Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter from former IS sympathizers: To the honest militants of IS

First Published: The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 20 October 28-November 10, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Many In Struggle sympathizers are seriously questioning their group’s line and practice. They are struggling to base themselves on Marxist-Leninist principles and are learning to detect the revisionism of IS’s leadership. This letter from sympathizers who have just left In Struggle on this basis is concrete evidence of this.

We have been sympathizers of In Struggle for nearly two years. We have just decided to leave the group. Why? Because we think it is absolutely true to say that the group has turned its back on principles and has now fallen completely into revisionism. We are addressing this letter to the members and sympathizers still with IS. We encourage you to think about the criticisms we are making and to honestly consider the points we raise on IS’s practice and line and to look at the facts to get at the truth.

Our experience with IS has given us two reasons for saying that it neither accepts nor applies Marxist-Leninist principles: the lack of direction given to practice and the lack of communist education.


Confusion reigns in the group’s committees set up to fight Bill C-73. Since last February we have been constantly trying to find out how to apply the directive. Why? How? With whom? On what basis are the committees to-be set up?

We have never gotten to the bottom of these questions in our work units and the results is that nine months later we are no further ahead. Our leaders have never been able to explain to us how these committees would advance the struggle for the party.

They have never talked to us about the experience the group has supposedly gained elsewhere on how these committees are set up and how they function.

More and more convinced that these committees simply don’t exist, we asked a member of IS for an explanation of the situation. He told us that it was because the workers are not yet communists and that bourgeois ideology is very strong. So, if there are no committees to fight Bill C-73 it’s because the workers are too backward to grasp their importance! IS hasn’t taken a moment to think about whether its directive is any good.

The lack of practical leadership on how to set up the committees against Bill C-73 is only one example among many. Several people we worked with in IS had full-time jobs in places where they were supposed to be developing the work and they never received any help, leadership or education. As a result, nothing has been done and it is the leadership of the group that is mainly responsible.

As for us, on the occasions when we tried to develop a practice, we sometimes had to consult The Forge; for example, to find facts to use in a leaflet about health and safety in the workplace. Even if we didn’t agree with The Forge at the time, it gave us the necessary tools that neither IS’s newspaper nor our work unit could give us.


In two years we had about 12 educational sessions, concerning such questions as the nature of the state and the party. These sessions were given like classes, to groups of people with no common practice. Education wasn’t a part of our work unit; it was limited to these “conferences”. There was absolutely no link with our practice and as a result we learned very little from it.

In our work unit we often asked to study questions like: What is the mass line? What should the position of communists be in mass organizations? What are our tasks in the first stage of party building? What is criticism, and elf-criticism? What is democratic centralism?

We never seriously studied these questions. Either they were simply “forgotten” or else we had armchair discussions, without any order or leadership, without any concrete aim, with no link to our practice and with no study of the classics to prepare us on these questions.

Furthermore, in over two years we never really seriously studied the League’s criticisms of IS in an organized fashion. And contrary to what IS said (IS issue 99, p. 12) our unit never encouraged us to read the League’s documents. We know several people in IS who, not so long ago, had not even read the League’s brochure “For the Unity of Marxist-Leninists”. Once again those who are mainly responsible for this incredible situation are the leadership, whose only comment on the brochure was something like “there’s nothing new in it”. To think that IS has the nerve to say that the League prevents its militants from reading IS. Go talk to League members and sympathizers and you’ll see that the; know a lot more about IS’s positions than IS members know about the League’s.

We are convinced that there are many IS members and sympathizers just like us, who sincerely want to make revolution and not to sabotage it. To all of them we say: do some investigating. Don’t be content with sweeping assertions which are never proven; don’t let yourselves be intimidated by the big talkers, who are al1 talk and no action. Demand that your criticisms be debated, that your questions be answered. Talk to League militants and’ find out what their criticisms of IS are really about, learn to detect the betrayal of principles wherever it occurs, learn how to analyze the revisionism in IS’s line and the disastrous consequences it has among the masses.