First Published: Alive Magazine, No 125, February 24, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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EROL Note: In February 1979 the Alive Production Collective produced a special issue of the magazine with 236 pages of small type devoted solely to a discussion of the recent internal struggles in the Collective which led to the resignation of the founder and editor of Alive, Edward Pickersgill. This is the editorial introduction to that issue.
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Edward Pickersgill’s sabotage of anti-imperialist programs: EXPOSED!
Edward Pickersgill’s degenerate pursuit of imperialist culture: EXPOSED!
Edward Pickersgill’s rotten counter trend of factionalism: EXPOSED!
Edward Pickersgill’s contempt for revolutionary people: EXPOSED!
Edward Pickersgill’s thirst for big bourgeois status: EXPOSED!
Edward Pickersgill and his hard core factionalist partner have split with Alive’s anti-imperialist revolutionary politics.
Now, as always, THE ALIVE PRODUCTION COLLECTIVE WILL FIGHT FOR ANTI-IMPERIALIST REVOLUTION!
Once again, the question is posed: “Where has Alive been?” The last issue of Alive Magazine was numbered 124 and dated August 5, 1978. What has been going on with Alive during these months?
Alive has been published for a full nine years and during those years we have stopped our publishing schedule seventeen times. As with the sixteen other breaks in our publishing schedule, the past months have been dedicated to re-organization and the political struggle to move our cultural work forward in actual service to anti-imperialist revolution.
Some previous publishing breaks were more for re-organization than for political struggle. Other breaks were less for re-organization and more to develop greater political unity among those people producing Alive Magazine. Higher unity has always been the outcome of a process of political struggle sparked by an acute contradiction at hand. Most often the contradictions sparking this process have been internal to the organization producing Alive Magazine.
The Alive Production Collective is the organization which has editorially and technically prepared, as well as distributed, each issue of Alive Magazine since May, 1971 (beginning with Alive 17). The Alive Production Collective has also been the formal publisher of Alive Magazine since December, 1974 (beginning with Alive 41) – replacing in this function the incorporated entity Alive Press Limited.
The just finished break in Alive’s publishing schedule started with the definite goal of re-organization. The break was planned, at its beginning, to last only two weeks.
However, after the first part of the break was actually underway, a contradiction inside the Alive Production Collective, which had been kept secret from the majority of Collective members, was made fully known within the organization. Thus, the contradiction was brought to its acute stage. An acute contradiction demands resolution and this contradiction called on the people producing Alive Magazine to take up a process of intense political struggle.
The struggle started with the discovery, on August 15, of a faction existing inside the Alive Production Collective. The struggle was waged mainly against Edward Pickersgill who had created, perpetuated and led the faction.
Edward Pickersgill carried the title of official editor of Alive Magazine between its birth in December, 1969 and September, 1978. He was also the leading member of the Alive Production Collective from the time the group first formally identified a leadership structure in September, 1973 until August, 1978.
A secondary focus of the struggle has been Edward Pickersgill’s partner in the hard core of the faction, Michelle Landriault. The faction also had two other members. One of these others had been forced into a passive position by Edward Pickersgill before the struggle broke out. The other has taken up a place with the majority of the Alive Production Collective members by opposing this faction and all factionalism.
The two hard core members of the faction have split with Alive’s anti-imperialist revolutionary politics. Both have run away from our organization, submitting their resignations to the Alive Production Collective from afar, rather than struggle to defeat the sectarianism and big bourgeois aspirations that the imperialist culture has bred into them.
Michelle Landriault ran away on August 15 and on September 7 she sent a note through the mail reading in part: “So that there is no doubt I am letting you know that I no longer consider myself a member of the Collective.” Edward Pickersgill split on September 7 and on September 9 sent a note through the mail reading in part: “For personal and political reasons, I tender my resignation from membership in the Alive Production Collective and from membership in those organisms connected to the Collective. Also, for the same reasons, I tender my resignation as editor of Alive Magazine.”
This political struggle is an extension of a series of struggles by members of the Alive Production Collective against Edward Pickersgill’s false authority. For years individual Collective members have been developing resistance to Edward Pickersgill’s misleadership in various specific aspects of Alive’s program.
Since the two hard core factionalists split they have made the matter public, laying out a distorted story at length for anybody who cares to listen. Although individuals have come and gone from the Alive Production Collective before, this is the first occasion that someone leaving the organization has become a conscious renegade, turning the two-line struggle into an excuse for political attacks against the organization in public. These public attacks are simply an extension of the internal two-line struggle – simply desperate, self-serving attempts to boost the flagging line of individualism and contempt for anti-imperialist revolution.
These public proclamations went against the judgement of our organization and after they began, Edward Pickersgill was warned to stop by the Alive Production Collective. This warning entailed an explanation of the danger of his actions to on-going political work and a statement of intent to defend our anti-imperialist revolutionary program against any continued lies and distortions.
Edward Pickersgill turned this reasonable warning into grist for his evil mill, saying we had threatened to give him a beating, that we had roughed him up and that there was a danger that we would assassinate him! He also continued to spread his standardized lies about the political struggle which he had run away from like a frightened rabbit.
The detailed facts presented inside this issue of Alive Magazine clearly show that Edward Pickersgill has dropped all pretences of being a person with revolutionary politics. He has openly taken the posture of having straightforward bourgeois aspirations for himself, and regarding the Alive Production Collective, he has consistently pursued actions of an extremely provocative nature!
Thus, the important differences between this political struggle and past struggles in our organization is that it has entailed a significant defection with the formal leader of the Alive Production Collective surrendering to the enemy.
The Alive Production been tolerant of a great amount of Edward Pickersgill’s vicious actions but we are not a benevolent Christian association. We are a revolutionary anti-imperialist organization and, while a certain amount of toleration is wise in any political disagreement, toleration beyond a certain point in the present political struggle becomes liberalism towards those trends denigrating and hoping to destroy revolution. Therefore, our “threat” to Edward Pickersgill is now being carried beyond a warning and into practice.
This issue of Alive contains the detailed view of the Alive Production Collective on the political struggle against factionalism in our ranks our view of the recent events, our view of Edward Pickersgill’s role over many years in our organization and our view of the mistakes we have made that allowed Edward Pickersgill to do his dirty work.
We avoid taking the same unbalanced approach that Edward Pickersgill has taken in his public pronouncements by reproducing the hard core factionalists’ version of the struggle in their own words. Thus, this issue of Alive also contains documents written by Edward Pickersgill, Michelle Landriault and their legal agents. By reviewing these documents, our readers can judge the hard core factionalists’ position by merit of its sordid reality rather than by the gilded half-truths of the factionalist cover-up. The formal written documents by Edward Pickersgill et al directly contradict the high-sounding phrases he has since uttered by mouth. As Edward Pickersgill well knows, a longtime favourite saying of the Alive Production Collective is: “Self-exposure is the best exposure.”
A lengthy account of part of the faction’s activity, prepared by a member of the faction who has refuted factionalism in a process of self-criticism, is included in this issue as additional reference material.
Nothing can stop anti-imperialist revolution in Canada!