Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Documents of the National Conference on the Unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists

Montreal, October 9, 1976

Speech Of Communist Circle (Marxist-Leninist) (C.C. (M-L))

Comrades and friends,

The document tabled by the Communist Circle (Marxist-Leninist) this morning is the result of a large debate presently being waged within our group. This debate aims to deepen the rectification we have undertaken in the past several months. We thus ask that it be considered as a work document and not as the definitive positions of the CCL(ML) on the questions considered. However, within a few weeks, we will be able to make our position known publicly with the publication of a fourth document, which follows our first documents published in the spring of ’76. For those among you who have not been able to procure them, given their boycott by a part of the Marxist-Leninist movement, they are on sale here today.

Despite the unfinished character of this document, we submit it immediately to the demarcation struggle and invite you to criticize it. We say: By the line struggle, in the party spirit, let us confront the weaknesses of the whole Marxist-Leninist movement, be they ideological, political or organizational. This includes our own and we must transform them into a force for the proletariat and its present Marxist-Leninist vanguard.

Now, we will briefly expose the theses that we put forward in this work document.

First: With Regard To Marxist-Leninist Theory

Let us take the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tsetung on the necessity of linking Marxist-Leninist theory to the reality of the Canadian revolution, we can’t help but remark that the elaboration of a correct ideological line for the Canadian revolution can not be separated from the elaboration of its correct political line. This, to the contrary of what seems to be affirmed by IN STRUGGLE! and the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist), obliges us to remark that the unity of Marxist-Leninists ideological as well as political, is not yet realized. For realizing ideological unity necessitates mastering the proletarian position, the materialist point of view and the dialectical and historical method of Marxism-Leninism applied to the practical movement of the Canadian revolution. Stalin defined the role of Marxism-Leninism as being “...the science of the development of the society, the science of the workers’ movement, the science of the construction of the communist society”. Histoire du P.C.(b), p. 394 – translation ours). To underestimate or to reduce in the least this role, leads to a lowering of the scientific ideology of the proletariat, it is an open door to the constant return to spontaneism, economism and amateurism; which constitute the major sickness from which the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement presently suffer. Right opportunism remains the principal obstacle to defeat in our movement. Even more so when presently, the powerful modern revisionist current, added to that of social-democracy is the surest ally of bourgeoisie ideology to divert the world-wide workers’ movement from its historical mission and its immediate tasks.

Secondly: With Regard To The Line On Party Building

Because the ideological and political line, as much on the goals, the tasks, as on the path of the Canadian revolution, is not scientifically submitted to the fire of the demarcation struggle, the result is that the line struggle with regard to party building follows the same rhythm. It is this that explains the present delay in its scientific elaboration at the present stage of its formation and creation. The line admitted by IN STRUGGLE! and the League on the question of the Party is not founded on the historical and immediate interests of the proletariat. And in this way, it is incomplete in its essential questions and thus, spontaneist.

Let us look more closely at this. When IN STRUGGLE! and the League define the Party more as an organizational direction than as the conscious factor, they build a party which aims above all to destroy bourgeois power. But it is necessary to build a proletarian revolutionary Party whose goal will be to establish a new social order, the dictatorship of the proletariat, leading to socialism and communism. This narrow conception of the “class combat” Party is founded on a narrow conception of class struggle. For IN STRUGGLE! and the League, this struggle will be more a confrontation than an antagonism determined by the immediate and historical interests, forever opposed to those of the bourgeoisie. It is this erroneous understanding of the conscious struggle of the proletariat which leads them do not consider the Party as the conscious factor of the class which is built by the line and not by the spontaneous movement.

Third: With Regard To The Line On Unification

Thus, it is from today on that the Marxist-Leninist movement must undertake the struggle on ALL the essential questions of the program of the PARTY. It is from today on that we must develop the practical tasks to rally all the advanced elements of the Canadian proletariat TO COMMUNISM, TO THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT AND TO THE PARTY. And it is from today on that it is necessary to struggle to undertake to fully realize the ideological, political and organizational unity of all the Canadian Marxist-Leninists in a SINGLE PARTY of the proletariat.

We consider that in PRACTICE, IN STRUGGLE! and the League do not share this point of view. For example, IN STRUGGLE! does not fix the party as a real immediate goal of the Marxist-Leninist movement, but something less, which it expresses as : “the greatest possible unity...”. This position opens the door to the lowering of all our communist tasks. EVEN THAT OF UNITY. For the theoretical and practical struggle which IN STRUGGLE! assigns to the Marxist-Leninist movement will not have sufficient volume to permit the clarification of ALL the “obscure” points which provoke the PRESENT differences within the Marxist-Leninist movement. It is to this that the “theory of the struggle for the pre-party organization” leads, theory which is the EXPRESSION of the erroneous position which unilaterally detaches the struggle for unity from our other tasks. Should we pose an OBJECTIVE AND INTERMEDIARY TASKS BETWEEN OURSELVES AND THE PARTY? Are we not then at the stage of the formation and creation of the Party?...And if this isn’t what IN STRUGGLE! wants to say, then it should CLEARLY express its real position. Because it is “confusion” which reigns in all the present proposals of IN STRUGGLE! and it is this CONFUSION ITSELF which we find significant.

As for the CCL(ML), its problem is more serious. For this group affirms in its statement of agreement that it has “ALL THE IDEOLOGICAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PARTY, WITHOUT HOWEVER GIVING ITSELF A VERITABLE REVOLUTIONARY PROGRAM AND WITHOUT BEING A DETACHMENT OF THE CLASS”. This is to fall into a veritable “CULT OF SPONTANEISM AND METAPHYSICS”. For when we speak of the Party, Marxist-Leninist ideology doesn’t exist in thin air, but rather IN a VERITABLE revolutionary program and in a defined organization. And “veritable” signifies above all: Marxism-Leninism. For there is a great difference between the effective recognition basis on which we can today demarcate who is Marxist-Leninist and who isn’t and its being effectively MASTERED. Further, it is not above all the NUMBER of workers, but rather fundamental ITS IDEOLOGICAL AND POLITICAL LINE which is the basis for our recognition of a Party as the DETACHMENT of the working class or not.

On this basis, the CCL(ML) unilaterally detaches the practical struggle for the rallying of the advanced elements from the struggle for the program and the struggle for unity.

Thus, these Marxist-Leninists do not IN PRACTISE, consider that the theoretical tasks, the practical tasks and the organizational tasks of communists are ALL IMPORTANT TO THE SAME DEGREE, and that is thus not possible that one or the other be accomplished apart, detached from the simultaneous accomplishment of the others. The Circle considers this teaching of Marxism-Leninism as extremely important. For it is in the domain of the necessary organic linking of our tasks that bourgeois metaphysic plays havoc as much in theory as in practice. This must prevent us, in determined situations, to consider one of this as the essential (Key) cog which we must seize to carry along the WHOLE wheel (organic) of our tasks. And, in the present situation, for all the reasons enumerated beforehand, in our opinion it is the theoretical tasks, the line struggle concerning the elaboration of the essential questions of the program, of the strategy and the tactic which must be considered as the present key.

From now on we attach a great importance to the struggle for unity. We are ready to rally any existing group by a clear, firm and systematic demarcation struggle on all the essential questions of the Canadian proletarian revolution. We are even ready to engage ourselves in debating a project similar to the one put forward by IN STRUGGLE! (See Proletarian Unity, p.29). However, we understand that this project completely evacuates the practical tasks of rallying the proletarian vanguard to communism.

If our understanding is correct, this point is again indicative of profound line problems on the part of IN STRUGGLE!

This confusion is linked to extremely important waverings that we observe on their part with regard to ideological and political line.

With regard to the contents of the global debate which must be undertaken and submitted to the public criticism of the Marxist-Leninist movement, it must, in our opinion, include the following three major questions:
–  the program of the proletarian revolution in Canada;
–  the strategic and tactical paths of this revolution;
–  the line on Party building, particularly at the first stage.

We develop these questions more fully in the work document prepared for this event and to which we refer you.

To conclude:

We call on the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement to consciously engage in a systematic struggle to elaborate the program, for as Lenin said and I quote:

It is therefore quite natural for Social-Democracy, as the party of the revolutionary proletariat, to be so concerned for its programme, to take such pains to establish well in advance its ultimate aim, the complete emancipation of the working people, and jealously to guard this aim against any attempts to whittle it down. For the same reasons Social-Democracy is so dogmatically strict and firmly doctrinaire in keeping its ultimate goal clear of all minor, immediate economic and political aims. He who goes all out, who fights for complete victory, must alert himself to the danger of having his hands tied by minor gains, of being led astray and made to forget that which is still comparatively remote, but without which all minor gains are hollow vanities. Such concern for the programme and the ever critical attitude towards small and gradual improvements are incomprehensible and foreign to a party of the bourgeoisie, however great its love for freedom and the people may be. (Lenin, C.W., Vol. 8, p. 427)

Lenin did not write this in a period of calm but in May 1905, during the revolution! Later, in the middle of the preparation for the great Revolution of October 25, 1917, he finished writing dozens of pages on the “final goal”, October 5. He corrected the Bolshevik program. If Lenin took such trouble with the program at the moment where the practical tasks were urgent, it is even more important to do so at the very beginning of the construction of the Marxist-Leninist vanguard.