The Internationalists begins as an academic forum at the University of British Columbia. Jack Scott and others are expelled from the Communist Party of Canada (CP) and make an attempt at founding an anti-revisionist centre, the Progressive Workers Movement (PWM), which eventually fails. Bains remains in the CPC until at least 1965 when he takes a teaching post in Ireland. He publicly supports Nehru against “Chinese aggression” in the Indo-Chinese border dispute and walks out in protest at an early meeting of the Canada-China Friendship Association in Vancouver.
Bains appropriates the name of the Vancouver grouping to create the Irish Internationalists at the University of Dublin. The Vancouver Internationalists continue as an academic forum until 1966 when the group falls apart. In spring 1967, several students sympathetic to PWM’s line decide on their own to apply it to setting up a more disciplined student group based on Marxism-Leninism. Bains flies back to Vancouver to denounce the proposal for a Marxist-Leninist based group as “opportunist”, insisting instead that it be based on a non-Marxist document he had written himself, entitled “The Necessity For Change”. His intervention fails to consolidate a new version of the Internationalists (although he continues to claim its existence in Europe and Eastern Canada) but it succeeds in splitting and demoralizing the majority of the students who, as a result, temporarily set aside the idea of founding a campus group based on Marxism-Leninism.
The “historic” Necessity For Change Conference is held in London, England. A resolution is adopted calling for another “International Congress” to adopt a “common program and organizational structure” based on the Internationalists as a multinational group operating simultaneously in as many countries as possible, including places where parties recognized by Albania and China already exist. An “International Committee” is established in London to act as an information centre “to coordinate with various liberation groups” in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Mass Line, No 10, Sept. 17, 1969, p. 9). This ambitious project fails but after the conference, Internationalist groupings complete with printing presses, etc., start up in earnest in Ireland, England and English Canada and Quebec with Bains as the big thinker behind all of them.
The real founding of the Internationalists as a political organization in Canada takes place in the form of the establishment of branches of the Canadian “Student Movement” at two Montreal English-language universities, McGill and Sir George Williams. No work whatsoever is done in the working class because, as the CPC(ML) puts it, the “economic contradiction” between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat has been “temporarily relegated to a secondary position” in relation to the “cultural contradiction”. (The Irish Internationalist, vol. I. no 1.)
The Intellectuels et Ouvriers Patriotes du Quebec (Marxistes-Leninistes) – IOPQ(ML) – is formed in Montreal. The Canadian Student Movement (CSM) welcomes its formation as a separate organization (in the same city) because Quebec is a “separate nation” with a “separate struggle” needing a separate “revolutionary party in Quebec” (Canadian Student, November, 1968).
After several attempts to re-establish an organization in Vancouver in 1968-69 fail, Bains publicly declares that PWM is the “vanguard organization in Canada”. Meetings held to integrate members of the Canadian Student Movement in Vancouver as PWM sympathizers fail when the Internationalists refuse to accept criticisms of their line and practice Bains responds by setting up a rival group to the Canada-China Friendship Association in Vancouver while at the same time claiming in the rest of the country that PWM leader Jack Scott is the chairman of his group, now renamed the Canadian Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist). Scott denies these claims and publicly declares that people in CCM(ML) “should be regarded as provocateurs.” (BC Newsletter, Dec. 1969).
The attempt to organize the International Congress called for in the 1967 Necessity For Change Conference fails. No Marxist-Leninist groups will attend when they learn of the exclusion of the Albanian and Chinese-supported parties.
In May 1969, the American Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist) is founded at the Conference of North American Anti-Imperialists in Regina, Canada. The ACM(ML) refuses to work with any of the existing organizations calling themselves Marxist-Leninist or anti-imperialist, opposing the line of one-stage socialist revolution in the US with a call for a mass democratic “resistance movement” against fascism, and the formation of “revolutionary committees” in schools and factories.
According to the Lexington Communist Collective, who worked briefly with ACM(ML), CCM(ML) trains two Black cadre in Canada and sends them south to set up the Black Revolutionary Workers Party. The BWRP imitates the program of the Black Panther Party at the height of its popularity in both the Black community and among white students. Chapters are set up only in cities where the Panthers do not have a branch. The whole BRWP organization falls apart in a matter of months.
CCM(ML) holds “mass democracies” on several university campuses as part of a Learn From the People campaign. The meetings often erupt into fights with students. This contributes to a total of 300 arrests in Quebec and 25 in the rest of Canada, according to CCM(ML).
December 30, 1969, CCM(ML) member Bill Shpikula leads several people into Canron, one of Vancouver’s biggest manufacturing plants, and tries to start up a ”mass democracy” in the cafeteria, which ends up in a fist fight with several shop stewards. (See Mass Line, April 12, 1970, p. 4).
The first Workers Mao Tse-tung Thought Propaganda Team is created. One month later, in March 1970, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is declared by a committee supposedly made up of the former leadership of CCM(ML).
The Parti Communiste du Quebec (marxiste-leniniste) is declared in a press release which is almost word for word the same as the earlier announcement of the CPC(ML) except for the hailing of the People’s Republic of Quebec instead of the People’s Republic of Canada. Bains is the chairman of both. Henceforth, PCQ(ML) is alternatively referred to as an independent “sister party” of CPC(ML) and as its Quebec branch.
Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia provokes a mass response across North America. In Toronto, a broad front of groups organizes one demonstration, CPC(ML) calls another for a different time and place. Thirty people show up in response to the call of the “Party”. 7000 march in the other demonstration. Afterwards, CPC(ML) loudly proclaims the success of its demonstration, boasting that the 7000 responded to their call!
The Hindustani Ghadar Party (HGP) – with Bains as chairman – is declared in Canada, imitating the name of the Ghadar party, famous in India for its work on the west coast of Canada and the US in the early part of this century. One of the HGP’s main activities is to intervene directly in the struggle in India, sending over a couple of delegations a year, mailing in publications and propping up various committees and groups with funds supposedly raised in Canada from the East Indian community. In Canada, the HGP operates through its front, the Indian Workers Movement (IWM), in campaigns to gain control of the religious temples and the East Indian Defence Committee, and in organizing periodic demontrations against the Indian government and in publishing newspapers in the Punjabi language which report mainly on political developments in the home country.
The kidnapping of Quebec Labour minister Laporte and British consul Cross by the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) is an opportunity seized by the government to arrest 500 progressives, to impose the War Measures Act suspending civil liberties and to patrol the streets of Montreal with the Canadian army. Some cells of CPC(ML) advocate terrorism, others condemn it, but both apply the directive of the leadership to “oppose all phoney protest marches, peace appeals and tricks of the Holy Alliance of the ’Left’”. In practice this means opposing political mobilization in support of the right of self-determination of Quebec and against the War Measures Act which is carried out by various coalitions of forces such as the Free Quebec-Free Canada Committee in Vancouver.
Bains proposes that the anglophones move CPC(ML) to Toronto while PCQ(ML) should begin the armed struggle for national liberation by organizing “underground small compact and durable groups based on actual struggles at the place of work, in the community and in the universities”. (Mass Line, December 10, 1970, p.3).
CPC(ML) calls for the formation of a Canadian Workers Movement, a parallel ’revolutionary’ union, “to unite workers all over Canada into one organization irrespective of their section or trade”: “In order to oppose the capitalist unions and their sell-out politics CWM will establish WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEES (local units of CWM) among the already unionized workers. CWM will organized the non-unionized workers into WRC’s and oppose their incorporation into capitalist unions.” (Mass Line, August, 1971, p. 1)
After CPC(ML)’s first Congress in Guelph, Jack Scott, who is neither a member nor supporter of CPC(ML), is offered the post of chairman, which he refuses. However, despite Scott’s refusal, photos of him talking with Mao Tse-tung are featured on the front page of the CPC(ML) paper, and members loudly proclaim his membership in, and chairmanship of, the Party.
While the Guelph Congress is in progress, PCQ(ML) is assigned the task of organizing an “exemplary” and “non-pacifist” demonstration on May 20 in Montreal which results in massive arrests and beatings. Instructed not to use “petty-bourgeois lawyers” many of the Quebec members are deported or get jail sentences. By the end of 1971, 90% of the Quebec cadre have abandoned political activity altogether.
On July 31, 1971, the former Montreal party secretary declares that the main bookstore on Amherst street will henceforth be independent from CPC(ML). Most of the members of the “worker branch”, Mouvement Revolutionnaire des Ouvriers, leave with him.
The revolt extends to the other two branches. The split-off from the MEQ creates the Mouvement Revolutionnaire des Etudiants du Quebec (MREQ).
As well, most of the People’s Solidarity Movement of Afro-Asians and Latin Americans (PSMAALA), with its Iranian, African and East Indian groupings, leave CPC(ML).
Later, Hardial Bains boasts that he would have resolved the contradiction with the majority which quit by assassinating the main leaders but didn’t because the conditions for such tactics “did not yet exist”.
What is left of PCQ(ML) is back on the campuses looking for new members with the National Petition for a People’s Quebec:
“We call upon our people from all sections and classes of society to: A. Resolutely take up the task of preparing for national war against imperialism and Anglo-Canadian colonialism in Quebec” (Le Quebec Populaire Bulletin de Nouvelles, April, 1972, p. 19).
Why you would petition for a revolution is never explained nor whom the petition is being sent to, with signatures attached. A similar petition is launched in Toronto calling for “national war against US imperialism” and the convening of the “First People’s Congress” including “native capitalists – completely Canadian, independent and non-monopoly capitalists.” (The Canadian People’s United Front Bulletin, no. 1, p. 3).
Efforts to rally ex-members of the “Human Government” slate elected as a ’radical’ student council at the University of British Columbia fail despite promises of central committee posts to two persons if they can “deliver” the rest of the group to CPC(ML).
CPC(ML) runs 52 candidates in the federal elections and distributes the “Communist Manifesto for Canada and Quebec (First Draft)”
The struggle for a Marxist-Leninist line within the Partisan organization in Vancouver, best known of the “new left” organizations in English Canada, is defeated by a manoeuvre of the Rathwell-Boughn section of the central committee. The Partisans are dissolved three weeks after an agreement is reached with ex-Red Morning members in Toronto to establish a national organization based on Marxism-Leninism and upholding the line that Canada is an imperialist country where a one-stage proletarian revolution is on the order paper. The dissolution of Partisans is part of a secret deal negotiated with CPC(ML) which dissolves its BC provincial committee and offers positions on its central committee to all former members of the Partisans central committee. Many ex-members of Partisans and Chullima collective attend the founding meeting of the supposedly independent New Marxist-Leninist Centre in Vancouver which elects another provincial committee of CPC(ML).
CPC(ML)’s attempt to gain control of the Khalsa Diwan Society, which runs all the activities around the temple in Vancouver’s East Indian community, leads to a riot on the temple grounds between supporters of the rival slates in January 1973.
In Montreal on January 20, 1973, CPC(ML) refuses to join with 30 other organizations in a major demonstration in support of the national liberation struggles in Indochina. However, they show up at the march with their own banners and megaphones for their own slogans.
Meanwhile, members of the student branch of CPC(ML). MEQ, arrive at the University of Quebec in Montreal to condemn a student strike adopted in a mass assembly and cross the picket lines to hold a “mass democracy” in one of the buildings.
The off-again, on-again history of the “independent” PCQ(ML) comes to an end with the following decision made at the second congress of CPC(ML) in March, 1973:
“It was decided to move the Central Headquarters of the Party to Montreal and was decided to move the offices related to the central office there. It was also decided to establish the Communist Party of Quebec (Marxist-Leninist) as the branch of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).” (PCDN, vol. 2, no 68, p. 3).
A month later, ex-members of the anarchist New Morning group of Halifax, led by a man who had publicly admitted to having been a paid agent of the RCMP, Dave Mckinnon, agree to “enter into unity with CPC(ML) Halifax and through the form of unity conference(s) begin to build a political program and the practice of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought in Halifax, and through Red Morning the Maritimes as a whole” (emphasis ours) whereupon there would be an “amalgamation” of the two groups. (PCDN, April 28, 1973)
On August 30, 1973, the bourgeois press publishes a photo showing railworkers grabbing CPC(ML) members who tried to provoke a confrontation with police during the massive railworker demonstration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Embarrassed, CPC(ML) makes the unsubstantiated claim that the workers were all undercover police agents or “revisionists”.
In the US, after the failure of an earlier plan to merge with the Communist League just before a projected North American Conference of Marxist-Leninists, and in order to use that conference as a basis for “declaring” the party in the US, the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist) holds its own conference. Two of the five small collectives who attend (who were hailed in its newspaper as great Marxist-Leninists) are later publicly revealed to be creations of the FBI. The other three stop working with ACWM(ML) shortly after the conference but a “new” organization is declared anyway, the Central Organization of US Marxist-Leninists (COUSML).
PCQ(ML) participates in the provincial elections.
Three months after the strike begins for union recognition at Artistic Woodwork in Toronto, one of the most militant and successful struggles in recent years in terms of mobilizing mass support, CPC(ML) is expelled from a support demonstration by decision of the Strike Committee. CPC(ML) was counselling workers to plan attacks on the bosses in their homes.
CPC(ML) is denounced by the main Palestinian organization in Montreal, Quebec-Palestine, for disrupting a demonstration in support of the PLO by chanting their own separate slogans and trying to push to the front with their banner to make it look like CPC(ML) organized the demonstration.
CPC(ML) runs 105 candidates in the July 8, 1974 elections.
CPC(ML) is condemned by Native Indian leaders for promoting splits in the native movement by its activities in the cross-country Native Caravan which ends with an RCMP attack on demonstrators on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 30, 1974.
CPC(ML) joins the social democrats in declaring that “United Aircraft should be nationalized” and hails the leadership of the labour bosses in the long and bitter strike of United Auto Workers members in the Montreal region. (PCDN, October 29, 1974, p. 1).
The Haitian Comite d’Action Anti-Deportation condemns CPC(ML) for trying to take over and disrupt its demonstration against deportation of Haitian immigrants in Montreal.
CPC(ML) unites with Parti Quebecois reformists to ride the back of a struggle against loan bursary cuts and aptitude entrance tests, promting the formation of a new Association des Etudiants du Quebec (ANEQ) and taking control of the province-wide paper, Journal de la Majorite.
PCDN hails ALIVE magazine of Guelph as a “consistently anti-imperialist” literary publication. The political principles this accolade turns out to be based on are mutual agreement that Canada is a neo-colony and a proposal from ALIVE that they co-operate to build a new publishing centre, with CPC(ML) getting immediate access to ALIVE’s computer typesetting equipment. Relations between CPC(ML) and ALIVE go back to 1973 when ALIVE and its local arm Guelph News Service, which published 18 issues of a weekly newspaper in spring-summer 1972, established fraternal relations – based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence between states with different social systems! CPC(ML) moves quickly, shifting all typesetting and layout for PCDN to ALIVE’s facilities. After the PCDN staff has been trained on the new equipment, CPC(ML) suggests that the ALIVE collective be dispersed to Vancouver and Toronto. While this is happening, and without consulting ALIVE, the equipment is moved to PCDN’s publishing house in Toronto. ALIVE members are then “encouraged” to join the PCDN production collective.
CPC(ML) launches its proposal for a “united front of Marxist-Leninists” to unite all those who “call themselves Marxist-Leninist” to carry out a common policy and practice on as many issues as possible, refraining from any public ideological struggle or criticism of one another’s political work.
After supposedly working together in a “united front” for several months, CPC(ML) liquidates On the Line as an independent paper, renaming its own paper PCDN/OTL. The majority of the former staffers of this independent Kitchener paper, who, earlier on, had voluntarily made On the Line the organ of the CPC(ML) front group, the Southern Ontario Workers Association, because they believed CPC(ML) “was a genuine Communist Party”, quit. In March 1977, some of them regroup to publish another paper, New Foundations which summarizes their experiences with CPC(ML):
“As a result of our attempt to unite with CPC(ML), we concluded that that organization is not a revolutionary Communist party but a revisionist and fascist organization. CPC(ML) took over On the Line only in order to destroy it. It became apparent that the top leadership follows a pattern of seizing control of progressive organizations and smashing them. The leaders of CPC(ML) are conscious agents of reaction who pretend to be revolutionary leaders in order to subvert revolution. They promote, not Communism, but fascism.” (New Foundations, March, 1977, p. 2).
Bains and CPC(ML) public spokesman Richard Daly give a press conference, February 20, to try to explain away the fact that Joe Burton, who had been one of the main vehicles for transmitting Bains instructions to the American branch plant organizations since 1972, was a self-admitted FBI agent.
Hardial Bains responds to sensationalist headlines in the Vancouver press about “vigilante groups” by declaring that the East Indian Defence Committee has nothing to do with the struggle for socialism. Earlier calls for Bains’ deportation by ultra-conservative Members of Parliament are subsequently dropped. On March 30, dozens of people mobilized by the East Indian Defence Committee in Vancouver are arrested in a second pitched battle on the temple grounds due to a dispute provoked by CPC(ML)’s attempt to take control of the temple by backing a “traditional Sikh” religious slate in the Khalsa Diwan Society elections.
Trudeau announces the Wage Control Act, Bill C-73, and CPC(ML) announces its new “tactical policy and plan”: “Make the Rich Pay!”
CPC(ML) uses its leverage in the Quebec Student Association, ANEQ, to place its supporters in full-time executive positions in the National Student Press (PEN), revived as a press agency for Quebec student papers by ANEQ in November 1975.
At Limoilou CEGEP in Quebec City, IN STRUGGLE! holds public meetings to expose CPC(ML)’s political line. Students respond by calling for the ouster of CPC(ML) militants who infiltrated the leadership of a student occupation and strike – and led it to near defeat. They used various undemocratic manoeuvres to impose a student union (ANEQ local) rather than openly advocating a communist line to give perspective to the democratic struggle of the students and used their positions to print their own material free and impose restrictions on the circulation of political propaganda other than their own.
CPC(ML) tries to provoke an incident by charging into the May Day demonstration, trying to displace IN STRUGGLE! militants with 2X4’s disguised with red flags.
A Communist worker at St. Luc Hospital writes to IN STRUGGLE! describing anti-communist actions of CPC(ML) members who wormed their way onto the local hospital union executive, where they closely collaborated with a reactionary set of union bosses to the extent of handing over names of communists. CPC(ML) uses its union position to permit the privileged distribution of PCDN on the picket lines, to get control of union microphones for CPC(ML) reformist slogans, etc. As a final provocation, they accuse two Marxist-Leninists working there of being “federal agents” – the proof being that they were ordinary employees of the federal government.
A letter from the president of the phoney Kitchener Canada-China Friendship Society (which replies to request for literature on China by sending out copies of PCDN) Prof. Forest, and her husband, is the occasion for the intensification of CPC(ML)’s attacks on various longtime leaders of the friendship movement, especially James Endicott, to whom the Forest letter is addressed. Endicott’s meetings are systematically disrupted by CPC(ML) throughout the country from that summer to the present.
August 14, 1976 – The Indian Workers Movement, a front for the Hindustani Ghadar Party and CPC(ML), organizes a physical attack on an IPANA demonstration in Vancouver, sending two people to hospital. Later, CPC(ML) launches another attack on Mary Tyler, jailed 5 years in India as a member of the Communist Party of India (ML), during her speaking tour with IPANA in Buffalo.
ALIVE breaks away from the CPC(ML) and publicly condemns its splitting and wrecking tactics as “classic Trotskyism”. CPC(ML) is ousted from control of ANEQ. Refusing to accept the students’ decision, it declares that it is the “real” PEN (student press organization) and the “real” ANEQ, and puts out Le Journal de la Majorite en faveur de la majorite au sein de l’ANEQ, published by “le conseil central destitue de l’ANEQ”.
The October 14 general strike called by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the main country-wide labour central, is the occasion for CPC(ML) to condemn Marxist-Leninists for agitating for a political strike. It argues that “we must not waste time in secondary issues like attacking the CLC” and the attempts of the labor bosses to limit and betray the strike as a political action. (Two Points To Remember, 1976, p. 13) It repeats its line at the March 22 Parliament Hill demonstration, according to which the struggle against wage controls is purely an economic struggle and workers should not engage in political struggle except on an “individual” basis, by joining CPC(ML) (QCP, October 30, p. 1)
The November issue of PCDN, headlined “Class Struggle in China”, marks the decision to switch from a Chinese cover to an Albanian one. CPC(ML) attacks the Chinese party for reintegrating Teng Hsiao Ping, and criticizes China’s domestic policy. Ads appear in the PCDN announcing the imminent creation of Canadian friendship societies for Albania and Cambodia.
After being rejected in student elections at Rosement CEGEP in Montreal, CPC(ML) tries to impose its views by holding a “mass democracy” guarded by people with 2 x 4’s who soon provoke fights with students, bringing the police on campus.
CPC(ML) holds its Third Congress from February 6 to March 13 in Montreal.
At the Mussens factory in Montreal, a CPC(ML) member infiltrates the union bureaucracy and is a director of the ten-month long strike. He uses his position to sabotage the application of several decisions aimed at broadening links of solidarity and mobilizing the class-conscious support of other workers. He uses his post to permit the circulation of PCDN (not identified as a communist paper) but bans distribution of Marxist-Leninist newspapers, and on more than one occasion incites workers to physically attack communist distributors about whom he has previously started rumours that they are police or company ’spies’. All of these tactics fail in the face of patient communist education work, and CPC(ML) militant disappears suddenly before the end of the strike.
March 24 to May 2, 1977, Bains leads a delegation to tour Albania. A second delegation goes in August.
The first of CPC(ML)’s temples is opened in Vancouver on July 1.
June 30 to July 15, Bains goes on the first of a series of cross-Canada tours to report on his trip to Albania.
A newly created Committee of Solidarity with Zimbabwe sponsors the tour of ZANU representative across Canada from July 22 to August 14.
A tour of representatives from the Committee to Defend Political Prisoners in Spain is sponsored by the Committee of Support for the Spanish People, from August 2 to August 26.
A number of paper mass organizations that are little more than post box numbers – but which send out delegations and telegrams abroad as if they were real organizations – are created to fill up a few holes where CPC(ML) has as yet no mass base: the Progressive Women’s Association, the Canadian Workers Association and the Canadian Youth Union of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
In September, 1977, the Hindustani Ghadar Party (now also called the Organization of Indian Marxist-Leninists Overseas) held its first congress which decided to “take up the task of rebuilding the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); in the next year. (QCP, February 14, 1978, p.l)
On September 10, 1977, a resolution is adopted at a meeting in memorial to Mao denouncing the Three Worlds Theory and the reintegration of Teng Hsiao Ping in China. A second series of articles appear in PCDN criticizing this theory, the earlier one being attacks on Jack Scott’s “Titoite revisionism” which started while Bains was in Albania.
In October, CPC(ML) attacks the organizers of a meeting on China at Rosemont CEGEP in Montreal with 2 by 4’s.
A representative of the People’s Democratic Front of Chile tours Canada at CPC(ML) expense from October 29 to December 10.
CPC(ML) calls a parallel demonstration to the one called by the 30 organization Toronto coalition, Action Committee Against Racism, on November 6 and tries to split the demonstration. Prior to the day of the demonstration CPC(ML) supporters make a physical attack on people outside a meeting at the Sikh temple where a meeting to prepare the demonstration is to be held.
On November 15, CPC(ML) tries to disrupt a Regina meeting called to discuss the shootings of workers at Robin Hood flourmill in Montreal.
Two more temples are opened by CPC(ML): December 24 in Winnipeg, January 7 in Toronto.
The CPC(ML) front, Anti-Imperialist Alliance, disrupts a meeting of a long-time friend of China, Felix Greene, at the University of Waterloo, leading the Chinese Student Association to break with CPC(ML) and issue a leaflet condemning them as “troublemakers”.
CPC(ML) tries to systematically disrupt the tour of IN STRUGGLE! Secretary-General Charles Gagnon across Canada to defend the communist line on the national question of Quebec. In Saskatoon they launch a physical attack on people at the door, beating them with 2 by 4’s. The same occurs at the University of British Columbia a week later but a further attempt at the main meeting in Vancouver is repulsed.
In the weeks preceding the Internationalist Rally in Montreal hosted by CPC(ML), several physical attacks are made on members of IN STRUGGLE! while they are postering, or just walking on the street, in Montreal and Hull.
CPC(ML) holds a special congress, little more than a year after its Third Congress in February 1977.