First Published: In Struggle! No. 229, December 2, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Factories are shutting down all over. Governments at all levels cut social services and eliminate jobs. Cops blow people away without the slightest worry about being called into line, let alone punished. Popes, bishops and secular prophets of all kinds push their ultra-reactionary values with renewed vigour – and money. The suddenly non-chauvinist army recruits men and women alike to use as cannon fodder in the coming war.
It is things like these that have moved more and more working people in Canada to wage exemplary and courageous struggles in recent years. An increasing number of workers have come to the conclusion, during these struggles, that a viable revolutionary force is needed, one that could channel all the separate struggles into a single powerful torrent directed against the common enemy, the capitalist class.
IN STRUGGLE! members have been working day in and day out for 7 years now to help build that revolutionary force, the proletarian party. Some 125 people came together in Toronto to celebrate those seven years. We would like to invite all the thousands of other workers and progressives who have worked alongside us, or have observed our work over the years to come celebrate with us in Moncton on December 5, in Vancouver and Halifax on December 6 and in Montreal on December 13.
In the past several years, what started out as a little group of a dozen activists, mostly in Montreal, has grown to become an organization with hundreds of members across the country. That organization is actively involved in countless struggles and mass organizations across Canada. It is also involved in the front lines of the fight to unite the international communist movement and in giving active support to revolutionary struggles in other countries.
The progress we have managed to make has never come easily. There have been errors and even short-term setbacks. Each and every step forward has been the direct result of the capacity of our Organization to face up to the real problems of the struggle. That quality is one we value highly: to dare to raise questions to which we do not yet have all the answers; to listen carefully to points of view that differ from ours; to recognize our errors when we are persuaded that we have been wrong.
There are two major lessons to be drawn from those seven years.
The first lesson is that the proletarian party, the communist party, is built in the heart of workers struggles. That may seem obvious, a truism even. But what is a truism in words is not always a truism in real life. From the very first day of its existence, the original IN STRUGGLE! grouping had to make a choice. Should it firm up its theoretical analysis and political knowledge before throwing itself into the fray of practical struggles? Or should a fighting newspaper be put out right away that reported on working class struggles? The two options were debated out and the second won out.
Soon afterwards the newspaper IN STRUGGLE! was involved in all the major struggles in Quebec. Groupings were formed in several regions of the province to carry out the tasks of production and distribution. IN STRUGGLE! has continued to do its level best to be involved in the struggles waged by Canadian workers from the hard-fought Firestone and Shellcast strikes of 1974 to the most recent Quebec public sector common front. The paper has got involved in the anti-racist and anti-KKK mobilizations in Toronto. It has actively publicized the demands of the various Native peoples. It has taken up the defence of Quebec’s right to self-determination, and more.
For a revolutionary organization, “getting involved” in a struggle demands more than just picking up on the most popular slogans and tactics. It means actively defending the communist point of view, the only approach which provides an all-rounded orientation to the various immediate workers struggles and can steer them to victories which will really last.
Which brings us to the second major lesson from IN STRUGGLE!’s work: serious attention must be paid and energy devoted to theoretical and political research, study and debate. Learning that lesson has led us to accord a great deal of time and concern to the struggle to unite Marxist-Leninists across Canada, to develop and refine our political programme and now, today, to probe more deeply into the history of the struggle for socialism.
Which brings us back again to the first lesson, necessarily because the two are intertwined. Theoretical work is carried out with the view to getting as many workers and progressives involved at each stage and at all possible levels. Thus, the final version of our programme was only adopted after an initial draft programme was published and debated in scores of meetings, large and small, by thousands of people throughout the country.
Getting involved in practical struggles and engaging in theoretical studies and debate are still central to the struggle to rebuild the party of the Canadian working class. The recent decisions by our Central Committee should be seen in this light. The CC criticized the sectarian attitudes that characterized much of our work in the past. The new decisions aim to get IN STRUGGLE! more involved than ever in progressive struggles of all sorts side by side with all those people who are ready to pitch in and move them forward. They pose sharply the necessity to publicly take up an analysis of the victories and defeats in the struggle for socialism, again together with all those who genuinely wish to advance that analysis and understanding. The perspectives for the future thus give cause for much hope to those who have had enough of capitalism and the misery that it engenders but who up to now have not been satisfied with the answers put forward to overcome the problems in the revolutionary struggle.
That is why we are inviting you and yours to come celebrate with us. For those of you who do not yet know us very well, the 7th anniversary celebrations are the ideal occasion to come and find a out all you want to know (but were afraid to ask). For those who know our work better, the anniversary celebrations is a good time to come and raise some of the questions you have about our past work or what is coming up in the future. And don’t forget to tell everyone you know and work with about the celebration. Invite your family, friends and work-mates. They will not be disappointed.