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In Struggle!

Discussion Guide for the Second Conference of Marxist-Leninists

First Published: In Struggle No. 83, March 17, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In order to permit each of our readers to prepare for the second Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, we are publishing the draft of the discussion guide presenting the themes of the various workshops and the main points of polemics. However, contrary to what was stated in the journal Proletarian Unity (vol I no. 3 p. 53) we repeat that the conference will be held in Montreal on next April 9 and 10.

Ahead to the Second Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists on the path of the Canadian Revolution!

With such important debates for the future of the Revolution in our country being held on the occasion of the Second Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, we must develop the greatest intellectual rigour and the highest proletarian discipline.

IN STRUGGLE! proposes to all the conference participants the present discussion guide in order to assure the respect of these conditions and also to favour the highest political level of the debate. To fulfill this aim, the guide includes two aspects. 1) Presentation of the most important questions to debate. 2) Presentation of the principal positions regarding these questions.

It should be noted that the last preparatory meeting of the participating groups will allow the necessary modifications to this discussion guide as well as all the other aspects of the running of the conference.

The conference will be divided into three workshops: Workshop no. 1. the characteristics of the Canadian society. Workshop no. 2: the camp of revolution and the camp of reaction. Workshop no. 3: the tasks of the Canadian Revolution.

We recognize that such a division is to a certain extent arbitrary. It’s difficult to discuss the subject of one workshop without touching the subjects of the other workshops. However, this division is necessary to assure the widest participation in the debate.

Workshop no. 1

The central question here is to determine if Canada is an imperialist country. Two positions confront one another: the first defended by IN STRUGGLE! and the League, affirms that our country is an imperialist country, i.e. that in our country, capitalism has reached its highest and decaying stage monopoly capitalism and that the Canadian State is an imperialist State, a State in the service of the monopolies. The other position, defended in the past by the Progressive Workers Movement and now by Workers Unity of Edmonton says that on the contrary our country is a neo-colony of American imperialism.

For us the resolution of this central question depends upon the answers we give to the three following questions:

1) Is Canada a politically independent country i.e. a country where State power is in the hands of the national bourgeoisie?

2) Is capitalism in Canada characterized by the domination of the monopolies upon the economic and social life of the country?

3) Is the Canadian bourgeoisie an imperialist bourgeoisie, in other words, does Canadian finance capital produced by the fusion of Canadian banking capital and industrial capital exist?

Workshop no. 2

It’s here that should be held the debate on the principal contradiction in Canada, in order to determine the composition of the camp of the Revolution and that of reaction.

Concerning the camp of reaction, three questions should be examined:

1) Who detains State power in Canada?

The two main positions on this question are the following: on one hand those who claim that State power is in the hands of the Canadian bourgeoisie. This position is defended by IN STRUGGLE! and the League; on the other hand those who, as PWM did. affirm that the Canadian State is controlled by American imperialism. There is also an intermediate position set forth by Bolchevik Union saying that State power is detained by American imperialism and the Canadian ruling class.

2) What is the nature of the relations between the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism?

This question is closely linked to the first one. IN STRUGGLE! claims that the main aspect of these relations is collaboration, that has taken the form of an imperialist alliance; PWM and WU of Edmonton say on the contrary that these relations are that of allegiance and submission of the Canadian bourgeoisie towards American imperialism: and lastly the League, though recognizing the alliance of the two bourgeoisies, presents it as being secondary to rivalry for imperialism means rivalry.

3) The other forces of reaction

The camp of reaction is not only composed of the Canadian and American bourgeoisies, but also of the other imperialist bourgeoisies. A particular attention must be given to Soviet social-imperialism, a superpower engaged in the struggle for world-wide hegemony.

Concerning the camp of Revolution there has been few debates within our movement on this question. We will thus present the principal questions that should be debated.

1) Who composes the Canadian proletariat and what is its place on the path of the revolution?

2) Who are its internal and external allies?

Workshop no. 3

There is unanimity in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement on the fact that the principal task of the Canadian Revolution is the overthrow of the bourgeois State and the building of socialism under proletarian dictatorship. The main divergencies are rather centered on the link to be established between this task and the other tasks of the Revolution. The question to be debated should be the following:

1) The link between the struggle for socialism and the struggle for the national independence of Canada?

2) The link between the struggle for socialism and the various national questions in Canada: Quebec, the Native People, the Acadians. etc.

That is in short the working program for the next Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists.