First Published: Canadian Worker, Vol 2, No 10, December 1970
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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MIA Note: A speech given by a representative of CPL at “Weekend of International Solidarity” in New York City.
Comrades and friends:
Talking about internationalism isn’t new. But what is new these days is really doing it. That’s what we want: to use class unity as a powerful weapon for victory:
The tone of today’s rally was set several months back, with the auto-strike flyer published by Canadian Party of Labor and Progressive Labor Party and distributed to auto-workers all across North America. This leaflet marked a big advance in the development of real international class unity in the attack against the imperialist big 3 auto monopolies.
For years, the whole world communist movement has been held back, and nearly shattered, by the force of revisionism – by ruling-class ideas in working-class clothing!
One form of revisionism which has plagued the world movement is a kind of “national incentive” plan. Each party, each country, do his own thing!
What has happened? We got “national communism.” We got division among workers, instead of solidarity. We got isolation. Worst, we got defeat. What used to be an argument against meddling in other party’s affairs turned into national chauvinism on the one hand, and indifference – often criminal indifference, on the other. Instead of workers everywhere uniting more closely in the fight against imperialism and monopoly capitalism, workers were weakened.
As a result, Marxism-Leninism became more abstract, farther away from the international needs of the working class, instead of a guide to action it almost turned into a relic. National signs and symbols took over – and they usually covered up national sellouts!
In Canada, that’s roughly the way it happened. Communists thought the “national incentive” plan was the answer to their problems – so they set up a “national” party for the nation of Quebec.
Lenin said you fight a single, unified state apparatus with a single, unified revolutionary party. But our revisionists revised that. There was something special about Quebec some kind of gut feeling. Anything less, our revisionists said, would be a concession to chauvinism. But the truth is that they were all the more chauvinist for doing so, no less. What they really did was set up a kind of farm team.
This line got worse as revisionism tightened its death grip on the Communist Party of Canada. They came out with a slogan that said: “Put Canada First.” That subsequently became the election slogan of racist, reactionary John Diefenbaker. And to top it off, the revisionists accused Diefenbaker of stealing their slogans. What were they doing with the kind of slogan Diefenbaker would want to steal!
The Canadian ruling class isn’t afraid of the revisionists. In fact, it likes them. They’ve become faithful servants, docile lapdogs who scamper along behind the New Democratic Party, calling it the “defender of democracy”, while the same New Democrats call for “wider police powers.”
The Canadian Party of Labor is out to change all this! We’re in the midst of building a Pan-Canadian revolutionary communist party, a party that will unify workers all across Canada, from both nations, into a single fighting force that can take on the unified Canadian ruling class and its imperialist big brothers. When the bosses hit in Quebec, as they’re doing right now, Canadian workers have to hit back everywhere in Canada.
We don’t care what language a man speaks, as long as he can fight alongside us for socialism.
Thanks to revisionism in the world communist movement, national liberation movements around the world have been set back, or worse, betrayed and smashed. The Vietnamese peoples’ great fight has been undermined by Soviet “aid” and by the Hanoi and NLF misleaders who put national unity above class unity. Things are even grimmer in Cambodia. There the anti-imperialist battle is being led by a reactionary-turned-progressive, his highness Prince Sihanouk. With US imperialism getting the stuffings knocked out of it by peoples’ war all through Indo-China, the turn to the Paris talks, and to takers like Sihanouk – who boasts he’ll waltz back into power on a red carpet – only gives the US bosses, the Soviet social-imperialists, and all their local henchmen extra breathing space and room to maneuvre. Reliance on misleaders like these is not the way to national liberation. Look at Indonesia! How many hundreds of thousands of slaughtered communists, worker and peasant fighters do we need to make the point?
In the Middle-East, we have the spectacle of an openly bourgeois movement being loudly applauded by people who call themselves communists. Strange communists,...who haven’t anything to say when sky-jacking replaces peoples’ war as revolutionary strategy, when the finest, most militant class fighters are gunned down in the front lines by the Arab Legion, or as Arafat puts it, “sacrificed.” Odd communists, who stand by like the three proverbial monkeys while the same Arafat concludes criminal deals with hangman Hussein – deals which have only one purpose: to cut the ground out from under the Palestinian working peoples’ struggle as quickly as possible.
Closer to home, in Latin America, we see still more “national communists” (and even some evolutionary Marxists!), people who call themselves “third roaders” supporting that hybrid hothouse weed, the so-called “left-wing” military junta.
But these are temporary setbacks. Workers and oppressed people everywhere are stepping up the fight, and learning to give it the perspective of working-class power, of socialism. Only the leadership of real Marxist-Leninist parties, steeled in class warfare and rooted deeply among the masses, can lead this fight to victory.
In Quebec, the terrorists of the FLQ are doing their best to lead workers away from socialism. They hide their racism and nationalism behind a smokescreen of working-class slogans – but even these slogans are hollow. The FLQ tells workers in Quebec (as if there weren’t any workers anywhere else in Canada) to line up behind their rotten union misleaders, finks like Michel Chartrand, who called on the cops to join in the “patriotic struggles”. The FLQ answers the racism of the rulers with more racism.
To give you an example: just last week, reactionary racist Pierre Bourgault (pro-FLQ) called on Quebecers to organize demonstrations against immigrants arriving in Montreal, and send them back where they came from.
The FLQ gunmen who did-in Laporte called him “minister of unemployment and assimilation.” The middle class desperados who make up the FLQ hard-core are terrified of assimilation alright. (Of being assimilated into the working class,) of having to face unemployment. But the working-class isn’t in any danger of being assimilated, nationally or otherwise. It has more important things to do: organize to liberate itself and win state power! That’s why workers in Canada aren’t buying FLQ politics, aren’t falling for nationalism.
Meantime, Trudeau said “let it bleed” to bleeding-heart liberals and brought in the War Measures Act. But is it the FLQ that really scares the Canadian bosses? In the narrowest sense, the thought of more bombs, more hijackings and even some assassinations probably does worry the rulers. But what worries them more is their own capitalist crisis. They can always replace a few ministers – but they can’t solve the problems of their rotten system.
Right now, unemployment stands at more than 10 percent in Quebec, in British Columbia and the Maritime provinces, with the long, cold winter coming on fast. Workers all across Canada are getting more and more rebellious. In the last few months, strike after strike – many of them hard-fought wildcats – have rocked the bosses’ boat.
Postal workers wildcatted against the government and their own ex-revisionist misleaders in many cities before being worn down and defeated. The Montreal mail drivers were smashed after a hard fight by the same government-union hack tandem (this time, Trudeau and Co. worked hand in hand with the “militant” national Quebec union, the CNTU of Chartrand). These same drivers got a taste of the liberal stick early on: one driver, Albert Latendresse, was shot in the stomach by private cops as he tried to stop a scab truck.
Auto-workers stood up to their union sell-out chiefs and went out early; longshoremen, fishermen on both coasts, steelworkers, forestry and wood-workers, hospital workers in many places, construction workers all across the country are fighting back, and fighting back hard, and the union frauds are being swept aside as they do it.
That’s what the War Measures Act is all about. It’s the other side of our liberal “bill of rights.” And right now, the bosses are in such deep water that they need plenty of extra help in order to swim to shore.
We’re doing our best to see that they never make it. Following along with the militant, Progressive Labor Party and the Puerto-Rican Socialist League, the Canadian Party of Labor is learning to swim in the high seas of class struggle by diving right in. Along with the PLP, the Liga Socialiste we join workers in their fight, support them with everything we’ve got, and most important of all, learn from the great fighting spirit of workers as we try to sink deep roots among them. Our two newspapers, Canadian Worker and L’Ouvrier are sold at factories, on campuses, wherever class struggle is hot and getting hotter.
All papers are tools, and weapons. With them, we can begin to batter down the barriers of national division, craft distinction, racism and male-supremacy. Unity – working-class unity – is the vital spark. The key to pinpointing, analysing and solving, in the middle of struggle, the problems that spring up from ethnic, cultural or national differences. We say – and we know experience proves it – that the heat of class struggle will burn these barriers to ashes.
Workers are beginning to turn to our Party, to help produce and circulate our newspapers, flyers and literature. Workers in Canada are beginning to grasp Marxism-Leninism, the science of working-class revolution. And when they do, the Canadian bosses will need more than a War Measures Act. Because we’ll be fighting them and their “war measures” with class war.
As comrades in the fight to the finish against imperialism, comrades and friends that share the great historical task of wiping this same imperialism from the face of North America, and from the face of the earth, we say that you, the PLP and the PRSL have our fullest confidence: politically, and as comrades in arms. Your efforts and your victories have been important. And their effects are being felt. We know that in Canada, the work and reputation of PLP has helped bring many people into our movement.
We came here this weekend to listen, to learn, to fight together. Every time we do, our unity and solidarity is toughened. You have already taken bold, concrete actions to support us and the working class of Canada by demonstrating against the War Measures Act in New York and San Francisco.
These are more than symbolic gestures. They are sign posts pointing the way to wider, deeper revolutionary, working-class unity in North America. Small steps, we might say. But the small steps will turn to big steps, and as workers join our ranks, will become leaps toward victory over world monopoly capitalism.
Long live the international solidarity of the world communist movement!!