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 Red Star Collective

Comrades and friends,

At the beginning of this conference we greeted the people here and said we viewed that it was a positive development in the struggle to build the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement. We all recognize that certain problems arise out of the conditions that exist in our country: the large area, 2 languages, the difficulties in getting people together for long periods of times to debate line. Nonetheless we feel it is important to discuss certain other problems that arise during these debates and hold back their ability to develop the political line and to reach unity around political line. Much of this conference has discussed the question of tailism. The Red Star Collective is clearly opposed to any form of tailism whether it be behind the Party of Labour of Albania or the Chinese Communist Party or the general line of the international communist movement. It is always the duty of communists to think for themselves and to reason things out.

As far as the general line of the international communist movement is concerned, we consider that it is correct to follow the general line in so far as it has been accepted internationally for several years and that when a group or party diverges from this general line it is up to them to show how the general line is incorrect and to put forward in very clear terms why they think that the general line opposes the proletarian revolution. But not only are we opposed to tailism but we must say we are also opposed to endless debates about who is tailing who. This is not the subject of this kind of conferences. Also we are opposed to the type of debates that go on and on... about which group held which position at which time, whether they changed in the afternoon or the evening before ...etc., etc. We must particularly single out the attitude of the Bolshevik Union on the question of what is up for debate, when they say that the question of the three worlds analysis is not up for debate. We ask them how can this be? The general analysis of the three worlds analysis has been accepted in the international communist movement for many years as a basis or kernel of what the international communist movement sees as the struggles going on. And it flowed out of the struggle against revisionism, it was not smuggled in lately by some opportunists or anything like that. So that to say that the three worlds analysis is not up for debate is to deny the struggle going on in the international communist movement. There are many areas of struggle which we put forward in our opening speech which were not taken up. We would like to touch lightly upon these. For example: what is the significance of various historic processes. These questions were not addressed during the conference. For example: the reconstitution of capitalism in the Soviet Union, what effect has it had on the world revolutionary process?

The defeat of old-style colonialism in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Has this advanced the historical process of moving the world out of the era of imperialism and into socialism? Was the defeat of fascism a progressive thing or did it not matter in the world arena? What is the significance of the disintegration of the imperialist camp and the defeat of US imperialism in Indochina? These are just a few examples. The fact that the conference did not deal with these problems, these questions, arises out of the fact that IN STRUGGLE! and Bolshevik Union do not deal with the specific stage of history. They deal with the general imperialist stage. There are specific stages of the imperialist era that must be dealt with. Also this lack of concrete analysis was reflected in the refusal to learn from history particularly the history of united fronts in various countries, history of both struggle and alliance, and the history of Marxist-Leninist leadership to various united fronts. A particular example of this, was the question which we asked about the united front against US imperialism: was it progressive or not? Also we would like to make a point here on the question of the united fronts and particular situations. It was the position of RSC that the principal contradiction in the world was between the superpowers and the forces in opposition to the superpowers and this was a manifestation of the fourth type of contradiction: that between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations of the world. Some other questions which were not brought up and not dealt with correctly are the questions of different levels of united fronts on the world level, the national level and the different levels of contradictions. How exactly do world level contradictions affect national contradictions? They are not necessarily the same thing. Since this wasn’t brought up and recognized clearly, the particularities of the fact that in Canada the world united front does not take the form of a national united front, were not recognized and it was continuously put forward that the RSC’s positions implied a national united front in Canada. This is absolutely false. Another point which was not dealt with very well, was the question of war. Who is the main danger? And what are exactly the contradictions between the first world countries and the second world countries? There were many statements as to the main revolutionary forces and main reactionary forces, but very little concrete analysis as to what constituted those forces. A certain number of questions were taken up and we regard this as quite positive. We also recognize the limitations of the time of the conference. We would like to make note of those: particularly what are the tasks of the Canadian Marxist-Leninists? This was taken up in a partial way. Although again there was an incorrect summation of our positions put forward by the presidents of the workshops. Particularly, it was said that we see the basic contribution that the Canadian proletariat can make to the international struggle as that of waging proletarian revolution in Canada. This is clearly exposed on page 32 of our pamphlet where we say “it is by leading the proletarian revolution here in Canada (here) that Canadian Marxist-Leninists can best fulfill their proletarian internationalist tasks.” Also the question was taken up about the possibility of various forces which play a reactionary role internally, playing a positive role internationally. We consider that it was not taken up with a correct understanding, in the most part, but is was nonetheless taken up.

We would like to make some comments as to what the unity that has been brought forward in this conference has been. At the beginning we said that the unity that existed in the Marxist-Leninist movement was first of all the necessity for proletarian revolution in imperialist and capitalist countries and for national liberation in the Third World countries, in the colonial, semi-colonial and neo-colonial countries. This unity has been reaffirmed. Also that the Canadian struggle is only part of the struggle on an international level and that the Canadian revolution is part of the international revolution. We would have liked to say that there was further unity. For example, there are oppositions to the superpowers as the main enemy. But this has not been the case because those who do not make a qualitative difference between the superpowers and the other imperialist countries do not really hold that the superpowers are the main danger. So while the unity has not significantly advanced through this conference itself, the process has been positive in that many questions have been brought up, many questions have been seen, they have to be tackled although they have not in fact been tackled. So we call upon the members of this conference, the various groups to continue the process, to put forward their questions, their polemics, their debates over the coming months and more unity will be achieved.

To this end the RSC will take up the various questions which they have not been able to answer so far and write answers in both languages and publish them as soon as possible. We would like to address another couple of questions. Several times the RSC has been accused of being social-chauvinist. We have stated many times that our position on the question of Canada is very clear, that there can be no unity with the Canadian bourgeoisie. This position comes up again and again. We would like to address the question of who is really social-chauvinist? The upholders or the opposers of the three worlds analysis? We say that those who oppose the three worlds analysis are really the social-chauvinist. Why is this? Because in fact the opposition to the three worlds analysis forces all the reactionary and imperialists countries into the same tightly united force and therefore strengthens them in their ability to attack the colonial and semi-colonial countries. This is nothing other than strengthening the bourgeois forces. This is social-chauvinism.

Finally we would like to say a few words on the organization of the conference. The RSC has put forward many times to IS! its criticisms of the organization of the Second Conference and again we would like to say that in the organization of the 3rd Conference there was very very little consultation, let alone any collective decision making. This denies the equality of the Marxist-Leninist groups in Canada. Secondly the technical problems incurred caused real difficulties, reducing the ability of the various groups to debate. However these technical problems are qualitatively of a different nature than the problem of the spirit of the debate and the lack of ability of the participants to address the line. The technical problems are unfortunate but nonetheless they can be overcome. Once again we would criticize the League for not attending and say that their lack of attendance indicates a great contempt for the rest of the Marxist-Leninist movement. We would like to say that in general the spirit of the debate was carried out with the idea that unity is primary in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and in the international movement. We particularly congratulate IS! for its refusal to throw anyone out of the international communist movement. We must note the absence of BU from this general attitude.

Comrades and friends,

Let us continue to debate and struggle over all the questions of fundamental importance to the international movement and to the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada.

We must continue to strive for unity on these questions because they are fundamental to determine what are the internationalist tasks of the Marxist-Leninist movement here in Canada. Unless we have unity on all the fundamental tasks of the Marxist-Leninist movement, not just on the international tasks, we of the Marxist-Leninist movement, can not achieve one of the necessary pre-conditions to the building of a new communist Party in Canada, our central task and a pre-condition for the proletarian revolution.