It has already become clear in the previous sections of this letter that you negate the struggle against revisionism and opportunism by counter-posing it to “unity.” In the introduction to Section IX, for example, we showed that you oppose our carrying through of the struggle against Chinese revisionism to the end by characterizing our stand of struggle against opportunism as “anti-Leninist tactics on the question of building and strengthening the unity amongst the genuine Marxist-Leninist forces in one country.” In particular you oppose the struggle against the conciliators of social-chauvinism as an alleged failure to exhaust “the full possibilities of this opportunity of building the unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists.” In this section we shall examine some more of your views concerning “unity.” We shall examine further your statements in which you elaborate your theories denying struggle against opportunism, putting forward the opportunists as “temporary allies,” and setting forward the path of pragmatic maneuver with the opportunist chieftains under the cover of “unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists.”
In the discussions between our two Parties in late May 1979 you put forward a whole scheme, a strategy and tactics, of replacing the struggle against opportunism with the struggle to unite with the opportunist chieftains. You stated:
This is the same question of Leninist tactics we don’t agree with you on concerning opportunists. You choose frontal attack. Ideologically destroy. We put unity in the forefront, and they expose themselves. Now the struggle [which struggle? the struggle to unite in one party with the opportunists? – ed.] is taking place among the masses even. (From our minutes, emphasis added)
Returning to this question, you added:
Not absolutes, these tactics. [With this you try to deny the connection between tactics and principles. From the fact that you are calling for unity with diehard opportunists, allegedly no one should draw any conclusion concerning your stand towards the opportunists, because allegedly tactics are one thing, while principles and ”absolutes” are another – ed.] You may be right. [But you will call us “anti-Leninist” and “sectarian” for this disagreement anyway and on this basis and because we refuse the “special relationship” you will call for the overthrow of our leadership and break fraternal relations with us. – ed.) But when opportunists are holding up pretensions of unity, (it is) wrong to have frontal attack. (emphasis added)
Our comrade pointed out that far from holding out pretensions of unity, the Weisberg social-democratic MLOC/“CPUSA(ML)” sect had called us the “most anti-Leninist” of all. You replied: “They can say anything.”
With this contemptuous (towards us) and frivolous reply, you showed the complete hollowness of your talk about the “opportunists...holding up pretensions of unity.” But there is more to it than that. With this contemptuous reply, you were hiding something. You were concealing the fact that the “pretensions of unity” on the part of certain American conciliators was not towards our Party, whose upright Marxist-Leninist stand against conciliation-ism was hated by these opportunists and constituted the major roadblock to their schemes, but towards your Party. The Weisberg social-democratic sect of conciliators not only saw that you refused to support our struggle against conciliationism and “centrism,” but they also saw that you were willing to have a certain amount of contact with them. This contact was limited, but it sufficed to show them that you were keeping the door open for future pragmatic maneuvers. (Simultaneously with maintaining this contact and flirtation with the Weisberg social-democratic sect, you also on various occasions denounced Mr. Weisberg to us in terms worse than those that we used in our devastating pamphlet Against Social-Democratic Infiltration of the Marxist-Leninist Movement. For we restricted ourselves to what we could prove and document, whereas you are very free with certain serious accusations. But the point is that your theories of “unity” are theories of pragmatic maneuver with the devil himself. So on one hand you denounced Mr. Weisberg and on the other hand you maintained contact with him and flirted, made a number of benevolent, mild and meek assessments of this or that activity of his sect, opposed our polemics against Weisberg’s social-democratic sect, and so forth.) Naturally any such maneuvering would be at our expense, at the expense of the genuine Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. and of their principled struggle against opportunism. Therefore you had to evade the question of what “pretensions of unity” you were referring to.
It should be stressed that you did not deny that we were striking at opportunists, and not at good elements. Thus you were opposing “frontal attack,” that is, struggle, precisely against opportunism. Indeed, you were opposing it on the basis of general principle. That is, you are throwing away the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the struggle against opportunism and replacing them with a general theory of seeking “unity” with the opportunists. On the pretext of “tactics,” you are negating one of the most basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. The general pattern you put forward for dealing with the opportunists is: seek unity with them and then they will “expose themselves.” Clearly this means that the opportunists will “expose themselves” if they fail to unite. Thus you, in fact, are putting forward the path of uniting with the opportunists and denouncing them only when they refuse that unity. As for principled struggle against opportunism, you denounce it as a “frontal attack” which allegedly violates creative tactics and you imply it is unnecessary, for the opportunists will “expose themselves.”
This shows that to this very day you still uphold the general principles set forth in your pamphlet On Unity of Marxist-Leninists of 1976. We quoted from that pamphlet at the end of Section XI-G. We showed that this pamphlet set forward the path of appealing for unity to every individual and organization “who claimed to be Marxist-Leninists,” that is, was Marxist-Leninist in words, even though these individuals and organizations were in fact “revisionists, trotskyists, anarcho-syndicalists and opportunists of various sorts.” This pamphlet defined struggle against that revisionism, trotskyism, anarcho-syndicalism and opportunism which pretend to be Marxist-Leninist as being the struggle against the disruption of unity with them, and stated that:
Certain comrades and friends also raise questions about how the struggle against these opportunist political lines should be waged. In the practical movement, the opportunists are all those who are unwilling to sit together with others and sort out their differences.
Not to join the Party and not to sit together to deal with questions relating to the theory and tactics of Canadian revolution amounts to opportunism. (On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, pp. 155, 156)
This is the same path as you described in late May 1979 as: “We put unity in the forefront, and they [the opportunists – ed.] expose themselves.
And this is the same path as you endorse in your speech assessing the decade of the 1970’s, given on December 30, 1979, in Hamilton. Your speech says:
During this entire period, our Party defended itself. It defended the correct line that there should be only one Party in each country. It called upon the Marxist-Leninists, or those who called themselves Marxist-Leninists, to join the Party and build the Party. On this basis, [whether or not they joined the CPC(M-L) – ed.] it differentiated between sham Marxist-Leninists and real Marxist-Leninists: those who are real Marxist-Leninists, who are serious, will join the Party and will build it; those who are opposed to this are opportunists and splittists, while Marxist-Leninists are not splittist. [There now – you have solved the whole problem of the unity of the Marxist-Leninists by definition. You have replaced the struggle against the opportunist ideologies and trends that cause splits with defining and redefining the word “Marxist-Leninist.” But we follow Marx, who said: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.” (Theses on Feuerbach) – ed.] We pointed out that those who do not want to unite are actually RCMP agents, agents of the secret service, and this has been fully corroborated, [Good grief. Not only did you give the call to unite in one party to those whom you had publicly labelled as “revisionists, trotskyists, anarcho-syndicalists and opportunists of various sorts” (On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, p. 153), but also to those whom you had publicly labelled as “actually RCMP agents.” And now you say that it is fully corroborated that these people were “actually RCMP agents.” But the most dangerous police agent is not the one who refuses to join the party, but the one who will agree to anything precisely in order to infiltrate the party. – ed.| even by the Keable Commission and the McDonald Commission and others – that these people have direct links with the government, with the chiefs of staff of the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada. (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980. p. 2, col. 3)
In short, you defend the call for unity in one party with all those “who claim to be Marxist-Leninists,” even those whom you have labelled as police. This call for “unity in one party” replaces the struggle against the opportunists. You distinguish between “real Marxist-Leninists” and “RCMP agents” on the basis of who joins the CPC(M-L). In this way you define away the struggle against opportunism, for clearly it is not waged against “real Marxist-Leninists” nor can it be entirely identified with the art of combatting the political police. Indeed, all the allegedly militant words about the opportunists being “actually RCMP agents” are simply meant to downgrade the necessity for ideological struggle against opportunism. They are the flip side of “official optimism”: i.e., there are allegedly no opportunists in the Marxist-Leninist movement and conversely there is no one but police outside the Marxist-Leninist movement, and hence, you conclude, no serious political ideologies or groupings that have to be dealt with among the opportunists. But your curses against the opportunists as policemen are empty, hollow, hypocritical words, for you continue to bombard these same opportunists with continued appeals for “unity in one party,” for an end to the “ideological struggle,” and so forth. You curse the opportunists as “actually RCMP agents” to cover over the fact that your theory actually is the opposition of struggle against opportunism. Thus we shall see that “officially” you curse the opportunists as dogs, criminals and police, while behind the scenes you put forward the “tactics” of demanding that we regard them as “temporary allies.”
As a side point, but as an important issue in itself, it should be noted that this passage also displays a frivolous attitude to the question of defending the Marxist-Leninist movement from infiltration by the police and other bourgeois agents. From the facts about the relation of the political police and the opportunists, you denigrate the struggle against opportunism instead of finding it a further reason for strengthening the ideological struggle against opportunism. You talk about the presence of political police, but you fail to note that this fully confirms the necessity to replace the abstract, social-democratic scheme of “unity (with the opportunists) in one party” with the orientation of building the Marxist-Leninist party without and against the opportunists. For it is impossible to distinguish between “RCMP agents” and non-agents on the basis of who joins the Party, for the most dangerous agent is the agent provocateur who will do his best to infiltrate the party. At the same time, since you call for “unity in one party,” you must believe that there are honest elements still outside the Party. But in that case it is unprincipled slander and gutter politics to label everyone outside the Party indiscriminately as police agents. This is not just unscrupulous and disgusting, it is degrading the task of fighting the political police and discrediting this fight and turning it into an empty game of name-calling. It is the method of the blackmailer, the method of bourgeois “dirty tricks,” to say: do what I want or I will call you police, but agree with me and you are pure as a virgin and a “real Marxist-Leninist” to boot. We are shocked at this frivolous attitude to the essential and constant task of fighting the political police, and we have never accepted this method for use in our work.
From your standpoint of opposing the struggle against opportunism, you therefore denounce this struggle – and our Party, which wages this struggle openly and consistently – as “sectarian.” In opposition to this alleged “sectarianism,” you put forward the view that the opportunists are “temporary allies.” It is shocking to us to see you, the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist party, put forward the same denunciation of the anti-opportunist struggle as is made by the neo-revisionists and the Chinese revisionists. They both call the opportunists “middle forces” and denounce the struggle of the Marxist-Leninists against opportunism as “sectarianism.” We have written about this extensively in our series of articles in The Workers’ Advocate entitled “U.S. Neo-Revisionism as the American Expression of the International Opportunist Trend of Chinese Revisionism.” Indeed, the Khrushchovite revisionists, social-democrats and other opportunists also denounce the anti-opportunist struggle as “sectarian.” When you change the phrase “middle force” to “ally” or even “temporary ally,” this is a change of no basic significance.
Thus in the discussions between our two Parties in November 1978, you denounced our struggle against the conciliators of social-chauvinism as “sectarianism.” Our minutes of those discussions point out that:
He [the representative of the CPC(M-L) – ed.] gave views on our tactics with MLOC [now “CPUSA/ML” – ed.]. The Leninist tactics require paying attention to allies, even temporary allies. Certain forces will give the same line as you for a time, insincerely. [Amazing! What an incredible prettification of the social-democracy of the MLOC! You are so eager to engage in pragmatic maneuvers with the conciliators of social-chauvinism that you deny the difference between social-democracy and Marxism-Leninism! You say that this is the “same line.” – ed.] You utilize this. You must pay attention to the objective movement. In his view our tactics are sectarian. He said that on the question of meeting with them we were correct to handle it in the way we did, unlike how the party hurt itself talking to En Lutte! [By May 1979 you changed your opinion on this too, and put forward your talks with En Lutte! as a model for us – ed.] But we should have continued pursuing the question internally, sending them letters to paralyze them, and arming our comrades to do verbal propaganda to chase them out of our circles. That is, carry on the fight without the published polemics and launch that stage sometime next year. [In short, anything but polemics! [For our principled and hard-hitting polemics put a spoke in the wheel of anyone advocating unprincipled pragmatic maneuvers with the conciliators. – ed.] He pointed out that this is a question of tactics [i.e., don’t ask what are the principles underlying this stand of the leadership of CPC(M-L)! – ed.], which is an important question. He expressed enthusiasm that we crush MLOC. (emphasis added)
The completely unprincipled nature of this praise of opportunism as a “temporary ally” is underlined by your criteria for this “temporary ally.” It is only that someone call themselves Marxist-Leninist in words. But this means to throw out the consideration of what role these forces actually play in the class struggle. It means to lose faith in the actual revolutionary process, to judge by the shadow and not by the reality, and to be willing to play ball with any element who is willing to phrasemonger a bit (and who has something in his possession that you find useful). It means that you are establishing a meaningless, paper criterion behind which any treachery can be done behind the scenes.
Your theory that one should be guided by whether or not various opportunists “claim to be Marxist-Leninist” is utterly anti-Marxist-Leninist and even a violation of elementary materialism. It is denounced over and over again in the Marxist-Leninist classics. We shall give just two examples of this, but many more could be given. Thus in What Is to Be Done? Comrade Lenin says that we should: “...judge people not by the brilliant uniforms they don, not by the high-sounding appellations they give themselves, but by their actions, and by what they actually advocate.... ” (Ch. I, Sec. A)
Or again, in the book The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, Lenin sarcastically remarks:
Let us point out, in passing, that when calling the non-Bolsheviks in Russia, i.e., the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. Socialists, Kautsky was guided by their appellation, that is, by a word, and not by the actual place they are occupying in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. What an excellent understanding and application of Marxism! But of this more anon. (From the beginning of the chapter “How Kautsky Transformed Marx into an Ordinary Liberal,” emphasis as in the original)
You continued this theme in the discussions of December 3, 1978. Here you put forward the theme that the opportunists in general, not just the social-democratic conciliators, are not just a “negative force,” but also a “positive force.” You stated:
You probably think the opportunists are a negative force. However, they are also a positive force. They have given unprecedented prestige to China, Marxism-Leninism, etc. All sorts of hardened anti-communists say they are Marxist-Leninist. [To us, this would seem an excellent argument against ”putting unity in the forefront“ with all those ”who claim to be Marxist-Leninists,“ but you draw the opposite conclusion – ed.] It is a negative force in that it presents difficulties to us. But if we put our difficulties in command, (it) will give rise to factional struggle. We will become a sect. We want to educate the working class, but [But you prefer to let the opportunists “expose themselves” – ed.] when we polemicize against them, they love it, [If this is true, then you should look into the political and ideological content of your polemics – ed.] and take up our line and attack us. We have 400-page books written on the opportunists, but (we) do not publish. You must keep up on their activity.
This truly shocking praise of the opportunists as a “positive force” and as an “ally” is naturally the inevitable accompaniment of your advocating pragmatic maneuvers with the opportunists under the signboard of “unity.” You believe that the unity with opportunists can have some pragmatic value for this or that purpose. After all, the opportunists might have some connections, or some numbers, or some influence, etc. Therefore you want to utilize this, so pragmatic maneuvering must replace principled struggle. Oh yes, pragmatic maneuvering doesn’t totally exclude polemics under all circumstances. By no means. But it is not for nothing that you insist that your polemics are not ideological struggle. For example, you wrote: “When we publish our criticism of MREQ, it is not for the purpose of waging ideological struggle.” (On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, p. 156)
Polemics can be waged on a pragmatic basis, either as part of pragmatic maneuvering (on the theory of give the opportunists a good rap or two so that they agree to be a “temporary ally”) or because the pragmatic maneuvering has led to disaster and something must be done. But naturally a polemical struggle against the opportunists which is not inspired by ideological motives, but only by pragmatic concerns, is a mere bluff which in the long run will not stand the test of life.
Our Party stands firmly opposed to all these anti-Marxist-Leninist theories of yours which negate the struggle against opportunism under the signboard of “unity.” We are for unity of the Marxist-Leninists and unity of the proletariat under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist party, unities which are only achieved in fierce struggle against the imperialists and the opportunists, and against “unity” of Marxist-Leninists with opportunists. We are opposed to pragmatic maneuvering with the chieftains of opportunism under the signboard of “unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists,” opposed to the theories that opportunism is a “temporary ally” or “positive force” and opposed to the reduction of polemics and of struggle against opportunism to a pragmatic maneuver, stripped of deep ideological content and consistent motivation, rather than an essential front of the class struggle.
And when our Party opposes your bankrupt theories of opportunism as a “temporary ally,” of “unity (with opportunism) in one party” and of pragmatic maneuvers with opportunism, this does not mean that we are opposed to having “temporary allies” or principled maneuvers. Not in the slightest. It no more means that then opposition to the Chinese revisionist theories of opportunism as a “middle force” means opposition to the concept of middle strata and middle forces or the presentation of all non-proletarian forces as one undistinguishable reactionary blob. The point is not to deny “temporary allies,” but the point is that you are calling the forces that have come out against the struggle “temporary allies.” The point is that you are opposing the struggle against the opportunist roadblocks to the struggle by imposing the scheme of “put unity in the forefront, and they expose themselves.” The point is that you are dreaming of pragmatic maneuvers with the chieftains of opportunism on the basis of liquidating the movement against social-chauvinism in particular and the ideological and polemical struggle against opportunism in general. The point is that you detach your tactics from principles, lose faith in the revolutionary upsurge and the ferment among the masses and instead seek to gain this or that petty advantage from dancing with the opportunist chiefs. The point is that you have given up even the pretext of assessing the possible “temporary allies” by their actual role in the struggle and instead call for deals with all those “who call themselves Marxist-Leninists,” all those who in words say this or that. No, this is unacceptable. This is anti-Marxist-Leninist. This is treachery. Our Party will never accept this. Our Party will continue to take every opportunity, even the smallest, to seek out even unstable, vacillating, temporary, conditional allies, especially mass allies. Our Party will continue to put forward the path of very carefully and patiently sorting out the different elements in the Marxist-Leninist movement as described in our pamphlet How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism and elsewhere, and we refuse to accept the stereotyped and oversimplified schemes of “official optimism” or of any other type. Our Party will continue to search out and implement proper tactics, and even when necessary, maneuvers, compromises and special arrangements, in order to come to terms with and help move forward groups of proletarians and toilers stirring to new life or of honest revolutionaries who are breaking away from the opportunist grip, but these tactics will be based on principle. These tactics, as well as our strategy, will be on the basis of pushing forward the class struggle not only against the capitalists and reactionaries, but against their agents, the opportunists; they will be on basis of building the Marxist-Leninist Party without the opportunists and against the opportunists. They will be on the basis of heightening the class consciousness of the proletariat and sharpening the class struggle, and not on the basis of blunting the struggle, submerging everything in “official optimism” and searching for some pragmatic advantage. This is the path of revolution, and revolution in deeds and not just revolution in resolutions and speeches written for official consumption.
You have also negated the ideological struggle against opportunism in the U.S. not only by counterposing it to “unity” in general, but also in particular by counterposing it to the question of whether or not your leadership is accepted and your experience taken up. In this way, you have denied the struggle of Marxism-Leninism against opportunism in order to replace it by judging this or that stand simply from the point of view of whether it is “pro-CPC(M-L)” or “anti-CPC(M-L),” independently of the ideological content of the stand. In practice this amounts to the demand that the stands of the leadership of CPC (M-L) be followed independently of whether they are right or wrong, but simply because they are the stands of the leadership of CPC(M-L). It is not Marxist-Leninist for a party in its own country to replace the ideological struggle against opportunism with simply demanding blind obedience on the basis of the prestige of the party. And when you go a step further and negate the ideological struggle against opportunism in the U.S. by replacing it with the demand for adherence to your “trend.” then this is a brutal demand for a “special relationship” outside of the Marxist-Leninist norms.
Thus in discussing the question of whether or not to hold a meeting commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Internationalists, your representative set forth the following position:
He [the representative of the leadership of CPC(M-L) – ed.] said...that lately they had noticed that there seemed to be a certain de-emphasizing of the Internationalists. He said it was very important not to give up our history. (The delegate from the leadership of COUSML said:) ’But you think there is a trend to de-emphasize.’ He said yes, the ideological aspects. For example in the U.S. you do not do propaganda that for years in the U.S. the youth and students were blocked from the advanced experience of the youth and student movement in Canada by national and social-chauvinism. ... It was only when this was broken through, that widescale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought took place and that the opportunists were forced to take up Marxism-Leninism. (Our minutes of the discussions of January 1978, emphasis added)
Thus you are putting forward that the issue in the revolutionary movement in the U.S. was not Marxism-Leninism versus modern revisionism and opportunism, but to take up the “advanced experience” of your trend. You deny the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism and replace it by the issue of whether or not the movement accepted your leadership. In this way you play on the sincere proletarian internationalist sentiments of respect for your Party and try to use them to promote certain anti-Marxist-Leninist pretensions of developing your own “trend.”
You present this as a struggle against “national and social-chauvinism.” But you define chauvinism as failure to accept your “advanced experience.” This type of opposition to “chauvinism” has nothing to do with the struggle against social-chauvinism in the U.S., against the Pentagon-socialist thesis of “directing the main blow against Soviet social-imperialism,” against alliance with “one’s own” bourgeoisie against the revolution, against the bankrupt positions of Chinese, Khrushchovite and Browderite revisionism and of social-democracy. The struggle against American opportunism is covered up by simply judging forces by whether they are for or against your leadership.
Thus you described in early 1977 that various forces are following the arch-“three worlder” Klonsky. but allegedly they will turn around and follow you if Klonsky is discredited. You do not consider the question of why these groups are following Klonsky, what this shows about the positions they are in. or why they are part of an opportunist trend but instead reduce the question to simply whether one follows Klonsky or follows you. Thus Klonsky is being “floated internationally,” but if he is discredited, everything will be fine and the era of unrestrained pragmatic maneuvering for “unity” will begin. Thus your representative stated:
OL is the organization being floated internationally. ... I think MLOC and all of these groups will abandon Klonsky. Once he’s been smashed internationally, these wavering elements will abandon him.
Anyway, CPC(M-L) is on the agenda one way or another. All of the fears of these guys will come true. They were scared that the American proletariat will follow CPC(M-L) – now it will come true. (From our minutes of the discussions of February 6, 1977 with our delegation to the Third Congress of the CPC (M-L))
Here you do not consider the history or role of the MLOC and why they took up Klonskyism. And this at a time when MLOC was a most ardent open social-chauvinist and “three worlder.” The MLOC was at this time trying to float, in coordination with the Chinese revisionist propaganda, that the Marxist-Leninists were trotskyites. But for you, there is no question of struggle against opportunism and of examining the role of these groups in the actual struggle. Instead the issue is simply to wipe out Klonsky’s international reputation and replace it with that of CPC(M-L), and then all these allegedly “wavering elements” will abandon Klonsky and come over to “follow CPC(M-L).”
Naturally history disproved your thesis. For example, it is true that MLOC abandoned support of Klonsky as a person. But MLOC had taken up Klonskyism because neo-revisionism and social-chauvinism fit in with their social-democracy. Abandoning Klonsky, they continued their social-democracy and indeed fought hard to even continue propagating all the positions of Klonsky under the cover of just changing a signboard of a few formulations on the international situation. They stood for “Klonskyism without Klonsky.” At the “First Congress” of the MLOC in November 1977, at which they allegedly “opposed” Klonsky and “three worlds-ism,” they actually boasted of their Klonskyism without Klonsky and stated: “Today, the CP(M-L)’s [the Klonskyite “three worlders” – ed.] line on the trade unions tails directly behind what we have pioneered.“ (Class Against Class, January 1978. p. 34)
Thus the MLOC continued in full opportunist positions, and today still remains an agency for the infiltration of social-democracy in the Marxist-Leninist movement. But blinded to the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism by your wrong theses, you rushed into pragmatic maneuvers under the signboard of “unity” with the social-democratic Weisberg sect, maneuvers undertaken at the expense of our Party. And the sorry results of your “tactics” of pragmatic maneuvers, the fiasco you have suffered, is another proof of the danger of slighting, to say nothing of negating, the struggle against opportunism.
Another example of the way you regarded MLOC, and the Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S. in general, is seen in the passage from you that we have already quoted above but which deserves being repeated here. You denounced the MLOC as having no principles in discussions with us in November 1977. but on what basis? Your representative stated: “MLOC has no principles. One day they want to unite, the next day they don’t want to get too close. When we looked strong they wanted to unite, when the rightists went on the offensive they retreated, now that Albania looks strong they are acting bolder.” (Our minutes)
Thus you disregarded the entire opportunist and wrecking activity of the MLOC in the U.S., disregarded their stand in the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism, disregarded their war on our Party, and reduced everything to whether or not they were willing to come to terms with you. You regarded them solely from the pragmatic angle of whether they could be of use to you.
You further expressed your general outlook that the decisive issue was not the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism but whether or not to follow your “trend,” in your comments describing the situation in North America as being a struggle between two chairmen. In the discussions between our two Parties of late January 1977 your representative stated:
Even in 1960’s CPC(M-L) [Presumably this refers to the predecessors of CPC(M-L), as CPC(M-L) was founded in March 1970 – ed] had the analysis that there were two chairmen in North America, Klonsky and [the chairman of CPC(M-L) – ed.]. These guys think a chairman is elected, this is wrong. The chairman is who actually solves problems, then comes up to be chairman on that basis. Must solve the problem of defeating Klonsky as chairman. Did this in 1960’s, they themselves collapsed. Now must defeat them again. (Our minutes)
Here again the situation is presented not as a struggle of opposing ideologies and political lines, but as a clash of chairmen, of personalities. The question is presented as whom to follow, and not as what path, what road, what ideology to follow. Today you have taken these theories to the logical conclusion when you denounce ideological struggle itself and the struggle against opportunism as “the Maoist theory of ’two-line struggle.’“
You describe your struggle for the spread of your “trend” as a struggle against chauvinism. You replace the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism in the U.S. with this struggle against “American chauvinism.” Thus in the discussions of February 6, 1977 your representative elaborated on the theme that “The opportunists are finished” and “CPC(M-L) is on the agenda” as follows:
In North America there must be very strong unity between the Marxist-Leninists. This will be created on the dead body of American chauvinism.
Klonsky is the last peep, now they are finished. The question will be CPC(M-L). They’ve done propaganda that the Canadians can do nothing, this will be destroyed.
The key point is that American chauvinism is on the way out. It will work this way: anywhere COUSML takes it line they will say that this is CPC(M-L) line. The question then arises, why don’t you follow CPC(M-L)? This is a straightforward question, why are you not following Marxism-Leninism. CPC(M-L) is the party which has consistently advanced Marxism-Leninism. They have to fight this and they are lost, they have already lost.
Here again you deny the question of the ideological struggle and make it into a question of “why don’t you follow CPC(M-L)?” As we pointed out in discussing this passage in Section VIII-C, this is ridiculous. The issue that was fought over intensely in the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement was Marxism-Leninism or “three worlds-ism,” it was the fight against social-chauvinism, it was the fight in defense of socialist Albania. And in this fight the American Marxist-Leninists strengthened and tempered the nucleus of the Party, COUSML. The issue was not whether or not to follow CPC(M-L).
Furthermore you have gone to the extent of in essence presenting the struggle against opportunism as the struggle of domestic versus foreign or, to be more exact, of Canadians versus foreigners. Thus at the Founding Congress of the Communist Youth Union of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) in August 1976 you presented the struggle against opportunism as basically the struggle against Americans and possibly also against the British. The chairman of your Party presented the issue as follows:
Every notorious line has come up from the English-speaking world, Britain or the U.S. All our troubles come from down south [i.e., from the U.S. – ed.]. Youth should adopt as a principle that no American should be trusted. (From the minutes from the COUSML delegation at the CYUC(M-L) Founding Congress)
The speech then went on to enumerate various American opportunists. Somewhat later, returning to the point, the speech stated:
No American should be trusted – this is a matter of principle. Americans should be tested on the basis of social practice. (Only Americans? – ed.| They are emissaries of U.S. imperialism, (of) opportunist lines. If we are not vigilant of Americans then We are not vigilant against U.S. imperialism. The father of a woman in (-an organization which is a ”left” sloganeering front for Soviet revisionism – W.A.] is head of the counterinsurgency program. (ibid.)
The speech then proceeded to stress that it was referring to all Americans, Marxist-Leninist or not, your fraternal comrades or not, by proceeding to attack the COUSML. The speech then very briefly related a story against the COUSML, which included lies designed to whitewash the role of your Party in the situation described and which also attributed to our Party the acts of certain American opportunist groups. The conclusion of this story was that allegedly COUSML “couldn’t ’smell.’ tell who was Marxist-Leninist.” This was supposed to be because the COUSML was composed of Americans.
What a spirit to inculcate in the communist youth of Canada! What an out-and-out negation of proletarian internationalism! What a provocation against the COUSML delegation that was present to hear these remarks! What a shocking conception of the struggle against opportunism or, to be more precise, rationale for replacing that struggle with the struggle to develop a special “trend” led by your Party inside the international movement.
Thus you hold on very strongly to your thesis that the issue is adherence to your “trend” or not. This shows itself in your letters of December 5, 1979 to us as well. When you attack our Party for not accepting the “special relationship” or the membership in any trend other than the trend of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, you call us “American exceptionalists,” chauvinists and so forth. And you attack our struggle against opportunism in the same language. This shows that you are still replacing the norms of Marxism-Leninism and the struggle against opportunism with the struggle against “chauvinism,” that is against non-adherence to your special “trend.” Our Party will never agree to these anti-Marxist-Leninist theses of yours, theses which are also a gross and shocking violation of proletarian internationalism.
We have seen that you have been floating thesis after thesis against the struggle against opportunism in general and against the ideological and polemical struggle in particular. The question therefore arises of why you supported to a certain extent our struggle against the Klonskyite “three worlders” in 1977. As late as January 12, 1978, the NEC of CPC(M-L) wrote to the NEC of COUSML praising the movement against social-chauvinism in strong terms, saying:
“We also take this occasion to congratulate the comrades on the good work they are carrying out on the ideological front against ’CP (M-L).’ We consider the movement initiated against the rabid U.S. social chauvinism a valuable and necessary contribution to the entire Marxist-Leninist communist movement.” And in your letters of December 5 you also distinguish between our “initial attack” and our present-day alleged “tangent.” (See Section IX-D of our letter)
This was not because you only, started floating theses against the anti-opportunist struggle after 1977. On the contrary. You had already been floating these theses for a long time. You published the pamphlet On Unity of Marxist-Leninists in 1976 and it contained articles denouncing the ideological struggle from previous years. And right at the beginning of 1977 you went out of your way to denounce the polemical struggle. Right at the start of a year which would witness great victories for the ideological and polemical struggle against social-chauvinism and the “three worlds” theory, your representative stated:
From its experience in the 1930’s the bourgeoisie is highly conscious that so long as there are factional fights the party is paralyzed. This is why the group in Kitchener [a group outside the CPC(M-L) – ed.] is jumping out in the hopes of provoking a factional fight.
COUSML polemics have the appearance of faction fighting. The opportunists can no longer be defeated with these polemics.
Even in 1960’s CPC(M-L) had analysis that there were two chairmen in North America, Klonsky and [the chairman of CPC(M-L) ’ ed.]. ... Must solve the problem of defeating Klonsky as chairman. Did this in 1970’s, they themselves collapsed. Now must defeat them again.
You can no longer defeat these people in the old way. Because they have learned these forms and methods. They cannot really carry them out but they have learned to imitate them and for this reason you can no longer defeat them in the old way. (From our minutes of the discussions of late January 1977)
Thus here you were characterizing the polemical struggle as factional fights and calling for a new way to defeat the opportunists. Nor were you particularly enthusiastic when the special issue of The Workers’ Advocate of March 10, 1977 appeared, the issue that gave the call. “U.S. Marxist-Leninists. Unite in Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism!” You hoped at that time that the Political Resolution of the Third Congress of the CPC(M-L) would suffice to defeat the opportunists in both Canada and the U.S. and possibly elsewhere too. You quite literally regarded that “the Third Congress is the victory of Marxism in Canada” and indeed in North America. And you wanted us to concentrate on studying and distributing the Political Resolution of the Third Congress of the CPC(M-L) and to develop a “movement” on this. (Discussions with our delegation to the Third Congress, March 15-16, 1977)
Thus when you gave a certain support to our struggle against social-chauvinism in 1977. it was despite the fact that in principle you were already against the ideological and polemical struggle against opportunism. And time has further verified that your limited support was based on pragmatic considerations. In essence, you were forced by circumstances to support our struggle. You found our struggle useful to you. Two particular pragmatic considerations stick out: (A) the value of our struggle against Klonsky for your work in forging contacts inside the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement; and (B) the sharpness of the struggle with the followers of Chinese revisionism inside Canada.
(A) To begin with, let us consider the question of your work in strengthening the contacts of your Party with the other parties in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. In this work, you ran across the problem of the influence of Klonsky’s “three worlder” party, the OL/“CPML.” Klonsky’s party was bitterly opposed to your Party and at the same time it had managed to obtain a certain recognition from some parties in the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. For this reason, you supported the struggle against Klonsky’s party.
Indeed, it is notable that you constantly discussed the struggle against Klonsky solely from the international angle. You were not interested in the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism in the U.S., but only in the international discrediting of Klonsky.
For example, let us return to that discussion of February 6, 1977 where you talk about CPC(M-L) allegedly being “on the agenda” in the U.S. There you discuss the struggle against opportunism in the U.S. entirely from the international angle. Your representative stated:
The opportunists are finished, OL and RCP. RCP [that is, the “RCP,USA” – ed.] wanted to be so revolutionary that they couldn’t be revisionists like the OL or Marxist-Leninists like COUSML. Anyway RCP has no force; they are not known in Canada. OL is the organization being floated internationally. The Party’s [CPC (M-L)’s – ed.] analysis is that Klonsky is a new Browder who wants to build the party as a discussion and education group – Kautsky, Khrushchov, Klonsky. KKK. I think MLOC and all of these groups will abandon Klonsky. Once he’s been smashed internationally, these wavering elements will abandon him. (Our minutes)
The entire issue you raise is international recognition. Thus you write off the “RCP,USA,” which in reality had far more of an actual organization in the U.S. than OL, on the grounds that “RCP has no force.” Clearly this refers to “RCP’s” isolation internationally at that time and not to its role in U.S. politics. Besides, you say, “RCP,USA” is allegedly “not known in Canada.” Meanwhile you are interested in OL because it is being “floated internationally,” and so you are for smashing Klonsky “internationally.” You pin great hopes on this, and regard that once this is done the domestic situation will automatically fall in place.
Following the same theme, when you praised our polemics against OL in January 1978 it was from the point of view of its international impact. Your representative stated:
...COUSML has made an important contribution to the international communist movement in its polemics against OL. The fraternal parties are saying: what kind of ’Marxist-Leninist’ group is this to support which is calling on U.S. imperialism to build more B-l bombers. He said that you have opened up this whole front against social chauvinism and this is an important contribution. They mentioned they liked very much the most recent ’Under a False Flag.’ (From our minutes of the discussions of January 1978)
And similarly, when you denounce our polemics, it is also from the point of view of what you find useful in your work in the international movement. Naturally, your protestations that this or that is not of interest internationally should be translated to mean that this or that is not of use to you or of interest to you. Thus you insisted that no one “pays attention” to the polemic on MLOC, at a time when the question of MLOC was stirring up a minor international controversy, because you were not interested in fighting MLOC but in promoting some pragmatic maneuvers with MLOC. Thus in the discussions between our two Parties of September 1978, your representative put forward objections to our polemics such as: “...polemics won’t expose MLOC. Nobody internationally pays any attention to these things, it will only cause confusion [If they don’t pay attention to the polemics, how can they be confused by them? And it is clear that it is not the fight against the Weisberg social-democratic sect that causes confusion, but that the fight is the only way to clear up the confusion – ed.] ... polemics won’t help. When it is time, MLOC will expose itself. [This is a repetition of your basic thesis on pragmatic maneuvers with the opportunists, namely, ”...put unity in the forefront, and they expose themselves.“ This means that you were still interested in “unity” with MLOC. – ed.]” (From our minutes of the discussions of Thursday night, September 7, 1978)
Nobody is fighting ’social-chauvinism.’ (Ibid.)
You comrades should discuss these questions. It is very important to coordinate your ideological work to the problems of the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. What is specific to the U.S. should be dealt with internally to consolidate your organization. Or if it is very important maybe you should deal with it in another way. [Why thank you, kind sirs. How noble of you to allow the possibility that our public press might in very exceptional cases deal with the internal problems of the country we live in. Except that even here you are probably not referring to public polemics, but to verbal agitation outside the organization, letters to groups to “paralyze” them, and so forth. – ed.] (From our minutes of the discussions of Friday afternoon, Sept. 8, 1978, emphasis added)
Thus you finally arrived at the logical conclusion of your theories. Our newspaper should be devoid of material on the struggle against opportunism in the U.S., according to your theses. Such material is, you believe, for internal consolidation inside the Party only. While the public press is converted into something empty, something without a soul and purely for international consumption, a brightly colored ornament without connection to the fierce struggle going on in the U.S., a token to be bartered on the international market.
But in 1977 you were involved in a fierce confrontation with Klonsky’s party internationally. Thus you found that our polemics had a certain use for you. Hence you gave them a certain support on that basis. But as your position improved internationally and the danger to you from Klonsky’s party faded away, your support for our struggle also faded away.
(B) Another factor in connection with your temporary and limited support for our struggle in 1977 was that the struggle in 1977 against the “three worlders” was fierce. [To be precise, what was fierce was the pressure of the Canadian “three worlders” on CPC(M-L) at that time – W.A.] Here again the immediate necessities of the struggle compelled you to violate your principles against the struggle against opportunism.
Thus in the major speech by your Party in Hamilton, Ontario on December 30, 1979, you identified the years 1974-77 as years when the opportunists had a certain bluster. At the same time, you also indicated that after this period the problem of opportunism could be slighted, in your opinion. Your representative stated: “The struggle became open in 1974-75.”
However, the entire onslaught of the revisionists and opportunists, all their frauds, and arrogance, actually crashed down around their own heads. ...I pointed out that everything these revisionists and opportunists did during the 1974-77 period actually discredited them, and eliminated them. ... There is no way that revisionism and opportunism can arise in this country again with the same kind of bluster which they had during the 1974-1977 period.
...during the 1974-77 period, big pressure was exerted from within the Party as well as from outside, that whatever CPC(M-L) says should be consistent with what the Chinese say. (The above three passages are all from PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980)
Indeed, you yourself attributed the lack of progress in your maneuvering with the Weisberg social-democratic sect in 1977 as due to the fierce fight with the “three worlders.” In the discussions between our two Parties in November 1977 at the time of the 5th Consultative Conference of the CPC(M-L), your representative told us your views as to why Mr. Weisberg came to attend the 5th Consultative Conference after having broken off discussions with CPC (M-L) earlier. For your unprincipled flirting with the Weisberg social-democratic MLOC/“CPUSA(ML)” had gone to the extent that you allowed Mr. Weisberg into the sessions of the 5th Consultative Conference of your Party. Our minutes record the following summation of your views:
Barry Weisberg had thanked [the chairman of the CPC(M-L) – ed.] for allowing him to participate in the (5th Consultative) Conference. He later said that the conference was very good. He said that he had been away too long, that the break in discussion was MLOC’s fault. [The chairman of the CPC(M-L) – ed] pointed out to me [the COUSML delegate – ed.] that this was not exactly the case, that [a representative of the leadership of CPC(M-L) – ed.] had told them (the MLOC) there was no agreement when there was one [at the time of the last previous meeting between MLOC and CPC (M-L) – ed.]. MLOC was to stay the next day to finalize this [the agreement – ed.] but they disappeared. He [the chairman of CPC(M-L) – ed.] summed this up, the fault was ours [CPC (M-L)’s – ed.], but in a more fundamental sense the fault was theirs. ... The discussions had been broken off at the time of the formation of the League. [Canadian Communist League, “three worlders” and Canadian Klonskyites – ed.] Barry Weisberg had actually asked, what will happen to CPC(M-L) when the League is formed? This showed that he had it on his mind that CPC(M-L) would be smashed up. Now he sees the Party is stronger than ever while the League is a joke, and wants to come around again. (From our minutes, emphasis added)
During the period of this fierce struggle in 1977, our Party as always stood firmly beside you without flinching. And, faced with the fierce attack from opportunism, you found it convenient to give a limited support to our struggle against the Klonskyites and followers of Chinese revisionism in the U.S. But you believed that with 1977 this fierce struggle came to an end, that revisionism and opportunism can in “no way...arise in this country again with the same kind of bluster which they had during the 1974-1977 period.” Hence you preferred to resume pragmatic maneuverings with the conciliators of social-chauvinism, and you found our struggle was no longer of use to you but was a downright obstacle frustrating the conclusion of any deal based on pragmatic maneuverings with the opportunists.
Thus your temporary support for our struggle against social-chauvinism did not last. This itself is another proof that if the fight against opportunism is not inspired by ideological motives, but only by certain pragmatic interests of the moment, then it is a mere bluff which is short-lived. And indeed your support for the movement against social-chauvinism in the U.S. proved quite short-lived. With the publication of our article “How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” in February 1978, you turned against our struggle. From support for the struggle, you turned to sweet dreams of “unity” and deals with the conciliators of social-chauvinism. You proved more than willing to sacrifice the movement against social-chauvinism as part of the price of a deal with the conciliators. And this is abundant proof that your support for our struggle was not inspired by ideological motives, but by pragmatic considerations, for anyone who stood against social-chauvinism on principle would insist on carrying this struggle through to the end and could not but be revolted by the antics of the conciliators and their opposition to the movement against social-chauvinism.