First Published: In Struggle! No. 92, July 7, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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IN STRUGGLE!, in its June 9 issue, deepened its criticism of the erroneous line of Bolshevik Union (BU). In particular, we showed that the “unity plan” proposed to the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement by BU, in reality Is nothing more than a plan to sabotage our movement, a plan where splitting and wrecking and apologies for small-group mentality and splinttering take the place of a consistent struggle to unite our movement around a real revolutionary proletarian programme in Canada. Recent actions by the Bolshevik Union clearly show that in this matter, this group has the intention of passing from the theory of division to the practice of sectarianism and sabotage. In turn, these types of actions call for practical measures on the part of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement.
For the Mayday celebration in Toronto, IN STRUGGLE! called on the various progressive, worker and Marxist-Leninist forces to unite their actions with the goal of inciting the Ontario working class to demonstrate on the basis of four demands which are presently essential for the development of the class struggle of the Canadian proletariat and people:
– for the withdrawal of the Wage Control Act, and the revocation of all AIB decisions
– no to tripartism
– no to Bill C-24
It is thus on the basis of these demands and the necessity to show a unified force in the framework of the struggle against the bourgeois State that IN STRUGGLE! called for the formation of a coalition likely to involve the greatest number of the working, masses in the celebration of Mayday. A coalition also likely to furnish Marxist-Leninists with the possibility of propagating the proletarian point of view in the masses on the widest scale possible.
Consistent with its doctrinaire line which tries to isolate the action of Marxist-Leninists from mass struggles. BU condemned the setting up of such coalitions, which, so it seems, liquidate the line struggle between Marxist-Leninists, liquidate the struggle to rally the workers’ vanguard to Marxism-Leninism, liquidate the struggle for the Party, in brief, liquidate everything... except their flow of words! After having said all that, and having condemned the supposed opportunism of IN STRUGGLE!, what happens? BU agrees to participate in the coalition to defend, so it seems, a communist point of view. In reality, and the facts are there to prove it, BU had no intention of mobilizing the masses and of submitting itself to the tactical unity which its participation in the coalition meant it had undertaken to respect.
On the contrary, BU stated to whomever wanted to hear, that although the demands put forward were correct, it was opportunist and incorrect for Marxist-Leninists to propose unity of action on the basis of these correct demands! Thus, relying on this “highly dialectical evaluation”, BU gave a speech at the meeting organized by the coalition, denouncing IN STRUGGLE! and the League as “mainly opportunist”. Not one word against the bourgeoisie, not one concrete indication of the path which Marxist-Leninists must follow in their work among the masses, not even a word about May 1st! In fact, BU’s speech served more to discredit the Marxist-Leninist movement and the coalition itself than to contribute to the fusion of Marxism-Leninism and the workers’ movement.
This last experience of BU’s participation in a coalition has shown once again, and undoubtedly once too often, that this group does not respect unity of action, that it places its differences with the Marxist-Leninist movement above what it claims to have in common with it, which seems to be increasingly slim. Far from reinforcing the penetration of the proletarian ideology in the masses, BU’s participation in coalitions seeks on the contrary, to sabotage them. This is why, from now on, we will refuse all unity of action with this group, unless it definitively breaks with its actions of sabotage and formally commits itself to respecting the agreements which are the basis for tactical unity.
Coalitions are not mainly places for confrontation and line struggle between groups but are rather places for united interventions in the masses around a platform of demands that each group commits itself to defend. If BU, too preoccupied with the development of its factionalist line, doesn’t agree to submit itself to this minimal discipline, then we should forbid it to participate in coalitions, from which, in reality it excludes itself!
BU’s splitting and wrecking line does not only manifest itself in actions of sabotage within coalitions, but also in the way it wages polemics with Marxist-Leninist groups, a method based more on slandering than on frank and honest line struggle on questions of programme. It’s in this way that BU has for a while now, been circulating an unsigned leaflet with regard to the League, where among other things, we can read that “The League is in the vanguard in the race for RCMP medals”!
In its leaflet, BU asks IN STRUGGLE! to publish the leaflet in its newspaper. Let it be clear that we aren’t going to do that: in fact we forbade the distribution of this leaflet during the regional conference on the path of the revolution in Canada organized by our group in Quebec City. Why? Because the leaflet was written by BU? Because we want to sabotage the line struggle? No! IN STRUGGLE!’s line on this is very clear. We encourage the widest expression of the viewpoints in our movement, because that is the condition for developing the line debate, to demarcate the bourgeois line from the proletarian line, in the masses. However, the line debate has nothing to do with slandering, speculations on intentions, and accusations of collaboration with the bourgeoisie’s political police! IN STRUGGLE! is opposed to these sectarian methods which avoid line struggle and undermine the struggle for unity. We condemn them, regardless of their authors, and we are not going to allow people to use activities organized by our group to diffuse them.
Certainly, these methods are not unique to BU, because the CCL(ML) in particular is practically on the way to making it its brand name. For the League, everything takes place as if it had four “labels” in its boutique. Ideological struggle is reduced, so to say, to knowing who to stamp with what! It stamps “correct line” on itself; “on an increasingly steep slope into right opportunism and revisionism” on IN STRUGGLE! (see The Forge, 9-6-77), “completely opportunist group” on others, the most recent being the May First Collective in Vancouver, and finally “counter-revolutionary group”. The way the League rallied the CC-(ML), (see IN STRUGGLE! nos. 90-1) the demagogic and lying polemic of the League with regard to IN STRUGGLE!, and finally the methods used against BU (publication of a list of names of militants associated with BU for example) illustrate up to what point the “clarity” of the League’s classifications serves, in reality, to mask its opportunism and its refusal to wage ideological struggle in the masses. Such methods, which in appearance are so “firm” can perhaps impress some, but already in reality they are beginning to reveal themselves for what they are: piles of sand which blow away with the first storm, for lack of relying on the conscious masses who alone can transform ideas, no matter how just, into a material force capable of transforming society and the world.
No to sectarianism!
No to splitting and wrecking!
Arm the masses with the invincible arm of Marxism-Leninism