First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 20, October 28, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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A new step forward has been taken in the struggle towards the creation of our multi-national communist party in Canada. The Black Study Group, a Marxist-Leninist study group in Toronto, has dissolved and placed itself under the direction of the Canadian Communist League (ML). From now on the militants of the ex-BSG will unite with the League to intensify the struggle to found a genuine Marxist-Leninist communist party in Canada.
So reads the opening paragraph of a statement that has just been published announcing this significant event.
This document goes on to relate some of the history of the founding of the BSC. It explains that the militants of the BSC were involved in struggles against racism and oppression in the 1960s and 70’s. These were struggles against police brutality, discrimination in housing, education and employment and against racist attacks. The text explains:
Whereas this struggle against oppression was a good thing it was guided by the ideology of black nationalism, which could offer no real solution to the oppression of black people or to the whole class in general. Black nationalism saw racism as the main enemy. Thus all white people, regardless of their class, were seen as the enemies of black people.
Black nationalism did not strive to unite all the workers, to build multi-national unity, to struggle for the overthrow of the Canadian bourgeoisie and the establishment of a socialist Canada.
The text explains that growing awareness of the need to link the fight of black people to that of the whole working class led to the formation of the Black Workers Alliance in 1975. But this group did not fundamentally break with nationalism, and its opportunist leaders led it towards collusion with trotskyists and revisionists.
A fierce struggle against opportunism led by honest forces within the BWA who wished to study Marxism-Leninism led to the smashing of the BWA and the formation of the BSC.
Since its formation the BSC has actively taken up the study of Marxlsm-Leninism and attempted to put these ideas into practice as much as possible.
Our overall development which was positive went hand in hand with the struggle against opportunist forces.
The BSC was active in the struggle to build the committee against Bill C-24 in Toronto as well as playing a leading role in the struggle against the revisionists of the “C”PC during the formation of the committee that organized African Liberation Day in Toronto in 1977. The BSC was active in the solidarity committee for the striking Montreal mill-workers and correctly showed the importance of the Quebec national question in this struggle.
As a study group, the BSC could not lead forward the struggle to found the party. Only a Marxist-Leninist organization based on a correct line and engaging in revolutionary practice, and communist agitation and propaganda to rally the most advanced workers to communism, can lead this fight.
A Marxist-Leninist study group must only be a temporary form of organization and its militants should rapidly move on to participate directly in the fight for the party.
But in our case narrow nationalism and small-group mentality blocked that understanding. Our views of party building were opportunist. We held that for the rest of the movement party building was principal but for the BSC it was something different. We did not understand that as communists, regardless of the fact that we were black, we must first of all consider our overall responsibility to the proletariat and that our principal task must also be party building.
The CCL(ML) has played a principal role in our coming to understand the seriousness of our errors and the way to correct them.
The only way to correct our errors, adopt a correct line on party building, and break with narrow nationalism and small groupism was to dissolve our group and come under – the direction of the League. And after the BSC grasped the League’s criticism we quickly moved forward to realize unity with the League.
The text also shows how the BSC struggled against the opportunist line and practice of the revisionist group In Struggle.
The text underlines the contributions the BSC militants will bring to the League:
In particular the BSG’s experience from anti-imperialist work, work with immigrants and with black people in Canada as well as the experience in the struggle against revisionism, narrow nationalism and white chauvinism, will reinforce the struggle to build’a multi-national communist party.
Stressing the importance of this unity, the text underlines that it is a call to all who are oppressed by capitalism to join the struggle to found a new multi-national communist party in Canada. This unity will intensify the struggle against racist and national oppression and the struggle to defend the rights of immigrants. It will assure that communists across the whole country and the whole working class will take up these struggles.
This unity is a victory for the Marxist-Leninist movement and the workers’ movement in Canada. Build our multi-national communist party!
To get a copy of the BSG’s statement write to The Forge (Details p.2).