The publication of the Programme for the proletarian revolution in Canada represents a true milestone in the proletariat’s century-old struggle to free itself from the claws of capitalist exploitation and from all the forms of oppression that it gives rise to. From now on, the vanguard workers and progressive elements who, in growing numbers over the past years, have understood that the elimination of the evils of imperialism requires proletarian revolution in our country and the world, will come together on the basis of this Programme.
The current sharpening of the general crisis which has been eating away at the world imperialist system since the turn of the century; the resulting deterioration of living conditions for working people in the different countries; the numerous attacks against democratic rights, even in countries which have a reputation for being “liberal” the growing rivalries opposing the different imperialist powers, causing the threat of war to be hanging constantly over our heads: all these are reasons which explain why, over the past few years, the struggles of the working class have multiplied everywhere in the world, including Canada.
At the same time, the solutions put forward by the bourgeoisie directly or by its agents in the working-class movement – that is, the social democrats and revisionists – are increasingly being shown up for what they are: attempts to save capitalism from ruin, hiding behind the cover of reforms or so-called gradual transformations of this rotten.system. So we can understand why the communist viewpoint is once again of interest among the proletariat and the oppressed strata of the working people.
The past struggles of the working class and those of the oppressed peoples and nations are evidence that the masses’ aspiration to freedom is not a new phenomenon. Both their successes and failures prove that their victory requires an orientation based on Marxism-Leninism and the leadership of the proletariat’s communist party.
That is why the Programme for the proletarian revolution, which the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Canada (MLOC) IN STRUGGLE! is publishing today, constitutes such an historic event. For the first time in more than thirty years, the working class of Canada has in hand the central instrument for the reconstitution of its revolutionary vanguard, its communist party.
Canada is one of the many countries where, since the split in the international communist movement in the fifties, the working class has been deprived of its revolutionary leadership. This has meant that the struggles of the working-class movement have either failed or have gained but fleeting victories. Only the consistent action of a genuine communist party can put an end to this situation. It is only by rallying the proletarian vanguard to the communist programme that this party can be created.
The party of the proletarian revolution does not claim, like the bourgeois and revisionist parties, to do everything for, and instead of, the workers. Essentially, the party of the proletariat is the leadership of the struggle of the working class and working people. The communist party will not make revolution for the masses. Rather, it indicates the path by which the proletariat can achieve socialism.
That is why the communist programme is not a collection of promises, each more tempting than the next. That is the style of bourgeois party programmes, and in any case, they change from one election to the next. No, the communist programme is first and foremost an orientation and a call. The communist programme analyses capitalist society and shows how it is the source of all the current evils of humanity. It shows how the future of humanity lies in communism. Finally, it indicates that proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat are necessary stages for the emancipation of humanity from all forms of exploitation and oppression.
But, the communist programme is not a document which talks about some far-off uncertain future. On the contrary, its content is a call to workers to take up the struggle for the party right away, since it is an immediate and essential task for socialist revolution. As well, it provides a practical orientation for the current struggles of the proletariat, women, and oppressed nations and minorities, at the same time that it determines the areas where it is essential for the working class to put up bitter resistance to the bourgeoisie’s manoeuvres and attacks. The working class makes up the camp of the revolution in these struggles and areas. Thus, the communist programme is, as it should be, a guide for the immediate and long term action of the working class.
Over the past years the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Canada IN STRUGGLE! (previously the Group IN STRUGGLE!) has paid much attention to the question of the programme. It has done so in its newspaper, its journal, and during public conferences and meetings. A year and a half ago, it published its Draft Program in order to concretize the importance of this question, to give itself a practical instrument to wage its struggle, and to permit the participation of the masses in the final formulation of the programme of the revolution.
The development of the struggle on this terrain was to reveal yet another reason for paying great attention to the question of the programme. This reason is linked to the fact that, since the dissolution of the Third International (or Comintern), Marxist-Leninists have often underestimated the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin on the necessity of the programme for cementing the unity of communists in different countries and throughout the world.
At a time when the question of the unity of communists is becoming more and more crucial on a world scale, it is good to remember that, today as yesterday, this unity cannot be solidly achieved except on the basis of a programme. For only this programme will be able to unmask the ambiguities and deformations of Marxism-Leninism, which too many opportunists are still able to conceal by passing them off as the “general line of the international communist movement”.
Every time that workers get together and organize on the basis of communist ideas, another step towards the creation of the party in Canada is made. It is not only on the level of the programme that the MLOC IN STRUGGLE! has contributed to this task over the past years. The Constitution which is found following the Programme sums up the organizational advances of our Organization in the application of democratic centralism.
The communist programme only takes on its full significance to the extent that it is regularly the guide of the working class in its struggle. For this, it must be applied by an organization, and as soon as possible by the party. The Constitution contains all of the fundamental rules which permit the application of democratic centralism, which is the organizational principle of the communist party.
The Constitution is just as important as the programme in the life of a party or organization. Here as well, history has shown that straying from the teachings of Marxism-Leninism opens the door to deviations, mistakes, and finally the out and out abandonment of the revolutionary struggle. The application of democratic centralism, guaranteed by the Constitution, assures the unity of action which is essential to the success of the revolutionary struggle, at the same time that it bases this unity on the broadest democracy in the ranks of the party and in the relations between the party and the masses.
The proletarian revolution is on the agenda on a world scale. The working class of Canada can play its vanguard role in the revolution by the attention it gives to correctly waging the struggle to give itself a party which is really faithful to Marxism-Leninism, and by the firm refusal with which it has up until now opposed the many attempts of various con artists to subjugate it with their pseudo-revolutionary language. The Programme and Constitution of the MLOC IN STRUGGLE! are two essential tools to pursue this historic struggle. (May 1979)