First Published: In Struggle! No. 110, March 18, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The number of men and women workers and housewives who are putting into question the society in which we live is growing. There are an ever-increasing number who are interested in communist ideas and who want to Join IN STRUGGLE! to build the party of the revolution. So that they participate as fully as possible in this task, it is essential that they study and understand Marxism-Leninism, the revolutionary theory of the proletariat. IN STRUGGLE!’s Communist Education Circles (CEC) are instruments for the study of the basic principles of this theory, to be used to clarify daily practice and to continually apply it to reality and to the objectives which we pursue.
Is it a series of debates cut off from action? No. The CEC’s are not palaces where we discuss for the sake of discussion. They are open to all active sympathizers – those who, having learned about our objectives and our group’s practice, have already begun to do their share by carrying out tasks under the leadership of IN STRUGGLE! Being an active sympathizer means developing one’s theoretical and practical capacities to become a member. But becoming a member doesn’t mean joining to “lick stamps” or put up posters, as happens in bourgeois parties at election time. You become a member of a communist group or party in order to learn how to lead the masses to revolution. And to do so, you must be armed with a scientific point of view and method of analysing society and the world so as to be able to transform it. This point of view and method is Marxism-Leninism.
Does that mean that we study fine principles in isolation from our current preoccupations? No. On the contrary, we are able to deepen our study of the principles, of Marxist-Leninist theory,by applying it to the present-day reality of our country. For example, the session on imperialism is based on the example of Canadian imperialism and its historical development. The session on the national question is organized around the many examples of the national oppression of both the Quebec nation and the Amerindian and Inuit minorities in our country. It is our society that we want to transform with the help of Marxist-Leninist theory,so we don’t have to go to Mars to look for examples.
The CEC’s aren’t a place where the intellectuals talk and the workers listen. One of the contradictions under capitalism is the division between manual and intellectual labour. The goal of the CEC is precisely to work against this situation, to show that ideas are accessible to workers, and to arm them with the theory of their class. And on the other hand, workers are best able to illustrate, with living examples from their own daily experience, the reality described by Marxist-Leninist theory. Thus they are both students and teachers:students when’ they make new ideas their own, and teachers when they enrich and give substance to them by sharing their own experience as exploited persons and their desire to put an end to this exploitation. The study program is made up of ten sessions which take place once every three weeks and which last about three hours. Each session is prepared with the help of a guide which each member receives before-hand. The basic texts are IN STRUGGLE!’s pamphlets, which constitute a resume of the essential principles of Marxism-Leninism applied to our country.
What happens at the end of the sessions? Well, it’s during their theoretical and practical education in the CEC’s and in the accomplishment of their tasks that the active sympathizers become capable of expressing their agreement or disagreement with IN STRUGGLE!’s line, program and practice among the masses. They are thus in a position to apply to become a full member, and they do so with a thorough awareness of the implications of their choice. Is their communist education then over? Far from it. For in order to continually further develop their capacities as proletarian leaders, in order to combat erroneous points of view and have the communist point of view triumph. It is the duty of all members of IN STRUGGLE! to study and apply Marxism-Leninism and develop their communist conscience, as stated in IN STRUGGLE’s constitution.