During the past few months in Montreal, especially since the beginning of the new year, a number of revolutionary organisations have united together to launch united programmes on issues on which there is unity in thinking. This particular trend began in August-September of 1974 when various revolutionary organisations united together to support the struggle of the Native people and oppose the deportation of the Haitians. The unity at that time was unity in thinking on these particular issues but not unity of any organisational kind. But since the new year, increasing numbers of revolutionary people are demanding UNITY IN ACTION as well. As a result of this demand, a Provisional United Front Committee has come into being to provide an organisational framework so that UNITY IN ACTION could take place. PCDN/OTL considers this an excellent development and vigorously hails it.
UNITY IN ACTION has actually become a slogan of the revolutionary masses who have come forward to support one another and fight the common enemy on several issues. These issues are international as well as national. The most prominent of these issues is the “Green Paper” and the struggle against the deportation of Haitians, Columbians and other immigrants as well as against the attacks on the immigrants. This issue is developing widely and has lots of popular support. Internationally, the key issue is support for the struggle of the people of Cambodia against U.S. imperialist aggression which is gaining lots of support. Besides these, there are innumerable issues which are coming up on a day to day basis – all are under the general category of resisting the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis of monopoly capitalism onto the backs of the workers. A campaign is also gaining momentum against the hegemony of the two superpowers and consciousness is growing about the threat of world war. All this is creating an excellent situation and a mass movement on one or several issues together or individually is bound to develop and take up mass proportions in the not too distant future.
The monopoly capitalists have launched a two-prong attack on the Canadian working class and people. First it is shifting the burden of the economic crisis of their system onto the backs of the workers and, second, actually blaming the workers for the economic crisis itself. The Minister of Manpower and Immigration, Mr. Andras has launched a nationwide campaign to shift the blame for the economic crisis of monopoly capitalism onto the backs of the workers. The economic burden of the crisis as well as the blame is shifted most of all onto the shoulders of the immigrant workers and amongst the immigrant workers the worst hit are the women workers. Amongst the women immigrant workers the worst hit are the ones who are working on the farms and in menial jobs in big cities. Amongst them are also included the children. Next, the workers of certain Asian countries (India, Pakistan, etc.) and Carribean countries are singled out for racist attacks. These workers are blamed for all the problems monopoly capitalism is faced with – unemployment, congestion in the cities, shortage of housing, education and health facilities etc. Between 1921 and 1971, this section of the population has been the smallest section of the populace and alongside the Native people, the non-European population did not exceed four percent of the total population in any year during the fifty year period mentioned. The situation has not changed much. This section of the populace has not increased much beyond 4% of the total populace. It is very strange indeed, then, that this section of the population in which is included people of certain Asian and Caribbean countries (making up less than 1% of the population), is made the target of the attack. This is a sinister manoeuver on the part of the monopoly capitalists to find scapegoats and divert the attention of the working class from the real cause of the economic crisis.
Furthermore, the entire working class is facing the brunt of the economic crisis. Unemployment, inflation, soaring prices, speed-ups, lay-offs etc. is affecting all the sections of the working class. This burden of the economic crisis which is being increasingly shifted onto the backs of the workers is creating class consciousness and consciousness of class struggle against the monopoly capitalist system itself. The crisis of imperialism and social-imperialism internationally is also assisting this growth of consciousness in a big way. An increasing number of the broad masses of workers are seeing the necessity of struggling against U.S. imperialism, the hegemonism of the two superpowers and the Canadian monopoly capitalist system itself. Running in the forefront of this developing consciousness is the demand of the revolutionary masses – UNITY IN ACTION.
This demand is made when any working class struggle on the economic front takes place. Workers form common fronts at once and boldly demand that everyone in that sector unite to wage a common struggle. This consciousness of forming common fronts and seeing the necessity of it is the most prominent feature of the working class struggles in Montreal and in Quebec. This consciousness of common fronts goes beyond the boundaries of the working class and encompasses other people as well during the times of struggle. For example, in the struggle against Reforme Depres, workers, students and professors saw the necessity of forming a common front and supporting one another. This sentiment for establishing common fronts has gone so deep that even when the student struggles broke out against loans and bursaries, the students advocated the line of common front. In order to appreciate this movement further, the demand for UNITY IN ACTION is the highest development of the consciousness of forming common fronts in struggle against the enemy. Whether it is the struggles of the Haitian workers against deportation or students for loans and bursaries or workers waging economic battles, the demand for UNITY IN ACTION is raised as the first step towards fighting the main enemy.
Then what is this demand of UNITY IN ACTION? This demand of UNITY IN ACTION must be looked at from the standpoint of the masses and by making concrete analysis of concrete conditions. All the struggles we have analysed workers’ economic struggles against the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto their backs, the struggles of the immigrant workers against racist attacks and deportation, the struggles of the students, etc.-all these struggles bring forth one demand-UNITY IN ACTION-that is:
– Unity of the Marxist-Leninists
– Unity of the broad section and
– Unity of the mass
Opportunism is the enemy of the unity of the masses at all three levels. This opportunism, at this time, is mainly led by the revisionists and the anarcho-syndicalists. Both betray the Marxist-Leninists, the interests of the broad-section and oppose the struggles of the mass. So when the revolutionary masses put forward their demand for UNITY IN ACTION, they are actually demanding that
– ALL MARXIST-LENINISTS SHOULD BE UNITED IN ONE PARTY
– ALL REVOLUTIONARIES AND MILITANTS SHOULD BE UNITED IN ONE UNITED FRONT ORGANISATION
– AND MASSES OF WORKERS AND OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD BE ORGANISED INTO THEIR MASS DEFENCE ORGANISATION
This is what the demand UNITY IN ACTION amounts to in practice. It is this precise demand which some of our comrades and individuals and organisations outside the Party do not grasp firmly and are making serious mistakes about. For example, the common malady is that certain comrades erroneously think that the united front of the broad section can be organised without the unity of the Marxist-Leninists or that mass defence organisations can be organised without the unity of the Marxist-Leninists and without the existence of the united front of the broad section. In other words, these comrades make a mistake on the relationship of the Party to the broad section and the mass defence organisation in live and dynamic form. They run around hither and thither mechanically organising one without the other two, or all three at the same time without paying attention to the concrete conditions and without developing material conditions etc. Our comrades must remedy this disease at once. Now is the time to prepare ourselves for the great class battles ahead. It is also during this period that the enemy will attempt to weaken, split and divide the organisations of the people at all levels so that when the axe falls, the masses of the people are without any organisation and without any means of fighting back. It is extremely important that all comrades and friends should grasp this fact firmly.
UNITY IN ACTION demand has come from the revolutionary masses at this time. In other words, the consciousness of the masses is rapidly increasing and they are developing class consciousness as well as consciousness of class struggle.
UNITY IN ACTION demand reflects that the revolutionary masses are developing the consciousness of class struggle.
How to respond to this demand of the masses and how to deal with the situation at this time will determine whether or not revolutionary masses will be able to wage struggles at a later date. What is to be done? It is the firm belief of PCDN/OTL which is based on our experience of struggle over several years that 1. Unity of the Marxist-Leninists is deepened and broadened by amassing an arsenal on the theoretical front, by persisting in sorting out all the important theoretical questions of urgency for this period and 2. By establishing the fighting units of the Party in the organisations of the broad section and in the mass defence organisations. Every communist must be an organiser in actual practice, must be the advanced section of the proletariat and must serve the demand of UNITY IN ACTION with all his life. At the same time, every communist deals with all the questions of theory facing the mass movement, deals with them by using Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as a guide to action, on the one hand, and by looking downwards at the concrete conditions of Canada, on the other. This will strengthen UNITY IN THINKING as well as UNITY IN ACTION at all levels of the revolutionary movement.
Those who are advocating “ideological struggle” or the line of “implantation” into the working class without clearly responding to the demand for unity in action at all levels are bound to mislead the movement. They should look into their practice all over again. Some individuals and organisations are promising the workers a better deal if the workers join their “communist” organisations. In other words, they are promising to win those demands for the workers which the defence organisations of the workers are incapable of winning themselves and which cannot be met within the capitalist system anyway. They are making serious mistakes in so doing. They should know that when the workers join their “communist” organisations and then find that even the “communists” cannot win their demands for them, then the workers will be extremely disappointed in the “communists”. Serious Marxist-Leninists should refrain from giving these illusions to the workers. Serious Marxist-Leninists should provide theoretical clarity, organisational support, political line and firmness to the struggles of the workers but, at no time, should they give the impression to the workers that just because Marxist-Leninists are there, they will win the struggles for the workers. Instead, it is the duty of the Marxist-Leninists to educate the workers’ movement along the basic line that “it is up to the workers to emancipate themselves”. They should be given the spirit of rebellion and revolution through participating in their struggles, clarifying the political issues and teaching them the necessity of building a Communist Party on the theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as an instrument of bringing about revolution and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. This entire process is a long-range process and should be taken up slowly and on a protracted basis. This means that the workers’ movement should not be led up the garden path by promising things which are impossible to provide. Marxist-Leninists constitute the advanced section of the proletariat. If they sink into the mire of opportunism and begin promising things to a section of the workers’ movement then they will not be able to provide effective leadership against U.S. imperialism, the hegemonism of the two superpowers and against the monopoly capitalist system itself. Marxist-Leninists must lead the workers’ movement on a protracted basis providing it with timely guidance, with leadership and should not deviate from this path.
At this time, it is extremely important that the Party is built right in the midst of the class, and that the united fronts are established, wherever the conditions are ripe, as levers to direct the mass organisations to take action against the principle enemy. This can be done on the basis of dealing with various questions of theory and providing leadership to the mass movement. Those who do not want to take up this task are not respondingto the demand of the revolutionary masses – the demand for UNITY IN ACTION. They will, if they continue on this erroneous path, certainly sink into opportunism and become part and parcel of opportunism, the main enemy of the workers’ movement. Comrades and friends must be aware that opportunism (revisionism and anarcho-syndicalism) is promising the workers a “heaven”, a “quick victory” within the capitalist system. What we are promising the workers is a hard struggle, an extremely long, tortuous and protracted one, with the explicit aim of overthrowing the capitalist system. LET US BUILD UNITY IN THINKING AND IN ACTION AT ALL LEVELS!
In the first portion of the editorial, we made some general remarks on problems dealing with the unity of the Marxist-Leninists and the role of the splitters. In this portion we dealt with the necessity of establishing the unity of the Marxist-Leninists, unity of the broad-section and unity of the mass on a protracted basis. Finally, we deal with the important question of mass struggles.
It is our firm belief that the unity of the Marxist-Leninists, unity of the broad-section and unity of the mass can only be established by the masses and that it will be established in the course of people’s struggles. Development and growth of people’s struggles is absolutely necessary for the consolidation of organisational forms at any level. It is for this reason the Party has issued a call for all Marxist-Leninists to unite on the basis of people’s struggles. CPC(M-L)’s theoretical position that it is only in the course of people’s struggle that organisational forms will be consolidated and its practice of continuous attempts at advancing the people’s struggles is proof of our committment to organising revolution and finding ways and means of doing so. CPC(M-L) holds that all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists should unite in one Party and those who remain outside should unite on the basis of practical work in the mass movement. Against this principled stand of ours, various organisations and individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninists have taken the stand of splitting the mass movement. For example, in the course of founding the solidarity organisation with the people of Spain against fascism, a number of organisations and individuals advocated that there should be two organisations, one around CPC(M-L) and the other around their organisation. In other words, they were asking that the Party should acknowledge the split in the mass movement, nay more, should promote it itself. Party vigorously opposed this erroneous stand. Various other organisations also took the side of the Party and advocated that there should be only one solidarity organisation in support of the anti-fascist struggle of the people of Spain. Another case in point is that in the course of an organising drive run by certain individuals who are also supporters of the Party, they came across certain individuals belonging to another organisation. Not knowing that these individuals belong to another organisation, these communist organisers contacted everyone in the area and sought their assistance in the organising drive. It is very important to note that all sorts of people came forward to assist this campaign while those who call themselves “Marxist-Leninists” refused and caused a fuss. Within the student struggles also, it is certain “Marxist-Leninists” who are most sectarian and dogmatic in their attitude towards the unity of the broad-section and of the mass and it is they who cause splits and divisions.
It is our belief that during all the struggles the revolutionary masses took the standpoint of unity and supported one another and that this is the reflection of the basic sentiment of the masses. It is the duty of the Marxist-Leninists that they persist in establishing the fighting unity of the masses and to go amongst the masses in order to oppose and weed out the advocates of splits and divisions. Without taking this consistent stand the unity of the masses in struggle will not be established.
To conclude, Party comrades should pay close attention to the needs of the workers who are in struggle – the need for Marxist-Leninist theory, Marxist-Leninist political line and organisational know-how. Party comrades should persist in establishing themselves as the core of leadership in key areas and uphold the correct stand of the Party of seeking the unity of Marxist-Leninists, unity of the broad-sections and unity of the masses in the course of struggle against the main enemy.
COMRADES: PERSIST IN MASS STRUGGLES, OPPOSE THE SPLITTERS AND SEEK UNITY OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS, OF THE BROAD-SECTION AND OF THE MASS ALL THE TIME!
PROVIDE THE REVOLUTIONARY MASSES WITH MARXIST-LENINIST THEORY, POLITICAL LINE AND ORGANISATIONAL PRINCIPLE!
SUPPORT THE LINE OF UNITY IN ACTION – THE IMMEDIATE DEMAND OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MASSES!
(This article first appeared in People’s Canada Daily News/On The Line Vol. 5, No. 45, February 21, 1975)