First Published: The Worker, Vol 10, No 21, September 28, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The recent criticisms of CPL’s statements on the national question by the Progressive Labor Party have suggested that CPL “changed the line”. They’ve also harped on the chauvinistic proposition that workers in Quebec must focus their attacks on Levesque and nationalism, and not on the racism of Trudeau and the Anglo-Canadian capitalists.
I had the occasion to attend PL’s last convention in July, 1973. The workshop on racism addressed itself to the problem of winning “large numbers of black workers to the leadership and ranks of the mass movement and the party in the fight for socialism”, and recognized the danger of “abandoning” them to the black nationalist “misleaders” such as Seale and Bradley.
Here is part of the report of the workshop – and apparently it was not refuted by the plenary of the convention, according to the published “Convention Reports”: “Affirm that the main fight against the ruling class is against its racist ideas and practice. That black nationalism is a danger in that it diverts the fighting militancy of black, Latin and white workers, prevents real unity and helps the ruling class maintain its power but the main danger in the working class is racism and therefore our main task as communists is to make the fight against racism primary. The racism of Jensen, busing, and Carnarsie is on the increase. Black nationalism is by no means dead but is nowhere near the dangers of racism.” (Convention Reports, p. 75.)
This essentially correct formulation from PL’s last convention corresponds to CPL’s assessment of the “main danger” in Canada, that is, Trudeau and chauvinism rather than Levesque and nationalism. I am not aware of any PL decision-making body reviewing the conclusions of the last conventions. In light of PL’s allegations that CPL “changed the line”, it seems fair to ask why the PL leadership defends a position that so flagrantly contradicts its mandate from the party conventions.
A Montreal comrade