Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle changes its line on the principal contradiction

First Published: Lines of Demarcation Nos. 3-4, n.d. [early 1977]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In Struggle! has changed its line on the principal contradiction, although In Struggle! apparently “forgot” to openly inform the movement and the working class of this change. Instead we find in a report of In Struggle!’s Second Congress under the heading, “What’s the path of revolution in our country?” in the sixth paragraph the statement that “of all the contradictions in the Canadian society, the principal contradictions is the one opposing the Canadian proletariat to the Canadian bourgeoisie.” (In Struggle!, December 20, 1976, p. 6)

People might recall that In Struggle!’s position in December 1974 and since has been that “the principal contradiction in Canada, including Quebec, is between the Canadian proletariat, on the one hand, and the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism on the other hand.” (Canadian Revolution 1:1, p. 19)

In the last two years In Struggle!’s position has come under constant attack by first MREQ and then the League. In Struggle!’s original position was in no way scientifically proved; in fact, over a period of time we have only been able to find 12 paragraphs in all of their publications explaining their position on the principal contradiction in Canada – with no concrete analysis. In the last two years In Struggle! has said almost nothing on the subject and has in many newspaper articles contradicted many things that it did say in those original twelve paragraphs.

Now In Struggle! holds its second congress and changes its position to that of the League, treating us to another 12 paragraphs of unsubstantiated statements.

This new string of 12 paragraphs of unsubstantiated, un-proven and unargued statements begins with the incredible assertion that “our concrete analysis of the political economy of Canada has clearly demonstrated that . . .” What concrete analysis? In Struggle! has never made it or has kept it a very well hidden secret. And which version of the principal contradiction did it “clearly demonstrate”?

Is In Struggle! telling us that their previous version of the principal contradiction was not based on concrete analysis? Why no self-criticism?

This flip-flop in In Strugglel’s line – and In Struggle’s not even noting that they have changed – along with its incredible claim to having done a “concrete analysis of the political economy of Canada ”, is the most incredible opportunism seen in the movement to date! It is even more opportunist than their undefended statement that Native people are a national minority in Canada, which it also put forward without any concrete analysis.

This is no different than the Bainsites’ practice of changing their political line without any explanation, self-criticism, etc. One just happens to notice in PCDN that the Bainsites are saying the opposite of what they had said a few months before.

This can only be done by the most unbridled opportunists who have a complete contempt for revolutionary theory, Marxism-Leninism, and the proletariat. It is the work of bourgeois careerists who are trying to manipulate the movement and the proletariat for their own gain.

In Struggle! has the unmitigated gall to headline its article on the Second Congress: “The Revolutionary Line of the Canadian Proletariat Triumphed.”

Of course, the “revolutionary line of the Canadian proletariat” can change without notice – but no matter! Whatever it is, it remains “revolutionary” because In Struggle! is revolutionary by definition. All the proletariat has to do is follow In Struggle! and the proletarian class will have a “revolutionary line” no matter what line In Struggle! is putting forward.

In Struggle! unites with any group or individual who is willing to yell “Unity, unity” and all those who are for “unity” vote on the “revolutionary line of the Canadian proletariat.” That is, the petty-bourgeoisie holds a bourgeois election on what “revolutionary line” the proletariat will call its own, and it will be shoved down the proletariat’s throat whether it has been explained to the proletariat scientifically or not.

In Struggle! also tells us that the “minority” “social-chauvinist” line was defeated. Was this line In Strugglel’s previous line? Is In Struggle! saying that it previously carried a “social-chauvinist” line? And what, we must ask, has provoked such “sectarian”, “uncomradely”, “dogmatic” polemics against our genuine, true-blue, by definition authentic Marxist-Leninists within In Struggle!?

If In Struggle! were “open and above board” we would not have to speculate on these matters. Instead, In Struggle! chooses to “intrigue and conspire” on the subject of “revolutionary line”. This, of course, is in the finest traditions of revisionism.

In Struggle’s change in line is, however, entirely consistent with its plunge into opportunism. In “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Political Leadership of In Struggle!”, we demonstrate In Struggle’s thoroughgoing economism and opportunism, and in “On the Principal Contradiction” in the first issue of LD we demonstrated the link between the League’s view of the principal contradiction (and now In Strugglel’s as well) with economism and right-opportunism. It is much easier to explain to backward workers that the struggle is a very simple one against “the bosses” (the Canadian bourgeoisie) rather than a very complex one which involves some degree of genuine political education to deal with.

Thus we have In Struggle! rallying to the League’s false “principles” about the impossibility of American imperialism exercising control over the Canadian state: “The domination of American imperialism over our country, never questioned the control of the Canadian bourgeoisie of the State power, nor its transformation into an imperialist bourgeoisie.”

We also see In Struggle! dabbling in Kautskyism by speaking of the “imperialist POLICY of our bourgeoise”, as if Canadian imperialism is a “policy” which can be pursued or not pursued.

That In Struggle!’s name should be In Opportunism! should become increasingly obvious to anyone who doesn’t want to wear blinders and yell “unity, unity”. In Struggle’s unexplained change on the principal contradiction should be evidence enough to genuine Marxist-Leninists that In Struggle! has no genuine interest in “the path of the revolution” in Canada but that they are merely competing with the League for hegemony.

It is our hope that In Struggle! will make clear explanation of these things in future issues of its newspaper and in the next issue of Proletarian Unity, but, then again, maybe In Struggle! will have a different line by then!

But we see the real implications of this flip-flop to be found not with the leadership of In Struggle!, which is obviously as we have described them, but with the rest of their cadre and with the rest of the Marxist-Leninist movement. How the cadre of In Struggle! and the rest of the movement respond to this grossest form of opportunism will tell us a great deal about the level of genuine Marxism-Leninism throughout the movement itself.

In the meantime we can only speculate that In Struggle! has flipped to the League’s line on the principal contradiction in order to demonstrate a “non-sectarian”, Christian “desire for unity” with the League! After all, if the League won’t give in, somebody has to!