Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

Create the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Struggle for the Party


The debate over the formation of a unified Marxist-Leninist organization has been resolutely taken up by the Marxist-Leninist movement and especially by certain groups which have made this question one of their main concerns over the past months.

EN LUTTE! [IN STRUGGLE!] is firmly convinced of the necessity and importance of this debate. In Struggle! is equally convinced that the debate on unity must be based on the debate on the political line, the principles that must guide any meaningful political action.

With this in mind, In Struggle! is publishing this supplement which contains a synthesis and a systematization of the elements of our political line. These elements presently make up the basic subject matter of our internal debates and we want to make them the point of departure for our debates with other Marxist-Leninist militants and groups with a view toward organizational unification.

In Struggle! is aware that in many respects – beginning with the abundance of quotations and numerous repetitions – the document we are presenting shows all the characteristics of a “homework” assignment. But we do not hesitate to admit that we still have “to study our lessons” in Marxism-Leninism. It is because we have resolutely committed ourselves to this essential task in the course of the past months, that we now produce a text filled with quotations and repetitions; these are advantageous in that they at least indicate the course we intend to follow, and why.

This supplement is undoubtedly only the first of many which will appear in the coming months. The following ones will be more oriented towards the formulation of criticisms that we think necessary to aim at comrades of other groups, on various aspects of the line they advance. As Lenin said, real unity requires that one first draw a line of demarcation. In Struggle! does not intend to shirk this task, the condition of genuine higher unity.

Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Long live the unity of Marxist-Leninists!

IN STRUGGLE! Montreal. December 12, 1974.

* * *

Introduction: The Marxist-Leninist Movement – Vanguard of the Revolutionary Struggle Against the Bourgeoisie

Unite the vanguard to build the party of the proletarian and people’s social revolution

The entire history of the international workers’ movement, as well as the history of the movement for the liberation of the oppressed peoples and nations, show irrefutably: 1) that the complete emancipation of the working people can be realized only if the great majority of the working masses rally to the working class, vanguard of the whole people in the epoch of proletarian revolution, and 2) that the proletariat can fully assume its historic mission only if it organizes around its vanguard, the communist workers’ party or proletarian party.

Be it the Paris Commune of 1871, the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Chinese Revolution, or closer to home, the collapse of Chilean social-democracy, all battles of the working class in particular, and of the exploited people in general, confirm this fundamental thesis of Marxism-Leninism. Without a revolutionary workers’ party, without a vanguard organized on the basis of correct scientific principles and indissolubly linked to the broad toiling masses, it is impossible to abolish capitalism, expropriate the bourgeoisie, and advance to the construction of socialism.

Presently in Quebec and Canada we are in the process of uniting the revolutionary forces that subscribe to Marxism-Leninism. Today, no one can doubt the existence of a Marxist-Leninist movement in our country. Already there are many signs that the progress of our movement is causing the bourgeoisie to grow nervous.

Often the mere presence of our comrades at a street demonstration, or a meeting of advanced workers at an event which we have organized, is sufficient cause for the bourgeois press to raise the bogey of the “communist peril”. Our newspapers are black-listed by union bureaucrats who quite rightly see them as a threat to their power over the broad working masses. Communist ideas frighten the enemies of the people.

This is a good thing. Our task is to do our work in such a way that working people in general, and the proletariat in particular, can appropriate these ideas which are the scientific systematization of their own experience of and struggle against exploitation.

This is why the central task of Marxist-Leninists today is to unite in one and the same organization in order to systematically and methodically deploy their forces in every direction, thus creating the conditions for the construction of an authentic party of the revolutionary proletariat and masses.

Dispersion characterizes the present situation of our movement. Our task, the task of all honest comrades, is to work towards unification. The increasing number of communist groupings in the neighbourhoods, schools and factories, reflect the vitality of our movement. But the time for small groups to jealously guard their independence has gone. We cannot remain at this stage without jeopardizing the very future of the movement and the revolution.

Therefore the current practical tasks necessitate that we unite. The mass movement has already grown to such proportions, that it has enormously surpassed our ability to intervene in the class struggle. In other words, we have fallen behind the spontaneous struggle of the masses. The opportunist leadership which tries to restrain this mass struggle by limiting its objectives to small immediate gains is still generally dominant. We must link ourselves with the working masses to overthrow this opportunist leadership. In this way we can clear the road for revolution.

With the aim of contributing to the unification of Quebec Marxist-Leninists, In Struggle! is putting before our comrades its point of view on the various questions facing our movement. Priorities on the discussion list are: the strategic line (the nature and direction of the revolution in Canada and Quebec), the tactical line (the form and content of our interventions in the class struggle today, particularly on the question of trade-unions), and the process and method of unification of Marxist-Leninists.

The world-wide Marxist-Leninist movement

“In the world today, revolution is the main trend.” (Mao Tse-tung, Declaration of the 20th of May). The current era is that of imperialism in crisis and the rise of socialist revolution in the world.

As a result of deterioration in the living conditions of workers in all capitalist countries, including the very heart of the imperialist centres, the class struggle is intensifying.

The number of strikes and mass struggles is increasing and there is a general tendency for them to become tougher and tougher. Because of this, we are witnessing the development of Marxist-Leninist movements and new revolutionary workers’ parties in most capitalist countries.

The countries of the Third World are resisting the domination of the super-powers to an ever greater degree. They are taking increasingly more radical measures to prevent the looting of their natural resources. A growing number of these countries are resolutely waging the struggle for national liberation by taking up arms against imperialism and its local puppets.

The struggle between American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism for world hegemony sharpens the contradictions between them, and also between these two powers and the secondary capitalist countries. These conditions lay the basis for another world war.

Countries on the socialist path, those which have been able to destroy counter-revolutionary forces and bring to heel the treachery of the revisionists, constitute a strong pole of attraction, and exercise considerable influence on the rising revolutionary forces everywhere in the world. The socialist alternative to the crisis of imperialism and to the attempt of the bourgeoisie to shift the burden of this crisis onto the shoulders of the labouring masses, is winning the support of the majority of the people.

It is in this context of intensification of class struggle and the revolutionary movement throughout the world, that the contemporary Marxist-Leninist movement takes root. To understand the direction and scope of our movement, it is necessary to understand its history.

The roots of our movement

The intensification of class struggle in imperialist and capitalist countries is dialectically linked to the crisis of imperialism.

The increased exploitation of working people is the direct consequence of the heightening of contradictions within the capitalist mode of production; a heightening which is accelerated by the liberation struggles of the peoples and nations dominated by imperialism. We have thus entered a new revolutionary period which follows the relative “social peace” experienced in capitalist countries after the Second World War.

The present era, when imperialism is in crisis but still dominant, is also marked by the considerable (if already shaky) influence of bourgeois opportunist tendencies within the international communist movement. The possibility of corrupting entire sections of the proletariat (the labour aristocracy) is one way that the monopoly bourgeoisie curbs the revolutionary spirit of the working masses. The opportunism fuelled by this economic, political, and ideological corruption appears today in two converging forms: modern revisionism, and social-democracy (the original form of revisionism), both being true agents of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the revolutionary proletariat and people.[1]

The appearance of new authentic Marxist-Leninist communist parties in certain capitalist countries, and the rapid growth of the Marxist-Leninist movement in most of them, is also a phenomenon dialectically linked to the crisis of imperialism. It is both “the cause and effect” of the rise of class struggle, and the concretisation of the break of real Marxist-Leninists with revisionist opportunism.

In other words, the development of the Marxist-Leninist movement is dialectically linked to two phenomena, one positive and one negative. The positive phenomenon is the intensification of the class struggle of the revolutionary proletariat and people, of which the Marxist-Leninist movement constitutes the vanguard. The negative phenomenon is the revisionist treachery, of which the Marxist-Leninist movement constitutes a criticism and the revolutionary counterpart. Lenin explained the nature of the first process when he wrote:

”Strict adherence to the party principle is the corollary and result of a highly developed class struggle. And, vice-versa, the interests of the open and widespread class struggle demand the development of the strict party principle. Thai is why the party of the class-conscious proletariat ... has always quite rightly combatted the non-party idea, and has worked steadily to establish a closely-knit, socialist workers’ party consistent in its principles!”[2]

And Mao Tse-tung explained the nature of the second process when he wrote: “... it is in the struggle against anti-Marxism that Marxism develops.”[3]

To the two-fold character of the Marxist-Leninist movement corresponds a twofold task: it must resolutely lead the ideological struggle based on the universal principles of Marxism, Leninism, and Mao Tse-tung thought (which must of course be well understood), and at the same time, it must develop its links with the masses. These two tasks are interdependent. In effect, principles are deepened and verified by developing links with the masses through active participation in the class struggle and these links are built on correct and revolutionary foundations by assimilating the rich theoretical and practical heritage of the international communist movement.

The general tasks of the Marxist-Leninist movement

Insofar as the application of the “mass line” (creating links with the masses) is one of the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, the struggle on the theoretical and ideological front with the aim of learning and assimilating revolutionary theory and propagating it among the masses, is a very important aspect, even the priority, of communist activity throughout the period of building the proletarian party (a building process which proceeds and follows the creation of the party). This is what Mao Tse-tung says: “The creation and advocacy of revolutionary theory plays the principal and decisive role in those times of which Lenin said, ’Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement’.”[4]

Lenin showed clearly that as long as the class struggle has not reached the stage of decisive revolutionary struggle, or in other words, as long as the classes are not lined up on the battlefield in a situation where every movement in one camp or the other assumes decisive significance for the final outcome, the task of communists is to unite around themselves the proletariat and the broad masses of the revolutionary people, primarily by means of propaganda:

“As long as the question was (and insofar as it still is) (In Struggle’s emphasis) one of winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism, propaganda was in the forefront.”[5]

In the same vein, Mao Tse-tung wrote: “In order to overthrow a regime, it is first of all necessary to prepare public opinion and do ideological work.’’[6]

In his essay, “Where do Correct Ideas Come From” (May 1963), Mao wrote: “Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force which changes society and changes the world. ”[7]

Thus, in an epoch characterized by the distortion of revolutionary theory and principles carried on by the agents of the bourgeoisie (the revisionists), it is the responsibility of authentic Marxist-Leninists to bring to the fore the proletarian line both in the area of theory as well as in the area of practice and organization.

In the quotation just cited, Mao Tse-tung speaks of “correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class”. The task of Marxist-Leninists is primarily to elaborate these ideas on the one hand, and to see that they penetrate into the consciousness of the masses (propaganda) on the other. According to the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge, the elaboration of revolutionary ideas is accomplished by a twofold process: indirect knowledge which comes from assimilating the lessons of the international communist movement (study), and direct knowledge which comes from actively participating in the class struggle of the proletariat and working masses (learning from one’s own practice).

Where the general orientation of Marxist-Leninists in a given country is not defined, their principal task is necessarily, therefore, its definition.

“When a task, no matter which, has to be performed, but there is as yet no guiding line, method, plan or policy, the principal and decisive thing is to decide on a guiding line, method, plan or policy.”[8]

Thus, the formulation of a correct political line becomes a task of primary importance for Marxist-Leninists. If it is understood that the correct political line results from the application of the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of a given country at a given time, we can further see that the acquisition of these principles and the analysis of the society in which we live assume a decisive importance for the very future of the revolution in this country.

In the initial stage of the movement the principal objective of Marxist-Leninists is necessarily the formation of a genuine communist party (m-l), for the party is not only “the corollary and result of a highly developed class struggle” (Lenin), but also the indispensable condition for the complete development of the theoretical and practical weapons of the class struggle of the proletariat and of the entire revolutionary people.

The Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec

As in other capitalist countries, the rebirth of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec is dialectically linked to the crisis of imperialism. The development of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec is both the corollary and the result of the rising class struggle in our country. As in other countries, it appears, demarcates itself, and becomes strengthened in the struggle against opportunism within the workers’ movement.

The Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec, as everywhere in the capitalist world, has therefore a twofold task: it must consolidate itself (beginning with unification) by assimilating the foundations of Marxism-Leninism and by leading, on this basis, the ideological struggle against opportunism within the workers’ movement. It must, at the same time, develop its links with the masses.

Quebec, however, is neither France, Italy, England, nor the USA. The development of the Marxist-Leninist movement here is marked by the specific conditions of Quebec and Canadian society. The following section will be devoted to an examination of this development in Quebec.

Some historical data

We must stress from the outset that the rebirth of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec has not been characterized by the struggle against modern revisionism. Rather, Marxist-Leninists in Quebec fought their first battles against the social-democracy (or old-style revisionism) of the bourgeois nationalist movement and reformist trade unionism. This is easy to understand when we recognize the lack of direct influence by the “Communist” Party of Canada (revisionist) in the organizations of Quebec workers.

Nevertheless, in the course of its development, the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec must increasingly draw clear lines of demarcation between itself and modern revisionism, while at the same time continuing to lead the struggle against bourgeois nationalism and social-democracy. This can be explained by the following facts:

a) here, as everywhere in the capitalist world, the revisionist line and the social-democratic line converge;
b) in order to remain faithful to the principles of proletarian internationalism, Marxist-Leninists of Quebec must take their place in the international communist movement, and must therefore indicate unequivocally where their sympathies lie;
c) the revisionists in Canada and Quebec are becoming more and more active in the labour movement. [9]

The Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec is not the product of an ideological and organizational split with the revisionist party (as was the case in France, for example). This carries some important implications for the composition of its base of militants and even more for its “leadership”. Take the example of France. The Marxist-Leninist commuist movement in France results from a process of rupture which included a period of ideological struggle with the “Communist” Party of France itself. As a result, some of the cadres of the Marxist-Leninist movement in France are long-time communists whose experience and theoretical training have undoubtedly helped establish the Marxist-Leninist movement on a firm foundation.

The lack of self-assurance of Quebec Marxist-Leninists in matters of practice, and in their mastering of Marxist-Leninist principles, can be explained by the fact that the Marxist-Leninist movement is not under the leadership of experienced revolutionaries. At this time our movement is very young in all respects. Therefore, the consolidation of a militant base, its training in theory and practice, as well as the training of cadres, are all extremely important tasks for us.

We stated above that the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec took shape in the struggle against social-democratic opportunism and bourgeois nationalism. A certain importance must be assigned to the period of the Marxist-Leninist elements’ break with the Front d’Action Politique (FRAP – The Political Action Front) in Montreal in 1970-71. We should more rightly say, the Social-Democratic and Trotskyist Political Action Front, since it is common knowledge that some of its most influential and opportunist activists were Trotskyists, those champions of opportunism.

The break of certain CAP’s (Political Action Committees) from FRAP marks an important step forward for the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec. It would be wrong, however, to consider the break in itself as the founding point of the Marxist-Leninist movement here. For the origins of the Marxist-Leninist movement, as we now know it in Quebec, we must look to the ideological struggle that took place after the break, as well as the contribution of Marxist-Leninist elements from the student movement, and the opening of distribution centres for communist literature.[10]

The ideological struggle occurring at the time of the break concerned the question of fidelity to Marxist-Leninist principles in several areas: 1) organizational questions: how to build the party, what party to build, the relationship between the masses and the vanguard, etc.; 2) tactical questions: what the principal task of Marxist-Leninists at this time was, the role of propaganda, agitation and organization, etc.; 3) methods of leadership and strategy in general: at times the debate on strategy went so far as to question the need for a strategic line!

After the split in FRAP, two tendencies confronted each other: a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist tendency, and a new opportunist tendency, chiefly characterized by economism, workerism, and localism. The liquidation of the St.Jacques and Maisonneuve CAPs can be attributed to this second tendency. The reader must know of the well known policy of “implantation” represented by the “workplace section” (Secteur Travail) of the St. Jacques and Maisonneuve CAPs.

The struggle resulted in the formation of two poles or tendencies based on different ideological and organizational grounds: one presently revolves around In Struggle! and the other around L’Unite, the organ of the RCT (The Coalition of Workers’ Committees), a group which grew out of the now defunct “workplace section” of the now defunct St. Jacques and Maisonneuve CAPs.

The contribution of Marxist-Leninist elements from the student milieu has been, and remains, a very important one. Of the differing student groups and circles that have played an important role in developing the Marxist-Leninist movement, the MREQ (Revolutionary Student Movement of Quebec) is undoubtedly the one which has made the most consistent contribution in terms of Marxist-Leninist principles and propaganda.

The present limitations of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec

The limitations of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec as in most capitalist and imperialist countries are certainly not due to the objective conditions of the class struggle. On the contrary, the opportunities for communist work amongst the working class and other strata of the working people are excellent. The limitations result rather from the movement’s own organizational weakness (absence of organizational unity) and the weakness of its political line (including the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism, its strategic line, and the elements of its tactical line). These two factors constitute both the corollary and the effect of its weak links with the masses.

This is quite accurately explained by Enver Hoxha:

“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 to the right road for the attainment of their objectives. The situation is 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 task of the times.”(in Struggle!’s emphasis)[10a]

The immediate task of our movement: the creation of a Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the party

The central questions for our movement are those relating to the unification of Marxist-Leninists the formulation of a strategic line, and agreement on the essential elements of a tactical line (in which the question of the unions occupies an important place). Every group or nucleus of Marxist-Leninists must participate in the present debate on these questions to the best of its ability, since this debate will, to a great extent, decide the future of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec. None of us can remain peripheral without betraying our cause, and the cause of the people.


[1] We cannot ignore the fact that the anti-revisionist struggle led by the Albanian and Chinese communists has stamped the development of the Marxist-Leninist movement in capitalist countries. This effect, however, is one of “external cause”, to use the terminology of Mao Tse-tung. It could not, therefore, have occurred except in the degree that internal conditions or internal causes were favourable. This must be understood in order to avoid both the underestimation and overestimation of the influence of China and Albania – and particularly of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, as a decisive blow against revisionism in that country and, by extension, in the world.

[2] Lenin, The Socialist Party and Non-Party Revolutions, Collected Works, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1965, Vol. 10, p. 75.

[3] Mao Tse-tung, Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work, Selected Readings, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1971, p. 494.

[4] Mao Tse-tung, On Contradiction, in Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-tung, Peking, FLP, 1971, p.116. Mao speaks of the “creation” of revolutionary theory; it is also necessary to speak of its assimilation in its current state of development.

[5] Lenin, “Left-wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder, Peking, FLP, 1970, p. 98.

[6] Mao Tse-tung.

[7] Mao Tse-tung, Where do Correct Ideas Come From?, in Selected Readings, p. 502.

[8] Mao Tse-tung, On contradiction, p. 116.

[9] For example: the union leaders of the Montreal Labour Council, some of whom are sympathetic to the “Communist” Party of Quebec, are putting forward the idea of a “mass federated party of the workers”, a project originated by Sam Walsh, revisionist-in-chief of the Quebec wing of the “Communist” Party of Canada. It would be naive to ignore the real presence of the revisionists in the Quebec workers movement. It would be even more naive, however, to give it more importance than it really has. The anti-revisionist struggle is not, we repeat, the principal aspect of the struggle against opportunism in the Quebec labour movement – even though it occupies an important place on the theoretical level and in the strengthening of the theoretical foundation of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec.

[10] This activity has already been taken up two years before by the Internationalists who subsequently founded the “Communist” Party of Canada (M-L).

[10a] Report Submitted to the 6th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania, the “Nairn Frahere” Publishing House, Tirana, p. 210.