Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statement of political agreement for the creation of the CANADIAN COMMUNIST LEAGUE (MARXIST-LENINIST)

V. A Party to Unite and Lead the Proletariat

The class contradictions in Canada, as in all the capitalist and revisionist countries in the world, are becoming increasingly sharp and the objective factors for revolution are growing. But in order to make revolution, the subjective factors must also be fulfilled. The people must be mobilized and organized around a united and conscious proletariat. In short, it is necessary to have a leading center, a “general staff”, that can lead the way to revolution and guide the working class until final victory. This leading center must be capable of distinguishing friends from enemies, and bringing together and coordinating all the forces of the revolution.

This leading center is the Marxist-Leninist party of the proletariat.

The history of international workers’ and communist movements has shown us, through examples of both victories and defeats for the working class, that without a Marxist-Leninist party, we can not overthrow the bourgeoisie, set up the dictatorship of the proletariat and build socialism.

Since the party does not exist in Canada, the central task of the CCL (ML) and of all Canadian Marxist-Leninists is to build such a party.

The league is not the party. Why? Because although it has the ideological and organizational characteristics of the party, it has not yet defined a true revolutionary program nor is it yet a detachment of the working class.

What are the most important, universal characteristics of the Marxist-Leninist communist party which the league must also have? Stalin speaks of it as the advanced organized detachment and the highest form of organization of the working class; the instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat; and the “unity of will, unity incompatible with the existence of factions” that becomes strong by purging itself of opportunist elements.[1]

Let’s examine more closely the ideological and political line of the party, its internal life and its links with the working class and masses.

1. The Ideological and Political Line of the Party
A Party Based on Marxism-Leninism

Above all, the party must base itself on Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought. Without revolutionary theory the party could be neither revolutionary nor proletarian. The party reinforces itself through the acquisition and study of Marxism-Leninism, through the struggle against all ideological deviations – in particular, modern revisionism – and through the creative application of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of revolution in the country. The party must use the science of Marxism-Leninism as an arm to guide and shed light on revolutionary practice.

A Party With a Revolutionary Program

The party is the “general staff” of the proletariat in its revolutionary struggle. Its fundamental program is to organize and direct the proletariat’s class struggle for the destruction of the bourgeois state, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of socialism; the final goal of the party is communism. In order to fulfill the fundamental program, communists must develop the strategy and tactics of the revolution. They must identify the character of the revolution, the principal contradiction and the secondary contradictions of the society by distinguishing between friends and enemies and identify the principal targets. All this must be presented to the masses in a systematic form, in a political program:

The program of a workers’ party, as we know, is a brief, scientifically formulated statement of the aims and objects of the struggle of the working class. The program defines both the ultimate goal of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, and the demands for which the party fights while on the way to the achievement of the ultimate goal. (History of the CPSU(B).)

In all the struggles for the immediate interests of the proletariat, the party always put forward the struggle for the fundamental interests of the working class. Marx and Engels teach us that “in the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they (communists – ed. note) always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole”. (Communist Manifesto).

If the party has the specific responsibility of leading the revolution in its own country; it must also always defend the common interests of the international proletariat. The Canadian proletariat is a detachment in the army of the world proletariat, and its Marxist-Leninist party must always put into practice the spirit of proletarian internationalism.

The Party – General Staff of the Proletariat

The party must exercise political direction overall the forms of organization of the working class, such as the trade unions and all other mass organizations. Only the party can provide unity of direction for all forms of organization in the revolutionary struggle. The party is thus the supreme form of organization of the proletarian class.

After the seizure of power by the working class, the party becomes the instrument for the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. Without a party, the proletariat can neither seize state power, nor can it maintain and extend that power. Class struggle continues during the period of socialism and stops only with the advent of communist society, classless society. Under socialism, then, the proletariat must suppress the bourgeoisie and make it impossible for the bourgeoisie to restore capitalism and regain state power. Thus, without a well-disciplined, Marxist-Leninist party, linked to the masses, the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible.

2. The Internal Life of the Party

The party must show unity of action in the struggle against the class enemy. This unity of action implies an iron discipline, without which the proletariat could never defeat its powerful opponent. True discipline, however, can only be conscious and voluntary. This is basis of the Marxist-Leninist principle of democratic centralism, the cornerstone of the internal life of the communist party. This principle includes the following rules:[2]

1. all leading organs of the party should be elected democratically, from the bottom up;
2. the leading organs are obligated to render accounts of their activities to the members that elected them and to create all the possibilities for them to participate in debates and decision-making;
3. the submission of the minority to the majority on the basis of open and the widest possible discussion in the party. As Stalin said, “But after a conflict of opinion has been closed, after criticism has been exhausted and a decision arrived at, unity of will and unity of action of all party members are the necessary conditions without which neither party unity nor iron discipline in the party is conceivable.”
4. All lower organs just apply the decisions of the higher organs.

Contradictions within the Party

The party exists and struggles within the framework of a class society. It is therefore inevitable that the contradictions of this society be reflected within the party itself. There are two types of contradictions in the party: those among the people which are generally non-antagonistic (for example, struggles over differences of opinion that don’t involve the over-all line); and those with the enemy, which are antagonistic and concern agents of the bourgeoisie that infiltrate the party and attack the proletarian line.

Marxist-Leninists use the method of unity-criticism-unity to resolve the contradictions among the people in the party. That means “starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle and arriving at a new unity on a new basis” (Mao Tsetung – On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People). The goal of rectifying errors and resolving differences of opinion in the party is to learn ”from past mistakes to avoid future ones and cure the sickness to save the patient.” (Ibid.)

Purge the Opportunist Elements

If non-antagonistic contradictions aren’t handled correctly, however, they can turn into antagonistic ones. An opportunist line can develop in opposition to the proletarian line in the party. In addition, agents of the bourgeoisie, counter-revolutionaries, can infiltrate the party. The party becomes strengthened through purging itself of opportunist elements.

The struggle between two lines – the proletarian line and the bourgeois line – continues throughout the period of socialism. To distinguish the correct line from the incorrect line, Mao Tsetung says that communists must observe three principles: “Practice Marxism and not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, and don’t intrigue and conspire.”

“Go Against the Tide”

In order for a revolutionary party to develop, militants must do more than simply apply the directives of the party. All members of the party must consciously study and constantly improve their ideological level of formation. Communists have the responsibility to defend Marxism-Leninism against all attacks of bourgeois ideology. This means that they must dare to “go against the tide” when the principles of Marxism-Leninism are threatened within the party. As Mao points out, ”Going against the tide is a Marxist-Leninist principle.”

When confronted with issues that concern the line and the overall situation, a true communist must act without any selfish considerations and dare to go against the tide, fearing neither removal from his post, expilsion from the party, imprisonment, divorce or guillotine. (Report on the Revision of the Party Constitution – Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Wang Hung-wen).

3. The Party, the Class, and the Masses
Use All Methods of Struggle

The bourgeoisie will use all possible means, including those which violate its own laws, in order to maintain its domination over the proletariat. The proletariat, must therefore be equally prepared to use all forms of struggle to further its revolutionary struggle. The party must combine legal and illegal work. It must counter all possible forms of repression launched by the bourgeoisie. It is therefore essential that the party, right from the beginning, develop a clandestine apparatus. The party should not hesitate to use parliamentary struggle, never, however, creating illusions that society can be changed through elections. All forms of struggle and tactics must be subordinated to the strategy for revolution. Thus parliamentary fractions and the clandestine apparatus are subordinate to the authority of the central direction of the party.

The Party is an Inseparable Part of the Working Class

The production units, the large factories in the heart of the proletariat form the base of the party. The factory cells[3], particularly those in heavy industry, are the organizational base of the party. Only such a base

Allows it to maintain a real, durable, and internal liaison with the workers. It allows it to be constantly in touch with the needs and intentions of the working class and to respond accordingly. It allows the party to always influence the proletariat and to lead it efficiently through the organization of the revolutionary struggle against the bosses, fascism and the capitalist state, for the conquest of power. (Questions of Organization at the Fifth Congress of the Third Communist International, our translation).

The Mass Line: From the Masses to the Masses

We can see that it is the party’s organization which ensures its close links with the proletariat and the popular masses. But for this link to be correct and for the party to play its leading role among the masses, it must be able to distinguish contradictions among the people from contradictions between the people and the enemy and resolve them correctly. The method that is used by Marxist-Leninists inside the party to resolve contradictions – unity-criticism-unity – is also used among the masses. The party always uses persuasion, and tries to set an example in order to convince the masses of the correct solutions to non-antagonistic contradictions.

In order for the party to be able to lead the popular masses along the right road, it must also learn from the masses. It must start with a concrete knowledge of the ideas of the masses, in order to concretize them into systematic thoughts and then spread them and explain them to the masses: “From the masses, to the masses” (Mao Tsetung – Concerning Methods of Leadership).

The mass line is the fundamental method of communist leadership. In its relations with the masses, the party must never be afraid to recognize its errors and rectify them. In this way, the party can win the respect and confidence of the masses, in order to lead them toward their final goal. The party must unite the exploited and oppressed classes around the proletariat, in the struggle against the enemies of the revolution.

In Canada, this implies that the party must build a united front of the popular masses against the bourgeoisie. Without this united front, the proletariat cannot defeat its enemies and abolish all exploitation and oppression.

A factory cell regroups all the militants of the party in a given workplace. Members who do not work in a factory or workplace where communist organizing is going on can be reqrouped in territorial cells, either community or street cells. Factory and territorial cells, however, are not of equal importance. As the Communist International explained it, factory cells are the “base” of the party. The territorial cells are only the “ramification” of the party; the party must be organized to ensure its presence among all classes in society.


[1] See Foundations of Leninism.

[2] See Enver Hoxha, Selected Works, Vol. 1.

[3] The word “factory cells” is the traditional English translation of the term “cellule d’entreprise”. This widely-used French term has a wider meaning than just factory; it means cells set up in plants, mines, mills, docks, hospitals, large stores, etc. It is in this sense that we use the term “factory cell”.