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The Appropriated Journals – Self-Criticism

We, former members of the Bolshevik Tendency (a tendency which is now dissolved) and now cadre of the Bolshevik Union, have decided to return all copies of Issue no. 4 of Canadian Revolution which we appropriated at the time of the split in that body. We will also make good any other outstanding debts to the accounts of the main body of the Journal. The following is our self-criticism.

1. We took the Journals under the following reasoning.

a. The Journal is objectively a coalition of different groups, tendencies and individuals. Each group etc. pooled its time, energy and resources into the Journal, and since there was a split we felt we had a right to take a proportionate share.

b. We did not, however, take the Journals as a matter of principle and would not necessarily have done so under other circumstances. That is, although we felt it was our right, we did not have in mind the idea of regaining our contribution to Canadian Revolution by the sale of Issue no. 4. We had a specific political priority in mind, this being the distribution of “Nationhood or Genocide” in the Native community. We felt this would not happen given the hostility of certain elements in the Journal to the political line of the article, and given previous attempts by certain elements in,the Journal to sabotage the printing of the article.

2. These were the errors in our thinking.

a. As former members of the Journal coalition, we know that the Journal was not truly financially “sabotaged” or mortally endangered by our action. However, the fact was that, with politics on our minds, we did not take into consideration the effects that our action would have on the financial functioning of the Journal as a forum for debate. Therefore, whether or not our actions endangered the functioning of the Journal, we should have taken this into consideration when we decided to take the Journals. Even if there was a small chance that taking the Journals would damage Canadian Revolution, this was inconsistent with our position that we still supported the Journal as a forum for debate.

b. We did not consider the role of financial contributions by others in Canada to Canadian Revolution, and how the taking of the Journals was in fact an appropriation of some of those assets. (Subsequently we offered to refund our proportional share of these assets to CR, as indicated in our first open letter to Canadian Revolution.)

c. The political issues raised in the struggles in the Journal are serious and fundamental issues which must be confronted in the building of the party. By taking the Journals, we allowed these matters to be sidetracked by the publicity about the appropriated Journals, and allowed people to be distracted from the political issues involved. We also created a situation wherein others were given an opportunity to further aggravate contradictions on an incorrect basis, and therefore to continue to run away from political confrontation under the pretext of making the question of Journal property a question of principle. Our primary concern is politics; we want to keep all matters on an open and strictly political basis. Our error here was tactical and not a question of principle. This self-criticism is also a criticism of the infantile political level of the main body of Canadian Revolution.

3. We are therefore offering to make good all assets. The format by which we propose to do this is enclosed.

We expect to hear a response (or an indication that prompt concrete response will be forthcoming) by a letter sent within five days of the receipt of this letter. If we do not hear a response, then we will assume that Canadian Revolution (main body) does not want its property returned.

4. We do not accept the following criticisms which have been made of our actions.

a. That our action was counter-revolutionary.
b. That we intended sabotage.
c. That this question of property is a question of principle.
d. That we left the Journal at such time as to be able to take the Journals with us.

We assume that the acceptance of this offer will mean the resolution of the contradiction between the Bolshevik Tendency and the main body of Canadian Revolution over the question of Journal assets. We further assume that after the resolution of this contradiction, the Bolshevik Union will have the same relationship with the Journal as do the other Marxist-Leninist groups in Canada.

Bolshevik Tendency (former members)

Open Letter to Canadian Revolution

Canadian Revolution has consistently sought to make a non-antagonistic contradiction with the Bolshevik Tendency into an antagonistic contradiction. During the period when we were within the main body of Canadian Revolution, open ideological struggle over the nature and purpose of the Journal was regularly curtailed by various means. Major criticisms advanced in our paper, “Against Opportunism in the Journal”, were alloted 30 minutes for discussion and were barely commented on. Three candidates ran for membership on the Editorial Board on a platform of “stop Bolshevik Tendency obstructionism” without ever having advanced that criticism to us. Now that we have left the Journal because opportunism has consolidated itself, the Journal has made serious threats against us, telling us we will be denounced as “thieves and saboteurs” and not allowing us a chance to respond to these charges.

We have consistently pressed for ideological struggle (which is the correct way of handling contradictions among the people), and the main body of Canadian Revolution has consistently shunned these attempts (which is the way of handling contradictions with the enemy). Now Canadian Revolution is making the question of Journal property the chief question of principle in its attempt to isolate us and drive us from the Marxist-Leninist movement. Thus the Journal once again seeks to avoid confronting us in ideological struggle, and instead seeks the easy way out of drawing lines of demarcation over the issue of property.

We want to make it absolutely clear that what is principal to us is not the question of property but the question of ideological struggle. In order to make this clear, we are offering to return to the main body of Canadian Revolution those Journals which were not needed for distribution to the Native community. Moreover, if given an itemized list of all those people who have contributed money to the Journal for Issue No. 4 above the price of subscription, we will pay our proportional share (based on our relative numbers in the original Journal collective) of the money contributed. This is over and above our standing offer to pay all money owing to the Journal on the basis of a proportional division of assets and liabilities, including all past dues and debts to the Journal, In other words, we are willing to make every effort to see that no innocent contributors are victims of the split and that the main body of the Journal can function without financial difficulties which may have arisen from the split.

As stated, the purpose of this offer is to make it clear that it is ideological struggle and not property that is principal to us. There is no purpose in doing this, however, if Canadian Revolution, through curtailment and sabotage of ideological struggle, continues to insist that its contradiction with the Bolshevik Tendency is an antagonistic contradiction. We are making this offer only on the condition that the main body of Canadian Revolution allows ideological struggle to proceed.

The main body of Canadian Revolution can do this in two ways:

1. It can allow the Bolshevik Tendency to have access to the pages of the Journal, in order that we may print our position on the struggle in the Journal and other political positions which we may submit.


2. It can provide us with a copy of the mailing list and the correspondence file, so that we can have our own independent access to the Marxist-Leninist movement.

Should the main body of Canadian Revolution refuse to allow either of these alternatives, then the record will be clear that its primarv intention is the suppression and sabotage of ideological struggle in the Marxist-Leninist movement, and that it is they who are the “saboteurs” in the dispute over Canadian Revolution.

This letter, unless it is subsequently accompanied by our position on why we have split from the main body of Canadian Revolution, is not for publication in the Journal.

Please reply by mail on Canadian Revolution stationary.


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We have delayed the production of this pamphlet in order to report the response of the Journal to our offer to return all assets.

As of publication date, there has been no concrete response from the Journal. They have been only vague and non-committal, with indications that there would be no concrete response forthcoming before about a month following the date of our letter.

We therefore assume, as indicated in our offer, that Canadian Revolution (main body) does not want its property returned. They are in no rush to regain it; it is clear that the “sabotage” issue was phony. We remain willing to resolve the contradiction in the future.