Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Towards the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninists

Fight the Sectarianism of the CCL (ML)

Chapter 6: The League charges again

Just as we were completing the writing or this pamphlet the League published a new attack against us. Entitled “IN STRUGGLE’s plan sidesteps political line. No easy shortcuts to unity!”, this article of The Forge is openly slanderous.[1] False declarations are placed side by side to completely fanciful interpretations of our position on the question of unity, interpretations that have nothing to do with reality. We think this article is “slanderous” because it is packed full of fallacious declarations; because it is based on facts reported in a slanted and misleading fashion, and on a text attributed to IN STRUGGLE! but never actually identified; and because it draws radically false conclusions about IN STRUGGLE!’s position on the question of unity.

The League’s foolishness of the last few months has gone on long enough. It’s about time it grasps a correct conception of the polemic between Marxist-Leninists. It’s about time it stops its foolish remarks about IN STRUGGLE! and other Marxist-Leninist groups. It’s also about time it stops taking itself for the universal umbilical cord and takes the time to look around and study reality, including the reality of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement which the League, in its excessive subjectivism, it is in the process of reducing to itself alone.

Let’s clarify one thing: IN STRUGGLE! has not distributed “...a draft text... containing its new plan for unity of Marxist-Leninists and the formation of a Marxist-Leninist organization.”

Aside from the speech given on May 1st in Montreal all our positions on unity in the past several months have appeared in the newspaper. If the League really has in its possession an authentic document from IN STRUGGLE! on the question of unity, it must be one of our internal documents.

First: The League is lying when it affirms that IN STRUGGLE! has distributed a “unity project” to “several groups and individuals in Quebec”. A lie is a lie.

Second: if the League has in its hands a text – and we don’t know where it got it – that is indeed from IN STRUGGLE!, and if it is an internal document from our group, their way of proceeding is quite simply demagogic and thoroughly contrary to the most elementary principles of struggle over line between Marxist-Leninists. On one hand, the League does not know and does not say what became, or what could become, of the document it says it has: it could have, for example, been rejected by the group! On the other hand, the League addresses itself to the entire Marxist-Leninist movement in its criticism of IN STRUGGLE!, based on a text nobody is acquainted with.

That way, it has the leisure of interpreting the document as it likes, and interpreting it wrongly. This possibility is all the more likely since for some months now the League has not been shy in interpreting the entire Marxist-Leninist movement as well as the actions of various groups in its own peculiar way, a way which is often foreign to the basic principles of dialectical materialism and of historical materialism, not to speak of the facts.

Thus, based on a few scattered facts, on snatches of sentences and on a mysterious “draft text” attributed to IN STRUGGLE!, the League comes up with a fantasy of an “analysis” which ends up stating that, one one hand:

“Communists do not object in principle to the method of rallying communists around a Marxist-Leninist unity platform and calling a Congress to officially form an organization”.

But on the other hand, the League objects to IN STRUGGLE!’s proposal because of its opportunist platform, and then goes on to conclude in such a way that rejects this “method” in practice:

“The League has always put forward its willingness to move towards the unity of all genuine Marxist-Leninists around a correct political line. Any other kind of ’minimal’ line or a souped-up version of this line, must be condemned as opportunist (our emphasis)” The League’s way of proceeding is both disgraceful and degrading. It criticizes at its leisure a platform it attributes to IN STRUGGLE! which no one is acquainted with and which cannot be from us, because not only have we not distributed such a “unity platform”, but we haven’t even completely finished writing one for internal debate. At the same time, the League bases itself on the opportunist character of the so-called platform (the “improved” version or not) to reject in practice and without a shred of evidence, a method of struggling for unity which it considers correct in principle “under certain circumstances” although it does not bother to go into detail on which circumstances.

The League logic is as follows; the method of achieving unity advocated by IN STRUGGLE! is wrong, not in and of itself because, in fact, this method can be “correct” in principle; but because one of the elements involved in this method is wrong and opportunist. And which element is wrong? The platform, according to the League. Except that this platform doesn’t exist yet.

What do you call hocus-pocus like this that allows the League to criticize the opportunism of IN STRUGGLE! based on suppositions while remaining in complete silence on the reasons why the method advanced by IN STRUGGLE! for building unity among Marxist-Leninists is not correct in the conditions present in the Canadian communist (Marxist-Leninist) movement. If the League considers this as a polemic carried out according to the principle “unity-criticism-unity”, we ourselves consider it “outrageous demagoguery”, demagoguery befitting Real Caouette who attributes intentions (or worse still statements) to his adversaries and then vigorously denounces these same intentions (and statements) thus neatly dispensing with the necessity of addressing the real nature of what is being put out for ward by his adversaries. What could be more odious?

The League claims to base itself on the public declarations of IN STRUGGLE! In fact, it refers to an “April 26 editorial” and to the “right opportunist line” on unity in it. What does this refer to? Once again, we aren’t sure: IN STRUGGLE! did not publish an editorial on unity on April 26. We assume, therefore, it is referring to our “Statement of IN STRUGGLE’s direction” (not the editorial) published April 29 (not April 26).[2]

Leaving aside exactly which text the League is referring to, it is nonetheless clear that the interpretation that the League gives to our positions is contrary to reality, in a fashion similar to its interpretation of the history of the movement. The League is thus deforming reality when it writes: “IN STRUGGLE! is throwing all principles overboard, and putting unity above all else. (...) “What has happened to the decisive character of the political and ideological line? It is clear that IN STRUGGLE! does not believe in this. And so in the mad scramble for unity at any cost, it is leaving the line by the wayside. In reality, the development of a correct line is not even considered by IN STRUGGLE!”[3] Either the League doesn’t know how to read and should learn, or else it obviously doesn’t care at all about what IN STRUGGLE!’s real positions are and is only interested in making political capital at our expense. Because in this “Statement from the leadership” mentioned above, we said, among other things:

“At this moment, the capacity to attain the political unity of all the groups, cells, circles and individuals that now compose the Canadian communist movement, is the first condition to the creation of a nation-wide communist organization.” (p. 5)

“Only an organization formed after large debate led throughout the country, on the line and program to be advanced, will be able to assume the role of leading the movement towards the party.” (p. 6)

“The Canadian Marxist-Leninists will only unite, and unite they must, on the basis of a program that they will share, a program on whose elaboration they will have totally participated.” (p. 6)

Rather than stupidly repeating that IN STRUGGLE!’s proposition is opportunist because it puts unity above political line, the League should set about proving that its conception of unity is the only just one under the present conditions. Because on one hand, it is clearly false that we put unity above political line; on many occasions we have repeated that organizational unity must be based on political unity, unity around a program. On the other hand, the League is wasting its breath when it states our platform is “minimal” because this platform has not yet even been published. In passing, we would like to note that this is the second time that the League criticizes IN STRUGGLE!’s opportunism by basing itself on a platform it has never seen: last February the League gallantly (!) denounced our platform on the woman’s question before seeing it.[4]

Falsifying the truth and distorting facts has become a habit of the League’s. We won’t go into its strange way of recounting the history of the movement again, we dealt with that in a previous chapter. But it is useful to emphasize that all the distortions the League brings to its history of the movement – the movement which gave birth to it, and in which many of its members took part in many ways before the creation of the League – are generally aimed at making IN STRUGGLE look like the all-time champion of opportunism. This is not without a reason. And this reason is, once again, the “competitive spirit” that has animated the League since its creation. This spirit of rivalry shows up in all its splendour in the intentions it has imputed to us with a generosity that has not diminished over the months.

“For the short term goal of regrouping a lot of confused forces across Canada,” writes the League in the same article, “IN STRUGGLE! appears ready to sacrifice the basic Leninist principle of unity around ideological and political line.”

This makes several reckless statements in very little space. We want to regroup “a lot of confused forces” across Canada; we want to do it within a “short term”; and for this we are ready to sacrifice the principle “of unity around ideological and political line”. Many statements that have yet to be proved, and that, indeed, are not in conformity with the facts.

But these deceitful statements can be explained. The fact is that the League’s position on the question of unity has not had much success among Marxist-Leninists, especially in English Canada, where the “unification” methods of the CPC(M-L) are still fresh in the minds of many, and where many are hesitant to bow to the self-promoting and contemptuous dictates of the League. It is the same contempt as we find in the above quote, where all those who don’t swallow everything the League has to say are thrown into the ranks of ̴confused forces”; no doubt to contrast them to the great minds who make up the League.

And now the veritable crusade undertaken by the League to throw IN STRUGGLE! into the fires of opportunism begins to reveal its true foundations, foundations which are perhaps not as pure and virginal as the League would have us believe. And here we must ask ourselves where, indeed, lies the real opportunism on the question of the struggle for unity. The positions are becoming more and more clear; everyone should be able to judge. Beyond the vociferous statements of the League, we must “search for the truth in the facts.” Let’s summarize the facts.

On one hand, the League gives three conditions that are necessary for the creation of the party: first, a correct political line; second, the greatest possible unity among Canadian Marxist-Leninists; and third, the recruitment of a certain number of conscious workers and the formation of factory cells.[5] Now, the League, for months now, has been shouting itself hoarse about how it has the right line, and it has stated that its organization is based on factory cells.[6] So, all that’s left for the League to do is to work out the details of its “correct line” and it will be ready to create the party, because the question of unity has also been resolved as we saw above; since the League has the “correct line”, Marxists-Leninists, and those who want to become Marxist-Leninist, have only to rally to its ranks; otherwise they will drown in the “swamp of opportunism”.

On the other hand, there is the position of IN STRUGGLE which can be briefly summarized as follows: In the present conditions of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, which is composed of numerous groups at different levels of advancement all engaged in formulating the course of the revolution in Canada and its application in the tasks of agitation, propaganda and organization which are aimed at rallying advanced workers to Marxism-Leninism, the struggle to create the party must advance through political and organization unification of the Marxist-Leninist movement. This unity must be achieved around a program that correctly applies Marxism-Leninism to the struggle for socialism in our country, a program that will be debated widely throughout the movement. Everyone will be able to situate himself in relation to the program before deciding to participate in the creation of the organization, and the specific content of the program will be enriched through the clarifications which come out of the debate.

The League likes to repeat that “the political and ideological line determines everything”. It is correct in saying this, but it seems to forget that this principle also applies to the question of unity, as to all other questions. And it is because the League’s line on unity is erroneous on the question of unity, that its practice is also incorrect. We have already sufficiently shown how the League was sectarian in its so-called struggle for unity. The facts are beginning to demonstrate that the League’s practices do not lead to unity, but to division. It cannot be otherwise for at the source of the League’s activities is a divisive line. The League is not practising unity, but division; it cannot expect anything but division.

Thus, the contemptuous way the League views other groups in the movement, such as Mobilisation and the Western Voice, not to speak of those whose existence it ignores totally, is a manifestation of its divisive line. The completely subjective and unilateral conception that the League expresses of the origins and history of the movement in Canada, origins which it traces to its own creation, is another manifestation of its divisive line. Thus, its manner of conducting the polemic, a manner which amounts to repeating untiringly that it has “the correct line”, and that the positions that it opposes are therefore opportunist, without more proof or concrete analysis than that, this, too, is another manifestation of its divisive line. “The political and ideological line determines everything”, includes the political line on unity and since practice is the supreme test of the correctness of a line, we can conclude that, on the basis of the practice of the League and the results it has produced, this organization has an erroneous position, an erroneous line, on the questions of unity. This incorrect position does not result principally from the fact that the League does not know Marxist-Leninist principles or that it does not want to apply them. We believe, on the contrary, that the League has taken great care to base itself on the principles. However, the desire to apply Marxism does not in itself produce the wished-for result. And on the question of unity, as on many other questions, the League too often neglects to base itself on a solid knowledge of reality. Since the line is the guide for the transformation of reality, it is certain that a line-on any question-based on ignorance of the very reality it wants to transform, cannot be correct... even if it is composed of a series of principles in themselves just. For revolutionaries to neglect to study reality with modesty and with the aim of really grasping it and all its particularities, is, in the final analysis to impede the work for the revolution.

It is in its desire to have its actions conform to the concrete conditions of the movement and to collaborate in its unification that IN STRUGGLE! is putting forward the creation of the Canadian organization of struggle for the Party. And since this organization must be based on a Marxist-Leninist line, we say that its creation cannot come about before there has been a wide debate in the whole movement over the program for the organization. We would be happy to see the League demonstrate, through concrete analysis, analysis based on Marxism-Leninism, how such a position is opportunist; and how, under the present conditions, it would not serve the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. For our part, we believe we have sufficiently demonstrated the sectarian character of the League’s practices on the unity question; we believe that we have shown that these practices come from a divisive line.

Finally, we feel that this divisive line leads right to opportunism as the article in No. 14 of The Forge shows, where it seems clear that the League has started a race with IN STRUGGLE to see who will be the first to create the Party. Let the League take note that we refuse to take part in this race. Our wager, for ourselves, is to arrive at the creation of a (Marxist-Leninist) proletarian Party that unites all the M-L communists in Canada, including those in the League. This will not prevent us from criticizing the mistakes we see in the movement, including those of the League, each time they appear, just as it will be necessary to do after the organization and the Party have been created, to denounce all the errors that manifest themselves, and that will inevitably continue to manifest themselves on basic questions, as history has already shown. “Unity is relative, contradiction is universal”. It is nevertheless essential to struggle for unity, because it as an essential condition for our victory.


[1] No. 14. July 1st 1976, p. 11

[2] See IN STRUGGLE! No. 60, April 29 1976, pp. 4-6

[3] The Forge, No. 14, quoted article, p. 11

[4] See IN STRUGGLE! No. 56, March 4 1976, supplement on the question

[5] See quoted article, The Forge, No. 14, p. 11

[6] See The Forge, No. 6, March 11, p. 7