First Published: The Forge, Vol. 1, No. 20, October 21, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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At its congress held in Montreal on October 16 and 17, SOS Garderies (SOS Daycare Centres) made up of daycare militants from all over Quebec, adopted a new fightback program which was presented by the CCL(ML) and its sympathizers working in daycare centres.
This is a great victory for the women of the people. With its new program in hand SOS will correctly wage the fight for the right to daycare by struggling to make the daycare centres serve the working class.
The struggle will not just be one to better our living conditions but mostly it will be one that will mobilize women against both their specific oppression and bourgeois exploitation in general.
This is why the congress saw the necessity of linking the struggle for daycare to the other struggles of the working class a major step forward was the recognition of the necessity for the daycare movement to support the fight for socialism, the only system where people will really have their rights.
This encouraging outcome came as the result of months of debates within the daycare movement Thanks to these debates, which were at times tempestuous (as the two-line struggle usually is), and the League’s work, the bourgeois line was denounced and rejected by the movement as a whole. This line, crystalized in the orientation proposed by the Saint Michel group, lowered the struggle to a demand to better the service offered by daycares, and stressed questions of internal organization of daycare centers. This orientation would have isolated our struggle from class struggle and would have made it focus purely on itself.
The denunciation of reformism in mass organizations is an important task at the present time because reformism predominates and leads the masses struggles down a blind alley. This was the case for SOS which is why the CCL(ML) proposed a class struggle program able to lift it out of its paralysis.
But the struggle against reformism was made all the more difficult by the actions of a group formed by people following the leadership of In Struggle and CRICS.
Five days before the congress the group presented a criticism of the League which said that the League has caused more confusion at SOS than anything else. However, there is one thing that should be cleared up right away: the “sympathetic” militants, parents and daycare workers who made up the group never waged a meaningful struggle against the bourgeois line which dominated at SOS, and they never produced any significant criticism of the Saint Michel orientation, which might have been accepted at the congress. To be brief, they never entered into class struggle at SOS. While they were criticising the League, the League was struggling against reformism.
What is one to think of a group composed of people who say they are sympathetic to Marxism-Leninism but spend their time attacking communists rather than the consolidated Saint Michel opportunists.
Although the group said that it supports the program proposed by the League, we have to look at what it really did. During the congress, it stood in the way of clear debates In the individual workshops as well as in the plenary sessions, it spread confusion and division, especially since their criticisms were not at all clear to most of the people there.
Such an opportunist attitude comes down to not only sabotaging the work of communists but also the development of SOS. It is an attitude which objectively supports the bourgeois line.
A message from La Garderie Populaire and Les Chantiers D’education de Hull (the Hull community daycare centre and another community group) denounced the group’s serious mistakes and expressed the enthuasiasm of the great majority of the participants “Today we can see that SOS Garderies hat come a long way, thanks to the congress and the proposition baaed on Marxism-Leninism. The conclusion that we draw is that Marxism-Leninism is a good thing. The fact that a Marxist-Leninist organization put forward a clear orientation is also a good thing”.
In the next issue of The Forge we will deal with the daycare question in more depth.