First Published: In Struggle! No. 99, September 29, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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With the publication of its journal Lines of Demarcation in the summer of 1976, Bolshevik Union emerged as a political group identifying itself as part of the young Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement struggling to rebuild the proletarian Party. BU’s adherence to the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement – a movement at that point divided into many small groups isolated from, each other – was related to its involvement in the journal Canadian, Revolution. Published in Toronto by a collective, this Journal helped launch the struggle in English Canada for the unity of Marxist-Leninists and the creation of the proletarian Party. Since then, however, much has happened in our movement: Canadian Revolution has ceased to exist, and one of the groups involved in the journal has rallied to the League and another to IN STRUGGLE! Furthermore, the conferences of Canadian Marxist-Leninists convened by IN STRUGGLE! stimulated the line struggle all across Canada and encouraged the unification of Marxist-Leninist small groups around one or another of the tendencies that characterize our movement at the present time. Thus, for instance, seven groups from English Canada have rallied to IN STRUGGLE!’s ranks in this period.
But the intensification of the line struggle in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement has also had another important result: the identification of groups like Bolshevik Union which claim to adhere to Marxism-Leninism and wave the red flag, but which do it in order to better betray, in practice, the cause of the proletariat! For that is indeed the essence of Bolshevik Union’s line and behaviour: to oppose the entire Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and sabotage the struggle for the Party!
IN STRUGGLE”s attitude towards Bolshevik Union has been the same as its attitude towards all groups and circles that generally demonstrate a sincere desire to take up the struggle against oppression and exploitation on the basis of a consistent defence of Marxism-Leninism, the only ideology compatible with the interests of the proletariat. This attitude is one of camaraderie that tries, through candid debates, to assure the victory of correct ideas over erroneous ones influenced by bourgeois ideology.
However, events have shown that this attitude was not shared by Bolshevik Union. And thus, in the First, Second and Third Conferences of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, and in spite of IN STRUGGLE!’s severe criticisms and firm warnings, BU has consummated its definitive rupture with the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement.
The first demarcation: BU categorically, refused to engage itself in the struggle for the political and organizational unity of our movement. Its watchword:, “to unite, it is first of all necessary to divide”! In spite of every thing, BU decided to participate in the Second Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists.
The second demarcation: BU took advantage of the Second Conference to wage an all-out struggle, brandishing new questions like that of the Native peoples so as to decree that all the groups, itself excepted, are social-chauvinist (socialist in words, chauvinist in practice) and representatives of the labour aristocracy. BU also went to great lengths to describe IN STRUGGLE! as revisionist because our group totally rejects BU’s Trotskyist concept of an “intermediary State” and instead talks about the Canadian imperialist State. As it sank into increasingly anti-Marxist political positions and refused to confront these positions In an authentic spirit of unity, only one thread could still attach BU to our movement; only one thread could still justify a meager hope of “healing the illness to save the patient” (Mao). This thread was their desire, affirmed verbally, to participate in the line struggle on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
But – and this was the third demarcation, the definitive demarcation – at the Third Conference this desire was revealed to be pure and simple hypocrisy, whose only goal was the wrecking from within of the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists. Paraphrasing, the better to distort them, the classics of Marxism-Leninism and the words of the great proletarian leader Enver Hoxha, BU tried during this conference to split the Canadian and international movement and undermine our movement’s growing unity with the working class in our country.
In its issue of June 9, IN STRUGGLE! firmly criticized Bolshevik Union’s “plan for unity”, showing how it was an anti-Party plan aimed at opposing the iron unity of Marxist-Leninists and replacing it with a shapeless collection of circles cut off from the class struggle, whose only point in common would be to oppose “big group hegemonism” and to “go against the tide”! Ignoring these criticisms, Bolshevik Union dug in its heels. Thus one month later (July 7, 1977) we transformed this criticism into a serious warning: “Recent actions by the Bolshevik Union clearly show that in this matter, this group has the intention of passing from the theory of division to the practice of sectarianism and sabotage”. We showed how BU joined Marxist-Leninist coalitions, not in order to reinforce joint Marxist-Leninist political work in a given event (which is the goal of a coalition) but rather to sabotage this work from within by using the occasion to publicly attack the Marxist-Leninist movement instead of the bourgeoisie. We also criticized and condemned the splitting and wrecking methods of BU which substitute slandering for open and frank debate in the line struggle. But once again BU jeered at these criticisms.
Finally, at the Third Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, BU finished the job of unmasking itself as a splitting and wrecking group. Thus, BU participated in the conference by openly declaring that there was no need to debate with those who, defend the “Three Worlds theory”, and that differences on this question, far from being differences among Marxist-Leninists, were an antagonistic contradiction (see IS!, no. 97). Furthermore, at the conference, Bolshevik Union tried to use the correct position of the Party of Labour of Albania as a mask to camouflage its real political line, a divisive and factionalist line, a line for the destruction of the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement. At the conference BU also proved once again its utter contempt for the masses. Spouting quotations right and left, calling the workers fight against the Wage Control Act reformist, reducing to zero the workers’ decisive role in the building of their Party, BU systematically acted in such a way as to dishearten and turn off the working men and women who had come to participate in the conference, and alienate the masses from Marxism-Leninism and undermine the merging of the working-class movement with scientific socialism.
Sabotaging the line struggle, sabotaging the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists in Canada and through-out the world, sabotaging the rallying of workers to communism and their taking hold of the revolutionary struggle – in short, sabotaging the struggle for the creation of the proletarian Party: that is the “noble, mission” of this group!
What’s more, these would-be champions of the struggle against chauvinism and imperialism and for Native peoples’ rights revealed themselves in their political positions as the worst kind of nationalists. Their analysis of North American Indian society is not a class analysis, but rather a collection of idealist and nationalist prejudices about a supposed North American Indian nation extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic, whose national language is supposed to be... English (see IS! ,no. 85). As for this group’s other “original” contribution ^#8211; i.e. its vision of the Canadian State as an “intermediary State” controlled by both the Canadian bourgeoisie and American Imperialism at once, but which is not an imperialist State (see, for instance, IS!, no. 89) – ... this whole concoction has in reality a single goal: to hide the fact that the question of State power is the key question of revolution, and that our principal enemy is indeed the Canadian bourgeoisie and its State.
In short, BU’s line has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism. BU’s only “contribution” to the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement has been to establish a very clear line of demarcation... a line of demarcation, In effect, between Bolshevik Union on the one hand and the Marxist-Leninist movement on the other hand!
We must struggle against Bolshevik Union. We must struggle to root out the caricature of Marxism-Leninism that this group has transmitted among the masses. We will not wage the struggle with 2 x 4’s or police denunciations; rather, we will wage it through an implacable ideological struggle among the masses against the reactionary ideology that this radical petty-bourgeois group defends so zealously.
Comrade workers, there have been groups like “Bolshevik Union”, the “Canadian Party of Labour” and the “CPC (ML)” in the past; there still are, and there will probably be others like them. All these groups And “parties” decked out with Marxism-Leninism have shown themselves in practice to be enemies of Marxism-Leninism. Faced with the line struggle, all have capitulated, replacing the consistent, coherent and determined struggle to arm the workers of our country with the indestructible weapon of Marxism-Leninism, with nationalism, tailism and petty-bourgeois doctrinairism.
By demarcating from these false Marxist-Leninists and educating the proletariat with regard to the betrayal of these groups, we sharpen our class consciousness, arm ourselves all the better to affront the obstacles that our enemies put in our way, and advance firmly towards the victory of socialism over capitalism and imperialism.
P.S. Need we point out that from now on IN STRUGGLE! will oppose any participation on the part of BU In any activity whatsoever of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, and that we will refuse to sell any documents produced by this group of wreckers in our bookstores. We call upon all the comrades misled by those impostors, these false Marxist-Leninists, to consider seriously the ,deeds and gestures of this group and undertake a conscious and systematic rupture with the reactionary points of view of this group disguised in red!