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

Opening Speech by the President

Comrades and friends,

Welcome to the Third Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. In the past year, we have met three times to discuss highly important questions for our movement and for the advancement of the Canadian revolution.

For over a year now, we have taken up a resolute struggle on the principal questions of programme.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that the conferences are the starting point or the last word of the line struggle on a specific question.

The preparation, the conferences themselves and their aftermath are all important moments in the line struggle.

It is quite evident that the line struggle in the Canadian communist movement was alive long before the holding of the conferences. As a matter of fact, in the last three years there has been an intensive line struggle. This line struggle broke the isolation and self-seclusion that characterized the Canadian communist groups. The struggle over the principles that must guide the actions of Marxist-Leninists has made it possible to put the reconstruction of a true Canadian Communist Party on the agenda of every Marxist-Leninist group. On the one hand this marked an important step forward in the break with revisionism and, on the other hand, also marked the break with bourgeois nationalism and big nation chauvinism.

But, even though agreement on principles is fundamental, it is not enough to guarantee the success of the revolution in Canada. We need a line of principle, but what we need foremost is to learn how to use these principles, how to translate them in concrete actions. We must work to elaborate a programme that will apply these principles to the Canadian reality and the present international situation. The programme is the basis or a real demarcation from revisionism and other counterrevolutionaries. The programme will also permit us to denounce opportunism in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and it will reinforce our unity. The programme will also be the basis for the development of the rallying of workers to communism by clearly identifying what distinguishes it from all the bourgeoisie’s lies, all these conditions are necessary for the reconstruction of a real Communist Party.

Comrades and friends,

The Third Conference, like the preceding ones, is an important moment in the struggles for the elaboration of the programme. Thus, it is an important moment in the struggle for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. This Conference, like the others, should permit us to better distinguish the principal tendencies that exist in the movement, should allow the tendencies to polarize and thus sharpen the line struggle. It is evident that demarcation would have been keener and more open if the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)’s sectarianism hadn’t brought it to boycott the last two conferences. By doing this, it prevented the Canadian masses and the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement from judging the pertinence or non-pertinence of its line on these questions.

But despite these inconveniences, in looking back, it is clear that the Third Conference is a step forward in relation to the others. A year ago, 12 groups attended the First Conference. Today there are only 4 groups. This is not a sign of the weakness of the movement, but rather a sign of its vigor. It is proof that the conferences have indeed enabled us to raise the level of our unity.

The First Conference, and the Second Conference to an even greater degree, enabled us to bring out our differences and to debate them openly. And we think that the Third Conference should allow us to go even further. We have done our best in bringing together all the necessary conditions by firmly working to overcome the principal weaknesses identified at the Second Conference. The discussion guide was published three months ago. Groups made their positions known a few week ago, and in some cases, a few months ago. We modified the procedure in the workshops to promote better exchange between the floor and the groups’ representatives and last but not least we have accorded special attention to improving the translation system.

The objective conditions have been bought together to make this conference an overwhelming success. And now, the key factor is each person’s attitude in the debate, his responsibility in debating in spirit of unity not division. You might tell me that communists should always have such an attitude. This is true, but it is also important to see that, right now, the struggle for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists is an important part of our specific contribution to the world revolution at its present stage. It is also important to see that the questions we will be debating are currently the object of an important line struggle which involves Marxist-Leninists in all countries. In this context we must be very vigilant as far as the necessity of constantly maintaining a proletarian attitude in the debates is concerned.

Comrades and friends,

Yesterday was September 8, the Conference begins, then, exactly one year after the death of comrade Mao Tse Tung, one of the greatest communist leaders of our era. We would like to pay tribute to this great revolutionary who understood how to firmly direct the Chinese people in revolution and in the construction of socialism. We would like to pay tribute to this Marxist-Leninist who never used the principles of Marxism-Leninism dogmatically either to deny the reality of his own country or to invoke the particularities of his own country to reject the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. We invite all Canadian communists to take as an example this man who is recognized by millions of communist as a great educator, if we want to be able to use the principles of Marxism-Leninism, as he did, as a lever to allow the Canadian proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. And I invite everyone to observe a minute of silence in his memory.