Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Documents of the 3rd Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists on the International Situation

Montreal, September 9, 10, 11, 1977

Closing Speech by In Struggle!

In spite of undoubted difficulties and weaknesses, the current conference has nevertheless enabled us to make considerable progress. As for us, we leave this conference with the conviction that the fundamental positions advanced by us regarding both the proletarian revolution in Canada and our internationalist tasks are correct, and constitute a correct application of the general line of the communist movement, a just application of Marxism-Leninism. This does not prevent us from being aware that many points remain to be clarified and that there may still be confusion on many points in what we write and even in our thinking. Truth and the correct line do not develop in a single day: they are the result of a struggle which necessarily involves periods of confusion and periods of clarification. What is most important is to evaluate the progress made during a certain period and to see whether it constitutes a step forward or a step backward.

As for those who want clear, correct, pure, precise ideas all the time on all questions, we would simply like to point out that their point of view denies the very reality of the entire history of the international communist movement. The fact that Trotsky and Lenin were part of the same party, as were Liu Shao-Chi, Lin Piao and Mao Tse Tung, are two concrete examples of this. This is not to say that it is our role to encourage the development of erroneous ideas, but rather that in the concrete reality of life, faced with new and sometimes not so new – questions, one cannot always have the correct, precise, exact answers just as soon as the question is asked. The correct line grows out of struggle.

I said that we leave this conference convinced that the fundamental points of our line are a correct application of Marxism-Leninism. I would like to recall them briefly. We say that the role, the first and main task of communists and the Canadian proletariat is to carry out the proletarian revolution in Canada, and that to do this, it is necessary to build a Party, it is necessary to unite communists around a communist programme and to rally workers to it. We say that the first internationalist task of Canadian communists and the Canadian proletariat must be to defend the interests and support the struggles of those who are victims of the oppression of Canadian imperialism, including the Amerindians and the Inuit. IN STRUGGLE! has also dealt with this in its publications.

We also say that it is the duty of the Canadian proletariat and Canadian communists to support all struggles throughout the world which a directed against imperialism, reaction, oppression and in particular the hegemonism of the two superpowers. We say that we must be conscious that on a world scale there is a real danger of world war, that we must prepare for it and that the best way to face up to it is to intensify the struggle for the proletarian revolution in Canada.

This weekend the question of the three worlds has been at the centre of several debates and interventions. Here again we are reproached for not having a clear, definite, precise line on the issue of the three worlds theory. We, on the contrary, think that our point of view is clear and definite, even if it is still incomplete. We say that the Three Worlds theory must be rejected as a strategic concept Why do we say that, and why don’t we explain what a strategic concept is, what a strategy is, and what all the various differences are that could be found in terms of conceptions?

On this point, I would simply like to say one thing: we reject the three worlds theory as a strategic concept because when applied as it currently is in the international communist movement, in various places an sometimes in different ways, this conception, presented as strategic, leads to the subordination, if not the negation, of the proletarian revolution.

Perhaps in so doing we have misunderstood the three worlds theory. But for us, what is important is to judge a theory in the light of the practical application to which it leads those who advance it. If we made a distinction between the two, we could say: the RSC applies the three worlds theory badly, but the theory is correct; the League applies the three worlds theory badly, but it is correct; all the European parties that adopt the three worlds theory apply it badly, but the theory is correct. What is the use in having such a correct theory when its supporters adopt a political line that is so erroneous on fundamental points? This is the basis on which we said that we reject the three worlds theory as a strategic concept.

I think that the positions advanced by the RSC, both today and in its pamphlet, and several of the positions advanced by the League in several of its publications, illustrate abundantly that those who adhere to the three worlds theory as a strategic concept make errors that can be described as opportunist, nationalist and, for the least, as seeds of social chauvinism. Once again, what is bourgeois nationalism, and what is social chauvinism? I don’t want to get into these academic debates. We say that the positions put forward by the RSC, even if they aren’t completely identical with those of the League, and also those of the League itself, are opportunist in nature and contain the seeds of social chauvinism inasmuch as what propaganda and agitation they make tends to advance the necessity of supporting the bourgeoisie (within the country or elsewhere) in the name of a preliminary stage before the proletarian revolution, preliminary stage which in the current conjuncture is defined as resistance, the development of the capacity to resist the danger that the superpowers, and in particular the Soviet Union, social imperialism, represent.

We maintain that in the capitalist and imperialist countries no stage preceeds proletarian revolution, and that it is the latter which must be at the heart of all the concerns, activities and the program of Marxist-Leninists. We also maintain that until proven otherwise, Western Europe remains an area composed of independent imperialist countries where proletarian revolution is the order of the day.

Of course when we make these criticisms to RSC, they answer: “Yes, we said that for Europe, but we don’t say it for Canada”. The problem then is that a line which is applied differently in two different countries where the conditions are similar, is a line which can be used for quite contradictory purposes without allowing for a clear and firm demarcation.

We say that at the present time the struggle for the Canadian proletariat is the struggle against the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie. And practically, what we put forward and apply at the present time, is the need for the unity of the proletariat and Canadian masses: that is, to resolve the divisions created by the bourgeoisie between the different fractions; to unite and attack, to fight the Canadian bourgeoisie directly, and to fight against the greatest threats the latter imposes upon the proletariat and Canadian masses. I’m speaking here of the repressive laws which the Canadian bourgeoisie is now instituting precisely because there is a world-wide crisis of imperialism and the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie feels the effects of this crisis. The Canadian bourgeoisie wants to heighten the repressive measures against the proletariat in order to increase its ability to develop its exploitation and oppression in Canada and around the world. This is why, for example, at the same time that we denounce the forms of oppression of the Canadian bourgeoisie in regard to other peoples, we say that in Canada the proletariat and masses must unite against what now constitutes the central attack of the Canadian bourgeoisie against the proletariat, that is, law C-73.

Because it is clearly not only – and perhaps not primarily – the objective of this law to reduce salaries, but also to bring the workers movement and the trade union movement to its knees, to obtain greater class collaboration from the workers movement and trade union movement. These things must be said because in the Canadian communist movement today, at the same time as certain groups put forward the pure line correct on every point, at the same time as it is said that the analyses of IN STRUGGLE! are not well enough developed, a tactic is adopted both within our country and internationally, which is riddled with opportunism and which results in postponing the proletarian revolution until later, not allowing for the development of the revolutionary struggle in our country – that is, the strengthening of the revolutionary camp in its unity and combativeness at the same time as weakening the bourgeois camp. The upholders of the theory of the three worlds as a strategic concept arrive at positions, a tactic, which at the international level – under the pretext of resisting against the superpowers – directly contribute to the strengthening of certain imperialist bourgeoisies. In the case of RSC they go as far as recognizing the possibility that Western Europe constitutes itself as a hegemonic superpower, but despite that one shouldn’t hesitate to ask European Marxist-Leninists to consider the proletarian revolution only as a “long term guide line” and to presently support united actions with the bourgeoisie.

It is exactly this, comrades of RSC, that we call nationalism with the germs of social chauvinism; that is, the support in practice of imperialists, who have common interests with Canadian imperialism among others, and who are agents of the oppression, exploitation and the domination of numerous peoples around the world today.

Lines such as these might seem of little danger to us now. One might consider them to be minor differences. But as the two world wars proved, errors which at first looked minor and secondary because those who advanced them always claimed to be for the proletarian revolution, were translated into the pure and simple betrayal of the interests of the proletariat and of the peoples and oppressed nations of the world. In this respect we ardently wish that the line struggle on these questions develops and intensifies. For our part, we will actively participate as we have tried to do until now, but not in order to proclaim by decree that such and such a group is just on the verge of leaving the movement or that it passed into the revisionist camp 15 days ago. We will consciously intensify this struggle to assure that, on all questions, the Canadian revolution as much as the support of the proletarian revolution and the liberation of peoples in other countries – that the positions adopted and the actions taken (and not only the words) really serve the interests of the proletariat and the revolution. To adopt the proletarian viewpoint and the class viewpoint does not mean to pose the question: what is going on in the world and what can we do? To adopt the proletarian viewpoint and the class viewpoint is to make the following question central to one’s concerns: how, in the present conjuncture, are we best going to serve the proletarian revolution, our aim today as well as tomorrow?