Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Charles Gagnon

For the Proletarian Party

Conclusion: The proletarian party – tool of masses, not of a clique

It goes without saying that the ideological struggle doesn’t aim in essence at the consolidation of the line of the existing militants. Rather it aims at going beyond the framework of the existing vanguards in order to reach the masses and to encourage political debate amongst them. Moreover, it is through ideological struggle in the masses, through propaganda work, that the present militants will be able to judge the correctness of their line; it is not by constantly turning in on themselves, as if all one had to do was to enrich oneself, to develop oneself while remaining aloof from the progress and difficulties of the whole workers’ movement.

As long as groups of militants pay more attention to their own development, their own consolidation, their own implantation than to open activities with the masses, we won’t witness a qualitative development of the workers’ movement, for the role of organisation (eventually that of the party) in relation to the workers’ movement would be incorrectly conceived and applied.

Unfortunately, we have to recognise that at this time the “consolidationist tendency” is clearly more marked than the “tendency to struggle in the midst of the masses”. Here we have a disturbing confusion – for the real consolidation of the vanguards can only result from their active and constant presence among the masses. That is, unless we see the vanguard groups and eventually the party as organisations outside the workers’ movement, whose principal task in this first phase would be to prepare to go one day into the workers’ movement, but only when there are trained militants, full of experience (from what? no one knows) and armed with a solid analysis of the current situation!

Even if we’ve been told in school that things happen like that in life, it’s not true. The only revolutionary school is revolution. It is the school “par excellence” where practice and theory are closely linked – indissoluble – and where as everywhere else, practice is decisive. That which determines the development of the workers movement is workers’ struggles. This development is impossible outside of these struggles which are the very essence of the workers’ movement and which are the arena for the building of the party – not the “conspirators” party nor that of a “workerist elite”, but that of the masses. Outside of these struggles it is impossible for the vanguards to develop or “consolidate”.

Today the struggle of the vanguards among the masses must be carried to where the bourgeoisie, the reformists, and the opportunists cause the greatest damage – the ideological plane. That tendency which wants to struggle among the masses must now win out over the tendency to consolidation (or to the self-cultivation of the vanguards as in a vacuum) through propaganda work, which is the decisive aspect of ideological struggle. This struggle itself is essential at this stage for the development of the conditions necessary for the creation of the proletarian party.