Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Party

On the 20th anniversary of the Internationalists

The Myth of the Glorious Past–CPC(M-L)’s Pretext for International Factionalism

First Published:The Workers’ Advocate, [U.S.A.] Vol. 13, No. 5, July 1, 1983.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This spring the leadership of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) made a big clamor about the 20th anniversary of the Internationalists, an organization of the 1960’s which they descended from. They organized a special celebration in Vancouver on March 13, the day of the anniversary, which was followed by a campaign of public meetings across the country. In addition, People’s Canada Daily News (PCDN) serialized the speech given at the Vancouver meeting by CPC (M-L)’s leader Hardial Bains under the grandiose title “Twenty Years of Glorious Struggle in Defense of Marxism-Leninism, the Revolution and Socialism.”

What is all this fuss about? Is it simply a matter of their Party’s history which they are discussing for the purpose of training the revolutionary movement in Canada today? Not at all.

In the first place, the hoopla about the Internationalists is meant to justify the factional activities which CPC(M-L) carries out at present in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. It is well known that CPC(M-L) does not just consider the Internationalists to be a historical phenomenon of the 1960’s but also the basis for a “special trend” within the present-day international movement. The leadership of CPC(M-L) believes that those who are members of this trend should have “special relations,” the essence of which is subordination to the dictates of CPC(M-L). While today, out of embarrassment, CPC(M-L) does not publicly speak of the Internationalists as an international trend, this idea is openly defended in the publications of other members of CPC(M-L)’s “special trend,” such as the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML). (For more on CPC(M-L)’s international factionalism, see “Introducing the Correspondence Between the MLP,USA and the RCPB(ML)” in the September 5, 1982 issue of The Workers’ Advocate as well as the two-part series “The Truth About the Relations Between the MLP,USA and the CPC(M-L),” in the June 30 and August 10, 1981 issues of this newspaper.)

Secondly, the issue of the Internationalists is used to prop up the myth of the infallibility of their leader, Hardial Bains. It is used to assert that the leadership of CPC(M-L), in particular Hardial Bains, has some deserving claim to two decades of consistent Marxist- Leninist leadership. The history and work of the Internationalists are presented as a great international experience, as having broken the path for Marxism-Leninism in the modern world, as something which the revolutionaries of all lands should pay special homage to. As part of this, at the Vancouver meeting on March 13, CPC(M-L)’s Central Committee even went so far as to present Hardial Bains, “the founding member of the Internationalists on March 13, 1963, with a medal of honor specially struck for the occasion.” (PCDN, March 14,1983) The claims of the special attributes of Hardial Bains in turn provide the justification why the “special trend” should subordinate itself to CPC(M-L).

Our Party takes questions of the history of the revolutionary movement seriously. We have long held that it is proper and essential for the Marxist-Leninist parties to study their history, to draw lessons from it, and to discuss it with class conscious workers and activists from the mass movements. This helps develop a sense of how the proletarian movement develops and assists in promoting party spirit.

But CPC(M-L)’s discussion of the history of the Internationalists has nothing to do with a serious and honest study of history. Instead they offer a carefully embellished myth. We have given our general assessment of the Internationalists elsewhere in the course of our polemic against the Maoist and liquidationist deviations and international factionalism of the leadership of CPC(M-L). In this article we would like to speak to the history in more detail. This article is based on a speech given at the First National Conference of the MLP,USA in the summer of 1981, revised and updated with new material.

We will show that the actual historical record simply does not bear out the stories put out by CPC(M-L) about how the Internationalists stood up for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism since 1963. Rather the Internationalists were a group of activists, similar to a multitude of other groups that came up in the 1960’s. They wandered in all sorts of directions and reflected the ideological confusion of the times.

We will show that in their earliest years, the Internationalists exhibited nothing particularly revolutionary about them. They were a group of students and faculty engaged in organizing a left-liberal discussion forum, that was essentially a liberal uplift program for improving the academic atmosphere on campus.

Later, when the Internationalists began to take up the question of building organization, they did not try to build revolutionary organization. Instead they actively flirted with social-democracy and tried to build a “center-left” group in collaboration with elements from official social-democracy.

The Internationalists repeatedly manifested suspicion towards the mass movement. For example, they even went to the extent of denouncing the student upsurge in Berkeley in the mid-60’s in the most disgusting terms.

It has been claimed by the Internationalists and their heirs that they fought against New Left ideology. But the record shows that they were in fact mired in many of the New Left fashions of the time, including advocacy of theories of personal liberation.

We will also show that there is no truth at all in the assertion that the Internationalists worked to build the international Marxist-Leninist movement. In fact, their international activity began with an attempt to float their own trend internationally, which was allegedly anti-revisionist but not Marxist-Leninist. Later, when they began to describe themselves as a Marxist-Leninist youth movement, the Internationalists engaged in factional intrigues inside the international Marxist- Leninist movement. They tried to carve out a trend under their own hegemony within the international movement, now basing their claim to international leadership on the assertion that it was they who had brought and were applying the lessons of Mao Zedong Thought and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to various advanced capitalist countries.

Such were some of the basic features of the Internationalist movement. At the same time, it should be remembered that at the core of the Internationalists, during all of its different stages, was their leader, Hardial Bains. Bains came from a background as a political activist in India, where he had been an active member of the youth and student organization of the Communist Party of India in the 1950’s. By that time, the CPI had become completely dominated by revisionist leadership and it offered a thoroughly opportunist training to its political activists. After Bains came to Canada in 1959 to go to college, he was associated with the Communist Party of Canada, which had been thoroughly corrupted by revisionism by then. Sometime in the first half of the 1960’s, Hardial Bains broke with the CP of Canada, but as the history of the Internationalists shows, he remained imbued with many of the revisionist concepts on how to organize among the masses.

Thus, instead of setting out to organize along revolutionary lines, Hardial Bains organized the Internationalists along the revisionist ideas of “broad fronts” and “center-left” organization, in alliance with certain of the fashionable left-liberal trends and ideas of the times. The Internationalists justified this policy under the opportunist plea that in the early 60’s one first had to work for “the development of a material base in which a left-wing stand was possible.” (Internationalist pamphlet, One Struggle, Two Enemies, Three Guidelines, Four Levels of Work, August, 1968, p. 31) This is of course nothing but the standard revisionist trash that revolutionary work cannot be carried out because “conditions” don’t exist yet. Yet this is paraded as a great example of the tactical genius of Bains!

Let us now proceed with our study of the Internationalists.

The Myth

This report on the history of the Internationalists is not meant to be a comprehensive and complete assessment. Instead it seeks to provide a survey of the crucial real-life features of the Internationalists. It is meant to provide a sufficient basis to judge the claims made by CPC(M-L) as well as the other promoters of the Internationalists, such as the RCP of Britain (ML). This study is based on the historical documents and cuts through later reinterpretations and rewritings of the record.

Strictly speaking, the Internationalists were three organizations: the Canadian Internationalists launched in Vancouver in 1963, the Irish Internationalists launched in Dublin in 1965 and the English Internationalists created in London in 1967. By 1970 all these organizations had ceased to exist, having given rise to other organizations that became the CP of Canada (M-L), the CP of Ireland (ML) and the CP of England (M-L) (which in turn became the RCP of Britain (ML) in 1979).

All three of these organizations promote a similar story about the Internationalists. For this study, we will focus on the Canadian group, although, since the history of the three groups is so closely linked, we will also examine documents from the Irish and English groups.

First let us begin with the current myth about the Internationalists promoted by CPC(M-L). In its essentials this is similar to the story which is also told by the RCP of Britain (ML) and the CP of Ireland (ML).

The myth about the Internationalists is that in March 1963 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, an organization called the Internationalists was founded which formed the anti-revisionist center for Canada. It is claimed that right from the outset this group opposed imperialism, capitalism and revisionism, that it defended revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, and that it took up the tasks required for the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party. Furthermore, the story goes that at the core of this process was the all-sided, wise and Marxist-Leninist leadership of Hardial Bains, who step by step provided the conscious guidance to this entire process.

The latest expression of this myth occurs in Hardial Bains’ recent speech in Vancouver. Here he declares: “The founding of the Internationalists fulfilled the need of that period, the necessity to organize and direct the revolutionary energies of all the forces who wanted an end to capitalist exploitation and imperialist oppression and plunder into taking up the task of creating the conditions for the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) as the major and the only task of that period. The Internationalists were the rallying point for all the anti-revisionist forces who came forward to oppose the treachery of Tim Buck revisionism and of Khrushchov....” (PCDN, April 11,1983, p.2) Let us recall a couple of other examples of the same myth from the early 70’s. In 1973 the Second Congress of CPC(M-L) declared: “The Internationalists were founded and built by those youth and students who, on the basis of their own experience in the revolutionary mass movement united around the basic task of 1. opposing revisionism, upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and 2. building the Marxist-Leninist party. Following this, the Internationalists developed in a step-wise manner from 1963-73.” (CPC(M-L), Documents – Political Reports 1970 and 1973,1976, p. 55)


The same year, PCDN, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Internationalists, proclaimed in feverish enthusiasm: “The entire development of THE INTERNATIONALISTS has been led by their leader, Comrade Bains. Amongst THE INTERNATIONALISTS he has always commanded respect for his thorough-going scientific analysis of the situation, for his insistence on opposing revisionism and dogmatism by remaining in the heart of the mass movement and for his all-sided leadership over the years.” (PCDN, Special Supplement, March 13,1973)

A major problem in studying the history of the Internationalists is that one is straightaway confronted by the fact that there is no clear, factual and consistent record available from CPC(M-L) or the other descendants of the organization. This does not mean there are no historical accounts. Quite the contrary, there are many, many such accounts. In fact, over the years with each and every twist of CPC(M-L)’s declared positions the world has been treated with amazing new refinements of the memory of Hardial Bains. This has meant ever newer and different versions of the history.

We have already noted the current version of history, which is in essence the same one that can be found throughout the 1970’s. This version claims that the Internationalists were Marxist-Leninists from 1963. However there is another category of historical accounts. These appeared in the late 1960’s. On the surface these accounts appeared to be more modest. They claimed that the Internationalists started out as a small group of petty-bourgeois intellectuals, with a generally progressive stand but confused on many questions, who step by step moved to clearer and more revolutionary positions, towards embracing Marxism-Leninism.

But even these accounts embellished things. They tried to maintain that there was something extraordinary about this group right from the beginning. Thus in August 1968, the International Committee of the Internationalists declared: “Since 1963, ours has been the only youth and students movement based on ’Action with Analysis’.... All other liberal bourgeois youth and students organizations have either been involved in elitist politics of the student councils, or engrossed in problems of ’peace’.... We were the only organization which stood against cold war rhetoric and anti-communism, including all the muck of pacifism.” (Internationalist pamphlet One Struggle, Two Enemies, Three Guidelines, Four Levels of Work, August 1968, p. 31, emphasis added) In the same statement, they hinted at what sort of analysis this “action with analysis” group was guided by. It said, ”Our movement was clearly a ’new type’ of movement. Our analysis started from various bourgeois philosophers as the guide to conscious adoption of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought.” (Ibid., p. 33, emphasis added)

To be sure, it was an important question to oppose engaging simply in mindless activism; revolutionaries had the responsibility to work so that practical activity in the mass movement was guided by revolutionary theory. But this is not what the Internationalists did. When such a group admits that it was guided by “bourgeois philosophers” and when it counted itself as one among many “liberal bourgeois” organizations, one cannot help but wonder at why they boast about being the only group based on “Action with Analysis.” The fundamental character of the group cannot be decided on the basis of the issue of combining action with analysis, but what sort of analysis was being combined with what sort of action.

Another feature of the historical accounts from this period is the claim to have rediscovered certain of the Marxist-Leninist principles out of the Internationalists’ own “direct experience.” For example, take an article “On Methods of Work” by Hardial Bains, which was widely promoted in their circles in the early 1970’s. This appeared in the journal of the Hindustani Ghadar Party (ML), an organization of East Indians resident abroad which was closely connected with CPC(M-L) and led also by Hardial Bains. In this article, referring to what could only have been the experience of the Internationalists, Bains wrote: “In our work, we started from our own ideas on the methods of work. We were faced with the problem that the revisionists and neo-revisionists did not have any method of work apart from building bureaucracies. Out of necessity we had to develop a new method of work. The soul of this new method of work was to integrate theory with practice. We did not read any books on this, and it was only later that we, to our surprise, found that Marx was the first person who said that a communist is one who integrates theory and practice.” (Chingari, organ of the HGP(ML), September-November 1970, p. 7, emphasis added) The article went on to describe how these people discovered the principles of democratic centralism on their own.

This is very surprising coming from a person who, CPC(M-L) has many times pointed out, came from a communist party background in India. Now it is certainly true that the revisionists do not teach you much, but student leaders around even a revisionist-dominated party like the CPI of the 1950’s would be somewhat familiar with the idea of combining theory with practice. It is the height of dishonesty for Hardial Bains to claim that “only later we, to our surprise, found that Marx was the first person” to say such things!

But there is something behind this sort of dishonesty. It is to promote that there was something really exceptional about the Internationalists. It is meant to boost the allegedly great theoretical acumen of their leader, Hardial Bains. Unlike the rest of us ordinary mortals, he didn’t have to learn Marxism by studying it; oh no, this great genius rediscovered the Marxist ideas out of his own profound experience. What complete balderdash!

The Real Historical Record – The Earliest Years

Clearly one will not get a real picture of the Internationalists from any accounts published by CPC(M-L). They have rewritten and reinterpreted history so many times that one has to go directly to the documents of the Internationalists themselves. We do not have a complete collection of all that was ever written by them, but we did manage to gather enough material which blows up CPC(M-L)’s myth to smithereens.

The Internationalists were first founded in Canada in 1963 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where Hardial Bains was a graduate student in microbiology. They have themselves described their earliest years, through 1966, as a period in which they were an “informal discussion group.” In 1965, after Hardial Bains started teaching as a lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, the Internationalists were launched there as well.

In both these cases, the program of the group was similar. It was launched under the slogan: “to promote student-staff relations and to create an academic atmosphere on the campus.” (p. 1 of a journal called The Canadian Internationalist, July 15,1968)

And what did this program amount to in reality? Another journal explained in 1969: “The Internationalists correctly analyzed that there ’was no academic dialogue on the campus’ and that various issues were drowned in reactionary rhetoric. The first task, therefore, was to open a discussion on western philosophical tradition, to encourage discussion based on facts, and to mobilize students against the reactionary Student Council.” (Canadian Internationalist, Vol. 1, No. 1, February 1969)

The activities of the group were described thus: “Discussions flourished, from a handful of people meeting once in the evening to four annual symposia, regular weekly ’evening academic sessions,’ faculty programs organized with the cooperation of the undergraduate faculties, noon hour lectures....” (Canadian Internationalist, July 15,1968)

A glimpse of the activity of the group in Ireland in its early days is given in an article “History of the Internationalists” published in the Irish Internationalist journal Words in early 1967. It writes, “They [referring to two students and two lecturers who founded the group – WA] decided to start a society specifically for the promotion of student-staff relations, and for the provision of a forum for serious discussion. Meetings were held in students’ flats. A paper would be read, the reader would answer questions on the paper and other people would express their views. Then the meeting would break up into informal groups, and personal discussions would go on for several hours.” (No. 12, back cover)

Although we do not have available any documents from their earliest years, these accounts from a few years later, however, make it quite clear what sort of group this was. The Internationalists were essentially a left-liberal campus improvement group, whose activity centered on organizing discussions. As they themselves put it, this discussion started on “western philosophical tradition,” i.e., bourgeois philosophy. As well, since they themselves admit that they were only a “loose discussion group,” it is quite clear that in those early years there really was no true organization.

These are hardly the features of a conscious anti-revisionist center, as CPC(M-L) claims. In fact, from the above accounts, there is nothing particularly revolutionary about the activity or the character of the Internationalists of that time. Nevertheless the Internationalists and CPC(M-L) have always promoted the view that their program was the only revolutionary thing to do in the early to mid-1960’s. For example, in 1968, the Internationalists wrote about the slogan to create an academic atmosphere: “Thus it was correct to give this slogan, because only through such a program could the most universal contradiction [which they described as the clash between “exploiter and exploited” – be resolved. Any other slogans were counter-revolutionary.” (Pamphlet entitled One Struggle, Two Enemies, Three Guidelines, Four Levels of Work, pp. 14-15, emphasis added)

Just imagine! According to them, the only really revolutionary slogan for the Marxist-Leninists in 1963-66 was “to create academic atmosphere on the campus”! What complete trash!

This amazing assertion was justified under the banner of the need to fight Cold War ideology. The Internationalists made the claim that only through such a program could the Cold War ideological atmosphere have been smashed. To be sure, it was an important question in the 1950’s and 60’s to smash the stultifying Cold War ideology. But history has shown that this was smashed among the broadest masses not by some liberal discussion group talking about Western philosophical tradition but by the rise of the stormy mass movements in the heartlands of imperialism. This ferment was inevitably accompanied by ideological ferment which blew up the Cold War propaganda about the “end of ideology.” And the place of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism within this ferment was ensured by the historic polemic against modern revisionism carried out in the 1960’s by the world’s Marxist-Leninists; this rescued the prestige of Marxism-Leninism among the activists who looked at the revisionist communist parties with disgust because of their right opportunist corruption.

But the Internationalists did not fight for the place of Marxism-Leninism within the mass ferment. They counterposed to Cold War ideology not revolutionary ideology but bourgeois philosophy. In fact, as we shall shortly see, they were cowardly in the face of anti-communism, and Hardial Bains, for one, was perfectly willing to join in anti-communist rhetoric himself.

Clearly the record of the early years does not verify the claim that the Internationalists were a group fighting for Marxism-Leninism.

The Center-Left Period – Avid Flirtations With Social-Democracy

Having examined the earliest years, let us now proceed to 1966-67, when we have been told the Internationalists built up the “disciplined group” and waged “the struggle against bourgeois hang-ups.” Is there perhaps anything in this period which could justify the boastful declarations of CPC(M-L)?

No, these years too do not verify their claims. This is in fact the same period which was described in a 1969 publication as the period in which the Internationalists were a “center-left organization based on opposition to imperialism.” As the journal World Revolutionary Youth put it, “The Internationalists developed from an ’informal discussion group’ in 1963 to a ’center-left’ organization based on opposition to imperialism in 1966, anti-imperialist youth and student movement in August 1967 and Marxist-Leninist youth and student movement in 1968.” (February 1969, p. 6)

Clearly one could not have been a “center-left” group and a Marxist-Leninist center at the same time. It may be recalled that in the 1960’s the concept of building “center-left” organization was very popular with the revisionists, who used it to oppose building revolutionary organization in favor of merger with social-democracy, liberals, labor bureaucrats, etc.

Indeed, when one examines the documents of the Internationalists from these years, one discovers that their concept of center-left organization was not much different. It was a form with which to actively flirt with social -democracy.

A vivid example of how far the center-left group was from Marxism-Leninism is provided by a controversy which appeared in the Irish Internationalist journal Words in early 1967. In this magazine, Hardial Bains has a letter of protest against a Mr. Warner, an editor of TCD, the Trinity College magazine, who had apparently tried to redbait the Internationalists. Bains writes:

“Mr. Warner, may I ask you who were you writing about? Hardial Bains as I know him, or an imaginary Hardial Bains as created by you? You write, ’The Internationalists are the brain-child of Mr. Hardial Singh Bains.... His avowedly marxist-leninist political ideology also owes much to the American ’New Left’ movement. Not that Mr. Bains is concocting Berkeley-style revolutions in our green island – he is a realist.’

“What do you know about Marxism-Leninism, Mr. Warner? And what do you, know about the American ’New Left’ Movement?... Have you ever heard me talking about my political beliefs? If you had, you would know that I am a card-carrying member of the New Democratic Party of Canada (the equivalent of the British Labor Party), which did not emerge from the ’New Left,’ but was established as a result of the depression of the thirties. Furthermore, I have declared my opposition to the COMMUNIST PARTY OF CANADA, and all similar parties in the Anglo-American world. I have denounced the (New Left’ as CIA-inspired groups, who do nothing but rationalize their impotence and immorality. I took this stand in 1962. As to the staging of a Berkeley-type revolt, you have insulted my capabilities – and it won’t be too long before the Irish people realize the capabilities of people like you. There will be a revolt against character assassination, malignment and elitist oppression.” (Words, No. 12, early 1967, p. 2, emphasis added)

It may be noted that while this statement from the leader of the Internationalists is characteristic of the general character of the group, it also ranks as among the worst articles that appear in their journals of that period. This was generally true of Bains’ contributions as compared to many other writers. Let us then see what Bains’ statement shows.

First, far from taking a Marxist-Leninist stand against redbaiting, Bains does not even take a position appearing to be sympathetic to communism. Clearly there was a limit to how far the Internationalists’ much- vaunted struggle against the Cold War ideology went. Bains does not distinguish between revisionism and revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. So what is he denouncing when he curses the Communist Party of Canada and “all similar parties in the Anglo-American world”? Moreover, what does he counterpose to the CP of Canada et al.? Not the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces, but straight-up official social-democracy, represented by such right-wing forces as the NDP of Canada and the British Labor Party.

Secondly, a significant feature of this statement from Bains is his denunciation of the mass student struggle at Berkeley. Berkeley was a prominent center of the student upsurge of the 1960’s and by 1964-65 it was a place where the student movement had reached a particularly militant intensity.

The denunciation of Berkeley is an example where the skepticism the Internationalists repeatedly demonstrated towards the mass movement showed through. While at various times they participated in various mass actions, the Internationalists were never enthusiastic about the mass movement. Earlier we saw in a quote from them how they counterposed the allegedly great revolutionary significance of the slogan for academic atmosphere to how other student groups were “engrossed in problems of ’peace.’” They want to make this appear as an example of their opposition to a liberal and pacifist line for the anti-militarist movement. But they do not counter to pacifism a militant line; instead they call for directing their attention entirely to some other activity.

Finally it is instructive how Hardial Bains deals with the New Left. A reactionary labels the entire mass movement as New Left and what does Hardial Bains do? He says, in effect, yes, the movement is New Left and it is all CIA-inspired. What this combines is a disdain for the mass movement and a refusal to take up any serious struggle against the ideology and politics of New Leftism. In fact, as we shall see shortly, the Internationalists themselves adapted to New Left ideology. As for their sweeping charge about how all the New Left groups were CIA-inspired, this was not an attempt to expose particular police agents but just random mud- slinging. In fact this was not an attempt to seriously fight New Leftism, but the early example of a method which they increasingly adopted in later years of denouncing anyone who opposed their pretensions as “agents provocateurs,” “police agents,” and so forth.

The efforts of the Internationalists in the 1966-67 period to flirt with social-democracy were not restricted simply to such disgusting statements by Hardial Bains. There was more to it than that. During these years, the Internationalists can also be found writing articles advising social-democracy how to improve itself.

For instance, a few weeks prior to Bains’ avowal of social-democratic credentials above, Words No. 8 wrote in reference to an expulsion from the Irish Labor Party (a thoroughly right-wing social-democratic party of the Irish bourgeoisie): “Instead of wielding the axe, the Labor Party should try to re-think its policies in order to discover its role in building a Socialist Society – at the moment its energies are too concentrated in re-organization of the party infrastructure – hardly a substitute for relevant policies which are always said to be in preparation, though we have had only one comprehensive document, that on education, since 1963.” (p. 7)

It appears that these were not just a few minor articles indicating illusions in the allegedly progressive potential of the Irish Labor Party. Rather, they look like part of unprincipled maneuvers with elements within the ILP itself. In the middle of spring 1967, the Internationalists stopped publishing their journal Words and launched another journal, with yet another flabby apolitical name, Words and Comment. The first issue of this journal had an editor’s note which explained what kind of publication it was. It said: “Words and Comment is a weekly newspaper produced by the Internationalists in cooperation with individuals from the Universities Branch of the Irish Labor Party.” It went on to explain, “We would ask our readers, and the powers that be, to take careful note of the following facts: – 1) Words and Comment does in no way necessarily reflect or support the official views of either the Universities Branch of the Labor Party or the national Labor Party itself.”

Irrespective of this disclaimer about not necessarily reflecting the views of the ILP, the content of this newspaper was certainly not revolutionary. Rather, its content did not go beyond what was acceptable to the left- wing section of social-democracy in the British Isles, which was willing to engage in a bit of anti-imperialist phrasemongering in the late 60’s. The newspaper had articles against corporate control of the news media, articles from the pacifist liberal Bertrand Russell, and pieces opposing imperialism in Viet Nam, South Yemen, South Africa, etc.

We are not suggesting that there was necessarily something wrong about the Internationalists cooperating with individuals from the ILP campus group. We simply do not know enough about the situation to judge that. However, what is clear is that this is not an example of a Marxist-Leninist group sorting out how to carry out joint work with people from a different political trend. Instead it is an example of one unclear group of activists, the Internationalists, working with a section from official social-democracy. The cooperation remains within the bounds of what would be acceptable to a section of social-democracy. Thus, the Internationalists’ much-vaunted “anti-imperialism” at this time didn’t take them beyond the social-democratic milieu, not to speak of approaching Marxism-Leninism.

And most significantly, this joint project is not some auxiliary project of the Internationalists while they carry on their own independent work. No, the Internationalists abandon their own journal in favor of the joint newspaper, giving up any independent agitation of their own. These are hardly the attributes of a consistent Marxist-Leninist center!

The Necessity for Change – New Leftism in the Guise of Shrieks Against New Leftism

The Internationalists repeatedly boasted of their opposition to New Leftism. We have already seen an example of their empty shrieks against New Leftism. We have pointed out that the Internationalists did not carry out a serious struggle against New Left ideology. Indeed, behind their shrieks, the Internationalists themselves advocated various of the fashionable New Left ideas blowing at that time.

New Left ideology had emerged in the 1950’s in the ideological vacuum created in the left by the revisionist degeneration of the communist parties. It preached an alternative to both Marxism-Leninism, which it decried as outdated and dogmatic, and also to official social-democracy, which it considered too wrapped up in Cold War liberalism. It preached activism and took a critical attitude towards U.S. imperialism and the Cold War.

But it remained essentially social democratic. Among other things, it rejected the class struggle and the need for proletarian revolution; it denied the role of the working class as the basic agency of social transformation; and it rejected the need for a proletarian party.

The Internationalists also reflected the ideological confusion of the period. They reflected many of the major New Left ideas and prejudices. For instance, the Internationalists were utterly confused about the role of the working class. Although they may have been willing to recognize the working class as an oppressed class, in practice they never took it seriously as a revolutionary force. Like many other New Left-influenced groups of the 1960’s, they too were engaged in the search for an original and “creative” analysis with which to justify putting the student youth and professors in the center of the revolution. Many such ideas were floated in the 1960’s, such as “youth as a class,” “the new working class,” etc. The main difference between the Internationalists and the others was that they promoted their theories under the guise of opposition to New Leftism.

This was the real essence of their much-heralded analysis of the “cultural front” – the gobbledygook known as the Necessity for Change (NFC) analysis. This was written up as the key document for the NFC Conference which the Internationalists organized in London, England in August 1967. It was at this conference that the Internationalists formally launched themselves as an international movement, with sections in different countries, an international leadership, an ’ international headquarters, etc. The NFC analysis was the ideological basis for this international movement. It was held to be applicable to all the Anglo-American societies and by implication, to all the advanced capitalist countries generally.

It is significant to note that this document and conference are still promoted, a decade and a half later, as glorious revolutionary happenings by the heirs of the Internationalists. Therefore, because of the significance attributed to it, we would like to examine some of the main features of this analysis.

A whole section of the document was devoted to the issue of “material abundance.” This went into a pseudo-critique of the ”consumer society.” In the 1960’s this was a familiar view among the New Left ideologues who argued that the working class in the developed capitalist countries had been bought off. The NFC analysis didn’t quite say this in so many words, but instead stressed the New Left view that all the well- established Marxist concepts of economic exploitation and the class struggle of the proletariat were outdated. They called for replacing the Marxist positions with “new” “brilliant” concepts of “the liberation of the individual.” Thus it denounced both Marxists and revisionists equally for sticking to the outdated concepts:

“In terms of material abundance there has been much confusion created in contemporary society; this confusion stems from two main sources. 1. The confusion created by those who are renegades from Marxism, and 2. those who consider themselves to be Marxists. In Anglo-American society the Marxist parties have never posed the question of material abundance in the correct Marxist form, i.e., from the standpoint of the living person.... In the last two or three years, mainly due to slumps and inflation, there exists a danger in terms of shortage of these goods....according to these people, whenever there is a lack of objects there will be a revolt in favor of restoring the availability of these objects.”

Further on, it declared: “The correct Marxist approach to material abundance is unequivocal opposition to the consumer goods-based society and the concomitant struggle for the liberation of the individual, liberation in terms of seeking truth and serving people.” (Internationalist pamphlet The Necessity for Change, 1967, pp. 17-19, emphasis added)

Having presented the issues of economic exploitation and class struggle as outdated because of the “consumer society” in the developed capitalist countries, the NFC analysis showed a marked tendency of representing the tasks of the anti-imperialists in these countries merely in terms of support work for the national liberation movements and the “revolutionist societies” such as “China, Cuba, and one or two others.” (Ibid., pp. 19,23) This represented a tendency towards primeval “three worldism,” which was fashionable in the New Left too.

Several years later, in 1971-72, CPC(M-L) fought against an ultra-three worldist faction which gave the line that Afro-Asians are more revolutionary than North Americans. But CPC(M-L) never admitted that the roots of this could be found within their own most prominent historical documents. The NFC analysis itself had said, for example: “Historically it can be seen that the more liberated the person, the more revolutionary zeal is released; African, Asian and Latin American countries are good examples of this.” (Ibid., p. 18)

Having set aside the working class, the NFC analysis focused on putting the student youth and professors in the center of the revolutionary movement. They put forward the view that “At this stage our struggle is on the cultural front.” (Resolution of the NFC Conference reprinted in Mass Line, September 17, 1969, p. 8, col. 2) In the 1960’s the bourgeoisie did indeed launch a powerful offensive on the cultural front to confuse the activists and divert them from the path of revolutionary struggle. The Internationalists observed that there was a need for fighting on this front, but they did not really fight on these questions. Their actual attitude was to merge with some of the cultural theories put forward by the bourgeoisie and attempt to give them a somewhat “left” and “revolutionary” coloring. Moreover, they also used the issue of the need to fight on the cultural front as a pretext to put the petty-bourgeois youth instead of the proletariat at the center of the revolution.

Marxism-Leninism recognizes the importance of work among the youth, especially at a time when the youth are in ferment, as took place in the 1960’s. But it does not counterpose work in the proletariat to work among the youth. It does not try to organize the youth on an independent a-class basis but as a force on the side of the revolutionary proletariat. It strives to organize the youth under the leadership of the proletariat, the vanguard of the revolution.

But the Internationalists were also thoroughly confused on how to mobilize the youth and students to take up revolutionary positions. From their disdain for the mass movements, they did not believe that it was possible to mobilize the students to take up an anti-imperialist position through their participation in the general political movement. Instead the Internationalists alleged that the key was analysis of their own particular “cultural oppression.” As a document of theirs put it: “Once this ’cultural oppression’ was properly understood and related to the economic base, the broad masses understood the class struggle.” (One Struggle, Two Enemies, Three Guidelines, Four Levels of Work, p. 3)

Hence the bulk of the Necessity for Change analysis was devoted to a most confused discussion of the psychology of taking an anti-imperialist stand. One of the striking things about this analysis is that it poses everything entirely in a-class terms, simply in terms of the “individual.” Thus it advocates overcoming “anti-consciousness” with “consciousness,” without ever indicating that the different class environments individuals grow up in affect this question.

The basic thrust of the analysis is that the “individual” can resolve one’s personal crises through introspection and, by the sheer dictate of one’s “will-to-be,” opt for an anti-imperialist position in favor of “The Necessity for Change.” And this is presented as the only solution if one seeks to really resolve one’s crisis; after all, as the document puts it, “The will-to-be demands fundamental change.” (NFC pamphlet, p. 7)

The analysis points out that as individuals develop skepticism over the dominant ideas of society, they are faced with two basic approaches. It then contrasts “going-in” to “going-out.” First, individuals attempt “going-out.” This is described as participation in various kinds of reformist activity. This road is described as no solution at all. It is cursed as “the root cause of discord which confuses the fundamental issue.” This gives rise to crisis. The solution to this crisis is then said to be in “going-in.” It waxes enthusiastically, “Going-in reveals the true nature of being that is to seek truth – to serve people.” (Ibid., p. 15) This “going-in” is left vague, but it is quite clear that it is a psychological act, some sort of introspection.

The document equated “going-out” with reformist activity. But since this is contrasted not to revolutionary activity in the mass movement but to introspection, it is quite clear what is being denounced as “going-out.” It is merely a euphemism for participation in the general political movement.

This analysis has nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism, which teaches that one transforms oneself by transforming the world, through taking part in the revolutionary struggle to change the world.

In reality this whole analysis was nothing but a theory of personal liberation. Such a theory could only play a negative role in the struggle to build a political movement. This analysis wreaked havoc when the English Internationalists took it literally and tried to apply it for several years after the Necessity for Change Conference in 1967. The Political Report to the Founding Conference of the Communist Party of England (M-L) in March 1972 provided a hint of this. It stated:

“From 1967 to October 1970 the main left opportunist tendency to oppose was the line of solving the problems of inner party life and inner party building detached from and separate from mobilizing the broad masses of the people. The crudest example of this was the line ’Problems of the individual can be solved without overthrowing British monopoly capitalism.’ We have suffered many grave setbacks as a result of this line. For example, soon after August 1967 our Party actually divided as a result of this problem. Some comrades were preoccupied in trying to solve their ’sexual’ problems instead of making revolution. In opposing this trend, other comrades simply ’walked out,’ left the Party and continued their revolutionary activity elsewhere.... A further example. Up until October 1969 comrades working in Sussex University used to give the slogan ’Be a communist and solve your hang-ups.’” (The Marxist-Leninist, a journal of CPE(M-L), 1974, p. 11)

Although this report describes some of the severe problems of the English group, it does not connect any of this to the Necessity for Change analysis. But the facts clearly show that the spirit behind the slogan “Be a communist and solve your hang-ups” is exactly the spirit of the Necessity for Change analysis.

Whatever this garbage is, it is not Marxism-Leninism. In fact, it is a hodgepodge of ideas drawn from various fashionable bourgeois ideological currents of the 1960’s. It includes, among other things, the bourgeois psychological theories of “identity crisis” a la Erik Erikson, the existential ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre, the anti-working class prejudices of Marcuse, and so forth. The original formulations were changed, a few new formulations were thrown in to make the whole thing look really original and profound, and voila – you have the Necessity for Change!

Finally it should be noted that this trash has never been repudiated by the descendants of the Internationalists. For example, even after they declared themselves to be Marxist-Leninist, they continued to justify that their petty-bourgeois confusion and disdain for the working class had been the correct thing.for the mid-to-late 1960’s. Thus, even when they founded CPC(M-L) and proclaimed that the working class was the main and leading force of the revolution, CPC(M-L) still justified the Internationalists’ promotion of the petty bourgeoisie as the central focus of the revolutionary movement in the 1960’s. The Political Report of April 1970, the founding document of CPC(M-L), declared in reference to their work during the mid-to-late 1960’s:

“We pointed out that during this period and afterwards that because of the temporary and transient economic expansion of U.S. imperialism, the contradiction between the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys, the Canadian compradors, and the Canadian people was becoming most acute on the cultural level. This takes the form of large-scale ideological propaganda for imperialist ideology... as well as the propagation of a fascist and decadent lifestyle.... These qualities were reflected in most concentrated form amongst the urban petty bourgeoisie, who were feeling oppression at a tremendous level. The petty bourgeoisie being an intermediate class were worst affected.

“...We pointed out that because of the intensification of the contradiction between the U.S. imperialists, their lackeys, and the Canadian people was becoming most acute on the cultural level, the economic contradiction was temporarily relegated to a secondary position. Because of this, the petty bourgeoisie, especially the students in the universities, would be the first to rise. Within four years, we comprehensively developed this analysis to show how the masses of the students are oppressed by imperialist culture, and that their revolt had its roots in the imperialist expansion. Our analysis has been proven completely correct and has been tested in practice.” (CPC(M-L), Documents, Political Reports 1970 and 1973, pp. 14-15, emphasis added)

This passage shows that although the Canadian Internationalists had by this time declared themselves to be the Marxist-Leninist party, they refused to purge themselves of their earlier confused positions. Rather, they simply rewrote the analysis of the Necessity for Change document in a new terminology, replacing the existential and psychological phraseology of the earlier period with Marxist-Leninist-sounding phrases.

Thus they made it a special point to reaffirm that the struggles on cultural questions weren’t just a part of the general mass upsurge of the 60’s but the central feature of the upsurge. In addition, this statement from 1970 continued to hold that it was correct to reject the struggle against economic exploitation of the working class because allegedly the “economic contradiction” had been relegated to a secondary position! And when CPC(M-L) starts to call for work among the proletariat, this is connected to the assessment of the economic crisis looming up. But their earlier prejudices regarding the working class continue to give them a lot of trouble in sorting out what to do among the workers. Their opposition to the struggle against economic exploitation leads them into advocating semi-anarchist positions for the working class movement, until 1974-75 when they switch to economist and reformist positions. (CPC(M-L)’s historical deviations on the working class movement were discussed in our article “Economist Distortions of the ’Make the Rich Pay!’ Slogan,” in the March 10, 1981 issue of The Workers’ Advocate.)

But it was not just in 1970 that the CPC(M-L) continued to justify the ideological confusion of the Internationalists. Even when they were repudiating Mao Zedong Thought in 1978-79 and claiming to sweep out their errors of their past, CPC(M-L) continued, nevertheless, to laud the legacy of the NFC analysis to the skies. Thus speaking at the New Year’s Meeting in Montreal for 1979, Hardial Bains declared:

“Although the Party was founded in 1970, we started our work before that because prior to the founding of the Party, the Internationalists were carrying out work since 1963, and specifically since the Necessity for Change Conference in 1967, we have been organizing for eleven years....what was the thesis advanced in 1967? On what basis did we organize? We said Necessity for Change. The clarion call was Necessity for Change, Necessity for Revolution. From the very conditions of life the demand for revolution was put forward. We did not read books for purposes of writing essays or start analyzing who said what, when they said it, etc. We paid attention to the concrete conditions of that period and advanced the slogan Necessity for Change! We advanced other slogans as well such as Smash the Triple ’I’ of Imperialism, Impotency, and Ignorance! which were revolutionary slogans for that period.” (PCDN, January 15,1979, p. 4, col. 3)

What does it mean to still promote this trash today? It means that those who participate in CPC(M-L)’s “special trend” in the international movement today must not only shout hosannas to CPC(M-L)’s present- day deviations but also have to uphold all the confused bag and baggage of the “glorious history” of two decades!

On the 1968 Reorganization of the Internationalists

In their discussion of the history of the Internationalists, CPC(M-L) has always considered May 7, 1968 to be an important turning point. This was the time when the Canadian Internationalists reorganized in Montreal, after Hardial Bains returned to Canada from the British Isles. In the old days, they used to celebrate this date as the reorganization of the Internationalists “on a Marxist-Leninist basis.” These days, when they promote the fantastic lie that the Internationalists were always Marxist-Leninist, they simply refer to it as the date of the reorganization of the Internationalists. On May 7-8 this year, CPC(M-L) held its 8th Consultative Conference, one of whose slogans was the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the reorganization of the Internationalists.

But what did this reorganization amount to in reality? This has always been kept vague in the public documents of CPC(M-L).

It is true that from around this time the Internationalists began to take up various theses from the international Marxist-Leninist movement. They began to speak of the importance of the working class, of the need for Marxist-Leninist ideology, of the need to oppose Castroism and other forms of opportunism, and so forth. Shortly afterwards, they also began to agitate for the building of Marxist-Leninist parties.

No doubt, there were people in the ranks of the followers and sympathizers of the Internationalists who were enthusiastic to take up Marxist-Leninist ideology. By this time, Marxism-Leninism had become very prestigious among the activists in the mass movements.

However, for Hardial Bains and his close circle, the central issue of reorganization was not the question of ideology; it was something else. Let us allow Hardial Bains to explain this himself. On May 7, 1978, the 10th anniversary of the reorganization, in a presentation to CPC(M-L)’s Special Congress, Hardial Bains explained what the reorganization was:

“Many times the comrades ask – what was this reorganization, how many comrades were there and they think that there was a very big gathering that took place. On May 7th, there were two-and-a-half individuals who got together (laughter). I say two-and-a-half in the sense that one person didn’t want to be around, at the same time he wanted to be around and we had to argue with him a lot. The central question on which the argument took place with him, on which the other comrade resolutely supported myself was the question of leadership. The issue was dealt with in the following way. The third person resolutely agreed that Comrade Bains was the practical leader, that throughout this period of five years he had consistently led. But he said to admit that publicly is impossible. Privately you can get it even in writing and any document, as long as it is private, he is quite willing to sign away everything. But don’t ask me to say publicly that this is the situation. We could have easily and simply said that this is fine, you privately agree with us and you are our brother and all this, and not have this big conflict which took place – I think the meeting lasted two-three days, the fight took place for several days in a row, a continuous fight on this question.” (From the transcript given to our Party by CPC (M-L), May 7, 1978, emphasis added)

Incredible! Clearly this is not the description of an organized movement attempting to reorganize itself on the basis of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Rather, it is an account of the sordid internal maneuvers of a clique, to which what was important was not the question of ideology but the issue of establishing Hardial Bains’ personal hegemony.

A serious effort at the reorganization of a movement would have called for taking a critical attitude towards the past, for carrying forward what was positive in the past while rejecting the negative traditions. But as we have noted earlier, the Internationalists did not take such an attitude. With regard to their traditions, they merely rephrased the confused views of their earlier days in Marxist-Leninist-sounding terminology. And by making a central issue of their reorganization the public proclamation of the cult of Hardial Bains, based on his “consistent” leadership over the previous five years, they in fact reinforced the negative traditions of the past. It is from this time that the extreme promotion of Hardial Bains begins in the publications of the Internationalists.

It is amazing that 10 years later this issue is raised as a subject of Hardial Bains’ presentation to a Congress of CPC(M-L). But there is a reason behind this. At this time, Mao Zedong Thought was coming under criticism as the struggle against Chinese revisionist “three worldism” intensified. Hardial Bains felt threatened that his activities would be called Maoist, so he reasserted his leadership of CPC(M-L). Thus he felt it necessary to remind everyone that the real issue of importance in the reorganization of CPC(M-L) in 1968 hadn’t been a matter of ideology but the issue of establishing Bains’ leadership. Ideological issues may come and go but Bains’ personal leadership must always be upheld.

International Factional Activity

No discussion of the Internationalists is of course complete without commenting on their “international activity.” Today Hardial Bains claims: “The attitude towards the unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement was a matter of principle to the Internationalists as was the attitude towards proletarian internationalism.... The Internationalists and later the Party considered themselves as a contingent of the International Communist Movement and if relations with other Parties were not established during the early period, it was through no fault of ours.” (PCDN, April 15,1983, p. 2)

This is a joke. Are we to believe that when the Internationalists were just a “loose discussion group” or when they were a “center-left” group, they were a part of the international Marxist-Leninist movement? Clearly that is absurd. And in 1967 when the Internationalists floated themselves as an international trend, they did not consider themselves as part of the international Marxist-Leninist movement either, because at this time they only claimed to be “anti-revisionists” but not Marxist-Leninists.

The crucial issue in proclaiming themselves as an international trend in 1967 was the demand to be recognized as international leaders, as pathbreakers of exceptional importance for the revolutionary movement worldwide. This issue remained paramount even after the Internationalists began to describe themselves as Marxist-Leninist. At that time, they did not choose to participate in the international Marxist-Leninist movement on the basis of supporting the Marxist-Leninist forces and helping to build the international movement, but on the basis of the demand to be recognized as international leaders. Thus, the matter of ideology was not considered to be of much importance; irrespective of whether they declared themselves to be Marxist- Leninist or not, the Internationalists demanded the right to become international leaders.

In August 1967, the Necessity for Change Conference marked the launching of the Internationalists as a formal international organization. The English Internationalists were founded at this conference. The Irish and Canadian groups had already been founded, though it is unclear how much of an organization existed in Canada at the time. The NFC Conference also opened up the “international headquarters” in London and proclaimed an international center, the “International Committee of the Internationalists.” The ideological foundation of this movement was not declared to be Marxism-Leninism but the Necessity for Change analysis.

So what were the Internationalists supposed to be at this time when they floated their own international trend? The Chairman of the Internationalists explained at the conclusion of the NFC Conference: “We are neither a party nor an official anti-revisionist group; we are a movement for the defeat of U.S. imperialism and its accomplice, modern Soviet revisionism, and all kinds of reaction.” (Reprinted in Mass Line, September 17,1969, p. 9)

There are a variety of accounts regarding this period which verify that the denial that they were an “official anti-revisionist group” refers to the fact that the Internationalists considered themselves to be “anti-revisionist” but not Marxist-Leninist. For example, the Political Report delivered to the founding meeting of the CP of England (M-L), in discussing the NFC Conference, referred to questions that were raised by other groups about this distinction the Internationalists were trying to make. It sneered: “We were branded as non-Marxist-Leninist or anti-Marxist-Leninist. ’How can you be anti-revisionist without being Marxist-Leninist?’ we were told.... These were some of the ’repudiations.”’ (The Marxist-Leninist, a journal of the CPE (M-L), 1974, p. 80)

The Internationalists also gave a call to consolidate their trend further. The Chairman of the Internationalists declared in his concluding speech: “We are going to organize an International Congress next year in which we will adopt our political program, the structural form of our organization, and give birth to a genuinely anti-imperialist and anti-revisionist movement.” (Ibid.)

Thus in 1967, when the Internationalists had not even declared themselves as parties, they arrogantly declared themselves to be international leaders. Even when they didn’t consider themselves to be Marxist-Leninist, they demanded that they should be recognized as leaders of the international “anti-revisionist and anti-imperialist” movement.

There is no recorded evidence that the International Congress of the Internationalists was ever held. However, a year later, the International Committee of the Internationalists announced: “We are very proud to announce that the Youth and Students Wing of our movement is convening the FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE MARXIST-LENINIST YOUTH AND STUDENTS (sometime during 1969). In so doing, we are executing the great historic resolution passed at the Historic Necessity for Change Conference.” (One Struggle, Two Enemies, Three Guidelines, Four Levels of Work, 1968, p. 2) By early 1969, there is no more word about the International Committee of the Internationalists. But now we find a publication called World Revolutionary Youth which claims to be the “official organ of the Preparatory Committee of the First International Congress of Marxist-Leninist Youth.” There is no mention of who is on this Committee.

The International Congress of the Internationalists has thus metamorphosed into the First International Congress of Marxist-Leninist Youth. And we are told that the plan for this new congress of Marxist-Leninist youth is based on carrying out the decision of the NFC Conference. But wait. The NFC Conference had called for an international congress for consolidating the Internationalist trend, at a time when the Internationalists did not consider themselves to be Marxist-Leninists. How is it that a year later, that same decision is reinterpreted to have been a decision for the convening of an international congress of Marxist-Leninist youth? Clearly, the answer to this glaring contradiction lies in the fact that the leadership of the Internationalists didn’t give a damn about the ideological issues involved; rather, they only considered important the issue of proclaiming themselves as international leaders.

The Resolution of the Preparatory Committee for this new Congress of Marxist-Leninist youth shows how the Internationalists used Maoism as a convenient banner under which to carry out their international factional activity.

We noted in the introduction to this article that in organizing the Internationalists Hardial Bains followed the general method of adapting to one or another fashionable trend of the time. Thus in the days of the “center-left group,” he flirted with social-democracy, while at the time of the NFC Conference, he took up various of the fashionable theories of the New Left, albeit by giving them a somewhat left coloration. In 1968, when the Internationalists demanded the right to become leaders of the world’s Marxist-Leninist youth, they found the banner of Mao Zedong Thought to be very convenient for their maneuvers. Maoism was not just a theory which justified factional chaos and negation of the hegemony of the proletariat in China, but it was also useful for the Internationalists’ factional activity and to justify many of their confused non-Marxist ideas.

From now on the Internationalists and their heirs were to start making the claim that they were “creatively applying” Mao Zedong Thought and the lessons of China’s Cultural revolution to the concrete conditions of Anglo-American society. The basis for this claim was their Necessity for Change document. However, at various times in their history the Internationalists and their heirs preferred to keep the above claim at a general level without mentioning that it was originally based on the NFC analysis. However, at other times, they openly talked about how the NFC analysis itself had been the creative application of Mao Zedong Thought to the concrete conditions of the advanced capitalist societies in the 1960’s. Indeed, the Internationalists and their heirs repeatedly claimed that their exceptional character lay precisely in the fact that it had been they who had brought the lessons of the Cultural Revolution to Canada, Britain, Ireland, etc.

In their 1968-69 document calling for the Congress, however, the Internationalists did not dare openly demand leadership of the world’s Marxist-Leninist youth on the basis of the NFC analysis. Instead they hinted at this with their talk of the “creative application” of Mao Zedong Thought, which was their way of referring to their experience. Hence the Resolution of the Preparatory Committee for the Congress called for unity on the basis “that there is an urgent need for all genuinely Marxist-Leninist youth who follow Mao Zedong’s Thought creatively and in an all-sided manner to gather together.” (World Revolutionary Youth, January 1969, p. 3) The Internationalists demanded that the Congress be constituted not just on the basis of Marxism-Leninism but on the basis of Mao Zedong Thought. The Resolution made a point of explicitly denouncing “various ’anti-revisionists’ and ’Marxist-Leninists’ [who] are, through dubious means, attempting to stop the spread of Marxism-Leninism of our era, Mao Zedong’s Thought, to the broad masses of the working and oppressed people....” (Ibid.)

Finally there is another side to the intriguing nature of the Congress proposed by the Internationalists. The Internationalists had not only unilaterally set up the “Preparatory Committee” but they also promised to give full voting power only to Marxist-Leninist youth organizations. The Marxist-Leninist parties and other organizations which weren’t officially youth groups could only send observers.

But at that time the issue was to establish contact between the various Marxist-Leninist parties and forces which had come up, not just between the youth groups. This is verified by Bains’ complaint quoted in the beginning of this section, where he talked of the lack of contact between the Internationalists and the Marxist- Leninist parties. But the Internationalists, since they weren’t a party, couldn’t have asserted their leadership in a general meeting of the parties. Therefore they tried to make the fact they weren’t a party into a great virtue by calling for uniting only the youth organizations, hang all the rest.

What all this boils down to is an attempt by the Internationalists to set up a special international organization of Marxist-Leninist youth under their hegemony. They sought to use Mao Zedong Thought as the convenient banner under which to carry out their maneuvers. This was nothing but factional activity directed against the international Marxist-Leninist movement.

In any case, the International Congress was not heard from after the early months of 1969 and a few issues of World Revolutionary Youth. It was a total fiasco. At that point, the Internationalists ceased to claim themselves as Marxist-Leninist youth movements and declared themselves to be full-fledged Marxist- Leninist movements, the nuclei of future communist parties.

Concluding Remarks

We have come to the end of our examination of the key features of the actual historical record of the Internationalists.

This study, while not trying to give a complete assessment of the history, has nevertheless sufficiently shown that there is not a shred of truth in the boastful claims of CPC(M-L) about how the Internationalists and Hardial Bains consistently fought for Marxism-Leninism since 1963.

Instead the Internationalists appear to have been similar to many other groups of activists which came up in the I960’s. In many respects, however, the record of the Internationalists is in fact far less distinguished than many other groups. This is especially so with respect to their propensity for declaring themselves international leaders and for painting up their ideological confusion as international experience of epoch- making significance.

Of course, it is no sin, in and of itself, to be descended from groups that were confused or wandered in the wilderness. Marxist-Leninist organizations do not come into being out of thin air or emerge full-blown from the head of Minerva, but out of the revolutionary movement of the times. The task of the heirs of the Internationalists, after they declared their allegiance to Marxism-Leninism, was to rebuild themselves on the firm foundations of Marxist-Leninist theory. This required purging themselves of the ideological confusion of their infant years.

But CPC(M-L) did not take this road. Hence their old sins inevitably continued to haunt them. Not only did the leadership of CPC(M-L) continue to laud their earlier confusion to the skies as the acme of revolutionary achievement of the 1960’s, but they also came under the strong influence of Maoist positions on many basic questions of strategy and tactics. Even after declaring their opposition to Mao Zedong Thought in 1978, CPC(M-L) has fought tooth and nail to preserve their Maoist deviations and has also taken to flaunting a liquidationist deviation.

As a result of this stand, there has been grave damage to the revolutionary movement in Canada. As well, since the promotion of the Internationalists’ experience has served as the justification for international factional activity, the leadership of CPC(M-L) has also caused serious damage to the revolutionary movement in other countries. Because of their ambitions of international leadership, they have tried to bring other organizations into their “special trend” and impose their Maoist and liquidationist positions on them. This serves to reaffirm the importance of our Party’s struggle against the deviationist positions and international factional activity of the leadership of CPC(M-L).