First Published: Lines of Demarcation, No 7-8, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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On February 23, 1978, the members of ADDS, the democratic organization of welfare recipients in Montreal, held a special general meeting at which it was decided, by an overwhelming majority, to expel from its ranks the members and sympathizers of the “CCL(ML),” franchised dealer of the theory of “three worlds” in Canada and more accurately known under the name of the Canadian Counter-Revolutionary League (Social-Fascist).
This victory of the welfare recipients was the result of a struggle which they had been waging for three years to defend their organization against repeated attacks by the League, which had cooked up many plots to lay its hands on ADDS and hang it on its hunting board of organizations “struggling for socialism” under the police leadership of the League. Let us take a look at a bit of the history of this struggle.
Since its creation, the League has engaged in a vast recruitment campaign, calling upon everyone to bow before its “correct line” that the principal contradiction in Canada was that between the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian bourgeoisie. It presented the adherence to this “correct line,” and thus rallying to the League, as being the remedy which would miraculously immunize from reformism all those who were struggling principally for reforms. The League had a certain success in Montreal among the petty-bourgeoisie which had invaded the popular districts during the 1960’s through government programs (LIP. OFY) which financed the creation of popular groups. With the aggravation of the crisis, many of them saw in the League an appropriate structure within which to practice their trade-unionism in popular milieus. And once they had rallied to the League, they lost no time in “inciting” the popular organizations in which they had worked as “militants” to put their immediate struggles under the “correct leadership” of the League and its “correct line” on the principal contradiction. ADDS was one of these organizations.
It soon became clear that the League had a rather restrictive conception of one of the poles of its principal contradiction, the Canadian proletariat. For the League, the Canadian proletariat is limited to the strata of the labour aristocracy with whom the petty-bourgeois of the League are actively seeking an alliance to extend their hegemony over the whole working class. Thus, the welfare recipients, who to a great extent are part of the working class, should according to the League have abandoned their own immediate struggles to devote their energies to participating in parades which the League regularly organizes on the picket lines to seduce the workers. Its conception of the “Canadian proletariat” also objectively led it to play the role of welfare agents, as the League supported repressive measures put forward by the governments to force the welfare recipients to return to the labour market. Because, for the economists of the League, it is only by working in factories that welfare recipients could develop their “class consciousness.”
If the League’s conception of the Canadian proletariat (i.e., the labour aristocracy) reveals the aims which the League is pursuing, the second pole of its principal contradiction, the Canadian bourgeoisie, reveals them even more. The Bolshevik Union has demonstrated at length how the League has falsified the concrete analysis of Canadian society and invented its own “Marxist-Leninist” principles to give a “theoretical” framework to its principal activity in the workers’ movement – “the economic struggle against the employers and the government,” to use the expression Lenin used to define the activity of the economists – thus disguising the role of American imperialism in Canada.
Not only does the League’s “correct line” on the principal contradiction aim at keeping the Canadian proletariat within the reform struggle, but the League also warns us that if the proletariat went beyond this framework, where the League so actively works to keep the proletariat, to undergo a genuine class struggle, it would not hesitate for a single minute to ally with its “principal enemy” to crush the proletarian revolution. In fact, the League says on the subject of secondary contradictions:
The most important opposes the Canadian people and the two superpowers, particularly American imperialism. When the bourgeoisie/proletariat contradiction develops to such a point that the proletariat is close to seizing power, this secondary contradiction can be exacerbated to the point of provoking a military invasion of one or other of the two superpowers. In addition, the proletariat’s growth as a political force will strengthen the core of a united front of the Canadian people to defend the country and oppose the danger of war. (The Forge, 1:2. p. 12)
In other words, when the proletariat struggles to establish its dictatorship, one of the superpowers (probably American imperialism) will probably invade the country. And, at that moment, our “main enemy” will no longer be our main enemy, because it will be a part of “the people”; in fact, it will become our dearest ally. Given the relationships of collusion between American imperialism and the Canadian bourgeoisie, it is probable that a military invasion of Canada by the United States would have only one purpose: to respond to the call of the Canadian bourgeoisie to crush the proletarian revolution in Canada. And what role would the League play at that point? It would ally with the Canadian bourgeoisie (and thus with American imperialism) to crush the revolution.
But the League’s class-collaborationist line appears in all its splendor when we examine its true “revolutionary” strategy, when it defines its friends and its enemies on a world scale, i.e., its adherence to the anti-Leninist theory of “three worlds.”
Authentic Marxist-Leninists, faithful to the teachings of Marx. Engels, Lenin and Stalin, see the world as divided into two camps which confront each other in a life-and-death struggle. On one side is the camp of imperialism and world reaction, and on the other side is the camp of revolution composed of the truly socialist countries, the world proletariat and the peoples and nations oppressed by imperialism.
But the League shares with the theoreticians of “three worlds” a new conception of the division of the world. According to the League, the camp of imperialism has disintegrated, limited in theory to the two superpowers, but in practice to the Soviet Union. As a result, the oppressed peoples and nations of the world should abandon their struggles against their butchers, the fascist and bloodthirsty regimes of their countries now being a part of the “motive force propelling the wheel of history forward,” and ally with them in the struggle against Soviet social-imperialism.
Of course, in order not to be totally discredited, the League hails the struggles of these peoples in passing, but in its “revolutionary” strategy the enemies of these peoples are the friends of the League.
Moreover, the Canadian proletariat should henceforth consider as positive the pillage which its “main enemy” realizes in the so-called “third world.” For the League, the activities of the Canadian bourgeoisie in these countries is no longer motivated by a thirst for profit, by the will to get a bigger slice of the pie in the exploitation of the peoples. No, it is the “third world twisting its arm” to build a “new international economic order.” Thus, let us hail the “positive gestures” of our “main enemy” which so graciously accepts having its “arm twisted” and let us hope that the benefits it derives therefrom will permit higher wages for the workers for whom the League struggles with such sacrifice.
But there is also another element in the “revolutionary” strategy of the League: the “inevitable” world war. So, get set for battle, the defense of the fatherland is at stake, and who is in the best position to defend it if not our “main enemy”? So, support the arming of our bourgeoisie, prepare the proletariat to serve as cannon fodder in an inter-imperialist war. And since Soviet social-imperialism is the “most aggressive” power and the “main enemy,” a military intervention by the Linked States into Canada to “protect” Canadian (and American) interests would be welcomed, our “main secondary enemy ”itself becoming our dearest ally by magic. And woe to those who would want to turn their weapons against these “friends” of the League to transform the inter-imperialist war into civil war and proletarian revolution. To examine the line of the League in all its aspects, we find class collaboration throughout it. As Comrade Meh-met Shehu affirmed with regard to the theory of “three worlds”:
In fact, this notorious theory has replaced the slogan of Marx, “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”, and Lenin’s slogan, “Proletarians of all countries and oppressed peoples, unite!”, with the counter-revolutionary slogan, “Proletarians and peoples of all countries, bourgeois, reactionaries and fascists, wherever you are, unite under the leadership of US imperialism, against Soviet social-imperialism!”, as it has appealed and is appealing openly to the “third world and the second one to unite with half of the first world, with U.S. imperialism, to fight against Soviet social-imperialism!” Today, one cannot find any slogan which is more reactionary. (Mehmet Shehu, Socialist Albania Will Never Budge from Its Revolutionary-Positions, Tirana 1977, pp. 18-19)
We can understand why the League is leading an hysterical campaign at the same time in its ranks and everywhere it goes to forbid any political debate on its political line. If for a certain period of time it was able to intimidate people with its supposed “correct line,” it is because it has profited from the incredibly low level of Marxism-Leninism in our country and from the good graces of an opportunist group such as In Struggle which has not spared any efforts to legitimize the League, even going so far as to rally to its line on the principal contradiction and conferring the title of “Marxist-Leninists” to these proponents of the theory of “three worlds.”
But with the publication and distribution of the criticisms of the Bolshevik Union on the political positions of the League and especially with the demarcation on the international level by authentic Marxist-Leninists against the theory of “three worlds,” the League has discreetly swept its “correct line” under the rug to raise the flag of “the League, best defender of immediate interests.” “Fight for our Rights, the League is the Only Path”
This is how, after the exclusion of the local which it controlled in ADDS, the League reappeared in other locals because of structures vulnerable to the infiltration of the petty-bourgeoisie. Making a “self-criticism” for certain of its past “errors,” the League assured everybody that it would be the best defender of the interests of the welfare recipients. But the red paint of its “self-criticism” quickly peeled off, and the hideous face of the anti-democracy and sabotage of the League appeared again. Incapable of assuring the control of ADDS by rallying welfare recipients to its ’’ideas,“ the League actively set out to destroy it. It opposed with all its strength the establishment of a democratic structure in ADDS, making physical threats against welfare recipients who resisted it, trying to bribe other welfare recipients, etc. Finally, when its expulsion was on the agenda, the League led a campaign against the “intellectualism” of the welfare recipients by trying to prevent a general meeting from being held which would discuss communism, socialism, and the League as well. More and more cut off, the League forced certain of its members to go on welfare to get around the decisions of the Congress which had excluded the petty-bourgeoisie from responsible positions and started to circulate petitions for the defense of “our good communists from the League,” signed by “welfare recipients.” These manoeuvres did not fool many people, and on February 23 the League was excluded from ADDS for its anti-democracy. It is noticeable that, at that meeting, everybody who intervened to support the expulsion of the League was a welfare recipient, whereas a majority of those who opposed it were petty-bourgeois implantees.
One discreet and worried spectator during this meeting was In Struggle. It was necessary to hunt out the representatives of this group to learn their position, and then the only thing which could be gotten out of them was a timid:“We are against the expulsion of the League“ or else “We do not have a position”! But In Struggle was less intimidated at expelling from its most recent conference welfare recipients who had stood up against its social-democracy and its program project! In Struggle always gives its “comrades” from the League the white glove treatment. In Strugle has had a long history in ADDS, during which it did not hesitate to sacrifice even the immediate interests of the welfare recipients in order not to offend the League.
The expulsion of the League from ADDS bore the risk of having such an influence that the League felt obligated to comment on it in the Forge and to break its orders of silence with regard to the Bolshevik Union. Thus, according to the League, the “Bolshevik Union, which controls ADDS ... masterminded the expulsion of the communists from the CCL(ML) who work in this movement.” (The Forge, March 3, 1978) This is a 100% turnabout that the League has just engineered in its “appreciation” of the Bolshevik Union. Thus this “sect,” “cut off from the masses,” these “library rats” now apparently control one of the most important popular organizations in Montreal! No, the League knows full well that most of the implantees of ADDS who have rallied to the positions of the Bolshevik Union are not there anymore. The League knows full well that the Bolshevik Union has always denounced the “practice of implantation,” that it does not strive to take control of mass organizations, but the League needed a scapegoat because it could not admit to its readers that it is really the welfare recipients of Montreal who designed its expulsion. Besides, the League implicitly recognizes in its article that the large majority of welfare recipients were hostile to it and that only the few people whom it had succeeded in fooling supported it when it declared:
The attacks against the communists of the League are attacks against all welfare recipients. The welfare recipients with whom the League works understood this and opposed the expulsion.
But what is even more significant is that the League, contrary to what it had made us accustomed to in the past, did not attack In Struggle for not having firmly opposed its expulsion. No, the League attacks the Bolshevik Union. Why? Because the Bolshevik Union distributed at the meeting a leaflet supporting the welfare recipients, explaining to them the social-fascist character of these proponents of the theory of’ ’three worlds.“ The Bolshevik Union is the main danger for the League. That is why it denounced people sympathetic to the ideas of the Bolshevik Union by publishing their names. That is why, at this meeting, the principal speech of the representative of the League was not a reply to the accusations of anti-democratism or a statement of the “wonderful work accomplished by these best fighters for the interests of the welfare recipients” who are the Leaguites, but rather an organized attack against the Bolshevik Union! The main danger for the League is Marxism-Leninism!
In resisting the attacks of the League, the welfare recipients won a great victory. Not only have they been able to preserve their organization, but they have also dealt a hard blow to the hegemonic designs of the League in the workers’ movement. The objective of the League was to seize ADDS and to use its reputation to extend the League’s influence in the working class, as it did in SOS Daycare, thus sabotaging the struggle for the building of an authentic communist party in Canada.