Published The Workers’ Advocate, Vol 12 No 8, September 5, 1982
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Maoist deviations of the leadership of CPC (M-L) run through their entire history. In this article, we focus on their petty-bourgeois nationalist deviations on the Canadian revolution. From their earliest days. CPC(M-L) and its predecessors have depicted Canada in colonial terms, denied the existence of Canadian imperialism and set forth a non-socialist nationalist program for the Canadian revolution. Below we document this history from major historical documents of CPC(M-L).
The original predecessors of CPC(M-L) were the Canadian Internationalists. This group held that it was not the Canadian bourgeoisie but U.S. imperialism which was the main enemy of the Canadian people. This view was further spelled out when the Canadian Internationalists founded the Canadian Communist Movement (Marxist-Leninist), the immediate forerunner of CPC(M-L), in the summer of 1969. The general program of this organization was described in the following remarks introducing the first issue of CCM(M-L) newspaper, Mass Line:
MASS LINE is the revolutionary Canadian newsweekly of the proletariat for the entire working class. It is a mass paper dedicated to the defeat of U.S. imperialist domination of Canadian economics, politics and culture, the establishment of the People’s Democratic Republic of Canada under the leadership of the proletariat and preparing material conditions for the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. In other words, MASS LINE is dedicated to serve the Democratic Revolution which is anti-imperialist in content and mass democratic in form...
MASS LINE must be anti-imperialist in content because the chief enemy of our people is U.S. imperialism.... The first and foremost task of all people in Canada apart from a small minority of comprador Bourgeois and Bureaucrat Capitalists is to defeat U.S. imperialism. This is also the task of the proletariat.... MASS LINE must avoid two opportunist lines: the ’Right’ wing opportunist line and the ’Left’ wing opportunist line. In the main, these two tendencies are most dangerous because the two are taking the proletariat away from its principal enemy. MASS LINE must rigorously stand against this ’one-step’ revolution which amounts to no revolution at all. (Mass Line. “Introducing Mass Line.” Vol. 1, No. 1, July 16. 1969, p. 2,)
Indeed, it was on the basis of this analysis of the character of Canada and this orientation for the revolution that CPC(M-L) was founded. The founding document of the party, the Political Report of CPC (M-L), April 1970, elaborated this position as follows:
Canada is a capitalist country under the complete domination of U.S. imperialism and its lackeys, the Canadian compradors. The Canadian compradors have completely submitted to the interests of the U.S. imperialists, and run the economics, politics and culture of their country for the sole purpose of serving their masters. The Government of Canada under Trudeau. as well as his predecessors, has been, and is, the government of national betrayal. In this respect Canada can be called a neo-colony of the U.S. imperialists.... Canada is a dominion of England only in name. For all intents and purposes, Canada is a country subjugated by the U.S. imperialists, and any forward march in Canada means the elimination of the national oppression and the building of material conditions for proletarian revolution....
There are four basic contradictions inherent in Canadian society:
Contradiction 1. Contradiction between U.S. imperialism and its lackeys, the Canadian compradors, and the Canadian people. This contradiction is the principal one, and will necessarily lead to an anti-imperialist revolution. Without the resolution of this contradiction, all the other contradictions will not be resolved. The Canadian working class will profit most from such a revolution and is, in the final analysis, the genuinely anti-imperialist class, and is the main force as well as the leading force of the anti-imperialist revolution.
Contradiction 2. Contradiction between the working class, the laboring masses of both the urban and rural petit-bourgeoisie, and the capitalists. This contradiction will necessarily lead to a proletarian revolution with the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. But without the working class leading the anti-imperialist revolution, the material conditions will not be prepared for the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. In this respect, for the duration of the period of mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution, this contradiction takes a secondary position. ... not to emphasize the dominant features of the anti-imperialist socialist revolution, and not to mobilize the Canadian people to the maximum against the principal enemy, is to make a serious ultra-left error....
Contradiction 3. Contradiction between the Comprador bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, and amongst the Compradors themselves. This is a contradiction in the enemy camp... Some elements of the national bourgeoisie may want to fight the imperialists, and they must be called upon to do so, and their real features as vacillating elements exposed to, the broad masses of the Canadian people....” (CPC(M-L) Documents – Political Reports 1970 and 1973, pp. 10-12)
These views have remained the basic positions of CPC(M-L), although over the years, various formulations have been adjusted.
It should be noted that the Political Report of April 1970 kept the door open for allying with “some elements of the national bourgeoisie.” This stand and the general line of a national struggle for Canada contain the danger of leading to accommodation with the ruling bourgeoisie of Canada, which in fact heads up the national bourgeoisie of the country. Lo and behold, when the Canadian government took a stand which CPC(M-L) thought was a stand against U.S. imperialism, they came forward with acclamations of support. On the occasion of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada, CPC(M-L) wrote:
Canada is dominated by the U.S. imperialists, and its people exploited and repressed. The U.S.imperialists tried their best to keep the Canadian people away from building ties with China, but it has all failed. The Government of Canada and the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA have established diplomatic relations which is a great blow to the big-brother policies of the U.S. imperialists. Not only has the Canadian Government established diplomatic relations with China, but it has also raised many questions of Canadian sovereignty with the U.S. imperialists and has taken steps to safeguard this, which goes to show that the Canadian Government to this extent, is responding to the deep sentiment of the Canadian people to oppose U.S. imperialism. With this policy the Canadian Government is contributing towards the world-wide anti-imperialist front against U.S. imperialism. (MASS LINE, Vol. 2. No. 43. April 18. 1971.)
In May 1971. CPC(M-L) held their First Congress. This Congress adopted the Constitution of the Party which confirmed that it was the “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” which was on the agenda for Canada. The ramifications of this line on the membership of the Party was also spelled out:
Proven renegades, enemy agents, those who persist in following the bourgeois reactionary Right and ’left’ opportunist line...counter-revolutionary slogans of ’anti-capitalist and ’one-stage’ revolution ...must be cleared out of the Party and not re-admitted. (“Constitution of CPC(M-L),” Mass Line, Vol. 2. No. 45. June 13, 1971)
In other words, they wrote the socialist revolution completely out of their party constitution.
In May 1971, CPC(M-L) also launched the Provisional Committee of the Canadian People’s United Front Against U.S. Imperialism (CPUF). This Committee issued a “National Petition for a People’s Canada” on November 11. 1971. This Petition included the following statement:
...we call upon all classes of society to: A. Resolutely take up the task of preparing for National War Against U.S. imperialism... (People’s Canada Daily News Release. April 12, 1972, p. 6)
Among the activities of the Provisional Committee of the CPUF was to “prepare conditions for calling the Canadian People’s Congress.” To carry this out, they declared a plan to call “various national forums, each geared to a particular section of the society.” Ten such forums were planned. The tenth was for: “Native capitalists – completely Canadian, independent and non-monopoly capitalists.” (Ibid.) This program shows that CPC(M-L)’s call for a national revolution in Canada envisaged an alliance with the national bourgeoisie.
On July 1, Confederation Day, 1972, CPC(M-L) released a document called the Communist Manifesto for Canada and Quebec (First Draft). This document further elaborated its vision of what attitude a “communist government” established by CPC(M-L) would take towards various sections of the Canadian boureoisie. It declared:
7) The basic cell of the Communist Government, the REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE, will be comprised of representatives from various classes with the main and majority force coming from the working class, allied force coming from the intellectuals and the rural and urban petty-bourgeoisie and the minority force coming from the non-monopoly, pro-communist capitalists.
9) The Communist Government will put an end to all foreign-controlled monopoly capitalist enterprises without any remuneration and without any demand that they pay back that which they have already extracted and stolen from Canada and Quebec...
10) The Communist Government will curb all Canadian monopoly capitalist class enterprises, take over those which supported the foreign imperialists and opposed the proletarian revolution and let others maintain their enterprises with the conditions of a strict control on prices and profits....
13) The Communist Government will encourage all non-monopoly enterprises (already in existence) to carry on. but will oppose the exploitation of the working people through these enterprises as well as oppose these enterprises becoming monopolies. (Communist Manifesto for Canada and Quebec (First Draft), pamphlet published by CPC(M-L), p. 6)
This is a graphic exposure of the nonsocialist character of CPC(M-L)’s perspective for the revolution. CPC(M-L) promised to let the non-monopoly capitalists carry on their activities (how they are to do this without exploitation, only CPC(M-L)’s theoreticians know). Mind you, this was not a plan for the step-by-step expropriation of all capitalist property but a plan for long-term coexistence with the non-monopoly bourgeoisie. Nowhere did CPC(M-L) spell out its perspective for the eventual expropriation of all the means of production. Furthermore, the Communist Manifesto for Canada and Quebec even promised these bourgeois a share of power in the organs of political power, What is more, this softness towards the bourgeoisie was even extended to the Canadian monopolists! CPC(M-L) only pledged to take over the property of the monopolists who supported the foreign imperialists, while letting the other monopolies remain.
Within a few months, though, CPC(M-L) adjusted their line and promised to give even the monopoly capitalists a share of the political power! This was put forward during their participation in the 1972 federal elections. PCDN wrote:
In place of Parliament we must have a PEOPLE’S CONGRESS. It should be convened on the basis of majority control. 80% of its members should come from the working class, 15% representation should go to small businessmen, farmers and fishermen, while the monopoly capitalist class should have less than 5% of the membership. (PCDN. Vol. 2, No. 2, September 26, 1972). The description of this scheme was also published in CPC(M-L)’s 1976 pamphlet On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, p. 37)
The Second Congress of CPC(M-L) was held in March 1973. It reaffirmed the positions of the founding document of CPC(M-L) on the character of Canada and the nature of the revolution. Its basic analysis of Canada included:
The four basic contradictions in Canada are the following:
1. The main contradiction is between U.S. imperialism and its lackeys in Canada and the vast majority of the Canadian people. This Is the leading contradiction and is playing the decisive role in the movement of society forward.
2. The second contradiction is between the Canadian monopoly capitalist class and the working class of Canada. This contradiction, although it is the most basic and fundamental contradiction, is expressing itself in the struggle between the U.S. imperialists and the Canadian lackeys on the one hand, and the Canadian people on the other. It is the basic task of the proletarians to organize against the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys and to lead that struggle. As the struggle develops and matures, the proletariat will gain experience as well as the support of the masses and this will lead to the defeat of U.S imperialism; then the contradiction between labor and capital will be othe principal one and will become decisive. National struggle against U.S. imperialism is class struggle of the proletariat against the Canadian monopoly capitalist class during the period of preparation for the proletarian revolution.
Contradiction number one is an antagonistic contradiction and will only be resolved through revolutionary war against U.S. imperialism and will lead to anti-imperialist revolution. Contradiction number two is also an antagonistic contradiction and will lead to revolutionary civil war against the monopoly capitalist class. It will lead to proletarian revolution.... (CPC(M-L) Documents – Political Reports 1970 and 1973, p. 45-47.)
The Second Congress also spelled out CPC(M-L)’s view of how capitalism developed in Canada. It denied the existence of an indigenous development of capitalism in Canada and painted the Canadian bourgeoisie as merely comprador elements. It explained:
Canada is a capitalist society. The basis of building capitalism in Canada has, in the main, always been external. Capital accumulated outside the country has been brought into Canada in the form of investments, and it is this imported capital which constituted the backbone of the capitalist economic system. This situation has always remained the same. To date, the sources of capital are. in the main, the foreign investors. No enterprise in Canada of any caliber is established without the involvement of foreign capital. Because of the Canadian capitalists’ dependence on foreign capital, there exists in Canada today a foreign-dependent capitalist system....
At the present, there are two types of capitalists:
Those who are still enjoying the colonial privileges – basically known as compradors – and those who are managers of the U.S. imperialist branch plants – basically known as bureaucrat capitalists....
The comprador and bureaucrat capitalists not only import large amounts of foreign capital, but they also assist the foreign imperialists, especially the U.S. imperialists, in the export of capital to other countries. Their basic nature of middle-man remains....
The entire production in Canada is geared toward foreign use....
Politically. Parliament is the tool of foreign expansion into Canada....” (Ibid., pp. 47-49)
The leadership of CPC(M-L) opened this year with a ringing affirmation of their position on the question of the main contradiction in Canada. In a major speech delivered by the Chairman of CPC(M-L), Hardial Bains, which was later published as a pamphlet, they declared:
...our Party has analysed the situation and we are so far agreed that there are two contradictions in this country. (We are also discussing the existence of a third contradiction but have not yet reached any conclusions on this point.)
The first contradiction is between U.S. imperialism and the monopoly capitalist class, on the one hand, and the masses of the Canadian people on the other. When we speak of the masses of the Canadian people, we mean not only the Canadian working class but include a large section of the petit bourgeoisie and even some sections of the bourgeoisie. This means that we must participate in those struggles waged by the Canadian people. One of the struggles which is decisive on this front is the struggle against the U.S. imperialist dominations of Canada....
The second contradiction is between the proletariat, on the one hand, and the bourgeoisie, on the other. The proletariat will succeed in leading the struggle against the bourgeoisie only if it mobilizes the largest majority of the Canadian people against the main enemy. (Usher in the First Year of the Last Quarter of the Glorious Twentieth Century, p. 29.)
Immediately following this speech. CPC(M-L) launched a big polemic against an opportunist group called the Revolutionary Student Movement of Quebec (MREQ) (This group was one of the predecessors of the pro-Chinese “three worldist” Workers Communist Party of Canada.) A central feature of this polemic was on the question of the character of Canada and the nature of the main contradiction in Canadian society. In this polemic, CPC(M-L) opposed MREQ from right opportunist positions and not from positions of Marxism-Leninism.
The MREQ was quite willing to give lip service to recognizing Canada as an imperialist country and to the main contradiction in Canada being that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie while supporting the “three worldist” thesis of defending Canadian independence against the two superpowers. But, instead of fighting “three worldsism,” CPC(M-L) went with hammer and tongs against the correct idea about the principal contradiction. This entire polemical effort of CPC(M-L)’s made mincemeat out of the Marxist-Leninist views on a whole series of questions. The crux of the issue was stated as follows:
...MREQ simply states that the principal contradiction is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. This completely distorts Lenin’s theory of the highest stage of capitalism. Only during the period of competitive capitalism is this the case. In the era of finance capital, of monopolization, of creditor countries parasitizing on the overwhelming majority of countries, then all classes, and strata of society exclusive of the handful of monopoly capitalists in each country dominated by imperialism, have an objective interest in overthrowing imperialism. (PCDN. Vol. 5, No. 15, January 17, 1975.)
Elsewhere in this polemic, CPC(M-L) further spelled out their “class analysis” of the forces that stand against imperialism. Here CPC(M-L) spelled out that in its view not only the petty bourgeoisie but even “medium-sized factory owners” were Canadian workers. They wrote:
...a vast army of Canadian workers employed in the circulation of goods and services, in government offices, educational institutions, in small businesses as owners, even as medium sized factory owners – all these working masses are bled in a thousand and one ways every time they turn arbund by the all pervasive, all ensnaring web of finance capital.” (PCDN, Vol. 5, No. 8, January 9, 1975)
This entire polemic of CPC(M-L)’s showed that while they basically adhered to the ideas of the “three worlds” theory, they gave the application of this theory in Canada a twist of their own. While acknowledging Canada as part of the “second world,” CPC(M-L) pointed out that within the “second world” there are countries like Canada which are really closer to the “third world.” Thus PCDN wrote:
We boldly declare that the two superpowers are the main enemies of all the world’s peoples, and that the broadest united front of Third World countries, Second World countries and the working class of the two superpowers should be forged to ”shake off” these imperialist monsters and utterly destroy them.
We do not think it assists the Canadian revolution to dogmatically assert that our country falls into such and such a category. ... To simply assert dogmatically that ’Canada is in the Second World’ teaches us nothing....
Clearly, then, our country is different from Second World countries like Britain, France, Japan, Germany – even from smaller ones like Holland, Denmark, and Sweden; but like that of Australia. We are a dependent, capitalist country dominated by U.S. imperialism. The majority of the Canadian people, the workers, small producers, large sections of the lower middle class, professionals, civil servants, and even sections of the national bourgeoisie are all forced to pay tribute to the rentier parasites who make up the financial oligarchy in the United States, and thus objectively all have a common enemy, U.S. imperialism. (PCDN, Vol. 5, No. 15, January 17, 1975, p. 3)
But wait. In describing Canada in “third worldist” terms, CPC(M-L) did not fail to keep the door open even to sections of the monopoly capitalists. PCDN declared:
In fact what Mao Tsetung is talking about in his article is the possibility of the people’s revolution against imperialism making an alliance with the comprador monopoly capitalist class (Chiang Kai Shek) on a temporary basis to fight a common invader (Japan). Possibly sections of the Canadian monopoly capitalist class would join an alliance with the Canadian people’s anti-imperialist front if U.S. imperialism should invade Canada. But that is not an item on the immediate political agenda. (PCDN. Vol. 5, No. 21, January 24, 1975, p. 3.)
One very interesting feature about this polemical series of CPC(M-L)’s is that here they openly admitted that, even if Canada were an imperialist country, they would still not recognize the main contradiction as between the proletariat and bourgeoisie. After all. they had already explained, class struggle is a thing of the past, a phenomenon only of the period of competitive capitalism! Thus PCDN wrote:
According to MREQ, the principal contradiction in Canada is between the ’bourgeoisie and the proletariat.’ Is this not the same line given by NDP and the revisionists, the anarcho-syndicalists, and the opportunists as well as the trotskyists and neo-trotskyists? ...
MREQ peddles the theory that Canada is itself an ’imperialist’ country. Even if for the sake of argument we concede that this is so, the struggle between the ’bourgeoisie and the proletariat’ still cannot be considered as the main struggle. But we do not concede that Canada is an imperialist country.” (PCDN. Vol. 5, No. 13, January 15. 1975, reprinted in the pamphlet On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, pp. 157-58)
This year marks a turning point. On a world scale, the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and “three worldsism” had burst out in full force. This included repudiation of “second worldist” conceptions of national revolutions in the imperialist countries of Europe, Japan and Canada. The basic cornerstones of CPC(M-L)’s deviations on the strategy of the Canadian revolution were being denounced. Here was an opportunity for CPC(M-L) to rectify. But instead CPC(M-L) held its Third Congress in March 1977 to whitewash its errors and carry forward the line of national revolution in a more refined form. This Congress they declared as the “congress of the victory of Marxism in Canada”!
Reaffirming the basic views of the First and Second Congress on the character of Canada, the Third Congress declared:
8. The Third Congress of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) affirms the political thesis advanced by the First and Second Congresses that in Canada there are three major contradictions:
a) A contradiction between U.S. imperialism and the Canadian monopoly capitalist class, and the Canadian people;
b) There is a contradiction in the camp of U.S. imperialism and the Canadian monopoly capitalist class, amongst various monopoly groups; and
c) There is a contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
This analysis cuts across all the confusion generated by the opportunists on this question.... Other opportunist sects call Canada an imperialist power with the main contradiction being that between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Both types of opportunists make no distinction between:
a) colonies proper and other colonies;
b) monopoly or big bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie;
c) dependence and independence; and
d) oppressor state and oppressed state. (Political Resolution of the Third Congress of CPC(M-L), pp. 17-18)
The Third Congress described the development of capitalism in Canada in the following way;
Monopoly capitalism in Canada developed by importing massive amounts of foreign capital and it did not develop as a result of the indigenous merger of industrial and banking capital. ... The Third Congress of CPC(M-L) considers the Canadian state to be part and parcel of the world imperialist system of states – it is an oppressor state. At the same time, the Third Congress advocates that Canada is like a colony, its capitalism is a dependent capitalism and its state is dominated by U.S. imperialism. (Ibid., p. 19)
In their pseudo-class analysis. CPC(M-L) again affirmed their petty-bourgeois nationalist conceptions of the national bourgeoisie in Canada. It wrote:
9. The social base of reaction in Canada is the reactionary bourgeoisie, that is the big bourgeoisie, that which is solely Canadian and that which is simply an extension of the U.S. big bourgeoisie. The big bourgeoisie controls and monopolizes everything and is quite distinct from the national bourgeoisie. The opportunists make no distinction between the big bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie which controls the main means of production and expropriates the surplus value, and the national bourgeoisie, which is extremely weak and incapable of fighting the big bourgeoisie.... To these opportunists, the meaning of the term ’national bourgeoisie’ refers to a capitalist or monopoly capitalist who is Canadian. To them, the term ’national bourgeoisie’ does not mean the bourgeoisie which has only the home market and produces for the home market Such a ’national bourgeoisie’ cannot exist in Canada as the big bourgeoisie because of the entire historical development of Canada. (Ibid., pp. 19-20.)
This is complete gobbledygook. CPC(M-L) asserts that only the big bourgeoisie expropriates the surplus value! So what does the rest of the bourgeoisie do – exploit the workers for the good of the nation? Here CPC(M-L) is again dreaming of their pro-communist bourgeoisie. According to their petty-bourgeois nationalist conception, the bourgeoisie based on the home market does not exploit the Canadian workers but is virtually a candidate for sainthood.
Besides, their definition of the “national bourgeoisie” is just as absurd. In an imperialist country like Canada, the national bourgeoisie is in fact led by the big imperialist ruling bourgeoisie. As for the question of being based on the home market, this does not even distinguish between Canadian and foreign capital; after all, many indubitably Canadian capitalists produce for export while many foreign corporations in Canada produce solely for the Canadian market.
From this entire analysis of Canada. CPC(M-L) naturally reaffirmed its nationalist strategy for the revolution. While the formulations were slightly adjusted, the basic ideas of the non-socialist anti-imperialist revolution remained the same:
10. The social revolution in Canada is against both the U.S. imperialists and the reactionary bourgeoisie and against the capitalist system. ... Another sect advocates that the struggle against the ’bourgeoisie’ is the main struggle while the struggle against the two superpowers must be subordinated to it. These opportunists do not recognize the fact that... the bourgeoisie in Canada is divided between the big bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.... The proletarian revolution is a thoroughgoing and protracted revolution against the big bourgeoisie, against the foreign imperialists and against all exploiting classes. This is why the proletariat must lead this revolution stepwise through stages, firmly completing one stage as a prelude to the next. The theory of the one-stage revolution is merely trotskyite sophistry and windbaggery. There is nothing of substance in it. (Ibid., p. 20.)
While evading the question of giving a definite character to the revolution, CPC(M-L) of course did not forget to denounce “one-stage revolution.” As to the nonsocialist content of their strategic aims. They spelled this out in fairly clear terms:
35. The strategic aims of the Party are:
1) Overthrow of the rule of the reactionary bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie composed of the monopoly bourgeoisie of Canada and that of the big bourgeoisie which is a mere extension of U.S. imperialism in Canada;
2) Overthrow of the U.S. imperialist domination of Canada....
5) ...the new state...will expropriate all national and international big monopoly capitalists, expropriate the traitorous bourgeoisie, suppress the reactionary elements and embark on the socialist road. (Ibid.. pp. 67-68)
While giving lip service to “embarking on the socialist road,” CPC(M-L)’s strategic aim only envisaged expropriating the “big monopoly capitalists” and the “traitorous bourgeoisie.” These ideas are reminiscent of the theses of the 1972 Communist Manifesto for Canada and Quebec. Moreover, just as the 1972 document had talked of giving a share of the power to the “pro-communist bourgeoisie,” CPC(M-L)’s Third Congress again lavished outrageous praise on the national bourgeoisie, who it declared as a “temporary ally” of the proletariat. A fine socialism indeed that marches hand in hand with the national bourgeoisie! Mao himself would have been so proud!
The Third Congress states:
39. Vacillating and temporary allies of the proletariat: Certain sections of the non-monopoly bourgeoisie, the national bourgeoisie who are patriotic, those who are pro-communist or are not anti-communist, those who have the interests of the nation in mind against the reactionary bourgeoisie, those who are opposed to the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the proletariat [Here again we have the bourgeoisie that doesn’t exploit workers – WA], those who are opposed to the fascization of the state and are against the war preparations and are opposed both to Canada remaining in the camp of imperialism or joining the camp of social-imperialism, those who are sympathetic and friendly to the socialist countries and other independent countries and generally support the national liberation movement of the nations and people of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and who take a democratic stand favoring the proletariat. (Ibid., p. 69)
One thing to note is that these pronouncements were being made at a Congress of CPC(M-L) which claimed to be against the revisionist “three worlds” theory. Clearly, to them repudiation of “three worldsism” did not mean rectifying their historical deviations on the character of Canada and the revolution. In fact, one of their major complaints against the “three worlds” theory with respect to Canada was that Canada had been placed in the “second world.” This, they claimed, had masked the U.S. domination of Canada, i.e., covered up its character as more like a “third world” country. Thus the Third Congress wrote:
The complex situation that prevails on the world scale leads certain opportunists to draw conclusions that are altogether unwarranted. They place Canada into the ’second world’ in order to mask the character of the Canadian state, which is, that it is dominated by U.S. imperialism. (Ibid., p. 38)
Indeed, throughout 1977, the struggle of the Marxist-Leninists on a world scale intensified against the counter-revolutionary theory of “three worlds.” But while claiming to be waging this struggle, CPC(M-L) fervently refused to draw the implications of this struggle for the line on the Canadian revolution. They continued their polemical salvos against the Marxist-Leninist principle that in a country such as Canada the main contradiction is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Thus, the Fifth Consultative Conference of CPC(M-L) in November 1977 declared:
On the question of the ’main contradiction’ in Canada, the revisionists and opportunists of all hues made a big hullabaloo that the main contradiction is between the ’bourgeoisie and the proletariat’ and advanced the reactionary slogan ’class against class.’ This slogan ’class against class’ may look very revolutionary but it is on this question the utter putrefaction and bankruptcy of revisionism and opportunism of all hues is exposed. First, these individuals and groups do not consider that ’material conditions are ripe for revolution.’ If this is the case then what is this nonsense about ’class against class’? What is the content of the sophism ’class against class’? Comrade Stalin points out that ’a new period, that of direct assault on capitalism’ has already arrived, but for the revisionists and opportunists, ’the material conditions’ are still not ripe for revolution. Furthermore, the entire history since the Great October Revolution is the history of the direct assaults of the working class on capitalism which created the world of socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Are we to suppose that the entire era has undergone such changes that from the ’new period, that of direct assault on capialism,’ it has been metamorphosed into ’the old period of preparation of the working class for revolution’? ...
Thus the slogan ’class against class’ is merely a ruse, a posture to fool the innocent and excite the naive. The tactics of the proletariat are not ’class against class’ but the proletariat overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie by mobilizing all who can be mobilized on the basis of a political program which will solve the crisis facing the society as a result of the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system.... Thus the tactics of the proletariat are not ’class against class’ in the abstract and sophistic sense the revisionists and opportunists of all hues present, but the proletariat leading all oppressed sections of the society against its main enemy. The main enemy of the proletariat and people in Canada is the reactionary bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism.... The correct Leninist analysis of the concrete conditions in Canada is that the main contradiction in Canada is between the reactionary bourgeoisie and the Canadian people...” (Documents of the Fifth Consultative Conference of CPC(M-L), pp. 39-40, boldface)
What is this tirade if not a bitter attack on a fundamental idea of Marxism? The slogan “class against class” is viciously denounced as reactionary, a sophism, and so forth. But the fact of the matter is that this slogan simply embodies the basic idea of waging the class struggle against the capitalists. And as a slogan it was advanced by the Communist International. Comrade Stalin himself denounced those who opposed the slogan as deviating in the direction of social-democracy. He observed:
Under capitalist conditions, the Right deviation in communism signifies a tendency, an inclination that has not yet taken shape, it is true, and is perhaps not yet consciously realized, but nevertheless a tendency of a section of the communists to depart from the revolutionary line of Marxism in the direction of Social-Democracy. When certain groups of Communists deny the expediency of the slogan ’class against class’ in election campaigns (France), or are opposed to the Communist Party nominating its own candidates (Britain, or are disinclined to make a sharp issue of the fight against ’Left’ Social-Democracy (Germany), etc.. etc.. it means that there are people in the Communist Parties who are striving to adapt communism to Social-Democratism. (Stalin, “The Right Danger in the CPSU(B),” Works, Vol. 11, pp. 233-34)
The leadership of CPC(M-L) tries to counterpose the slogan “class against class” to the issue of the nature of the present epoch and the fact that the proletariat has allies in the revolution. But this is ridiculous. To counterpose these things is only to put forward, in a slightly refurbished form, the same thesis CPC(M-L) elaborated in 1975: that “class against class” or the idea that the main contradiction is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is something applicable only in the period of pre-monopoly capitalism, while in the imperialist epoch, the struggle is one of all classes, including “medium-sized factory owners,” except a tiny handful of monopolists.
In April-May 1978, CPC(M-L) held a “Special Congress.” The only public document this congress released was the new Constitution of the Party. While this too did not spell out any precise characterization of the stage of revolution, like the Third Congress it did not fail to denounce the “ultra-left” idea of the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It said:
[CPC(M-L)] has also persisted in opposing the ultra-left who slander the step-wise development of revolution consistent with the historical conditions, deny the existence of the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie right here in Canada and who, under the sophism that the struggle is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, deny the struggle against the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie in Canada and deny that the struggle of the proletariat is both against the big bourgeoisie of Canada and the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie operating in Canada and against the U.S. imperialist domination of Canada.... (PCDN, Vol. 8, No. 123, June 5, 1978)
In November 1978, the Third Plenum of the CC of CPC(M-L) denounced Mao Zedong Thought as anti-Marxist-Leninist. But it did not elaborate any serious critique of Mao Zedong Thought. On New Year’s eve. December 31-January 1, 1979. the chairman of CPC(M-L), Hardial Bains, gave a major speech “Usher in the Year of Stalin.” This speech attempted to give some of CPC(M-L)’s views on Mao Zedong Thought but was marked, among other things, by a great deal of confusion. This showed that CPC (M-L) was not serious about repudiating its grave Maoist deviations, but was taking the approach of slurring them over and maintaining them with yet another twist in formulations.
Take the question of Canadian imperialism, over which CPC(M-L) fought bitterly for years. Bains had this to say:
The opportunists have launched a ’debate’ for several years now as to whether or not Canada is an imperialist country. They accuse CPC (M-L) of not considering Canada as an imperialist country and then they ’demolish CPC(M-L)’ by saying that Canada is an imperialist country. But the fact of the matter is that CPC(M-L) has never considered this question of whether Canada is imperialist or not as an important question to resolve, as CPC(M-L) has always considered Canada as monopoly capitalist where state monopoly capitalism prevails. (PCDN. Vol. 9, No. 6, January 6, 1979, p. 4, col. 2)
What a distortion of history! For years, CPC(M-L) fought viciously over the question of Canadian imperialism, as we have observed in the previous sections of this article. And they are still fighting today. But in 1979, they claim that they never considered this an important issue to sort out. What rot! Irrespective of their claim about history, to take such an attitude towards whether or not one’s bourgeoisie is imperialist is to take a cavalier attitude to Marxism-Leninism. Not to fight the imperialism of one’s “own” bourgeoisie is to embellish it and cover over its plunder and oppression of the working masses at home and abroad.
Next we move to the question of the nature of the revolution. Bains declared:
Our Party has always put forward the correct view that the present stage of proletarian revolution is to forcibly overthrow the political, economic, military and cultural power of monopoly capital, to throw U.S. imperialism out of Canada and to end the war preparations and the participation of Canada in any imperialist war. This is the stage and the target of revolution. This means that the proletariat must mobilize all the toiling masses as well as small producers of both city and countryside and the middle bourgeoisie in order to complete this stage of revolution. Those who give the line of one-stage revolution are opposed to the mobilization of allies to complete this stage of revolution. (Ibid.)
Here, while calling it a “proletarian revolution,” Bains still maintains his opposition to the socialist character of the revolution by counterposing one-stage revolution to the question of the allies of the proletariat. And it is an interesting proletarian revolution indeed which occurs with an alliance with what CPC(M-L) calls the “middle bourgeoisie.” Indeed, the mobilization of this “middle bourgeoisie” is painted as a decisive feature of their scheme for revolution. Later in his speech, Bains notes:
The immediate task for the Party is to take its program to the people for implementation, in order to end the rule of monopoly capitalism; in order to bring about the changes that are necessary. ... The proletariat’s mission is to isolate the monopoly capitalists to the maximum and hit them. Under the monopoly capitalist system, there is not only the domination by the monopolies, but there is also free competition. Side by side there are large numbers of non-monopoly sections of small producers of both the city and the countryside. The program of the proletariat is to make this section, that is, the small and middle bourgeoisie, the reserve of the proletariat against the big bourgeoisie: against monopoly capital. If the proletariat fails to mobilize, fails to rally forces under its own banner, then the bourgeoisie will be able to hoist the banner of fascism and war, and the proletariat will be disarmed.” (PCDN. Vol. 9, No. 13, January 15, 1979, p. 3, col. 4)
It should be noted that what CPC(M-L) is calling the “middle bourgeoisie” is merely a new name for their “national bourgeoisie” of the years past. Of course, they never define concretely who is it that they are speaking of. But in fact, for them, the term “middle bourgeoisie” refers to all capitalists based on the home market, no matter how large and rich they may be, because by petty-bourgeois nationalist logic, such capitalists cannot exist as a “big” or “monopoly” bourgeoisie. Indeed, CPC(M-L)’s assessment of the big bourgeoisie is that it is composed only of a handful, or more precisely, only 45 families. As they put it in their election program in April 1979, “The representatives of the rich, of the tiny minority of some 45 families, the multinationals, and the financial oligarchs....” (PCDN. April 23, 1979)
CPC(M-L)’s “middle bourgeoisie” must then refer to the bourgeoisie below these 45 families. Then it is simply a code word for prettifying all the capitalist exploiters except for a tiny handful of top financial usurers and U.S. executives. It is this bourgeoisie which is being painted as “decisive” for the fate of the revolution!
Finally, it should be noted that even while giving lip service to the repudiation of Mao Zedong Thought, CPC(M-L) did not repudiate its anti-Marxist views on the main contradiction in Canada. Hardial Bains spoke on this:
The opportunists say that in capitalist-revisionist countries like Canada, the contradiction is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but this is only a particle of the truth because in the capitalist-revisionist countries there exists more than just the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. (Ibid.)
Here we have the time worn thesis of CPC(M-L) that to recognize that the main contradiction is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is to forget the allies of the proletariat. But this is a mockery of Marxism. Marxism has always recognized that the proletariat stands for mobilizing all the oppressed against the exploiters; this has never stood in contradiction to organizing on the basis of the struggle of class against class. Indeed, we have seen time and time again, that under the hoax of “allies” CPC (M-L) has its eyes not mainly on the non-proletarian laboring masses, but especially the “national bourgeoisie” or “middle bourgeoisie.” This is the section they regard as decisive for the victory of the revolution. With this conception of allies, it’s not surprising how CPC(M-L) rejects class against class – it certainly frightens away the national bourgeoisie!
Once again the new year was launched with a major speech by the chairman of CPC(M-L), Hardial Bains, putting forward in ever sharper terms the decisiveness of the need to mobilize the “middle strata” behind the program of the proletariat. He said:
We stand face to face with the reactionaries in Canada and on the world scale, in the sense that the imperialists, and the reactionary bourgeoisie of this country, the revisionists and opportunists of all hues, are united together to mobilize the proletariat behind their own aims, while CPC(M-L) stands in opposition to them to mobilize the middle strata behind the aims of the proletariat. We go into the 1980’s with this as the central task for the proletariat to accomplish. (PCDN, January 3, 1980, p. 2. col. 2)
By “middle strata,” CPC(M-L) simply meant their “national bourgeoisie” or “middle bourgeoisie.” One could not mistake who was being referred to. Only a few weeks later, during CPC(M-L)’s campaign for the federal elections Hardial Bains made it perfectly clear:
As far as the economic content of our slogan is concerned – expropriate monopoly capital without compensation – the rich create all kinds of confusion. They float some anarchists to put up all sorts of airs and say they don’t want the rich or any of the capitalists at all. For them it is not just a matter of expropriating the monopoly capitalists – they want to expropriate everyone. If the Marxist-Leninist Party advocated the expropriation of everyone, it would merely assist the monopoly capitalists in their counter-revolutionary activity, which is why they have these organizations, such as ’In Struggle’ and the so-called ’Workers Communist Party.’ Their raison d’etre is to confuse the masses of the people as to who really is the enemy. For instance, in Nicaragua a very big struggle was going on against fascist Somoza but that struggle did not make much headway until the time fascist Somoza. because of his own interests, attacked the middle bourgeoisie in Nicaragua. When the middle bourgeoisie deserted the big bourgeoisie, then the cause of the revolution advanced. To give the slogan that all capitalists should be expropriated is to antagonize the middle bourgeoisie, instead of making the middle bourgeoisie a temporary-reserve of revolution, they are thrown onto the side of the rich where they have a lot of ability to cause trouble in the workers’ movement. The fact is that amongst the middle bourgeoisie are those who do not like monopolization because they suffer from it. Many of the middle bourgeoisie have been ruined because of monopolization, as well as some of them still have feelings for democratic and progressive ideals, some of them oppose war, they do not want to fight on the side of the U.S. imperialists or any other imperialists, etc. To give the slogan to expropriate all the capitalists is counter-revolutionary. ...
We should oppose both the slogans which say Expropriate All Capitalists – that is skipping a stage of revolution – as well as which propose terrorism.... (Speech delivered by Comrade Hardial Bains at Election Rally in Montreal, February 17. 1980, printed in PCDN, February 19. 1980. p. 4. col. 3-4)
In this passage, we see the same themes that are found throughout the history of CPC(M-L). There is the same scandalous prettification of the “middle bourgeoisie” and the same adulations on this section as decisive for the fate of the revolution. In order to do this. Bains compares the struggle in Canada with the Nicaraguan revolution. This shows that he is still presenting Canada as a “third world” country and painting the Canadian revolution as an anti-imperialist democratic revolution. This is nonsense, for the Canadian revolution is a proletarian socialist revolution.
Moreover, even Bains’ reading of the facts about Nicaragua is ridiculous. To say that the struggle there was not making much headway until the “middle bourgeoisie” joined in is to trample on the revolutionary masses who fought for years on end to organize the revolution. The fact is, the revolutionaries were on the verge of victory when the camp of the bourgeoisie split up and a section deserted Somoza. Besides, who is Bains glorifying here? It is these “middle bourgeois” sections who have tried to undermine the revolution from the right.
As for the issue of “expropriating all capitalists,” this is a straw man. It is one thing for the socialist revolution to carry through its program of expropriation of private property in stages, but it is quite an other kettle of fish to think that one will not “antagonize the middle bourgeoisie” by promising not to expropriate it! This is a travesty of the Marxist-Leninist conception of the strategy and tactics of the socialist revolution, instead it is a manifestation of Maoist, modern revisionist and social-democratic conceptions. In his work Eurocommunism Is Anti-Communism, Enver Hoxha exposed the essence of such an aproach towards the exploiters:
In a long tirade, at the 22nd Congress of the FCP, Marchais goes so far as to say that the accusation of allegedly wanting to eliminate the wealthy, levelled against the French revisionists, is without foundation. Considering it a slander, he declares openly that they want private property to exist, want the middle bourgeoisie to exist with all its property and want the landed peasantry to exist; that they want to nationalize all the common state assets and to have all these administered by the people. Social-democracy also defends these capitalist structures which Marchais defends. In this instance he has the right to be angry with those who accuse him of not being one hundred per cent loyal to the bourgeoisie like his social-democratic brothers. (Proletarian Internationalism edition, p. 62)
We have now come to the end of our review of the historical documents of CPC(M-L) which spell out their deviationist views on the nature of the Canadian revolution. Since 1980, CPC(M-L) has not issued any major documents explaining their strategy. Nevertheless, their daily agitation in PCDN and the recently released book The Necessity for Revolution prove that their conceptions remain the same.