First Published: In Struggle No. 68, August 19, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Mobilisation (Communist Marxist-Leninist group) just announced its decision to rally the ranks of the CCL(M-L). This is what we learned from its brochure of July 76 entitled Document de la premiere conference de Mobilisation (groupe communiste marxist-leninist).
Mobilisation’s reasons for taking such action are clearly expressed in the brochure and can be summed up as follows: the League puts forth a fundamentally correct political line with which Mobilisation has only secondary differences that can be resolved within the organization... or during the debate process proceeding the merging or integration, a fact that Mobilisation does not specify. Moreover, the League represents, in Mobilisation’s eyes the organization that must assume the leadership in the struggle for the party, for its political and ideological line is fundamentally correct and its positions on the unity of Canadian (M-L) communists are also correct.
However Mobilisation acknowledges two tendencies in the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, the second being represented by IN STRUGGLE! But according to Mobilisation, our group is presently “transpierced by a right wing opportunist deviation which at times takes on a leftist appearance.” (p. 74)
Mainly, the criticisms Mobilisation addresses to our group cross-checks those already formulated by the League. First of all, Mobilisation asserts that our analysis of the international situation is “marked by confusion and lack of continuity.” Second, we are falling into “right wing opportunism in our analysis of the main contradiction in Canada” (p. 75.) Third, we are making “many mistakes concerning the tactical and strategical question of party building”. Our position is “generally characterized by spontanism”. (p. 75) Finally, we have made a lot of mistakes concerning the struggle for unity. (p. 77)
At first sight, Mobilisation’s decision seems quite consequent and justified. The group rallies the organization it considers being the leading center in the struggle for the Marxist-Leninist Party in Canada. It does this on the basis of the recognition that this organization set forth a fundamentally correct line. However a point still isn’t clear. Only a few weeks ago the League asserted that Mobilisation wasn’t a Marxist-Leninist group (see The Forge, no. 12, June 3, 1976, p. 11) and Mobilisation replied, in a brochure entitled La justesse de la ligne politique est déterminante en tout, that the League was on the wrong path, that its subjectivism was blinding them and stopping them from seeing that Mobilisation’s self-criticism was proof that it belonged to the movement since the political line is determinant over all, and that Mobilisation’s line was consistent with Marxism-Leninism.
But, even before the League answered this criticism, publically anyway, at a time when Mobilisation criticizes the League for “never having exactly specified how, as a Marxist-Leninist organization, it intended to lead the struggle for unity” (p. 82), Mobilisation announces its rallying to the League.
In fact concerning this, Mobilisation contradicts itself as the two following quotations show:
The Marxist-Leninist organization (that is the League. Editor’s note.) must win over to its conception all of the communist groups and circles. We are now in a period of confusion and circles. During this period, those who (that is IN STRUGGLE! among others. Editor’s Note.) by democratism, self sufficiency and small group mentality, take offense because a tactic plan has been elaborated and submitted to debate in the whole of the movement, because some Marxist-Leninists have created an organization able to struggle for its realization, they end up justifying and maintaining the actual delay in the Marxist-Leninist movement, (...)
It is certain that in order to create the party, we cannot wait for everyone to take position, for everyone to rally to the Marxist-Leninist organization, that everyone be ready to go reach this level... So, it is correct that the CCL(M-L) was created and that it undertakes the struggle to win the communists groups and circles over to its line and plan. This is the correct application of the principle according to which the party is built from the summit to the base...Any other way of seeing the matter falls into spontaneity and opportunism. (p. 69-70)
In resume, according to Mobilisation, the League has a plan for building the Party that includes the rallying of other groups to its organization. That’s correct. All another method (tactic-plan) would be opportunist!
It is on that question (the struggle for unity) that the League’s position is the least explicit. The League never exactly specified how, as a Marxist-Leninist organization, it intends to wage the struggle for unity. It never published a document regarding the whole question. Thus, we don’t know what criteria the League uses to determine which groups are Marxist-Leninist (...).
We must clearly define with whom we intend to wage the struggle for the creation of the Party in order to achieve this task. As for us, the CCL(ML) should clarify that point, for, example presently its confusion on the question is prejudicial to the struggle for the unification of Marxist-Leninists. That’s why the League must clearly state how it intends to wage the struggle for unity. In this framework, one of the most important differences between us and the League is the fact that the latter refuses to acknowledge that we are a Marxist-Leninist group.
In fact, the Leagues tactic-plan is not quite as clear on page 82 as it was on pages 69-70 of Mobilisation’s brochure. In short, we find in the case of the League, the same confusion regarding unity that IN STRUGGLE! was blamed for... However, in spite of this “important difference”, the expression comes from Mobilisation, Mobilisation nevertheless announces its rallying the League. So, there we have a Marxist-Leninist group that decides to rally the Marxist-Leninist organization that must build the party. All right. But here’s the rub: the Marxist-Leninist organization in question doesn’t acknowledge the above mentioned group as being Marxist-Leninist.
Even though Mobilisation gives the impression of having a correct conception of the Marxist-Leninists’ unification, its decision of rallying the League leaves a question unanswered: what happened in practice to the firmness concerning principles and the struggle against opportunist compromises?
If the creation of the Marxist-Leninist organization is the “central link” and that everyone must be concerned by it to advance the struggle for the party in our country as asserted in Mobilisation’s brochure p. 19-20 and if for this we must “clearly define the composition of the movement”, and if this definition is not a “mere formality” but a principled question allowing us to avoid empiricism and subjectivism, as Mobilisation conceives it in its brochure page 39, we therefore don’t understand this group’s decision to rally an organization that does not recognize it as a Marxist-Leninist group. Besides, we do not understand any better why the League calls upon Mobilisation to rally to its ranks when it also states that the group is dominated by opportunism, that it isn’t even a Marxist-Leninist group! The least we can say is that, there can only be one solution to this odd situation. The solution is: rallying the League would mean in itself the rupture with ultra-right opportunism in itself. Today, outside the League you may be opportunist, not even Marxist-Leninist; tomorrow, rallying the League, which will accept you with open arms, it seems, even if it considers you as dominated by opportunism, thus tomorrow, inside the League, you will have become a “genuine” communist (ML)!”s.
We don’t agree with this barrier between opportunism and Marxism-Leninism. In spite of the fact we’re “transpierced by ultra-right opportunism”, we completely reject this opportunist way of settling the debate between what is Marxist-Leninist and what isn’t. Mobilisation puts forward in its brochure a general method that is essentially correct for approaching the question of unity of Marxist-Leninists when it asserts that we must start from what unites us and then lead the struggle to solve the differences that persist which means to lead the struggle against the errors and deviations within the movement, and thus reach greater unity. There lies the basis of the method we ourselves put forward. However, Mobilisation in practice abandons these correct principles when it decides to rally the League. Indeed, how can such an act be justified? Since the League doesn’t recognize Mobilisation as being part of the Marxist-Leninist movement, how can Mobilisation, and the League unite on common Marxist-Leninist basis? They don’t even agree on who is Marxist-Leninist and who isn’t!
As astonishing as it may be, Mobilisation’s decision to rally the League under such conditions, can be explained. On page 70 of its brochure Mobilisation writes:
It’s sure that we cannot wait for everyone to take position, for everyone to rally the Marxist-Leninist organization, that everyone be ready to go on to this level. We must undertake right away the attaining of this tactical-plan. Thus it is correct that the CCL(ML) was created and that it wages the struggle to rally to its plan and political line the communist groups and circles. This represents a correct application of the principle that the Party is built from the summit to the base.
To operate this “reinforcement of the center” that the League is, this “top” from which we must build the party. Mobilisation does not hesitate to reject in practice the principled demands it calls for in the unification of Marxist-Leninists. This is in itself a very important mistake whose opportunist character is evident to everyone.
We believe, that the League is not this “center” this “top” that presently can lead the struggle for the creation of the party in Canada. On one hand, as Mobilisation itself says, the League’s political line on the unity of Marxist-Leninists within the organization has never been clearly exposed as well as the fact that the line coming out of its practice is completely dominated by sectarianism, dogmatism and subjectivism, and lead us to split and not unify, as we clearly proved in our brochure Against the Sectarianism of the CCL(ML).
On the other hand, and this is even more important, due to the fact that here lies the basis of the leading role of the League, its political line is largely erroneous on essential points, in particular on the way of the revolution in Canada and on the international tasks of the Canadian Marxist-Leninists.
To assert, as does Mobilisation “that it is correct that the League wages the struggle to rally to its line and its plan the communist circles and groups” is extremely dangerous: the League’s “plan”, has not yet been exposed; Mobilisation itself says it! And the League has not proven, on the basis of concrete analysis, the correctness of the way of revolution it puts forward: it has not proved either the erroneous character of the other positions taking place in the movement. It has only unceasingly repeated “the theory of the three worlds”. We will return in a further article on the mistakes of the League on the way of the revolution in our country. It’s already clear for all Marxist-Leninists that the League has not clearly proven the correctness of its positions on this matter and the erroneous character of the other groups on the basis of a serious, close, scientific analysis. We must assert that it is a fundamentally opportunist point of view to praise, now, the rallying to the League because this organization is the “leading center” of the struggle for the party because of the correctness of its political line.
At the moment, all Canadian Marxist-Leninists must preoccupy themselves with this viewpoint especially when one considers the fact that those who put it forward do not hesistate in stating that:
it is evident that to create the Party we cannot wait for everyone to take position, for everyone to rally to the Marxist-Leninist organization, that everyone be ready to go on to this stage.
Thus, we are getting ready to repeat the same error as the League’s creation in November 1975. At that date, three groups united, they considered that they carried the correct line: they thus created the “organization”! Why should they have waited “for everyone to take position, for everyone to rally to(...). that everyone be ready to reach this level”, why should they have waited, didn’t they have the correct line? Today, according to Mobilisation, not only does the League still have the correct line, but it has also has become the “summit” from which we must build the party. How did this come about? Well, the League is the “summit” simply because it carries the correct line! And if tomorrow, we ourselves, or the May 1st Collective of Vancouver or the Groupe pour la revolution proletarienne (GRP), etc., would declare that we carry the correct line and that we are the summit, what would happen?
Considering the still recent history of our movement, considering that in the last few years, two parties carrying the correct line have already been created in our country, the CCP (ML) and the LPC(Labour Party of Canada), two parties that “couldn’t wait” for the backward elements, to proclaim themselves as the “leading center”, corrupted as they were by their correct line, the seriousness of Mobilisation’s statement, that the League’s literature has clearly let us foreseen for sometime now, cannot escape anyone.
The “correct line” cannot be decreed. The “leading center” of the struggle for the party cannot be self-proclaimed. The correctness of the line must be established through actions and in the eyes of the whole movement. The line will be correct only if it triumphs over the erroneous line. The party’s “leading center” will also reveal itself in the struggle, by gaining the confidence and support of the movement through its line and practice.
The large debate on all the fundamental questions of the revolution in our country must be lead on a country-wide scale. Only this debate will permit the correct line to assert itself and to triumph over the erroneous lines. This debate has yet to reach its climax. For example, the line put forward by the League is far from being scientifically proven. The League has yet to prove the errors that it states as existing in the movement concerning the road to revolution as well as international questions, concerning the tasks of Marxist-Leninists among the masses as well as the unity of Marxist-Leninists. As long as this debate, even if it doesn’t permit the resolution of the differences at least it will allow us to see them clearly, has not taken place throughout the movement, the self-proclamation of the organization and even more, the creation of the party are erroneous and opportunist acts, acts of an extreme gravity to which the whole of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement must vigorously oppose. Neither the League nor Mobilisation nor any group can decree that they carry the “correct line”. For if they could do so, all the groups could do the same and then create as many organizations, as many parties.
Today, Canadian Marxist-Leninists must struggle for the creation of the Marxist-Leninist line of the revolution in Canada. For that, we must expel the opportunist deviations existing within the movement not by asserting that we carry the “correct line” but by scientifically showing the existence and the nature of these mistakes. We will take up the fundamental questions of the line in future articles.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All extracts taken from Mobilisation’s brochure are translated by IN STRUGGLE! All page references references refer to the original French text.