Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

Create the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Struggle for the Party

Chapter 4: For the unification of Marxist-Leninists

Many Marxist-Leninist groups agree at this time that the struggle for unity is one of the primary tasks. The tendency towards unity does in fact exist within the movement, i.e. in the majority of groups claiming adherence to Marxism-Leninism. This phenomenon is essentially explained by the recognition that the struggle of the people for socialism will only develop under the leadership of an organized vanguard. The unity of Marxist-Leninists finds its raison d’etre precisely in this struggle to arrive at the proletarian party: united and organized, Marxist-Leninists will have a much greater ability to go into the workers’ movement and to constitute a necessary and determining factor in the development of a proletarian vanguard. For ...

“It has now been historically proven that without its party, the working class, under whatever conditions it may live or work, cannot achieve consciousness on its own. What turns the working class from a ”class by itself” to a “class for itself” is its party. It is understood that struggle as well as action involves, puts to the test, the masses and revolutionaries, as well as teaching them many things. However, if they lack a political party with a clear-cut program and scientifically based strategy and tactics, the struggle will either stop halfway or fail altogether. The experience of the present day revolutionary movement and numerous struggles of the peoples of various continents teaches this.”[54]

“The greater the spontaneous upsurge of the masses, and the more widespread the movement, the more rapid, incomparably so, the demand for greater consciousness in the theoretical, political and organizational work of Social-Democracy.”[55]

The present crisis of imperialism pushes forward the rising struggles of the workers and peoples in the whole world. The article of the Albanian comrades in Albania Today (June 1972, no. 4) states: “The class struggle is an actual and inevitable fact in each capitalist country.” This is verified by the extent of the strike movement in Western Europe and North America. But the present situation is characterized not only by increasing resistance to domination and exploitation of capital, it is also marked by the political and organizational backwardness of the Marxist-Leninist movement.

“But, while there is a powerful upsurge of the masses and peoples in struggle and revolution, the weakness of the revolutionary movement in many countries and areas consists precisely in the lack of scientific strategy and tactics to open the revolutionary perspective to the masses, and to guide them on the right road for the attainment of their objectives. The situation is such that the practical movement of the masses has marched and is marching ahead, whereas the subjective factor, consciousness, their organization and direction in many countries has lagged behind, and does not respond to the tasks of the times.”[56]

That is an important consequence of the development of revisionism in the international communist movement and is for all genuine Marxist-Leninists a crucial impetus to unite and to undertake the process of building the proletarian party. As long as the communists are divided, they will not be able to unite the working class. As long as the working class is not united, as long as the people are not united around the working class, it will be impossible to defeat the enemy. “It is only through the unity of the Communist Party that the unity of the whole working class and whole nation will be realized.” (Mao Tse-tung)


In Quebec, the upsurge of workers’ struggles, on the one hand, and the penetration of Marxist-Leninist propaganda among the struggling workers, on the other, have created very favourable conditions for the development of communist agitation and organization among the workers and people. All Marxist-Leninist groups have become aware of this, in some cases, acutely aware during the last few months. The intervention of the Marxist-Leninists in the workers’ movement, in its struggles and organizations, has encountered two fundamental limitations, limitations which are intimately linked, and which can be schematically defined as follows: a state of isolation and dispersion of the Marxist-Leninist forces; a weak development of political line. This results mainly in a restricted level of links to the working class and masses, and a reduced capacity to develop propaganda, agitation and organization within the working class.

The present-day Marxist-Leninist movement consists of a certain number of groups, developed to a greater or lesser degree, the majority of which concentrate their activities in a specific sphere of propaganda or agitation: propaganda in the student milieu, agitation in the factories, propaganda through film, agitation in the people’s neighbourhoods, etc. It also includes “nuclei” of militants (at times comprised of only two or three), operating within community groups and associations, cooperatives, clinics, workers’ committees, etc., who recognize each other as Marxist-Leninists, and attempt to harmonise their activities with their revolutionary convictions.

Most of these groups and militants identify the development of links with the working class as the present principal task of Marxist-Leninists. This is why, for example, they organize themselves for some common practice in the working class. The identification of this principal task entails important reorientations in most of these groups. Because they are considered from the particular and isolated point of view of each group, these transformations are made anarchically, and, as a consequence, certain practices in other areas are more or less abandoned, or, an excess activity-ism results from this, each group trying to meet all the requirements of the movement as a whole. Faced with the resultant political problems, the difficulties in correctly distributing the energy, all the organizational complications, some groups react by tending to turn inward on themselves.

The absence of common grounds for clarification and consultation leads to errors in mass and vanguard work. In fact, mass work is curtailed because its content and objectives are determined by an incomplete political line and a deficient level of organization.

The solution to this contraction is not merely a question of quantity, increasing membership: more militants, more diverse activities. Rather, the solution requires a qualitative transformation, that will be realized by the transition from the present fragmentary situation of the Marxist-Leninist movement to the setting up of a “Marxist-Leninist organization of the struggle for the Party”.

In other words, in the present situation, it is not by consolidating the existing groups as they presently are that the revolutionary movement will be able to take a real step forward, but rather by common efforts directed towards the setting up a unified Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the Party.

The Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the party

The unification of Marxist-Leninists within an organization of struggle for the party constitutes a transitory stage between the present situation of dispersion and isolation of Marxist-Leninist groups and circles, and the unification of the majority of genuine Marxist-Leninists within a revolutionary workers’ party.

Unification of a certain number of Marxist-Leninist groups and militants will permit a qualitative leap in the struggle for the building of the party. Unification of a certain number of Marxist-Leninist groups and militants will indeed allow the constitution of a true “leading centre” of the process of building the proletarian party, and the undertaking of a new stage in the struggle to build the party. If the Marxist-Leninist organization will have to carry on tasks already undertaken by various Marxist-Leninist groups and circles for several years among the masses, it will be able to undertake these tasks on a much larger scale and with much greater correctness. Unification within a Marxist-Leninist organization will allow the development of a more elaborate and correct political line and program. “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything”. (Mao Tse-tung) Broader development and following a more correct line of agitation and propaganda work among the masses will enable it to undertake, on a larger scale, the grouping of the vanguard elements of the working class, and the education of communist workers, the fundamental basis of a communist party.

We can therefore define the central task of the “ML organization of struggle for the party”, when created, as being the rallying of the vanguard elements of the working class and their education as revolutionary cadres.

In order to accomplish this central task, the Marxist-Leninist organization must:

1) develop political line and program;
2) develop more broadly the work of agitation and propaganda;
3) carry on the unification of Marxist-Leninists.

Most of the groups that base themselves on Marxism-Leninism agree that at the present time the resolution of the principal contradiction in the Marxist-Leninist movement depends on the formation of this Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the party. Consciousness of the necessity for unification exists in a practical sense in most M-L groups and circles, and it is the foundation of the struggle for unity.

The unification of Marxist-Leninists cannot take place without ideological struggle

Insofar as there exist disagreements between groups, whether in the analysis of the overall situation, in the appraisal of the stage we are in, or in some other aspect of political line, and insofar as most groups realize that without ideological and organizational unity it is impossible to think of setting up the party, it is quite normal that they consider the question of unity in terms of struggle.

In all countries where a revolutionary party of the working class has appeared, this struggle for unity within and among the vanguard groups has unfolded in a more or less sharp way, during shorter or longer periods of time, depending on the situation in each country. Far from hindering the development of the party-building process, the struggle for unity, when it is carried out correctly, expresses the maturity of the movement even if it is very young. Of course the necessity to forge ideological and organizational unity among the groups by means of a struggle seems to be a contradiction. But, Marxism teaches us that there is nothing negative about that. On the contrary, speaking of this phenomenon in terms of contradiction is a recognition of the vitality of the phenomenon. All developing processes evolve within the relationship of opposites, within a contradictory relationship.

Marxism also teaches that in all contradictions there is a dominant aspect as well as a dominated aspect, in other words, a principal aspect and a secondary aspect. In the case of the struggle for unity, or struggle between tendencies, it is possible that the dominant aspect be, according to the period, either division or unity. In our present situation we must recognize that the dominant aspect is division and dispersal of forces. However, Marxist dialectics is characterized not by identification of contradictions perceived in a state of immobility, but rather by analysis of the process, i.e., of contradictions in development.

In this vein, when we analyze the question of the struggle for unity or struggle between tendencies in a given society, we must know how to identify the principal characteristic or principal tendency of the process as a whole. In the case of the struggle for unity between different groups in our part of the world, we can say that the principal characteristic, or the principal tendency of the struggle, is the tendency to unity. In other words, if there is a struggle, it is for the realization of a solid unity.

The goal of unification is the development of the revolutionary struggle

During the last few months, signs of a tendency toward unity have been quite numerous. Often several groups have associated themselves in order to undertake common struggles; in the “Committee of Solidarity with Workers’ Struggles” (CSLO), we have seen about 20 groups collaborate closely to set up a new permanent organization! At this time, women militants from various groups are seriously considering collaborating, at least on a temporary basis, in a project that aims at bringing together women from different milieus and inviting them to raise the question of the liberation of women, and its relationship to the struggle for socialism.

More and more often, various groups are meeting to debate together fundamental political questions, well aware that real unity rests on a clear political agreement. Is it necessary to recall that for In Struggle! this activity has been continuous since the fall of 1972, i.e. during the past two years?

Unification of Marxist-Leninists is a current objective. The struggle for unity, however, must meet certain requirements; failing these, it would quickly become an infiltration venture, that would inevitably lead to the opposite: division and splits. As in all political work, we must consider the question of unification in the light of the concrete conditions, on the one hand, and the principles of Marxism-Leninism on the other hand. In other words, the kind of unity we must seek is a principled unity and a unity of which the first objective is not organization, but the development of the struggle. Neither the unity of Marxist-Leninists, nor the organization, can be considered as ends in themselves.

The struggle for unification of Marxist-Leninists can absolutely not be dissociated, on the one hand, from the struggle for the formulation of a clear political line and in the end a program of struggle, and on the other hand, from the struggle of the movement for ever closer ties with the masses and their present struggles.

That is why the unity of Marxist-Leninists absolutely cannot be realized without proceeding from a clearly formulated political proposal, distributed among the groups, widely debated and developed, in order to become the political rallying point with regard to which each and every person will be able to form an opinion and act accordingly.

Historical account of the positions of IN STRUGGLE! on the question of unity

The analysis developed in the pamphlet “For the Proletarian Party” was the original basis for the creation of l’Equipe du Journal (Newspaper Group). On the basis of an identification of the reformist forces and a critique of the work conducted by the Marxist-Leninist groups in Quebec, this pamphlet advanced the necessity for struggle on the ideological front, the necessity to develop and propagate proletarian ideology – Marxism-Leninism – among the masses in order to start the realization of the strategic objective that all the Marxist-Leninist groups had set themselves, i.e. the building of the revolutionary party. More precisely, “For the Proletarian Party” put forward the priority of the work of agitation and propaganda in order to bring together the advanced elements of the working class, and the project of a “working class struggle newspaper” was stated as the first step, as the main instrument entrusted with the realization of this primary political task.

In Struggle! has always sought to associate the other Marxist-Leninist and progressive groups with the realization of its fundamental project: the starting of the paper and its distribution mainly to the working class. It is on this basis that the political debate with the Marxist-Leninist groups was developed. Indeed the development of the newspaper has permitted the rather rapid establishment of a fundamental debate in the whole Marxist-Leninist movement, a debate which l’Equipe du Journal has sought to systematize by initiating a project to bring together an advisory council of the newspaper. This advisory council was supposed to bring together the groups agreeing in one way or another to support In Struggle!, to criticize its work, and to participate in its development. However, the questions posed by the development of new forms of common practice (principally the CSLO) and by the formulation of more elaborated positions by In Struggle! in “For a Strategy on Building the Workers’ Revolutionary Party”, have exploded the idea of an advisory council, even before it was formalized.

Nevertheless, the debate with the militants of other groups on strategic and tactical questions has been carried on in the framework of an “Ad hoc committee”. Besides, In Struggle! has frequently associated itself with other groups to conduct support activities for local workers’ struggles, and also for anti-imperialist struggles throughout the world.

These different forms of ties with other groups were most certainly significant factors in the development both of our political line and the development of unity within the Marxist-Leninist movement. However, they have reached their limits. A greater unity among groups whose similarities are now strongest depends on organizational unity. It is by starting from organizational unity of groups which are presently the closest ideologically that unification of other more hesitating or less advanced groups will become possible, whether in the short or long run.

In this respect, In Struggle! should recognize that it made a serious mistake during the last months. Whereas the common practice and debates with a number of groups permitted the realization of an advanced ideological and political unity, and created favourable conditions for unification of an important section of the Marxist-Leninist movement, In Struggle! adopted a spontaneist, wait-and-see attitude. While openly advocating unification of Marxist-Leninists, In Struggle! operated in practice as though unification of Marxist-Leninists would occur spontaneously through common practice and general debates on political line. In Struggle! waited too long in putting on the agenda, plainly and systematically, the question of unification of Marxist-Leninists for the establishment of an organization of struggle for the party. Conscious of this mistake, In Struggle! is now determined to work consistently at what it considers to be the primary task of Marxist-Leninists at the present time: unification for the establishment of a Marxist-Leninist organization.

In Struggle! in the struggle for unity at the present time

In the struggle for unity, In Struggle! must present itself as what it really is. In Struggle! is a Marxist-Leninist propaganda and agitation group. Saying that In Struggle! is a group is affirming that it is not an organization.

A Marxist-Leninist organization leads the struggle among the popular masses following a definite political line and a program of struggle adapted to the conditions of the time including its own state of development.

To have a political line is to define at what stage of the revolution we are, to have established the general path of the revolution, to have determined its general strategy and its tactics for the stage with respect to its enemies and with respect to its present or eventual allies (on the basis of the distinction between “antagonistic contradictions” and “contradictions among the people”). To have a program is to have formulated in clear terms a list of demands that constitute as many short-range or middle-range objectives around which the mobilization of the masses can be undertaken. These demands are the expression of the real interests of the masses and are thus an opportunity to mobilize them and to make proletarian ideology win out.

In Struggle! does not possess such a clearly developed political line, much less a program. Because of this we are not an organization.

In Struggle! nevertheless is a Marxist-Leninist group in that it resolutely applies the principles of Marxism-Leninism, including democratic centralism, criticism and self-criticism.

In Struggle! is a propaganda group. It published and distributes a newspaper that aims at propagating a class point of view on the workers’ and people’s struggles and a Marxist analysis of society, of its contradictions. It makes known certain aspects of socialism as it is developing in the revolutionary countries. Pamphlets and other working documents published by In Struggle! are also part of its propaganda activities.

In Struggle! is also an agitational group. It gives direct support to certain groups of struggling workers and working people, and collaborates as frequently as possible (leaflets, meetings, pickets) in the mobilization of a militant strata of the masses in various demonstrations of solidarity, both with the local workers’ struggles and also with the anti-imperialist struggles throughout the world.

In relation to the struggle for unity, In Struggle! must present itself as what it really is. At the same time, it must a priori consider other groups in the movement as what they claim to be, i.e. Marxist-Leninist groups which, barring clear indications to the contrary, desire the unity of Marxist-Leninists and apply the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. It remains necessary, of course, to conduct investigations in order to see if these claims are based on reality, if the interpretation of principles is the same, in what way it differs from ours, and how it is incorrect, if that be the case...

In the struggle for unity, we will remain open to other’s point of view as well as trying to persuade them. Nevertheless, we do not intend to abandon our positions and drift into opportunism. To engage in a debate is to recognize the possibility that our own points of view evolve and change.

For In Struggle! the question of unity constitutes one of the levels where the ideological struggle must be carried on and intensified. In this context, ideological struggle implies debate on the orientation of the political struggle, on line, strategy, and tactics.

The process of unification as seen by In Struggle!

In Struggle! recognizes that certain groups, by their practice, the development of their political line, their composition or the methods of leadership they have given themselves, occupy an important place in the process of unification.

Initiative in the process of unification must be undertaken by the most politically developed groups who have the most correct comprehension of contradictions within the Marxist-Leninist movement and among the people, as well as the means to resolve them. This is the application of democratic centralism to the process of unification. Such is the position defended by Lenin in opposition to the opportunists:

“The latter [the organizational principle of opportunist Social-Democracy] strives to proceed from the bottom upward, and therefore, wherever possible and as far as possible, upholds autonomism and “democracy”, carried [by the overzealous] to the point of anarchism. The former [the organizational principle of revolutionary Social-Democracy] strives to proceed from the top downward, and upholds an extension of the rights and powers of the centre in relation to the parts. In the period of disunity and separate circles, this top from which revolutionary Social-Democracy strove to proceed organizationally, was inevitably one of the circles, the one enjoying most influence by virtue of its activity and its revolutionary consistency [in our case, the Iskra organization]. In the period of the restoration of actual Party unity and dissolution of the obsolete circles in this unity, this top is inevitably the Party Congress, as the supreme organ of the Party.”[57]

The principles of the struggle for unification

As a Marxist-Leninist group, In Struggle! must agree to begin a process of unification with every group sincerely adhering to Marxism-Leninism and which honestly wants to explain its political line, the nature of its practice, etc., and to determine its points of agreement and disagreement. This last point is essential, as Lenin emphasized, in order to avoid “false” unity:

“Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation. Otherwise, our unity will be purely fictitious, it will conceal the prevailing confusion and hinder its radical elimination.”[58]

In order to resolve the differences, we must apply the principle defined by Mao: ”unity-criticism-unity”:

“To elaborate, it means starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle and arriving at a new unity on a new basis... The essential is to start from the desire for unity. For without this desire for unity, the struggle is certain to get out of hand.”[59]

If we consider that the groups with which we want to engage in the process of unity are Marxist-Leninist groups, the disagreements and contradictions are necessarily non-antagonistic. This is why, if we ought to engage in a process with groups which want to unite, who in the first place have the desire “to demarcate” from us as a Marxist-Leninist group, it is in order to ensure that afterwards we can unite on a clear basis.

The principle “unity-criticism-unity” implies nevertheless that we cannot expect to resolve all contradictions between the Marxist-Leninist groups before uniting in the same organization, that is to say, before the dissolution of these groups in the creation of the organization of struggle for the party. As much as it is necessary to be firm on principles and on the fundamental aspects of their concrete application in order to draw a clear line of demarcation with opportunism, it is also necessary to struggle against “small group mentality” and “circle spirit”, which tend to inflate differences beyond measure, serving to prevent the unification of Marxist-Leninists. When the desire for unity is superficial, and when “circle spirit”, vanity, and sectarianism are deep, a group can give an exaggerated importance to a minor divergence. Lenin gave an example of such a development:

“Any small divergence can become very important if it is used as the starting point of a turning around towards some erroneous conceptions, and if these, due to new complementary divergences, enter into combination with anarchistic acts leading the party to split.”[60]

To summarize, three principles of unification must be put forward:

1) to work to unite those who can be united;
2) before uniting and in order to unite, to draw lines of demarcation;
3) unity-criticism-unity.

It is by putting these principles forward that In Struggle! is ready to enter into a process of unification with every honest Marxist-Leninist group willing to work towards the setting up of a Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the party.


[54] Enver Hoxha, Report Submitted to the Sixth Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania, Nairn Frasheri, Tirana, 1971, pp. 223-224.

[55] Lenin, What is to be Done?, Moscow, Progress, 1969, p. 53.

[56] Enver Hoxha, op. cit., p. 210.

[57] Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, in Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 394.

[58] Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow, 1972, Vol 4, p. 354.

[59] Mao Tse-tung, Selected Readings, Peking, FLP, 1971, p. 439.

[60] Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, in Collected Works, Vol. 7.