First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, no. 2 January 20 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In Struggle has just announced that its second conference on “unity”, on the theme of the strategic road to revolution, will be held in the month of March. It has sent invitations to different groups and invited individuals from ail over the country to participate in this event to debate the nature of the revolutionary struggle in Canada.
The Canadian Communist League (ML) rejects In Struggle’s invitation, it will not participate in this conference, and it calls on Marxist-Leninists and communist groups across the country to adopt the same attitude.
Is this because we are against the struggle for unity or because we are opposed in principle to a conference to debate such an important issue? No.
The League has always struggled to realize the greatest possible unity of communists in Canada. On several occasions we have proposed to In Struggle the joint organization of public debates on the major questions of line that confront revolutionaries in our country. We refuse to participate in this conference because despite appearances, IT IS NOT REALLY AIMED AT INTENSIFYING THE IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE WITHIN THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT. It is but a continuation of In Struggle’s right opportunist line on the fight for unity.
First, In Struggle has invited many opportunist groups to this conference (including groups like Bolshevik Union, the now defunct Mobilisation, CC(ML)), thus spreading confusion over the composition of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada. Without a clear and scientific definition of who is and who is not a communist it is impossible to advance the struggle for unity. After all, we wish to unite the genuine communists and not unite communists with opportunists.
Second, this conference is but part of In Struggle’s opportunist plan to establish “the” organization of Canadian communists. They propose to hold several of these debates and then the founding conference of their new organization. We have already vigorously denounced this project (see our brochure For the Unity of Marxist-Leninists and The Forge (Vol. 1, no. 20). In Struggle is going all out to unite as many people as they can without clearly defining on what basis and without assuring a clear agreement on a correct ideological and political line.
Third, the manner In Struggle has chosen to organize this event will serve to confuse and diffuse the debate, rather than concentrating the struggle around the two main lines that exist on the major questions. In Struggle and the League are the most important formations in our country. It is our two groups which have the most developed lines and most clearly express the essence of the differences that presently separate communists in Canada. It is by concentrating the debate around the lines of the League and In Struggle that we can most decisively advance the fight for unity.
What occurred at In Struggle’s last unity conference is ample proof that the struggle is not advanced by a large number of groups giving speeches on a question, but by clearly waging the struggle between the two major formations.
Only by sharpening the contradictions can we arrive at the basis of the divergences, and thus open the door for their resolution.
In Struggle’s line on unity has always been characterized by right opportunism; by the profound fear of undertaking the ideological struggle over the major strategic questions. In our recent brochure, For the Unity of Marxist-Leninists, the League has exposed In Struggle’s various opportunist schemes for unity. We recommend a serious study of this document for all those who wish to understand the CCL(ML)’s general line on the question of communist unity, and grasp our criticisms of In Struggle.
As time passes it becomes more and more evident that on the question of unity In Struggle adheres to the revisionist thesis of “two combines into one”. Rather than striving to clarify differences and contradictions In Struggle tries to gloss over them. Rather than polarizing the debate around two lines In Struggle tries to diffuse it. They ignore the distinction between two fundamentally different world views – between Marxist-Leninists and opportunists. They cover over differencess in the Marxist-Leninist movement, avoid line struggle, and just try to unite everyone under a vague “umbrella” line. Even concerning their own line In Struggle is hard to pin down, constantly changes positions without self-criticism, says several different things at one time and so on.
In Struggle’s present unity project is just a continuation of this line. They wish to fuse all the groups they can (whether they are communist or not seems to be of little importance) into one big group.
Marxist-Leninists cannot be united by “combining two into one”. In fact success can only be achieved through struggle, struggle which opposes Marxist-Leninists against opportunists and counter-revolutionaries on one hand, and struggle to unite around a correct ideological and political line, against opportunist ideas within the communist movement on the other. In short unity is achieved because “one divides into two” – revolutionaries become distinguished from opportunists, and correct from the incorrect – not because “two combines into one” – the “combination” of revolutionaries and opportunists through compromise can only lead to more opportunism. Lenin expressed this in his words: “Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.”
In Struggle’s errors in the struggle for unity are very serious. Already they have had a very negative influence on the growth of the revolutionary movement in our country. If In Struggle persists in these errors they will not only cause even greater harm to the cause of the proletarian revolution, but they will increasingly fall into the swamp of opportunism. We all make errors. But those who refuse to recognize their errors, hide them and raise the errors to the level of principles are doomed.
The League participated in In Struggle’s first conference on unity, in order to counter this opportunist project for achieving unity. And our intervention was not without effects. After the conference many participants, including militants from English Canada and members and supporters of In Struggle, began to ask themselves serious questions about the sincerity of In Struggle’s desire to develop the struggle over the main questions of ideological and political line. They too began to take up the fight against In Struggle’s opportunist concept of the struggle for unity. These militants began to realize that despite all of In Struggle’s talk of unity, in fact they were refusing to advance the cause of unity by refusing the struggle over the main questions of line.
We have already summed up our views of In Struggle’s first “unity conference. It did not significantly contribute to advancing the cause of communist unity in our country. In Struggle’s second conference will be the same.
The letter In Struggle has sent out to invite groups to this affair is filled with opportunism. For example. In Struggle has decided to be the sole organizer of the next conference, despite suggestions to the contrary they made at their first conference. Despite all their talk of unity In Struggle wishes to keep everything firmly in their control. Despite their indications to the contrary In Struggle has never published a full sum-up of their first event before launching the second. Even in the presentation of the subjects to be discussed In Struggle’s right opportunism on Questions of line is revealed. By affirming in Proletarian Unity No. 2 page 6 that: “the debate over this question (who are our enemies) has, up until now, taken the form of a debate over the principal contradiction. But we feel that the central question must first of all be state power in our country” (our translation), In Struggle is trying to turn the debate away from a rigourous definition of the contradictions in Canadian society (in particular the debate over the principal contradiction)into a debate dealing with the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary “camps”.
Moreover, they practically totally neglect the importance of the Quebec national question. In the coming months we will continue to clarify our views of the opportunist concepts which are manifested in In Struggle’s unity project and in their line on the main strategic questions.
Today it is clear that In Struggle is intent on continuing their plan to create their organization and have no intention of seriously taking up the struggle for unity. It is thus impossible for the League to participate in In Struggle’s conference. Were we to join in this charade we would simply serve as a cover for In Struggle’s opportunist project.
Instead we call on communists across the country to boycott this conference. And we call on the militants and sympathizers of In Struggle to break with their opportunist project for unity. Instead, accept the proposal of the League to organize public debates across the country to focus the ideological struggle between the two main lines that presently exist.
Comrades, let us not forget what Enver Hoxa has said; “... the call for unity is not a simple one that can be used for tactical ends. It is a very serious and fundamental problem of principle….”