that 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 method is most suitable to the concrete conditions prevailing in Canada and Quebec; Marxist-Leninists should understand that through this method, when the Marxist-Leninists provide one line, all sorts of confusion which has been created by the revisionists, the trotskyists and the opportunists, etc, will be opposed. When Marxist-Leninists oppose Social-democracy, revisionism and trotskyists and other opportunists together in public, the broad masses of workers will be able to make a distinction between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism and will better respond to the correct calls of the Marxist-Leninists. Furthermore, each organisation will be able to present its views and will have the opportunity to hear the view of the others without worrying about what the others are thinking and doing. This is the best way of weeding out gossip mongers from our midst. Finally, each organisation will have a chance to organise itself and show in practice that they are capable of leading the united front of the Marxist-Leninists as well as the broad front of the workers. We are not proposing any organisational form to this. We are merely proposing that all Marxist-Leninist organisations should declare to one another that they agree with the general principles and begin work on it. If this general method is agreed upon, it will begin a trend whereby hundreds and thousands of advanced proletarian revolutionaries will start grasping Marxism-Leninism, revolutionary forces will begin growing and we may be able to strike a blow at the enemy in some place. This entire process, if pursued correctly and with determination, will lead to the unity of all Marxist-Leninists as well as the unity of the masses. It will isolate the opportunist elements, smash the conspiratorial groups, wipe out the circle spirit and “mountain stronghold” mentality, emancipate the mind, develop the revolutionary initiative of the masses and it will lead to an entirely new situation whereby Marxist-Leninists will, on one hand, keep on deepening and broadening their unity and will, at the same time, lead the broad masses of workers, students and others against imperialism, social imperialism and all reaction. It is the sacred duty of all Marxist-Leninists to assist this process. Refusal to do so means that a particular Marxist-Leninist group is afraid of exposure and has gone over to the side of opportunism and is no longer a Marxist-Leninist group.

We promote unity in a materialist way and in a historical manner and with dialectical method. Of the two opposite aspects of unity and disunity, unity is absolute while disunity is only relative, transitional and temporary and is playing the secondary role. Of the two aspects of struggle and compromise, struggle is absolute and compromise is temporary relative and playing the secondary role. While this is the case, the guideline for the Marxist-Leninists is that in order to advance, deepen and broaden their unity, they must go against those responsible for disunity and oppose disunity; they must resolutely struggle against those who advocate conciliation and liquidation of the Marxist-Leninist organisations. But it will be mechanical materialism if we do not accept that at some times disunity is playing the dominant role.

For example, during the period of the great polemic against modern revisionism to seek unity and reconcile the basic contradiction between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism would have been wrong. The Marxist-Leninists had to boldly split with revisionism and actually take an irreconcilable attitude towards it. That was what revolution demanded of the Marxist-Leninists at that time. Now, when, after several years of revolutionary experience, various Marxist-Leninists have emerged and some of them have even organised themselves into a Party (like ours), and some others are organised into groups while still others exist as individuals and have not made up their minds about what to do, it is imperative that we carry the struggle against revisionism through to the end and lead the revolutionary movement.

There two types of contradictions. One contradiction is between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism and this contradiction is antagonistic and has to be handled on that basis. Absolute unity and struggle is necessary against revisionism and opportunism. The second contradiction is amongst the Marxist-Leninists themselves. This contradiction is extremely complicated. The problem is that those who are actually revisionists and opportunists and also those who are non-Marxist-Leninists and anti-Marxist-Leninists are hiding themselves under the cloak of “Marxism-Leninism” and it is difficult to sort them out. So that contradiction has to be handled through flexibility, through unity and compromise and on the basis of persuasion and holding discussions with one another. It is absolutely necessary to take the standpoint of unity amongst the Marxist-Leninists and, in fact, those who do not take up this point of view must be branded as opportunists. That is the only way we can differentiate between genuine Marxist-Leninists and sham ones. By taking the standpoint of unity with compromise on secondary points, we can isolate the revisionists and opportunists and consolidate the trend towards unity. The method proposed above amounts to this and that is why it should be adopted.

But unity cannot be based on compromising the basic principles and abandoning struggle on the main points. At this time, unity of thinking can be established on the issues mentioned before and it can form the basis of limited unity or the starting point of unity. All other issues can be dealt with in the process.

It is sheer idealism and wishful thinking to believe that Unity can be established for all time and right now. This is inconsistent with the facts of life and any attempt to build such a unity will have the opposite effect. CPC(M-L)’s slogan is Unite on major national and international issues right now! Sort out all other contradictions in the process! If this line is followed by all Marxist-Leninists, then we will be able to consolidate the positive side, put aside the points of disagreement, in the sense of sorting these out in the process, and develop mutual trust and confidence amongst the Marxist-Leninists right now.

One divides into two is a Marxist-Leninist concept. The struggle takes place between the two, and one destroys the other while transforming itself in the process and giving rise to the new which will also divide into two in due course of historical process and so on and so forth. Today, the working class movement is divided between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism and amongst the Marxist-Leninists, between genuine and sham Marxist-Leninists.

We hold that in the Marxist-Leninist camp,the struggle is taking place between those who are taking the standpoint of unity of all Marxist-Leninists and staunch opposition to revisionism and opportunism and those who are taking the standpoint of disunity and liquidation of the struggle against revisionism and opportunism. In the process of this struggle, the genuine Marxist-Leninists are bound to destroy the sham ones and build a higher level of unity amongst themselves in the process. We advocate that this struggle between genuine and sham Marxist-Leninists will be greatly assisted if all Marxist-Leninists make up their minds on the two points we are putting forward for unity:

1. CPC(M-L) is a genuine political party of the proletariat based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and all Marxist-Leninists should join it and build it.

2. All those who disagree with Point One for one reason or the other should agree to form united front committees of the Marxist-Leninists to deal with the practical matters facing the broad masses of workers and other people.

Those who refuse to agree with either one of the two points cannot be considered serious Marxist-Leninists and the contradiction with them has to be considered as one between Marxist-Leninists and revisionists and other opportunists.

To implement CPC(M-L)’s method of unity is to put dialectical and historical materialism in command. It is materialist because it is based on the present need of the workers’ movement and it neither calls for everlasting and permanent unity nor advocates no unity. It is not based on any eternal principles. It will be idealism to call for absolute and permanent unity right now; such a call would be bound to fail because it is inconsistent with the facts of life prevailing in the workers’ movement today. Not to call for and work for any level of unity is also idealism and is also bound to fail.

The method of unity proposed above is based on historical materialism as it takes into consideration the historical experience of the past as well as the experience of the present. In order to take a correct line on any question, one must study a thing, a situation, first in itself and then and only then in relationship. Studying the history of the communist movement in itself, that is, its present state and the historical development which led to the present state, teaches us that the communist movement is basically divided into: Marxist-Leninist line and all sorts of opportunist lines (right-opportunism of revisionism and ultra-left opportunism of trotskyism and dogmatism). This division has not come about all of a sudden and from nowhere. It has its origin in the history of the communist movement; e.g. the anarcho-syndicalism of One Big Union – 1919 on #8211; (and others); the right-opportunism of Macdonald theory of Canadian exceptionalism #8211; and the ultra-leftism of M. Spector in 1928-1929; the liquidationism of Tim Buck #8211; 1934-1943; and finally, the right-opportunism of Tim Buck formally accepted as the basic policy of the CPC in 1952. All those opportunist lines exist at this time in one form or another but basically today the division is between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism. There is the Marxism-Leninism of CPC(M-L) #8211; a definite ideological, political and organisational line; there is the sham Marxism-Leninism of Jack Scott (who is basically an anarcho-syndicalist); there is the sham Marxism-Leninism of the “C”PC (revisionist); and there is the sham Marxism-Leninism of the opportunists #8211; trotskyists, NDP, etc. The contradiction between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism (revisionism, trotskyism, etc.) is very clear and can be handled, but the contradiction between the genuine Marxism-Leninism of CPC(M-L) and the sham Marxism-Leninism of Jack Scott is complicated and has to be handled differently. When we propose this method of sorting out contradictions amongst the Marxist-Leninists, we base ourselves on this experience plus the experience of the workers’ movement. We hold that historically as well as at the present time, no change in the workers’ movement will come about unless the Marxist-Leninists take one united action and that, also, on the basis of materialism, that is, on the basis of carrying out the main tasks of the communist movement at this time and uniting on that basis.

This method is also dialectical materialism because it is based on contradictions existing in the real world. There is a contradiction between the desire for unity of the Marxist-Leninists and the possibility (dictated by the present situation) of unity to only a certain extent. So you can see that even to unite to a greater extent (and not to the absolute extent yet), we have to unite to a certain extent in the material world. This unity has to be material not abstract and not just ideological, which means it has to be in concrete terms. This means that this ’unity to a certain point’ is actually determined by the extent of what we have learnt through revolutionary practice and by using revolutionary theory as a guide to the present national and international political line. In this respect, practice is decisive and not theory. As individuals and organisations emerge out of practice, they see the necessity of uniting and then actually make attempts to unite. So, there is a contradiction between the absolute knowledge of the practical movement on the national and international scale and the relative knowledge one possesses at this time. This partial knowledge is based on Marxist-Leninist theory. If this is not the case, then no unity is possible at all and we are dealing with a qualitatively different type of contradiction.

There is also the contradiction between’ genuine Marxism-Leninism and opportunism within CPC(M-L) and in the united front of the Marxist-Leninists and in the individual organisations interested in the united front, etc, etc. If we follow the method proposed by us, then there will be profound development of these contradictions leading to their resolution in the course of revolutionary practice. Revolutionary practice is the decisive factor. This, however, is not to say that we can have an incorrect appraisal of the national and international situation and hope to arrive at a correct line in the process. This is not the case. We propose that we begin from a relatively correct analysis, that is on the issues mentioned above around which the Marxist-Leninists should unite. This relatively correct analysis will deepen and broaden into more correct analysis and form a spiral, moving through twists and turns and leading to the unity of Marxist-Leninists. This is the road of dialectical and historical materialism, the road of building the communist movement, advancing the workers’ movement, opposing the two superpowers, organising the proletarian revolution. In short, the continuation of the great road of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

It is our deep desire that all organisations and individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninists should adopt this method of building unity of the Marxist-Leninists and contribute towards the unity of the Marxist-Leninists and building the Party. Not to pursue this road is to remain weak and small, isolated from one another, incapable of opposing opportunism on a wide scale and leading the workers’ movement against the two superpowers and the internal reactionaries.

We call upon all Marxist-Leninists to work hard to develop the trend of unity of Marxist-Leninists to a higher, deeper and broader scale. Let us unite on the basis of what is common between us. We all support China, Chairman Mao Tsetung, the national liberation struggles, the workers’ struggles, the struggles of the national minorities and Native peoples and other sections of the society and we all oppose the two superpowers and the reactionaries of all lands. Let us unite on this basis. This will be principled unity. Within this context, a struggle will develop between the genuine Marxist-Leninists and the sham ones, between those who genuinely work for and promote this unity and those who sabotage it. Genuine Marxist-Leninists will emerge out of this struggle ever more united and strong and the broad masses of the people will also emerge united.


(This article first appeared in People’s Canada Daily News, Vol. 5 No. 10, January 11, 1975.)