First Published: Proletarian Unity, No. 1, Sept 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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IN STRUGGLE! has said on several occasions in the past little while that it would soon be officially diffusing its complete position on the method for arriving at the unification of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and at the creation of the Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the Party.
The task of publishing this position on the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists has been entrusted to IN STRUGGLE’S new journal and we are undertaking it in the context of launching the first issue in preparation for IN STRUGGLE’S first national conference on unity. It is with enthusiasm that the journal has fulfilled this task, thereby fulfilling its role as “the primary and most adequate vehicle for our program of unification” and “our principle tool in the application of the plan for the struggle for unity.”
Thus the journal is participating in the general objective of Canadian Marxist-Leninists as described in the introduction to the pamphlet, Towards the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, Fight the sectarianism of the CCL(M.L.): “To achieve the political and organizational unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement is to transform its disunited and dispersed forces, sometimes turned inward and struggling one against the other on points that divide them, into an unified, organized force that is ten times stronger and which can concentrate on the struggle against the reactionary forces.”
More and more, Canadian Marxist-Leninists are devoting attention to the question of their unification. This is positive: being open to this question means it is possible to move forward. More and more of the workers who have rallied to the movement or who are simply sympathetic to it are also concerned about this question and that is even more significant: convinced that a struggle must be led against reformism and against opportunist paths that exist in the labour movement, the workers are aware of the enormous handicap caused by dispersion and disunity; in short, by the weakness of the Marxist-Leninist movement. In other words the most advanced elements of the proletariat are very aware that this unity must be based on a Marxist-Leninist line, and that this line can only take form and develop if it is under the direction of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian Party.
The advanced workers as well as the Marxist-Leninists are equally aware that the question of the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, as an essential condition for the creation of the Party, is being posed with increasing insistence. Under such conditions, it is the duty for all Canadian Marxist-Leninists not only to recognize the theoretical correctness of the viewpoint that unity is a condition for the creation of the Party, but also to work on developing and applying the correct ways to achieve political and organizational unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists.
Even if the desire for unity exists in general in the movement as a whole, there is no still consensus on the way that it should be achieved. It is therefore necessary to clearly establish how, in the Canadian context today, a Marxist-Leninist line on political and organizational unity should be applied. To do that, it is necessary to identify and criticize the erroneous ideas on this matter, in particular, the point of view that claims that the key to the unification of Canadian Marxist-Leninists resides in a “correct political and ideological line”, because that is what “determines everything”. We shall see how those who espouse this view adopt incorrect tactics which in the present situation, lead directly to the dismissal of political debate and to opportunism.
We believe, however, that from the start, it is essential to describe all the aspects of the problem to be resolved. The problem is precisely how to arrive at the political and ideological unification of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists inside a proletarian Party. We affirm therefore that we must create a Canadian organization of struggle for the Party, whose historical task, whose main task, will be to prepare the way for the Party’s creation. We must not confuse Party and pre-Party organization because this could also lead us to confuse the conditions necessary for the creation of the pre-Party organization and those necessary for the Party itself. This is not simply a question of words; the necessity for the pre-Party organization throughout Canada is a urgency that flows from a correct application of Marxism-Leninism to the present conditions in our country.
In the following pages, we shall try to clearly establish our position on the question of the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists; and in what way this position is different from the other points of view that exists in the movement; in what way this position constitutes the development and the correction of the points of view that we advanced as well as the actions that we took up until now. Finally, we will present the method of unification that we advocate and why we say that the struggle for unity cannot be seperated from the current struggle of the proletariat and the masses.
“To create and strengthen the Party”, said Lenin, “is to create and strengthen the unity of all Russian social-democrats.” Applied to the present conditions, this affirmation dating from 1900, means that everywhere where the former communist parties sunk into modern revisionism in the 1950 and 60’s, it is a duty for all Marxist-Leninists to “create and strengthen” a revolutionary Party that resolutely applies Marxism-Leninism and not revisionism. To do this, we must “create and strengthen” the unity of all Marxist-Leninists.
Without going into the details of the historical analysis – an analysis that will nevertheless have to be done, for the history of the communist movement and the workers’ movement in general is not well known in Canada even by Marxist-Leninists – we can say that the question of a “union” of the Marxist-Leninists presented itself as soon as there were communists within the revisionist Communist Party of Canada, the CP, who realized that the Party had consolidated an opportunist line, an essentially revisionist line that cast aside Marxism-Leninism on the essential points. Manifestations of that awareness – about which historical analyses will render a more definitive judgement – appeared very early within the revisionist CP. We will mention two of them. In the 50’s communists in Quebec, such as Henri Gagnon, left the revisionist Party and formed the Quebec Communist Party because, among other reasons, of the differences on the national question vis-a-vis Quebec. In the 60’s, it was Jack Scott’s turn to resign and found the Progressive Worker’s Movement.
Neither Jack Scott’s PWM, nor Henri Gagnon’s PCQ (Quebec Communist Party), later on the left-wing Caucus, achieved the unity of Marxist-Leninists; in fact, they did not even succeed in making a real break with revisionism nor did they ever clearly establish their actions on a Marxist-Leninist basis. Both attempts failed, but they testify, nevertheless, that the line struggle existed within the revisionist CP even if its principal tendency was revisionism and total degeneration.
At the same time as the revisionist CP began to experience the convulsions of its prolonged agony that still persists today, new forces began to appear and progressively became involved in the national struggle between revisionism, represented mainly by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and Marxism-Leninism of which the Communist Party of China and the Labour Party of Albania were and still remain the firmest defenders.
Active mostly in student circles these new forms were also found in unions and even within the NPD, its “Waffle” fraction. To break with the consumated opportunism of the CP, they long remained independent from organizational affiliation, and under the influence of the various radical ideas cf the 60’s, strongly impressed by the Cuban guerillas and often attracted by the violent action of the American Black Panthers and of the Quebec FLQ.
Because it did not ally itself closely with the masses, the student movement of the sixties, rapidly degenerated under the corrosive influence of dogmatism, and of the ultra-leftism of the Internationalists created in Vancouver by Hardial Bains. Whereas in Quebec numerous Marxist-Leninist militants undertook to ally themselves with the masses by rallying various popular organizations, particularly the “Comite d’Action Politique” (CAP) a large number of Canadian militants, misled by the demagogy of Bains, followed him in his venture, the Communist Party of Canada (M-L), created in 1970, while others created the Parti du Travail du Canada (PTC) [MIA note: Canadian Party of Labour].
The founders of the CPC (M-L) and the PTC had simply reversed Lenin’s position and instead of fighting for the “union” of Marxist-Leninists in order to create and strenghthen the Party, they decided to first create the Party, and probably thought the unity of the Marxist-Leninists would come afterwards! This desire to correct the right-wing opportunist error of the PWM which refused to state clearly the necessity for the party, led to dogmatic and ultra-leftist error that took the form of saying: “There is a need for a Marxist-Leninist Party; we are Marxist-Leninist: therefore let us create this Party”. Dogmatism and leftism that then took the form of: “The Canadian Marxist-Leninists have a Party; they must join this Party, it is an obligation, or else they will find themselves in the camp of opportunism and revisionism”. History has been stronger than the idealism and voluntarism of the defenders of the CPC (M-L) and of the PTC, which, especially in the case of the first, has only been but an obstacle to the development of communist action among the Canadian masses and an obstacle to the unity of Marxist-Leninists.
Today, if we consider the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement in its entirety, we can see that the errors of the PWM and the totally erroneous line of the CPC (M-L) continue to produce negative effects. A faction of Canadian Marxist-Leninists do not, in practice recognize the necessity for the Party, for the verbal affirmation of this faction in support of the necessity for a Party are not accompanied by coherent actions: we see here the influence of the spontaneous line of the PWM in organizational matters. At the same time, the resounding failure of the CPC (M-L) left an important sector of the movement very “reserved” on the question of the Party: all propositions relating to the setting up of a centralized organization are received by them with a certain scepticism; even if they recognize its importance, they want to put off its application to later on. This has as an effect, the strengthening of the tendency towards localism and economism, the two principal negative legacies of the PWM.
On the other hand, for other Marxist-Leninists everything goes on as if the PWM, the PTC and the CPC (M.L.) had never existed, as if there is nothing to be learned from their experiences because they were organizations dominated by opportunism and consequently do not belong to the history of the movement. This is a mistake: the Marxist-Leninists do not make history with what they please; they accept history such at it is, trying to understand it’s process in order to learn lessons from it, in order to avoid the repetition of the types of errors, that led to dead ends. There are at the moment, mainly in Quebec, Marxist-Leninists that dangerously risk reproducing the errors of the CPC (M.L.) every six years precisely because they have failed to analyse these errors.
Thus in English Canada things have not progressed and the actions appropriate for advancing the movement towards the Party have not been undertaken in fear of reproducing the errors of the CPC (M.L.). Meanwhile in Quebec, things are moving merrily towards the Party, even though the conditions necessary for it have not been met, thereby bringing about a repeat of the errors of the CPC (M.L.) whose history has not been studied, nor the lessons from its history learnt.
The same goes for the question of unity of Marxist-Leninists. It is of no use putting forward the principle of “unity-criticism-unity” if we practice disunity and scission: we would only be “waving the red flag” of Marxism-Leninism to better trample on it. It is no use repeating that “the ideological and political line decides everything”: if on the question of unity we adopt an erroneous line because we do not know the particular nature of the problem of unity of Marxist-Leninists in Canada, we won’t move unity forward, we will delay it...
To work for the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the present conditions is to work at leaving behind the division of the movement into many organizations, groups and circles who refer to Marxism-Leninism and wage the struggle to spread it among the proletariat and the masses; it is to work for putting an end to the disorganization, not to say anarchy, that results from this. Such a statement does not fall from the sky; we must grasp its concrete scope, that is, recognize the existence in Canada of Marxist-Leninist movement. It is not without value, at this moment, to assert very clearly the existence of a Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement for there are still too many comrades who reduce its content to the boundaries of their organization and to the circle of friends who share an “absolute identity of views” with them. As long as such a notion prevails among part of the movment it will constitute an important restraint on achieving unity for it is an utterly idealistic view no relation to reality.
We say that in the present conditions the unity of all Marxist-Leninists or, in other words, the creation of the party in Canada, must pass through the constitution of a Canadian organization of struggle for the party; we say that this organization must unite the greatest number of Marxist-Leninists in the country on a Marxist-Leninist line submitted for study and discussion to the whole of the movement before the creation of the organization; we say that this organization will have historical task of uniting all Marxist-Leninists in the country, elaborating a party program and preceding to the creation of the party. In the present conditions any other method is bound to failure and can only lead towards the division of Marxist-Leninist forces and not to their unity. This was fully demonstrated by many attempts during the last few years, in Canada as well as abroad.
Our aim is to achieve the unity of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists; this is an essential condition for the creation of the party. How will we get there? To answer this question correctly, to establish a correct tactic for the unification of Marxist-Leninists, we must grasp the present situation well, that very situation that must be transformed into its contrary.
The resolution of any contradiction must inevitably pass through the knowledge of its specific nature, what Lenin spoke of in terms of making “the concrete analysis of the concrete situation”. The most correct principles, if they are not applied to the analysis of the particular situation which we want to transform and to the establishment of the means for such transformation, may be very satisfactory for those who pride themselves on knowing them well, but they then have little use. It is not enough to study the laws of contradiction or the historical experience of the communist movement; as well, one must, on the basis of such laws and of those lessons, try to correctly analyze the problem or the contradiction that must be solved. As Mao Tsetoung says, we must therefore adopt “the stand, viewpoint and method” of Marxism-Leninism and not reduce the latter to a lifeless dogma.
This position is neither gratuitous nor arbitrary: it results from the application of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the teachings of the international communist movement to the present concrete conditions in our country. These condition are that after ten years or so of diverse and more or less consistent struggles against opportunism and revisionism, that after five years or so of efforts for firmly initiating the merger of Marxism-Leninism with the worker’s movement, there exists a Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement still weakly and unevenly developed, but nevertheless on the way to rallying the advanced strata of the proletariat and the people. The Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement is made of various organizations, groups, cells and circles who all share the struggle for a correct application of Marxism-Leninism in the struggle for socialism in Canada. To work in a genuine spirit of unity is to work for the greatest number of these elements soon becoming firmly involved in the struggle for the party, in the struggle for the merger with the worker’s movement, in the revolutionary struggle and the present tasks it requires.
* * *
Thus we start from the statement that there exists a Marxist-Leninist movement on a Canada-wide scale. This movement includes all those who adopt Marxism-Leninism and Maotsetoung thought as a guide for action and work to acquire the most complete knowledge of it; consequently, it inclndes those who fight against all forms of opportunism, against revisionism, trotskysm and other forms of bourgeois ideology present inside the worker’s movement and among Marxist-Leninist themselves.
Relying upon Marxism-Leninism, Canadian (M-L) communists, contrarily to all the so-called supporters of socialism who preach class collaboration and “democracy for all”, consider that the path towards socialism in Canada as elsewhere in the world, is through proletarian revolution, the overthrow of bourgeois dictatorship and the establisment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Canadian (M-L) communists also acknowledge the international character of the struggle for socialism, that revolution in each country is indissociable from the conditions prevailing at the world scale; they adhere totally to proletarian internationalism.
In practice, the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement recognizes that in our country the struggle for socialism means the overthrow of state power by the Canadian bourgeoisie, and means the elimination of all foreign imperialist domination of our country; and that this struggle must be waged principally by the Canadian proletariat led by its (M-L) communist party; it affirms the right of the Quebec nation to self-determination, up to and including secession, and the national right of the Inuit and Indian minorities. It asserts that the women must fight against their oppression by associated themselves totally with the revolutionary struggle.
On the international level, Canadian Marxist-Leninists consider that the struggle for a new social order is presently led by the developing countries, the third world; that the main obstacle to revolution is represented by the superpowers, American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism who constitute the first world, whose rivalries are always getting sharper in the struggle for hegemony. They also consider that the two superpowers represent a serious danger of another world war for all the peoples of the world and that the latter must be aware of it, and must promote the isolation of the superpowers by seeking to bring the countries of the second world, that is the advanced capitalist countries, closer to the third world, in a common resistance to the seizure or attempts of seizure of these countries by the superpowers. They thus consider that today the struggle for socialism at the world level must pass through the struggle against imperialism and social-imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism, and against revisionism.
In the present conditions the Canadian Marxist-Leninist assert that their principal task is the building of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party, and that for this purpose they must develop communist agitation, propaganda and organization, they must work for the unity of the proletariat and the people of the different nations and national minorities in their struggle against the Canadian bourgeoisie and to its state; rally the women to the struggle for socialism and take the initiative in the struggle for preserving Canada’s national independance and for supporting the struggles against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism everywhere in the world.
* * *
At this moment it is quite obvious that the movement is considerably more developed, quantitatively and qualitatively, in Quebec than in English Canada. This is due to the fact that during the last fifteen years it is principally in Quebec that the political struggles were the most lively with the “revival” of the nationalist movement. First won over by the idea that the struggle for Quebec’s national independence was a means for reaching socialism, the progressive forces had nevertheless to face the evidence, opportunism inside the movement itself, is recognizing that the general law of the unity of opposites works within the movement as a whole. We may go further and say that it also works within each of the groups, circles or organizations composing the movement.
This, in our view, characterizes, distinguishes the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement today. This clearly demarcates it from reformism, revisionism, trotskyism and all the fundamentally opportunist trends dominated by bourgeois ideology. By the same token this is therefore what constitutes the present level of unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. In spite of their unity on the fundamental principles which must guide their action, Canadian (M-L) communists are still divided on many essential points of political line. A fundamentally correct ideological line does not automatically guarantee the application of the Marxist-Leninist principles to the Canadian revolution, it is not a self-evident matter; in order to attain it, (M-L) communists must get rid themselves the expressions of opportunism which still mark their conceptions and restrain their action. It is this survival of opportunism, or of bourgeois ideology, within the movement itself which is responsible for the existing political divergencies.
We should add, by the way, that this by no means should make us think that one organization or group has a proletarian line and that other groups or organizations are only a bunch of opportunists. This point of view, which is that of the League who keeps asserting its “correct line”, is completely foreign to Marxism-Leninism. No, asserting that the proletarian line comes across faced with the evolution of the separatist movement itself, that bourgeois nationalism led to a dead-end and that it was not possible to stay under its leadership, not even for tactical reasons. This situation greatly favoured the birth, at the dawn of the seventies, of an important progressive movement in Quebec, which, without at the time taking a Marxist-Leninist position, progressively reached such a position. This is how a Marxist-Leninist position on national question in Quebec first appeared and finally triumphed, the position which is today shared by all the groups in Quebec.
In English Canada things went quite differently. On the one hand the revisionist CP. remained a stronger political force than in Quebec. Jack Scott’s resignation and the creation of the P.W.M. had a much greater effect in English Canada than in Quebec. The P.W.M. however did not completely break up with revisionism; underestimating the political struggle and the question of the party it finally disintegrated completely, diving way to a great number of “study groups” entirely absorbed in theoretical work and rather absent from the struggles of the proletariat and the masses, except for some of their members who were interested in the struggle for the Canadianization of the unions affiliated to American centrals, and for those who flirted with the N.P.D.’s “Waffle”.
This movement of withdrawal in theoretical work, which led to localism and economism, was greatly influenced by the essentially negative effects of the counter-revolutionary actions of the Internationalists and of the C.P.C. (M-L) set up by Hardial Bains who one day decided that he was to become the Mao Tsetoung not only of India, Ireland and England, but also of Canada and maybe all America. Setting up as many organizations as meetings he held throughout Canada, he finally ended creating his party in which he unfortunately attracted a whole stratum of progressive students. When they became aware that they had been victims of a fraud, these militants come out of their adventure rather distrusful of anything that bore the name of organization and of anyone who advocated the creation of a party, so they enlarged the ranks of the “study groups”.
In spite of the differences in the origins of the movement in English Canada and Quebec, it is remarkable that in both cases the progressive forces were constitued on the ground of the “national question”. In Canada it was the awareness of American domination, of U.S. imperialism, hold over our country, which first became evident; in Quebec the national oppression served as a catalyst. It is only in the last two years that the whole of Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement has acknowledged that the struggle for socialism in Canada means the proletarian revolution and not the struggle for national liberation of Quebec or of Canada.
It is true that the Marxist-Leninist movement is less developed in English Canada than in Quebec. Most of the English-Canadian study groups or collectives were created quite recently, their political line is in general less developed, and, most of all, their merger with the workers’ movement by the means of agitation and propaganda is only beginning. The English-Canadian comrades are fully aware of this situation and show the greatest desire of learning about the theoretical and practical developments achieved in Quebec in order to share the lessons learnt. They have already given evidence of their commitment to the struggle, only, for instance, the enthusiasm they had in grasping the lessons of the struggle against economism initiated in Quebec during the debate about the dissolution of the C.S.L.O. in the summer of 75. They also showed it by creating the journal Canadian Revolution in May 75, in which they allowed much space to the writings of Quebec groups. The most recent example is that last spring, one Toronto collective joined the League, and another IN STRUGGLE!
But in general, even if the level of the English-Canadian groups is lower than that of some Quebec groups, some of them have in their ranks militants with a long experience and one likely to rapidly take on an active role in the development of revolutionary work in Canada. The sharper character of the struggle against the CP. revisionism in English Canada as compared to Quebec, accounts for the fact that many comrades in the English speaking provinces have a better knowledge of the history of the worker’s movement and that they learnt many valuable lessons in the struggle against revisionism and also against trotskyism and social-democracy.
Finally, whatever the greater of lesser advancement of the movement in English Canada, it still remains that it is this movement as it is today which must tomorrow constitute the core of those who will initiate genuine communist work in English-speaking Canada. Just like the present Marxist-Leninist movement in Quebec is the result of yesterday’s “confused elements”! Unless we consider that (ML) communists should “implant” themselves in English Canada.
The fact that the Marxist-Leninist movement has different origins in Quebec and the rest of Canada; the fact that the revisionist CP. never succeeded in firmly uniting communists of both nations; the fact that until now the bourgeoisie has succeeded and still succeeds in dividing the Canadian proletariat on national grounds, all this shows the depth of the problem and indicates the necessity tp handle it with the greatest rigour and precision. Marxist-Leninists are not sheltered against the weight of bourgeois ideology on this question. The difficulty for Quebec groups to reach a Marxist-Leninist position on this point is convincing evidence. Faced with the unevenness of development inside the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement; faced with, particulary, the fact that this unevenness divides along national lines, the question of unity then becomes even more important; the necessity of a Canadian organization, in its composition and in its actions, stands out all the more clearly.
Unity is a constant preoccupation for Marxist-Leninists. As soon as the question of the Party is raised, that of unity follows. Marxist-Leninists have already been involved for some years in the struggle for Party building, in other words in the struggle for their political unity, for their organizational unification. But it is during the fall of 74 that the call for the creation of the Marxist-Leninist organization was clearly formulated, first by the Mouvement Revolutionnaire des Etudiants du Quebec, M.R.E.Q., followed by a certain number of other Quebec groups, among them IN STRUGGLE!. That generalized call reflected in fact the will of the great majority of Quebec Marxist-Leninists to go definitively beyond the stage of an amateur form of work in circles and cells.
But why advocate the creation of an organization and not of a Party? What difference should we establish between them? Until now this question was never clarified, and this led to much confusion and many ambiguities. For instance, the question has often been asked why IN STRUGGLE! still calls itself a “group” and not an “organization” and what indeed was this organization we were talking about, and how it could be differentiated from the present “group” and from the future Party.
As a matter of fact IN STRUGGLE! is not a “group”, in the strict sense of the word, any more. Along with its development since the fall of 74, our group had to give itself more complex structures and it has developed and diversified its practice, so that it meets the current characteristics of an organization. Nevertheless we still call ourselves group for the good reason that IN STRUGGLE! does not constitue the organization whose creation we had called for in december 1974 in Creons l’organisation marxiste-leniniste de lutte pour le parti. Moreover, it is for similar reasons that we do not acknowledge the CCL(M.L.) has the Canadian organization of struggle for the Party. We may concretely say that both IN STRUGGLE! and THE LEAGUE are organizations but neither constitutes in practice the leading center of struggle for the Party in Canada. This is the meaning we intended to give to the word organization and in the present conditions we believe it is still correct to maintain this point of view.
It is proper, therefore, to give a better difinition of the organization of struggle for the Party which is distinct from the Party whose creation the Marxist-Leninist communists are struggling for, but also distinct from the existing groups and organizations. Let’s start by saying that the Party is the organization leading the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat; it gathers the communist vanguard of the proletariat and all the Marxist-Leninist communists of a given country. There can be only one Party in a given country, otherwise the development of the revolutionary struggle is endangered by divisions among the proletariat and the masses resulting from the existence of more than one Party, divisions that are not only organizational, but also political, strategical and tactical. Therefore a Party can exist only if it has a program which allows by its correctness and its development to offer such leadership. Once the Party is created it is the duty of every Marxist-Leninist to rally to it.
The essential characteristic of the Marxist-Leninist Party is that it constitutes the leadership of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and of the masses. This means that it gathers together all the Marxist-Leninist communists; that it is closely linked with the masses, principally by counting the vanguard of the proletariat in its ranks; and finally, that is has a program which is faithful to Marxism-Leninism and sufficiently developed so as to effectively guide the proletariat and the masses in the struggles which uncreasingly oppose them to the bourgeoisie and its state.
All this shows that the creation of the Party is of vital importance. It would be a serious lack of a sense of responsibility to say that one of these days one may create the Party, because one feels ready to do so, and that there’s no need to “wait” for everybody! In other words, the creation of the Party corresponds to a set of objective conditions which must be met in the facts; it is not a simple matter of will or a opportunity! Creating the Party is not a matter of adopting a new name.
This brings us directly back to our main topic. The organization we currently need is the organization capable of meeting the conditions for the creation of the Party. It is a question of principles and it is a question of concrete analysis of the concrete situation. It is a question of principles in the sense that in order to arrive at the Party we must work out a Party program and achieve the unity of all Canadian Marxist-Leninist communists. It is a question of analysis of the concrete situation in the sense that the means we will set forth to get the Party will be correct to the extent they will suit the present situation; for waging the struggle for the Party is struggling to transform the present situation where there’s no Party, where the Marxist-Leninist communists are not united and are politically and organizationally weak.
It is precisely this situation of political and organizational weakness and of division of the different groups and organizations composing the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement which brings us to the conclusion that in our country the struggle for the Party, a Party which meets the conditions mention above, must pass through the creation of an organization which gathers together the Marxist-Leninists from all parts of Canada. Only such an organization will be able to develop a Party program and rally the vanguard of the whole Canadian proletariat, where as the existing groups and organizations have in general a scanty vision of reality, there ties with the masses are necessarily limited and their organization is generaly characterized by amateurishness.
The Canadian organization of Marxist-Leninists must allow us to overcome these limits. For this purpose however, it will have to meet some conditions, the most important being its political unity, a political unity based on a program which must be the program of the organization, binding on all its members; a political unity which will be garanteed by organizational unity, the latter based on the strict application of democratic centralism. Thus, the organization we advocate is not some kind of federation of the present groups who would keep some autonomy and would be able to publicize their divergencies with the program adopted by the organization’s congress. Besides, this is the way things happen in all Marxist-Leninist communist Parties: there are always divergencies, the two-line struggle goes on steadily, more or less sharply; at the congresses the majority settles the points in contention and the minority must rally to it; between the congresses it is the leadership’s responsibility to settle all the question related to the application of the program in accordance with the decisions made by the congress. Up to now, not one Party in history has ever reached the “absolute identify of views” of all its members on all the ideological, strategical and tactical questions. That is only an idealist’s dream.
The organization’s programm will have to be faithful to Marxism-Leninism, that is, it must constitute the application of the fundamental principles, or of the ideological line of Marxism-Leninism to Canadian revolution; it will have to be acknowledged and applied by all its members. But it will not have the quality of a Party program in the sense that it will not necessarily formulate all the essential demands of the Canadian masses at the present stage of revolution and that it will not necessarily indicate all the means that must be implemented to move the revolutionary struggle in our country forward. Nevertheless, taking into account the present level of development of the movement, it must include the three following principle elements; first, formulate the path of revolution in our country, including the determination of the principal contradiction to be resolved at the present stage among all those contradictions the struggle for socialism will have to face; secondly, take a stand on the general situation prevailing on the international level and indicate the resulting tasks for Marxist-Leninists in our country; thirdly, define the path for the building of the proletarian Party in Canada and the tasks of communists in this respect.
This is the level that we situate the political unity necessary for the organizational unification of Marxist-Leninists at the present stage. We are very conscious of the fact that such unity does not exist, that is has to be built. For this reason, the different positions on each of the points mentioned above must be stated clearly so that all Marxist-Leninists may form an opinion and take a stand. This is where the struggle for “demarcation” takes place: without such demarcation no real unity is possible.
In this respect our group must recognize the weakness of its action during the last few months, its protracted silence on some fundamental questions such has the path of revolution in our country, the Marxist-Leninist method of achieving unity, the position of Canadian Marxist-Leninist communists on international questions... Of course we have not been completly silent on these questions, but we did not show enough concern for indicating the differences between our positions and those of other groups or organizations, particularly those of the League. Thus, through our silence, we may have contributed to give credence the point of view that the League had said all there was to say on the fundamental questions. We must correct this error. Like all Marxist-Leninist communists across the land, we have the obligation to participate, to present our point of view and defend it. For there are still many questions today for which a Marxist-Leninist position is far from being clearly established, to start with, the path of revolution in our country.
We have indicated what in our opinion constitutes the ideological line that draws the perimeters around the movement. In our opinion, all those who agree with this line and base their action on it, are part of this movement. Despite the fact that this common ideological basis to all Canadian Marxist-Leninist constitute a powerful factor in the unity that demarcates them from revisionism, from social democracy, from trotskyism and all other forms of opportunism, it is nonetheless true that important divergencies remain. Because such an ideological basis is not a guarantee against errors, including very ’important errors.
Here are the two poles of the contradiction: on one hand, the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement finds itself united on an ideological line that is fundamentally Marxist-Leninist and is common to all elements who make up the movement; on the other hand, when it comes to applying this ideological line to the practice of proletarian revolution in Canada, divergencies appear and the proletarian line face many vestiges of opportunism.
Thus, the general orientation of the path towards the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists is all traced. We must, on one hand, promote the development of the factors that unite; thus on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist principles which unite the movement, build the political line and program of the proletarian revolution while scientifically establishing correct positions on fundamental questions concerning the revolution in our country in accordance with dialectical and historical materialism. We must, on the other hand, struggle with determination against opportunist views and deeds that persist in the movement including on the question of unity. As we can see, these are the two aspects of the same movement that Mao Tsetoung has formulated in the phrase “Marxism develops in the struggle against that which is anti-Marxist.”
When we must achieve a goal, it is essential to establish our starting point. In relation to the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninist, we start from the reality of the Marxist-Leninist movement that defines itself by the level of unity as outlined in the criteria previously discussed. These criteria express the current level of unity from which we must start to build a greater unity. This unity will be formulated in the program that the Canadian organization will adopt. This program and the organization that will adopt it will be an expression of a qualitatively new level of unity, a higher level. It is evident that to go forward from the present situation where the political unity of the movement is rather weak and where organizational disunity clearly dominates; to arrive at the point we are seeking where political unity will be considerably greater and where organizational disunity will have been overcome, there has to be an important line struggle on many fundamental questions. In our opinion, the Marxist-Leninist line for proletarian revolution in Canada will come out of this line struggle in a more developped way, clearer and more solidly established; those who best uphold of this line will assume the direction of the movement and will be entitled to guide it towards the creation of the organization.
While saying that, we are very conscious that we are already treading on ground where a line struggle exists, because we know the whole movement doesn’t share our position on the unity of Marxist-Leninists. We also know that it has mainly been the C.C.L.(M-L), but now Mobilisation as well that condemns our view as an “opportunist” one.
This situation constitutes an essential aspect of the present reality in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, its polarization.
Indeed,, on one hand, we see circles and groups moving close to the C.C.L.(M-L) because to them it appears to be the organization that can best advance the struggle for the party and for the proletarian revolution. This tendency exists particularly in Quebec among the groups like Mobilisation and A.P.L.Q., that for the longest time stayed under the influence of the bastion of right opportunism in Quebec, the R.C.T., the Regrouping of workers’ Committees, that dissolved last year. This phenomena is worth nothing, because it can be placed in the context of the continuing attitude of complete rebuff that from 1972 to 1975, the R.C.T., A.P.L.Q., Mobilisation, N.P.E. (Noyau des Petites Entreprises, today, the Cercle communiste (M-L), and the C.R.I.Q. (today the G.A.S.) invariably exhibited (in the literal meaning of the word) towards IN STRUGGLE! As they become acquainted with Marxism-Leninism today, their aversion towards IN STRUGGLE! remains invincible for the majority of them, even if they are forced to recognize that at the time that opportunism dominated, from 1972 to 1974, our group played a leading role in defending Marxism-Leninism.
On the other hand, there is our group, that, in fact, has often been in the vanguard of the struggle against opportunism since the publication of Pour le parti proletaries in October 1972: first it was against the opportunism of the C.A.P.’s then that of the R.C.T., by our affirmation of the necessity of the Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Party and, to build that party, the necessity of doing communist agitation and propaganda among the masses. Later it was in the struggle against economism that was again threatening to drag the movement into opportunism, with the publication of our pamphlet Against Economism whose positions on many points were taken up by the founders of the C.C.L.(M-L), as their Statement of Political Agreement shows.
In a great number of groups, particularly in English Canada, IN STRUGGLE’S positions and actions have been arousing great interest for almost four years and in the past few months several of these groups have officially expressed the desire to rally to our ranks. Despite all opportunism that is very generously attributed to us on the question of unity, as well as on other questions, and despite our haste to rally “confused elements” in English Canada (the expression is from The Forge) these groups, like all those in the past, won’t join us, unless we come to a mutual agreement that we share the same line on a fundamental question and no pressure will be exerted on them to hasten their rallying.
The polarization of the movement that is taking place between the C.C.L.(M-L) and our group, will no doubt sharpen the line struggle within the movement and promote a clearer demarcation on fundamental questions of line and program. As for us, we intend to outline in a straight forward way our disagreements with the C.C.L.(M-L) just like with any other group. In the following pages, we will therefore try, on one hand, to criticize the C.C.L.(M-L)’s conception towards unity; on the other, to do a critique of our own errors in what concerns the struggle for unity, while at the same time demonstrating that the accusations of opportunism that the C.C.L. (M-L) addressed to us set aside the reality of the history of the movement.
It’s been several months now that the League has been criticizing our opportunism on unity with remarkable consistency. We shall see further on that we have effectively committed opportunistic errors but even if the League’s positions and criticisms seem at first glance to be based solidly on principles, their basis in reality is often non-existent. And one of the dialectical materialist principles is precisely that the resolution of all contradictions depends on a concrete analysis of the concrete situation.
Last autumn in Montreal, 3 Quebec Marxist-Leninist groups fused to form the League. Further developments showed that despite the League’s denials, the latter wasn’t just any organization, but rather the leading organization of Marxist-Leninists in their struggle for the party, this we have clearly proven in out recent pamphlet Fight the sectarianism of the CCL(M.L.).
But shouldn’t we all be pleased by the existence of such a leading center of struggle for the party? Isn’t it the objective of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists to be able to create the party, and in order to do this, to be able to count on an organization capable of guiding its creation? Of course all Marxist-Leninists seek the creation of the party; of course a majority of them consider it takes an organization to prepare the way. But the fact is that, despite it’s pretentions, an area where it is not deficient, the League does not deserve the title of leading center in the struggle for the party. On the contrary, if it stays on the track it’s in right now, the League could become an important obstacle to the unity of Marxist-Leninists and there by hold back the creation of the party.
The League could easily announce the party’s creation next week, or in 3 months or 6 months, if it adopts Mobilisation viewpoint, that “it is certain that to create the party, we cannot wait for every one to take a stand, for everyone to join a Marxist-Leninist organization, for everyone to be ready to pass on to the next stage” . The League could easily act in this way, especially since it would merely be a repeat of it’s “self proclamation” as the Canadian organization of struggle for the party, “self proclamation” as the Canadian organization of struggle for the party, “self proclamation” in act, if not in words.
It takes great mistrust for the Marxist-Leninist movement and for the advanced elements of the popular masses to affirm that “we cannot wait for everyone to take a stand in order to create the party...” to quote Mobilisation. Who is this “we” and who is this “everyone”. This mistrust demonstrates without doubt a great lack of knowledge of the reality of the movement, but it also reveals a profound ignorance, or in any case a total abandon of the principle formulated by Lenin “to create and strengthen the party is to create and strengthen the union of all the Russian social-democrates”. According to Mobilisation, creating the party means consolidating the League which could then declare itself the party when it feels like it... The other Marxist-Leninists, the backword ones, who aren’t “ready to pass on to the next stage” when that day comes, could always create “their” party too, and so on, because it’s far from certain that the League will one day convince all Marxist-Leninists that their line is as “correct” as they claim. It’s more likely that important faults on major points will be discovered; and once again a group, an organization, with the “correct line” will come along and because of its “correct line” will be able to proclaim itself the party. This is what happens when the party is created without waiting for those who “aren’t ready”.
The line of the League and of Mobilisation on party building and on unity of Marxist-Leninists is erroneous; it is completely opposite to a Marxist-Leninist viewpoint on this question. It doesn’t lead to unity, but to division. It doesn’t lead to the party, but to a multiplication of organizations and, eventually, of parties, each entrenched in its “correct line”. The line of the League and of Mobilisation on party building isn’t Leninist, but rather a repeat of the dogmatic and ultra-leftist error behind the creation of the C.P.C.(M.-L.) in 1970.
The League’s incorrect position on unity and consequently, it’s equally incorrect line on party building stems from a mechanical and subjective application of the principle according to which “the ideological and political line determines everything” a mechanical application which causes them to reject in practice the teaching of Lenin; namely that “to create and strengthen the party is to create and strenghten the union” of all Marxist-Leninists; and “before uniting and in order to unite, we must draw lines of demarcation.”
In other words, the Marxist-Leninist line which should guide the work of communists at every stage of the struggle and on all questions is not based on the conviction of one tendency or another of one organization or another, that it has the “correct line”.
No, the Marxist-Leninist line, the correct application of principles in a given situation can only be the result of struggle, a struggle against errors and deviations, a struggle against opportunism. It’s in the course of this same struggle that the truth will appear and that the Marxist-Leninist line will emerge and triumph over opportunism and revisionism. It’s this very struggle which will reveal who the movement should recognize as its leading center. A decision which will be decided by the correct leadership provided by one or another group or organization.
Today if we state that the League’s proclamation as the “leading center” of the movement was an error, if we state that the League’s proclamation of the party under currents conditions would be an even more disastrous error, it’s precisely because the line struggle has not been fully waged within the movement on all the fundamental questions. Neither on the path of the proletarian revolution in Canada, nor on international questions; nor on the tasks of communists at the present stage; nor on the question of party and unity of Marxist-Leninist, as the League established the correctness of its positions nor the erroneous nature of the divergent positions present in the movement. In other words, the League has not “demarcated itself”. So in what way can it consider it correct that it invite the entire Marxist-Leninist movement to join it in order to advance the building of the party? How can they consider that all they have to do is to affirm their “correct” line, and the movement will be convinced.
It so happens that within the Marxist-Leninist movement as it existed in the fall of 1975 when the League was created, in just as today September 1976, the struggle to demarcate has not reached the necessary level whereby each element, organization, group, cell and circle... of which the movement is composed is able to clearly take a stand. We consider however that in this situation Lenin’s principle “that before uniting and in order to unite it is necessary to draw lines of demarcation” should be rigorously applied. That is an essential condition for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. In this matter, may we repeat that the League is going nowhere fast due to the simple fact that it persists in asserting that it has the “correct line”, except in arriving at looking ridiculous to an ever larger segment of the movement.
For example, the League claims that to affirm the existence of an alliance between the Canadian Bourgeoisie and American imperialism is to misunderstand the theory of three worlds. We believe nevertheless that this alliance exists in fact, in the economic, political and military reality, and this is obvious to anyone who approaches the question without prejudice, in a dialectical materialist way, and not in a subjective and idealist way. Neither do we declare that this alliance contradicts the theory of three worlds, which nowhere says that all second word countries have the same ties with the two superpowers. To deny the alliance between American imperialism and the Canadian bourgeoisie is to twist reality in the name of principles, and to deform the principles.
We can give many other similar examples of certain Canadian Marxist-Leninists, especially those in the League, who confuse ideological line, i.e. a collection of principles on which their analysis of the situation and their action is based, with the political line i.e. the application of these principles that should be made in the present situation. And to these who contest their point of view, they invariably reply that “the political line is always the determining factor” thereby, rejecting the very basic precept of dialectical materialism, according to which the solution to all questions is found in “the concrete analysis of the concrete situation”. In other words we don’t reject the principle that “the ideological and political line is always the determining factor”, on the contrary. We believe that our actions will be correct only if they stem from a Marxist-Leninist line, and that to develop this line we should apply dialectical materialism, not idealism and subjectivism.
So, the first condition for the creation of the Canadian organization is not yet realized today: the struggle to demarcate from positions within the movement has not yet run its course! It hasn’t been accentuated enough so that the divergences clearly appear and the major contradictions are resolved. It therefore follows that the movement as a whole is not able to take positions with full possession of the facts. We can regret this, we can regret that this confusion is still wide-spread. But the confusion won’t be ended by jumping stages, or by decreeing the “correct line” or the “leading center”. This will only increase the division and impede the unity of Marxist-Leninists. And we should never forget that this is our very objective, an essential objective so that the party can emerge.
The League does not disagree with the principle “before uniting and in order to unite, it is necessary to draw lines of demarcation.” But it applies it in such a localist, such a limited and narrow way, that in practice robs it of meaning. Thus it says that the League was created in a just manner because the three founding groups agreed that each one of them had raised the call for the creation of the organization one year or so before. Today, they act like the movement’s leading center because they have outlined their “correct line” in their “Statement of Political Agreement...”, and because of three or four articles or pamphlets denouncing “IN STRUGGLE’S” positions on the principal contradiction, on the international questions, and on unity.
On one hand, did the League’s founding groups take the time before their founding to establish their positions on a rigorous scientific basis? Did they bother to scientifically demonstrate to the entire movement across the country the erroneous aspect of the positions they rejected? Did they make an effort to diffuse their line or to indicate how they intended to achieve the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninist? Not at all. That is why we maintain that the League was created without the knowledge of the Marxist Leninist movement. To state the opposite is to state that in November 1975, the Marxist-Leninist movement consisted only of the three founding groups, because to our knowledge, nobody beside themselves knew of the decision to create the League before it was announced. The League’s creation was marked by much sectarisn by the total disregard for the rest of the Canadian Marxist-Leniniist movement. The League founding groups demarcated among themselves before finally reaching agreement. That’s fine, but the demarcation with respect to the entire movement, only took place after the League’s creation. That shows an advanced case of localism and narrowness.
On the other hand, the League today claims to have the “corret line” and it’s on this basis that it intend to act as the leadiig center of struggle for the party. That is the role it has confers on itself. But did it wait to receive the movement’s criticism its positions? Had it formulated them on a scientific basis? Did it criticize other points of view in the movement in a rigorous and concrete way? Not in the least. The League has not added an ounce of concrete proof to its fundamental positions contained the “Statement of Political Agreements...” since the latter publication in November 1975. All it has done is to repeat certain of the chapters and passages, without taking into account in the least, the criticisms or the objections which have been raised. This is another example of sectarism and subjectivism having the upper hand. The League has continued to be ignorant about the Marxist-Leninist movement: it has continued to act as if the movement was made up only of it alone, casting other groups into the hellfire of opportunism, or ranking them among the “confused elements” of English Canada.
And it’s under these conditions that the League dares declare itself “leading center” of the movement, dares declare itself the organization with the “correct line”. Certainly if the movement is the League then the League is the “leading center.” However, it is not the movement. And that changes everything.
Recognizing the Marxist-Leninist line within the movement not an act of faith: the Canadian Marxist-Leninist shouldn’t take the League’s, nor anyone elses word for it. The correctness of a political line is a scientific question, and the ultimate criterion is practice. But the League acts as if only it has enough access to Marxist-Leninist principles, and that if it studiously reproduces the positions of the Chinese Communist Party, its application of the principles to the practice of the Canadian revolution will necessarily be correct. This is a manifestation of an incorrect conception of the relationship between theory and practice, it is idealistic, and not a dialectical, materialist conception.
Thus, because the superpowers are the principal enemies revolution on a world-wide scale, they become, according to League, two enemies on the same scale of the Canadian people with whom they are in contradiction. This therefore, is the secondary contradiction in the course of the revolution in Canada. And what becomes of the economical, political and military alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism in context? Nowhere has the League made a concrete analyst of this situation or rather if it began one in their “Statement of Political Agreement...”, it greatly falsifies the conclusions stating that both superpowers dominate Canada. Except for case of Germany we don’t know of any equivalent situation; where in the world; if it does exist elsewhere than in Germany, which is, after all, divided into two states, the elsewhere certainly in Canada.
In this case as in many others, the League has a strong tendency to make Marxist-Leninist principles into dogmas to which the reality must correspond no matter what the cost. Thus instead of making a concrete analysis of the Marxist-Leninist movement in order to understand exactly what the situation is, the level of development and the particular contradictions, it tries to model it according to its dogmatic and narrow conceptions. We have seen in Fight the Sectarism of the C.C.L.(M.-L.) what this has meant in terms of “polemic” against Mobilisation and Western Voice Collective. Neither group was considered part of the Marxist-Leninist movement. And what’s even more off the mark in the case of Mobilisation is that this group doesn’t belong to the movement not because of an opportunistic line, but rather because of the “divorce” between its political line and the “organizational form which it takes”! However as to the exact nature of this divorce, the League is utterly silent.
This reasonning by an organization like the League which never ceases to declare that “the political and ideological line is always the determining factor” comes as a great surprise. Just as the League reasoning that it is “pure opportunism” on the part of the May First Collective to claim to contribute to the debates of the Marxist-Leninist movement because the latter’s writings are mere “intellectual games” “without practice in the working class”! We are familiar with this language, because it is exactly the same way that our positions were “welcomed” in 1972 and 1973 by the “work sector” of Cap St-Jacques and Maisonneuve! It is strange how dogmatism and opportunism make good bedfellows. But it is logical: they are both fed by subjectivism, which is the negation of Marxism-Leninism. It often happens that dogmatism, or “doctrinairism” to follow Lenin’s expression is a mask for right opportunism. And that is exactly what is happening in case of the League as for as unity is concerned. Ardent defenders of principles in words the League refuses to recognize as M-L almost everyone who doesn’t think the same way; it does and takes every chance it gets to put down its opponents as it did with the Association Project of IN STRUGGLE! in 1974; one year later it makes a scandal of it, a monstrous conspiracy. The same type of thing happening again with its recent criticisim of an “internal text” of IN STRUGGLE! whose contents the vast majority of the articles, readers never saw.
This is why if it is correct to say that right-opportunism remains the principal deviation within the Marxist-Leninist movement, a deviation present in all the groups and organizations, it is nevertheless true that the main obstacle to the development of the struggle for unity of communists today is sectarism and dogmatism. For as long as an important segment of the movement remains heavily influenced by dogmatism and sectarism, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to debate in a constructive fashion. As long as an important segment of the movement refuses to make a concrete scientific analysis of the questions where there are divergencies questions it will remain impossible to clarify these questions and to root out the influence of bourgeois ideology from the ranks of the movement.
The unity of the working class under the direction of its Party and, therefore, the unity of all advanced elements of the proletariat, has always been a central goal for our group. If it was only in december ’74, with our document Creons l’organisation marxiste-leniniste de lutte pour le Parti, that we indicated the exact framework we envisioned for the unification of communists for the first time, it is nevertheless true that, anyone who takes the trouble to study our literature without prejudice, can plainly see that since its birth our group has advocated the unity of Marxist-Leninists, and more generally of progressive forces.
It is a sign of great frivolousness to affirm, as the CCL (ML) does, that IN STRUGGLE! has been constantly changing its mind on the question of unity. We have made important mistakes, and we will come back to that further on in this text, but the fundamental line of our group on the question has not changed since our beginnings. It seems to us that it is important today to correct the facts, because the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement is very young and for most of those in it, its origins are unknown; in such a context, erroneous affirmations can easily be considered as grounded when they are not. In addition, the CCL (ML) has a way of relating history and analyzing reality which is most particular and which consists of lining up a series of words and facts out of context, without concern for the overall context of these words and actions and thus without analyzing them to discover their real sense. The CCL (ML) often shows signs of subjectivism. and often examines questions superficially. This often leads it to confuse the line of a group on a given question with the various particular actions, to confuse the general line and the means used to apply it. The CCL (ML) does not seem to understand that, in the course of applying the same line or program, a changing situation might call for changing methods.
Mao Tse Toung expressed this view in On Practice, where he says that almost all the time the theories, plans and projects that men have outlined, must be modified due to transformations that have occurred in the conditions to which these theories, plans and projects applied. Indeed he adds:
As far as social movements are concerned, true revolutionary leaders must not only be good at correcting their ideas theories, plans or programmes when errors are discovered, as has been indicated above; but when a certain objective process has already progressed and changed from one stage of development to another, they must also be good at making themselves and all their fellow revolutionaries progress and change in their subjective knowledge along with it, that is to say, they must ensure that the proposed new revolutionary tasks and new working programmes correspond to the new changes in the situation.
We believe that the right thing to do is to approach the question of unity with this materialistic and dialectical attitude, without fearing to correct our mistakes, without fearing to adapt our methods to new conditions and to a more profound knowledge of the real conditions and of the Marxist-Leninist principles in regard to them.
Since its founding, our group has shown a great interest in the question of unity, unity of the proletariat under its Party and unity of the Marxist-Leninist and progressive forces towards the building of this Party. Pour le Parti Proletarien published in October 1972, is itself a call for unity, but it was more between November ’72 and May ’73, with the “Project de journal” (The newspaper project) that our group called upon the progressive forces in Quebec to join this project of creating a Marxist-Leninist newspaper of propaganda and agitation. IN STRUGGLE! in its Pamphlet no. 1, Pourquoi un journal de combat de la classe ouvriere (Why a newspaper of combat for the working class?) stated that the newspaper should be the tool to “link the militants, the combative groups of the proletariat and the labouring masses”. One year later, in its Pamphlet no. 10, EN LUTTE! apres une premiere annee de travail...(EN LUTTE! after a year of work), our group clearly exposed its viewpoint on the development of unity and the organization of Marxist-Leninists:
As more and more groups and militants wish to correctly apply Marxist-Leninist principles, the unity and the organization of Marxist-Leninists have become essential, because isolated and unorganized, they will remind absolutely unable to face the reformist currents that are looking to expand by taking advantage of the heightening contradictions of capitalism and of the struggles of the labour mouvement.
At the same time, in May 1974, at the anniversary celebration of the newspaper, we also called for a greater political and organizational unity of Marxist-Leninists.
We can conclude from all this that IN STRUGGLE! has always considered that the creation of the Party meant the political and organizational unity of Marxist-Leninists; we can conclude that IN STRUGGLE! was always interested in unifying Marxist-Leninists and in winning over the progressive forces to Marxism-Leninism. Nevertheless, until the fall of 1974, our line and practice on this question contained important errors. To summarize we can say that until the publication of “Creons...”, in December ’74, IN STRUGGLE! s line was deeply marked by two errors “inherited” from the movement as it had developped up to that point; errors with which we had only partially broken.
Our first error related to the national question in Quebec. Pour le Parti Proletarien contained a good criticism of bourgeois nationalism that had dominated progressive forces in the sixties, but it did not goes as far as to adopt a Marxist-Leninist position on the question up in its practical application, which means to recognize the necessity of the proletarian revolution all over Canada, while fighting for the recognition of the right of the Quebec nation to self-determination. It is in Creons l’organisation... that, for the first time, we adopted a clear and firm position regarding the proletarian revolution in Canada under the leadership of a one Party. In this way, Creons..., marks an important step in our break with this form of opportunism which had continued to hold back our actions, and to limit our horizons to Quebec alone, thus cutting us off from the progressive forces in the other areas of the country.
Creons l’organisation.... also marked an ideological break with another form of opportunism, a form also inherited from the past movement of progressive forces; here we mean our spontaneism on the question of organization. Indeed, until autumn 1974, we acted as if ideological action alone, that is propaganda and agitation alone, would in themselves spark the organization of the proletarian vanguard on a Marxist-Leninist basis. At the time, we supported the setting up of some progressive workers’ committees, considering that, once they were won over to communism, they would rally to the movement and would magically form the Party. Considerable efforts that we have made at that time to win over other groups to our views are manifestations of the same mistake whose extreme forms were, without doubt, IN STRUGGLE!’s “groupes amis” (Groups, friend of “En Lutte”), the “comite ad hoc” (AD HOC Committee) and the “projet d’Association (Association project).
We have gone through the main points of the history of the organizational form in our recent publication Fight the sectarianism of the CCL (ML). All the same, let us recall that the “organizational forms” which we set up between the spring of 1973 and the end of the summer of 1974, all had in common bringing together several groups or the militants from several groups, with unequal development, to create the organization of struggle, or more exactly to work out a project for creating the organization, and to define its program. This way of proceeding proved to be erroneous, as its failure showed.
Because we did not firmly establish the principles on which we were calling for the unity of groups and militants on the pretext of calling upon them to define the line and the program along with us, our view led to a liquidation of ideological struggle and demarcation, it led us to conceive the organization as a federation, with IN STRUGGLE! as a main or leading group. We now reject this view as an opportunist one.
It is not without value to show today that, in certain ways, this way of proceeding was the one being put forward in 1971 by CAP’s St-Jacques and Maisonneuve, who claimed that the Organisation politique autonome des travailleurs (The autonomous political organization of workers), OPAT, would result from the multiplication of workers’ committees. Advocating the setting up of a Marxist-Leninist organization, Creons l’organisation... was for IN STRUGGLE!, the rejection of its previous spontaneism in matters of organization.
The break, consolidated in “Creons...” as much with strict nationalism that had led us to fight in Quebec alone as with our spontaneous conceptions in matters of organization, did not come about in one day. It was the result of an important struggle within our ranks as within the ranks of whole movement. The proof is that, in autumn 1974, many Quebec groups, among them the (CCL (ML)’s founders, published documents that put forward the struggle on a Canadian scale and the necessity of a Marxist-Leninist organization.
Thus the fall of 1974 marks a decisive stage in the development of the movement in Quebec and in Canada, because the diffusion of the views of Quebec groups in the rest of the country in the following months pulled Canadian Marxist-Leninists out of their isolation and they, too, started the diffusion of their views, in particular with the creation of Canadian Revolution in Toronto, May 1975.
That period of autumn 1974, clearly shows that “Marxism-Leninism develops in the struggle against that which is anti-Marxist”. For, can we not say that the clarifications made at the time were the result of many months of efforts and struggles to dislodge opportunism that dominates the Marxist-Leninist movement before, efforts and struggles that allowed the very groups that agreed with them, and all of the movement, to acquire a deeper understanding of Marxist-Leninist principles and the historical teachings of the workers’ movement?
* * *
In spite of their decisive importance, the ideological clarifications that came about in the Quebec Marxist-Leninist movement in autumn 1974, did not resolve all the problems. Indeed, it is one thing to clarify goals, to more clearly define orientation; it is another, to get the appropriate means together to transform things pratically. Today, looking back, we can say that even if major steps were taken, our group still made important errors in 1975 due to a lack of a rigorous plan of unity.
IN STRUGGLE!s call for unity and for the organization, starting in the spring of ’74 had almost unhoped-for effects. Just like at the start of the newspaper project in the winter of ’72-’73, when the call for unity was taken up by many Quebec groups who already recognized our leadership in the movement. Between January and November 75, five Montreal groups, two from Quebec and one from Toronto undertook, over a period of many months, a process of integration during which the main aspects of the ideological and political line were studied and agreed upon, after which, the process of dissolution of these groups was undertaken through the integration of their members on an individual basis, and in accordance with the statutes of our group.
Some have criticized those groups that integrated into IN STRUGGLE! for having not made their decision public. On one hand, this criticism should be addressed towards our group, because that was our decision, not theirs. Despite the negative character of this silence, in certain respects, our decision was not without foundation.
Moreover we plan to synthesize and publish a document on the struggle that accompanied the integration of the Toronto Communist Group, because in this case it is a group that had made itself known as a Marxist-Leninist group. To a certain extend, this evaluation will show waged the struggle in most cases with other groups.
But we must say that we find it unnecessary to publish something each time a group or a circle rallies to our group. In many cases to date, groups that have rallied to us were not Marxist-Leninist groups that were directly involved in the struggle for the Party: their rallying to IN STRUGGLE! constituted at the same time the start of their formal participation in the Marxist-Leninist movement and their practical commitment to the central task for (ML) communists at this point. To publish a self-criticism in such a case would have been a formality which would not serve to move the movement forward. Things would have been different if these groups had been responsible for the wide spread propagation of erroneous views among masses while claiming to be Marxist-Leninist.
Still, our silence about these rallyings has deprived the movement of relevant information about developments that were occurring, as well as about the means and methods our group concretely used to apply its line on unity, which would have given the movement the chance to judge our line more concretely.
* * *
The publication of Pour le Parti Proletarien and the creation of l’Equipe du Journal in autumn 72 marked an important step in the struggle against opportunism that was on the way to poisoning the entire movement of the progressive and Marxist-Leninist forces in Quebec, as well as the rest of the country. But as we see in the following years, in particular with the CSLO in 1973 and 1974, the victory against opportunism was only partial and not at all definitive. More particularly, we can say that from 1972 to the end of 74, IN STRUGGLE! remained strongly marked by spontaneism in matters of organization: we can say that the “legacy” of the “Work sector” of CAP St-Jacques had not been entirely overcome.
In this sense, Creons l’organisation... (December 74) marks a new victory over opportunism, not only because it was then that IN STRUGGLE! clearly put forward the setting up of an organization of struggle for the Party, but also because it was then that our group broke with bourgeois nationalism and correctly situated the Quebec national question in the framework of the Canadian proletarian revolution. Thus, the Party was no longer perceived as being the result of the establishment of many workers’ committees and mass organizations, but rather the constitution of Marxist-Leninist forces into a structured centralized organization directly involved in the construction of the bases of the Party, factory cells on the country scale.
Without doubt, this development was a victory over opportunism, not only for IN STRUGGLE!, but also for the groups that created the CCL (ML) in autumn 1975. This victory is an ideological one...that has yet to be applied in practice in the struggle for unity. It took more than a year for IN STRUGGLE! to see clearly all practical consequences of the conclusions drawn in Creons...; one year of gropings, of trial and error; but also one year of progress because what is clear today wasn’t clear yesterday and, that means that new steps forward are now possible.
Nevertheless, IN STRUGGLE! s errors and hesitations had negative effects that we must not try to minimize. In fact, our group has often played a leadership role in the movement in the past few years and therefore some Marxist-Leninist groups and militants have come to expect this leadership from us, they have come to expect an orientation for their action. This is normal: in a movement of unequal development the most advanced groups must assume leadership. But, this has nothing to do with “self-proclamation” because it is not a matter of saying: “We are the leading center, follow us!” Rather it is a matter of using its knowledge and experience, to struggle to define a correct course, to put it forward and to make it triumph. IN STRUGGLE! has not firmly taken charge of this responsability in the last year.
We are aware of this error and we intend to correct it completely in the coming months; not to be content in calling for unity of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists, but to put forward clear propositions on this question and to accomplish them well. We do not say that we are the “leading center” of the movement at this time, but we consider that our view on the way to pursue the struggle for the Party is right, that it conforms to Marxist-Leninist teachings and that it refers to the concrete conditions in our country. Our duty is then to put it forward firmly, to present it to all Marxist-Leninists in the country, and to convince them that it is right. While doing this, we must be attentive to other points of view on the question, analyze them, adopt them or fight them, according to whether they advance our cause or not.
The objective of Marxist-Leninist is to unite, for their unity is essential to the creation of the party. Some comrades including those of Mobilisation who openly says so in their Documents of the first conference of Mobilisation, consider that the unity of all ML communists is not necessary for the creation of the Party. This conception is completely erroneous and must be rooted out of the movement. It does not lead to unity but to division. Benefiting from the teachings of the history of the Russian, Chinese and Albanian communist parties, most particularly from the period of their formation, Canadian Marxist-Leninists must apply without hesitation the principle which was formulated by Lenin: “To create and strenghten the Party is to create and strenghten the union of all the social democrats”, in todays terms, the union of all Marxist-Leninists (our emphasis).
If one takes the trouble to study the history of the three above mentioned parties, one soon finds that they were created and that they developed amidst an intense line struggle over questions that were most definitely central ones. For example, in Russia, there was a tendancy within the Party which rejected the political struggle against the Tsar’s rule; this is how the Menchevik tendency appeared which went as far as to flout the Congress decisions in order to make its opportunist positions triumph. In China, as is related by Mao Tsetoung, the first years of the Party were marked by the struggle against right opportunism which managed to hide itself under a mask of “left” tendencies charging that the line defended by Mao Tsetoung was opportunist. In Albania, the creation of the Party happened as the result of a conference of various groups representing diverse tendencies, including Trotskyists who were later exposed.
Notwithstanding these divergencies, the communists of these countries first searched for unity, conscious that unity of communists is essential to the unity of the proletariat and that the unity of the proletariat is essential to the victory of the socialist revolution. When Marxist-Leninists claim that “the ideological and political line is determining in all”, they must not forget that the unity of ML communists, the unity of the proletariat and finally the unity of the people are an essential element of the Marxist-Leninist line. To put forward as the League did, that there must be an absolute identity of views over ideological strategical and tactical questions within the Party; to advance as Mobilisation does that the Party can be created without “waiting for all to take positions and rally to the organization”  are two erroneous positions which are complementary to each other and which tend to division.
It must understood, that the unity of the Party and moreover the unity of the Marxist-Leninists still dispersed in a variety of groups will always be the result of a struggle, of a struggle against erroneous ideas, of a struggle against bourgeois ideology, and that it is in this struggle that the Marxist-Leninist line will be consolidated.
To claim that unity will result from on “absolute identity of view”, to claim that the Party can be created without “having to wait” for all Marxist-Leninists, is in practice to renounce the line struggle in the movement; it is to conceive of the Party, as a “haven” peace and unity, independent from the dynamic forces of the workers movement and of its most progressive strata, where the struggle is permanent; it is to conceive of the Party as outside of the life of the workers’ movement. It is the easy solution which consists of uniting all those who agree completely with each other... without waiting for those with whom they disagree. This point of view is not that of unity, it is that of division raised to the level of a system.
The Marxist-Leninists wish for and seek unity. The signs of this desire are varied and ever more and more numerous: we see manifestations in all corners of the country, from Halifax to Vancouver. The Marxist-Leninists who still reduce the movement to the most advanced, less “confused” – the term is from the League – Quebec groups, these Marxist-Leninists retard the development of the movement. History has shown many times that those “advanced” groups who have come to conceive of their “advance” as an “acquired right”, who have begun to be cocky with everyone else and who have begun push others aside like lepers, history has shown that these groups were often at the tail-end of the movement. Thus in 1971, 1972 and 1973, in Quebec, the most “advanced” groups in the movement, were, as we all remember, the CAP St-Jacques and the CAP Maisonneuve, in particular the “work sector”. They were so “advanced” that they did not have to discuss For the Proletarian Party with “l’Equipe du journal”; they did not even have to read it: the people from E.D.J., were intellectuals without practice! We must guard ourselves against this type of “advancement” that only leads us... backwards.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the different groups, organizations and circles that constitute the movement are not equally developed. Some have more experience and a greater diversity of experiences, than others; some have shown, generally because of their experience, but mostly because of their capacity to draw lessons from their experience, that they are better able to apply Marxism-Leninism correctly to the revolutionary struggle in our country. These groups are obviously expected to play an important role in the struggle for unity. In other words it is up to them to make proposals, to act in such a way that will help the whole movement advance towards the goal that we all pursue!
But, “to help the whole movement advance” doesn’t mean to state: “we are advanced, follow us... if you can”. “To help the whole movement advance” means to work for the disappearance of unequal developement in the movement, very real inequality that is an obstacle to unity. But an inequality that can be overcome, history proves once again, for today’s advanced groups weren’t always advanced! That goes without saying, except that, but sometimes things are so evident that people end up forgetting them.
For those who have been seriously following the movement’s evolution on a country-wide scale, it is obvious that in the last year and a half enormous steps forward have been taken, mostly in English Canada but also in Quebec: everywhere in Canada, progressive forces, until then Marxist-Leninist only in the abstract, are resolutely struggling to advance the present tasks of the movement, that is the building of the Party through rallying the proletariat’s advanced elements to communism; that is the development of agitation, propaganda and organization on Marxist-Leninist bases within the labour movement. These highly important developments, important in quality as well as quantity, are themselves a strong uniting factor more and more engaged in identical tasks, guided more and more by the same ideological line and by a political line that has many points in common, Canadian Marxist-Leninists are in fact more and more united. The role that we assign to the Canadian organization struggle for the Party is to lead this movement, where uniting factors are developing, towards its complete political and organizational unity, that is towards the Party.
It is important to be particularly clear on this point. Indeed, we must beware of the point of view that says that first we should achieve “absolute” political unity and that then we can go on to organizational unity. This point of view is contrary to the dialectical nature of things. Political unity is evidently necessary to organizational unity; but, at the same time, organizational unity is necessary to political unity. It is democratic centralism that permits us to unite the political and the organizational, that permits us to ensure organizational unity and unity of action starting from political unity, starting from a program; and at the same time, to consolidate the organization’s political unity through the centralisation of the line struggle and the submission of the minority to the majority. Without a unified organization, democratic centralism can evidently not be applied and conditions are thus less favorable to the realization of political unity, which in practice, means small groupism, and localism prevail over the Party spirit.
In other words, a certain level of political unity must have a corresponding particular form of organizational unity. We believe that the organizational form that we call “the Canadian organisation of struggle for the Party” corresponds to the present level of unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. We believe that it is within this organization that, henceforth Canadian (ML) communists will have to deploy their efforts in order to make Marxism-Leninism triumph over the manifestations of opportunism and revisionism that still hinder the movement’s unity and its joining with the workers’ movement. We believe that it is within this organization, and through its action, that the conditions for the creation of the Party, particularly the political unity of all Marxist-Leninists will be achieved. We believe that, without this organization to unite Marxist-Leninists of all regions of the country, the movement’s unity and the Party’s creation will be greatly retarded.
Of course, they’re will still be those people, as there has already been in our country and elsewhere in the world, who would create the “Party of those that share an absolutely identical point of view and who don’t have to wait for the backward ones”; of course, but what are these “parties” that unite only a faction of the movement? Marxist-Leninist parties or “trotskyists parties”, factional parties, factional parties of the advanced elements? If such a party, divisive in nature, is ever created here, we must say right away and say that the Party would still have to be created for as Lenin put it, “to create and strengthen the Party is to create and strengthen the union of all Marxist-Leninists”.
Today, Canadian Marxist-Leninists have the imperative duty to struggle to the end against these divisive tendencies in the movement, for their development would be most harmful to the revolutionary struggle in our country. To work against the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement, is to work against the proletariat’s unity. The factors of division within the Canadian proletariat are sufficiently big and sufficiently cultivated by the bourgeoisie for us to begin to destroy them right now, rather than by promoting them by formalizing and giving a structure to the divisions in the Marxist-Leninist movement. Among these factors, the national factor, the division of the Quebec proletariat and the English-Canadian proletariat, is one of the most important. History has proven this many times and the present manoeuvres of the bourgeoisie illustrate it daily. Today, Marxist-Leninist who charge blindly ahead without taking these factors into account, will inevitably ram into a wall like the revisionist CP did throughout its history. It is among others, that the goal of the creation of the Canadian organization by Marxist-Leninists from all over the country, is of such determining importance in the situation where we find ourselves. The ignorance or misunderstanding of this aspect of the problem in practice constitutes a dividing factor within the Marxist-Leninist movement. Ignorance, even contempt of what Marxist-Leninist forces really are in English Canada, are to be found in the texts of the League and Mobilisation and they count as part of the dividing factors of the movement. We must struggle against this ignorance and contempt, for they lead not to unity but to division.
It is in this perspective that we put forward the creation of a Canadian organization of struggle for the Party, as we do not recognize that the League embodies the necessary conditions to lead the movement towards greater unity, the League itself having demonstrating in its words and actions that it has no intention of devoting the necessary efforts to the unity of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists. Indeed, from the moment that it states that it has the “correct line” and that it is the “leading center” of the movement and that, consequently, other Marxist-Leninists need only to join its ranks to achieve the unity of the movement, in the present situation, the Leagues adopts a divisive point of view.
The “correct line” cannot be decreed; the leading center of the movement (nor that of a party or organization) cannot be self-proclaimed. These two attitudes are both radically foreign to Marxism-Leninism, and to historical and dialectical materialism.
The Marxist-Leninist line and the leadership that must guide its correct application are built in struggle and not otherwise. Now, if we want to situate ourselves correctly in relationship to the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and not only in relationship to one or another of the groups that compose it, we can easily recognize that if the struggle for the clarification of the fundamental questions that at present confront the movement is well underway, it is far from over, it is far from having permitted everyone to weigh the issues and to take a stand in possession of all the facts. “Before uniting and in order to unite, we must draw lines of demarcation”, Lenin said while speaking of the struggle to “create and strengthen the union of Marxist-Leninists”, to “create and strengthen the Party.”
If today not one single group can claim to be the “leading center” equipped with the “correct line”, the fact still remains that the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists needs leadership and that it must be lead with the aim of arriving at the establishment of a Marxist-Leninist line for the revolution in Canada. It is with this aim that today we put forward a plan for unity that achieves these two goals: to unmask the opportunist and erroneous tendencies in the movement, thus strengthening the Marxist-Leninist line; and to work for the realization of the organization unity of Marxist-Leninists around this line. Furthermore these two goals are inseparable.
The struggle for unity among Canadian Marxist-Leninists will not be easy at all points. Some considerable divergencies do exist; in fact, between the CCL. (ML) and us, these divergencies directly relate to questions that are the current preoccupations of the great majority in the movement. According to us, there are three major questions. The first, is the question of the course of the revolution in Canada and more particulary the place of American imperialism among the enemies of the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian people. The second, is the question of the internationalist tasks of Canadian (ML) communists in the face of the danger of a world war and the conjunctural division of the globe into three worlds, towards the question of the independence of Canada in the hegemonic context of two superpowers. We can see that the first and the second questions are intimately linked; indeed, if American imperialism is an ally of the Canadian bourgeoisie it is impossible to place it on the same level as Soviet social-imperialism, simply as a secondary enemy of the Canadian people. Third, is the general question of the current tasks of Marxists-Leninists in the struggle to build the socialist revolutionary Party, in the eventual struggle to constitute a “national united front” against the threats towards the independance of the country, a question that brings out the problem of establishing the right relationship between the struggle to rally the vanguard proletarian elements and the struggle for unity in the movement, and even more, the question of the relationship between democratic struggles and proletarian revolution in a country such as Canada.
IN STRUGGLE! taking into consideration these different aspects of the question, has elaborated a plan for the struggle for unity that, at the same time, 1) formulates a clear goal: the creation of a Canadian Marxist-Leninist organization, 2) takes into consideration the situation of the movement, its unequal development, its dispersion, its delay in regard to the workers’ movement, and finally, places in the foreground the matter of developing the Marxist-Leninist line for the socialist revolution in Canada, by intensifying the “struggle against that which is anti-Marxist”. In other words IN STRUGGLE! ’s view is that organizational unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement must rely upon a Marxist-Leninist’ program elaborated in the very framework of the struggle for unity, to the knowledge and in the view of the whole movement that will then pronounce on each of its essential components; we can also say that different groups that are part of the movement will better realize the necessity to demarcate themselves in regards to this program, which will be to put forward with the clear aim of formulating a call for organizational unity in the movement in Canada.
IN STRUGGLE! is not claiming to have, to date, elaborated the process of unification of Marxist-Leninists, the program that the organization should adopt at its created. In reality, we recognize that the criticisms which have been addressed to us, including CCL(ML)’s, since the publication of what took is know as IN STRUGGLE’S “manifest”, Creons l’organisation ... in December 1974, are not without foundation. On the other hand, we are far from adhering to CCL(ML)’s view on many major points in the three areas of questions as mentioned above; the process of revolution in Canada, the international conjuncture and the current tasks of (ML) communists in the struggle for the Party.
In the coming year, we intend to put forward clear and firm views on each of these important questions; and to subject them to the criticism of the whole movement and of the advanced strata of the proletarian and popular masses of the country, in diverse ways: through the newspaper, the journal, pamphlets, conferences and public debates, where all divergencies can be expressed. We will also work to elaborate and diffuse a program proposal for the Canadian organization of struggle for the Party.
At the end of this period of struggle on fundamental questions related to the program of the Marxist-Leninist organization, during which all views will have been expressed and all propositions formulated, it will be possible to call the founding congress of the organization. All Marxist-Leninist groups in the country will be able to take part in this congress. The criteria will be “ideological line” which to us is what defines the perimeters of the movement. It will be part of the functions of the congress to take positions on the diverse program proposals put forward and to adopt the program itself as well as the statutes of the new organization.
This is the method of struggle for unity, of struggle for the creation of the Canadian organization, which alone can surmount the present conditions. Starting from the actual unity of the movement around a Marxist-Leninist ideological line, we must fight opportunist deviations and currents, unify the movement on a higher degree, on the level of an organization that is consolidated around a Marxist-Leninist political program.
The political program is the fundamental and essential basis of any (ML) communist organization. This is why, without doubt, debates will take place around the program, before leading to the unification of the Marxist-Leninist movement. With this perspective, IN STRUGGLE! intends, for its part, to intensity its interventions on this matter in the months to come in order that its positions be perfectly well known, in order that the demarcation with all the positions that we find erroneous be clear. If today our line contains some ambiguities and creates confusion on certain points, we will work resolutely abolish these ambiguities, and to clear up the confusion.
For this we will use our newspaper and journal extensively. Morever we intend to open the pages of our press to the groups who wish to take part of the debate, to address the movement but who do not have the necessary tools. Furthermore, we will organize conferences and public debates in different cities of the country on the major points which today hold the movement’s attention and that are at the heart of the question of the program. At present we foresee four conferences of this type, to be carried out on a regional and local scale. Whenever possible, with the aim of reaching the masses directly, particularly the advanced workers who are greatly concerned about the question of unity at present, and who strongly wish to see the movement break definitively with the amateurish character of its action. The first conference will deal with the question of unity; the others, with the road to revolution, with international questions and, finally, with the present tasks of Canadian (ML) communists.
But to agree on a general ideological line and on a program is not enough to create an organization. The organization that we must create must be a qualitative leaps forward in the building of the proletarian Party. Thus it must permit the Marxist-Leninist forces to lead a resolute struggle for the penetration of Marxism-Leninism in the masses, to demystefy bourgeois ideology in all its forms and to ensure the rallying of the advanced elements of the proletariat and the people to communism and their active involvment in the revolutionary struggle. Indeed only in this way will (ML) communists lay the basis of the Party among the masses.
For this, the creation of the Canadian organization of struggle for the Party will have to correspond with the establishment on a country-wide scale, of the four conditions that we already set forth in the series “The tasks of the Marxist-Leninist movement”. That is:
1) To base ourselves a political program that clearly demarcates itself from all forms of opportunism and constitutes, as we’ve shown, the fundamental basis of political unity of the organization, a program in relation to which the whole of the movement will have the possibility of demarcation itself;
2) to apply democratic centralism which is the basis of the unity of action of any organization and of any Marxist-Leninist Party as well as being the essential condition for the development of political unity in the organization. This means a complete rupture with “small groupism” and the triumph of “Party spirit”;
3) to set up the organizational structures that will permit the building of the Party; it is a question of creating the organization on the bases of the communist cell which is the first organizational unity, with the objective of creating the greatest possible number of communist factory cells every time conditions permit it; it is also a question of developing all the regional structures and the necessary leading organs, and finally the “peripheral” organizations that the different forms of (ML) communist interventions might require;
4) to build a communist newspaper of agitation, propaganda and organization on a country-wide scale; the organization’s organ will have to correctly reflect the developments of class struggle throughout the country, it will have to penetrate deeply into the Canadian masses and it will have to be a genuine tool of struggle in the readers’ hands, all this in order to become the tool for the unity of the proletariat and, as a precondition to this, of the unity of (ML) communists; for this, we need editors of course, but also correspondents everywhere, numerous distributors and a true material support from the masses.
As we can see from this brief enumeration of the conditions necessary for the organization’s creation, it is evident that appreciable transformations will have to take place on many points in the movement in order that the organization’s creation become than a simple declaration of intention but that it in fact constitutes a qualitative leap forward for the movement.
These transformation are so considerable and so decisive that it is too soon to, undertake their realization wherever this has not yet been done. Many groups have had up till now principally theoretical activities and have operated on a general consensus basis; the members of the future organization will have to be professionnals at revolution, possibly responsible for a very specialized task that will only represent one aspect of an entirety of tasks whose accomplishment will rest on the shoulders of many people: this is already an important difference. Even more, the members of the organization will have to apply the organization’s line and program instead of “elaborating and applying their own line”. They will also be submitted to the leadership elected by the congress instead of acting as they choose, of joining the ranks of a group, of leaving it and of re-enterring when they so choose. The Marxist-Leninist organization must become the school for revolutionary cadres who will have the historical task of ensuring the creation of the Party and building it to be the leading tool of class struggle for the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian people. As a whole for this we must break completely with “small groupism” and adopt a true “party spirit” that places the interests of the people and the revolution before everything, before the interests of the organization and of its members.
To effect these transformations, the creation of the Canadian organization will encompass the adoption of a program joining together all its members, the adoption of statutes that will regulate its internal functionning, establish the rights and duties of its members, define its organizational structures and its mode of leadership at the different levels. It is only in this way that it will be possible to achieve a true unity of thought and action in the new organization. Such unity is evidently necessary since the organization’s principal task will be to realize the unity of all Marxist-Leninists in order to create the Canadian proletariat’s one Marxist-Leninist Party.
Nevertheless, we must be aware that at present a certain number of groups at least in an embryonic way fulfill all or a part of the characteristics of the organization. As far as IN STRUGGLE! is concerned, it has tried to develop them in the last two years and considers it has taken important steps forward on that road. In the near future, the whole of the group will have to take position on a program that, in many aspects, will be a considerable advance in relation to the “manifesto” “Create the organization...” of December 1974; that program will later be published. Our group is applying democratic centralism with more and more vigour. It has diversified its means of penetration of the masses and pays special attention to the creation of “base unit” organized on the model of cells and that workers are joining them in increasing numbers and the day will come when it will be possible to take another step forward and to create true factory cells that will direct the activities of all the “peripheral” organizations necessary to their action; by “peripheral” organizations we mean “readers circles”, “study circles”, “circles of sympathizers”, “committee of struggle”, etc. Finally, in the past few months, our newspaper has been published in English and French. Its content is more and more Canadian, it relies upon growing network of correspondents in different parts of the country and it has significant distribution throughout the country, the number of its subscribers growing rapidly.
Even though in the last two years, IN STRUGGLE! has effectively taken considerable steps forward in matters of organization; even though, for this reason, our group has particular responsibilities towards the movement with which it must share its successes and failures in order to promote greater and more rapid advancements in the whole movement, the fact still remains that, if we want to place the proletariat’s interests first, and then those of the whole Marxist-Leninist movement, the creation of the Canadian organization in the near future is a pressing necessity. Without such an organization, the development of the movement will soon be obstructed (and this means the development of every group that is part of it, including IN STRUGGLE!). For the true development of the movement is ultimately to be found in deeper and stronger links with the proletariat. And, this demands the unity of (ML) communists. The proletariat is bound to lose faith in the ardent defenders of unity that the Marxist-Leninists if the same defenders continues to be divided and engaged in inter-group struggles. In the final analysis, the Marxist-Leninist movement will be unable to rally the proletariat if it doesn’t become a force in its struggle against the bourgeoisie. There lies the essential reason that must push us to work relentlessly and with determination and methodical planning at the building of the Party.
A determining step forward on this road will be the creation of the Canadian organization. It is the duty of all (ML) communists groups, circles, and organizations to pose this problem clearly and to undertake to solve it. A step forward in this direction, will be without doubt the attentive study and criticism of the method that we put forward for achieving our goal. If our method is found to be correct, it means undertaking its application, by studying the questions of program and organization. Today for Canadian Marxist-Leninists to have a “Party spirit” means for them to take up problems from the point of view of the tasks confronting the whole movement, and not from the sole point of view of the preoccupations of one’s own group or organization. And, today the task that must command all others is to ensure the political and organizational unity of the whole movement in order to then create the Party.
We believe that all through the preceding pages, we have indicated the reasons why the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement is a central matter in the present conditions. The essential reason is that the development of the revolutionary struggle demands it. It is furthermore significant that the most ardent supporters of unity are found among communist workers and sympathizers of the movement. “Significant” because communists of various groups and organizations and especially their leaders have something to lose: their small fiefdom, the small group or circle of friends they know well and with whom they agree; or maybe their position as leader... “Small groupism” in fact is based on individualism, individualism raised to the level of a group or organization.
It is “small groupism” pushed to its logical limit – sectarianism – which is undoubtedly the main obstacle to the development of the Marxist-Leninists’ struggle for unity. It is moreover unavoidably accompanied by other signs of individualism, exhibited by “collectives” or individuals. Any occasion can be used as a pretext for such an attitude: the importance of the principles on one or another matter, differences on this or that. This leads to the most erroneous viewpoints such as, the Party may be founded without “waiting” for all communists, since some will not yet be “ready”!
“Small groupism” and sectarianism have been present in the movement for a long time. They have been dangerous enemies of the development of the revolutionary forces in our country. IN STRUGGLE! has frequently faced these enemies of unity, when a large section of the movement refused to discuss its position in 1972, ’73 and ’74; when a large section of the movement refused to acknowledge its existence by passing over its activities in silence when some important groups in the movement were still recently distorting the meaning of its action in front of those less well informed.
“Small groupism” and sectarianism have also worked havoc within IN STRUGGLE! itself and in our relations with other groups. Within the group, a struggle between committees and different levels of leadership still today sometimes goes on, the temptation is always present for a large number of people to build “a circle” that reproduces the conditions of the old days where individuals could more assert themselves. In our relations with other groups, we have also shown sectarianism, due to the influence of a competitive mentality, the desire to be right, to win.
As a class phenomenon, “small groupism” and sectarianism come from petty-bourgeois individualism which is completely foreign to proleterian ideology, this does not mean workers are not sometimes contaminated by this deviation, they are living in a bourgeois society; but it does mean that the victory of proletarian ideology is conditional to the elimination of all forms of individualism. The reaction of the (ML) communists workers and of the supporters of the movement to the divisions still existing within it, should serve to enlighten those still refusing to pose the question of unity in its proper perspective and who put forward a position which leads to maintaining and even sharening the divisions, the primary erroneous aspect of this position consisting precisely in the denial, in practice, of the existence of the movement.
We must hope that these signs of sectarianism, contempt and petty-bourgeois individualism will rapidly be swept out of the movement and that proletarian ideology will triumph completely. Some positive signs in this direction are appearing as we previously mentioned. Moreover this shows how important it is that the workers grasp the question of the unity of Marxist-Leninists and make those people who are looking for pretexts to delay it,, understand that the time of quarelling over words is over, that tne time to build a leading force for the Canadian revolutionary movement has come, and that those who don’t really believe this are about to be overtaken by the events, just like those people who in 1972, ’73 and ’74 stubbornly insisted that it was too early’to put the question of the Party before the workers, that, besides, there weren’t any advanced workers in our country, and, in short, that reformism was a step that had to precede Marxism-Leninism. Didn’t we see some stale leftovers of this “theory”, so precious to the RCT, in Quelques questions brulantes of the Cellule militante ouvriere, CMO, published hardly a year ago?
Why unity? because it is in the interest of the proletariat; because it is necessary for the creation of the Party, without which the proletariat is condemned to stay a victim of capitalist exploitation. Why unity? To put an end to small groups and amateurish forms of struggle and organizations; to transform the movement into a real political force capable of defending the interests of the proletariat and to make them triumph.
How to achieve unity? By a resolute struggle against all that which is “anti-marxist”; by the struggle against “small group mentality” and petty-bourgeois individualism; by the struggle for political unity on a Marxist-Leninist line and for unity in a Canadian organization of all (ML) communists in the country. IN STRUGGLE! does not put forward a “discount” unity, a superficial unity, even if it is accompanied with high-sounding declarations and with “complete self-criticisms”, self-criticism for the gallery which leave many errors solidly in place; IN STRUGGLE! advocates a constructed unity, elaborated in the struggle, in an open and public struggle, which will reach the movement and its sympathizers in all the regions of the country, a unity based fundamentally on a Marxist-Leninist program for socialist revolution in Canada.
We are not saying: we have the “correct line”, you are corrupted by opportunism; come to us and you will become real (ML) communists. But we say: these are our positions; this is why we put them forward and how they differ from other positions; we bring them to your attention and your criticism; we call for organizational unity with you on these positions: make us aware of your positions if they are different; if they prove to be correct and contradict our own, we will adopt them. This is how we will elaborate the Marxist-Leninist line, this is how we will all create our communist organization, where we will adopt rules, and. where we will apply democratic centralism in order to get to a higher form of unity, in order to be able to profit from our activities, to arrive at the unity of all communists and so to create the Party as the leading force of the revolutionary proletariat.
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Our plan is simple, if we look at its roots. To start with, there is the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, whose unity of which resides in its recognition of the Marxist-Leninist ideological line and to a greater or lesser degree the application of this line to the practice of the revolutionary struggle in our country. But the movement is also divided: the political propositions it draws from the Marxist-Leninist principles applied to the Canadian revolution diverge on certain important points of theory and tactics: further, organizational division is the general rule. It is therefore our task in the road leading to the Party, to struggle to reinforce what unites the movement by struggling against erroneous applications of Marxism-Leninism in all regards, including that of unity: it is in this way that we will develop the Marxist-Leninist line, that we will formulate the program of the organization. We must also, at the same time, put this struggle before the entire movement and the masses by putting forward the aim of organizational unity. Once positions are clearly exposed and understood in the whole movement, once the lines of demarcations are drawn, organizational unity is logically necessary for all who share the same line.
If, at the start, the whole of the movement recognizes the Marxist-Leninist platform, as the accurate basis of what forges its unity, it seems possible to us that, the Party spirit prevails, to arrive at the unity of all Marxist-Leninists on a program which pronounces on the central questions of line in the current situation; the path to revolution, the international struggle and the current principal tasks of (ML) communists. If we arrive at unity on such points there is no reason to remain disunited. It would then be within the organization that the necessary unity for the creation of the Party could be built.
Practically speaking. IN STRUGGLE! advocates that during the next few months Canadian Marxist-Leninists should intensify the line struggle, struggle to draw lines of demarcation on fundamental questions of the communist program, in order to arrive at political and organizational unity. For our part, we intend to engage with greater resolution in this crucial task whose aim is to arrive at the victory of a correct application of Marxism-Leninism to the Canadian revolution. To do this, we will clearly detail our positions and criticize those we think are wrong, in our newspaper and our journal, by organizing conferences where we will invite all Marxist-Leninists to come and defend their positions on central questions, by inciting Marxist-Leninists workers and the masses in general to grasp the question, to study it in debates in which we will take part if that is so wished.
We think it is in this way that a Marxist-Leninist line will emerge, will be victorious over opportunism and will compel recognition by the whole movement. The conditions will thereafter be brought together to call for the congress of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and to create the Canadian organization of struggle for the Party.
 Mao Tsetoung’s words deserve to be quoted more extensively. He says: “With this attitude, one studies the theory of Marxism-Leninism with a purpose, that is to integrate Marxist-Leninist theory with the actual movement of the Chinese revolution and to seek from this theory the stand, viewpoint and method with which to solve the theoretical and tactical problems of the Chinese revolution (...) To take such an attitude is to seek truth from facts. “Facts” are all the things that exist objectively, “truth” means their internal relations, that is, the laws governing them, and “to seek” means to study. We should proceed from the actual conditions inside and outside the country, the province, country or district, and derive from them, as our guide to action, laws which inherent in then and not imaginary, that is, we should find the internal relations of the events occuring around us. And in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination, not on momentary enthusiasm, not on lifeless books, but on facts that exist objectively; we must appropriate the material in detail and, guided by the general principles of Marxism-Leninism, draw correct conclusions from it. Such conclusions are not mere lists of phenomena in A,B,C,D order or writings full of platitudes, but are scientific conclusions. Such an attitude is one of seeking truth from acts and not of currying favour by chaptrap. It is the manifestation of Party spirit, the Marxist-Leninist style of uniting theory and practice. It is the attitude very Communist Party member should have at the very least. He who adaopts this attitude will be neither “top-heavy, thin-stemmed and shallow of root” nor “sharp-tongued, thick-skinned and hollow inside”. Selected works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume III, “REFORM OUR STUDY” page 22-23.
 Create the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Struggle for the Party. Some chapters of this supplement from EN LUTTE!’s newspaper have been published in Canadian Revolution, vol 1, no 1: “To Chart the Path of the Revolution is a Task of Prime Importance”.
 Document of the first conference of Mobilisation (Marxist-Leninist). Montreal, July 1976, page 70. Text not available in English. Our translation.
 The Forge, no 12, June 13th ’76, p. 11.
 See the conclusion of the League’s response to the May First Collective in no. 6 of Canadian Revolution.
 IN STRUGGLE!’s supplement no. 29 of the newspaper, december 12,1974.
 On Practice (1937) Selected works of Mao Tse-Tung, volume 1, p. 306.
 IN STRUGGLE! ’s preview no., May 1st, 1973.
 IN STRUGGLE! no. 21, June 27, 1974, and also Les cahiers d’LUTTE! no. 1 to 10.
 Montreal, July 1976, page 70 in particular.
 Cf. amongst others History of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) USSR, concerning Russia; For the Parution of the journal The Communist of Mao Tsetung, concerning China; History of the Party of Labour of Albania, concerning Albania.
 The Forge, no 9, April 22nd 1976, page 3.
 “Documents”... page 70. Our translation.
 Series of four articles published in the newspaper EN LUTTE! from no. 38 to no. 41, from May 8 to June 19, 1975, that were published in English in Canadian Revolution, vol. 1, no. 3, Oct.-Nov. 1975, p. 13-24. This out-of-print tent will be reprinted in the near future.