Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

For the unity of Marxist-Leninists


The 9th of October, In Struggle! held a conference on the struggle for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. A number of different political groups gave speeches by invitation of In Struggle!. The CCL(ML) was represented by a delegation it sent to participate in this conference.

No real struggle for unity

In Struggle’s meeting did not contribute to advancing the cause of communist unity in our country. Despite the billing as a place for debate and struggle, the conference simply buried the struggle over line.

Rather than centering the debate around the main questions and the lines which presently divide our movement on the subject of the struggle for unity, we were simply treated to 13 speeches on unity. All this did was to dilute, to diffuse and confuse the struggle.

There was not even any opportunity for real political struggle in the meeting: even the workshops were cancelled to the disappointment of the vast majority of participants. The different lines were never debated, challenged, or questioned. Group after group simply made their statements.

The comrades from In Struggle! have made a self-criticism for underestimating the time required for the speeches. But this simply misses the whole point. The problem is not just that the speeches are too long or the day too short. The problem is that In Struggle! refuses to concentrate the struggle around the main lines and the organizations that principally represent these lines. In Struggle! is more concerned to let “everyone say their thing” than to develop the struggle over line.

As a matter of fact it is the League and In Struggle! which most clearly express the different lines which exist within the communist movement in Canada as to how to carry out the fight for Marxist-Leninist unity.

Take the question of the principal obstacle in the fight for unity. According to In Struggle! it is dogmatism and sectarianism. The CCL(ML) on the other hand has explained why right opportunism is the main problem we must face. At the conference there was no real debate over this question between the two formations. All we got was this group thinks this while another thinks that. In Struggle’s idea of “democracy” within the Marxist-Leninist movement in fact meant the liquidation of the ideological struggle.

In the absence of the struggle over line, In Struggle’s conference became little more than a big show. Lots of talk about unity – lots of talk about the “dogmatism and sectarianism” of the League – but the content was missing. There was no ideological struggle at the conference, and thus no struggle for unity.

It was a show. Perhaps to impress militants from across the country, perhaps to unite In Struggle’s own militants and sympathizers against the “sectarianism of the League”. In any case it was a show of the struggle for unity and not the real thing.

The fact that In Struggle! obviously considers the conference a success simply shows that despite all the cries of unity-unity-unity, they are not really all that interested in actually taking up the struggle over how to unite communists in Canada, or over any of the other major questions of political line either.

In reality the conference did not solve or clarify any of the real issues. Did we resolve how to define the Marxist-Leninist movement? What is the principal danger in the fight for unity? Around what questions to achieve unity? No we didn’t even discuss them. In the absence of this debate the only method that those who attended the meeting could use to judge the issues was the number of groups who supported each position. What a way to decide questions of political line?

It is true that at the end of the day the militants of In Struggle!, and some other groups must have felt good; the majority of groups supported In Struggle’s line on unity and denounced the League as sectarian. But honestly how did all these speeches, how did this big show actually help the struggle for unity? It didn’t. Simply because there was no real struggle at In Struggle’s unity conference.

There were also other serious problems evident at In Struggle’s conference on unity.

In Struggle! applied an erroneous definition of what is a Marxist-Leninist group, inviting practically everyone who claims to be a communist. In fact many of those who gave speeches were not genuine communist groups. By brushing over the differences between communists and opportunists, by giving a vague, wishy-washy definition of the communist movement In Struggle! is abandoning its responsibilities before the working class. In particular we wish to underline that In Struggle’s invitation to Bolshevik Union helped to legitimize this opportunist group of saboteurs as part of the Marxist-Leninist movement. It is disgusting that such a group whose work is simply to divide and wreck the Marxist-Leninist movement should be allowed to speak.

Another interesting point is that In Struggle! did not invite several groups from around the country. These were groups which certainly fitted In Struggle’s criteria for communist groups. For instance the Groupe Abitibi-Temiscamingue (ML) was not invited by In Struggle! which now agrees it is a Marxist-Leninist group.

In Struggle! made a self-criticism but only after their conference was over. Interestingly enough the groups that were not invited were those who did not necessarily agree with In Struggle’s line on the struggle to unify Canadian Marxist-Leninists. The result – In Struggle! succeeded in painting a very unilateral picture of the support their line enjoys among militants across the country.