We have thus reached the end of our discussion of the immediate ideological issues behind your hostile stand towards our Party and your unprincipled splitting activity. However, we wish to take this occasion to inform you that we are seriously concerned about your assessment of the decade of the 1970’s. We emphatically disagree with the speeches in which you have put forward your views on these questions and regard the views expressed in these speeches as both wrong in theory and extremely dangerous in practice.
Your assessment of the decade of the 1970’s was put forward in two speeches by the chairman of your Party. The first speech was a major speech at the “Mass rally held in Hamilton to assess the decade of the 1970s and conclude the celebrations in honour of the centenary of the birth of J.V. Stalin.” (PCDN. Jan. 3, 1980) This speech not only gave the assessment of your Party concerning the 1970’s but also “discussed the work which confronts the Marxist-Leninists in the 1980s.” (Ibid., p. 1) It is a major document of your Party. This was followed by the speech in two parts given on December 31-January 1 in Montreal and Toronto. (PCDN. Jan. 4 and 5, 1980) These speeches were also major speeches which PCDN declared “developed in further detail the analysis presented at the mass rally held in Hamilton on December 30....” (PCDN. Jan. 4, 1980, p.l) In these speeches you called for a mass public discussion on these speeches and on the assessment of what was right and wrong in the work of the Party so that this discussion becomes “a matter of household discussion” and takes place “amongst the broadest sections of the masses.” (PCDN. Jan. 4, 1980) Thus these were major works of your Party setting forth the orientation for the work of your Party in the 1980’s.
We disagree with these speeches. We regard them as panic-stricken speeches, panic-stricken in the face of the difficulties facing the work of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries in the present conditions. These speeches, and the subsequent development of the same views in PCDN throughout the federal election campaign of early 1980, manifested a sharp turn towards rightism. This is especially apparent in PCDN during the federal election campaign of early 1980 and reaches a culmination in the extreme rightist program of structural reform set forth in an editorial in big type in the PCDN of February 15, 1980 which sets forth a plan of how to bring Canada out of the crisis without the revolution. This was followed by a call to vote for your Party in order to put pressure upon the rich to force some “structural reform” of value to the people. According to the chairman of your Party:
There is propaganda carried out that to vote for the Marxist-Leninists is a waste because they will not form the government.... Only a vote for the Marxist-Leninists is a useful vote. This will put a lot of pressure on the rich and even this can force some structural reform which is advantageous to the people. (PCDN. Feb. 16. 1980, p. 3. col. 4)
As well, these speeches gave up the call for party-building in favor of a call for individual organizing, for the individual comrades finding the line by themselves, simply being more active, and so on and so forth. However, it is our view that this rightism exists alongside of and without negating certain other features such as your longstanding deviation away from Marxism-Leninism towards semi-anarchism. This deviation towards semi-anarchism has long been one of the major theoretical weaknesses of your Party. It is reflected in a certain disdain for the mass movement, in a denunciation of any “partial demands” or momentary interests of the working class other than the seizure of state power, and in a whining denunciation of the real world (whether the mass movements, the necessity to deal with the political and ideological views of the opportunists, or so on) as an alleged diversion. This penchant of yours towards semi-anarchist phrasemongering has proved unable to deal with the serious problems of the revolution and is one of the causes for the astonishing instability in your line and activities, which have taken great zigzags and shifts. Your recent expression of rightist views is a vivid expression of the bankruptcy of the “leftist” pretensions of this tendency towards semi-anarchist phrasemongering. At the same time, it is our view that with your present instability and vacillation of line, sharp zigzags in the future on this or that issue are possible and even likely.
In this section of our letter we will briefly outline some of our disagreements with your speeches assessing the 1970’s and giving the orientation for the 1980’s. Although the line of the speeches is continued in the subsequent PCDN’s during the federal election campaign and in the major speech “The Road of the Party” given on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the CPC(M-L), for brevity’s sake we will concentrate on the December 30 and New Year’s speeches.
To begin with, your speech treacherously attacks the Party of Labor of Albania and equates the intense interest aroused by the 7th Congress of the PLA with the pressure exerted on your Party in 1974-77 to accept the bankrupt positions of the Chinese revisionists. We are utterly revolted by your sickening attack on the PLA, both because the PLA is in the forefront of the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement and deserves the wholehearted support of all revolutionary Marxisi-Leninists everywhere and because it is such a manifestly unjust attack against a party which has extended to you vigorous, warm, fraternal and timely international support. This activity of yours against the PLA reinforces our belief, based on careful analysis of the issues, that the ideological positions that you are seeking to impose on us are also directed against the Marxist-Leninist positions being put forward by the PLA in a series of immortal documents of the international movement. We have denounced this aspect of your speech already in Section III of this letter, so we shall not go further into this here.
Your speech also vilely attacks our Party as well and accuses it of interfering in the leadership of your Party. With this lying accusation, you are using the trick of the thief who cries “stop thief!” At the same time as you are brutally attempting to split or overthrow our leadership, savagely dictating the ultimatum that you won’t even talk to a delegation of a party if it contains this or that member of the NEC, viciously seeking to strangle our Party and to set up a parallel anti-party network in the U.S., and going all out to either have our Party submit to the “special relationship” with your Party or be destroyed, you are complaining in the press about alleged pressure on your Party. For shame! We have denounced this aspect of your speech already in Section 111 of this letter, so we shall not go further into this here.
The speeches inculcate unhealthy sentiments in your members on the question of the international significance and international importance of your Party.
Thus you explain away various theoretical weaknesses of your Party and your attitude towards Mao Zedong Thought as simply the result of being allegedly too enthusiastic about the international movement. Your speech declares: “We had a subjective assessment of the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement. For example, we had a very large heart for the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement.” (PCDN. Jan. 3, 1980, p. 2, col. 4, emphasis added) For shame! This is inculcating distrust and disrespect for the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. Where would we all be without the great international struggles against Chinese and Soviet revisionism! But you negate the question of struggle against revisionism and imply that Chinese revisionism was only a problem because you allegedly had too big a heart for the international movement. You compound this by making the backhanded criticism of the PLA that: “Now, for the first time in the recent history of the International Communist Movement, we see those practical politics coming from Albania. In terms of providing leadership, the Albanians talk all the time about which forces are going in which direction, what they will do, what their motives are, and so on.” (Ibid., p. 4, emphasis added) Here you imply that the problem was that there was no leadership previously. Here you are denying the “practical politics” from the Party of Labor of Albania which was manifested in their guidance of the entire struggle against Khrushchovite revisionism and their brilliant analysis of “which forces are going in which direction, what they will do, what their motives are, and so on.” This analysis shines through in the documents of the PLA. Comrade Enver Hoxha’s monumental work Reflections on China reviews the period of the struggle against Khrushchovite and Chinese revisionism and shows the sure footing of the PLA in the midst of very complicated and very difficult situations. But you are, in a sickening, backhanded way, negating the glorious role of the PLA in its fight against modern revisionism. And you are hinting at your opposition to certain ideological stands of the PLA and that your Party’s theoretical weaknesses allegedly are due to a lack of leadership in the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. This further verifies that your whole nonsense about having too big a heart is meant to imply that you really knew everything all along, everything was clear to you, you were infallible and the mistakes were all due to noble sentiment for the international movement.
Combined with this, you continue to tend to present the issue of the struggle against opportunism as the struggle of the domestic against the foreign. You present opportunism as something that is imported from the outside into Canada, while inside Canada only the police are opportunists.
The truth is that you have been inculcating unhealthy sentiments in your Party for some time. This is part of the ideological background to your theories of developing a separate “Internationalist trend” based on your Party inside the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. It is the ideological background to the anti-Marxist-Leninist pretensions of your Party to impose a “special relationship” on our Party and elsewhere.
Although your speeches make a pretext of self-criticism, a very reluctant and half-hearted self-criticism, on the question of Mao Zedong Thought; you in fact continue the practice of restricting the criticism of Mao Zedong Thought to what is at best a very narrow basis. Thus the speech of December 30 states that: “...in 1970. the mistake was that the basis of change, development and motion is the contradiction between correct and incorrect....” (PCDN. Jan. 3. 1980. p. 2. col. 3) While in the major speech “The Road of the Party.” your Party finds the essence of Maoism in “campaigns” and “movements.” (PCDN. April 3, 1980, p. 3, col. 3) What utter nonsense. This is to reduce the question of repudiating Mao Zedong Thought to meaningless generalities. This is to hide the actual concrete issues involved. The truth is that you have never given a serious repudiation of Mao Zedong Thought, whether in terms of the doctrine itself or of its manifestations in your Party.
As a matter of fact, in these speeches and in the Communique from the 7th Plenum of the CC of the CPC(M-L) of November 1979 (see the PCDN for Dec. 3. 1979), you tend to present Mao Zedong Thought as in essence petty-bourgeois ultra-leftism. This is a serious error. Mao Zedong Thought is one of the currents of modern revisionism. and it is saturated with theses of a typically social-democratic and rightist character. In the amalgam called Mao Zedong Thought there are mixed in anarchist and adventurist elements as well as the most blatant rightist. Browderite. Bukharinite and social-democratic theses, but this doesn’t change the basic deeply rightist and revisionist essence of Mao Zedong Thought. But we note that the 7th Plenum went to the extreme of not only criticizing Mao Zedong Thought as in essence ultra-leftism, but of criticizing the official Khrushchovite party in Canada, the party of Kashtan. for being “opposed to making use of the ’legal’ possibilities.” Thus you have gone to the extreme of criticizing the parliamentary cretinists for not making more use of the electoral possibilities. And you elaborate on this criticism and put it in more popular language in your speeches by making a big point that the revisionist party of Kashtan did not run as many candidates in the federal election of early 1980 as you. But this only shows the weakness of the revisionists, nothing more. We cannot agree with this manner of criticizing Mao Zedong Thought or modern revisionism.
You also give the view in these speeches that: “This young organization, at the historical juncture in 1970 [the first year of existence of the CPC(M-L) – ed.) was inspired by ’Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.’ We must admit openly that it was more ’Mao Zedong Thought’ than Marxism-Leninism. And as the days and weeks and months and years passed by, it became more Marxism-Leninism than ’Mao Zedong Thought,’ to the extent that in 1978, we toppled ’Mao Zedong Thought’ altogether.” (PCDN. Jan. 3. 1980, p. 2. col. 2) We are astonished to see such a categorical and sweeping formulation used to characterize your history. We do not agree with this. One cannot detach the beginning of the CPC(M-L) and the Regina Conference, which you are also discussing in the passage from which we have taken the above quotation, from the great movement against modern revisionism nor from the fervent Marxist-Leninist convictions of the revolutionaries of those times. To tar all this as being allegedly more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist is wrong. At the same time, such a sweeping formulation has the purpose of actually obscuring and covering over the actual errors and theoretical weaknesses of the past and of preserving them. It is the most artful and devious type of opposition to genuine self-criticism and to a real discussion of the issues involved. And it ends up with boasting about your alleged infallibility, that “...in 1978, we toppled ’Mao Zedong Thought’ altogether.” What a lie! It was the PLA that “toppled ’Mao Zedong Thought’ altogether” while at the end of 1978 you merely gave up the formulation “Mao Zedong Thought.” Indeed, in March 1979 you were still insisting to us that you hadn’t taken a stand yet on Mao Zedong, but were only denouncing Mao Zedong Thought as it was the official philosophy of the Communist Party of China. (We pointed this out in more detail on page 50 in Section XI-A.) And as we pointed out in the last section, you still have not given a serious critique of Mao Zedong Thought.
As well, in smearing the past as more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist, you are also characterizing the Regina Conference, which was the first Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists. Thus you are in fact passing judgement on the U.S. as well as on Canada, on the ACWM(M-L) (a predecessor of the COUSML and the MLP,USA) as well as the CPC (ML). As usual, you do so without even consulting us. So we take this opportunity to tell you that we do not agree with this method of characterizing the Regina Conference and do not accept its relevance to the ACWM(M-L) of that time. Our views on the early history of our Party with respect to Mao Zedong Thought and on the ACWM(M-L) were presented at our internal conference of March 1979 entitled “Build the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social-Chauvinists and Against the Social-Chauvinist.” which you sent a delegation to, a delegation which appeared excited and pleased by our historical presentation. We are still working on these historical questions, as the views presented at the internal conference of March 1979 were preliminary views. Nevertheless, we reject such sweeping statements as “more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist.” We will instead continue to follow the path from the internal conference ot March 1979 of seriously looking into the accomplishments and errors of the times.
It must be stressed that your sweeping characterizations serve to hide the fact that you are not actually looking seriously into history. Your presentation of the history of your own Party suffers from remarkable errors, inconsistencies and half-truths, that are contradicted by your own published documents. Consider for example the question of “new methods.” The speeches claim that this line was dropped by the Second Congress of your Party. For example, in the speech of December 30, it says that your Party “...came to their senses |on the question of ”new methods” – ed.] within one-and-a-half years after the adoption of this programme [the Political Report of April 1970 – ed.].” (Ibid.. p. 2. col. 2)
In “The Road of the Party,” it says that the “new methods” were repudiated at the Second Congress of CPC(M-L)of 1973. It states:
Thus, for our Party, while adoption of Marxism-Leninism and ’Mao Zedong Thought’ was a justifiable mistake, it was not justified to take the road of ’new method’. This entire line of ’new method’ was finally defeated by the convening of the Second Congress of the Party in March 1973. (PCDN. April 2, 1980, p. 3, col. 4)
This is nonsense. The “new method” was explicitly endorsed, to the point of quoting the relevant section from the Political Report of the First Congress of 1970, at the Third Congress of CPC(M-L) of 1977. This can be found in your pamphlet The Political Resolution of the Third Congress of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), February 6-March 13, 1977. It is in point number 25 on pages 49-50. For that matter, it is endorsed in the Political Report from the Second Congress also. Chapter 3 of Part Four is entitled “Study Historical Experience.” It stresses the study of the “important documents of CPC(M-L).” which includes the Political Report from the First Congress. In regard to this it explicitly endorses that the Party comrades must “never forget” such things as that “the revolutionary method of work developed in the struggle against the revisionist methods of work....”
Our objections to the empty character of your denunciation of “new methods” and of your former theses on methods of work and our refusal to condemn the past in sweeping terms does not mean that we defend the erroneous theses from your Party’s past. On the contrary. We object to your empty phrasemongering about such things because, among other things, it is an attempt to obscure the actual weaknesses and to impose mistaken views on the present movement by means of one-sided demagogical phrasemongering about the past. Take for example the question of “new methods.” In the past you described these “new methods” as the repudiation of revisionism. Thus at the Third Congress of the CPC(M-L)you stated:
The rejection of ’the old methods of work prior to May 1968, as moribund, and as being a shackle to the revolutionary struggle,’ to the Party, meant the necessity of opposing revisionism... and the necessity of opposing the influence of revisionism and social-democracy in the working class movement. (Political Resolution of the Third Congress, p. 50)
The Resolution talked about the necessity for “a sharp ideological struggle against revisionism.” Now you say that actually the question of “new methods” meant that “the Leninist methods were also wrong.” (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980. p. 2, col. 2) This is a most serious admission. Hence it should be dealt with seriously. Specifically which teachings of Leninism were rejected by your leadership? What relation did the idea of “new methods” have to your views at the First Congress of your Party and later on such questions as the line towards the working class movement, the attitude towards trade union forms, towards “partial demands” and so forth, what did it mean concerning your attitude to Soviets and why did you put forth “revolutionary committees”? And indeed, even apart from the relationship of these questions to “new methods,” these questions are mainly important in themselves. It is clear that a certain tendency towards semi-anarchism is apparent in the political discussion of the First Congress of your Party and in various of the Party’s later stands. Furthermore, it is also serious that insofar as various Leninist forms and methods were rejected, this was in the main done behind the back of the membership, which believed it was endorsing the rejection of revisionist methods and was not told honestly of the attitude of the leadership towards certain questions of Leninism. But you cover over these questions through saying that everything is solved by repudiating the phrase “new methods.” This is the same position as you were in at the First Congress, only turned inside out. There a determined attempt was made to present as much as possible of the political line as flowing from the question of methods of work, including questions that had nothing to do with methods of work, and today you are trying to present everything as being solved by rejecting the “new methods of work.” For example, you describe a certain shallow and anti-Marxist-Leninist conception of the revolution and attribute it to “new methods”:
It [the Political Report of the First Congress of CPC(M-L) – ed.] says we have developed new methods of work, called the mass democratic method of work. [It is typical of the entirely non-serious nature of this type of “self-criticism” that in this speech you surprisingly identify “the mass democratic method” with “new methods.” but already a few months later in “The Road of the Party” you change your mind and support “the mass democratic method” against the “new methods.” Naturally you give no explanation at all of these zigzags. – ed.] through which we...do propaganda, disseminate ’Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought,’ and then, in the process of change, development and motion, we will defend the right to carry out propaganda and agitation by force of arms which will give rise to people’s defence committees [actually you called them “revolutionary committees” in 1970; the “people’s defence committees” of one sort or other, such as the Canadian People’s Defence Committee (Citizens and Residents), are much more recent – ed.] which will be armed, and before long, we will have armed civil war all across Canada. All this comes from the analysis that there is a contradiction between the correct and incorrect method of work. (PCDN. Jan. 3. 1980. p. 2. col. 2)
If anything is clear, it is that this whole scheme of revolution does not follow from the question of the contradiction between correct and incorrect methods of work, but involves very definite political and theoretical stands towards a number of burning questions of revolution, such as the role of the working class movement, the method of organizing in the mass movements, the role of armed struggle, and so on and so forth. You are covering up your actual theories by continuing to hide under the question of the “new methods.” What it all ends up with is that you do not repudiate the deviation towards semi-anarchism but instead use the big fuss about “new methods” and “the contradiction between correct and incorrect” to find another way of denouncing the ideological struggle against revisionism. Look how bad this struggle is, you say, it leads to the analysis that there is a contradiction between the correct, Marxism-Leninism, and the incorrect, revisionism. Hence it leads to all these other sins, the “new methods” and so on and so forth. What rot!
The complete emptiness of all your talk about how you were more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist and your alleged self-criticism on “new methods” is shown by the fact that at the same time, in the same speech, you insist that the only reason you didn’t know that Mao Zedong was not Marxist was because you had too big a heart for the international movement. But if you were really more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist at your formation, then this and not your “big heart” would be at the root of your support for Mao Zedong Thought. These crying contradictions in your speeches show your complete lack of any serious critique of Mao Zedong Thought and any serious presentation of your own history.
These speeches are notable also for their vehemence in denouncing the struggle against opportunism. These speeches throw themselves upon the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the struggle against opportunism and rip at them with the insatiable appetite for blood of a pack of wolves. With these speeches, the leadership of the CPC(M-L) continues its frenzied crusade against the ideological struggle. The general method used in these speeches to denounce the ideological struggle, which is one of the constant and indispensable fronts of the class struggle, is to pass judgement on the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the ideological struggle on the basis of the practice of certain opportunist groups which actually practice coexistence with social-democracy and opportunism. Then the “ideological struggle” is denounced by ascribing to it all the sins of these opportunist groups. The basic pretext for this crude maneuver and sleight of hand, this infamous conjuring trick, is that one or the other of these groups uses the phrase “ideological struggle.” But of course, among those opportunists who, to use your words, “claim to be Marxist-Leninists,” the phrase “ideological struggle” is used – for failure to use it would brand these groups as out-and-out enemies of the most basic Marxist-Leninist teachings. As long as these groups “claim to be Marxist-Leninist,” a number of them will “claim” to be waging the ideological struggle.
Earlier in this letter we have gone into great detail on your anti-Marxist-Leninist views opposing the, ideological struggle and the struggle against opportunism, so there is no need to repeat that analysis here. It will suffice to point to certain particular features of the way these speeches denigrate the struggle against opportunism.
To begin with, as these speeches sum up the 1970’s and give the orientation for the 1980’s, naturally they also give your assessment of the prospects and orientation for the struggle against opportunism. And these speeches give the orientation of utter complacency and of an end to the struggle against opportunism. Thus the speech of December 30, 1979 states:
...everything these revisionist and opportunists did during the 1974-77 period actually discredited them, and eliminated them [Really now. this is too much! You claim that the opportunists are ”eliminated“! – ed.].... 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 1974-77 period.” (PCDN. Jan. 3, 1980, p. 2. col. 3)
This, however, should not be taken to mean that you at least supported struggle against opportunism in 1974-77. You denounce the struggle in that period too. Thus the New Year’s speeches declare: “...’In Struggle’ tells the proletariat to organize debates and to engage in ’ideological struggle’ in the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement, just like they organized in Canada in the mid-1970’s.” (PCDN, Jan. 4, 1980, p. 3, col. 2, bottom, emphasis added) You are dreaming of a decade free of ideological struggle and denouncing that struggle which did take place in the 1970’s.
You go to the extent of denouncing the ideological struggle on the grounds that theory (analysis) isn’t that important. Thus the speech of December 30, 1979 states:
...the opportunists are debating over what is Marxism-Leninism and what is opportunism.
The Marxist-Leninist tactics, the Marxist-Leninist tradition, the Marxist-Leninist style of work – all show that it is not necessary to have correct analysis all the time – the issue is where one stands, first and foremost: On the side of revolution and socialism or on the side of imperialism and all reaction? Secondly, once a mistake is made, it must be eliminated [Without having the correct analysis to know that something is a mistake, how is the mistake supposed to be eliminated? – ed.]. One must not talk about it in the manner the Maoists did – that one must have two-line struggle to eliminate opportunism [Here it is! Instead of denouncing the Maoist theories of the necessity of more than one line in the Party as theories of coexistence with opportunism, you are denouncing the Maoists for allegedly wanting to eliminate opportunism! – ed.]. (PCDN. Jan. 3. 1980. p. 2, col. 3, emphasis added)
Thus this speech openly comes out against the importance of theory. Millions upon millions of revolutionaries, honest sincere revolutionaries who engaged in marvels of heroism and shed their blood against imperialism and all reaction, have seen their dreams go up in smoke because they did not have the correct analysis, the correct Marxist-Leninist theory, to guide their struggle. Comrade Lenin explicitly points out: “Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” (What Is to Be Done?, Ch. I, Sec. D) But you are defending your theoretical weaknesses by shrugging your shoulders and saying, well, what is so necessary about analysis anyway. So you have come full circle, from the slogan “Action with analysis” to the slogan “Action without analysis (but with a correct stand).” In former days, you talked of starting from relatively correct analysis and developing to more correct analysis in the course of the revolutionary struggle, but today your struggle against the struggle against opportunism has inevitably led you to denigrate the role of theory. You sarcastically sneer at debates “over what is Marxism-Leninism and what is opportunism.” Ordinary mortals would believe that the outcome of the debate in the revolutionary movement over the correct theory is of crucial importance for the revolutionary movement, and that opportunism is distinguished not by its taking part in this debate but by what it advocates. But you have put forward some magical, superhuman theory whereby mistakes are rectified without needing the correct analysis and whereby discussions and debates on matters of theory are ruled out. In short, you are not only putting forward the insistent demand for the end to all polemics with revisionism and opportunism, you are denigrating the role of theory altogether.
It should also be pointed out that you go to such pains to denounce the contradiction between the correct and the incorrect in order to denounce the struggle against opportunism (which of course can be regarded as a manifestation of struggle between correct and incorrect, or of the struggle between opposites) as allegedly Maoist. Instead of discussing the actual concrete situation in the struggle against opportunism, you want to take everything into the dizzying heights of the utmost abstract philosophizing. This, by the way, is the same way that Mao denounces the idea of the monolithic unity of the party, by alleging that ideas of purity and unity violate dialectics. You instead denounce the struggle of opposites on the pretext of supporting monolithic unity. This is Maoism turned inside out. You agree with Maoism in believing that the struggle of opposites and dialectical development is incompatible with the idea of monolithic unity. Mao, however, denounces monolithic unity on the plea of supporting the struggle of opposites, while you denounce dialectics on the plea of supporting monolithic unity. Both Mao and you therefore deny Marxist-Leninist dialectics such as Comrade Stalin’s teaching that:
“The dialectical method therefore holds the process of development from the lower to the higher takes place not as a harmonious unfolding of phenomena, but as a disclosure of the contradictions inherent in things and phenomena, as a ’struggle’ of opposite tendencies which operate on the basis of these contradictions.” (Dialectical and Historical Materialism) Stalin goes on to quote Lenin that “Development is the ’struggle’ of opposites.” (Lenin, “On the Question of Dialectics,” Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 360) And Stalin teaches that these laws of dialectics apply to the development of the internal life of the party too, and we have earlier in this letter quoted from the section “Contradictions of Inner-Party Development” in “Once More on the Social-Democratic Deviation in Our Party” and other works of Stalin concerning these issues. Both Mao and you manifest your opposition to these teachings by your philosophical arguments against the struggle against opportunism. Mao imposes a formal pattern of the repeated transformation of one opposite into the other and back in order to deny development, qualitative transformation, revolution, etc. Thus he converts the doctrine of the struggle of opposites into teachings on the eternal coexistence of opposites, and he replaces the struggle against opportunism with his theories of coexistence with opportunism. Meanwhile you deny directly dialectics and the struggle of opposites in order to deny the struggle against opportunism. In effect, you are opposing the Maoist negation of Marxist-Leninist dialectics by replacing it by the Khrushchovite negation of dialectics, namely, “unity” through “inner-party peace.”
Your opposition to ideological struggle in general is related to your opposition to carrying the struggle against Chinese revisionism through to the end. And we regard this as a very serious question. Your theses against ideological struggle are related to your lack of any serious critique of Mao Zedong Thought. It means that you are not seriously reexamining the work and theoretical basis of the Party in the light of the struggle against Chinese revisionism, despite the fact that you phrasemonger about how the Party was at one time more Maoist than Marxist-Leninist, but instead are continuing to hide and cover up the theoretical weaknesses of the Party and to preserve them. The repudiation of Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought is a major test for our Parties, and how this test is handled will affect the work of the Party for years to come.
Your speeches also negate the task of party-building, ridicule the norms of the party as bureaucratic rules and regulations, and emphasize individualist, rather than collective, party methods of organizing. This is an extremely serious error in setting the orientation for the 1980’s. Party-building is one of the essential prerequisites for the successful conclusion of all the other revolutionary work of the party. Party-building must not be carried out in fits and starts, but as one of the constant fronts of work of the party. But the speeches not only neglect party-building, they openly slight it and ridicule it and instead put forward the line of “individual organizers.”
To begin with, you counterpose party-building to the political presence of the Party among the masses. The speech of December 30, 1979 states:
The fact is that after 10 years we are not talking about establishing some branches of the Party or some influence of the Party, or establishing some newspaper somewhere, or carrying some activities in terms of strengthening our Party internally, etc. Today, we are talking about the political presence of the Party in the class and amongst the broad masses of the people. (PCDN. Jan. 3, 1980, p. 2, col. 2, top)
Thus you denigrate party-building as an activity of the past as opposed to the alleged new panorama opening before the Party. You counterpose the organizational strengthening of the Party and the work for the Party to the work among the masses. And indeed it is true that in this speech and the New Year’s speeches you have dropped all your talk about bolshevizing the Party, dropped the talk about strengthening the basic organizations and simply demand more activity from the comrades as individuals.
Indeed the speeches denounce party-building as the allegedly Maoist line of “getting organized.” The speech of December 30, 1979 stresses:
Today, some of the secretaries come to us and say: we are getting organized. Amazing situation. Their units have been in existence for a long time, and they are getting organized! How come you are not leading, we tell them. You have been organized for a long time! Those who say that they are getting organized are advancing a reactionary line. It is an anti-Party line – a Maoist line.” (PCDN. Jan. 3, 1980, p.3, col. 4)
How can the phrase “getting organized” be denounced as an anti-party line, a Maoist line? If someone or other uses generalities like “we are getting organized” to avoid giving a concrete answer to what the actual activities of their basic organization are, then this is drowning real work in empty words and should be opposed. But this is not what is at stake here. This is your typical method of reducing everything to meaningless generalities – but behind this denunciation of the generality of “getting organized” stands an impatience with party-building. This impatience goes to the extent that it is regarded as “amazing” that party-building continues after the units are first set up. (Actually, given the dance of the organizational forms we have seen put forward in your documents and described in discussions with us, we are not so sure that your basic Party units can be regarded as such stable and long-established entities. However, you are the most qualified to judge on this question. In any case, in our view party-building goes on in long-established units as well as new ones.) And to cloak this impatience under the cover of opposition to Maoism is incredible, seeing that it is precisely the lack of serious attention to party-building that is one of the characteristic features of Mao Zedong Thought.
The speech of December 30, 1979 goes on to ridicule the norms of the party and its organizational structure. Under the pretext of criticizing someone or other’s erroneous conception, it speaks in the most derogatory terms of organization. Thus it states:
There are various people within and around our Party who think that a Marxist-Leninist Party is a huge bureaucratic organization, like Charlie’s Angels. A Communist Party is not like that: any Charlies in the Party must be overthrown. They are not Marxist-Leninists – there is nothing whatsoever in common between bureaucracy and liberalism and Marxism-Leninism. Rules and regulations and organization do not mean that we should have a bureaucracy. The basic units must themselves be aroused and inspired and they should take measures themselves. But in various places they are waiting to receive directives from somebody. A member of a Communist Party cannot be somebody who sits back and orders some angels to run around.” (Ibid., p. 3, col. 3)
We can hardly avoid noticing that this is the same type language that you used in denouncing our insistence on preserving the organizational integrity of our Party committees. Because our delegates upheld the authority of our Party committees, you denounced them as “Charlie’s angels” in your letters of December 5. In this passage, on the pretext of criticizing bureaucracy, you are denouncing the party’s norms. If your Party has a problem of bureaucracy, and this you are the most qualified to judge, then such a problem requires serious steps. If the rules and regulations are not correct, then this requires attention by the CC. But instead you do not call for a re-examination of these rules or other steps regarding bureaucracy, but simply call for a cavalier attitude towards the party’s norms. You do not call for establishing correct norms and rules and regulations, but for disregarding the norms.
The speech of December 30 contemptuously states:
Marxist-Leninists use organization as a force in their own favour, not as a thing to paralyze themselves, to entangle themselves in so many rules and regulations that their hands and feet are tied in knots. (Ibid., p. 3, col. 4)
This is straightforward ridicule of the norms of the party. It is to say that there are those who can regard the organization as “a force in their own favour” and avoid being “entangled” in the norms, which will only apply to others. We must admit that you have given us many examples of your use of organization “as a force in (your) own favour” and the avoidance of getting “entangled” in the norms in your repeated violation of the Marxist-Leninist norms in your relations with us and your attempt to impose a double standard in which all the obligations are imposed on us and you are free of any responsibilities.
This individualist negation of the party with respect to the party’s norms is also extended to the sphere of the party’s line. The speech of December 30, 1979 states: “We must be what Lenin describes as a tribune of the people. How can a person be a tribune of the people, a Marxist-Leninist, if the person cannot, on his own account, come to the correct line in the course of practice?” (Ibid., p. 3, col. 4, emphasis added)
This is astonishing. It is not the Marxist-Leninist concept of fostering initiative and the ability to find one’s bearing independently in the cadre on the basis of implementing (and taking part in formulating) the common line of the party. No, this is the exact opposite concept, because it puts the existence of the common line of the party itself into doubt. The “line” is described not as the line of the party, but as a matter for individuals to find and implement on their own. And indeed, this is emphasized by the fact that this quotation occurs just before the passage that says that individual comrades should “use organization as a force in their own favour.”
Hence this passage negates the party. On the one hand, the passage negates the basic organizations. It sets the individual comrades against the collective life in the basic organization. But it is the strengthening of the basic organization that plays a very crucial role in the carrying out of the work in the masses, in the analysis of the local situation, in providing stability to the work of the individual comrades and preventing one-sidedness, in encouraging the initiative of the comrades, and so forth. On the other hand, this passage also manifests an amazing conception of the central apparatus as well. Questions of the national line cannot be decided locally (this does not mean that the local organizations should not be intimately involved in the discussion of line, but that no individual local organization can usurp the role of the national organization) to say nothing of being decided by individual comrades. The party must have its uniform national line that guides the local organizing. How can the various individuals have their own “line” which they each implement on such questions of vital importance to the local organizing which you have been raising as questions on which national mass organizations should be built, the present strategy and tactics in the work in the reactionary trade unions, whether the factory committees should be party bodies or non-party bodies, and so on. The very existence of the party is bound up with its maintenance of a correct, common line.
Furthermore, this passage about each individual finding “the correct line” on their own irresistibly brings to mind another issue. This is that you answer the question of line not by setting forth a definite line as the line of the Party, but by telling each individual that they are no good if they can’t find the line themselves. This brings to mind that in the same speech you denounce “some of the secretaries” for allegedly saying they are “getting organized,” and the speech replies “How come you are not leading...?” One is tempted to ask: how come you, the leadership, are not “leading”? Why don’t the speeches give definite views and assessments rather than simply denouncing the rank and file for not having these views and assessments? Oh yes, the speeches do in effect give a definite orientation, an orientation to which we are opposed. But even this orientation has to be dragged out of the speeches, which rely more on creating a mood than on definite precise analysis and which are full of eclectic and contradictory assertions. A typical example occurs when you describe the discussion inside your Party. The speech of December 30, 1979 declares:
The on-going discussion in the Party since January 1979 – first at the Consultative Conference of the local secretaries in the third week of 1979, then again during the May 22 elections, and again in July, in September and November, culminating in the statement of the Seventh Plenum of the Central Committee of CPC(M-L), has all concentrated on this point, that the comrades must carry a practical programme based on realistic assessment. The Marxist-Leninists must be Marxist-Leninist politicians in a practical sense. They must advance the cause of the proletariat and the broad masses of the people in their areas. (Ibid.. p. 3, col. 2, emphasis added)
In short, after a year of intense discussion, all you sum up in the speech of orientation for the 1980’s is that there is a necessity of having “a practical programme based on realistic assessment.” This presumably is the opposite of “getting organized.” And that’s all. But what this program is and what are the general conclusions and assessments, about this you say nothing. But this is to talk for the sake of saying nothing. Or less than nothing, for the implication that this is the first time that your Party has dealt with having “a practical programme based on realistic assessment” is not true. Right from the moment of its birth your Party always stressed the slogans about the necessity for the Party units to be built in the thick of the revolutionary mass movement, to lead actual struggles, to have a conscious analysis of the situation and so on. Indeed the slogan “Action with analysis” precedes the founding of the CPC (ML). But instead of giving any assessment about what a “practical programme based on realistic assessment” would be in today’s conditions, you denounce the rank-and-file comrades for not coming to “the correct line” on their own while you yourself just talk in vague generalities.
The individualism inherent in these speeches is further reiterated by your somewhat backhanded endorsement of the possibility of organizing the Party on the basis of following an individual rather than a definite line. Thus in the New Year’s speeches it states:
The point is that this organization [the basic organization – ed.] inspires the sincere communists; it is a great power and we have made a very big advance on this question. We are not organizing on the basis of following one individual as was done in 1971. At that time, for a period of one-and-a-half years or so, we had to pass a resolution stipulating that if anyone wanted to join the Party, they had to agree to support Hardial Bains, because the central organization was very weak at that time and the line was being pushed that there was no leadership. [This reasoning is incomprehensible. You would think that the conclusion from the weakness of the central organization and the necessity to fight the view that there was no leadership would be to strengthen the central organization. But instead the conclusion is drawn that the party should be organized on the basis of “following one individual” – that is, to agree – to the view that there was no leadership. – ed.] But today, there is none of this. We have our Party; we have the highest bodies of the Party – the National Congress, the Central Committee, regional bodies and basic organizations. [This is still incomprehensible. In the main, these bodies existed in 1971 also. For that matter, how could a resolution to support an individual replace these bodies? – ed.] (PCDN, Jan. 5, 1980, p. 3, col. 1, emphasis added)
You pretend that the stage of “following one individual” is described as a historical phenomena, a stage of work which has been passed and outgrown. But in fact this method of “following one individual” is being endorsed. It is not criticized, it is not even described as an unfortunate historical necessity due to special and unusual circumstances, but is supported as entirely natural and necessary. In “The Road of the Party” it claims that your Party defeated “the thesis that, ’under certain conditions, Party leadership is not necessary’” by the First Congress of CPC(M-L) in May 1971. (See PCDN, April 2, 1980, p. 3, col. 4) But you were just slapping yourself in the face, for the speech of December 30 openly defends replacing Party leadership with “following one individual under certain conditions.
Indeed, while allegedly giving “following one individual” as an outgrown stage of the Party, in fact the speech sets this method up as something generally acceptable under broad conditions. This is clear from the reason given for the “following (of) one individual,” namely the weakness of the central organization. This cannot be regarded as a special and unusual circumstance, for it is very common, if not essentially universal, for all parties to have to go through a process of strengthening the central organization and forging a real leadership. And indeed party committees at all levels of the party also generally have to go through a process of tempering. This is a difficult, complex and protracted process. To justify the method of “following one individual” on this basis means to make the method of “following one individual” into an essential stage necessary sometime in the life of almost every party organization. By this method of justifying “following one individual,” the speeches make clear that they are not criticizing this method, but accepting it as a normal and useful method, that might be resorted to again without blinking an eye if the necessity arose. Furthermore, since this passage occurs in the context of speeches putting forward individualist methods in general, it in effect sets forth a model for an acceptable method in the work in the localities.
It is notable that the passage about “following one individual” occurs right after a section of the speech that is rather unusual in that it briefly praises the role of the “basic organization.” As if trying to make up for or cover up for the blatant individualism elsewhere in the speeches, the passage raises that the comrades should work “within the general line of the Party.” What happened to the demand that each comrade “on his own account, come to the correct line in the course of practice”? What happened to the song and dance about “Charlie’s angels” and the bureaucracy of having party norms? But wait, this praise of “basic organization” is immediately followed by the passage on the organization of the whole Party on the basis of “following one individual,” a passage which is in its own way the most direct setting forth of the idea of rampant individualism and opposition to the allegedly Maoist line of “getting organized.” This is a typical manifestation of the eclectic and contradictory nature of the way that these speeches present analysis. If these speeches talked of the basic organization, and didn’t in the very same breath contradict themselves and praise individualism, then they would be providing a better orientation towards the party principle. But in fact these speeches stress individualism, and then throw out some platitudes to smooth things over. This is “the middle line” in questions of principle. But we judge these speeches not by the platitudes but by the main direction of and orientation given by these speeches. We regard the platitudes as the homage that vice pays to virtue. If you weren’t yourself aware that the orientation being given by these speeches was anti-Marxist-Leninist on a number of fundamental issues, you wouldn’t have to interrupt the exposition with disclaimers every so often.
These speeches also manifest a sharp turn towards rightism not only in denigrating party-building in favor of individualist concepts about organizing, but also in terms of various political issues. We shall outline a few of the areas of this rightism in this section.
To begin with, these speeches speculate on the correct Marxist-Leninist theses about the individuality of the Marxist-Leninist party of each country and the individuality of each country itself. The speeches distort these theses and instead engage in an ugly display of a bourgeois sort of “Canadianness.” A striking example of this is your deprecation of the immigrants and stress on the issue of being Canadian-born. Thus in the New Year’s speeches it stresses:
The candidates of our Party are the sons and daughters of the proletariat of Canada, and this scares the bourgeoisie; this is a fact. They are not the sons and daughters of the proletariat in some other country [This is shocking. You are repudiating the immigrants on the plea of the anti-immigrant hysteria of the reactionaries. What happened to proletarian internationalism? – ed.] as the reactionaries try to make believe. All their nonsense that our Party is largely comprised of immigrants will be blown to bits. Ninety-five percent or more of the candidates were actually born in Canada, and this fact they don’t want to recognize. Our Party came out of the revolutionary movement of the Canadian people [How low are you going to go? Isn’t it a fact that immigrants are part of the Canadian people and play an important role in “the revolutionary movement of the Canadian people”? – ed.]; it was established by the Canadian Marxist-Leninists, and the spokesmen of the Party are also Canadian. The reactionary bourgeoisie and their servants want to suggest that there are some foreign agitators who have a chip on their shoulders and are causing trouble. These are not the facts. [And so, to refute them, you repudiate the immigrants! This is not fighting the reactionaries but getting down on one’s knees before the reactionary propaganda. – ed.]” (PCDN, Jan. 4,1980, p.3, col. 4, emphasis added)
This is disgusting. It is a violation of proletarian internationalism. It is a violation of the duty of the Marxist-Leninist parties to champion the class interests of the entire proletariat, which includes fighting for the interests of the disadvantaged sections, and not to pride itself on representing only the “respectable” ones. It is particularly shocking in a country like Canada, which like the U.S. is a land composed of immigrants and their descendants with the exception of the native peoples who are themselves especially downtrodden, oppressed and disenfranchised. You even try to present your Party as more Canadian-born than the Canadian people by bandying about figures like 95% of your candidates were born in Canada. This playing with bourgeois “Canadian-ness” is neither revolutionary nor honorable.
Another manifestation of this playing with “Canadian-ness” is apparent in the way the speech of December 30, 1979 elaborates on the issue of “Albanian-style government.” Strictly speaking, it is not incorrect to define the type of government as a “Marxist-Leninist style of government.” But you do not then point out that the Albanian government is a brilliant example and a shining model of Marxist-Leninist government, but instead seek to disassociate yourselves from the “Albanian style of government.” You manifest extreme anxiety over the Toronto Sun attributing the desire for “Albanian-style government” to your Party. The speech stresses:
A couple of days ago, a reactionary journalist asked me whether we will have an Albanian style of government. I said no, we will have a Marxist-Leninist style of government.
Nonetheless, the Toronto Sun quotes me as advocating an Albanian-style government. The issue of style, the issue of whether a Party is genuinely nationalist [1 – ed.], democratic, independent, etc. is fundamental when assessing whether the Party is really internationalist, is really for revolution and socialism, or not. (PCDN, Jan. 3,1980, p. 2, col. 4)
So you disassociated yourself from the “Albanian-style government” on the basis of the “issue of style.” This can mean one of two things: 1) you are opposed to the style of the Albanian government and believe that you have a better style; or 2) that you are putting forward the path of separate roads to socialism in each country. The question of “independence” is irrevelant here, as the issue was the “style” of government not its dependence on other countries. And the “Albanian style of government” is a style of the most rigorous defense of its independence and sovereignty combined with the most enthusiastic adherence to proletarian internationalism.
But you go further. The passage we have quoted above goes on immediately to stress the issue of fighting opportunism as a question of the domestic versus the foreign. It continues as follows:
Is this not the experience of our Party, of the Internationalists before it, that all kinds of trends were floated within our country by the opportunists from the U.S. such as the red bandits of the Rudi Deutsche [By the way, he was from Germany, not the U.S. – ed.] type, and that charlatans from various countries came here to float this or that trend. What did we say about these trends? We said that we could not accept any of them. Glory to the Internationalists and to CPC(M-L) for standing on their own two feet as Canadian Marxist-Leninists. (Ibid.)
Because this passage comes in the paragraph explaining why you are disassociating yourselves from an “Albanian style of government,” it hints that you have a disagreement with the PLA. But aside from that, it presents the whole issue of the fight against opportunism as a fight against immigrants. Both Marxism-Leninism and opportunism are international trends. Marxism-Leninism was itself first developed outside Canada and then brought into Canada as an immigrant, so to speak. It is anti-Marxist-Leninist to present the struggle against opportunism as a struggle of the Canadians against the foreigners.
A particularly revolting feature of this emphasis on “Canadian-ness” which proves its bourgeois character is the double standard that is involved. In regard to our Party, you forget all about the question of “style” of being “independent” and insist on a “special relationship.” You have lectured against our insistence on the proper Marxist-Leninist norms of relations and our upholding of our organizational integrity as allegedly “formalism,” “centrism,” “American exceptionalism,” a violation of proletarian internationalism, and so on ad nauseam. But when it comes to your own Party, you suddenly go to the other extreme and even take up a bourgeois “Canadian-ness.” You have now even gone to the extent of repudiating immigrants. We take this occasion to express our contempt for these crude and brutal violations of proletarian internationalism.
Besides the bourgeois “Canadian-ness,” the speech of December 30, 1979 also revels in the work in the reactionary mass organizations as if it had found a whole new world. Marxist-Leninists work in such organizations as part of the work of the party, and in fact your Party has worked in these organizations from the day of its birth. But your speech creates wrong impressions about the prospects of this work and in fact goes to the extent of calling the reactionary trade unions “organizations of the workers” as opposed to “organizations of the bourgeoisie.” For some reason or other, the speech deduces the necessity to work in these organizations from “the Canadian mentality,” which is mainly described as “still hav(ing) illusions about bourgeois democracy,” although the work in such organizations is a general principle of Marxism-Leninism and not caused by special Canadian conditions. The speech states:
This [the “Canadian mentality” and the “bourgeois-democratic illusions” – ed.] means our comrades must educate the proletariat by leading it in acquiring its own experience, which means that we must work through trade unions, through student councils, through social organizations, cultural organizations, etc.
I am not talking about working through the organizations of the bourgeoisie, but we must make our presence felt in the organizations of the workers. (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980, p. 3, col. 3)
Here the proletariat “acquiring its own experience” is identified with work in non-revolutionary and even reactionary mass organizations, which is only one aspect of the proletariat gaining its own experience. Furthermore, all these organizations are called “organizations of the workers.” Neglecting such absurdities as calling student councils “organizations of the workers,” this also marks an amazing change of attitude to the trade unions. The reactionary trade unions are composed of workers (and a certain stratum of bureaucrats), but this is not the only criterion for a workers’ organization. Proletarian trade unions and trade union forms cannot be confused with the reactionary, counter-revolutionary and often downright fascist trade unions. At one time you had a different attitude to the reactionary trade unions and even stressed that they were integrated into the state apparatus. But now this speech presents another zigzag. As is typical with your zigzags, you do not explain the reason for your change in views but simply allow several different views to coexist together eclectically.
Similarly, the electoral front is presented as a new front of work, as if your Party had not been engaged in serious work on the electoral front for years. For example, your work in the 1972 federal election campaign is assessed in the Political Report to the Second Congress of the CPC(M-L). But instead great expectations were created concerning the election and such things as the plan to distribute nearly 5.5 million copies of the election program. As a result a certain euphoria was created about this alleged new world which had been found. In summing up the results of the election campaign, the chairman of your Party pointed out the following:
Because this euphoria was created, an advance [in the federal election campaign of early 1980 – ed.] did not take place in terms of the increased support amongst the workers and the broad masses of the people.
...because the comrades did not pay serious attention to linking themselves with the broad masses of the people, a breakthrough was not made in the election. (PCDN, “Comrade Bains Addresses a Meeting of Party Activists in Toronto to Sum Up the Election Results,” February 25, 1980, p. 2, col. 5, 6, emphasis added)
However we disagree on the cause of the euphoria. The speech gives certain reasons, but we believe that the cause for it should be sought in the assessment and orientation given for the 1980’s in the speech of December 30, 1979 and the New Year’s speeches and elsewhere. Indeed, in the passages we have cited from the summation of the elections, it is revealed that there were thoughts that this election would bring a “breakthrough.” As we pointed out in Section XIV-D, the Communique from the 7th Plenum of the CC of the CPC(M-L) even went to the extreme of denouncing the parliamentary cretin-ists for not making use of electoral possibilities. It is clear that the euphoria was a reflection of the assessment concerning how to make a “breakthrough” in the elections. This idea of the imminent breakthrough is part and parcel of the whole tone of the orientation of the 1980’s, which writes off the work of the Party in the 1970’s and paints new prospects allegedly available with a turn to the right.
These speeches also give a series of other rightist views. On the question of illegal methods of organizing, they state that your Party will use them “if this is necessary.” (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980, p. 4, col. 4) Well, are they necessary or have you put off their use into some indefinite time in the future? As well, you continue and deepen your long-standing error concerning the “middle strata” by which you mean certain sections of the “middle bourgeoisie” or “non-monopoly bourgeoisie” or what you formerly called the “national bourgeoisie.” We shall deal with this serious error, which is blatantly anti-Marxist-Leninist theoretically and very dangerous in practice, in the future. For now we note that you are wrong both in your assessment of the role of the middle bourgeoisie in the socialist revolution and also in your idea of how the proletariat rallies its actual allies around itself.
The rightist views from these speeches grew and “flowered” during the federal election campaign of your Party in early 1980. For example, on the question of war, you gave the view of boycotting war, for the workers to reply to the threat of war by “not participat(ing) in the war-oriented economic sector, that is, in those factories and mines which are directly being used in these war preparations.” (PCDN, Feb. 2, 1980, p. 2, col. 2) The organization of the workers in the war industries and their involvement in struggle is an important front for a Marxist-Leninist party, but this is quite a different thing from encouraging illusions that war can be stopped by depriving the war industries of workers. And as well you put forward as a central issue that the Canadian people should not permit any foreign troops on their soil. This restricts the issue to the struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie outside Canada, the imperialist bourgeoisie of other countries. And you make this appeal at a time when Canada is already under the jackboot of U.S. imperialism and the Canadian bourgeoisie is thoroughly enmeshed with the U.S. and Western imperialist bourgeoisie. Perhaps if such a call were an immediate agitational appeal in a struggle against certain definite troops in certain particular situations, it could be understood, but at the present it is a dangerous slogan as Canada could be involved in a war on the side of U.S. imperialism in which the Canadian people are suppressed by Canadian and not U.S. troops and in which the call is given to fight the threatening Soviet troops.
In many ways this rightism reaches a high point with the election program in the February 15 issue of PCDN. This program undertakes to out-promise the bourgeois parties in terms of how to end the crisis independent of the development of the socialist revolution. It gives no call at all to the mass struggle of the masses on the economic and political fronts. The only exception is on the issue of war preparations, where it calls on the people “to oppose all imperialist blocs and powers” and not to side with “one bloc or the other,” that is, it calls for struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie outside Canada. The election program thus undertakes to promise how to get Canada out of the all-round crisis without mass struggle and revolution. It gives a series of economic panaceas and schemes and it creates the illusion that the structure of the Canadian economy can be reshaped and the “financial oligarchs” expropriated through voting in the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. The program calls for “guarantee (ing) the right to self-determination and secession for the nation of Quebec,...protect(ing) the rights of the Acadians and eliminat(ing) regional disparities and restor(ing) the hereditary rights of the Native people” and “defend(ing) the sovereignty of Canada and the democratic liberties and freedoms of the people” by “proclaim(ing) a new constitution.” The program is absolutely silent about the measures that would be necessary as a prerequisite for any serious assault on monopoly capitalism. It is a program without the revolution whatsoever and without socialism too, although at one point it does insist that some enterprises should “be run on a socialist basis.” How enterprises can be run on a socialist basis in a presumably non-socialist state is never explained. Volumes could be written about the utter rightism of this program.
In the speech of December 30, 1979, you also denounce the concept of the “enigma of China.” The speech states:
This was the mistake on the assessment of Mao Zedong and ’Mao Zedong Thought.’ When we say it was a mistake, it is not for the reason that some people are now suggesting, that Mao Zedong and China were not very well known to us. When Comrade Enver Hoxha talks about this he is saying something entirely different to what these people are suggesting. As far as our Party is concerned, we, with open eyes, knowing that Teng Xiaoping and others were revisionist, knowing that they were counter-revolutionaries aligning with all kinds of reactionary forces on the world scale, said that Mao Zedong was a Marxist-Leninist, while these others were not. (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980, p. 2, col. 3-4, emphasis as in the original)
But, for no reason whatsoever, [oh come now, was it just blind chance? – ed.] they [articles in PCDN of September 1977 – ed.] say that Mao Zedong also supports these correct positions, that Mao Zedong is also a Leninist. (Ibid., col. 4)
Here you hypocritically state that you agree with what Comrade Enver Hoxha says about the “enigma of China,” but not with what some unspecified other people are saying. But you never explain exactly what conception of “enigma of China” you allegedly agree with, and how it differs from the conception of the “enigma of China” that you are denouncing. In fact, there was a time when you were somewhat more honest on this question. In the discussions between our two Parties of late May 1979, your representative disagreed openly with the view of the PLA, said that the PLA and our Party had the same view on this question, and stated that the leadership of your Party couldn’t understand why Albania sees an enigma, fn later discussions, however, you began to resort to brutal hypocrisy. You stated a purely hypocritical agreement with the PLA’s talk about an “enigma of China,” but said that this concept only could be used by the PLA, and that it couldn’t be talked about in the U.S. or Canada or presumably anywhere outside Albania. This of course is absurd. The questions of the enigma of China and of the forms and methods used by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party to create this enigma, including the withholding of essential information on the Party, state, and economy, the keeping of all theoretical literature in a state of confusion, the vacillating and zigzagging policies of the Chinese leadership, the hiding of the line behind the constant interpretation and reinterpretation of stereotyped propaganda formulae or of six-word quotations from Mao Zedong, the arbitrary attribution of every crime or of anything that isn’t convenient to the “second or bourgeois headquarters” in the Party, and so forth, are objective phenomena. It is not a question of who analyzes China, but of what the Chinese leadership itself did. The evaluation of the “enigma of China,” just like the evaluation of Mao Zedong Thought itself, cannot differ from country to country. If you disagree with the concept of “the enigma of China,” you of course have the right to set forward your views concerning the analysis of Chinese revisionism on this question as well as in general. This you don’t do. But when you fight against the conception of “the enigma of China” while posing as the greatest defenders of the views of the PLA on this question, when you attack unspecified defenders of the concept of the “enigma of China” and accuse them of disagreeing, not just with you, but with the PLA, this is not only hypocrisy, it is downright treachery. It means that you are waging an unprincipled war not just against our Party and its Marxist-Leninist positions on the “enigma of China” and the analysis of Chinese revisionism, but also against certain ideological positions of the PLA.
In opposing the concept of the “enigma of China,” you try to create the impression that to say there was an “enigma” is simply to make an excuse for oneself. What a philistine conception! You do not regard the concept of the “enigma of China” as a serious indictment of the Chinese leadership. Nor do you analyze this concept in itself. Instead you regard this concept from the purely pragmatic angle of what use this or that person might make of it in this or that situation. But it is clear that the question of the errors or weakness of this or that party in respect to Chinese revisionism and the question of the anti-Marxist-Leninist forms and methods used by the Chinese leadership to create a big mystery concerning the stand of the Chinese Communist Party are distinct and separate questions, although with a certain relationship. And furthermore, our Party readily accepted the analysis of the “enigma of China” because it corresponded with our experience in trying to analyze the Chinese positions during the study we undertook on Mao Zedong Thought. You on the other hand claim that there is no enigma, that everything is clear to you, but at the same time you don’t have a serious analysis of Mao Zedong Thought. Indeed you have simply reduced the question of repudiating Mao Zedong to such meaningless generalities about “campaigns” and “movements” and the contradiction between correct and incorrect that the question of the analysis of the actual stands and theories of Chinese revisionism is obscured.
Hence, while you pretend humility and present your negation of the concept of “the enigma of China” as a sign of modesty, the slightest examination of your stand on this question shows that it is part of your claim to infallibility. You posture as the most self-critical and soul-searching on the issue of Mao Zedong Thought. But in fact you are cultivating an aura of infallibility around your Party and its history and presenting things as if your Party was always right, was always the most advanced of all parties and that it was only dragged down into serious errors by its big “heart” for the international movement. You claim that for you there was no “enigma,” you saw everything clearly concerning the Communist Party of China, were clear on everthing, but simply “for no reason” made a mistake in thinking that Mao was Marxist-Leninist and the others weren’t. This assertion of yours that you attributed Marxist-Leninist positions to Mao “for no reason” is a powerful proof of your attempt to present yourself as all-knowing. It vividly shows that you are negating the concept of “enigma of China” not in order to avoid explaining away your mistakes and weaknesses, but precisely to gloss over the issues at stake.
Your thesis that you supported Mao “for no reason” also conflicts with the public documents of your Party. Consider the Political Resolution of the Third Congress of the CPC(M-L) of 1977. The first point of this resolution praised Mao Zedong very highly, stating that this “revolutionary authority was of the same caliber as the authority of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin” and pointing explicitly to a number of theories and alleged contributions of Mao, such as “fortifying the countryside to encircle the cities,” and so forth. If you were clear on all the matters of the theory of Chinese revisionism, then why did you endorse these theories? It is clear that you are denouncing the concept of “the enigma of China” not as a sign of humility and still less in order to probe more deeply into the errors of Chinese revisionism, but precisely in order to gloss over and obscure the theoretical weaknesses in your Party and to reduce the repudiation of Mao Zedong Thought to vague generalities and platitudes.
Your presentation of yourself as infallible continues to the point that you say that to have opposed Mao Zedong Thought in 1968-1970 would have put one in the same camp as the class enemy. The New Year’s speeches state:
We re-organized the Internationalists in 1968 on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. Some people look back and say that it was very strange that we re-established the Internationalists, and later the Party, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The most petty-minded liberal elements, who don’t want to do any work for the Party are coming around to say that the Party should do more self-criticism on this question....
The fact of the matter is that if you relive the 1968-1970 period, you find that to take up a position against China at that time, against Mao Zedong and against ’Mao Zedong Thought’, would have placed you in the reactionary camp, in the real sense of the word – not just that some people would characterize you as a reactionary, but your activities would be in the service of the bourgeoisie. (PCDN, Jan. 5,1980, p. 2, col. 4)
Here you defend that your Party was absolutely right to defend and propagate Mao Zedong Thought, for otherwise its activities “would be in the service of the bourgeoisie.” Since you cannot deny that your Party supported the formulation Mao Zedong Thought and was confused about various theories, you defend the infallibility of your leadership by saying that this was absolutely necessary for the period 1968-1970 in order to be opposed to the bourgeoisie. What shameless glossing over of mistakes and weaknesses! What utter rot! This passage from your assessment of the 1970’s is utter sophistry, for it confuses the question of denouncing China and Mao Zedong in that period with the question of taking up Mao Zedong Thought. To have refused to take up Mao Zedong Thought in that period would have been a good thing that would have been helpful to the progress of the revolution, not something in service of the bourgeoisie. For example, the Sixth Congress of the PLA in 1971, while vigorously supporting China and Mao Zedong, put forward its views in positive form on a number of issues that were being confused by Mao Zedong Thought and presented the correct theses and also refused to take up Mao Zedong Thought as the banner of the Party. The whole point of your confusing these two separate things – the defense of China and the taking up of Mao Zedong Thought – is to justify your positions of the time.
You continue to present yourself as infallible in the speech “The Road of the Party.” There you present the leadership of your Party as “infallible” and any mistakes as “justifiable mistakes” (in the PCDN version of the speech) or “understandable mistakes” (in the pamphlet version) which “could not be otherwise.” You stress this repeatedly. For example, “The Road of the Party” states:
There are mistakes which were justifiable mistakes, taking into account the actual historical conditions of the period in a concrete manner. The founding of the Party on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and ’Mao Zedong Thought’ in 1970 was such a justifiable mistake for the period. It could not be otherwise. But our Party, in its life and activity of 10 years, never looked at this mistake with smug complacency and never tailed behind events. [Oh no, you just insist in March 1980 that this mistake was “justifiable” and that “it could not be otherwise.” But there is no “smug complacency.” Never! – ed.].... (PCDN, April 2, 1980, p. 3, col. 3, emphasis added)
Thus, for our Party, while adoption of Marxism-Leninism and ’Mao Zedong Thought’ was a justifiable mistake, it was not justified to take the road of ’new method.’ This entire line of ’new method’ was finally defeated by the convening of the Second Congress of the Party in March 1973. [The “new method” was supported by the Second Congress and explicitly re-endorsed at the Third Congress of the CPC (ML) in 1977, as we have pointed out in Section XIV-E of this letter. – ed.] (Ibid., col. 4)
During the period of 1970-1973, that is, the period between the First and Second Congresses, the Party made serious mistakes in terms of its tactics under the influence of ’Mao Zedong Thought.’ [Here you are trying to claim that everything was rectified by the Second Congress. As we have seen in the case of ”new methods,” this is not true. You are constantly trying to minimize and downplay the issue of the repudiation of Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought and present the leadership of your Party as having dealt with the matter long ago. – ed.] It could not be otherwise. (PCDN, April 3, 1980, p. 3, col. 4, emphasis added)
Indeed, you go to the extent of blaming your errors and theoretical weaknesses on the international movement and so forth. Thus, “The Road of the Party” states:
And this [the adoption by your Party of Mao Zedong Thought – ed.] was right during the period when our Party was founded, was extremely inexperienced and lacked the vigorous sympathy and support of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Parties, which our Party enjoys today. (PCDN, April 2, 1980, p. 3, col. 3, emphasis added)
Thus in the passage above you blame the adoption of Mao Zedong Thought on lack of contact with the Marxist-Leninist parties, while in the passage from this same speech which we quote below you blame it on the views of these same parties among other factors: “At that time, when the climate internationally and nationally was that ’Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought’ was the highest development, such a mistake was justifiable.” (Ibid., col. 4, emphasis added)
Both these passages agree however in blaming the error on someone else. And this last passage is absolutely astonishing: it is the theory that it is “justifiable” to float with every breeze, both internationally and nationally. So much for your assertion that you “never tailed behind events.”
All this reveals the complete hypocrisy behind your alleged self-criticism that “We must admit openly that it [the CPC(M-L) at the time of its founding in 1970 – ed.] was more (inspired by) ’Mao Zedong Thought’ than Marxism-Leninism.” (The speech of Dec. 30, 1979, PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980. p. 2, col. 2) On one hand you make such a sweeping statement, on the other hand you maintain that you were always clear on the issues involved and that you attributed Marxist-Leninist positions to Mao “for no reason whatsoever.” With your sweeping statements and vague meaningless generalities you are actually opposing the serious consideration of the history of your Party and the development of the repudiation of Mao Zedong Thought. Instead of seriously analyzing the accomplishments and weaknesses of your Party, you are glossing over the theoretical weaknesses and instead squirming this way and that to prove that your leadership is infallible, that its mistakes were “justifiable” and that things “could not be otherwise.” You are opposing the concept of the “enigma of China” precisely in order to replace it with the concept of the infallibility of your Party and to oppose the further repudiation of Mao Zedong Thought and Chinese revisionism under the pretext that everything is clear.
This brings us to the conclusion of our letter. We have carefully and painstakingly assessed the situation in detail. And we have thoroughly and all-sidedly analyzed the immediate ideological issues involved. It is our sincere desire that the leadership of your Party considers carefully and reflects seriously upon the extremely important issues our letter has raised. We are confident that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) will summon the necessary courage to soberly face the present grave situation which has been created between our two Parties and for which it alone bears the full responsibility. Our Marxist-Leninist Parties are fearless and do not shy from their duty because above all else they are loyal to the proletariat and to the immortal teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
Central Committee Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA