First Published: In Struggle, No. 151, March 27, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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At the end of March, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC(M-L) is holding its Sixth Consultative Conference, to be followed by a “revolutionary rally” involving several Marxist-Leninist parties or parties that claim to be Marxist-Leninist.
Almost exactly one year ago, the CPC(M-L) organized a first “internationalist rally”. It hoped that this circus would bedazzle people into forgetting about its neo-revislonlst line.
How should this new conference and rally be evaluated? We put the question to several members of the Regroupement des ex-militants du PCC(ML) (the group of former militants of the CPC(M-L)) who are now sympathizers with IN STRUGGLE!. They were active in the CPC(M-L) for as long as ten years in some cases, and were very involved in organizing the 1978 rally. So they are well-placed to answer this question.
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IS!: What does the CPC(M-L) mean by a “consultative conference”?
A.: Our entire experience in the CPC(M-L) taught us that it is an outright hoax to call these conferences “consultative”. All that really happens is that militants are gathered together to listen to speeches prepared by “Chairman” Bains for hours on end.
It’s the same method that the old revisionist party uses: a leader decides the line and then transmits it to the members at conferences like this. Consultation is really a rubber-stamping formality.
It’s not the first time that the CPC(M-L) has invited foreign parties and organizations in similar circumstances. It’s been doing it for a long time now, and with good reason: it helps impress the militants and add to the “party’s” prestige... and makes them forget that the CPC(M-L) is practically a non-entity in the Canadian working-class movement. It says it wants to consult, but in fact it muzzles those who want to ask questions about this situation and the “party’s” line.
In fact, these “consultative” conferences are related to what the CPC(M-L) calls “mass democracies”. They are a flagrant denial of the Leninist criteria of the party. All the internal structures of the party are short-circuited, the role of the congress as the supreme body is denied, the central committee is no longer responsible for the application of the political line between congresses, and the rank and file is told what to think. That is what these “consultative” conferences boil down to!
IS!: Why Is the CPC(M-L) organizing an event like this at this particular time?
A: The Sixth Conference is an indication of a certain malaise and disintegration within the CPC(M-L). A good many militants, mostly workers, have left the party, and this has undermined the credibility of Bains’s leadership. That’s why he needs a new international blessing. It’s all very simple; he answers “Yes, yes, there are some problems, but the Party of Labour of Albania (PLA) recognizes us,” and the problems are solved. That eliminates any further questions and opposition to the neo-revisionist line.
It’s also a blatant attempt to provoke IN STRUGGLE! The CPC(M-L) sees IN STRUGGLE! as the enemy to be defeated: who else defends Marxism-Leninism in Canada? The CPC(M-L) has hoped that its 1978 rally would cause a split in IN STRUGGLE! But what happened was the very opposite: it was the CPC(M-L) that was split. The CPC(M-L) wants to provoke IN STRUGGLE! into making a mistake that would create difficulties for it with fraternal parties for a long time. But it should be realized that these parties know very little about the CPC(M-L), and their participation certainly does not mean that they agree with the CPC(M-L)’s various ephemeral programs. Nor does it mean that there relationships with the CPC (M-L) are necessarily lasting. Especially since several of these parties are beginning to wonder about the CPC(M-L).
IS!: What conclusions do you draw from this contradictory situation in which some Marxist-Leninist parties wind up giving their blessing to a neo-revisionist party that is rejected by the masses in its own country?
A.: We think that as the fraternal parties come to realize what the CPC(M-L) really is, they will take their distances from it. But the main problem is that there is no program and no constitution worked out and agreed to by all the Marxist-Leninist parties on an international level that could provide specific criteria for recognizing a party on the basis of a clear demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and all the different varieties of revisionism. This is a good opportunity for the Canadian proletariat to heighten its awareness of this question. As Canadian Marxist-Leninists, it is our responsibility to express our point of view on these questions and make it known to the other Marxist-Leninist parties around the world. These are the first steps in the struggle to rebuild the Communist International.
The CPC(M-L)’s conference must be exposed and condemned as a hoax and an act of sabotage of both the unity of the Canadian and international proletariat and the unity of the international communist movement. This unity can only be based on a thorough-going criticism of revisionism. But the CPC(M-L)’s event is, on the contrary, an apology for revisionism. The Marxist-Leninist parties that take part in it have therefore a weighty responsibility towards the proletariat of Canada and other countries.