(1) This summation is being completed for two reasons: 1) To clear out of the way several secondary issues which have naturally emerged in the process of establishing contact and holding discussions with EN LUTTE!, and 2) To deepen and broaden discussion on the two important issues of PARTY BUILDING and UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS.
We, once again, affirm our determination to continue discussions with EN LUTTE! and make a contribution in uniting the Marxist-Leninists. We propose that with this summation, the two responsible individuals (one from each side) begin discussions and prepare two documents on the two issues mentioned above, one entitled VIEW OF CPC(M-L) ON VARIOUS QUESTIONS OF PARTY BUILDING AND UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS, and the other entitled VIEW OF EN LUTTE! ON VARIOUS QUESTIONS OF PARTY BUILDING AND UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS. In the course of writing these documents, similarities and divergences of points of view will become clear, both individuals will have the opportunity to ask questions, present views of the two organisations on various matters, engage in thorough clarification of issues so that there is no basis for confusion, and thus prepare material conditions for further action. (2) It has become clear to us that EN LUTTE! looks at the questions relating to PARTY BUILDING and UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS quite differently from us and we hold that their thinking is wrong. While CPC(M-L) pays a great deal of attention to historical experince; as it itself is the product of the historical process (without struggle against modern revisionism and degeneration of the old Party, there would have been no rise of Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism grows in struggle against revisionism and all sorts of bourgeois and opportunist trends), EN LUTTE! makes no mention of it at all and in practice dismisses it altogether. It seems to us that the entire thinking of EN LUTTE! begins from books, and that it has not done significant summation of the struggles between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism, and this also explains why EN LUTTE! belittles the struggle against modern revisionism and other bourgeois and opportunist trends. Through our discussions with you, as well as what you write in your publication, we find that you are very reluctant to examine the question of building the Party historically. You base yourself on an erroneous analysis presented in the pamphlet FOR THE PROLETARIAN PARTY.
DEBATES can never decide who is taking the correct position and who is taking the incorrect one. Debates are only one of many types of activites we undertake to grasp the situation, and the most important and decisive factor is ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL PRACTICE. This analysis can be done without any debates. Between the two organisations there can only be discussions based on debates that have already taken place amongst the masses. The discussion is for the purpose of taking sides on the lines which have emerged amongst the masses, and this can only be done by paying attention to historical experience. For example, the revolutionary movement has (especially since the beginnings of the FLQ) already gone through rich experience. In the course of fighting the enemy, revolutionary people have participated in many debates amongst the people on the questions relating to political line, the methods of carrying out revolution and on various theoretical questions. These struggles were extremely lively and rich and the masses participated in them passionately. They wrote leaflets, they issued platforms, they put forward calls for action, many actually participated in action, some went to the extent of committing terrorist acts, others participated in the reformist movement, etc. And all this gave rise to two trends in Canada and Quebec. One is the Marxist-Leninist trend, and the other is the opportunist (revisionist and dogmatist) trend. Jack Scott in Vancouver is the chief spokesman for the negative trend and he has sponsors across Canada including Quebec (e.g. MREQ), while CPC(M-L) is the leader of the Marxist-Leninist trend. Anyone who is to organise in Canada/Quebec must reckon with these two trends. To say that these trends did not emerge historically and to suggest that these trends have no basis in the working class is to not look at the facts and to ignore them. To do so is to make a serious mistake.
Theory comes out of practice and in turn serves practice. Debates which took place amongst the masses in the 1960’s have actually, speaking in very general terms, sorted out the question of theory and political line as is shown by the emergence of two trends mentioned above. Many of those who boasted in the past about their credentials went on TV and radio (as well as to all the other bourgeois propaganda vehicles) to tell the world what great revolutionaries they were, are nowhere to be seen. We do not have to name names. You must know some of them! What happened to them! Their political line and theoretical positions have been inconsistent with the present historical period and the masses rejected them. This is not to say that they made no contribution or that only those groups which were based on erroneous political and theoretical positions were wiped out. There are different reasons for the perishing of these different types of groups and they have different destinies. For example, Fergus McKean stood up to revisionism in 1945 but he and his group perished. The FLQ based itself on Castroism and perished. But they have different destinies. While, after close to Thirty years, Fergus McKean is today being eagerly talked about in the revolutionary circles and his trend now has followers (speaking very generally), Castroism today has little support and the professed Castroites have themselves had to abandon this bourgeois line. In the same way, examples can be given from the period 1968 to 1974, and we can show that those who did not learn from history and who organised on an erroneous basis got wiped out, while others who learnt from history and rectified themselves in time moved forward.
EN LUTTE! has to take a stand on this. This is the only correct way of forging unity – a unity that will be lasting. Having debates between individuals and determining divergencies on that basis without paying much attention to historical process is wrong and will not give rise to correct results. (3) It is our view that method, form, etc. become decisive at a certain stage of development when new content has already come into being and the advance of revolution becomes dependent on whether or not this new content will destroy the old form, and in this process establish itself in the new form. The struggles of the revolutionary people in Quebec in the 1960’s has already given rise to new content, new experience, new historical lessons, and if these lessons are not used to destroy the old forms which are keeping the new content down, then the new content will fritter away and revolution will suffer a setback. The old struggles hard and raises its head repeatedly to obstruct the emergence of the new and it is the old form which attempts to strangulate and kill the new content. Lenin explains “the struggle of content with form and conversely. The throwing off of the form, the transformation of content” (Lenin, COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 38, P. 222). CPC(M-L) came into existence as part of the new content. This is why the state machine had to hit extremely hard right at the birth of our Party. The state spends much money and effort, using all sorts of ways to discredit the Party, split it and liquidate it or transform it into a revisionist and opportunist party. In the early sixties, there were groups which were actively promoted and encouraged by the state, one of these being a committee in one of Montreal’s working class districts (no need to name it here). Small wonder that this particular committee hated us so much and did all sorts of slanderous work against us, since one of its members was Constable Samson.
Now that the Party has emerged and has strengthened itself in the course of struggle, there are organisations coming up to oppose it without ever either clearly pointing out what are their differences with us or themselves organising anything. Such individuals and groups behave in the same manner as the opportunist groups in the 1960’s who used to get their credentials from Cuba: now some say they are correct because they are “supported” by China. What is happening at this time is that various individuals and groups are attempting very hard to use the old form, parasitise off the enthusiasm of the masses, and attack the new content, the new lessons, the new experience revolutionary people have gained during their hard struggles in the last decade. These individuals can be opposed if a clear-cut stand is taken in support of the new content and if the old form (reformism, terrorism, economism, dogmatism, sectarianism, anarchism, workers’ chauvinism, etc.) is opposed in practice which can only be done by basing oneself on the concrete experience of the past. To completely ignore historical experience just won’t do, and organisations which base themselves on avoiding it are bound to make the same mistakes which the previous organisations made.
It seems to us that what you are proposing is not rooted in the experience of the past and the lessons learned during the upsurge of the 1960’s, on the basis of new lessons and new content, but is on the basis of a “document”. This line is the same which certain individuals and groups followed during the time of the great polemic against revisionism in the 1960’s. According to this line, ideas come from books and from there return to books. Thus various “anti-revisionist” individuals and groups will sit together and discuss together for a long period their agreement on a “document” as the basis of “unity”. These individuals and groups did not build much “unity” but they did perpetuate disunity and did much harm to the revolutionary movement. As a reaction to them, there also arose young enthusiasts who did not see any virtue to building parties, groups and organisations on the basis of a definite theory, discipline and political line. The first came under the category of the dogmatists, and the second under the general category of petty bourgeois revolutionists, anarchists, etc.
The disease of the dogmatists is that they will never test their ideas in practice and base their ideas on practice. What they needed to cure themselves of their disease was practice, but they did everything to go against it, and instead wrote pamphlets and articles expounding their wrong views and thus marched to their graves yelling how everyone else should also become a dogmatist. Then, on the other side, were the petty bourgeois revolutionists. They did not lack any enthusiasm to participate in practice; they wanted revolution and worked hard for it, but they also stuck to their negative side, their disease. They wrote articles, published pamphlets and made speeches as to why there is no need for revolutionary theory or a definite political line or disciplined organisation. They also marched to their graves cajoling others to follow them.
CPC(M-L) was the only organisation in Canada which appreciated the necessity for discipline based on revolutionary practice and accepted the basic Leninist principle that without a revolutionary party based on revolutionary theory there will be no revolution. Neither did we go away from revolutionary practice, nor did we oppose using theory as a guide to action. It is a fact that our organisation is the only one which has step by step, over the years, advanced from low level to a higher, small organisation to a relatively large (i.e., we are still quite small), and from relatively correct political line for Canada and Quebec to relatively more correct line for Canada and Quebec. The secret of our development lies in the fact that we keep our eyes on the ground, deepen and broaden our revolutionary practice in a step-wise manner, oppose our enemies, build the Party in a step-wise manner from a low level to a higher level, and use Mao Tsetung Thought as our theoretical foundation. Furthermore, we rely on our own efforts, believe in the solidity of our own organisation and the correctness of our own political line, vigorously accept’ our mistakes, acknowledge these in time and rectify them, and never seek hegemony over others. Instead of lording it over others, we assist others, take a sympathetic view towards them, patiently learn from others as well as teach them, and we struggle hard to develop unity and solidarity of the Marxist-Leninists and the revolutionary forces. Others went against all that is said above. Which meant that they went against the basic laws governing this world, and the world chucked them out of existence.
Your entire method seems to us the method of building unity on the basis of a “document” and although you also have certain dissimilarities with that method, in basic features it is the same. When we say that your method is basically the same, we mean that those in the past who wished to establish “unity” on the basis of a document and yourselves both begin from what you think is correct and do not base your thinking on the laws governing the world. For example, in your entire presentation (verbal and written), you do not begin by defending the new content, attacking the old form and establishing the new form in the process. This means that you do not define the positive experience of the revolutionary movement, that is that section which gave rise to groups based on Marxism-Leninism, or attack the old form, the revisionists and other opportunists, or build the Party based on new content. Instead you pay lip-service to it and, in concrete terms, co-exist with it – and to a certain extent even oppose it.
Concrete unity can be based on concrete analysis, that is on the theory and tactics which have emerged in the course of the development of the revolutionary movement, the theory and tactics which are essential and playing the leading role at this time in the revolutionary movement.
When we say that Marxism-Leninism is the theoretical foundation of our Party, what do we mean by that? Does this mean that we can all begin interpreting Marxism-Leninism? No, it does not mean that. It means that we use Marxism-Leninism as a guide to dealing with the concrete problems of the proletarian revolution in Canada and Quebec. Agreement on this can be one point of unity.
Further, we can analyse the negative lines which have come up in the workers’ movement and the communist movement over the past decade. Agreement to oppose these lines can be another point of unity.
A lot of developments have taken place which are of a positive nature and merit serious attention. One of these developments is the spread of Marxism-Leninism and establishment of the Party on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Testung Thought. Besides this, there are other groups which have emerged and have announced their theoretical foundation as Marxism-Leninism as well. Agreement to recognise this fact can be still a further basis of unity.
But, you dp not pursue this course. Your have no historical analysis and you do not explain phenomena unfolding on the basis of the contradictions inherent in them. About your basis of ’ development you told us:
EDJ began with the pamphlet ’POUR LE PARTI PROLETARIEN’ in the autumn of 1972. We developed till autumn of 1973. EDJ developed from many groups that joined as well as with individuals who were not linked to any group. The newspaper began in May, 1973. We recognise that our study at that time was very general. We mainly examined general lines among progressive groups in Quebec and how they related with lines on the international level. We dealt with various criticisms levelled against us such as those by CAP St-Jacques, which criticised us dogmatically and wanted to become integrated with the working class without any ideological struggle. As before, we now consider ideological struggle as the principal task and this struggle is against bourgeois nationalism and social democracy. As for practical activities, there is the work on the paper for participating in debates among left-wing people.
All this, without any explanation why EDJ was founded and why EDJ decided not to join other organisations such as ours.
You have to deal with the fundamental questions regarding your founding, like WHY DID YOU COME INTO BEING and ON WHAT BASIS etc. You do not explain! Our investigations and experience can explain why you came into being at that time, the reasons why you did not unite with us and why you formed your own group, etc. We have an explanation for these phenomena because we have undertaken analysis of the historical process and we have drawn definite conclusions from it. On the basis of this analysis, we came to a definite decision about your group. And we presented part of this analysis in a short article entitled, “A COMMENT ON THE PAMPHLET BY CHARLES GAGNON”, printed in PCDN on December 15,1972. Gagnon’s pamphlet completely misses the entire history of Canada and Quebec as well as the history of the international communist movement. It has “nothing whatsoever to say about the historical struggle the working class has waged to build such a Party. He dismisses the entire history of the communist movement through ignorance and indifference and consciously avoids discussing the role of the internationalists and subsequently the Communist Party of Quebec (Marxist-Leninist) has played and is playing in building such a Party. He shuns historical materialism and dialectical materialism like the plague. He neither discusses the present historical stage in Quebec nor does he go into the process which gave rise to such a stage. Reality, for him, is a matter of ’debates’ and not a matter of scientific analysis.”
In your SECOND REMINDER (CLARIFICATION) dated October 9, you write: CPC(M-L) “claimed itself to be in disagreement with the content of ’FOR A PROLETARIAN PARTY’. In what? We are not aware.” We are certain that your made this statement out of conscious knowledge of the Party’s criticism of the pamphlet (and Comrade Bains offered self-criticism, on behalf of the Party, for presenting the criticism in an erroneous style during the meeting in August) which we still hold and which has been widely propagated in Quebec. Why do you not deal with the issues raised in that criticism? The quotation given above sums up our view of the document. This same question we are raising now: Where is your examination of the present in the light of the past history, so that we can have correct view of the future movement? It is nowhere!
Because you have no view of past history, you confuse various struggles. For example, you have told us: “We now consider ideological struggle as a principal task and this struggle is against bourgeois nationalism and social democracy.” How can one wage struggle against bourgeois nationalism when one shuns opposing the old revisionism of Bukharin and Kautsky and the new revisionism of Khrushchev and Brezhnev? You are talking about ideological struggle and we are certain that you mean by it struggle against theories alien to Marxism-Leninism but claiming to be “Marxist” (that is, revisionist and trotskyist theories), and struggle against its concrete manifestations in the communist and workers movement. But while it is revisionism and opportunism which promote bourgeois nationalism and social democracy, we have yet to read a denunciation of them from you. Instead, you keep on making assertions that
To say that the proclamation of the Party in 1970 resulted from the necessity to wage struggle against revisionism comes from a partial and truncated analysis of the ’concrete situation’, because it leaves in the shade the analysis of the real and concrete relation, in Canada and Quebec, in 1970, between the communist movement and the workers’ movement.
This statement of yours is completely wrong. It is the recognition of the concrete condition of 1970 and before, the concrete analysis of which showed us that IF THERE IS TO BE REVOLUTION, THERE MUST BE A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY, and further that the trade union movement is weak and the general revolutionary situation is weak and that the youth and student movement is without direction and that all fighting contingents of the people are groping in the dark, is all BECAUSE THERE IS NO REVOLUTIONARY PARTY BASED ON REVOLUTIONARY THEORY AND THAT THERE WAS ONE AT ONE TIME AND THAT THE REVISIONISTS HAD LIQUIDATED THAT PARTY AND IF REVOLUTION IS TO ADVANCE WE HAD TO BUILD SUCH A PARTY AND THIS IS WHY WE TOOK UP THE TASK OF BUILDING IT AND ARE DOING SO. Yet you completely deny this concrete analysis of the concrete condition. While the FLQ and a hundred other groups were accusing us of just opposing revisionism from the side and doing “nothing”, we were building the Party on the basis of the concrete conditions existing in Canada and Quebec. It is this struggle of ours which contributed in a big way to the growth and advancement of the reputation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought amongst the revolutionaries and militants, and you consistently refuse to concretely analyse it; as a result, neither can you explain to the world what was the basis of our coming into being, nor can you explain the basis of our development. As a result, you have an extremely metaphysical view of the problem; this is extremely harmful and dangerous, and it should be overcome.
If you examine history, then you will find that in the past those who wished to unite on the basis of a “document” had none of their ideas coming out of the practice of revolution here. And neither the followers of Castro nor the champions of Cohn-Bendit, Jerry Rubins, etc. ever analysed the concrete conditions here. All these groups and individuals made serious mistakes because they did not deal with the concrete conditions here. The dogmatists (those who wished to build unity on the basis of “documents”,) failed because they had their Marxism-Leninism but did not have their two legs firmly planted on the ground. The anarchists and other opportunists (Castroites, etc.) had their revolution coming out of their heads also but they found no fertile ground in which to sow their revolution. Only our organisation came out of the mass movement and is serving the mass movement. Only our organisation is using the new content to destroy the old forms in order to build and consolidate the new form, method, style, etc.
And we reiterate that new content is to be found in the Political Report of our founding conference. This political report is not perfect (which if it were, would be of no use to anyone) but it is fundamentally correct and basically explains how revisionism operates in and liquidates the communist and workers movement. This new content can be further found in our documents, which are quite easily available.
(4) EN LUTTE! writes in the second reminder:
We also want to point out the absolute futilitity in our eyes, and in those of all the EN LUTTE! group, which was founded in October, 1972, of the anecdotes related to meetings which took place between one named Redpath and our Comrade Gagnon in 1970 and 1972 (1971?). The activities of Gagnon before the creation of EDJ-EN LUTTE! are of no pertinence to the present debate. Similarly, we reject all forms of terrorism and all the members of EN LUTTE! share this point of view...This is to say that the activities of our members before the creation of EN LUTTE! are of no concern to the present exhaustive debate on the question of line and our respective groups. Because why then not come forward and say that present members of CPC(M-L) belonged between 1964-66 to the same organisation as at least one member of EN LUTTE!, the FLQ? Must it be believed that for the last ten years, CPC(M-L) is trying to build ’unity’ with EN LUTTE!? That is perfectly ridiculous.
This paragraph written by EN LUTTE! is an example of drawing conclusions without investigations and without clarifying one another’s point of view on a matter. There are several other cases where these kinds of hasty conclusions are drawn. We suggest to EN LUTTE! that for them to draw these kinds of conclusions is futile.
The report submitted by Redpath merely narrates the activities which we had undertaken over the years to unite the Marxist-Leninists. This report was a private Party document for the purpose of our own history so that various comrades could grasp the significance of making efforts towards building unity and persisting in it. We did EN LUTTE! a favour in giving them access to this document as we are doing them a favour in letting them have a copy of our internal Mass Line. To draw conclusions as was done is wrong.
Redpath in no way intended to precipitate the issue that C.G. explain himself about his past and if this is what the Party had wanted, it would have asked in an open manner. What we do want is that our record be clear in the eyes of our comrades and that is what was done, and all our comrades grasp this perfectly. To suggest that some former member of the FLQ who is now with the Party should be called upon to explain himself is to draw an interesting parallel. Let us mention to you that these comrades concerned all submitted statements pointing out the negative and the positive points of their participation in the FLQ. The Party never denounced the FLQ outright or considered all their members, ipso facto, bad. Instead, we opposed the line of the FLQ: applauded the courage, determination and sacrifice of various individuals for their motherland and their revolutionary spirit. Our attitude towards C.G. is also the same. We have never considered him as a bad person because of his Castroite past and we never attacked him for this. In fact, we applauded his revolutionary spirit and still do so. On one occasion only did our comrades make a mistake as to how to criticise his wrong line, which was in regards to the pamphlet written by him, and for this Comrade Bains volunteered self-criticism; and here we reproduce what Comrade Bains said:
personally would like to communicate to you that we made a mistake in the manner in which we criticised your pamphlet, and we had internal self-criticism on this point. It was a wrong way of doing things. We denounced you instead of just giving our line. We should have presented our line and reproduced your analysis from the point of view of comrades handling matters among themselves, and we should have simply told you: Comrade, you are wrong, and then explained our line.
The spirit this displays is not one of causing diversionary problems, which you attempt to suggest, but is one of strengthening the correct method of handling problems amongst revolutionary people.
Furthermore, our comrades concerned are not in any leading positions while your comrade is, and it is ridiculous to make comparision between the FLQ Party comrades and C.G.
Another point – “Must it be believed that for the last ten years CPC(M-L) is trying to build ’unity’ with EN LUTTE!? That is perfectly ridiculous.” Yes, in a way, CPC(M-L) has been attempting to build “unity” with you for the past ten years. It is not perfectly ridiculous. It is ridiculous for you to suggest otherwise. The Internationalists were founded in March, 1963 and we have always followed this consistent policy. There have been several groups which came before you with whom we have attempted to build “unity” (and in some cases also succesfull). You take yourselves out of the historical context and look at yourselves a-historically, and so it is no wonder that to you it looks “perfectly ridiculous” that CPC(M-L) “is trying to build unity with you” for the past ten years. We think it is a serious mistake on your part to look at yourself as being some group which is over and above the historical process. You have to shoulder the responsibility for a line which has emerged historically. Either you become representative of the line which has unified Marxist-Leninists historically and applaud them and applaud your efforts in that context, or you place yourself in the category of those who pick up slogans for unity in order to cause disunity. This is the issue. If you do not do so, history will, and you will be judged as representative of the one tradition or the other. In our criticism of C.G.’s pamphlet, we said:
It is my view that the pamphlet has nothing to do with the proletariat or the revolution or Quebec. It has a lot to do with the thinking of a man named Charles Cagnon for whom reality is a matter of discussion, definition and interpretation and for whom the basis of learning, advancing from one stage to another, is not class struggle inside the Party (through criticism and self-criticism based on unity-struggle-transformation) and outside, but it is ’debates’ and some ’ideological struggle’ through publishing a journal, etc.
And this method of building “unity” irresistibly comes under the category of those who wish to build it either on the basis of a “document” or through loose organisation. It is not the method of militant class struggle and it does not matter what a group or individual thinks of itself, history will judge everyone according to its own laws. For example, if you, together with us, through perseverance and hard struggle, are able to restore the fighting unity of the Marxist-Leninists then you will go down in history as a unifier; but if you fail or we fail together, or if we begin actual splitting activities, then the verdict will be entirely different and in all probability a harsh one.
If only EN LUTTE! had consulted us on this matter in a friendly manner, we could have explained to them what we meant by writing this, and the problem would have been sorted out without having to draw erroneous conclusions. It is for this reason we are advocates of keeping in touch, exchanging views and refraining from drawing conclusions either on “guess work” or “hear-say” both of of which amount to the same thing. (5) You write: “We hope that this clarification will convince you of the necessity and urgency of maintaining your reports with our group on a political level and not on that of anecdotes and trivialities.” We simply suggest to you that our communications to you are not “anecdotes and trivialities” but are based on definite political line and you will do yourselves a favour if you study these for the purposes of understanding our thinking and style. Making a mistake about this will mean that you will not be able to draw correct conclusions about us. As far as our reports are concerned, we do keep our reports and our views in good shape and we are taking things seriously and fulfilling our responsibilities. As you know and you yourself state, the debate has merely begun: then under these circumstances it is a good thing to clear away all sorts of sideline issues and other problems which come up. We do not consider this a waste of time but as a necessary step for a fruitful exchange to take place with you. We are not the least unhappy at the developments. We consider the problems which have emerged as a good thing, you have been able to present your thinking on these matters and we have presented our views and we are both better informed about the situation.
(6) just for the record, we never said that we have decided to distribute your newspaper. You are completely mistaken on that and on some other gestures of ours which we have already verbally clarified with you.
(7) You write: “Should it he necessary to add that if your organisation shows itself to he incapable of seeing through its committments, we will be obliged to draw conclusions from this which will not be to your advantage.” This sort of talk does not behove Marxist-Leninists, and we protest very strongly your writing this to us. Our Party fulfils its responsibilities and if you wish to draw some conclusions, that is vour perogative, but we refuse to come down to the level of exchanging such threats!
(8) When we say UNITE ON THE BASIS OF MARXISM-LENINISM-MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT, EN LUTTE! seems to have a great deal of trouble grasping this. For you, to be Marxist-Leninist is one thing and to unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is another thing. This also leads you into erroneous methods of “uniting the Marxist-Leninists”.
If various groups in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada are Marxist-Leninist, then why are these groups not uniting? Lack of communication with one another? We do not think so. EN LUTTE! writes:
In this regard, we wish to note that, like many if not all Quebec and Canadian Marxist-Leninist groups, we have sometimes given into the ’disease of sects’ (groupuscles) in the past. That is, we have often been inclined to ’jealously sit on (incubate) our correct line’ and broadly criticise groups as though there were nothing good about them, these criticisms moreover being based often on rumours, prejudices and secondary points. We intend to struggle resolutely in our own ranks against this spirit of ’sect’ which bears witness to a certain dogmatism and leads straight to sectarianism and to isolation if it is not fought through the constant self-criticism of the group and criticism of members who exhibit its symptoms.
This is an entirely wrong explanation as to why the “disease of sects” exists.
First of all, it has to be recognised that “disease of sects” is not disease of the Marxist-Leninist groups but of opportunist groups; but EN LUTTE! unwittingly says that “many if not all Quebec and Canadian Marxist-Leninist groups” (including their own which “has sometimes given into the ’disease of sects’”) are opportunist groups. We use the word “unwittingly” because all (many with some exceptions) the groups that EN LUTTE! actually associates with and has connections with are opportunist groups. We are not one of the groups with which EN LUTTE! has any associations. So, instead of analysing the class basis of this opportunism and taking action against it, EN LUTTE! weds opportunism to Marxism-Leninism and thereby completely obscures this problem.
Further, EN LUTTE! acknowledges that: “these criticisms moreover being based often on rumours, prejudices and secondary points”, which again is not the case with the Marxist-Leninist groups but which is the case with the opportunist, non-Marxist-Leninist and anti-Marxist-Leninist groups.
And in the end, EN LUTTE! promises to struggle resolutely against this in their own ranks which, in fact, is a declaration that they will consolidate their sect but on the basis of struggling against it. This is altogether wrong as well.
Let us provide you with our explanation. Talking about rumours and the pernicious influence they have, Comrade Enver Hoxha correctly points out that: “Just as in all its daily political and ideological work, in what appears in the press and in the reports submitted to it, our Party comes up against ’rumours and gossips’.” Rumours and gossip are typical of the petty bourgeoisie, they have a petty bourgeois character; they are therefore manifestations of the bourgeois ideology. Gossip is the product of subjectivism and has nothing in common with sound, realistic and constructive criticism. We sometimes console ourselves by saying ’they are not of a political character’. We are mistaken in making this assessment. They are of a political and ideological character precisely because they cause disputes and splits in the organisation...“ So you can see that Comrade Enver first establishes the class basis of rumours and gossip, and then shows that “they are of a political and ideological character”. The petty bourgeoisie, incapable of fighting the proletariat, and being an intermediate and disintegrating class, always puts up all sorts of airs and takes the method of rumours and gossip as a method of struggling against the proletariat. You made no such distinction, and you actually accused the Marxist-Leninists of doing what the petty bourgeoisie normally do.
You yourselves accuse others on the basis of rumours and gossip. Your REMINDER and SECOND REMINDER are both full of this. You are definitely aware that there are all sorts of rumours and gossip which are spread against us by our enemies. It is their way of fighting us. But, EN LUTTE! must know that there is a cure for this, and that cure is OPPOSING THESE RUMOURS AND GOSSIP not just in one’s group but as a general campaign against them amongst the people in the manner we carry out in the form of mass democracy meetings, etc. But, most importantly and decisively, we would like to communicate to you that rumours and gossip spread because of lack of historical analysis and failure to adhere to Marxist-Leninist theory and political line. Once Marxism-Leninism is thrown into the dustbin then everything else follows. EN LUTTE! should think this matter over seriously.
Let us now take up some examples: EN LUTTE! has associations with a group in Quebec City which is waging a campaign against the Party by spreading rumours and gossip. What is the attitude of EN LUTTE! towards this? They associate with this group. If EN LUTTE! is really against rumours and gossip then why don’t they publicly declare that any group which participates in such activities will have no link with EN LUTTE! and that EN LUTTE! will actually break relations with them. But EN LUTTE! does no such thing.
We suggest that EN LUTTE! cannot oppose rumours and gossip until such time as it has analysis of what new content is and how to defend it. In the absence of this line, EN LUTTE! will not make much headway in uniting the Marxist-Leninists.
This leads us to the basic line that OUR UNITY WILL DEVELOP ONLY WITH THOSE WHO ARE SUPPORTING THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DISRUPTORS OF UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS. We firmly uphold this line and believe in it. If EN LUTTE! bases itself on dialectical and historical materialism, then it will see that by summing up past history, one can better grasp what is going on at the present time. Past history, if studied in the light of the present, can help in understanding what this slogan of unity of the Marxist-Leninists means and how it is to be brought about. As long as EN LUTTE! refrains from analysing past history, it will never grasp the necessity of identifying the real reasons why the Marxist-Leninists are not uniting and who are the real disruptors of the unity of the Marxist-Leninists.
(9) The current campaign for the unity of the Marxist-Leninists dates back to the fall of 1972 (and before that to 1968) when two organisations in Vancouver, Partisan Organisation and Chullima Collective, joined the Party on the basis that there can only be one Marxist-Leninist Party in a country and that all Marxist-Leninists must join and build such a Party. After their initiative, New Morning Collective joined the Party, followed by some CAPs in Quebec as well as several individuals from places all across Canada. This entire trend was hated by the police who went around escalating its slander campaign against the Party in order to disrupt the growing unity of the Marxist-Leninists.
The class basis of disruption of unity of the Marxist-Leninists is infiltration of the ranks of the Marxist-Leninists by the petty bourgeoisie. During the period of general economic crisis, some petty bourgeois-take the road of their brand of revolutionism and infiltrate the Marxist-Leninists. These individuals are extremely prone to the rumours and gossips spread by the police. While the police are the origin of the campaign to split the Marxist-Leninists, petty bourgeois elements become their instruments. During the current campaign to support the struggle of the Anishinabe people, the petty bourgeois revolutionists repeated every slander issued by the RCMP in order to liquidate the developing unity between the Native people and the working class. Hundreds of examples can be given whereby those individuals who call themselves “Marxist-Leninists”are actually the ones doing maximum damage to the cause of the Marxist-Leninists, that is, to the cause of the working and oppressed people. Not to grasp how the RCMP operates is objectively to go over to the side of the enemy.
It is our firm belief that the entire propaganda that THERE IS NO PARTY originates from the police. It is the same propaganda, in new garb, of the line propagated in the 1960’s that THERE IS NO NEED FOR A PARTY. Currently, we have seen some tracts which have come out to say THAT WE HAVE TO BUILD “A PARTY”. All these these lines are erroneous and originate from the RCMP. Let us explain to you why. A revolutionary party of the proletariat based on revolutionary theory is not the private property of anyone and does not come into being as a result of the wishes of a few individuals. It is the outcome of the historical process. After the rise of modern revisionism in Canada, several people attempted to organise a Marxist-Leninist Party. These people made the attempts by calling upon all Marxist-Leninists to unite. When Progressive Workers Movement was founded in 1964, it issued a general call and Marxist-Leninists responded to this general call. We were supporters of PWM for several years. After PWM died, we contacted Marxist-Leninists all across Canada and Quebec and called upon them to form the Party. Many responded and joined at the founding. Many joined later. And those who degenerated or lost faith in Marxism-Leninism left and sank into obscurity. But the key point is that there was a general call given and the Marxist-Leninists responded to it. It is only petty bourgeois revolutionists who – instead of uniting into one Marxist-Leninist organisation – stick to the line of private property and conspiracy, form their cliques and never issue their calls to everyone, and never strive to unite with others on the basis of Marxist-Leninist theory and Marxist-Leninist political line. Such petty bourgeois revolutionism is the enemy of the Marxist-Leninists, of the working class and oppressed people and is a collaborator of the RCMP.
We seriously believe that these petty bourgeois revolutionists must be opposed and they must not be permitted to carry on with their nefarious activities of causing splits and confusion among the Marxist-Leninists.
Let us give you an example which illustrates how a lack of vigilance and proper investigation leads to a setback or causes harm to the revolutionary movement. This concerns our own campaign this summer to further unite the Marxist-Leninists. The comrade responsible for this task did not carry out the work properly. He did not carry on preparing public opinion against the erroneous line through our press and he did not provide us with correct information as to what was going on in Montreal. This meant that our propaganda against the pernicious line that THERE IS NO PARTY IN QUEBEC was checked while those who advocated this line continued their work without any opposition. To concretise further: the specific information given to us was that we should stop any public or private criticism of EN LUTTE! in order to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence and begin discussions in an atmosphere of unity and solidarity of the Marxist-Leninists. This attitude and proposal of the comrade concerned is correct but he did not explain to us that there is another organisation (M.R.E.Q.) which on certain questions says the same things as EN LUTTE! and that EN LUTTE! has some connections with it. So when we stopped our criticism of EN LUTTE!, this meant we also stopped our opposition to this opportunist organisation M.R.E.Q. As a result, M.R.E.Q. carried on its anti-Party tirade while we were stopped from opposing them under the hoax that the attack on such and such lines in public would also mean an attack on EN LUTTE! On its part, EN LUTTE! of course carried on its relations (which it has no reason to stop) and we suffered a set-back on this front. Now the Party has decided to carry a vigorous attack on the wrong M.R.E.Q. lines internally and also externally if need be and if EN LUTTE! feels that it is also being attacked then it is its responsibility to draw clear lines between itself and M.R.E.Q. We reiterate here that we won’t criticise EN LUTTE! externally for the entire period of discussions with them, and it is up to EN LUTTE! to tell its members and supporters that this is the policy of CPC(M-L), so that its membership is not confused.
We found out that EN LUTTE! and M.R.E.Q. had some relations when a poster appeared with the names of the two organisations sponsoring a function in September. It is very interesting to note that while EN LUTTE! was having discussion with us it sponsored a programme with a host of other organisations, some of which (the majority of which are opportunist organisations – most of these cannot even be called organisations as they are mere sects based on opposition to the Party, as their main plank) are extremely hostile to the Party. When the leading comrades came to know this they were extremely puzzled by this development. So we communicated to EN LUTTE! our concern. But EN LUTTE!, again, instead of going into the heart of the matter, sent us a temper tantrum in “reply”: “the surprise demonstrated by CPC(M-L) regarding the absence of an invitation to participate in the Ad-Hoc Committee in Support of the Struggle of the People of Zimbabwe led EN LUTTE! to question the good faith of CPC(M-L) or at least its appreciation of the present relations between the two groups... For EN LUTTE! it is altogether premature to envisage forms of practical collaboration or to propose any action giving the impression of a political rapprochement with CPC(M-L)”, etc.
This is confounding everything right and wrong. EN LUTTE! is on the record as being in favour of unity of the Marxist-Leninists. And throughout its documents it talks about having “debates” which lead to “collaboration” and then to “fusion”. But CPC(M-L) never proposed such a thing! Look into all our documents, statements, etc.; we never suggested that we are having “debates” for the purpose of collaboration or fusion. And of course, when we write to EN LUTTE!, they dismiss our spirit and draw incorrect conclusions. If you had not noticed before on your own, let us mention to you that we believe THAT THERE IS A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY IN CANADA AND QUEBEC WHICH IS BASED ON REVOLUTIONARY THEORY and this Party engages other groups and individuals in discussions purely for the purposes of finding out whether or not the other groups and individuals are Marxist-Leninists and whether or not they will follow the Marxist-Leninist line that in a country there should be one Party. We are having-discussions for this purpose only and for us there is no such thing as “collaboration” or “fusion”. We never mentioned it. You have been talking about it all the time. When we raise an important question as regards your co-sponsoring a programme with other organisations, instead of analysing it, you get on your high horse and draw conclusions, which reflects your own motivations and intentions and you are imposing these on us.
Let us explain to you why we showed “surprise”. It is because, you, who profess that you are for the “unity of the Marxist-Leninists”, put your name on a list of organisations sponsoring a programme which is normally a united front issue and deliberately told the whole world that in Montreal a split exists amongst Marxist-Leninists. You objectively declared a split to the whole world while you were claiming that you are working for the unity of the Marxist-Leninists. An interesting parallel comes to our mind: when the CPSU(B) and the Communist Party of China were actually in session in Moscow in 1963 (June), “Pravda” carried an article denouncing the CPC, and Mr. Kennedy issued statements saying that the attitude Khrushchov takes towards the CPC will determine what relations will develop between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A.! The intentions of the Soviet revisionists were correctly reflected in their deeds. Now when you declare to the whole world that an alliance of sorts exists between you and other organisations; and that you have obviously gone along with this split in the revolutionary forces, your intentions must also be questioned. We ask: Are you for permanent split amongst the Marxist-Leninists or are you for unity! You tell us by deeds and not by words. We have heard enough of these kinds of words from opportunists before and we still feel that you are a revolutionary organisation and that you should take the course of unity of Marxist-Leninists instead of splitting it. You can see why we showed surprise! We are working very hard to muster enough force in order to attack the enemy. But you seem to be going on a wrong course.
Furthermore, you accuse us that“CPC(M-L)activists continue to visit and harass known activists and sympathisers of EN LUTTEl”. This is also a distortion. Our comrades do not harass anyone. It is our policy to invite everyone when we organise our programmes and in the course of giving invitations we talk to all sorts of people including your organisation. We do this because we feel this is one way of creating material conditions for the unity of the Marxist-Leninists. We are very much aware that the RCMP sows confusion when the revolutionaries refuse to sit with one another and sort out their differences on the mass democratic basis. But petty bourgeois revolutionists believe in their fiefdoms, circulate all sorts of gossips and slanders and then demand that the world should keep off their activists. When you confound our open policy of mobilising wide support for our programmes (which you know yourself because we always sent you invitations to come to our programmes long before we even met with one another) with some kind of scheme to “bore from within,” then you are merely doing what petty bourgeois revolutionists do. We object to this very seriously and we suggest that you look into the matter and take proper measures.
In summing up this portion, we have come to the conclusion that the RCMP is the cause of the split amongst the Marxist-Leninists and that petty bourgeois revolutionism is the ideology of the RCMP promoted by them and that the unity of the Marxist-Leninists will take place when the Marxist-Leninists stand up to oppose it. To believe that Marxist-Leninists just happen to be divided is to believe that rats generate spontaneously out of hay and is to deviate from the science of Marxism-Leninism altogether. We suggest that this not be done. Finally, a Marxist-Leninist group has every right to organise its programme and issue calls for unity of the Marxist-Leninists but it must be done with the spirit of actually uniting on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and not with the opportunist spirit of dividing on the basis of interpreting Marxism-Leninism. If you organise a public programme either it should be organised by just your organisation or on the basis of giving open calls for unity to organise that programme. But if you neither organise a programme yourself nor issue open calls for unity then you are striving to put a wedge between Marxist-Leninist and Marxist-Leninist and perpetuate a permanent split. This will be opposed by all genuine Marxist-Leninists and you will definitely fail to divide the Marxist-Leninists as many have failed in the past.
(10) Not only does EN LUTTE! detach the problem of uniting the Marxist-Leninists from Marxist-Leninist theory, it also creates confusion about what Marxist-Leninist theory is.
In your summation of the discussions between our two organisations you write: “For the unity which we welcome is a unity based on clear and unambiguous principles. We are in no way interested in any form of unity or of fusion guided by opportunism, by the desire to quickly swell one’s ranks, etc. Too many local and foreign examples of the futile and harmful character of this type of unity convince us to resolutely steer clear of it.” Here again, you do not touch the heart of the matter. Of course, we all oppose “unity .. guided by opportunism” because we are Marxist-Leninists. But how come those who claim themselves to be Marxist-Leninists are divided. For unity of Marxist-Leninists is it not enough to say that we are Marxist-Leninists then, at least, we must base ourselves on Marxism-Leninism and if we do so we are already united. But the RCMP has another view in mind. They know that Marxism-Leninism cannot be defeated by straightforward opposition, proclaiming to the world that this science is wrong and the world should agree with them. On the contrary, the RCMP knows that more and more people are coming to Marxism-Leninism and that the only way the ranks of the Marxist-Leninists can be subverted is by promoting individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninists but are actually anti-Marxist-Leninists. We can give you many examples of this. When these sorts of individuals give a call for unity, it is on these occasions that the unity fails. But you make no distinction between the calls for unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists and the sham ones. We have also united over the past six years. Has this unity been based on opportunism? Has this unity been so flimsy that it frittered away? No, our unity is deepening and growing every day. It is only opportunists who came into being on the basis of opportunism, issued their sham calls for unity of all opportunists and then disappeared from the scene of history.
Furthermore, you totally ignore the fact that disunity, in the final analysis, is only between Marxism-Leninism and all forms of opportunism. The examples of “local and foreign” groups you have should be analysed from the standpoint of Marxism-Leninism: either these groups degenerated because they were opportunists or the split took place between them based on Marxism-Leninism as against modern revisionism. We can give you one example, the example of the international communist movement. Basically it had three splits: 1. Between Marxism and pre-Marxian socialism (Utopian socialism and anarchism), 2. Between Marxism-Leninism and the revisionism of Kautsky and Bukharin and 3. Between Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and the modern revisionism of Khrushchov and Brezhnev etc. What does this example teach us? Disunity or unity is based on definite class interests and we should look at these questions from the class point of view and not merely as superficial recounting without going into class analysis that such and such group united or divided. So we propose that you take a class point of view on this question and unite with the Marxist-Leninists.
As far as the question of “The desire to quickly swell one’s ranks” is concerned it too is wrongly posed. The current economic crisis internationally and the rise of opposition to the two superpowers and the reawakening of the workers’ movement demands that the Marxist-Leninists must unite and get stronger. This is the issue. And let us stick to that. It is irrelevant whose ranks are swelling and whose are not. As far as we are concerned anyone who takes the road of opportunism, of gluttony and fills his belly without making distinctions as to what is being swallowed will suffer his own fate and perish of his own doing. Anyone who wishes to do that, it is their own business and we can even wish them luck. Our concern is to unite the Marxist-Leninists and we wish that you also take this task up in all earnestness. It seems to us that the ideas and theories you provide as “preconditions” are ideas to perpetuate a permanent split and we will oppose this right through to the end.
Come forward to take up the banner of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian revolution and we will be with you as comrades and fighters but if you are to take up other banners and divert from this main task you will find little sympathy or support from us. Our slogan is: LET ALL MARXIST-LENINISTS UNITE! And this slogan is opposite to the slogan of the opportunists: Let all Marxist-Leninists divide and serve the RCMP, the police force of the enemy class.
You write: “For the unity which we welcome is a unity on clear and unambiguous principles.” We agree. But we ask: Are the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought “ambiguous” and not “dear”? If the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought are clear, then why not unite on that basis?
Further, we ask: When you talk about “clear and unambiguous principles” for the unity (you welcome) then do you mean that you are referring to principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought? If not, then what are you referring to? Explain to us. As far as we are concerned there are two basic questions: 1. agreement that we will base our Party on the theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and then, 2. testing whether the Party is practising these by applying them to the concrete problems in Canada and Quebec. This means that through’application we derive the actual theory and tactics of the Canadian revolution which will be consistent with the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in terms of its basic principles but will have some features which only apply to the situation in Canada and Quebec in the sense that the level of revolutionary development is different than that in other countries and we will have to take our own course in dealing with it. Neither we violate basic principles of Marxism-Leninism nor we convert them into metaphysics and begin imposing them onto the situation without paying any attention to the concrete conditions here.
For example, in your document you raise the question of participation in the elections. We have mentioned to you several times (during the discussions) and also wrote in the document that the question of whether one participates in the elections is not a basic principle of Marxism-Leninism. It has to be decided according to the concrete conditions prevailing in a country. The revisionists elevate the question of elections to the level of a basic principle of Marxism and take the parliamentary road while the dogmatists elevate the question of not participating in the elections to the level of a “principle” of Marxism and claim that participating in the elections is useless at all times and under all circumstances. Both these lines are wrong. In Canada, revisionism is relatively weak as compared to other countries and if we leave the electoral front to them altogether then we will make a mistake and permit them to grow. This will be altogether wrong. Now this question of electoral participation is not a matter of principle of Marxism on which this or that decision is taken once and for all. It is a matter of tactics and tactics can be changed according to the conditions. So when you raise the question with us you are not raising the matter of principle but of tactics and unity or disunity on this question is irrelevant as the discussion on it goes on in the party all the time. The Party may take one position or the other depending on the conditions. In other words, we are taking a flexible attitude towards this question.
But, on the question of Party building you violate all the principles of Marxism-Leninism and concoct your own principles. Lenin points out many times that the Party should be formed as the necessary precondition for carrying out any tasks. And this Party was actually founded in June of 1921. You do not recognise that fact. The workers of Canada and Quebec, after many many struggles espoused Marxism-Leninism in 1921 and established their Party. But you say that the PARTY DOES NOT EXIST and has to be founded and put forward an elaborate scheme (all metaphysical) to build such a Party. This Party established in 1921 was taken over by the modern revisionists and they actually announced this takeover in 1952, several years before Khrushchov announced it through the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU(B). Many Marxist-Leninists strived to oppose the modern revisionists but the revisionist leadership expelled them from their ranks (one example is that of Fergus McKean and there are several others). Then the Marxist-Leninists tried to defeat them by organising from outside the Party. This entire struggle led to the formation of the Progressive Workers Movement (PWM), the Internationalists and others and eventually to the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). You ignore this entire process. Are you following “clear”and “unambiguous” principles when you do so? Is it Marxism-Leninism? No, we do not think so.
When you say that “struggle for the unity of the Marxist-Leninists...and the struggle to link the Marxist-Leninists to the proletariat...can both be undertaken and developed without the existence of a formallv constituted Party”; and when you say “thai the struggle against revisionism can be waged before the proclamation of the Party” and the “proposition of a ’liberation struggle of a new type’ which would constitute an integral part of a wider proletarian revolution undoubtedly constitutes a hypothesis to be examined” and several other similar statements, are you following the principles of Marxism-Leninism? We would suggest not. Marxism-Leninism teaches that the political party of the proletariat, the Communist Party based on the theory of Marxism-Leninism is at once the integral part of the proletariat, at the same time separate. But you seem to suggest that first there are Marxist-Leninist groups in existence outside the proletariat which then “integrate” with the proletariat and then become the Party of the proletariat. This is not Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism teaches that struggle against revisionism is the main task on the ideological front and building a Party based on Marxism-Leninism is the only (and we dare emphasize) concrete form of opposing revisionism. But you do not think so. Is that following the principles of Marxism-Leninism? Marxism-Leninism teaches that all revolutions since the First World War are necessarily part of the socialist revolutions and that there are also advanced capitalist countries which are oppressed by imperialism (and now imperialism and social-imperialism) but you have difficulty in grasping that one of the tasks of the proletarian revolution is to end the foreign domination of Canada and Quebec which is “national liberation” and that struggle is anti-imperialist and has to be waged. But when you say that this is merely “hypothesis” is it following the principles of Marxism-Leninism? We think not.
When you one-sidedly proclaim that “we are already in a system of bourgeois democracy (and not in a ’fascist regime’ as some people sometimes suggest)”you are not following the principle of Marxism-Leninism on the state but instead take a subjective attitude. A bourgeois democracy is, at once, a democracy for the bourgeoisie and real dictatorship over the people. When the political and economic situation is in good shape and modern capitalism is expanding, the bourgeoisie gives the impression of what is called liberal democracy but as soon as the situation deteriorates and the contradictions sharpen, it is the same bourgeoisie which espouses fascism. The Canadian state is no different and you should know all too well the number of times this state has committed fascism in Quebec. It is extremely dangerous to look at the state of Mussolini and. Hitler not as the natural continuation of the rule of capital over labour, in more naked and vicious form but as something else. It is extremely dangerous to create illusions about the nature of the state. We know that for years Jack Scott has been popularising this and that the revisionists say the same things. It is not sticking to principles of Marxism-Leninism when you say such things.
Also when you “reaffirm... total conviction that the mass line is a fundamental principle of Marxism-Leninism” and you give reference to Mao Tsetung, you are totally confusing what is principle and what is the result of the implementation of principle. Democratic centralism is the organisational principle of the political party of the proletariat based on Marxism-Leninism. This principle of democratic centralism if implemented correctly will mean that Mass Line is adopted in carrying out the tasks of the Party. Chairman Mao Tsetung never says what you are saying. Furthermore, you are confusing the discussion which took place on this question between us. Marxism-Leninism teaches us to make distinction between a principle and the product of that principle. The two are not the same thing.
(11) On Party building, you have restated your views in this manner, first on the qualities of the party and then the party building. We will deal with the two points separately. First, on the qualities of the party. You state:
We reaffirm that the Marxist-Leninist party must to our mind have the following characteristics:
1. Be the vanguard organisation of the working class, its general staff, regrouping its best elements armed with Marxism-Leninism;
2. Be the organised detachment of the working class, organised to lead the class and structured according to the principle of democratic centralism; democratic centralism constitutes application on the scale of the Party of the “mass line”. Be a detachment which is organised and capable of confronting the bourgeoisie with the necessary means;
3. Constitute the highest form of organisation of the working class, of which it is not the sole organisation in that it does not replace the other organisations, but is capable of determining their orientation;
4. Constitute the instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
5. Be a solidly united organisation which does not accept factions , and which struggles against all forms of opportunism.”
We find nothing of much value in this statement as it is but a poor rehashing of what is written in the FOUNDATIONS OF LENINISM. We agree with Comrade Stalin’s characterisation of the Leninist Party of the proletariat.
You have several times advocated the line of “from the masses to the masses” and other correct formulations. We would suggest that you attempt to implement that. Because what Comrade Stalin mentioned about the qualities of the Party are the qualities as exhibited by the Bolshevik Party, and his formulations are universally applicable. But the Party which we are building has come out of the conditions of Canada. Even though it obeys the laws of Marx-ism-Leninism, it is not a prototype or custom-made. We would like to remind you that the law of gravity is also universally applicable, but in dealing with different problems its application is quite different. An aeroplane responds to this law differently to a man walking on the ground, and a construction worker has to tackle it still differently than a mine worker or a merchant seaman: they use different methods (although never disobeying the laws of gravity) because they are dealing with different problems. The nature of the Party and its formation, as well as its tasks, etc., are all historically determined and that determination must be understood by actually organising within a country based on its own conditions. A thing has to be examined first in itself and only then use Marxism-Leninism as a guide to action. It is purely metaphysics to talk about building a party in the other manner. It is going away from Quebec, away from the task of examining the level of revolutionary development here and going on to the moon. We do not think this is the Marxist-Leninist style of work.
Here, we would like to present the quotation from Zhdanov:
Allow me to remind you of the following precepts laid down on this subject by the Tenth Party Congress in its Resolution on Party Affairs:
1. The Party of revolutionary Marxism utterly rejects the quest for an absolutely correct form of Party organisation and methods of work suited to all stages of the revolutionary process. On the contrary, the form of organisation and the methods of work must be entirely determined by the specific features of the given concrete historical situation and by the tasks directly arising from this situation.
2. From this standpoint it is clear that, with a change in the objective conditions of the development of the revolution, any organisational form, and the methods of work corresponding to it, may become converted from forms of development of the Party into a fetter on its development, and, vice versa, an organisational form which has grown unsuitable may again become essential, and the only form expedient should there be a recurrence of the corresponding objective conditions.
The contradiction between the requirements of a newly arising situation, on the one hand, and the established form of an organisation and its methods of work, on the other, generally becomes evident before the necessity for a change of line is definitely felt. The line should be changed only when the task that gave rise to the preceding type of organisation and the corresponding method of work has in general – on the whole and in the main – been accomplished.
There have been numerous instances of changes in the forms and methods of organisational activity in the history of our Party. While holding its basic line and fundamental organisational principles inviolate, the Party has always established such organisational forms as facilitate the development of the content of its work, ensure the performance of its political tasks, the unity of word and deed.
Now you have absolutely nothing to say as to the basic organisation of the Canadian Party, how it sorted out problems in the past, what happened in the process, what changes should be brought about and, finally, on what basic task this Party should be established. For you, all the tasks we have mentioned can be executed by an organisation which is not the Party, which means that either you are not calling that organisation which will execute the task of opposing revisionism, etc. the Party; in which case you have an image of a super-Party which will come into existence later, or else you have no understanding whatsoever of the responsibilities of the Party, that is, you say that you can do all these things without having a Party, then may we ask you: If all such things can be done without the Party, then why have A Party at all?!
for these reasons, the proclamation of the Party, the instrument of leadership, presupposes the following conditions: ”1. Proletarianisation of the organisation and of its leadership“ (could you let us know when Lenin went through this proletarianisation? It seems to have such crucial importance for you!)
2. Implantation in the working class, attested by its capacity to lead its (i.e. the working class) struggles (some of them at the very least);
3. Implantation in other classes and strata of the people, attested fay its capacity to mobilise and unite their struggles in a revolutionary perspective;
4. Unification of all the proletarian revolutionaries, of all the real Marxist-Leninists, that is of all those who can be united;
5. Determination of the present stage of revolution, of the main contradiction, of the general line and of the particular and tactical lines;
6. Elaboration of a programme constituting a true synthesis of the demands of the masses;
7. Ability to combine legal and illegal, open, and clandestine work;
8. The proclamation of the Party must, on the basis of concrete analysis of the concrete situation, constitute a factor in the development of the revolutionary struggle.
If you can do all this without a Party, then we don’t think you need to build a Party.
It is very interesting that in your list of characteristics of the Party you never mentioned that this Party is the political Party of the proletariat. Is this just innocent omission or deliberate! It is also interesting that you do not take into consideration the ebb and flow of the revolutionary movement. You think implantation can merrily go on under all circumstances and that your Party won’t suffer loss of cadres, and the various other problems organisations like parties face. And, finally, you do not have a single word about what you mean by “leading”, “unity of the Marxist-Leninists” or participation in the political affairs of thecountry,or paying attention to the proletarian internationalist duty of supporting the oppressed nations and people of Asia, Africa and Latin America, or internal building of the Party, or the question of theory, etc. Instead, you concoct that the Party can be “proletarianised” by implanting itself at the place of work. This is an out-and-out opportunist position and will amount to nothing. We have heard that you are “leading” some struggles and that you-“leading” them is no different to that of any trade-union; then why do you call it “leading” and if you do want to call it “leading” then at least tell everyone that this “leading” is in the manner of any other trade union. We are simply amazed that a group of individuals who have not even investigated the two-line struggle in the revolutionary movement could present such a plan for themselves and hope to achieve it too! If you study the previous type of organisations which existed in the early 1960’s and during the 1960’s, they were no different from what you are proposing, they failed because they paid attention to secondary issues and altogether missed principle points.
Now let us go further. Where did you get these ideas of proletarianisation of the Party? Has this been the experience of the Party? The revisionists have a lot of individuals in the working class. But what does that mean? Does it mean they are proletarianised? If you examine the history of the communist movement, you will find that there were two basic diseases which incapacitated the old Party: 1) the line of Canadian exceptionalism; and 2) workers’ chauvinism (Which is the social reflection of economism). We feel that your ideas reflect both. We would really like to discuss with you in a frank manner in detail as to the validity of these ideas! And more importantly, what do you mean by all this?
We would suggest to you again that historical analysis merits attention. Canada had a proletarian Party based on Marxism-Leninism. That Party has now gone into the hands of modern revisionism and has degenerated into social democracy and fascism. Another Party has come into being against it. As long as this Party serves the basic requirements of revolution at this time it should be supported and strengthened and within it struggle should be waged to keep it on the right path. But because you refrain from historical analysis you are making a serious mistake on the matter.
Comrade Zhdanov clearly states: “The Party of revolutionary Marxism utterly rejects the quest for an absolute form of Party organisation” while, at the same time, he proposes that such a Party holds “its basic line and fundamental organisational principle inviolate”. These two characteristics of the Party can only be strengthened and the Party be established on these if we pay attention to historical experience and learn from it.
Once everything is said and done and you ask us what will be our main criticism of your proposals, we would say that “your theory and tactics are not based on the historical experience of the workers’ movement and the communist movement of Canada and Quebec and more specifically the revolutionary movement of the 1960’s and you do not draw conclusions by using Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as a guide”. This is the main difference between you and us. Because this is the main difference and the point of departure, it is on this point we must spend most of our efforts and reach unity of thinking. If unity of thinking cannot be reached on historical experience, then the question of unity of action does not arise. This is the position CPC(M-L) has held in the past and will stick to in the future until such a time as we are shown to be wrong on this point and we are told either by the developing historical process or by some group that we have departed from Marxism-Leninism and we will vigorously rectify ourselves and change. Until that time, we will firmly hold onto the theory and tactics of our organisation as we have formulated them in the course of our revolutionary practice.
(12) The revisionist and opportunist style of work is that they
– deny the existence of historical experience
– deny the participation of the masses in the historical process
– put detail in command of the over-all
– use differences to divide the people
We do not think that you are revisionist and opportunist. But, at the same time, we must frankly convey to you that we have not decided what you are. Because you call yourselves Marxist-Leninist, we recognise you as Marxist-Leninist but, as we have written before, it is yet to be decided whether you are or not. We strongly feel that you are
– denying the existence of historical experience
– denying the participation of the masses in the historical process
– putting detail in command of the overall
– using differences to divide the people
Our criticism of you is not one of detail here and there but one of the overall theory and practice of your organisation as we have been able to ascertain it to date. We do not wish to use these differences to cause or perpetuate a split in the ranks of the Marxist-Leninists. We would like to sort this matter out in a friendly manner and on a fraternal basis.
We propose that our comrade and your comrade meet regularly, exchange documents (past and present), and prepare the two documents we have mentioned in Point #1. At the same time, we are quite prepared to answer questions on any of the points of this document as well as present our views on your document.
Our views towards you have not changed. We will maintain a friendly attitude as long as you wish to maintain a friendly attitude. All the remarks made are in the spirit of fraternal relations and proletarian unity and no malice is intended towards you or any members of your organisation. Chairman Mao teaches us that words and actions should unite the ranks of the people and not divide them. Let us pursue those words and actions which will unite the revolutionary forces.
Text of a letter sent by CPC(M-L) dated October 30,1974, to EN LUTTE!
(This article first appeared in Mass Line, Vol. 5 No. 55, May 25, 1975.)