First Published: In Struggle! No. 171, September 11, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Last June, after IN STRUGGLE!’s Third Congress, we sent out an Appeal to all the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations that we knew of around the world. This Appeal, For the political and organizational unity of the international communist movement, has now been published in full in the special issue of our journal PROLETARIAN UNITY (17-18). That issue also includes the texts of the other documents from the Third Congress.
The present situation should not be glorified. Some parties have had a tendency to do just that, piling one statement upon another claiming that Marxism-Leninism is enjoying an uninterrupted string of victories over revisionism. Despite what might be the intentions of the authors, such proclamations fly in the face of reality. They do not help push us closer to victory over revisionism.
Much more systematic efforts to deepen the demarcation from revisionism and reunite communists around the world on a principled basis have been undertaken by various Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in recent years. This has particularly been the case since the struggle against the “Three worlds theory” and the Chinese revisionists stepped up. We have published numerous positions on these matters by different Marxist-Leninist groups in our newspaper and journal. We did so even where we were not in complete agreement with their viewpoints. What is important at this point is that the polemic be conducted openly. That is how a clearcut line of demarcation will be drawn between the different errors and revisionist lines and the Marxist-Leninist line.
Our efforts have not been fruitless. Many communists in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa have already informed us that they are making a serious study of the Third Congress Appeal. Some of them even share the same basic conclusions. A certain number have gone so far as to translate the Appeal so that their own members can read and study it.
It is a fact therefore that a trend towards unity does exist in the international communist movement. It is a growing trend and we intend to support it to the full extent of our resources. On the other hand, there are also parties and organizations which refuse to permit the public exchanges of the differences that exist among communists claiming that to do so is “anti-party” activity. In some cases, these groups have even blocked others from expressing their point of view or out right condemned others because they didn’t think as they did on some specific question. In so doing. such groups in fact are putting themselves in opposition to a collective struggle by the whole communist movement against opportunism. Such a struggle is the only way in which victory can be achieved over opportunism and revisionism. This stance is all the more serious since many of these groups are still putting forward a programme and a line which are strongly marked by nationalism.
There are many differences between communists on decisive questions affecting the struggle of the proletariat against capitalism and imperialism. This is the case for the analysis of the situation in Southeast Asia. It is true of the question of Mao’s role and the responsibility attributable to him for the present state of affairs in China. Communists around the world do not have complete unity on the position to be taken towards the bourgeoisie in the colonial and semi-colonial countries or even in imperialist countries. Finally, there is no agreement on the means that communists should adopt to resolve these differences.
The first task befalling communists is thus to unite their efforts to determine how best to understand and fight against revisionism. For several months now our journal and newspaper have stepped up the public polemic against the different types of revisionism and the influences that they have had within the communist movement itself. We intend to carry on in this direction and will provide still more regular accounting of the positions taken by comrades elsewhere on the questions dividing the movement at present which are an obstacle to the achievement of principled unity. We also plan to work closely with other Marxist-Leninist groups within the limits of our resources to extend the distribution of the different positions to as many people as possible. After all, if unity is only possible as a consequence of an intensification of the struggle against revisionism such a struggle is in turn only possible if as many communist groups as possible around the world take an active part in it.
At the same time, we plan on continuing to debate such questions in bilateral meetings with Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in other countries. We will of course defend the Third Congress Appeal for the political and organizational unity of the international communist movement. But more than that we aim to collectivize these debates so that each group can express its viewpoint and criticize those advanced by others. This will enable the debate to get to the most of the problem and will accelerate the progress that can be made. Given this perspective, we will be participating in all appropriate forms of debate and discussion which are proposed to us. We will also be taking initiatives of our own in this regard.
But the debate concerning the unity of the international communist movement must not be confined to the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations alone. The struggle against revisionism is of paramount concern to the working class. What weighs in the balance in this struggle is nothing less than the establishment of a proletarian leadership in each country and on an international level which is able to mobilize the working class and working people in the fight to the finish against the exploiters and their agents in the workers movement. To achieve this we intend not only to systematically defend the Appeal in our press. We will also publish the comments and criticisms of our readers. We will promote public debate by holding various sorts of debates and meetings in different cities throughout Canada in the next year.
The decisions reached by our Third Congress have launched us enthusiastically on this path. At the same time we are fully aware of the fact that the situation in the international communist movement will not be transformed by our efforts alone. The task of rebuilding the political and organizational unity of the international communist movement on the basis of a genuinely communist programme rests on the shoulders of all communists in the world.
Our starting point can and must be the very real desire for unity that exists. We begin also with the recognition that unity is a precondition to the definitive victory of Marxism-Leninism over revisionism. With these touchstones, we are fully confident that the international proletariat will soon have its communist vanguard reunited on an international level.