First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 8, April 14, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Over 75 people attended the conference on the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists held by the League in Vancouver on March 29. Originally the League had planned to organize this meeting jointly with In Struggle. However, after In Struggle refused the League’s invitation to participate in a public debate, the League proceeded to organize the conference itself.
The conference opened with a speech from the League which presented its general views on the fight for Marxist-Leninist unity and which harshly criticized In Struggle’s opportunist line on this question. In particular In Struggle’s refusal to draw a clear demarcation between Marxist-Leninists and opportunists and their refusal to undertake the struggle over the major questions of ideological and political line were drawn out.
The League’s speech was followed by a lively discussion period where the participants at this meeting made known their views. The struggle was sharp as many, in particular the members of local groups, explained their divergences with the CCL(ML)’s line.
The discussion was divided into three parts. The first question considered was who is in the Marxist-Leninist movement. Debate was focused between the League, which has always maintained a strict and rigorous distinction between Marxist-Leninist and opportunist groups, and those present who like In Struggle are for letting anyone who claims to be a Marxist-Leninist into the communist movement.
The second question was on what basis we should unite. Among the questions raised here was the criticism of the opportunist basis on which In Struggle has recently rallied four groups in different parts of Canada.
The third question was how to advance the struggle for unity. The principal question here was the attitude to adopt towards In Struggle’s unity conference in April. Members from several Vancouver groups and from In Struggle criticized the League’s boycott of In Struggle’s conference as sectarianism.
The League and a member of the Regina Marxist-Leninist Collective responded that Marxist-Leninists could not participate in the organization of In Struggle’s unity conference since it is organized on an opportunist basis.
It is of interest to note that despite the presence of a fair number of In Struggle members at this conference, in general In Struggle avoided participating in the debates. In none of their interventions did they respond to the global criticisms of their line on unity advanced, by the League. In Struggle did not want and has never wanted to directly confront the line of the League.
Despite In Struggle’s stand, the development of the debate in this conference showed clearly the correctness of the League’s stand. That, in fact, on the question of unity, as on all the major line questions, there exist two major positions in our movement, that held by In Struggle and that of the League.
This conference helped to clarify the differences and sharply opposed the two main lines being advanced on the question of Marxist-Leninist unity in Canada.