Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

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

Montreal, October 9, 1976

Speech Of Bolshevik Union


The Marxist-Leninist movement is in grave danger.

One year ago the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada appeared to have great promise. There appeared to be the beginning of a wide debate that would lead to unity on a correct political basis and In Struggle! was beginning to provide some vital leadership in the struggle against our main enemy, right-opportunism. A definite step forward was being made in the struggle for the Party.

But when that step forward seemed to be decisively taken, three small groups, notorious for their right-opportunism “fused” to form the CCL(ML). They put forward a consolidated right-opportunist political line and proceeded to rally all sorts of right-opportunists from “Workers’ Unity (Toronto) to Mobilisation. The League has viciously attacked any Marxist-Leninist group that has not capitulated to its right-opportunism.

The League in fact has acted as if it were the Party itself and has met considerable success at rallying right-opportunists to its banner, confusing backward but sincere elements and isolating developing Marxist-Leninists.

It is a Marxist-Leninist principle, learned through bitter experience, that in the struggle for socialism the class struggle intensifies the closer we get to communism. This means that revisionism and right-opportunism, the agency of the bourgeoisie in the workers’ movement, particularly intensifies in order to do the work of an increasingly discredited bourgeoisie.

This is not only true after the seizure of political power from the bourgeoisie. It is true from the beginning of the struggle for socialism – the struggle for the Party – through to the end of socialism – the establishment of communism.

In the Canadian working-class movement right-opportunism first corrupted the Communist Party of Canada and then in the ’60’s and ’70’s threw up a series of “parties of the proletariat” like the CPL and the CPC(ML) to sabotage the formation of a true proletarian party. But now that counter-revolutionaries like the CPC(M-L) have been thoroughly discredited in the movement as a counter-revolutionary revisionist party and now that the movement had made a big first step in the struggle for the Party, right-opportunism redoubled its efforts to stop the formation of a genuine communist party by throwing up the CCL(ML) in our path. Thus the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement took a step back with the formation of the League.

The formation of the League required of the movement a redoubling of the attack on right-opportunism and its most consolidated representative in the movement, the CCL(ML). Because In Struggle! took leadership in making the first step in the struggle against right-opportunism, many of us expected In Struggle! to take leadership in taking the second step – the decisive exposure and defeat of the consolidated right-opportunism of CCL(ML).

But instead In Struggle! has capitulated in the face of the advance ;of right-opportunism. Instead of intensifying the struggle against right-opportunism, In Struggle! abandoned it and took up the struggle against the League as “sectarian” and “leftist”.

This was a major victory for right-opportunism because In Struggle! gave the League a “left” cover. By abandoning the struggle against right-opportunism in the movement it was only inevitable that the forces of right-opportunism in In Struggle! would seize upon the opportunity and propel In Struggle! into right-opportunism. And, comrades, this is exactly what has happened.

In Struggle! abandoned the struggle over political line, and therefore the struggle against right-opportunism. In Struggle! failed to struggle against the League’s political line. In Struggle! also failed to take up political struggles in the movement. For example, In Struggle! refused to debate the question of Native people in Canada, either directly with the Bolshevik Union or in public polemics. Native Marxist-Leninists, the Bolshevik Union and others put forward the line that Native people are a nation with the right of self-determination, up to and including secession. This was also the line of Lenin and the Second Congress of the Communist International.

Besides being a question of basic principle of Marxist-Leninist ideology – because it is a national question – this question is a key question in the development of a revolutionary strategy in Canada because it identifies our allies and the nature of the alliance with them.

In Struggle! instead chose to see Native people as a “national minority” with no struggle over the question and no attempt to defend or justify its line. In Struggle! is careful to point out that the right of Quebec to self-determination is a fundamental question of principle but ignores the same question in the case of Native people. Thus In Struggle! has placed itself firmly in the camp of racism and social-chauvinism.

In Struggle! also totally submerged itself to following the spontaneous working-class movement to, in the words of Lenin, “GAZE WITH AWE UPON THE POSTERIORS OF THE PROLETARIAT”.

The major slogan of In Struggle! was “To overcome the capitalist crisis, assimilate Marxism-Leninism”, a slogan appropriate to the first stage of building the party. It was replaced by “To overcome the capitalist crisis, abolish capitalism itself”, a slogan appropriate to the second stage, when we will be ready to mobilize the masses against “capitalism itself”.

Thus, along with the League, In Struggle! has abandoned the first stage of building the party and taken up the tasks of the second stage – leading the mass movement.

In Struggle! took up these tasks without an organization of professional revolutionaries that had rallied the vanguard of the proletariat to a correct strategy for revolution, without a programme for revolution. So where could In Struggle! lead the working class? Nowhere! Instead it even abandoned the second slogan as its main slogan and instead has taken up the slogans, “Make October 14 a real general strike” and “build the party against the Trudeau measures”, slogans appropriate to building an Economist party which worships the spontaneity of the working class and exhorts the working class to follow the bourgeois leadership of Joe Morris and the CLC.

Concurrent with this degeneration, In Struggle! abandoned following a correct path for the unity of Marxist-Leninists. Instead of building a leading centre for all of Canada, a leading centre in the struggle against right-opportunism, in the struggle for a correct strategy for revolution, which is scientifically stated in the Party programme, a leading centre for all authentic Marxist-Leninists and for all advanced workers to rally to, In Struggle! has called for the formation of a so-called “organization of struggle for the party”. This would be an organization that would include all so-called Marxist-Leninists in Canada, supposedly because they have “proved” that they are “authentic” Marxist-Leninists by agreeing to a set of ideological points taken as a dogma, cut off from their application as a guide to action.

In reality this organization would be combining authentic Marxist-Leninists, who are in a minority in the Marxist-Leninist movement, and sincere but backward elements, with consolidated right-opportunists, nascent revisionists, and neo-revisionists, who are in a majority in the movement.

This is nothing but the revisionist theory of “two combines into one”, that if accomplished will mean the further victory of right-opportunism in the Marxist-Leninist movement by the establishment of another consolidated right-opportunist organization that could only become, in the final analysis an organization of struggle for a neo-revisionist party.

What In Struggle! is advocating is the same type of unity advocated by Economists, Mensheviks, liquidators and social-chauvinists in Lenin’s day, and the CPC(ML) in our day, the unity of a party of the old type – a unity not guided by firm principles but unity guided by compromise and conciliation with right-opportunism and therefore capitulation to the bourgeoisie.

In Struggle! tells us that it is sectarianism to oppose this revisionist path to unity: In struggle: tells us that sectarianism is the main obstacle to the unity of Marxist-Leninists. But in fact In Struggle: has taken the Marxist-Leninist movement back a second step.

This means that authentic Marxist-Leninists must quadruple their efforts in struggle against right-opportunism. Comrades, it is not sectarianism to struggle against In Struggle:’s path to unity – it is our revolutionary duty.

The main obstacle to the revolutionary unity of Marxist-Leninists, to unity around Marxism-Leninism as a guide to action, to unity around a strategy for revolution, is right-opportunism generally and particularly the right-opportunism of CCL(ML) and In Struggle: The principal contradiction in the Marxist-Leninist movement is between right-opportunism and authentic Marxism-Leninism. Comrades, the two-lines struggle is not between CCL(ML) and In Struggle!, it is generally between right-opportunism and authentic Marxism-Leninism and it is particularly between, on the one hand, CCL(ML) and In Struggle!, by firmly following the path of Marxism-Leninism.

Comrades, we do not need a party or an organization that is a new form of the party of an old type. We need a party of the new type, a Bolshevik Party. Comrades, we do not need the unity of Economism, Menshevism, and social-chauvinism with Bolshevism. We need the unity of Bolshevism.

It is only with such a party that the Canadian working class can be led to revolution and to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

How. then do we proceed to building a Bolshevik Party? By resolving the principal contradiction in the movement – by defeating the hegemony of right-opportunism.

The Marxist-Leninist movement cannot move forward without a correct theoretical grasp of Marxism-Leninism and its application to the concrete conditions of Canada and the world. The correct political line emerges not out of the void, not out of uniting all so-called Marxist-Leninists, but in struggle against incorrect thinking and anti-Marxism, in the struggle against right-opportunism and revisionism within and outside the Marxist-Leninist movement. This means that ideological and political struggle, to the point of drawing lines of demarcation and elaborating the strategy for revolution scientifically stated in the programme of the Party, plays the principal role in the task of building the Marxist-Leninist party in Canada. To build the party, Marxist-Leninists, advanced workers and other progressive elements are rallied to this struggle; through propaganda and agitation, increasing numbers of workers will grasp the ideology of the fundamental interests of the proletariat and thereby steel themselves for the impending class struggle, the struggle for the political power of the proletariat.

It is only through this struggle, the struggle to elaborate the programme for revolution, that the revolutionary unity of Marxist-Leninists will be achieved and it is only through this struggle that the advanced workers will be rallied to the cause of proletarian revolution. It is only through this struggle that right-opportunism will be decisively defeated in the first stage of building the party.

To win this struggle it must be led by a centre of authentic Marxist-Leninists. Comrades, to turn the tide against right-opportunism, the Marxist-Leninist movement needs an authentic Marxist-Leninist centre to counter the two opportunist centers.

We do not rule out a successful struggle against right-opportunism within the two centres that presently exist. But we cannot act with this assumption. Therefore the Bolshevik Union and those who reject the right-opportunism of CCL(ML) and In Struggle! must go forward in accomplishing the tasks of Marxist-Leninists in establishing a leading centre in the struggle for the party.

This centre must be realized in the same form as it was in Russia, in the form of a Canada-wide bilingual newspaper that leads the struggle against right-opportunism in the working class movement generally and against both the CCL(ML) and In Struggle! in the Marxist-Leninist movement in particular.

The Bolshevik Union, through its theoretical journal, LINES OF DEMARCATION, is struggling for the formation of a nucleus of the most resolute Marxist-Leninists in Canada, for a nucleus of professional revolutionaries to bolshevize the Marxist-Leninist movement and lead the struggle for the party.

In the words of Comrade Lenin,

We welcome the carrying of strife into the ranks of the workers, for they and they alone will distinguish between “strife” and differences on principles; they will sort out these differences for themselves, from their own opinion and decide not “with whom to go”, but where to go! (Bourgeois Intelligentsia’s Ethos Of Struggle LCW 20: 473)

Comrades, go against the tide!