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

Montreal, September 9, 10, 11, 1977

Closing Speech by Vancouver Red Collective

Comrades and friends,

The Third National Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists shows that the Canadian movement has made important steps in its struggle to build unity. Not long ago, our movement was divided and scattered into many small groups. Today, we see that the number of groups is qualitatively reduced and for the most part we have fewer, but more developed positions, being put forward.

The Vancouver Red Collective is a local, small group. Those of you who have read our unity position, know that the VRC recognizes that a group such as ours is only capable of carrying out all aspects of the central task, of building the party, in a limited way.

We identify the three dialectically linked aspects of this task as building the unity of Marxist-Leninists, developing political line and its embodiment in a programme, and winning advanced workers to communism. Because of this position, the immediate objective of the VRC is to build principled unity at a higher political and organizational level. Towards this end our position calls for struggle with other groups to determine where we have or can reach, unity. We identify IN STRUGGLE! as having given the most correct leadership in the movement to date, and in our position we outline the principle areas of agreement. While carrying out the struggle for unity at a higher level, we consider it our responsibility to carry out the tasks of communists to the best of our ability.

We therefore attended this conference, putting forward and defending our position on this important question. We hope that our participation has contributed to the debate. For us, the conference is equally a chance to test our line, and to deepen and improve our understanding.

We hold that the common purpose of all groups attending this conference must be to advance and develop a political line, and to build the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement. Completely bound up in this purpose is the need for the struggle to go on with the participation of the friends and supporters of the Marxist-Leninist movement, for the debates here must above all serve the interests of the Canadian working class.

It is with deep regret that we accept the justified criticisms made in one workshop of yesterday’s session, that the debate was too theoretical and did not deal with concrete conditions. This error resulted in driving away people who did not return today and therefore do not know that today’s session was a vast improvement.

Notwithstanding this problem, important debate did occur on the international situation. Much debate was centred around the general line of the international communist movement. It is our position that there is a method for dealing with differences within the international Marxist-Leninist movement; this is the method of unity-criticism-unity. To fail to recognize this is to make a serious error on the importance of struggle, as a method for advancing proletarian line within our movement.

There was also much debate around the three worlds theory. The position which we advanced on behalf of the Vancouver Red Collective and the Red Wind Collective holds that the three worlds theory describes the present development of the 4 contradictions of our era. We demarcated from those who have dogmatically applied the three worlds theory alone, as a way of determining who are our friends and who are our enemies. However, by applying the three worlds view in conjunction with the 4 contradictions, we have arrived at a position which we hold begins to explain the complexities of the present international situation.

The international tasks which we have identified for the Canadian proletariat shows that our position in no way negates class struggle, but rather, makes proletarian revolution our principal task.

We call on all participants to seriously consider the arguments brought forward at the conference on this question. Particularly, we call on IN STRUGGLE! to deepen and clarify its position on the rejection of the three worlds as a strategic concept.

While we leave the conference with serious criticisms of the position of Red Star Collective, we commend the clear and principled way in which they put forward their position. Their method of work has made it possible for us to be clear on the differences existing between the positions advanced on this important question.

While the conference was an important step in advancing the debate on the international situation, it in no way marks the end of this struggle. The Vancouver Red Collective takes home with it many lessons, which we will integrate into our ongoing work. For, the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, and the working class around a correct line on the international situation is crucial to all our work at hand.

We would like to close by saying that for us, the conference has concretely showed the solidarity which exists between the working class of both nations of Canada. We must continue to build and strengthen this unity. And, together, we must be guided by the spirit of proletarian internationalism, as we struggle to build the unity of oppressed peoples and nations the world over.