Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

Participate In The Third Conference Of Canadian Marxist-Leninists On The International Situation!

First Published: In Struggle No. 91, June 22, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Second Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists clearly showed the necessity of recognizing the imperialist character of Canadian society; it showed how a correct position on this crucial question is absolutely necessary to lead the proletariat to victory in its fight to the finish against the Canadian bourgeoisie and all the forces of reaction.

It also allowed us to identify the principal enemy which still prevents the Marxist-Leninist movement from going forward in the elaboration of the proletarian line on the path of the revolution. This error is bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalism, which tries to explain the fundamental problems of the masses by the domination of another country (in this case, American imperialism), thus camouflaging the real cause of their problems which is capitalism itself which has arrived at its highest and rotten stage, its imperialist stage. It’s also bourgeois nationalism which once again shows up clearly in the League’s political line in its ultra-reactionary position on the national question in Quebec.

Finally, the 2nd Conference showed the necessity for the young Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement to pursue and deepen its criticism of modern revisionism as it was manifested within the Communist Party of Canada even before its total and definitive degeneration.

The success of the Third Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists thus definitely resides in the capacity of each group to do the same thing with regard to the international situation and the tasks imposed by it. For, in this domain as well, the struggle for the elaboration of the proletarian line presupposes the struggle against revisionism, as presented in its consolidated form by the revisionist parties in the world, but also presupposes the struggle against the influence which revisionism exercises within the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement.

For our part, we have already presented in the 2nd issue of Proletarian Unity our fundamental theses on the present international situation. They are still correct, and this document must be considered as the basic document for the positions which we will defend at the next Conference. The present supplement has a narrower objective which is: to situate the role of the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement in the international situation, to identify the principal errors which it manifests, to reaffirm its role as a guide and beacon in the struggle against imperialism and the other forces of reaction, the struggle against revisionism, and all the other bourgeois and reactionary ideologies.

Although it is thus limited, this objective is no less essential because, as we should never forget, only the Marxist-Leninist movement can guide the proletariat to victory while passing through the most complex situations, only it can channel the struggles of the proletariat and the peoples, the powerful liberation movement of the oppressed peoples and nations, and develop them into one single front of struggle against imperialism. Only it can transform the most difficult conditions, including the danger of a third world war, into conditions which are good for the development of the Revolution.

All of the participants in the next Conference should never forget this, for there as elsewhere, our role is not only to analyse and understand reality, but above all, to work to transform it.

And in this respect, we all have reason to rejoice. Since the revisionist betrayal in the ’50’s and early ’60’s the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist movement has known considerable progress, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in all the countries of the world. Basing themselves on the principled struggle waged by the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania against the Soviet revisionists and all their cohorts, the Marxist-Leninist groups, organizations and Parties have intensified their movement of merging with the workers’ movement. Increasingly, Marxist-Leninists are able to guide the masses in the direction of the Revolution and the elimination of all the reactionary forces, towards the construction of socialism and the abolition of all forms of exploitation of man by man.

This extremely important task demands the tightest unity of all the Marxist-Leninist forces on a world scale. We think that this unity is essential to assure the development of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat of the capitalist and revisionist countries, for the development of the struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations, for the reinforcement of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the socialist countries.

It is in this spirit of unity that we present the present supplement, in a spirit of unity based on Marxism-Leninism. It is the duty of each Marxist-Leninist group, organization, or Party to participate in this struggle for unity on a world scale and to make known their viewpoint in an independent manner.

Nevertheless, the greatest contribution that we can make towards the unity of the worldwide Marxist-Leninist movement, is still the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists.

Part I: Modern Revisionism

The victory of modern revisionism was confirmed when Khrushchev took power in 1956 at the XXth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). But it would be a serious mistake to limit this temporary victory of revisionism to that year only, and only the Soviet Union. In fact, the roots of revisionism go back to long before then, and to many countries, particularly in the Communist Parties of certain European and North American capitalist and imperialist countries.

To point out some of the more pertinent examples, we can recall how the revisionist Browder clique seized the leadership of the Communist Party of the USA for a time during the Second World War, and even rallied the leadership of the Communist Party of Canada for a certain period. In the same way, the Communist Party of France disarmed, both politically and materially, the proletariat following the victory of the people’s resistance against the fascist forces in 1945. At that time the proletariat had the anti-fascist struggle as its spearhead, but the CPF called on General de Gaulle, the representative of the French monopolist bourgeoisie, to form the government to supposedly defend the interests of the nation, in exchange for a few insignificant ministries. And finally, this is the same way in which the League of Yugoslavian Communists, led by Tito, in 1945 opened wide their country’s doors to American capital, and undertook to sap the work of the international communist movement.

Although it manifests itself in different forms depending on the country, the essence of modern revisionism is the same everywhere, as was indicated by the Communist Party of China as early as 1963:

This program (the program of the XXIst Congress of the CPSU. editor’s note) pushes the systematization of the erroneous line applied since the XXth Congress by the leadership of the CPSU even further; the essential content of this line is “peaceful coexistence”, “peaceful competition”, and the “peaceful passage”...

It’s a program which is opposed to the idea that the peoples who still live under the yoke of imperialism and capitalism and who represent two thirds of the world’s population make revolution; a program which opposes the idea that the peoples engaged on the path of socialism who represent a third of the world’s population wage their struggle to the end; it’s a revisionist program for the maintenance and restoration of capitalism[1].

In fact, behind the domagogic slogan of the “creative development of Marxism”, the revisionists preach nothing other than class collaboration between antagonistic classes, on a national as well as international level. Moreover, it is for this reason that they so violently and opportunistically attack Stalin, that great proletarian leader. For beyond Stalin, it’s the revolutionary policy which he followed which the revisionists want to attack. In order to collaborate with imperialism, they had to throw the policy of someone who was always a standard-bearer against imperialism, someone who was able to lead the world-wide anti-fascist forces to victory during the Second World War, into the wastebasket. To restore capitalism in the USSR it was necessary to oppose the person who had always firmly maintained the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Thus, on a world plan, the revisionists have raised “peaceful coexistence” to the heights of a general line for the foreign policy of socialist countries, thus relegating into the shadows the two other fundamental aspects of this policy, fraternal cooperation between socialist countries, and the unconditional support for the revolutionary struggle of the laboring peoples and of the oppressed peoples against imperialism and reaction. For these traitors, peaceful coexistence means that imperialism should no longer be denounced on the pretext of not wanting to put into question the relations between the socialist and imperialist camps. This is what they call “the spirit of Camp David” (sic), from the name of the place where President Eisenhower of the USA and Khrushchev met. The peoples of the world are thus left to their own devices, and even more, the revisionists intervene everywhere to oppose their just struggle. While the entire past policy of the USSR of Stalin and Lenin powerfully contributed to fuse socialism and the national liberation movement of oppressed peoples and nations, the revisionist policy abandons the latter and leaves them to the domination of imperialism.

And what’s even worse, the Soviet revisionists even attack the unity of the socialist camp, plotting numerous intrigues against the People’s Republic of China and Albania, improvising the organization of conferences to publicly denounce them, even refusing to circulate their point of view within the Soviet Union and the Communist Party. They have pushed their divisive activities to the point of unilaterally, overnight recalling the Soviet technicians present in China and Albania, and even threatening Albania, who stood up courageously to the pressure of the revisionist leaders, with the nuclear bomb.

The revisionists’ attitude with regards to the bourgeoisies in the capitalist countries follows the same path. Class struggle has been succeeded by class collaboration. The revisionists disarm the proletariat by presenting the possibility of the peaceful passage to socialism, by the means of elections and the bourgeois parliament and by subordinating their entire strategy and tactics to this reformist illusion. They thus reject one of the major lessons of the accumulated experience of the international proletariat, that is, the fact that all bourgeoisies, all exploiting classes threatened with the loss of their power, will necessarily turn to counter-revolutionary violence.

One of the questions on which revisionism has been most openly unmasked is precisely a question which is presently the source of important differences within the Marxist-Leninist movement and which should have an important place during the next Conference: this question is the question of the communist attitude with regard to war. This isn’t a coincidence. Since capitalism has reached its imperialist stage, the question of war and peace has occupied an important place in the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, and it still occupies this place because imperialism inevitably gives birth to continual wars of all kinds.

As early as the time before the First World War, the revisionists of the time, with Bernstein and Kautsky at their head, tried to camouflage their imperialist plans and thus paralyze the revolutionary combativity of the peoples, so that as soon as war was declared, they could line up with their bourgeoisies of their imperialist camp, inciting the working class of their country to sign up for the war to massacre their class brothers from other countries.

Following the Second World War, the imperialist forces with American imperialism at their head actively prepared a third world war directed against socialism and the national liberation movements which were in full development. Everywhere, they sought to intervene, and did in fact intervene, everywhere they armed the reactionary forces against the peoples and established a series of aggressive military alliances such as NATO, in Europe and North America, and SEATO in South East Asia, etc.

Faced with this pressure, the revisionists answered with total capitulation, calling on the peoples to stop protesting against their untenable situation for fear of provoking a third world war. Thus they said that local centres of war could set off the “worldwide holocaust”, and called for submission. Their low demagogy led them to go so far as to recall the very real sufferings which the peoples suffered during the Second World War to incite them to endure their situation rather than to have to relive those same sufferings. On this subject, it is for the least significant that the Canadian Communist League (ML), in its newspaper of March 31, 1977, accuses us of revisionism because we emphasize the catastrophic consequences of a world war. Once again the League looks for revisionism where it doesn’t exist, and thus can’t find it where it really is. All communists, and even ail individuals who are the least little bit conscious, have always recognized the hardships and the destruction caused by war. But what’s revisionist is precisely that once this has been recognized, you capitulate before this difficult situation, rather than calling on the peoples to transform it into a revolutionary situation. As for us, we have always, in a consistent way, called on the masses of our country to answer to the danger of war by. preparing the proletarian revolution, and if war is ever declared, to work to transform it into a revolutionary civil war.

In the face of the revisionist manoeuvres, the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania have made it their duty to re-establish the Marxist-Leninist point of view on this question. In their Proposals concerning the general line of the international communist movement, the Chinese comrades, relying firmly on Lenin, clearly say:

Lenin said: “I think that the essential which we ordinarily forget in the question of war and which we don’t pay enough attention to, which is the main reason for so many debates which I would qualify as sterile and vain debates without any objective, is the fundamental question of the class character of the war, the reasons for which it broke out, the classes which are waging it, and the historical and historico-economic conditions which gave birth to it.”

According to Marxist-Leninists, war is the continuation of politics by other means, and all wars are inseparable from the political system and the political struggles which gave birth to them. If we move away from this scientific Marxist-Leninist thesis which has been confirmed by the entire history of class struggle in the world, we will never understand the question of war. nor the question of peace [2].

This is the point of view which real Marxist-Leninists adopted. It is from this point of view that they understood that the third world war which was being prepared at that time was the continuation of the politics of American imperialism and its equally imperialist allies. It is from this point of view that they called on the peoples not to capitulate and endure their situation, but on the contrary, to rise up in the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. This was the only path to be able to both avoid the breaking out of a third world war, and as well, should it happen, to transform it into imperialism’s tomb. This point of view remains correct today.

It is absolutely necessary that the present young Marxist-Leninist movement understand the struggle which was waged, to pursue and deepen the criticism of revisionism which the CPC and the PLA advanced, and to explain it to the masses. This is true for many reasons.

In the first place, the objective conditions which permitted the appearance and development of modern revisionism still exist. Today and for as long as imperialism exists, thanks to the gigantic superprofits which it draws from the exploitation of the peoples, it can buy off certain fractions of the petty-bourgeoisie, and even a narrow layer of the working class, the labor aristocracy. The strata of the petty-bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy which are thus granted special conditions with regard to the other oppressed and exploited peoples become the main social base for imperialism and they become the mouth pieces for the bourgeoisie within the workers’ movement. It is these strata which constitute the class basis for opportunism and revisionism within the workers’ movement and even within the Marxist-Leninist movement. Moreover, it is because of this fact that Lenin affirmed the necessity of linking the struggle against imperialism to the struggle against opportunism.

Secondly, the young Marxist-Leninist movement must recognize clearly that the struggle waged by the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania, by unmasking the counter-revolutionary nature of modern revisionism, has defined and laid the foundations of the general line for the reconstruction of the International (ML) communist movement. In all countries, including Canada, it is on the basis of this same general line applied to the concrete reality of the revolution in each country, that the task of rebuilding an authentic vanguard party of the proletariat has begun and is being pursued.

And finally, we are faced with the necessity of learning the lessons of the history of the struggle against revisionism, because today there exist within the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement Marxist-Leninists who have capitulated before the task of pursuing and deepening the criticism of revisionism in their own country and they are transforming the just orientation furnished by the PLA and the CPC into slogans emptied of their revolutionary substance. These Marxist-Leninists thus cannot struggle in a consistent way against bourgeois ideology in all its forms and are led to adopt a conciliatory attitude vis-a-vis their bourgeoisie. It is this current within the Marxist-Leninist movement which must be qualified as social-chauvinist.

Part Ii: Social-Chauvinism, An Opportunist Tendency Within The International Marxist-Leninist Movement

The name “social-chauvinist (socialist in words, chauvinism in fact) was attributed by Lenin, during the First World War, to the social-democrats (Marxist-Leninists, editors note) grouped within the 2nd International [3] who placed the interests of “their” nation above those of the international proletariat and thus gave their total support to the imperialist acts of their bourgeoisie:

The social-chauvinists reiterate the bourgeois deception of the people that the war (the First World War, editor’s note) is being waged to protect the freedom and existence of nations, thereby taking sides with the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. Among the social-chauvinists are those who justify and varnish the governments and bourgeoisie of one of the belligerent groups of powers, as well as those who like Kautsky, argue that the socialists of all the belligerent powers are equally entitled to “defend the fatherland” [4]

The positions which we qualify today as social-chauvinist are evidently not pushed as far as those of the social-democrats, who, during the First World War, voted for the military budgets of the imperialists and clearly participated in the imperialist coalition governments. Nevertheless, the foundations of these two positions, as we will see further on, are exactly the same. On the other hand we must also be conscious of one thing: we are not currently in an Imperialist world war situation, but faced with the danger of such a war. Today; the least little hesitation will necessarily lead to total opportunism during the war when all those who are “hesitant” and “confused” will have to choose clearly one of the two points of view, one of the two classes; either that of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism, or that of the proletariat and the revolution. That is why, starting today, it remains essential to struggle with the utmost of our forces against the’return of the social-chauvinist line within the Marxist-Leninist movement.

On this point, the history of the Canadian workers’ movement is particularly enlightening. Those who in 1917. supported with all their might the general conscription decreed by the bourgeoisie to send the Canadian masses to this universal butchery, were the same who before the war, had adopted an ambiguous, conciliatory attitude with regard to that same bourgeoisie.

But then, what is the social-chauvinist position in condensed form today? It can be resumed by two main points: in the first place, the social-chauvinists obscure the character and the class content of the world war which is currently being prepared by the two superpowers, Soviet social-imperialism and American imperialism, and the other imperialist countries who are allied to them, by turning attention to the secondary aspects of the question, that is: the degree of military preparation of each of the potential belligerents, the most probable place for their confrontation, the moment when it will break out, etc. Further, losing sight of the interests of the world-wide proletariat and the class analysis on an international scale, they merge all of their positions into the question of whether or not there is a real possibility of the invasion of their own country.

In second place, and it is this which is the most serious, in face of the hegemonist policies of the two superpowers, they do not answer with the immediate preparation of the proletarian Revolution and support to the struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations. Rather, they back down before imperialism, and support the so-called positive gestures of their own imperialist bourgeoisie, going so far in certain cases as to put the struggle for national independence against the two superpowers in the forefront, and to turn it into a preliminary condition for the victory of socialism.

On these two central points, the social-chauvinists break with Marxism-Leninism and with the general line of the international communist movement elaborated by the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania. After all, the important thing for Marxist-Leninists is not to know who will fire the first canon or who will launch the first missile. Nor is it to know which is the most militarily powerful of the two superpowers, or which one is developing the mot rapidly or which one is on the decline. What is determinant, is to know who is participating in the war, who is preparing it, which class interests are being pursued by such a war, and what are the politics which this war is the continuation of. The two superpowers are presently struggling for world hegemony, to oppress and exploit the peoples and to pillage their resources, as well as to destroy socialism. These are the objectives of the world war which is in preparation, its imperialist content. This is why the two superpowers and their respective allies are unceasingly increasing their military budgets and their direct and indirect interventions against the countries of the world.

In this question, it is essential to recognize that all the imperialists, including the secondary powers, are currently conducting a policy of oppression and exploitation which leads to war. Already the majority of these countries are allied to one or another of the superpowers in aggressive military pacts such as NATO or the Warsaw Pact, and in common economic organizations where they defend their own imperialist interests.

Despite their very real contradictions with the two superpowers, the present policy of these countries will almost necessarily lead them to participate in the eventual world war in one or another of the imperialist camps.

Once again, we must know how to take inspiration from the rich accumulated experience of the international communist movement, as the comrades from the CP of China and the PLA were able to do and continue doing. As early as the First World War, Lenin clearly showed this tendency of all bourgeoisies at the epoch of imperialism:

If the war is a reactionary, imperialist war, that is, if it is being waged by two world groups of the imperialist, rapacious, predatory, reactionary bourgeoisie, then every bourgeoisie (even of the smallest country) becomes a participant in the plunder, and my duty as a representative of the revolutionary proletariat is to prepare for the world proletarian revolution as the only escape from the horrors of a world slaughter.[5]

We have shown in our article The international situation and the struggle against the two superpowers, (Proletarian Unity, no. 2) how the world war presently in preparation is precisely an imperialist war being led by two world groups of imperialist bandits, from whom the proletariat and the peoples should count on nothing good. In these conditions, faced with the danger of war. our main task, the task which should command all the others, is the preparation of the proletarian Revolution, the overthrow of our bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat to build socialism, which is the only definitive solution to all wars.

One of the pretexts most often advanced by the social-chauvinists in order to ally with their bourgeoisie in the face of the danger of war, is the fact that the two superpowers are presently the two main enemies of the peoples on a world scale. That they are the two main obstacles to the worldwide proletarian Revolution. This is rigorously exact. Starting from this correct analysis, the social-chauvinists wrongly conclude that we must even unite with secondary bourgeois imperialists (the countries of the Second World), to overthrow the two superpowers, and only afterwards can we begin to prepare the proletarian revolution.

This position flies in the face of a Marxist-Leninist analysis of imperialism and objectively leads to the liquidation of the proletarian revolution, putting it off ’til the coming of the messiah.

We live in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. The imperialist era is characterized by a bitter military, economic and political struggle between a handful of imperialist countries over the possession of territories where they can pillage and enslave the people. Unequal development which is such a part of capitalism is also an integral part of the imperialist era, where it is even sharper. In “the world chain of imperialist countries” (Stalin), there is always one or more imperialist power which is more developed, and can make claims to world hegemony: today, this is the case with the two superpowers. All imperialist countries are in rivalry with the other imperialists. Thus, the threats to independence that the superpowers brandish over the peoples of the world are part of the very nature of imperialism. And it is indeed true that the two superpowers are the principal enemy of all the peoples of the world.

If imperialism, by its nature, is a constant and permanent threat to the liberty and independence of the peoples of the world, then there will always be one or more imperialist country which is the principal instigator of war, the principal threat to independence, the principal obstacle to the world proletarian revolution. And what does this mean, if you push social chauvinism to its logical extreme? As long as imperialism exists, there will always be threats to national independence, so it will always be necessary to struggle to safeguard it: armed revolution by the proletariat could only harm the “united front” against the dominating superpower or superpowers of the era. The only way around this is that proletarian revolution breaks out In all the imperialist countries (or at least in the great majority of them).

In all this nice reasoning what is forgotten is that the world proletarian revolution has already begun: the Bolshevik Party which led the Glorious October Revolution in 1917 did not wait until the great imperialist powers of the era were defeated before beginning to think of overthrowing Czarism and the Russian bourgeoisie. Starting before the war, they saw that Czarism was linked to world imperialism and they explained this to the people, calling on them to overthrow it. The comrades of the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania did likewise.

The world proletarian revolution has already begun and its future is assured. In every part of the world, revolution is developing: both the oppressed peoples and nations and the international proletariat are participating in an increasingly massive way in the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. It is this movement, led by Marxist-Leninists, that is the guarantee of the final victory against imperialism. Those who are looking for ways to make this acceptable to the bourgeoisie, even a weak bourgeoisie, those who leave the masses with the impression that an imperialist bourgeoisie can be their ally in the revolutionary struggle – those people fool the masses, those people help maintain imperialism and capitalism.

Is this to say that we can never use the very real contradictions between the imperialists, and in particular, those between the two superpowers and the countries of the Second World? That would be very naive. But these contradictions are contradictions in the enemy camp, and using contradictions within the enemy ranks can never justify our support of one enemy or another. Using contradictions within the enemy means mobilizing the masses against our own bourgeoisie, denouncing all alliances with one superpower or the other and showing how they are the inevitable consequence of the exploitative bourgeoisie’s class interests.

Is this to say that the international situation cannot change, that it will not be necessary to form a broad united front at a given moment, as was the case during the Second World War, or that a national liberation struggle will never be necessary? No, for all these things are completely possible, but Marxist-Leninists are not soothsayers with good (or bad) omens. They base their strategy and tactics on a scientific analysis of reality; and the current reality of the international situation clearly indicates that that is not the path of the revolution in today’s conditions. Determining this path depends on the concrete analysis of the policies and politics adhered to by the different social forces in action, on the relationship among them, on the degree of division and decomposition of the forces of reaction, on the degree of consciousness and organization of the proletariat and its allies, etc. It depends fundamentally on the interests of the proletariat: would such a national liberation struggle constitute a necessary and essential stage in the path of the proletarian revolution, or would it contribute to strengthening one’s “own” imperialist bourgeoisie so that it can oppress other peoples? Those who have already launched the call for a national liberation struggle, by only taking into account the eventual aggressor and its arms stockpile, etc., and not taking into account the class character of the war, or declaring that they will as soon as the enemy has crossed over the border – those people objectively serve the interests of imperialism and reaction.

That is why under the present conditions we cannot rely on one superpower or one imperialism to fight another superpower or another imperialism. That is why the revolutionary Leninist slogan of “transforming imperialist war into revolutionary civil war” is still valid today and will remain so as long as present conditions remain as they are.

This therefore is the danger that the social chauvinists pose to the international proletariat: the danger of totally abandoning the proletarian revolution. Today’s social chauvinism is founded on the same basis as modern revision: both lose sight of the class character of wars, both, in their own way, capitulate in the face of the danger of world war, both deny the fundamental teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the general line of the international communist movement as elaborated by the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania.

That is why the struggle of the international Marxist-Leninist movement to reconstruct authentic vanguard proletarian Parties implies the most rigorous struggle against the social chauvinist tendency within our movement.

Part Iii: The CCL(ML), The Principal Bearer Of Social-Chauvinism Within The Canadian Marxist-Leninist Movement

Here in Canada, it is the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) which has done the most to propagate social chauvinist positions. In our article in the journal Proletarian Unity mentioned above, we published a harsh and rigorous criticism of the erroneous relationship it established (and still establishes today) between the struggle for socialism and the struggle for national independence against the two superpowers. More precisely, we have shown how the League was fundamentally in error when it supported what it called the “positive actions” (sic) of the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie.

Let us immediately recall that the League has not yet replied to these criticisms. However, a while after the publication of this article, the League went ahead and organized a conference to denounce Canadian imperialism, and it went on to “rectify” its position on the Canadian army, going back on the support that it had previously given to the army’s reinforcement. But the depth of its self-criticism was equal to the superficial nature of its class viewpoint. Never, it said, was our line in question. We agree with the League: its line was never in question in its sudden about-turns in position because it is precisely this perpetual wavering between revolutionary positions and opportunist positions which is its basic characteristic! That is what allows it to, on the one hand, criticize the bourgeoisie and on the other, support it; on the one hand to be more nationalist than Eric Kierans and Francois Albert-Angers[6] on the national question and on the other to, criticize them. It is precisely this attitude that we have criticized the League for, this opportunist attitude that seeks to conciliate the cat and the mouse. And it is precisely this criticism that the League has not responded to.

We will not repeat the various criticisms that we have addressed to it in the last six months or so since it has not yet deigned to reply to them; instead we refer the reader back to the article in Proletarian Unity mentioned above.

Nevertheless, the League recently published another article on the international situation that contains new revelations that must be commented on. In this Forge article of March 31, once again devoted almost entirely to the famous question of the inevitability of the third world war, and where there is not one line indicating the class nature of this war, the League maintains for the first time that it is the proletarian revolution that must be put forward in opposition to the danger of world war and not only the united front against the superpowers. This is all well and good, but notice once again all the wavering I What position are communists supposed to adopt when war breaks out? Here is the answer.

If Canada is not invaded our task at this point will be to lead the proletariat at the head of the people to turn the imperialist war into a revolutionary war for socialism. If Canada is invaded by one or another or both of the superpowers (and at the beginning this is most likely to be US imperialism) [7] our task will be to lead a people’s united front and the people’s army against superpower occupation and after liberation to proceed directly with the socialist revolution.

Once again, social chauvinism makes it appearance. For the League, the tasks of communists as far as a war is concerned are not determined by the class character of the war and by the interests of the world proletariat. No! What determines everything is whether or’not one’s own country is invaded. If the League was looking for a way to present the essence of social chauvinism, it certainly succeeded masterfully.

Now look at the Marxist position on this question, look at what Lenin wrote on our tasks in imperialist wars:

If a German under Wihelm or a Frenchman under Clemenceau ways, ’It is my right and duty as a socialist to defend my-country if it is invaded by an enemy,’ he argues not like a socialist, not like an internationalist, not like a revolutionary proletarian, but like a petty-bourgeois nationalist. Because this argument ignores the revolutionary class struggle of the workers against capital, it ignores the appraisal of the war as a whole from the point of view of the world bourgeoisie and the world proletariat, that is, it ignores internationalism, and all that remains is miserable and narrow-minded nationalism. My country is being wronged, that is all I care about – that is what this argument amounts to, and that is where its petty-bourgeois, nationalist, narrow-mindedness lies (...) I must argue, not from the point of view of ’my’ country (for that is the argument of a wretched, stupid, petty-bourgeois nationalist who does not realize that he is only a plaything in the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie), but from the point of view of my share in the preparation, in the propaganda, and in the acceleration of the world proletarian revolution. (Lenin. The Proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky, Collected Works. Vol. 28. p. 296-297)

This is what must be explained to the masses and this is what, for our part, we have been working at doing in a systematic way since Create the organization of Struggle for the Party, and this is what the League has systematically avoided doing since its creation.

Comrades of the League, we once again address to you the same criticisms we formulated six months ago because your erroneous line has not changed and we are still waiting for an answer.

The CCL(M-L) is the principal standard-bearer of the social chauvinist tendency within the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement, but it is not the only. Indeed, even if it is far from the positions of the League, the Red Star Collective has just as much tendency to reproduce the fundamental points of a social chauvinist position. Note that the elements of criticism that follow are based on the RSC’s partial outline of the international situation (cf. Canada: Imperialist Power or Economic Colony?). There are two elements to keep in mind as far as the danger of social chauvinism in the RSC’s positions is concerned. First, in not considering Canada to be an imperialist country, the RSC obscures the Canadian bourgeoisie’s role in the current preparations for a new world war. it obscures the meaning of the imperialist policies of Canada. Thus, the only forces implicated in the preparation for war would be the superpowers. This is confirmed in their document (p. 76) when they clearly say that of the four principal contradictions in the era of imperialism, that which opposes the superpowers to the oppressed nations is the principal contradiction. Even though the RSC maintains that we cannot rely on one superpower in order to fight the other, something which is fundamentally true, it deals with the question of the tasks of the proletariat in the face of an imperialist war in a social chauvinist way. That is to say. it bases its entire strategy on the eventually of aggression against Canada. Recently at the regional conference in Vancouver the RSC again criticized IN STRUGGLE!’s “bad habit” of debating on the basis of extrapolations of its line, and even making it say things that in fact it had never said. RSC forgets that it is by understanding the consequences of positions that often seem entirely correct that one can understand the error thai underlies these positions. And in the case of RSC, its still often by the silences on certain points that one can grasp the mistaken aspects of its political line, especially concerning international questions.

Part IV: To Develop The Proletarian Line We Must First Struggle Against All The Phoney Solutions Of The Bourgeoisie

The serious divergencies that exist today within the young Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement demand all our attention, but they should never let us lose sight of that fact that it is the bourgeoisie first and foremost that we must fight. They should never make us lose sight of the fact that it is once again reformist bourgeois ideology which still dominates the workers movement and even a great deal of the advanced elements of the proletariat. At a time when our tasks consist precisely of achieving the fusion between Marxism-Leninism and the workers movement, this must never be forgotten.

This is all the more true as far as international questions are concerned where the debate within the movement has had the tendency of taking place between “the elected few”, where we often have the tendency of presenting things as if the majority of workers take for granted that the Soviet Union has become an imperialist superpower, to give but one example. We therefore believe that in this supplement it is important to present a criticism, however brief, of the various reformist solutions in order to promote the development of the debate on these questions and to thus prepare everyone participating in the Third Conference of Marxist-Leninists to do likewise.

The bourgeoisie and imperialism have recourse to two methods to counter the development of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the masses. First, they resort to open and direct repression. This they have clearly shown us and continue to show us with every passing day through their military interventions against the national liberation movements in Palestine, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), Azania (South Africa), Namibia and elsewhere in the world and by the strengthening of the bourgeois military and para-military forces and their utilisation against workers’ strike movements in all capitalist and revisionist countries. At the same time, they resort to all sorts of theories whose aims are to ideologically disarm the proletariat and to maintain the grasp of bourgeois ideology.

In the face of the decadence of capitalism, in the face of the development of its crisis, as much ideological and political as economic, the bourgeoisie is massively encouraging, developing and disseminating all sorts of false solutions which, couched in a variety of formulations, all have one common goal: to attack Marxism-Leninism, to attack the proletarian revolution and to maintain the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

In Canada, as elsewhere, all these revisionist, social democratic and trotskyist theories, taken up in chorus by the corrupt leaders of the workers’ movement, have become merged with the latter’s attacks against Marxism-Leninism, socialist countries and the liberation movements of peoples around the world.

The social democratic reformists put themselves forward as the “human solution” to capitalism. They see themselves as “socialism with a human face”, “democratic socialism”. They want to mask capitalist exploitation by promoting a greater degree of intervention on the part of the capitalist State: in brief, they want to “civilize” capital, as they themselves put it. They are for a socialism which will not affect the privileges of the bourgeoisie! In all countries where they are in power, the working class is paying for their supposed socialism. On the international scale, they favour pacifism and detente. At a time when everywhere in the world the imperialists and in particular the two superpowers are spending hundreds of billions on armaments, at a time when they are intervening against the liberty of peoples all over the world, and against their right to peace and independence, these servile lackies of the bourgeoisie are trying to make us believe that wars shall henceforth be an ugly memory of the past for we have entered a new era of peace that nothing can disturb!

But one thing that distinguishes the social democrats from the reformists is their general support for American imperialism and its manoeuvrings, in particular in Europe where they form the government in many countries. All these parties, whether they be in opposition or in power, as is the case in Germany, England and Portugal, have given their total support to the maintenance and reinforcement of NATO, that pact of agression in the service of the hegemonic interests of American imperialism. It is equally useful to recall that, from the time of the creation of Israel up until recently, it was the social democratic Labour Party that governed and maintained, this racist State in the service of American imperialism; this oppressive and illegitimate state which violates the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Here in Canada, the New Democratic Party is the principal standard-bearer of social democratic reformism. Largely financed directly by the sold-out labour bosses of the AFL-CIO, the NDP supports the latter’s programme and its political activities and the alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism; its participation in NATO and NORAD, in the so-called peacekeeping forces in Cyprus and the Middle East and its other forms of interference in the internal affairs of other countries, including its “aid” to Third World countries, which is nothing more than another method of maintaining these countries under imperialist domination.

in Quebec, the nationalists of the Parti Quebecois with their appeasing social democratic programme, are also a powerful instrument of support for imperialism, a point of view which they defend within the workers’ movement. If they are opposed to the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie it is in order that they themselves become a new imperialist bourgeoisie seeking to develop under the grace of American imperialism and in alliance with it. Those who allowed themselves to be fooled for a while must now open their eyes for it took only six months of power and a good dozen trips on the part of Levesque and his ministers to New York to have the resolution which stated that an independent Quebec would pull out of NATO and NORAD taken out of the programme.

We saw above how revisionism made its appearance as a current within the international communist movement. Since that time, more than twenty years have passed. History has done its work and it has rendered its judgement, today the revisionists do not have one ounce of revolutionary consciousness left, everywhere they are in the service of the bourgeoisie.

In the Soviet Union and in the other socialist countries where they have taken power, the revisionists have replaced the dictatorship of the proletariat with the dictatorship of a new capitalist State bourgeoisie: even worse, they have made the Soviet Union into an imperialist superpower that is participating everywhere in the exploitation and oppression of the peoples of the world in its right for world hegemony.

In the capitalist countries, the revisionists have progressively abandoned all reference to Marxism-Leninism. Take for example, the Communist Party of France which, at its last congress, abandoned the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and adopted what are fundamentally the same positions as the reformists. For the revisionists, it is a question of basing the workers struggles on the fight against the monopolies, en route forgetting the nature of capitalism and the necessity of overthrowing it through revolution. Moreover, in the principal capitalist countries they are ever more tightly linking themselves to the social democrats. The revisionist parties are but another bourgeois party within the working class movement.

On the international front, the revisionists distinguish themselves by their zeal in preaching about the so-called era of detente in which we live, in hiding the plots and schemings of imperialism, and by their equally vigorous zeal in denouncing the just policies of socialist China and Albania. Their distinctive characteristic, as compared to other reformists and counter revolutionaries is their general support for Soviet social-imperialism, which is trying to spread its tentacles everywhere. Disarming the peoples with their speeches about universal detente, they have never hesitated in infiltrating national liberation movements in order to submit them to Soviet control, as they have done in Angola, or in allying themselves to the most reactionary forces to achieve their goals as they did recently in India with the fascist government of Indira Gandhi, and are doing right now in Ethiopia.

Because of these policies, and also because they demagogically fall back on the glorious past of the authentic communist parties and in spite of everything, try to keep up revolutionary appearances, the revisionists constitute a more important danger than the social democratic reformists.

In Canada, even if the revisionist party is not as developed as in European countries, its influence over the masses must not be underestimated. Indeed, the revisionists still exercise leadership over a number of union and worker organizations which is not negligeable. Take for example, the United Electrical Workers in Ontario and the United Fisherman’s Union in British Columbia. This holds back the immediate struggle of the proletariat and detours it along a path which is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Here, as elsewhere, they are increasingly moving towards the social democrats by putting forward their notorious mass federated workers party which would be nothing more than a vague banding together of all reformist organizations, in particular the NDP.

The Canadian revisionists also exercise influence in the anti-imperialist movement by intervening in mass organization, trade union and progressive association where too often their counter-revolutionary leadership is still not challenged by the Marxist-Leninist movement. They hawk all sorts of lies and go around to union congresses to get their “detente” petitions signed, all of which serves to cover up the activities of social imperialism in the liberation movements and oppressed peoples, even using the myth of Cuba being a revolutionary and socialist country to this end.

Finally, the various trotskyist tendencies, affiliated in one way or another to what they call the “Fourth International”, are also a force in the service of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism. The renewal of this counter-revolutionary movement at the beginning of the 60’s is intimately linked to the betrayal of the revisionists. Based on Khrushchev’s hysterical campaign against Stalin, they boasted and clamoured that they themselves had already been attacking this great proletarian leader for a long time. Despite their superficial criticism of revisionism, they have everywhere become the accomplices of Soviet social-imperialism; they consider the USSR a workers’ state, while at the same time never passing up a chance to oppose Marxism-Leninism and the international policies of China and Albania. On the question of Angola, to take end one example, did they not follow along entirely behind the revisionists by supporting whole heartedly the MPLA, the one liberation movement, out of the three, that took power thanks to the complicity of social imperialism and Cuban mercenaries?


It is of the highest importance to deepen and to disseminate our criticisms of the various reactionary forces, and to do this, it is absolutely indispensable to continue the struggle against opportunism in all its forms within the ranks of our movement itself.

This is precisely the aim of organizing the national Conferences of Canadian Marxist-Leninists. After the great victories won during the first two conferences the next one will be another important occasion in the struggle to elaborate the programme of the proletarian revolution in Canada.

It is in their spirit that we call upon all those who have themselves the revolutionary struggle in our country as their main goal to participate in the Conference to ensure the triumph of the proletarian line and thus to reinforce the unity of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement. It is only in this way we will effectively serve not only the interests of the Canadian proletariat but also those of the entire world proletariat and the oppressed peoples and nations.



[1] A propos de la lettre ouverte du CC PCUS (With regard to the open letter of the CC of CPSU), but the CPC, vol 1 p 54 (our emphasis IS!) (our translation)

[2] Lettre en 25 points (Letter in 25 points), point 14, reed. Librairie Progressiste, page 7. (Our translation)

[3] We invite our readers to read IN STRUGGLE!’s pamphlet on the three Communist Internationals, pamphlet no. 17.

[4] Lenin, Socialism and War, Collected Works, volume 21, p. 307.

[5] Lenin, Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, volume 28, pp. 286-287.

[6] An ultra-reactionary Quebecois bourgeois nationalist, an admirer of Salazar and Hitler.

[7] Note to the attentive reader: you read correctly!