First Published: The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) – Documents, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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More than six years of our political, ideological, and organisational work in the university, at the place of work, and in the community, especially since May 1968, has created ample material conditions for the building of a genuine party of the proletariat, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and on the experience of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. We have won substantial victories in the sphere of ideological struggle against revisionism, headed by the “Communist” Party of Canada, and against opportunism and dogmatism, headed by social democrats of various hues and colours, the neo-revisionists, trotskyism, arid neo-trotskyists. In the sphere of building the theory and tactics of the anti-imperialist revolution of the Canadian working class and Canadian people, we have begun the development of a genuinely revolutionary style of work, the mass democratic, anti-imperialist style of work, an entirely new method suitable for the conditions of Canada, where the political rights of the broad masses of the people to organise themselves are being violently suppressed by the armed state of the Canadian compradors. This method has been tested at various places, and has won the approval of the masses. With this method of work we have drawn clear lines between ourselves and all social-democratic trends. The two antagonistic methods of work, serving the interests of two antagonistic classes, the working class and the bourgeoisie, are the mass democratic anti-imperialist method, based on study and investigation by going deep into the masses, and the mass bureaucratic pro-imperialist method of imposing arbitrary rules and regulations on the masses through the armed state of the Canadian compradors. One leads to the development of revolutionary committees at the place of work, in the university and in the community, and the other leads to the development of fascist armed units in these places to suppress the revolutionary committees. It has been our experience that the establishment of fascist armed units necessarily leads to the establishment of revolutionary committees, and that the establishment of revolutionary committees will necessarily eliminate the fascist armed units. Thus, in the political sphere, our concrete experience has taught us that following the mass democratic anti-imperialist style of work necessarily leads to the establishment of revolutionary committees. Political power grows with the growth of the revolutionary committees, with the ultimate seizure of state power through armed revoluti0n. On account of this, we have introduced into the Canadian working class and Canadian people an entirely new style of work. A newsweekly of the Canadian working class, which already reaches thousands of workers and other revolutionary masses, is warmly received by our class brothers all over Canada. The stage is now set for the further development of the anti-imperialist revolution of the Canadian working class and people, which is mass democratic in form and anti-imperialist in content, and which is a necessary stage before the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
In short, the mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles all over Canada have:
1) Inaugurated well-organised, small, compact and self-moving communist units, based on voluntary and conscious discipline, which are
2) Integrated with the masses and rely entirely on the initiative of the masses.
These units are at various stages of development. At some places revolutionary committees are already in existence. The revolutionary committees with communist cadres at the core will further consolidate the initiative of the masses by building mass democratic fronts. We strongly hold that this way a people’s war will be developed on a scale never before seen in the whole history of the Canadian working class and Canadian people. This people’s war will burn the imperialists and their lackeys to the ground. We consider all the old methods of work prior to May 1968, as moribund, and as being a shackle to the revolutionary struggle. We have come to the conclusion that for the waging of a successful mass-democratic revolution in Canada, all the legacies of the “Communist” Party of Canada must be repudiated.
Six years of struggle against the revisionist and opportunist method of work has concretely shown us that it is bourgeois in form as well as in content, and that it is “revolutionary” only in its pretensions. It follows the liberal consensus line, confounds right and wrong, inhibits ideological struggles through bureaucratic rules and regulations, capitulates to liberals at the cost of militancy for fear of losing their support, and, in the final analysis, liquidates the revolutionary struggle and serves the interests of the bourgeoisie.
The revisionists in Canada contend that:
1. The material conditions are not ripe for revolution.
2. The imperialists are too strong and the broad masses of the people are too weak.
3. The broad masses of the Canadian working class and people are backward.
4. Imperialist domination of Canada cannot be terminated by the unleashing of mass democratic anti-imperialist armed revolution.
5. The only hope for the Canadian working class and the Canadian people lies in capitulationist politics, and subordination to the bourgeoisie. Thus
6. They advocate the “peaceful road to socialism”, collusion between U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, opposition to Chairman Mao and the People’s Republic of China, and nationally support all class collaborationist and capitulationist politics. They oppose dialectical and historical materialism, and, like the philistines they are, dread being scientific in their outlook, and are thus mortally afraid of those who arrive at revolutionary conclusions. Like the fascists, they do not clarify but mystify all issues, and criminally engage in slander, concoction of lies, and vicious anti-communist propaganda. They are racist in their general attitude, extremely chauvinistic, and have the same attitude as the imperialists towards the working and oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. They flimsily put forward the social-democratic and imperialist idea that working people are solely interested in their “standard of living”, and that so long as their “standard of living” is guaranteed, are quite satisfied with being wage slaves and exploited by the capitalist molochs: thus they support narrow economist demands. They normally take action against militant sections of the working class, under the hoax that their militancy will upset the Canadian compradors and their masters, the U.S. imperialists, and thus act as direct goons in the service of their masters. We are totally opposed to all social-democratic trends.
During the last six years, we experienced the treacherous role played by “united fronts” on “single issues” for the purpose of winning “partial demands” under the moribund and bankrupt leadership of the “Communist” Party of Canada. The revisionist “united front” is a front of the bourgeoisie to mislead the broad masses of the people under the signboard of “communists”, “progressives” and “revolutionaries”. These united fronts are usually started with encouragement and enthusiasm from the liberals, and are thus associations of the liberals under the signboard of the revisionists. The revisionists unashamedly boast of how various imperialist lackeys have joined them, and that “progressive” ideas are becoming more “popular”, etc., etc.
In order to keep this united front going, the revisionists repress all militant and progressive sections, and in fact run vicious propaganda against them under the hoax that they are “splitting the left”, that “you should not be nasty to the bourgeoisie and anti-communists” etc. These united fronts are built on single issues like “Vietnam.” They won’t oppose U.S. aggression against the Vietnamese people and call for a united front against U.S. imperialism in Canada and elsewhere, but, instead, their partial demand is “peace in Vietnam”. They attempt to mislead the Canadian people, and want them to believe in the “sensibleness” of imperialism, and so they get signatures for petitions, make nauseating appeals, etc. They are hiding from the Canadian working people the fact that U.S. imperialism has gone against all international laws, that it has consistently disregarded world opinion, that it uses massive mass media to confuse and mislead people, and that U.S. imperialism only listens to revolutionary politics and nothing else, and that the people of Canada should put no faith in the reasonableness and sensibleness of imperialism. They are keeping the facts from the people about the war preparations of the U.S. imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists, and they fail to tell the people that under the conditions of the last stage of imperialism, a people’s war on a protracted basis is the only way to safeguard world peace and help the Vietnamese people, as well as the people of the rest of the world. This united front, single issues, and partial demands, are put forward as diversionist politics, and whatever revolutionary potential these demands may have had is lost, because the united front, like a broken record, harps on the same nonsense year after year. These single issues are usually external, and the revisionists use bourgeois philistinism to get support. They show babies burnt by the U.S. aggressors as the basis for support, and do not mention how the people’s forces are defeating these fascists. From around 1965 to date, under the hoax of helping the Vietnamese, they have promoted every single liberal imperialist in Canada. From Rabbi Feinberg, a notorious racist, anti-communist and Zionist, to Laurier Lapierre, a notorious social-democrat in Quebec and an anti-communist and racist, they have their support for them. A similar attitude is taken in the trade union movement, as well as over the community problems. From our experience we have isolated their trick of class-collaborationist politics.
1. Pick up single issues, e.g. the question of Vietnam.
2. Call for the participation by as many people as possible. The number of people attending is given as a measure of the “success” of the programme.
3. To have numbers, give 3 calls for a broad united front.
4. In order to have a broad united front, give leadership to some notorious anti-communists and counter-revolutionaries.
5. Stop all ideological, political and organisational struggle under the hoax of maintaining the united front, declare that there is ”no time” for such struggle, and that it is ”sectarian” to raise these issues in the united front. This generally amounts to suppressing the communists and promoting the anti-communists.
6. Make sure that the single issue is not used to promote revolutionary politics in a stepwise manner. The single issue is taken up in an ahistorical manner, without any relationship to the overall historical problem of defeating U.S. imperialism and building the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
7. We must put forward minimum and partial demands because the bourgeoisie will never agree with the ”extremist” demands, and these demands themselves must be watered down to such a level that they go against the interest of the people and assist the bourgeoisie.
8. Emphasize that the method of putting forward these demands must be ”peaceful”, otherwise the ”public” will be alienated.
9. We must vilify the people and cherish the enemy. Accuse the people of being ”ignorant” and ”backward”, and depict the enemy with all the virtues.
10. Try by all means to stop the development of class struggle in all issues. These ten commandments of the revisionists and their social-democrat friends have been laid bare to the broad masses of the people, and they have utter contempt for them.
Right from March 1963, when we organised ourselves in the form of a small discussion group called THE INTERNATIONALISTS in Vancouver, we opposed the revisionist politics and advocated progressive and revolutionary politics. The soul of revisionist and social-democratic politics is that it is detached from the problems of the people and is ahistorical and class collaborationist, putting forward notions like “peace” and “democracy” while opposing them in concrete terms. For example, in 1963, the revisionists failed to grasp the principal problem facing the broad masses of the people. The revisionists paid no attention to U.S. imperialist culture in ideological form, in art and literature, and in social form, which was engulfing Canada in order to consolidate the U.S. imperialist grip on the Canadian economics and politics. They did not tell the Canadian people that the U.S. imperialists were organising a DECADENT IMPERIALIST CULTURAL COUNTERREVOLUTION all over the world in order to serve their economic and political ends. They hid the fact that the Modern Revisionists, headed by Khrushchov, were, on an international scale, intensifying their collusion with the U.S. imperialists and preparing grounds for international counter-revolution. In these circumstances, anybody who did not combat the reactionary propaganda through revolutionary ideological work would liquidate the progressive movement. We, correctly, pointed out that revolutionary ideas are bound to come up in the course of struggle, and that the only way we could move forward was to build the material conditions for such an eventuality. We pushed for ideological discussions on a large scale on a variety of topics in order to consolidate a small group of people who would stand for the working class ideologically and politically. In order to reach the second stage of forming a conscious, well-organised group, the first stage was necessary. Along with the discussion group, we advocated support for the mass struggles on a principled basis, i.e. on the basis of developing these struggles further in a stepwise manner and building a Marxist-Leninist group. These suggestions were completely opposed by the revisionists, and they insisted on their erroneous path. As a result, we have developed into two opposite and antagonistic groups, ourselves defending and supporting the Canadian working class and Canadian people, and the revisionists supporting the U.S. imperialists and the Canadian compradors. We have proved in practice that our analysis is correct. We have developed from a small discussion group in one city to a national organisation based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, while the revisionists are rotting daily. In this struggle to move our organisation forward in a stepwise manner and on a historical basis, building the material conditions for the next stage, we have won the confidence of the broad masses of the people at various places.
In our struggle against revisionism, we found that the revisionists never applied the theory of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of the anti-imperialist revolution. For them, Marxism-Leninism was not a guide to action, but a dogma completely detached and divorced from practice. In this respect they were clearly bourgeois, and their theory and practice were two divorced entities. Thus they were anti-Marxists. This is why they never gave rise to the theory and tactics of anti-imperialist revolution in Canada, have not practiced revolutionary criticism and self-criticism for a long time, and have not understood the role of the superstructure in influencing the economic base. Their social form, like that of the trotskyism, is completely bourgeois, and in fact they advocated workers becoming bourgeois by making more money as skilled labourers, and taking up the bourgeois social form. Their theory of the productive forces, of class conciliation, collaboration and compromise, the theory of division between private and public life, the theory of workers’ struggle for standard of living and more leisure time (they follow the bourgeois notion that work is the giving up of leisure time, and that labour is alienated because of a low standard of living and inadequate leisure time, and not because of the relations of production) and that culture is above classes, and to appreciate bourgeois culture is to be “advanced”, etc. etc. are all part of their reformist arid social-democrat work on the ideological front, and we took absolute stand against it.
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. Through the Canadian compradors, the Quebec people and nation are being exploited by the imperialist powers, especially by the English Canadian colonialists and their masters, 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.
The U.S. imperialists control more than 70% of manufacturing, and 80% of the natural resources of Canada, and have more than $25 billion invested here, from which they are reaping large profits. Canada has a large working class, more than 80% of the population, 30% to 40% of which is the industrial proletariat. With about 15% rural and urban petty-bourgeoisie, this leaves behind only less than 5% of the population which directly profits from the U.S. imperialist oppression of the Canadian people, and is opposed to the anti-imperialist revolution. More than 90% of the population is oppressed by U.S. imperialism in one way or another, and this oppression is becoming more and more acute with the pending economic crisis and the increasing demands of the imperialists for the elimination of the small businesses which are encroaching on their already shrinking markets.
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 labouring 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. But as all the anti-imperialist revolutions in the world today are part and parcel of the world socialist revolution, it will be making a serious rightist error if the party of the proletariat does not take the leadership of the anti-imperialist revolution, and does not mobilise the working class as the main force of this revolution. At the same time, not to emphasize the dominant features of the anti-imperialist socialist revolution, and not to mobilise the Canadian people to the maximum against the principal enemy, is to make a serious ultra-left error. Both the rightist and the Ultra-Left (left in pretensions, but right in essence) errors will liquidate the anti-imperialist revolution.
Contradiction 3. Contradiction between the Comprador bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, and amongst the Compradors themselves. This is a contradiction in the enemy camp. These contradictions will definitely weaken the hegemony of the compradors, and as the economic crisis looms, various economic interests will participate in cut-throat competition with each other. These conditions must be closely watched by the party of the proletariat. 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.
Contradiction 4. This is a contradiction amongst the people. The main material basis for this contradiction lies in the influence of the petit-bourgeoisie, both urban and rural, in the anti-imperialist revolution, into which they bring their ideology. This ideology tends to be subjective, and leads to rightist and ultra-left errors in the anti-imperialist revolution. Bourgeois humanism and philistinism, anarchism, opportunism, dogmatism, revisionism, neo-revisionism, trotskyism and neo-trotskyism are all the ideologies of the bourgeoisie vying for influence in the working class and competing for leadership of the anti-imperialist revolution. Every class participates in the anti-imperialist revolution for its own ends, and even if the petit-bourgeoisie are a dying, intermediate and transitory class, and are forced to choose between joining the working class and the bourgeoisie, they still, as an intermediate class, have designs for their own revolution, in order to serve their interests. While the objective oppression of the petit-bourgeoisie pushes them over to the working class and the anti-imperialist revolution, subjectively they still remain loyal to the bourgeoisie ideologically, and serve the bourgeois interest in the working class. This contradiction, in the main, must be handled on the non-antagonistic level. The party of the proletariat must never permit the substitution of political struggle for ideological struggle, and thus make serious rightist and leftist errors on this issue. Ideological struggle must be waged on a separate front from the political anti-imperialist front, and all erroneous bourgeois theories must be attacked while at the same time, the basis of unity must be opposition to U.S. imperialist domination of Canada and nothing else. Not to wage ideological struggles amongst the masses for the sake of “unity” is to make a rightist or, while the substitution of political struggle for ideological struggle is to make an ultra-left error. The contradiction with historical traitors and renegades like trotskists and revisionists and all their friends is an antagonistic one, and no mistake should be made as to their interests. These pro-imperialist elements will never join the anti-imperialist revolution, and if they do, it will be for the sake of betraying it. They must not be allowed in the ranks of the people. They will be exposed in the process of struggle, and the broad masses must be mobilised against them. At the same time, all efforts must be made to keep such contradictions on a principled level and work hard to expose all wrecking elements. Petit bourgeois of rural and urban origin, irrespective of the fact that they bring with them various shades of bourgeois ideology, will join the anti-imperialist struggle, and must be rallied around the proletariat. In short, the correct handling of contradictions among the people is a very important task and must not be ignored. In the main it can be carried out by following the guidelines:
1) Keep the party of the proletariat completely independent of all other trends.
2) Do constant and detailed ideological work amongst the masses.
3) Let the broad masses of the workers and others learn from their own experience of the treacheries of the revisionists, neo-revisionists, trotskyists, neo-trotskyists, anarchists, social-democrats/etc. in the course of their own practical political struggles/and
4) Fully integrate with the political, social, and other problems of the working class, and resolutely lead them by following the guideline “From the masses, to the masses.”
How did these contradictions exhibit themselves in 1963? With the loss of the British Empire during and after the Second World War, the U.S. imperialists emerged as the leaders of the imperialist camp. Canada came under the increasing domination of U.S. imperialism. The politics, economics, and culture (in ideological form, art and literature form, and in social form) was taken over by the U.S. imperialists. With their takeover of the economy, the imperialists necessarily had to strengthen their hold on the politics and culture of the Canadian people. With the intensification of the objective national oppression, the subjective condition of the broad masses of the Canadian people was undermined with the rise of trotskyism and revisionism, and the revolutionary energy of the broad masses to fight U.S. imperialism was converted into class collaborationist and capitulationist politics. By 1963, the trotskyists and revisionists had joined hands to oppose all revolutionary politics, and were openly playing on the imperialist cold war propaganda to undermine the initiative of the broad masses of the people. Instead of the steeling of the working class party through mass revolutionary struggles at that time, we saw the complete degeneration of the revolutionary politics in the hands of various liberal bourgeois parading as “communists”. We pointed out during this period and afterwards that, because of the temporary and transient economic expansion of U.S. imperialism, the contradiction between the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys, the Canadian compradors, and the Canadian people was becoming most acute on the cultural level. This takes the form of large-scale ideological propaganda for imperialist ideology – racism, fascism, and other decadent ideologies, – as well as the propagation of a fascist and decadent life style and the confounding of right and wrong. An ideal imperialist man was presented as somebody who is:
1) Totally loyal to the U.S. imperialists,
2) Completely decadent and parasitic in ideology and life style, and thus promoting that in politics,
3) Completely against the broad masses of the people. These qualities were reflected in most concentrated form amongst the urban petit-bourgeoisie, who were feeling the oppression at a tremendous level. The petit-bourgeoisie, being an intermediate class, were worst affected.
A petit-bourgeois had the right to be a lackey, a parasite, and an anti-people force, and nothing else. We pointed out that because of the intensification of the contradiction between the U.S. imperialists, their lackeys, and the Canadian people on the cultural level, the economic contradiction was temporarily relegated to a secondary position. Because of this, the petit-bourgeoisie, especially the students in the universities, would be the first to rise. Within four years, we comprehensively developed this analysis to show how the masses of the students are oppressed by imperialist culture, and that their revolt had its roots in the imperialist expansion. Our analysis has been proved completely correct, and has been tested in practice. We further pointed out that because there is no Marxist-Leninist party to give guidance, we must build and come under the political and ideological leadership of the working class party, and, in concrete theory and practice, make the aspirations of the working class our own aspirations. It is an objective fact that it was the students who revolted first and called for the defeat of U.S. imperialism, and that it is among the students that Mao Tsetung Thought has had the most support in the 1960’s. Now, with the economic crisis looming, and with the students integrating with the working people, the centre of struggle is shifting. The main place of struggle is the place of work, and the struggles in the university and the community must be of assistance and subordinate to that struggle.
While all the “left” remained aloof on the question of the superstructure and the economic base, we took resolute action, and followed our analysis in practice to change the situation. By October 1966, we had unleashed a “struggle against bourgeois hang-ups” inside the group, while escalating propaganda for anti-imperialist ideology outside of it. By August 1967, in the Necessity for Change Conference in London, we pointed out that the struggle against bourgeois hang-ups was, in fact, a struggle against idealism, metaphysics, eclecticism, detachment, isolation – in short a struggle against parasitism and decay. While continuing our mass work and agitation outside the movement, we reached the conclusion by August 1967 that the only basis for unity in our movement is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and we carried forward the struggle to build the material conditions for it. In May 1968, with a correct analysis of the situation in Canada, we inaugurated a vigorous Marxist-Leninist youth and student movement, the main function of which was the large-scale dissemination of the works of Mao Tsetung as well as other Marxist-Leninist works, the development of vigorous anti-imperialist propaganda at the place of work, in the university and in the community, and the development of the material conditions for the building of a Marxist-Leninist party. By May 1969 we had already achieved our goal and been proved correct in practice. We gathered together in Regina to completely integrate our movement with the concrete practice of the anti-imperialist struggles at the place of work.
In the course of our struggles since the Regina Conference, several comrades have pointed out that this conference provided us with a correct general orientation, summed up the struggles we have waged since March 1963, and showed us that the only way forward to build the Party and mobilise the masses was by taking the struggles to a much deeper and broader level, especially by building mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles at the place of work. We agreed that, for all intents and purposes, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) was born in the Regina Conference, capable of steeling itself through revolutionary struggles and able to lead the Canadian people to victory over U.S. imperialism and its lackeys in Canada. We consciously grasped the central guideline that to build such a party, a storm of revolutionary struggles is very necessary. Our Party, even in its very infancy, must strive to lead the people’s struggles at various levels. Only then will our Party strengthen itself. This was the revolutionary consciousness which prevailed among our comrades after the conference in the course of their mass work. Struggles were waged at the place pi work, in the community, and in the educational institutions, under the ideological and political leadership of the proletariat on a voluntary basis. We considered it a counter-revolutionary and absurd bourgeois notion that in order to initiate mass work it was necessary for us to have a class analysis. We resolutely followed the great revolutionary clarion call of Chairman Mao: Dare to struggle, Dare to fight – Ten thousand years are too long, seize the day, seize the hour!! Learn warfare through warfare!! Combat self, repudiate revisionism!!
The Regina spirit can be correctly summed up as follows: Build the Revolutionary Party of the Proletariat through actual mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles!! Do constant summing up and class analysis by going deep into the masses in the course of the mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles!! Begin from a low level, and strive to attain a higher level through the initiation of mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles and the consolidation of basic units from one factory to another, from one university to another, from one locality to another!! Uphold the staunch revolutionary spirit of the working class!! Strive to achieve the genuine aspirations of the working class, the seizure of state power!!
The Regina spirit marked the end of the historical period of the betrayal of the working class struggle in Canada. The Regina Conference itself was the battle ground between the proletarian revolutionary line as represented by the conference committee, and the bourgeois reactionary line as represented by various liberal bourgeois elements. The focal point of the struggle was over methods of work.
Before and during the Regina Conference it was agreed that the contradiction leading our struggle was the contradiction between correct and incorrect methods of work. The state of the struggle between the two aspects of this contradiction will determine whether our movement marches forward, remains stationary, or moves backwards. Whether we integrate with the broad masses of the people, rely on their initiative, concentrate their experience and guide them, or whether we isolate ourselves from the people, have no confidence in them, fail to concentrate their experience and refuse to guide them is becoming the decisive point or nodule of change.
Chairman Mao has taught us “To lead means not only to decide general and specific policies but also to derive correct methods of work. Even with correct general and specific policies, troubles may still arise if methods of work are neglected... It is not enough to set tasks, we must also solve the problem of the methods of carrying them out. If our task is to cross the river, we cannot cross it without a bridge or a boat. Unless the bridge or boat problem is solved, it is idle to speak of crossing the river. Unless the problem of method is solved, talk about the task is useless.”
During the Regina Conference, all those who were not familiar with the new and revolutionary methods of work fought with us and attempted to move us backwards. Those who were familiar with our work, but not yet “convinced” about its correctness sat on the sidelines as the judges, and failed to develop the proletarian revolutionary line. And we correctly mobilised a small group of the most active and staunch revolutionaries, who were capable of mobilising genuine delegates around themselves in the course of the struggle, isolating and smashing the very small and stubborn minority who insisted on opposing the correct line. In short, various petit bourgeois fence sitters and detached revolutionaries attempted to stop the revolutionary summation of the struggles waged during the period between 1963 and 1969.
The two lines which clashed at Regina are the concentrated reflection of the inherent struggle between dialectics and eclectics, between integration and participation in the struggle of defeating the principal enemy, U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, and isolation and detachment from the principal problem, between the proletarian revolutionary line personally led by Chairman Mao and the bourgeois reactionary line led by all sorts of backward and moribund bourgeois elements struggling to escape extinction. The two lines are constantly in struggle in methods of work, in the sphere of ideological and political struggles, as well as on all other fronts. The proletarian revolutionary line, in the main, advocates PUT POLITICS IN COMMAND OF EVERYTHING, which for a genuine revolutionary means PUT MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT IN COMMAND OF EVERYTHING. The bourgeois reactionary line flimsily supports “put self in command of everything” which, in actual fact, means “put the ’ideology of opposing Mao Tsetung Thought in command of everything.” The two lines serve antagonistic interests.
During the conference we found that those who fought for the proletarian revolutionary line were those who were most integrated with the masses of the people, were resolutely engaged in practical organisational work, were the least interested in increasing their understanding in isolation from the problems of the masses, and consistently followed the CCM(M-L) line. Those who opposed the revolutionary line had little or no experience with the broad masses of the people, were least involved in practical organisational work, were only interested in enhancing their “understanding” of the objective laws governing the world away from the problems of the masses, and consistently opposed the CCM(M-L) line. Amongst us there were those (the majority of the delegates) who did have some contact with the broad masses of the people, were involved in some practical organisational work, but their motive in attending the conference was to increase their own personal “understanding” and not to participate in summing up the work of the CCM(M-L) and building future guidelines. This group vacillated between the two lines. The two lines of “the point, however, is to change the world” versus “the point, however, is to understand the world without changing it,” are in antagonistic contradiction with one another, and represent contradictory interests.
The bourgeois reactionary line fought to develop the political programme which will cater to them and oppose the interests of the broad masses of the people. In order to hide their true colours as anti-people elements, interested in worming their way into the revolutionary ranks and liquidating the people’s movement, these chance individuals tried various moribund tricks: “I am just an ignorant man! I came here to learn more. I do wish to “serve” people, but I want to make sure! How can I be revolutionary: if I don’t know what revolution, is?” etc, etc. In other words, “convince” me first, and serve the broad masses of the people later. According to these, at best non-revolutionary, elements, revolution is a matter of convincing a large number of people! For them revolution is not dependent on the material conditions, but on the subjective wishes of some chance individuals. They believe in fascist manipulators, and have no faith in the masses. They have done no work for the revolution and are completely isolated from the problems of the broad masses.
In the category of “convince me first” line, there were those who had “read” Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, were involved in some practical mass work, but their application of the revolutionary theory in the solving of problems was nil. Even though they did “study” the works of Mao Tsetung, they had done so in isolation from their practical work and had not used it as a guide to action. For them, Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought was an abstract formula, a dogma which they can only understand in isolation from the real world, and they have no capacity to apply it in a living way. This showed that they were bourgeois in their outlook.
There were those who argued that the study and dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought must be considered as a secondary or tertiary task, or something which one does in one’s “leisure time”, and that they had come to the conference to “understand” how to “overthrow” the enemy. They further exposed themselves when they wished to be convinced whether or not the broad masses of the people were “strong” enough to defeat “invincible” U.S. imperialism. We have, they stressed, “read” all kinds of “theories” and are not interested to read any more. They also opposed the dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought under the hoax that the masses are not “interested” or they will not “understand” etc.
They opposed the correct formulation that the dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought is vital in combating the imperialist, revisionist and dogmatist lines, and tried to contend that there is no living connection between theory and practice.
The first struggle, then, which took place at the Regina Conference centred on this basic issue: what attitude should we take towards summing up? Should we follow “PUT MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT IN COMMAND OF EVERYTHING” and use history to move the revolutionary struggle forward, or should we put “self” in command of everything, and use history to obstruct the forward movement? Should we sum up the development of the class struggle at the place of work, in the community and in the university, or should we sum up, in an abstract manner, in isolation from the mass struggles? In 1969 Chairman Mao Tsetung issued a most important directive in which he taught us: “It is necessary to sum up experience conscientiously.
“When one goes to a unit to get to know the situation there, one must become acquainted with the whole process of the movement – its inception, its development and its present state, how the masses have acted and how the leadership has acted, what contradictions and struggles have emerged and what changes have occurred in these contradictions, and what progress people have made in their knowledge – so as to find out its laws.”
This directive was put forward as the guide to action in summing up experience at the Regina conference, together with the revolutionary discipline NO INVESTIGATION, NO RIGHT TO SPEAK. This threw the bourgeois reactionaries into a panic. Instead of directly opposing the revolutionary directive, the bourgeois reactionaries used various tricks. The first sinister move was to destroy the form of the conference. This was because once the revolutionary form is destroyed, the elimination of the revolutionary content comes easily. Lenin explained the existence of “the struggle of content with form and conversely” and pointed out that with the “throwing off of the form”... comes “the transformation of the content”.
The Historic political report to the Ninth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, clearly stressed the significance of form in the progress of the revolutionary struggles in China.
As Chairman Mao pointed out in his talk in February 1967: “In the past we waged struggles in the rural areas, in the factories, in the cultural field and we carried out the socialist education movement. But all this failed to solve the problem because we did not find a form, a method to arouse the broad masses, and expose our dark aspect openly, in an all round way, and from below. Now we have found this form – it is the GREAT PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION. It is only by arousing the masses in their hundreds of millions to air their views freely, write big character posters and hold great debates that the renegades, enemy agents and capitalist roaders in power who have wormed their way into the Party can be exposed and their plots to restore capitalism smashed.”
Guided by correct generalisation, we persisted in smashing the attempts of the reactionaries to subvert the revolutionary form of the conference. The bourgeois reactionary line pushed forward the counterrevolutionary line that “All delegations should be divided on an individual delegate basis. The programme of the conference should be organised in such a manner that the conference committee guarantees that each delegate is able to meet each other delegate on an individual basis. All chance individuals should be allowed to raise “objections” to the revolutionary line, and the conference committee must answer all of them so as to convince these worthies that revolution is a good thing. The conference committee must not demand that anybody account for his ideas. In other words a delegate who has come to the conference controls the proceedings irrespective of his politics, and the delegate can make any unsubstantiated nonsensical statements. After the conference, no delegate should be asked to put the guidelines into practice.”
The conference committee, right from the beginning, took good care of these bourgeois elements. The committee mobilised those delegates who were 1. Anti-imperialists involved in actual struggles. 2. Were under the discipline of the national delegations. 3. Were enthusiastic to participate in the struggle to solve various problems confronting the anti-imperialist movement and 4. Were eager to carry out the revolutionary policies in practice. This cut across all bourgeois styles of work. The Regina Conference was organised on a new basis, exactly the opposite to the “Socialist conferences” and “radical caucus” and was geared to serve the needs of the people. We were quite familiar with the description of petit bourgeois “revolutionaries” and “radicals” given by Frederick Engels regarding their style of discussion. – “I therefore announced that before I took part in further discussion a vote be taken whether we met here as communists or not. If so, care would have to be taken that attacks on communism like that made by Eisermann did not occur again; if not, if they were simply chance individuals discussing chance questions there, I did not give a rap for them and should not come again. This greatly horrified the Grunists – they met together, they said, ’for the good of mankind’, for their own enlightenment, they were progressive spirits, not one-sided system-catchers, etc. etc. and surely it was impossible to call worthies like themselves ’chance individuals’? Moreover they first had to know what Communism really was (these dogs have been calling themselves Communists for years, and have only deserted for fear of Grun and Eisermann, who had sneaked in among them under the red flag of communism!). Naturally I did not let myself be trapped by their kind request, that I should tell them, the ignorant, in two or three words what communism is ... I therefore defined the objects of the communists in this way: 1) to achieve the interests of the proletariat in opposition to those of the bourgeoisie 2) to do this through the abolition of private property and its replacement by community of goods 3) to recognise no means of carrying out these objects other than the democratic revolution by force.”
Through great debates and other forms of struggle, the committee (CC) won a decisive victory, and it was enthusiastically agreed that the form of the conference would be mass democratic as opposed to mass bureaucratic and the content would be anti-imperialist as opposed to pro-imperialist. The revisionist form of “polite and cordial discussion with due consideration to the stature of the delegate” was denounced in an all-round manner, and rigorous criticism-self-criticism prevailed through the conference.
In summing up, the motive of the proletarian revolutionaries is to develop revolutionary politics by building future guidelines. The motive of the bourgeois reactionaries is to serve reactionary politics by stopping summing up and building future guidelines and stressing self-cultivation. In self-criticism, the reactionary elements tried to confound right and wrong by mystifying their practice under the hoax that they did not “understand”.
The proletarian revolutionaries held that the most important point in summing up necessarily involves the examination of social practice by 1) Isolating the main points where action must be taken immediately –in other words, where the material conditions are demanding change, 2) Bring about the change by keeping the overall general orientation of the struggle in mind. For example, in May 1968, the material conditions were ripe for the dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought. We took action to disseminate Mao Tsetung Thought by keeping in mind the overall general orientation of the anti-imperialist revolution in Canada.
The concrete conditions of Canada demanded that revolutionary theory be disseminated on a wide scale because of the long history here of revisionism, opportunism and dogmatism. Being closest to the U.S imperialists, the Canadian compradors have done wide scale racist and fascist propaganda. In order to move the overall general orientation of the struggle on to the correct path, it was a most urgent need to provide the masses with Mao Tsetung Thought. The bourgeois reactionaries oppose “CONCRETE ANALYSIS OF CONCRETE CONDITIONS” and are thus opposed to summing up.
It was very clear in the course of the conference that the bourgeois reactionaries took a casual attitude towards making decisions. When agreements were reached, they did not hesitate to give approval, but when the time came for action, they were most reluctant.
In methods of work, the negative line shifted constantly from 1. There is no need for organisational form. 2. How can we act if we do not know in detail what we have to do, etc. etc. They either advocated anarchism or bureaucratic centralism based on “consensus” irrespective of class struggle.
They constantly referred to themselves as “great revolutionary heroes” and the masses as being “not interested in making revolution” or “not ready to start making revolution.” They showed utter contempt for the masses and flattered themselves. This attitude was best described during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: “The bad habit of being arrogant, conceited, priding oneself in one’s ’merit’, divorcing oneself from the masses, and spurning opinions different from one’s own, the bad practice of double-dealers who say one thing and do another, and the bad ideas of putting self-interest before everything and in proceeding in all cases from egoism – these are manifestations of the bourgeois world outlook and are a formidable enemy in the way of summing up experience and, therefore, must be criticised and repudiated.”
Once the attack on the form of methods of work was resisted, everything else was easy. Correct revolutionary slogans were raised at Regina: ORGANISE TO CHANGETHE WORLD! Three revolutionary tasks were decided upon for immediate execution: 1. To increase the dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought at the place of work by sending teams of young revolutionaries who actually integrate with the broad masses of the workers, participate in their struggle, and build small communist cells, 2. Organise Mao Tsetung Thought study sessions in the community and the university and 3. Wage fierce mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles at the place of work, in the community, and in the university.
Other conclusions arrived at during the Regina Conference were that:
1. The struggle on the cultural front, especially on the ideological front and in the sphere of social form, is an important struggle and an integral part of the struggle for the seizure of state power and the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Not to grasp this particular form of struggle is to liquidate the anti-imperialist struggle.
2. We reached the conclusion that our analysis has been proved correct in practice, and that we were able to begin the development of the theory and tactics of anti-imperialist revolution in Canada by initiating the mass democratic anti-imperialist style of work.
3. Our understanding and analysis of the conditions in Canada has increased in the course of the mass struggles, and this further proves the correctness of our line that “we must act on what we know today; if we make mistakes we will rectify ourselves.” It proves the brilliant thesis of Chairman Mao Tsetung to be correct: Learn Warfare Through Warfare.
4. No other groups or individuals claiming to be “Marxist-Leninist” paid any serious attention to methods of work, nor clearly understood the role of culture, and so could not provide any guidelines on how to move forward. Methods of work come into the sphere of the superstructure. One’s subjective condition or attitude plays a very important role in determining the correct methods of work. To have correct methods of work, it is imperative that comrades are conscious of the living connection between theory and practice, motive and effect, and economic base and superstructure. It has been under the correct leadership of Comrade Bains that we analysed, in concrete form, the class contradictions in methods of work, and guided our mass work accordingly.
5. Revisionism has done tremendous harm in the sphere of methods of work. It is very important that all comrades pay special attention to methods of work. We failed to defeat the revisionists, opportunists and dogmatists in the early and mid-sixties because we did not have a method of work. Now we have the mass democratic anti-imperialist method of work, and the glorious legacy of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
6. In summing up, four salient features of our work need special emphasis:
a) Resolute propagation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought without compromise or hesitation,
b) Complete integration in the political struggles of the broad masses of the people without becoming side-line pamphleteers or “advisors” to the masses,
c) Complete reliance on the revolutionary capacity of the broad masses of the people with the waging of ideological, political and other struggles amongst them.
d) Maximum flexibility in organisational work together with maximum militancy in carrying out tasks. Organisational discipline based on democratic centralism.
Since the Regina Conference in May 1969, our movement has advanced to all the provinces of Canada, where mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles have broken out several times at the place of work, in the university and in the community. Apart from solidarity demonstrations and marches, our comrades dared to struggle and dared to fight the fascist arbitrary rules and regulations^ the bosses at the place of work in Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto. In Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax, our comrades came out resolutely to support the struggles of the workers. In Vancouver several comrades, without any fear of persecution, persisted in the struggle to have discussions and disseminate the works of Chairman Mao at the place of work. U.S. imperialist lackey police unjustifiably arrested 25 of our comrades all across Canada, imposing more than 3000 dollars in fines through Kangaroo courts. Several comrades spent time in the bourgeois jails. One student comrade was kept in solitary confinement where he was not provided bedding, and where at night he slept on the concrete floor under a blanket which was snatched away during the day. Another worker comrade is at present in jail, arbitrarily convicted of “contempt” of a bourgeois court. Several comrade workers, revolutionary teachers and others lost their jobs. Several revolutionary students were threatened with “suspension” and accusations of “assaulting” the lackey police are currently being laid against some. Police repression against our fraternal comrades in Quebec has been many times higher, with more than 300 unjustified arrests, several Kangaroo court convictions, and fascist attacks on anti-imperialist people. These concrete facts show that the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution has already begun marching forward. Mass democracies are threatening the reactionary elements to the very core, and the broad masses of the people are astir. The criminal rule of the Canadian compradors, under which the people have no right to rebel, while the reactionaries have all the right to exploit and suppress the broad masses of the people, is the target of attack.
Struggles have begun on all fronts: in the ideological field, struggle against fascist and racist propaganda, against revisionist and opportunist class collaborationist lackey ideas, against the various imperialist theories of doom in natural and social sciences. In the political struggle, an all-Canada upsurge is taking place against the fascist rules and regulations at the place of work, in the community and in the university, against political repression of the anti-imperialist movement, and for the basic democratic right to politically organise against the criminal rule of Canadian monopoly capital and U.S. imperialism. On the organisational front, struggles are being waged to develop small, united, compact and conscious party branches, and the defence organisations of the broad masses, the revolutionary committees. Subjectivism, casualness, “small group mentality”, the “mountain stronghold mentality”, individualism, passivity arid detachment, arrogance, refusal to mobilise the broad masses and following the petit-bourgeois theory of “revolutionary heroes”, being opinionated and closed to criticism and counsel, lack of inner-party democracy, pursuing an erroneous line of anarchism, bureaucratic centralism, or liberal consensus, are some of the negative influences of imperialism in the revolutionary organisation, and a constant conscious campaign is being waged against them.
Through the revolutionary practice of criticism—self-criticism, our movement and the cadres are getting rid of their bad points and consolidating their good points.
These struggles on three main fronts are growing steadily. All these struggles are distinct, have their own characteristic features, and must not be confused one with the other, while all serve the concrete task of the seizure and consolidation of state power. Ideological struggle prepares the subjective condition, while the organisational struggle lays the foundation for executing the political and ideological struggles. There are many other fronts on which struggle is taking place, but for the successful development of mass democratic anti-imperialist struggle, attention must be paid to consider the three struggles as the main ones. Without the proper development of each struggle, the revolution will fail.
Ideological work is like tilling the soil. If the soil is tilled properly through ideological work, the political tasks will be, or can be, executed when the revolutionary situation develops. But if the soil is not tilled properly and then the rains come, there will be a growth of weeds. Several times before in our experience in Canada a revolutionary situation has developed, and the broad masses of the people have been deceived by revisionist and opportunist trends, converting the situation into its opposite. For example, during the sixties, especially during several strikes in 1966, when the broad masses wanted to take action on a class basis against their class enemy, the revisionists and other social democrats of various hues and colours, misled them into the blind alley of non-class, apolitical, minor, economic demands. Because ideological work had not been done amongst the broad masses of the workers, they were incapable of defending themselves against the attacks of the revisionists and opportunists, and were thus a ship without a rudder, without direction. The greatest harm the revisionists in Canada have done is in the sphere of ideology. They took away the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought from the people, and tried to substitute philistinism, class collaborationist politics, and bourgeois social democracy. Apart from betraying the working class ideologically, they developed a revisionist style which mechanically and arbitrarily introduced a division between “ideologues”, and “leaders”, and political workers, the rank and file. This mechanical and arbitrary division necessarily gave rise to bureaucracy, isolation of the revisionists from the people, and conversion of the working class party into a fascist party. In the revisionist style of work, the rank and file members were ordered to execute the tasks, but ideological work was always put in a secondary or tertiary position, under the hoax that the “ideologues” would look after the ideological side, while the rank and file members would look after carrying out the “decisions”. Instead of a proletarian style of work, where centralism flourished through democracy, and, conversely, where the broad masses play the primary role, the revisionists, like the bourgeoisie created the fascist theory of the “division between mental and manual labour”. Thus they used the bourgeois notion that “the masses are backward” to betray the interests of the working class. It was not in their interest to encourage the broad masses and develop their fighting capacity through ideological work. They used arbitrary rules and regulations to expel those comrades who fought for the proletarian revolutionary line.
Ideological work is building public opinion in favour of the particular stage of revolution, as well as for the overall objectives and goals. All classes prepare public opinion to serve their interests, and the working class party must also prepare public opinion to serve the interests of the working and oppressed people. If ideological work is not done, political tasks will not be executed. The revisionists not only did not do ideological work in favour of the working class, they in fact did propaganda for the bourgeoisie. They introduced abstract intellectualism into the working class movement. Various comrades who left the revisionists tried to defeat them by developing expert anti-revisionists, who were as contemptuous of the people as were the revisionists. These “anti-revisionists” did a great deal of harm to the interests of the people. Our movement, right from the beginning, stood both against the revisionists and the ”anti- revisionists”, and pointed out that all ideological work must serve the interests of the broad masses of the people. This is why we correctly analysed the role of the imperialist culture, and waged struggle on the ideological front with concrete reference to the problems of the people as caused by imperialism. Our slow and steady exposure amongst the broad masses of all petit-bourgeois subjectivist theories, idealism and metaphysics, won their confidence. We hold that ideological work must be done according to the historical demands, and that it must be done amongst the masses. In the sixties the broad masses were totally confused over various ideological questions because of betrayal by the revisionists. In order to defeat the revisionists we took as our principal task doing ideological work on various questions as they arose amongst the masses. So we were able to defeat revisionism in various places, especially in the student movement, and build Marxist-Leninist groups at various places. We not only defended the correct ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought theoretically, we also solved the problem of how to defend it and actually took measures to do so. It is not enough to have a correct ideological position; the point, however, is to change the objective, material conditions. So in ideological work, the struggle against revisionism and opportunism necessarily means developing methods of work to defeat them.
Our experience has shown us that ideological work is the lifeblood of political and economic work. The broad masses pf the working people are eager to learn and develop their subjective condition. In our, work, we found that it was erroneous to suggest that the broad masses of the people were not interested in ideological questions. In fact we found that not only were they eager but they were also the ones who wanted to carry, it through to the end. While, for petty-bourgeois intellectuals ideological questions had some curiosity value, and they delved into them from time to time in a casual manner, it was quite the opposite in the case of the working class. They had a definite interest in learning to defeat their principal enemy and put an end to their oppression. Our ideological work has been successful in those places where we have linked ideological work with the problems of the broad masses, waged propaganda campaigns among them, and relied totally on their initiative. In short, correct ideological work necessitated dealing with the problems the people had in mind, and solving those problems by going deep into the masses. This method of work opposed all revisionist and “anti-revisionist” work on the ideological front.
Doing ideological work in accordance with the needs of the specific struggle, in the context of the overall aims and objectives, necessarily means doing it in time. This definitely means doing a particular type of ideological work at a particular time. Only then can ideological work serve the political struggle. In May 1968 our first task on the ideological front was to defeat Castroism, Revisionism, and Trotskyism, and win wide support for Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. We then did propaganda against racist-chauvinist theories, disseminated Chairman Mao’s works on a large scale, organised discussion groups, and dared propagate Mao Tsetung Thought. Among the “left” circles, an anti-people hysteria was being whipped up that the “masses” are “against” Mao Tsetung Thought. They did not “like” “foreign ideology”. We were “alienating” the “people”. We should “rewrite” Peking Review to make it suitable for distribution in Canada etc. etc. With the complete opposition of these “left radical” circles, we have proved after one and a half years of ideological work among the masses that the people are demanding Chairman Mao’s works, and that they cherish Chairman Mao and the People’s Republic of China. Now the “left radicals” have also become “followers” of Chairman Mao, but are not as “extremist” about it as we are. While we cherish Chairman Mao as the greatest helmsman of the working and oppressed people of the world, these worthies are more “moderate” in their views, which means that since they can no longer deceive the broad masses of the people with straightforward anti-communism, they now have to wave the red flag to oppose the red flag.
If we had not stood firm in following Chairman Mao in May 1968, we would have harmed the revolutionary struggle. To move the struggle forward in 1970, we must look into the material conditions and arrive at a new correct assessment. Just as we resolutely spread Mao Tsetung Thought in May 1968, so in 1970 we must persist in making preparations for the revolutionary struggle. We are going to be opposed by the “left radicals” for “alienating” the people by doing propaganda for a revolutionary war, propaganda against the counterrevolutionary and aggressive designs of the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists, propaganda against the philistinic ideas of winning “peace” by lying down, and for the necessity of wiping out the enemy to preserve ourselves. This timely ideological work will definitely support our political struggle. As well as demanding works of Chairman Mao, the people are also asking for the application of Mao Tsetung Thought on a broader and deeper scale. This means increasing our efforts to disseminate the works of Chairman Mao many-fold, organising Mao Tsetung Thought propaganda teams, opening temporary bookstores in the neighbourhoods, near the factories, in the mines and agricultural towns, etc. Only then will the application of Mao Tsetung Thought take place on a really large scale. When we say that our principal task is preparation for revolutionary war, this does not mean that it is no longer necessary to disseminate Mao Tsetung Thought. On the contrary, what we say is that our movement has developed to a stage at which it is not our principal task, because we have defeated the main opposition to Mao Tsetung Thought, developed units as Mao Tsetung Thought propaganda centres at various places, and so now the propaganda division is quite capable of carrying through their task on a broader and deeper scale. By disseminating Mao Tsetung Thought since May 1968 we have moved the ideological work forward. Now we have two tasks on the ideological front; propaganda for revolutionary war, and dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought.
Several examples can be given where we failed because we did not do the ideological work necessary for carrying out our political work.
Carrying out ideological work, then, cannot be confused with executing political tasks. While ideological work is very necessary, and without it no political task can be carried through, ideological work is useless if it is abstract, if it is a dogma detached from the trials and tribulations of the broad masses of the people. One of the characteristic features of Canada is the prevalence of eclecticism among the “left”, i.e. the detachment of their theory from their practice, which leads them into abstract struggles in isolation from the masses. Our movement took a resolute stand against this, and confronted these “leftists” in order to expose them to the people, and show that their words bear no resemblance to their deeds. There has been a lot of empty polemicism, a lot of discussion on a mental level, and far from giving rise to a revolutionary style of work, this has given rise to its opposite. We nailed these “leftists” down: Do you support the large scale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought? Would you disseminate Mao Tsetung Thought on a large scale? The answer was that not only would they not do it themselves, they were, in fact, opposed to it, for the sole reason that we were disseminating it. They did propaganda against the wide scale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought, and created various “objections”. We are now asking them to do propaganda for a revolutionary war, and this they will also oppose, like they opposed the:,/P>
1. Formation of a discussion group in 1963,
2. Formation of an organised political group in 1965,
3. Formation of an anti-imperialist movement in 1967, and
4. Formation of a Marxist-Leninist movement in 1968.
But to remain “progressive” and “radical”, they will use tactics of double-dealers. They will support the revolution words, and oppose it in deeds. On the ideological front we have learnt that we will succeed if we:
1. Carry on concrete ideological work based on the problem facing the movement at a specific time, in the context of the overall struggle.
2. Carry on ideological work among the masses and rely upon them, and
3. Regularly disseminate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as the basic feature of all ideological work.
The central task of all struggles is the seizure and consolidation of state power. All classes fight these struggles in their own interests. The central task of all working class struggles is the seizure of state power from the hands of the compradors and the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Canada. To achieve this central political task, the Canadian working class and people must defeat U.S. imperialism and Canadian monopoly capital, break down the bourgeois state, transform the economic base, and end the exploitation of man by man.
More than six years of work on various levels has shown us that, to follow the true aspirations of the working class, we must avoid the “left” error of one-step revolution, and the right error of abandoning the working class aspirations altogether. In this respect we have arrived at the revolutionary conclusions:
1. The revolution is at the mass democratic anti-imperialist stage.
2. The centre of struggle is the place of work.
3. Both the struggle in the university and in the community must serve the struggles at the place of work.
4. The rural petit-bourgeoisie, small farmers, national minorities, and other oppressed masses are the staunch allies of the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution, and
5. The national liberation struggle of the Quebec people is a strong support for the anti-imperialist revolution in Canada, and the working class and oppressed masses in Canada are resolutely behind the Quebec people.
We hold that all political struggles must be waged in the context of the struggles at the place of work, and must be directed towards the seizure of state power. More than 80% of the population of Canada is in the urban areas, so the focal point of struggle will be the cities, mining centres and manufacturing establishments. The key problem facing the Canadian working class and people is the unleashing on them of fascist rules and regulations by the bureaucrat-capitalist state of Canada, to stifle democratic rights and suppress their struggle to defeat U.S. imperialism. In our experience, we found that the bourgeois police, courts, and other “legal” institutions are full of hardened criminals who convert every political demonstration or agitation into an infringement of some “bourgeois laws”, and so repress the just struggles by convicting the anti-imperialist fighters on trumped-up charges. Our attitude towards them is one of utter contempt, and this reflects the attitude of the Canadian working class and people. No agitation, protest and demonstration will win because of the lackey police and courts, or because of the sanctification of this “legality” by the social democrats of all hues and colours. The social democrat trade unionists, revisionists and opportunists openly fight against the militant workers to force them to work within the “system”, while at the same time the Canadian compradors have been busy concocting one anti-working class law after another. These trade union hacks must be overthrown, and the broad masses of the people are eager to do so. Last summer militant workers from one factory to another defied these trade union hacks and showed their true feelings and aspirations. The attempts of the bourgeoisie to stifle political protest and agitation, and the schemes of the bosses to keep the trade union movement disunited through the activities of their agents must be the target of attack.
The struggle for democratic rights against political repression is a general struggle which must be waged at the place of work, in the community, and in the university. Revolutionary committees must be organised and the slogan: ALL POWER TO THE REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEES must be carried through in practice. The struggles under the leadership of these revolutionary committees will necessarily develop into armed struggles. Armed struggles have already taken place at various places at a low level, and these struggles will definitely develop to a higher scale.
In summing up our methods of work, we found that all revisionist and opportunist methods of work were opposed by developing the revolutionary style of work. This style of work, which opposes all metaphysics, isolation, and mechanical approaches in methods of work, has been responsible for the rapid development of the communist movement.
We developed revolutionary methods of work in the course of the struggle, and have tested the fact that we can prepare conditions for a revolutionary war by going deep into the masses. We present, in summary form, a description of, and conclusions on, our method of work.
To begin, we started at places where we could get good results in a short period, and then used the strength we had developed to go further into more difficult areas, and prepare the material conditions for mobilising the main force. The main force, as well as the leading force, of the revolution in Canada is the Canadian working class. So our main target is to mobilise the Canadian working class. In May 1968, when there was no active Marxist-Leninist movement and no large-scale dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought, and when the student movement had liquidated itself after years of betrayal by the revisionists and reformists, the best place for us to begin was in the university, with the main aim of building a Communist Student Movement, which could take responsibility to:
1) Disseminate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
2) Build the instruments of political and ideological propaganda for the working class.
3) Send study and investigation teams into the working class and begin low-level working class work.
4) Slowly and slowly, step by step, change the focus of struggle from the students to the working class, from the university to the factory, and
5) Build a genuinely revolutionary Communist Party of Canada, based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. In other words, one should decide first what is possible, and then take action to implement that decision. We have been proved correct in our assessment of the situation, and proved wrong all those who were peddling theories of gloom and doom. So the first lesson we learnt in our struggle is that one must begin political work without hesitation or fear of the broad masses, completely relying on the fact that they will rise, and move in a step-wise manner.
The first step in starting a new unit is to send a small, well-disciplined and conscious team of communist revolutionaries to the place of work. Their main task is to study and investigate the full history of the place by participating in the struggles of the workers, living among them, and beginning at a very low level, propaganda for proletarian ideology. In the course of the struggle, the team either decides to get more cadres into the area in order to concentrate forces to attack the enemy, or to divide further to arouse the masses over a larger area. A conscious and compact basic communist unit is organised from the cadres who have come up in struggle. Around this unit the revolutionary committee will be organised. All ideological and political work carried out by the unit must be open, while all organisational work must be underground, with a spokesman chosen from among those who have mass support and come from the locality. The unit must dare to do open political and ideological work, and must sharply struggle against those who are opposing it. The unit must undertake constant criticism-self-criticism, and strive to achieve a relationship with the masses like the fish with water. The general responsibility of the basic unit is:
1) To practice criticism-self-criticism among the masses.
2) To carry out study and investigation by going deep into the masses and integrating with their struggles.
3) To struggle to mobilise the masses to execute all the tasks, and to form the revolutionary committee right from the beginning.
4) To study the basic experience of the masses, concentrate it, disseminate it among the masses, and then leave them alone to take the initiative, with full faith and confidence that they will definitely rise, and finally make the unit available to the masses for all the assistance they need.
5) To organise regular study circles on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, not leaving it as a chance activity to be done in “leisure time”. After a short period, these study circles must come under the direct supervision of the masses, and so opposing all abstract and self-cultivating counterrevolutionary activity.
6) To take responsibility to distribute important works of Chairman Mao on a large scale at specific times to fulfill a specific revolutionary need. For example, during the racist-chauvinist conference organised by the black bourgeoisie in Montreal, comrades in Montreal distributed thousands of the statements by Chairman Mao in support of the Afro-American struggle against racial discrimination and repression (April 18th, 1968), which had a tremendous influence in combating the reactionary ideas put forward at the conference. The unit must oppose non-specific, unconscious, and detached distribution of revolutionary literature or organisations of study circles.
7) To make constant class analysis. The unit must steadfastly support the proletarian revolutionary line, constantly standing up and fighting the negative line internally and externally.
8) Never to lose sight of the overall struggle on the local, regional, national, and international levels. The unit must be conscious of its relationship to other units and its role in strengthening the revolutionary movement.
9) To follow discipline based on democratic centralism. The unit must oppose the mass bureaucratic method of work, or the anarchist, liberal-consensus line. From time to time the unit must organise mass democracy meetings to weed out the stale and take in the fresh. Mass democracy inside as well as outside by putting Mao Tsetung Thought in command of everything must be the basic discipline of the unit.
10) Always to be conscious of the fact that the unit is the most important aspect of the movement. Without a militant and conscious basic unit, we will have nothing. The unit must follow the general guidelines:
a. Strengthen the unit by strengthening the mass struggles, following the revolutionary line of “from the masses, to the masses”, b. Strengthen the unit by strengthening the Central Organising Committee, by keeping in constant touch with them, putting into practice revolutionary directives, reporting back the experience, and pointing out drawbacks as well as positive points. This will steel the basic unit and strengthen the masses as well as the Party, and genuinely act as the motor of revolution.
11) Always to be conscious of the fact that our main struggle is to seize state power and nothing else, that the struggle is against U.S. imperialism and the Canadian compradors, and that all struggles which do not serve this central objective must be opposed.
In our method of work we advocate: build the basic units to build the Party.The basic units recruit new members from those who have come forward in the struggle and who in the main:
1. Agree with the political programme of the Communist Party of Canada (M-L) and consent to study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought conscientiously and on a regular basis.
2. Pay regular dues.
3. Are working in one of the revolutionary committees or mass organisations.
4. Win the approval of the masses.
In our Party work, the basic unit is the most important unit. It is a seed, a spark which has the potentiality of putting the whole reactionary world on fire. There are people who constantly underestimate the importance of their unit because it is small, and keep expecting some larger unit to give them the revolutionary initiative. They do not understand that a small group becomes a large group through revolutionary struggle. It does not matter how large or small that group is, if it properly carried out mass work it can definitely mobilise the people and ignite the single spark needed to set the prairie on fire. We ourselves have developed from a very small group to a large group through proper mass work. We must always struggle to move to a higher level, and never be content with the present situation. The level of development of the political struggle determines the level of the struggle over methods of work and the ideological struggle. In 1963 the level of political struggle was low, and so the method of work was diffused and primitive and the ideological struggle confused. By 1967 the political struggle had reached a new stage, with further progress in organisational and ideological work. By 1969 we eliminated the basic problem of political work in Canada, i.e. the absence of a revolutionary proletarian centre based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and had also developed the ideological level and methods of work. The next stage of our development will be the formation of revolutionary committees, which will develop the material conditions for the People’s Democratic Front, under the conscious and militant discipline of the Communist Party of Canada (M-L). In conclusion, develop the political, ideological and organisational struggles of the broad masses of the people by waging mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles, establishing revolutionary committees, and building the basic Party units.
The basic problem in methods of work is to unite with real friends and oppose real enemies. This involves developing methods of work which serve the real friends of the anti-imperialist revolution and go against the real enemies of the anti-imperialist revolution. Those methods which develop from the concrete problems of the masses and are designed to serve their interests will mobilise them, from a low to a high level, against the principal enemy. This means that all our methods of work must be mass democratic in form and anti-imperialist in content. These methods of work necessarily serve the interests of the broad masses and expose their enemies. The basic contradiction between U.S. imperialism and the Canadian compradors on the one hand, and the people on the other, is also reflected in methods of work. The resolution of this historical contradiction calls for the overthrow and elimination of the U.S. imperialists.
To try and stop the resolution of this contradiction the imperialists push forward a method of work which is mass bureaucratic in form and pro-imperialist in content. The essence of the pro-imperialist method of work is:
1. Stop the development of the initiative of the broad masses of the people.
2. Do propaganda that there is no way out of the status quo, and that any attempt to move the society forward will be against the best interests of the imperialists. Do propaganda that the world is coming to an end, that there can be no further stage in the development of human society. Spread ideological and political mysticism, and encourage everyone to be as subjective and detached, as isolated as possible from the real problems.
3. Spread organisational confusion through general anarchy and through following self-interest. Rule out discussion on all relevant issues.
4. Advocate unprincipled unity by confounding right and wrong.
The mass democratic method is, at once, opposed to the mass bureaucratic method and serves the interests of the anti-imperialist forces by resolutely upholding:
1. The development of the revolutionary initiative of the broad masses against U.S. imperialism and its Canadian lackeys.
2. Clear ideological and political positions.
3. Organisational clarity, and
4. Principled unity based on opposition to the principal enemy.
The imperialists suppress the initiative of the people by force, through their armed state. They demand allegiance to their “law and order” without question. What is the basis of this “law and order”? The right of private property, the right to exploit and suppress the right to be decadent and backward, and the right to be completely anti-people. Ideologically and politically, the imperialists propagate various theories about themselves as being the “qualities” of all men, for example that “man” is inherently bad, that it is the nature of “people” to be decadent, selfish and violent. The imperialists pretend that they don’t know what is the basis of change, development and motion, and what is the role of consciousness in history. On the other hand, the anti-imperialists scientifically explain the inevitability of the defeat of the imperialists and show the role of consciousness in the development of human society, its direction and its next historic stage.
Following the mass democratic anti-imperialist method means having a definite direction, having the theory and tactics of bringing about the anti-imperialist revolution. To have theory and tactics requires having a revolutionary theory, the summation of the experience of the international working class, and a revolutionary party based on such a theory. A revolutionary theory is not the theory and tactics of bringing about revolution as such, nor a dogma or a metaphysical position, but a guide to action. Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is the revolutionary theory at its highest in our era, and a guide to the development of the theory and tactics of the anti-imperialist revolution in Canada through its application to the concrete conditions here.
The essence of the mass democratic anti-imperialist method is: IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL AGAINST REACTIONARIES! under the present conditions when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing towards world-wide victory. It is a new method suitable for these conditions because it cuts across all the imperialist claptrap and revisionist trickeries, and lays bare what is the truth. Through mass democracy we develop the initiative of the masses, bring forth what is best amongst them, and force the imperialists and their accomplices to explain themselves for their misdeeds. The masses come forward in public to lay accusations against the imperialists and expose their crimes. The bourgeoisie is extremely scared of the masses and of mass democracy. They advocate having discussions in back rooms. In the internal as well as the external life of our movement, the mass democratic method is struggle-criticism-transformation.
To sum up, we found that to follow the mass democratic anti-imperialist method of work is to:
1. Break down eclecticism, detachment, and isolation from the masses.
2. Eliminate all bourgeois theories based on self-cultivation and all bourgeois intellectualism from the ranks of the people.
3. Bring forth mass consciousness based on actual study and investigation, concentrate the experience of the masses, and propagate it in the course of struggle.
4. Expose the double-dealers, bad elements, and those whose actions are based on egotism.
5. Concentrate the revolutionary initiative of the masses and eliminate all pessimistic ideas.
6. Throw out the stale and take in the fresh cadres into the movement in the course of struggle.
7. Always keep in the minds of the masses the over-all general objective of overthrowing U.S. imperialism through armed revolutionary action, and expose all reformist and opportunist politics.
8. Believe that it is a great revolutionary weapon which is most suitable for conditions in Canada, where to put up a facade, the bourgeoisie runs propaganda that “everyone” has the “right” to air his views. The broad masses of the people are very conscious of this, and fight against any effort to throttle discussion. In several mass democracy meetings where hundreds of students participated, all attempts by the fascists to disperse the meetings were defeated.
9. Resolutely put forth the line that the internal life of the Party, the mass democratic method is the only method suitable for the healthy growth of democracy as well as centralism. Wherever the proper mass democratic form was used to solve problems, the internal life of the Party became vigorous and consolidated.
10. Lead to the formation of revolutionary committees which are the defense organisations of the masses against the armed state of the bourgeoisie. Revolutionary committees will lead to the formation of the people’s mass democratic anti-imperialist fronts. Without mass democratic anti-imperialist struggles at the place of work, in the university and in the community, we will have only reformist and opportunist politics or anarchist armed actions, and there will be no revolutionary committees, only an empty desire to form them, and subsequently there will be no people’s mass democratic anti-imperialist fronts. In Canada where the imperialist influence in the revolutionary movement has many times led to liquidation of the movement, we have learned that we are making a serious mistake and that we will harm the struggle, if we do not follow the new method. Over the last decade, the broad masses have steadily lost faith in bourgeois elections, and have become fed up with bourgeois committees and commissions, etc. It is a most suitable time to begin the development-of mass democracy and consolidate the ranks of the people against the imperialist ranks.
11. Participate in living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought, and
12. Develop mass line in political, ideological and organisational work.