First Published: In Struggle! No. 211, July 1, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Central Committee (CC) of the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Canada IN STRUGGLE! met recently. Its discussions ended in a spirit of internationalism and great enthusiasm. The Third Session of the Central Committee elected by our Organizations’s Third Congress concluded its work with the unanimous adoption of a resolution of wholehearted solidarity and material support for the Salvadoran people in their struggle. The majority of participants expressed their satisfaction with the decisions made by the CC and the heightened capacity of this committee to play its role as the highest leading body of the Organization between congresses.
The participants concentrated their attention more particularly on two of the main questions on the agenda: the question of rallying workers to the Organization and its Programme; and the work begun several months ago on the question of revisionism. The question of revisionism is dealt with elsewhere in this issue of the newspaper (see page 4), so here we will focus on the question of rallying, which is a key concern of our Organization, especialy since our Third Congress.
In examining this question, we realized that there are many aspects involved in rallying to an organization like ours, ranging from the correctness of the political line and calls to action put forward right throught to the methods of work and leadership used in our ranks – for methods of work and leadership have definite effects on the results of our work with the masses.
The CC noted with satisfaction that the Organization has recently begun to rectify the kind of sectarianism that had in the past sometimes characterized its relations with the masses of working people and their organizations. In this respect, the recent campaign around the referendum in Quebec – to which our Organization devoted much time and effort both in Quebec and in English Qanada was judged a remarkable success. Our Organization can consider that it made an important contribution to making known a position that is both democratic and revolutionary on the national oppression of Quebec.
The defence of the national rights of the Quebec nation along with the national rights of all nations and national minorities in Canada – and the struggle against all forms of discrimination on the basis of one’s national identity is a democratic struggle. This democratic struggle takes on revolutionary significance when it is waged with the conscious purpose of uniting all the popular forces in a common struggle against the system of capitalist exploitation. Starting from this point of view, our Organization waged a non-nationalist struggle against national oppression. At the same time, it considerably broadened its links with progressive forces in all regions of the country.
The facts show, however, that even if a communist organization defends a correct programme in a correct way, this is not enough to ensure significant progress in the recruitment of new members. At certain times, important factors independent of the organization’s own work may play a decisive role. For instance, there is no doubt that many hesitate to work more closely with out Organization and rally to it for reasons that are largely due to the lack of satisfactory explanations so far for the setbacks in the struggle for socialism notably in the U.S.S.R. and in China.
In the opinion of the CC, this same conclusion allows us to deal a solid blow to the idealism and voluntarism that have often characterized our work in the past. It has become clearer that the success of the workers’ class struggle be it the revolutionary struggle for socialism or the struggle for immediate reforms – does not depend solely on the good faith and dedication of the communists in the development of their work.
The CC as a whole opted firmly for this approach, which allowed it to examine a series of other problems in a more even-handed way. These problems included the difficulties experienced in past months by the militants linked to our Organization, a number of whom have been wondering whether they in fact possessed the qualities required of a communist militant. In practice, the demands on communist militants are determined by the organization to which they belong. When the organization functions as if it is on the eve of the revolution, although this is not the case, and when it functions as if the success of the various working-class and popular struggles depends solely on its own efforts it is almost inevitable that its militants find themselves confronted with a mountain of tasks that seem all realistically be expected in the immediate future.
One of the important positive effects of the discussions on these questions was certainly a more correct attitude towards the struggle against women’s oppression. After vigorous debates on both our Organization’s lack of attention to the women’s movement for a long time and the danger of a gradual loss of interest in our own ranks for the struggle against chauvinism, the CC drew some very stimulating practical conclusions. Its decisions indicate the need for a more open-minded attitude towards the struggles waged by the women’s movement as well as the necessity of making special efforts to ensure that women in our Organization find within it material and ideological conditions as favourable as possible to the success of the struggle against the oppression from which they suffer and the triumph of greater equality between women and men in their political work.
Thus, our Organization can now pursue the struggle to achieve the goals it set itself at its Third Congress armed with a better understanding of its role in the current stage and a greater awareness of its errors and weaknesses in the past. A brief glance at the prevailing political situation is enough to see that there is no lack of opportunities to step up our work both in the international arena and in Canada, including within the ranks of the Organization itself.
Revolutionary struggles are on the rise throughout the world. The crisis of imperialism is getting worse and the imperialist powers are feverishly preparing for war. The forces of reaction are intensifying their manoeuvres to preserve their political hegemony over the masses. Communists are still relatively isolated from the popular forces and relatively divided among themselves. These are all questions to which we must turn our attention in the coming months.
When the newspaper resumes publication in August, we will make a more detailed report on the main topics dealt with at the last meeting of the CC, drawing the lessons from our practice in the past and setting out the perspectives that will guide our work in the future. We will also explain the relative importance we will be attaching to the various issues of agitation and propaganda, ranging from constitutional reform to internationalist support work, as well as to certain aspects of our Organization’s internal life – notably education and the pace of work.
Until then, let me wish all our comrades and all our readers who will be on holiday in the next few weeks a well-deserved rest.
The Secretary-General of the MLOC IN STRUGGLE