Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

For the unity of Marxist-Leninists


The Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada has made significant advances over the past year. Advances have been made in the struggle to found a new Marxist-Leninist communist party, the essential instrument which will lead the Canadian proletariat in the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, to build socialism and communism. Since the betrayal of the revisionists, of the “Communist” Party of Canada, more than 20 years ago, the working class of our country has been deprived of the leadership so necessary for the success of its cause.

While there were, of course, certain communists who continued the struggle against the revisionists and put forward the need for a new communist party, it is only in the last few years that we can actually date the formation of a Marxist-Leninist movement throughout Canada. This movement is now developing in the major centres across the land.

Today our movement is still young and relatively inexperienced. It is seriously marked by its origins in the youth and student movement of the 60s and in the bourgeois nationalist movement in Quebec and is still greatly isolated from the working class. Further, it is characterized by the division of the communist forces – ideological, political and organizational division.

It is clear to everyone that to accomplish our tasks, to move on towards the creation of a new communist party, we must overcome this division and achieve the unity of the communist forces in Canada. It is in this context that we must place the importance of the struggle for unity, which is today a topic of animated debate within the Marxist-Leninist movement.

The struggle to realize this unity is the subject of this pamphlet.

The last year has seen many developments and advances in the revolutionary movement in Canada.

There has been the creation of a number of new Marxist-Leninist groups and the clarification of the lines of some that existed before. In the fall of 1975, our own organization, the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) was founded by the fusion of three Marxist-Leninist groups in Montreal: the Cellule Ouvriere Revolutionnaire (COR), the Cellule Militante Ouvriere (CMO), and the Mouvement Revolutionnaire des Etudiants du Quebec (MREQ). The CCL(ML) is a communist organization dedicated to the struggle for the creation of a genuine communist party in Canada. Elsewhere in the country a number of other groups have published statements of unity and begun political work.

During the past year there has been a great development in the work of communist agitation and propaganda, and the first workers are beginning to be won to the ranks of the communist formations. The League and In Struggle!, the two most developed Marxist-Leninist formations in the country, have extended their influence throughout Canada, principally through their newspapers. Both of these groups are also carrying out communist agitation and propaganda in the working class in the two largest cities in the country and now regroup militants in Quebec and English Canada. This is considerable step forward from the isolation and localism that was the general rule within the Marxist-Leninist movement until a short time ago.

Besides these two formations, other communists around the country have also begun to participate in revolutionary practice and to take up the task of winning the most advanced workers to communism. More and more groups, collectives and individuals are studying Marxism-Leninism, examining the different lines being put forward and deciding which is the correct path for the Canadian revolution. All through Quebec and in many cities of English Canada, the movement is growing.

There has also been some progress in the ideological struggle over line within the Marxist-Leninist movement. Through their press, In Struggle! and the CCL(ML) have carried on polemics on certain issues. Other groups have also published various documents. Other publications, like Canadian Revolution, have also served to a secondary extent to develop this struggle. The Marxist-Leninist movement as a whole, though, is still characterized by confusion on many key questions of ideological and political line. In the future, this situation must be rectified.

There is another positive thing that has occurred during this period: the collapse of a large number of organized opportunist forces, particularly in Quebec. The rising Marxist-Leninist movement has smashed these groups ideologically and politically and this has favoured their disintegration. For example, the Regroupement des comites de travailleurs (RCT), an opportunist group in Quebec, collapsed some time ago and now some elements from this group are carrying on their self-criticism under the leadership of the League. Members of the Agence de presse libre du Quebec (APLQ), an opportunist group which published the magazine Bulletin Populaire, are now carrying out a self-criticism under the guidance of the League.

Mobilisation, the leading and most significant opportunist group in Quebec, has published a self-criticism and is presently carrying out its rectification.[1] Recently Mobilisation announced its intention to engage in discussions with the League with the purpose of dissolving its group and calling on its members to rally the CCL(ML).

In other parts of the country, there have also been important developments. In Ontario, the Canadian Liberation Movement, a bankrupt, petty bourgeois nationalist group, has collapsed. Some of its members now seem to be turning towards the Marxist-Leninist movement. On the other side of the country, in Vancouver, the Western Voice suspended publication and did a self-criticism of its opportunist line.

However, we must not get overly confident. While the destruction of these opportunist groups is a victory for the whole communist movement in Canada, we should not forget that opportunism is not vanquished that easily. As time progresses and it is exposed, it adopts new forms and disguises. We cannot for a moment relax our vigilance. Right opportunism continues to be the main danger for Canada’s young communist movement. And this remains true for the question of unity as well, where the temptation to avoid struggle, to shy away from ideological and political debate remains strong.

Since its creation, the CCL(ML) has consistently and vigorously pursued the fight for unity and against opportunism. With the founding of the League, we published our line and clearly stated where we stood to the rest of the communist movement. We have, over the past months, devoted considerable attention in the activities and publications of the League to the struggle for unity.[2]

Nevertheless, the League has delayed somewhat in clarifying certain aspects of its line and, above all, in presenting our views more systematically to the whole Marxist-Leninist movement. This pamphlet will rectify this error and answer some of the many questions that militants have posed to the League concerning the struggle for unity.

This pamphlet is divided into three chapters. The first is the presentation of the general line of the CCL(ML) on the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists in Canada. The second chapter is essentially a critique of erroneous attitudes towards the question of unity which are current within the communist movement. Specifically, it concentrates on the criticism of the right opportunist line of the Marxist-Leninist group In Struggle! on the question of unity. Despite its recent campaign against the League, denouncing us as sectarian and dogmatic, and accusing us of refusing to undertake the struggle for unity, in fact, it’s In Struggle! which has systematically refused to undertake the fight for unity.

The concrete propositions advanced by the CCL(ML) to intensify the ideological struggle for unity are in the third chapter. For the purpose of clarity, we have adopted a question and answer format for the first two chapters.

With the publication of this text, we hope to clarify the line of the League and address some of the important issues that are being debated within the Marxist-Leninist movement. It is written because the League is convinced that it is essential that communists intensify the struggle for unity in the coming period. The creation of a new communist party is an urgent task. Despite the difficulties we may encounter in this struggle, we cannot relax our efforts. It is possible to achieve unity. It is possible to unite around a correct line on a principled basis, provided we carry out the struggle in a correct manner. At the moment of the creation of the League, after the intense struggle for unity that occurred before the unity of the three founding groups, we summed up some of the lessons from that struggle in the following terms:

The whole process of building unity among our three groups proves that unity is the result of struggle. During the meetings and exchanges between our groups we consistently waged the ideological struggle in order to expose errors and to adopt a correct Marxist-Leninist political line. And, as a result, our line is strongest and more developed precisely on those questions on which struggle was the most intense.

Unity cannot be based on fear of struggle over line, on capitulating to erroneous lines, on not criticizing an error because it might ”offend” someone. Unity established in this manner is opportunist pure and simple and can never last. Provided one adopts a correct attitude of unity-criticism-unity, intensive struggle cannot hinder unity but only build it on a more solid foundation. (The Struggle for the Creation of the CCL(ML) )

These words, which sum up our basic attitude towards the struggle for unity, remain true today.

Across the country, communists are taking up the struggle to build a party. Putting politics in command, struggling together and among ourselves in a comradely fashion to develop a correct line to guide the Canadian revolution, struggling against opportunism, we can and must build a united communist movement in this country.


[1] For a more complete discussion of Mobilisation and APLQ see Chapter II, Section IV.

[2] The political line of the CCL(M-L) was presented in the Statement of political agreement for the creation of the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist). In the bibliography at the end of this brochure there is a complete list of the League’s publications on the question of unity.