First Published: In Struggle No. 77, December 20, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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All over the world, capitalism and imperialism are floundering in crisis. In the eyes of the people, the necessity of overthrowing this system of exploitation and oppression is becoming clearer and clearer. Today, the strongest trend in contemporary history is worldwide proletarian revolution, and the struggle of the Third World for complete emancipation is its principal force. Also part of this trend are the struggles of the proletariat in capitalist and imperialist countries, proletariat who are showing determined opposition to the danger of a Third World War, a war prepared by the imperialists, especially those in the USA and the USSR. And it is this same trend that will lead plans to divide the human and natural riches of the globe to failure.
This revolutionary trend exists here in Canada and it is growing every day. The energetic fight of the Canadian masses is proof of this and it is the basis for the growing unity of the camp of revolution in our country. In spite of their division, in spite of their youth, Canadian communists are providing an increasingly correct orientation to the struggles of the proletariat and to the other strata of the people, and in this way they are rallying advanced elements to the path of the proletarian revolution. It is in this way that the indispensable instrument for the proletarian revolution, the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party, is progressively being built. It is in this overall conjuncture that the Second Congress of the Marxist-Leninist group, IN STRUGGLE!, recently took place. The Congress was held under the slogan of the struggle for unity: unity of the group itself, unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement, and unity of the Canadian proletariat and people.
The primary concrete sign of the reinforcement of unity within our ranks is the fact that the Congress was held in the two languages and that comrade-delegates from English Canada participated in an important way. This is a key milestone and proves that the political and organizational unity of Marxist-Leninists of both nations is not only necessary, but that little by little it is coming about. It constitutes an important guarantee for future successes in the struggle to unify the fight of the proletariat and the masses of the two nations.
As well, the Congress clearly reaffirmed the central concern of our group at the present time: the struggle for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, an essential condition for the unity of the proletariat within its vanguard Party. The probationers (aspirant members) as well as delegates from Marxist-Leninist groups in the process of rallying to IN STRUGGLE! were invited to participate in the Congress as observers. The delegates to the Congress reaffirmed with vigour the importance accorded to the criticism and to the participation of the masses in the struggle for unity, and reaffirmed their support for the tactical plan for the unity of Marxist-Leninists as presented In the first issue of IN STRUGGLE!’s journal, Proletarian Unity. Successfully fighting the minority point of view that aimed at liquidating the struggle for the creation of the Marxist-Leninist organization of struggle for the Party, the delegates resolutely adopted this slogan while at the same time emphasizing the necessity of constantly verifying the application of our tactical plan in the light of the developments in the struggle for the unity of Marxist-Leninists, the penetration of Marxism-Leninism within the masses, and the international and national situation.
The proletarian line on the path of the revolution in our country did not emerge without struggle. On all essential questions, the preparatory debates for the Congress as well as the Congress itself, all owed for the expression of divergencies and made even clearer the necessity to grasp hold even more firmly of the fundamental objective of the proletariat: the proletarian revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
On the question of the danger of war, principally as a result of the hegemonic politics of the two superpowers, the struggle was most lively, reflecting the contradictions which exist on this matter within the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement. We will come back to this question in the second issue of the Journal. The congress vigorously replied to the minority social-chauvinist tendency by firmly supporting the primacy of the struggle against the Canadian bourgeoisie over the struggle against the superpowers and the war they are preparing. It is by preparing the ground for the overthrow of their national bourgeoisie that the communists and the proletariat in capitalist and imperialist countries like Canada work not only to prevent war, but also to transform it into revolution and thus to definitively put an end to all war. This correct attitude is completely different from that which makes a priority out of the struggle against the two superpowers on the pretext that war is inevitable, thus forgetting the imperialist character of the national bourgeoisie and even supporting its “good moves” when it concludes deals with the Third World. It is by intensifying the struggle against opportunism within the working class and Marxist-Leninist movement; and against revisionism which aims at lulling people to sleep with the so-called atmosphere of detente in the world, that the delegates chose to fill their tasks concerning the danger of a world war.
In addition, the Congress renewed its unconditional support for socialist countries and for the revolutionary movements of liberation of the peoples of the Third World. Because it is they who today are at the vanguard of the struggle against imperialism, the hegemonism of the two superpowers, against colonialism and neo-colonialism. It also affirmed its solidarity with the struggles of the proletariat of other capitalist and imperialist countries, thus giving proof of proletarian internationalism in regards to all revolutionary forces around the world.
The past year has been marked with numerous victories over dogmatism, more precisely the turning inwards on ourselves, which seriously coloured IN STRUGGLEI’s actions in the past. Among other things, this error, which consisted of viewing the development of our political line in a glass house, slowed down our intervention in the masses and weakened our actions in guiding their immediate struggles, in providing a revolutionary orientation and leadership.
To build the proletarian party and to gather the vanguard of the proletariat within it, the Second Congress of IN STRUGGLE! put unity at the centre of its tactics of struggle. This is the pivotal point of the tactical orientation and position adopted at our Congress. This means that we will constantly fight the divisive tactics of the bourgeoisie and its agents in the working class movement; that we will support and encourage all manifestations of unity among the proletariat based on its own class interests, its own ideology, Marxism-Leninism. Our task of weakening the power of the bourgeois to be able to overthrew it, is the task of fighting national divisions, fighting the divisions between skilled and unskilled workers, between men and women, between immigrant workers and Canadian-born workers, between blue coller workers and office workers, between workers in big centres and those in less developed regions, between she unionized and the non-unionized, in a word, it is the task of seeking the unity of all parts of the Canadian proletariat. In particular, this implies the struggle to democratize unions, and support to the movement to Canadianize unions, with a view to dislodging the reformist, and anti-communist domination exercised in this area by the labour aristocracy and the union bosses.
The struggle around the program that we should present to the masses was another important moment for the Congress. A dogmatic and idealistic conception of the program which put it outside of the class struggle taking place here in Canada and thus excluded the tasks of communists at the present stage of party building, and instead presented only the Historic (with a capital “H”) tasks of the party and the Canadian revolution was rejected. For one thing, it is not by presenting only the general objectives of their actions that Marxist-Leninists will more easily succeed in resolving the differences between them that still exist today. For another, the program must be a guide to action, not only in terms of the tasks, of communists, but also in terms of those tasks, which at a given moment, can lead the proletariat along the road to the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie.
The Congress also decided, correctly, to reformulate the program, and in a few months time to distribute it and to submit it to the criticism of the masses. Then, after their criticisms have been centralized, the reformulation can be completed and at that point the program will be officially adopted as that of the group IN STRUGGLE!
The struggle to have the proletariat grasp its ideology and make it its own, by fighting bourgeois ideology in all its forms and in all sectors of life, demands that we build a strong and disciplined organization. This organization must bring together centralism and democracy, basic organizational principles of any Marxist-Leninist organization. Within such an organization, the lower organs must submit themselves to the higher organs, the Individual to the group, the minority to the majority.
Reinforcing the application of democratic centralism within our ranks, the Congress adopted new statutes, statutes which define with greater rigour the rights and responsibilities of members of IN STRUGGLE! as well as those of the different levels of leadership.
In particular, the Congress emphasized the need to guarantee that our work continue no matter what the circumstances. In capitalist society, it is quite clear that democracy means democracy for the ruling class and dictatorship over the proletariat and the people.
At the end, the Congress elected a Central Committee whose mandate is to apply the orientation adopted by all the delegates until the next Congress. Then, the Central Committee elected from within itself a Political Bureau, a tight direction mandated by the Central Committee to ensure the correct development of the activities of the group between the meetings of the Central Committee.
IN STRUGGLE!’s congress clearly demonstrated this universal truth of Marxism-Leninism: wisdom from the masses, our strength comes from the masses. It is in tight links between Marxist-Leninists and the revolutionary Canadian masses that the hope of the Canadian revolution lies, the hope of defeating capitalism and imperialism, the greatest oppressors of all time.
The Political Bureau for the
Central Committee of IN STRUGGLE!