First Published:The Forge, Vol. 2, No. 6, March 17, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Here we are reprinting excerpts from a letter we received from the Regina Marxist Leninist Collective (RMLC), criticizing In Struggle’s opportunist line on the struggle for the unity of Canadian Marxist-Leninists and supporting the boycott which we have launched.
In the first part of their letter the RMLC deals with the opportunist basis on which In Struggle rallied the Regina Communist Group several weeks ago. They then continue to expose the opportunist errors In Struggle has committed in Regina since this time. We reprint here the most important section of this letter which deals with the attitude communists should adopt towards In Struggle’s unity conference.
As a result of our experience at the first IS conference, and on the basis of our understanding of how to best carry forward struggle over political line, we have been quite critical of In Struggle’s plans for their second conference. We made these criticisms known to IS in January:
We have yet to receive any response to these concerns.
At the time we presented these criticisms to IS, we fully intended to attend their conference. We felt that despite these serious problems with the conference, we could utilize the workshops to engage in some struggle over line. However, events since that time have clarified to us that it would be incorrect for us to participate in the conference.
Most important in this regard has been In Struggle’s consolidation in practice of an opportunist line on party building. This was most clearly displayed to us by the rallying of RCG. it is now clear to us that our participation in this conference could only serve to lend credibility to the IS program for building unity: a program that is thoroughly opportunist. The conferences were originally introduced by IS as the preliminaries to a conference to form the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Struggle for the Party. It is now clear to us that IS has no desire to sharpen the struggle over political line in order to build a principled unity. Instead, IS has shown in practice that it is willing to unite with nearly anyone on the basis of a self-declaration, so long as no firm struggle over political line or practice is required. Thus the conferences are meant to serve only as an appearance of struggle, with the essential prerequisites for real struggle carefully eliminated. IS has not responded to our request for a clarification of lines to be struggled over simply because they do not want such clarification to occur. Such clarification could only get in the way of opportunist unity.
Furthermore, because of recent developments in the Marxist-Lennist movement, conferences of the type IS plans, even if correctly organized, are rapidly becoming useless. East of Regina, the Marxist-Leninist movement is entirely polarized into IS and the League (we do not regard Bolshevik Union as part of the movement, for reasons outlined in our “Question of Unity” document). This leaves ourselves. Worker’s Unity Edmonton, and the Vancouver groups. If IS wants to have a conference for all the groups to make speeches, they should hold it in Vancouver.
However, what is most clearly needed at this time is struggle between IS and the League. A demarcation is rapidly developing between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism. To correct its opportunist line, and to move toward a principled unity in the movement, IS must accept the League’s call for a struggle between these two groups. These can be open debates, or closed sessions, but such struggle must occur. These debates should be carried out systematically over all key aspects of line, and summations should be published. In addition, we call on IS to engage in real struggle with other groups, and we call on other groups to engage in struggle with the League and with one another.
In this connection we proposed last November that IS and the League attend a conference to be held in Regina, organized by ourselves, in order to engage in a debate on political line. The League was quick to accept our proposal. In Struggle finally replied in mid-March, refusing to engage in a “two-group competition.” They insisted that “militants from Manitoba and Alberta as well as Saskatchewan” be invited to speak. Again, they have gone to great lengths to diffuse the struggle, to keep it from reaching any clear focus.
It is not we who have been refusing to engage in struggle over political line. Neither has it been the League. It is In Struggle that has consistently refused to engage in any clearly-defined struggle over political line. Its program of conferences serves only to cover up this refusal to struggle.
The events we have related here have clarified to us the correctness of the League’s line on the IS conferences. On the basis of this analysis we have decided not to attend the second IS conference.
The only way to defeat the opportunist approach to unity taken by IS is for all who are committed to the building of a genuine Marxist-Leninist party to refuse to support the IS conference in any way. Thus we call on all other groups to boycott this conference! We also strongly urge the comrades of IS to abandon the opportunist line and practice regarding unity, and to engage in a genuine struggle to build a single, firmly united proletarian party for Canada!
Resolutely, The Regina Marxist-Leninist Collective