First Published: In Struggle No. 84, March 24, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The first national conference on the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement was held October 9. In the October 21 issue of The Forge, the C.C.L. (M.L.) made some serious errors that required an immediate response. So on November 7 we sent them a brief letter of criticism and asked that it be published, so that there could be open debate. After all, truth is not established by divine revelation and communists are not the product of immaculate conception.
But the C.C.L.(M.L.) didn’t publish our letter. They didn’t respond in any way to our criticism. We waited. We made an inquiry with their local representative. Late in January we formally wrote again asking for a reply. But answer came there none.
The C.C.L.(M.L.) comrades have persisted in the serious error made in their summation of the first national conference. This is evident in some of the reasons they offer to justify their decision to try and sabotage the second national conference.
Because we believe our letter remains pertinent to the building of the unity of our movement, we asked In Struggle! to publish it.
October Study Group (Vancouver)
* * *
In your criticism of the October 9 national conference on the unity of Marxist-Leninists you assert that “many of those who gave speeches were not genuine communist groups”. (The Forge, Oct. 21, p. 13. our emphasis).
Inuenndo has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism. If you have criticisms, be open, direct and above-board. If you intend to persist in the serious error of unilaterally decreeing who is and who is not in the Marxist-Leninist movement, at least have the guts to name names.
Indeed, why do you omit from your report the names and location of the 12 groups and two individuals who spoke publicly (in addition to the League and IS!)? Don’t the communists of the League and other communists and class conscious workers who read your newspaper have a right to know there are many specific groups and individuals across our entire country who consider themselves and each other part of the same mouvement as the CCL (ML)? Or do your readers get to hear of these groups only after CCL(ML) has ceremoniously pasted on the seal of “genuine” or “opportunist”?
True, you do include the name of one group who spoke, the Bolshevik Union. But why name only them? The reader is led to believe this group is representative of the “many” communist groups whom you alleged are phoney but refused to name. Again this is inuendo and distortion, having nothing in common with ideological struggle and criticism.
Further, we disagree that Bolshevik Union, our own group, or the participation of any other group on October 9, gives “legitimacy” to it beyond the merit of the positions each group advanced. The only groups that could have gained unwarranted legitimacy are those counter-revolutionary groups against which the movement as a whole already has demarcated. None of those were invited.
Finally, neither your group, our group, any group singly or the mouvement as a whole had demarcated publicly against the political and ideological line of Bolshevik Union prior to the conference. Once you decided to make a public criticism of them, indeed your first public criticism of Bolshevik Union to our knowledge, two sentences of epithets hardly suffice, (see your Oct. 21 issue of The Forge).
As you know from our October 9 speech, our position on unity in the movement is opposed to that of Bolshevik Union. We do not write as defenders of its line!
But we place our confidence in the Marxist-Leninist movement as a whole and in class-conscious workers to determine, through ideological struggle, who is and who is not Marxist-Leninist; to determine, through ideological struggle, a revolutionary political line.
We recognize that this approach also divides our group from yours at the present time. We welcome open, widespread and frank debate on these questions.
October Study Group