Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The Bolshevik Union

Unmask In Struggle! Denounce Gagnonism!

In Struggle Openly Repudiates Marxism And Denounces Lenin As A Trotskyite

In Struggle’s “second demarcation” against the Bolshevik Union is based on the second conference on “the path of the revolution in Canada”. Right after the conference In Struggle tried to obscure that the second conference was a direct confrontation between the line of the Bolshevik Union and the eroneous lines of the League, In Struggle, and the “Red” Star Collective. They tried desperately to hide the fact that the Bolshevik Union exposed that the “debate” between the League and In Struggle on one hand and “R”SC on the other was nothing but a recreation of the debate between revisionists and bourgeois nationalists that occured many years ago.

Through its consistent application of the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of Canada and through its understanding of the history of Communism in Canada, the Bolshevik Union demonstrated in its speech, in the workshops, and in LINES OF DEMARCATION no 5 that In Struggle’s line was nothing but retreaded Tim Buck revisionism and that “R”SC was once again peddling the bankrupt bourgeois nationalist line exposed by the Comintern in 1928. In Struggle tried to cover this up by writing absurd statements in its paper like “Bolshevik Union did participate in the debates but its representatives were happy just to launch accusations without ever being capable of basing them on facts.” (April 28, p. 13) The reader has only to peruse LINES OF DEMARCATION no.5 or the RECUEIL no.l (a collection of our articles on the principal contradiction we recently published in French) to know what garbage this is. In Struggle is trying to spread this illusion in order to maintain that “the debate was really concentrated between Red Star Collective and IN STRUGGLE.” (ibid) By In Struggle’s “demarcation” In Struggle had to admit that the “BU took advantage of the Second Conference to wage an all-out struggle brandishing new questions.. .” (Sept. 29, p. 13) In Struggle identifies these new questions as the Native question and the question of the state. What was “new” for In Struggle was a real attempt to apply Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of Canada. The question of Native people was hardly new. The Bolshevik Union’s analysis of this question had been put forward a year and a half before, and Lenin had noted over sixty years ago that Native people in Canada were a nation, as did the Second Congress of the Communist International! The Bolshevik Union brought forward Marx’s and Engels’ analysis of the state in the and Lenin’s analysis of what had happened to the state under imperialism. Hardly “new questions” that is except for In Struggle.

Marxism-Leninism is much stronger than Gagnonism, and so In Struggle had to take some sort of position on these questions of the state. So In Struggle attacked the Bolshevik Union’s defense of the line of the Manifesto of the Communist Party. Of course In Struggle, in order to hide its motives, tries to attribute the Manifesto of the Communist Party to the Bolshevik Union.

Another group, the Bolshevik Union (BU) of Toronto, goes even further than the Red Star Collective by affirming that the state is only the executive committee of the ruling class represented in Canada by two bourgeoisies, the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism. [Proletarian Unity no. 5, p. 4)

The Bolshevik Union appreciates the compliment, but we really are only students of Marx and Engels and must give them credit where credit is due. It is Marx and Engels who say that “the executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie”. (Manifesto, Peking, p. 33) In Struggle is always the first to apply the “method” of Marxism but the last to apply the results. In Struggle uses the Bolshevik Union as a foil to denounce Marxism and put forward the Gagnonite theory of the state, a theory that is no different then Tim Buck’s revisionist theory, a theory which is only a rehash of Kautskyism. For Gagnonism Canada is imperialist not because of its monopoly capitalist economy but because the State apparatus is imperialist and the “imperialist state” makes policies on the basis of the interests of the Canadian imperialists, which for In Struggle are principally the state bureaucrats and their “lackeys” the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie. This theory is nothing but Kautskyism, which Lenin exposed as ignoring imperialist economist economics and exclusively basing itself on the “policies” of the State. (We refer the reader to LINES OF DEMARCATION no. 5 or RECUEIL no. 1 for an in-depth exposure of Gagnonism on these questions. We will not repeat ourselves here.)

For such a Kautskyite as Gagnon, it is of course necessary for him to repudiate Lenin, but once again he can’t do this openly, so once again he attributes the ideas of Lenin to the Bolshevik Union in order to denounce them as trotskyite. (Not that Gagnon has the slightest idea of what trotskyism is. It simply serves as a convenient epithet to try to discredit Leninism.)

In Struggle states that “BU also went to great lengths to describe IN STRUGGLE as revisionist because our group totally rejects BU’s trotskyist concept of an ’intermediary State’ and instead talks about the Canadian imperialist State”. (Ibid) Once again In Struggle has to resort to deliberate lies to cover for itself. The Bolshevik Union has never used the term “intermediary State”. We have however based ourselves on Lenin’s analysis of the State in the imperialist epoch and used Lenin’s term “transitional forms of state dependence.” Lenin says that “it MUST be observed that finance capital and its foreign policy, which is the struggle of the great powers for the economic and political division of the world, gives rise to a number of TRANSITIONAL FORMS OF STATE DEPENDENCE”. (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Peking, p. 101) In Struggle, however, refuses to make this observation and instead chooses to denounce Lenin for being a “trotskyite” for making it!

In Struggle’s demagogy about trotskyism is quite amusing. The fact is that In Struggle’s “line” on the Canadian state is virtualy identical to that of the Canadian section of the fourth “international”. In LINES OF DEMARCATION no. 1 we demonstrated that the line of the League (and now In Struggle’s line as well) was virtually identical to that of the LSA/LSO before it split with the RMG/GMR (who are now “reunited” in the “Revolutionary” “Workers” League.) The trotskyites use the same concept of an “imperialist state” that In Struggle uses. The trotskyites refer to is as “an independent capitalist state – an imperialist oppressor state”. (“Canada and the Crisis of World Imperialism”, published in the International Socialist Review, July-August 1973, p. 16) The trotskyites place the same emphasis on the determining role of the superstructure over the economic base in the development of Canadian capitalism as In Struggle does. The trotskyites, also, have the same conception of the Canadian state being completely independent of U.S. imperialism. They state that “The Canadian bourgeoisie has forged a strong, centralized state apparatus, independent of foreign imperialist rule, and constituting a powerful instrument for the defense of its class interests”, (ibid)

Not only does In Struggle have this ideological and political link with trotskyism on the question of the Canadian state and the development of Canadian imperialism, there is a direct link as well. In Struggle asked permission to translate and publish in French, with an approving introduction by In Struggle, Imperialism and the National Question in Canada. Many readers might recall that Jack Scott reviewed this book in Canadian Revolution no. 2, (p. 39) That this book put forward a trotskyite analysis that is very similar to In Struggle (and from which In Struggle apparently learned!) is very clear. It should be pointed out that the authors of this book that In Struggle wanted to publish are members of the trotskyite “Revolutionary” “Workers” League and that one is on the central committee!

In Struggle has all along tried to imply that the Bolshevik Union’s position is bourgeois nationalist and that we really don’t believe that Canada is imperialist. This, however, could not be further from the truth. It is the Bolshevik Union that has defended the 1928 line of the Comintern and it is the Bolshevik Union that has done the real concrete analysis to prove that Canada is imperialist. Apparently for Gagnon, if the state apparatus isn’t in itself imperialist then it would be impossible for Canada to be imperialist. Of course, the bourgeois nationalists can make mince meat out of In Struggle’s positions and use them to promote bourgeois nationalism as the alternative. In Struggle can’t even mount a reply to “Red” Star Collective’s criticisms of In Struggle.

In Struggle in its demarcation continues to reject any notion that two imperialisms can share any amount of state power, thus once again rejecting Lenin who stated that

if “wealth” in general is fully capable of achieving domination over any democratic republic by bribery and through the stock exchange, then how can Kievsky (or Gagnon – BU) maintain, without lapsing into a very curious “logical contradiction”, that the immense wealth of the trusts and the banks, which have thousands of millions at their command, cannot “achieve” domination of finance capital over a foreign, i.e. political independent republic.

Well? Bribery of official is “unachievable” in a foreign state? Or the “alliance of government and stock exchange” applies only to one’s own government? (Lenin, “A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism”, LCW 23: 47)

As In Struggle cares nothing for Marxism-Leninism, it cares nothing for reality either. Recently exposed activities of U.S. monopolies around the world give ample proof of the truth of what Lenin is saying. It was exposed only days ago by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Exxon, the largest oil monopoly in the world, was secretly siphoning off millions from its corporate funds to bribe politicians throughout the world. Evidence was brought forward that Exxon had spent over $50 million on bribes to Italian government officials in order to get the Italian state to carry out policies favourable to Exxon. Evidence was also brought forward to prove that Exxon had given nearly $3 million to the Labour Party of Australia to build its new party headquarters. (Montreal Star, Sept. 28, 1977)

Given that over one third of U.S. foreign investment is in Canada, it is inconceivable that U.S. imperialists have refrained from bribing Canadian politicians in order to get the Canadian government to adopt policies favourable to U.S. imperialism. It was not long ago that the U.S. Lockheed corporation was exposed for bribing government officials all over the world, including the Prime Minister of Japan and the Crown Prince of the Netherlands!

If there were ever any doubts about the kind of relationship U.S. imperialism has had with the Canadian state they should be dispelled by the recent publication of John Diefenbaker’s third volume of his memoirs. In this book the former Prime Minister of Canada describes the role of the US in having his government defeated and replaced by the Liberals. Diefenbaker states that “Mr. Pearson had swallowed himself (sic) on the question of nuclear arms for Canada, and the Kennedy government, in consequence, had committed itself to aiding and abetting the Liberal party in its attempt to throw out my government.” (Montreal Star, October 8, 1977, p. 1) And as if to dispel In Struggle’s notion that the Canadian state’s relationship to the US is solely a matter of mutual agreement and “alliance” Diefenbaker states that “Howard Green has always maintained that one of his problems as secretary of state for external affairs was the existence of what amounted to a SUPRA-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONSHIP between the Canadian military, in particular the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Pentagon”. (Ibid, p. 6) Now unless In Struggle is going to tell us that the military isn’t part of the state (!!), this would give us the impression that the US was “sharing” something!!

Diefenbaker says that “there was hardly any limit to the help President Kennedy was prepared to give Mr. Pearson in an effort to defeat me”. (Ibid) Are these just the wild imaginations of an embittered politician at being defeated? After all, In Struggle and the League tell us that this sort of thing is impossible! Diefenbaker quotes Pierre Trudeau, a Liberal and now Prime Minister, to confirm his interpretation. Trudeau states:

You think I dramatize? But how do you think politics work? Do you think that General Norstad, the former supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, came to Ottawa as a tourist on Jan. 3 to call publicly on the Canadian government to respect its commitments? Do you think it was by chance that Mr. Pearson, in his speech of Jan. 12, was able to quote the authority of General Norstad? Do you think it was inadvertent that, on Jan. 30, the State Department gave a statement to journalists reinforcing Mr. Pearson’s claims and crudely accusing Mr. Diefenbaker of lying? You think it was by chance that this press release provided the leader of the Opposition with the arguments he used abundantly in his parliamentary speech on Jan. 31? You believe that it was coincidence that this series of events ended with the fall of the government on Feb. 5?

But why do you think that the United States should treat Canada differently from Guatemala when reason of state requires it and circumstances permit... (Montreal Star, September 28,I977, p.6)

One wonders how two Prime Ministers could be so “ill-informed”; maybe they should join League and In Struggle readers circles and learn the “truth” about such matters.

For In Struggle, however, to know these things is just “intellectualism” and it is a “diversion” from struggling against the wage controls enacted by the “Canadian Imperialist State”! In Struggle says that “this whole concoction has in reality a single goal: to hide the fact that the question of State power is the key question of the revolution, and that our principal enemy is indeed the Canadian bourgeoisie and its State”. (September 29, p. 13) It is through this type of demagogy and rhetoric that In Struggle is trying to hide the danger of US imperialism to the Canadian working class, even when over half of the industrial proletariat of Canada is employed by US imperialist firms.

Because of the Bolshevik Union’s resolute struggle against In Struggle’s revisionism on these questions In Struggle has stated that the Bolshevik Union does not want to sieze state power but instead advocates a “trotskyite theory” of “seizing power factory by factory”. This is another one of In Struggle’s wild demagogical slanders that we have replied to several times, but it is amusing to note that on the cover of the issue of In Struggle that “demarcates” against the Bolshevik Union we find In Struggle’s real “path to revolution”. In Struggle tells us that “in 1974-75: FACTORY BY FACTORY, workers across the country forced the bosses to re-open collective agreements...” The article goes on to state that “So long as we continue to fight isolated one from another in our factories or in our regions, we will not be able TO FORCE THE BOURGEOIS STATE TO WITHDRAW THE WAGE CONTROLS. We must fight back in a united way, we must concentrate our strenght (sic) in a single powerful current across the country to demand the withdrawal of this law.” Then In Struggle launches its only slogan: “On October 14, intensify the united struggle against the Wage Controls”! NOT A MENTION OF SOCIALISM, NOT A MENTION OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT! Now, we ask you, WHO IS IT THAT HAS ABANDONED THE STRUGGLE TO OVERTHROW THE CANADIAN BOURGEOISIE AND SMASH THE STATE TO ACHIEVE THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT AND SOCIALISM? ? ? ? ?

At a meeting to struggle against the wage controls held by In Struggle in Regina, trotskyites got up and praised In Struggle’s plans for establising struggle committees across Canada to struggle for the withdrawal of wage controls as a good step that break with “typical Stalinist dogmatism and they welcomed it as consistent with the trotskyite “transitional programme” for “revolution” Need we wonder further who it is that is walking hand in hand with the trotskyites down “the path of the revolution”!!