Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

An ugly result of the liquidationist and Maoist deviations of the leadership of the Communist Party of Canada (M-L), Part Two

First Published: The Workers’ Advocate February 25, 1982

Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The unprincipled and wrecking tactics of the CPC(M-L) with respect to the anti-racist demonstrations of October 4 and 17 did not result from an overzealous fight against opportunism. On the contrary, the leadership of CPC(M-L) has been doing its best to tone down and avoid this struggle. The CPC(M-L) has gone to the extent of repeatedly polemicizing against the ideological struggle against opportunism. With respect to the anti-racist struggle, it has called for building the People’s Front independent of “political beliefs.” As a result, it has been left with no way to resolve the question of the different political trends in the anti-racist movement other than the method of highhandedness, force, and wrecking tactics.

Under the Signboard of “Unity in Action”

It will be useful to go in detail into the relationship of these bloody brawls to CPC(ML)’s stand in the struggle against opportunism. But first, we must deal with the rationale given by CPC(M-L) for the fights at the anti-racist demonstrations. CPC(M-L)’s explanation lays bare the unprincipled basis of its tactics on October 4 and 17 for all PCDN can do in their defense is to thumb its nose at the masses. PCDN states:

The cause of the violence is the fact that the People’s Front supports the line of Unity in Action while the revisionists and opportunists, social-democrats and labor aristocrats oppose such Unity in Action.” (PCDN, October 27, 1981) Under the heading “Our Analysis,” PCDN adds that, “The cause of violence on October 4 and on October 17 is the line of Unity in Action against the splitting and wrecking by the bourgeoisie and the revisionists and opportunists of all hues.” (Ibid) CPC(M-L) has not explained this puzzle any further, but simply repeated over and over again that the People’s Front stands for the line of “Unity In Action” and that the BCOFR opposes this line.

What a marvelous explanation. Anti-racist demonstrators spend two weekends savagely bashing in one another’s heads with 2x2’s. Why? “The cause of the violence” was “the line of Unity in Action.” The contingent of the People’s Front bashes its way into the BCOFR demonstration on October 17. Why? Because the People’s Front stands for “unity in action” and the BCOFR docs not. Period. That is the entire explanation. As the People’s Front itself explains it, “the leaders of the BCOFR did not respond to the call for united action” and “stated that they will never unite,” but the People’s Front was determined to stop this attempt to “split the march.” (PCDN, October 23, 1981) So, undaunted, the People’s Front gallantly proceeded to whack its way into the BCOFR column, resulting in a bloody melee that sent a dozen demonstrators to the hospital with head lacerations and broken bones. But, according to the People’s Front, this fight, far from being a setback for “unity in action.” actually unites the march, makes it “abundantly clear that all the marchers will march in one formation,” and all would have been well if the police hadn’t stepped in. (Ibid.)

What a farce! What crimes are being committed under the signboard of “unity in action”! If the People’s Front had really acted in the spirit of the unity in action of the anti-racist masses, it would have moved mountains to prevent the bloodshed among the demonstrators rather than hailing these fights as “victories.” If the People’s Front had really had its attention focused on unity in action with the anti-racist masses, it would have carried out vigorous political work among the activists at the base and not staked everything on who was in the leadership of the demonstrations of October 4 and 17 and on who was on the official speakers’ platforms. Surely any reasonable person can only shake his head in astonishment at seeing bloody brawls among the anti-racist masses justified as a model of “unity in action.” He will wonder: has PCDN taken total leave of its senses?

But, as the old saying goes, “there is method to this madness.” Behind CPC(M-L)’s absurd distortion of the unity in action slogan stand definite deviationist views. For example, in the fall of 1979 PCDN carried a series of front page articles presenting the stand of the leadership of CPC(M-L) on questions of alliances, united fronts, unity in action, and so forth. These articles make a mockery of the Marxist-Leninist teachings on these subjects. They do not distinguish between the various non Marxist-Leninist trends. They do not distinguish between unity at the base with activists under the influence of hostile trends and merger with the opportunist leadership. They do not even attempt to deal with the Marxist-Leninist idea of using unity in action against the class enemy in order to appeal to proletarians under the influence of the hostile trends. The articles try to say as little as possible and simply repeal one basic thesis: they denounce any idea of any type of united front or alliance or unity in action, whether in Canada or in other countries, whether now or in the past, if it is between the “proletarian trend” (which they define as the trend led by the Marxist-Leninists) and any other political trend. As PCDN put it: “CPC(M-L) does not believe in ’united fronts’ of different trends.” (PCDN, October 15, 1979) Only the united fronts, alliances and unity in action of a single political trend are accepted by CPC(M-L).

The CPC(M-L) still holds to these deviationist views. That is why, when they gave their call for “unity in action” with the BCOFR, they did not have in mind some type of joint action against the Klan, as they tried to make it appear to the masses. On the contrary, according to CPC(M-L), “unity in action” is already embodied in the People’s Front itself. That is why PCDN, in discussing the events of October 4 and 17, explains the slogan of “unity in action” as follows: “Our Party firmly supports the line of Unity in Action and we support the People’s Front and its basis of unity, which is irrespective of political, ideological, or religious beliefs or of national origin or sex.” (PCDN, October 23, 1981) Thus, calling for “unity in action” simply meant, for the CPC(M-L), calling for special rights for the People’s Front and the CP(M-L). Instead of the People’s Front having to win the trust of the masses through advancing the class struggle and having to defeat the opportunist trends through protracted ideological and political work, the slogan of “unity in action” was supposed to give the People’s Front the right to demand that every action either submit to their leadership or suffer the consequences.

However, the leadership of CPC(M-L) was quite aware that the “unity in action” slogan would wear a little thin as an excuse for the bloody brawls of October 4 and 17. Hence, while redoubling their shouting about “unity in action.” the CPC(M-L) also brought forth another slogan: “no unity in action.” With this slogan, the leadership of CPC(M-L) implied that, why get upset over the smashing up of demonstrations organized by the BCOFR anyway, since they are opportunists and there can be no unity in action with them. Thus, all through the events of October 4 and 17, the CPC(M-L) talked only of “unity in action.” Bui the day after the fights, on October 18, the 11th Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPC(M-L) was convened. On the subject of “social-democratic-revisionist-opportunist coalitions,” the Communique of this Plenum announced that: “the Eleventh Plenum upheld the view that there can be no unity in action with the social-democrats and revisionists and opportunists of all hues.” (PCDN, October 20. 1981) PCDN, while defending the events of October 4 and 17 as the implementation of the line of “unity in action,’” did not fail to tack on the opposite slogan as well: “Our Party firmly supports the line of Unity in Action.... This, by no means, means that Unity in Action with opportunists because neither would the revisionists and opportunists support the revolutionary struggle nor do we ever create illusions about this matter.” (PCDN, October 21, 1981, emphasis added)

Now, just look at what an unprincipled game the leadership of CPC(M-L) is playing. The BCOFR is indeed a “social-democratic-revisionist-opportunist coalition.” Yet in no less than 10,000 leaflets the People’s Front proclaims its “call for united action” with the BCOFR. The People’s Front and the CPC(M-L) even engage the BCOFR in bloody clashes on the pretext that the BCOFR has refused to grant them a speaker and to otherwise unite with them. Then, without blinking an eyelid, the CPC(M-L) turns around and categorically declares that “by no means” would the CPC (M-L) even consider “unity in action” with revisionists and opportunists of the likes of the BCOFR. The principle of “unity in action,” with respect to the BCOFR, is replaced with the principle of “no unity in action.”

In a nutshell, both the unity in action slogan and the no unity in action slogan are being used by the leadership of CPC(M-L) simply as empty signboards. They are playing with these slogans like a poker player with a false deck cards. PCDN repeats these slogans for the umpteenth time often with the obligatory boldface letters and a capital “U” and capital “A.” But no matter how often CPC(M-L) shouts about “unity in action,” they do their best to remain silent about what they mean by this slogan, about what political forces or sections of the people this slogan is being aimed at, about what political basis this unity is to be established on, and so forth. But this means to turn this slogan u hollow shell and nothing more. Likewise, they leave the “no unity in action with revisionists and opportunists” slogan without explanation. Without explanation of how these slogans apply in the concrete conditions of the time, these slogans remain at best an empty phrase; while in the case of the leadership of CPC(M-L) these slogans arc being distorted into serving as a mere screen for unprincipled wrecking tactics.

Thus CPC(M-L)’s rationale for the events of October 4 and 17 consists simply of hiding their real plans and views behind two slogans, which they take good care to leave at vague and undefined as possible. And whether CPC(M-L) gives the “unity in action” slogan as its justification for the bloody brawling or whether they imply that the “no units in action” slogan relieves them of all responsibility for their acts, their unprincipled tactics cannot be covered up. With regard to the events of October 4 and 17, the leadership of CPC(M-L) has lost sight of the revolutionary mass movement and the objective class struggle, and they have treated the Marxist-Leninist theory with cavalier abandon. They have reduced everything to the question of the petty interests of the moment and of cynical maneuvering with the BCOFR. This is why they are blinded to the question of the effect of the fights of October 4 and 17 on the mass movement and of the immense harm that was done to the mass struggle, to the prestige of Marxist-Leninism among the activists, and to the fight against revisionism and opportunism.

The Head-Bashing in Vancouver Had Nothing to do with the Fight Against Opportunism

The leadership of CPC(M-L) is trying to paint its unprincipled and wrecking tactics of October 4 and 17 in the colors of a struggle against “revisionist-social-democratic-opportunist coalitions.” In reality, the head-bashing episodes in Vancouver had nothing to do win fighting revisionism and opportunism. Quite the opposite. These episodes were one of the ugly results of trying to shortcut the ideological and political struggle against opportunism.

Indeed, for years on end the CPC(M-L) has been floating one thesis after another denouncing the anti-revisionist struggle. Under the anti-Marxist signboard of opposing “ideological struggle” or “so-called ’ideological struggle.’” they have taken an outright pacifist and conciliationist stand towards opportunism. Their deviationist theses against “ideological struggle” were the main justification that the CPC(M-L) gave for breaking their decade long relationship with our Party. We have discussed these stands of theirs in our articles “The Truth About the Relations Between the MLP.USA and the CPC(M-L)” and the series “Against Mao Zedong Thought!’’ The CC of the CPC (M-L) demanded that our Party tone down or stop altogether our vigorous struggle against Chinese revisionism. They vehemently opposed, among other things:
– our polemics against “our own” domestic American opportunists, such as the Maoists of the “RCP.USA”;
– the movement, led by our Party, against social-chauvinism;
– our fight against the centrists, the conciliators of social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism”;
– and our slogan of “Build the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social-Chauvinists and Against the Social Chauvinists.”

The brawls on October 4 and 17 do not indicate any change of CPC(M-L)’s attitude towards the anti-opportunist struggle. On the contrary, the CPC(M-L) themselves stress that these brawls were part of their efforts to avoid the ideological struggle.

Thus PCDN writes:

Our Party firmly rebuffed them [the Maoist groupings in Canada – ed.] by carrying on the stern struggle against all variants of modern revisionism, including these ’theoreticians of ideological struggle’ and defeated their attempt to split the Marxist-Leninists. And today, instead of waging a resolute revolutionary struggle against racism and fascism, against imperialism, social-imperialism, the war preparations and the danger of war, they are trying to impose a struggle amongst the anti-racists and split their ranks and wreck the struggle. They will fail in this criminal activity as well because the line of Unity In Action will always inspire the people to carry the struggle through to the end.” (PCDN, October 27, 1981, emphasis added)

Here we see that the CPC(M-L) denounces the Canadian Maoists first and foremost for allegedly being “theoreticians of ideological struggle.” In other countries, the Marxist-Leninists condemn the Maoists, pro-Soviet revisionists and other opportunists for betraying the revolution, for being social-chauvinists, and so forth. Among other things, the Marxist-Leninists denounce the opportunists for economism, for underestimating the role of ideology and of the revolutionary consciousness of the masses. But in Canada, the CPC(ML) denounces the opportunists for raising any ideological issues at all. This shows to what extreme the CPC(M-L) goes in trying to avoid the fight against opportunism. Oh yes, CPC(M-L) does not fail to engage in a “stern struggle” against not only the Maoists but “all variants of modern revisionism,” just so long as this struggle is stripped as far as possible of ideological and political content.

The CPC(M-L) condemns ideological struggle as an “attempt to split the Marxist-Leninists.” This is the old, time-worn complaint of the economist against revolutionary ideology. As is their custom, the CPC(M-L) refuses to elaborate as to what this threatened “split” was. Taken literally, it could refer to one of two things: (a) It could mean that CPC(M-L) does not believe that there is much difference between Marxism-Leninism and social-democracy, revisionism and opportunism, and hence the differences should not be exaggerated and a split created. Hence it could mean to condemn the “ideological struggle” for making a mountain out of a molehill. Or (b) it could mean the CPC(M-L) believes that the raising of ideological issues by the opportunists threatened to split ”the Marxist-Leninists.” that is, the ranks of CPC(M-L) and its sympathizers. Hence it would mean that, being weak on ideological and political questions, the only way CPC(M-L) avoided this threatened split was by forbidding the consideration of the ideological issues raised by the opportunists.

In either case, CPC(M-L)’s denunciation of the Canadian Maoists for “ideological struggle” shows that CPC(M-L) was seeking either to tone down the struggle with the opportunists or, if that proved impossible for the time being at least to empty this struggle of its ideological content. But a struggle against revisionism and opportunism that is not inspired by a deep ideological content is nothing but a bluff and a fraud.

As we see, PCDN links up its ongoing campaign against “ideological struggle” with the incidents of October 4 and 17. Astonishingly enough, PCDN holds that the head-bashings of October 4 and 17 do not constitute “a struggle among the anti-racists,” presumably because the People’ Front succeeded in emptying their fight with the BCOFR of any ideological content.

In fact, different trends exist in the anti-racist movement in Vancouver. As we have seen, there are supporters of CPC(M-L) as well as supporters of the social-democrats, revisionists and opportunists among the anti-racist activists. The supporters of the hostile trends are more numerous at the present, than those of the CPC(M-L). It is therefore avoidable that “a struggle,” in one form or another, takes place as these different political trends vie for influence among the masses. The matter at hand is not whether there will be a struggle, but what form the struggle will take. In fact, far from preventing “a struggle among the anti-racists,” the actions of the People’s Front on October 4 and 17 only succeeded in ensuring that the struggle took place the must harmful way possible and did the maximum damage to the struggle against the Klan, to the development of the political consciousness of the masses, and to the interests of the anti-revisionist struggle.

But PCDN’s claim of having prevented “a struggle among the anti-racists” has a definite meaning. It means that the People’s Front and CPC(M-L) did their best to drain the controversy between the People’s Front and BCOFR of any ideological and political content. This claim of PCDN shows that the events of October 4 and 17 must be looked at as the ugly results of trying to avoid the anti-revisionist struggle.

Look, for example, at PCDN’s explanation of the fight between the People’s Front and the BCOFR. Besides the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t hocus-pocus about “unity in action” and “no unity in action.” the concerned anti-racist activists arc told nothing about the possible ideological and political divergencies between the People’s Front and the BCOFR. This, of course, is fitting for an organization, such as the People’s Front, which, as we shall see in the next section, claims to be above mere “ideological and political views and convictions.” Nevertheless, PCDN hurls the most fearsome curses at the “social-democratic-revisionist-opportunist coalition.” They are even denounced as moderate fascists and reactionaries in alliance with the police. But what the difference may be between the policy of these coalitions and that of the People’s Front with regard to the anti-racist movement is simply left up to one’s imagination. Even the identity of the “social-democratic-revisionist -opportunist” chieftains and the dread “theoreticians of ’ideological struggle,’” the political trends and organizations involved, are, in most cases, cast aside as of no importance. Blood may flow, but the activist is not supposed to care whose block he is to knock off.

This shortcutting and denigration of the ideological struggle against the opportunists is inseparable from the violence of October 4 and 17 in Vancouver. By removing the ideological and political content from the denunciation of the opportunists, the CPC(M-L) has removed the necessary framework for a principled struggle. In fact, according in their own admission, they engaged in these fights in order to avoid an “ideological struggle” from taking place “among the anti-racists.” But where there is not ideological clarification of the different trends in the movement, then there is no other way left lo sort out the contradictions among the trends except that of head-bashing or other unprincipled means of power politics. On the other hand, it is only where the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists carry on as much “ideological struggle” and political clarification as possible, that it is possible to achieve the maximum of genuine unity in action against the Klan and other class enemies of the working masses.

A People’s Front that “Does Not Hold Any Political Views or Convictions”

Thus the brawls of October 4 and 17 cannot be dignified is a struggle for political principle. They were the sorry result of avoiding the ideological struggle. In fact, with regard o the struggle against racist and fascist attacks, CPC(M-L) has given the slogan of building this struggle devoid of politics as well as ideology. In this way, they have taken their theories against “ideological struggle” to a logical conclusion.

Thus at the conference which took the decision to launch the People’s Front against Racism and Fascist Violence, the chairman of the CC of the CPC(M-L) declared that: “The Conference Against Racist and Fascist Violence does not hold any political views or convictions. It is merely vigorously opposed to racism and fascism.” (PCDN, July 28, 1980. emphasis added) Further on he added: “The only free society is that which the broad masses of the people can build – the people who stand on principle against racism and fascism and give this movement a broad character and vigorously participate in deepening the struggle against racism and fascism – irrespective of their ideological and political views and convictions.”

When a new organization is founded, it is customary for it to define its political coloration. But here the People’s Front defines itself as above politics. It does not define its relation to the already existing trends in the anti-racist movement, but pretends to be above mere “political views and convictions.” It remains silent on its program of struggle and how u proposes to judge who is really for struggle against racism and fascism and who is not. Furthermore, the building of “the only free society,” which presumably means socialism, is also to be accomplished independent of ideology and politics.

Even PCDN realized that there was something wrong in this liquidationist declaration of political irrelevance. Hence two months later PCDN blushed and issued a “correction” to the above statements. According to PCDN, the speech should have read: “The Conference...holds definite political views and convictions. It is vigorously opposed to racism and fascism.” And the correction also deleted the phrase “irrespective of their ideological and political convictions.” (PCDN, September 23, 1980)

Unfortunately, this didn’t essentially change anything. It left the declaration of the Conference Against Racist and Fascist Violence mostly empty of political content as before, only before this great void was more honestly labeled as a lack of politics.

The correction, however, didn’t last long. A year later, we find CPC(M-L) repeating the original speech and stating that: “We support the People’s Front and its basis of unity, which is irrespective of political, ideological, or religious beliefs or of national origin or sex.” (Cited above, PCDN, September 23, 1981)

Of course, it is possible to have certain types of organizations which unite working people having different political beliefs. For example, there are the trade unions. Even then, the Marxist-Leninists fight against the doctrine of political neutrality or the illusion of being above politics. Furthermore, such organizations have definite programs and definite methods by which they propose to reach their goals.

However, the People’s Front associated with the CPC(M-L) is not such an organization. For one thing, as we have seen, “CPC(M-L) does not believe in ’united fronts’ of different trends.” (cited above) Furthermore, in practice the People’s Front serves mainly as one of the basic forms through which CPC(M-L) carries out its work. In form, it is something on the order of a revolutionary organization affiliated to CPC(M-L), or it would be except that it disavows politics and has a remarkable disdain for the mass movement.

As a matter of fact, the People’s Front takes politica1 stands on a wide range of issues. For example, in a statement on July 19, 1981, the People’s Front described itself in the following words: “The People’s Front embodies the unity of the people in action against racist and fascist violence, against imperialism and social-imperialism, against the aggressive military blocs, the war preparations and the militarization of the economy and in support of the struggle of the peoples of the world fighting against the common enemies.”

It is clear that not all people who oppose racist and fascist violence – and here we are referring not to the opportunists, but to many ordinary honest people just awakening to political life – are opposed to social-imperialism. For that matter, there are those who oppose racist attacks but who are not clear about imperialism. Opposition to imperialism and social-imperialism constitute definite “political convictions and beliefs.”

Thus, from every angle, the claim of CPC(M-L) that the People’s Front is without politics is completely fraudulent. It is a lie. The People’s Front is the organization of a definite trend in the anti-racist movement.

Nevertheless, this disavowal of politics does have a practical meaning. Since the early 1970’s, the CPC(M-L) has been developing rightist theses. These rightist stands led them to systematically deny the struggle against racism and the struggle for socialist revolution. For example, in a major speech by the chairman of CPC(M-L) on November 6, 1977, he ridicules the very idea of the immigrants taking part in the struggle for socialism in Canada. The speech states: “How are we going to carry on this struggle against the exploitation of the immigrants? Now, various people suggest that racism will be wiped out if socialism is established. So what should be done is that all the immigrants should fight for socialism. So, a very simple question comes to mind – if an immigrant is going to fight for socialism in Canada, why not for his own country? He should have stayed home for in the struggle for socialism in his own country, he would most likely have been more appreciated and had better success, because it is his own country. And we are going through a period when social revolution is on the agenda for the entire world. So to promote this issue of socialism – the fight for socialism and all this – is evading the question.” (From the pamphlet Blame the Rich and Not the People for Racist Attacks. p. 13, emphasis added) According to the chairman of CPC (M-L), the fight for socialism is incompatible with also fighting fascist attacks, and so the fight for socialism is dropped. He goes to the disgusting extern of saying that the immigrant “should have stayed home” if they wished to take part in the working class movement. This is shocking. It shows how far the leadership of CPC(M-L) was willing to go in trailing behind the most backward and anti-socialist elements claiming to be part of the anti-racist movement.

Thus for years the CPC(M-L) pursued a line that denigrated the connection between the struggle against racist attacks and socialist politics. The declaration that the People’s Front is above politics is a further development of this deviation. It is the most flagrant expression of the repudiation of socialism. Thus it is part of the open flaunting of liquidationist views that started at the 7th Plenum of the CC of CPC(M-L) in November. 1979.

The liquidationist deviation presents the idea that mass organization can be built – not through vigorous participation in the mass struggle, not through arduous ideological struggle against opportunism, not through protracted organizational work – but through watering down the line. The more the line is watered down, the more that revolutionary politics is renounced, the bigger the organization looks in the eyes of the liquidationist deviators. Since the People’s Front has taken this idea to its culmination by disclaiming all political convictions, the CPC(M-L) considers that it has the right to regard the People’s Front as the broadest possible organization. Thus the statement of the organizing committee for the founding of the People’s Front declared that “the People’s Front is a democratic front with a broad mass character of all the workers and oppressed masses and of the progressive and democratic forces in Canada and on a world scale.” {PCDN, November 22, 1980) What broadness indeed! The People’s Front will spread to the whole world.

The declaration that the People’s Front is above politics is part of the ideological basis for the activities of the Front. In Part One of this article, we saw that CPC(M-L) and the People’s Front have lost sight of the revolutionary mass movement to the extent that they regard the organizing of sports tournaments as the main activity in the fight against racist and fascist attacks in Vancouver, while they denounced the movement against the Klan as a “diversion.” The People’s Front may be above ideology, it may disavow political convictions, but it hails a far more potent substitute. “sports-mindedness.”

The declaration that the People’s Front is above politics also marks another renunciation by the CPC(M-L) of the struggle against opportunism. In practice, it provides the basis for coming to accommodation with dubious elements. It means removing from the People’s Front anything that might be offensive to trade union bureaucrats, businessmen, or opportunists. It is another sign that the fights of October 4 and 17 did not stem from fighting opportunism, but from the liquidationist abandonment of the principled stand against opportunism.

CPC(M-L)’s Idea of Unity is One Party with the Opportunists

Far from carrying out a principled struggle against the opportunists, the leadership of CPC(M-L) has advocated for years the idea of unity in one party with the opportunists. This indeed is one of the main deviations that led the CC of CPC(M-L) to break off all relations with our Party. They held that our Party should engage in pragmatic maneuvers for unity with various opportunists. On this basis, they opposed our slogan of “Building the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social-Chauvinists and Against the Social-Chauvinists.” We discussed this in detail in Part Two of our letter of June l6, 1980 to the CC of the CPC(M-L). (See The Workers Advocate of August 10, 1981) Here we will simply review how CPC(M-L) elaborates its idea of unity in one party with the opportunists.

In 1976 the CPC(M-L) published a pamphlet entitled On Unity of Marxist-Leninists. This is one of the few documents where CPC(M-L) elaborates its views on unity in any detail. To this day, this pamphlet is circulated by the CPC (M-L), and the main themes of this pamphlet concerning unity of the Marxist-Leninists were endorsed in a major speech by the chairman of CPC(M-L) to assess the decade of the 1970’s given in Hamilton, Ontario on December 30. 1979.

The basic tactic set forth in this pamphlet was to seek the unity in one party of all those “who call themselves Marxist-Leninists.” Thus it states that “All individuals who call themselves Marxist-Leninists must be in one revolutionary Party of the proletariat....” (“The General Method of CPC(M-L) for Building the Unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Canada and Quebec.” On Unity of Marxist-Leninists, p. 144) However, various opportunists call themselves Marxist-Leninists, too. According to the pamphlet, this led the supporters of CPC(M-L) to wonder why CPC(M-L) was calling for unity in one party with these opportunists. This question is dealt with in a PCDN editorial in the pamphlet entitled “CPC(M-L)’s Consistent Line on the Question of Opposing Opportunism and Building the Unity of the Marxist-Leninists.”

First of all, this editorial admits that the call for the unity of all those “who call themselves Marxist-Leninists” includes the opportunists. It states:

Certain comrades and friends of the Party have asked us why, since we consider certain organisations and individuals to be erroneous and go to the extent of pointing out that they are revisionists, trotskyists, anarcho-syndicalists and opportunists of various sorts, does the Party issue the call to unite with them. How can Marxist-Leninists unite with the revisionists, trotskyists, anarcho-syndicalists and opportunists? Certain friends of the Party arc puzzled by this. So this editorial is written to explain the Party’s view on the question. (Ibid., p. 153, emphasis added)

The editorial explains it this way. On one hand, “For us to unite the Marxist-Leninists it is absolutely necessary to struggle against revisionism, anarcho-syndicalism and opportunism.” But, the editorial points out, it is necessary to be clear on what it means to wage this struggle. It adds that: “Certain comrades and friends also raise questions about how the struggle against these opportunist political lines should be waged. In the practical movement, the opportunists are all those who are unwilling to sit together with others and sort out their differences.” (Ibid., p. 155. emphasis added) Hence, the struggle against opportunism is converted into the struggle to “sit together” with the opportunists!

The editorial went on to denounce “ideological struggle.” From the harmfulness of “ideological struggle,” it deduced the need for the different lines to struggle within the Party! Thus, it stated that “We hold that there is no such thing as ’ideological struggle’ in the abstract.” Instead, everyone who called themselves Marxist-Leninist ”should be in one Party where they wage ideological struggle as to what is the correct or incorrect line for the Party. Ideological struggle without Party discipline is to merely engage in the bourgeois pursuit of having endless discussions without reaching any conclusions.” (Ibid., p. 156. emphasis added)

As well, the pamphlet as a whole linked up this idea of unity with the opportunists in one party with CPC(M-L)’s distortion of the “unity in action” slogan.

CPC(M-L)’s line of uniting into one party all those “who call themselves Marxist-Leninists” is a flagrant deviation from Marxism-Leninism. It denies the Marxist-Leninist teachings that people and political forces must be judged by their deeds, not their words. It denies the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the building of a monolithic party, a party free from opportunists. Indeed, it slurs over the distinction between opportunism and Marxism-Leninism altogether.

But these tactics remain the line of CPC(M-L) to this day. In two speeches, one in Hamilton on December 30, 1979 and another one given on December 31, 1979-January 1, 1980, the chairman of CPC(M-L) set forth CPC(M-L)’s assessment of the 1970’s and perspective for the 1980s. These speeches defended the basic ideas from the pamphlet On Unity of Marxist-Leninists. They stated:

During this entire period, our Party defended itself. It defended the correct line that there should be only one Party in each country. It called upon the Marxist-Leninists, or those who called themselves Marxist-Leninists to join the Party and build the Party. On this basis, it differentiated between sham Marxist-Leninists and real Marxist-Leninists; those who are real Marxist-Leninists, who are serious, will join the Party and will build it: those who are opposed to this are opportunists and splittists. ...We pointed out that those who do not want to unite are actually CMP agents, agents of the secret service, and this has been fully corroborated, even by the Keable Commission and the McDonald Commission and others – that these people have direct links with the government, with the chiefs of staff of the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada. (PCDN, January 3. 1980. p. 2, col. 3, emphasis added)

Here we see that CPC(M-L) still defends the idea of uniting in one party with all those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists in words. There is no dividing line set to judge those who want to join the party. On the contrary, the dividing line to judge whether someone is opportunist or not is simply whether he joins the party. Thus, any person or organization who acknowledges the leadership of the party is declared to be good, even though the speech acknowledges the existence of police agents among those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists. You may be an opportunist, revisionist, anarcho-syndicalist, etc., you may have “direct links” with the bourgeoisie, but join the party and all is forgiven.

At the same time, we also see that CPC(M-L)’s idea of unity in a single party with the opportunists does not preclude cursing them. CPC(M-L) denounces them in the fiercest tones as devils, police agents, trotskyists, and no-goods and consigns them to rot in Hades ten times over.

But what is the political basis for all this cursing? It is only that these bad elements haven’t united with CPC (M-L). The speech goes all out of its way to reiterate CPC(M-L)’s opposition to any “ideological struggle” Indeed, the speeches lake the opposition lo “ideological struggle” to the outright liquidationist conclusion by denouncing the value of the Marxist-Leninist theory itself. They state: “...the opportunists arc debating over what is Marxism-Leninism and what is opportunism.”

The Marxist-Leninist tactics, the Marxist-Leninist tradition, the Marxist-Leninist style of work – all show that it is not necessary to have correct analysis all the time – the issue is where one stands, first and foremost: on the side of revolution and socialism or on the side of imperialism and all reaction? (PCDN, Jan. 3, 1980, p. 2, col. 3, emphasis added)

And, in fact, CPC(M-L)’s curses against the opportunists are lacking in ideological content. Whether they curse the opportunists or appeal for unity in a single party with the opportunists, whether they call for unity of action or whether they declare that they will never accept unity of action, or whether they do both simultaneously, it is just a pragmatic maneuver based on the interests of the moment.

The combination of strident shouting against the opportunists with unprincipled maneuvers for unity with them is not something new. The removal of ideological content from the confrontation with the opportunists is typical of the Maoist deviation. The Chinese revisionist acted precisely in the same manner. Already in 1966, at the 5th Congress of the P.L.A., Comrade Enver Hoxha criticized, with great foresight, the Maoist stand towards Soviet revisionism, stating:

“If the fight against revisionism is not inspired by ideological motives, but only by certain economic and political motives on a national chauvinist basis, it is a mere bluff which is shortlived.” (Report to the 5th Congress of the PLA) This is true even if the revisionists are temporarily cursed in the most extreme terms. As Comrade Enver pointed out in 1976: “China effectively ceased the struggle against the United States of America and intensified its propaganda against the Soviet Union to absurdity. I say propaganda, because there arc no ideological articles from China for the exposure of the Soviet Union.” (Reflections on China, Vol. II, entry of April 1, 1976, Proletarian Internationalism edition, p. 66. col. 1) And today, the “discovery” by one band of followers of Chinese revisionism after another that the Soviet Union is “socialist” is another vivid confirmation of Comrade Enver’s warning that a struggle against opportunism that is devoid of ideological conflict is just “a mere bluff which is shortlived.”

Today, following the events of October 4 and 17, the CPC (M-L) is shouting up and down in the most strident tones about the opportunists. But, once again, this is simply for pragmatic reasons. For one thing, although CPC(M-L) went into the head-bashing brawls of October 4 and 17 with great enthusiasm. These confrontations turned out to be a fiasco for them. To cover this up, they have made the most extreme declarations against the opportunists, while still opposing giving any ideological content to these declarations.

Thus, PCDN’s cursing and shouting has even led them to call for “deepening” the split in the working class. In other countries, the Marxist-Leninists work heart and soul to unite the proletariat and to overcome the split caused by opportunism and revisionism, but in Canada, the CPC(M-L) carrying its phrasemongering to the point of absurdity, ardently vows to deepen the split among the workers. PCDN writes, in preparation for the upcoming Fourth Congress of CPC(M-L): “The Party [CPC(M-L) – ed.] has analyzed that the proletariat is split between the revolutionary and the reformist and revisionist and opportunist proletariat and that it is this split which must be deepened and broadened and the class enemies of the proletariat driven out of the working class movement. Our Party does not advocate unity in action with the revisionist and opportunist chieftains or with the labour aristocrats. ... The main assault of the revolutionary proletariat is against those who reconcile the class struggle. ... Today, the revisionist and opportunist traitors are ’left unity’ maniacs... The Party considers the struggle against the ’left unity’ maniacs as a component part of the struggle to prepare the proletariat for the coming revolutionary storms, and the decisive component part at the heart of the matter.” (PCDN, January 4, 1982)

Thus, one day PCDN denounces the opportunists for “trying to impose a struggle amongst the anti-racists,” and the next day PCDN demands the “deepening and broadening” of the split in the proletariat. In October 1981 PCDN demands “unity in action” with the BCOFR, and in January 1982 PCDN denounces “’left unity’ maniacs” and labels the struggle against them as “the decisive issue.”

Thus all this cursing is just striking a pose. It has nothing to do with exaggerating the struggle against opportunism. Indeed, PCDN stresses that the “’left unity’ maniacs” are “launching savage attacks against Marxism-Leninism and the theory and practice of the revolution, turning each and every basic and inviolable principle of theory into a matter of debate, discussion and interpretation....” (Ibid., emphasis added) In other countries, the Marxist-Leninists seize every opportunity to discuss the life-giving theory of Marxism-Leninism; they fervently “interpret” it in the light of the concrete situation in their country: and, when the opportunists launch savage attacks on the Marxist theory, the Marxist-Leninists even fiercely debate the hostile elements. But in Canada, the CPC(M-L) responds to the attacks of the opportunists by ruling out the “discussion” of Marxism-Leninism and, God forbid that there should be any “debate.” But, in that case, what type of struggle against opportunism can CPC(M-L) wage? Perhaps they regard the swinging of 2 x 2’s as the launching of “the main assault” against the opportunists, but this is a gross distortion of the Marxist-Leninist teachings on striking the “main blow” against opportunism.

Thus we see that despite all CPC(M-L)’s cursing and swearing at the opportunists, they have consistently followed a policy of pragmatic maneuvers and unity-mongering with the opportunists. They have even advocated the idea of uniting in one party with the opportunists. Instead of carrying out a principled struggle against opportunism, they have shifted and turned with every breeze, depending on expediency. But through every zigzag, they have maintained their opposition to “ideological struggle.” That is, to a real struggle against opportunism. This is a vivid confirmation that the head-bashings of October 4 and 17 in Vancouver had nothing to do with the struggle against opportunism. On the contrary. CPC (M-L)’s role in these brawls was another ugly result of their Maoist and liquidationst deviations.