For all those who really wish to put an end to exploitation and oppression and get rid of the Canadian bourgeoisie, our main task is to build the new Revolutionary Communist Party of the Canadian proletariat.
Since the old Communist Party has given way to revisionism and gave up the fight for socialism at the start of the 1940s, the Canadian proletariat constantly suffered from the absence of this indispensable instrument of struggle for its liberation. There have been some attempts to rebuild such a party, especially during the 1970s; at that time, some Marxist-Leninist organizations had undertaken this task very seriously, but their efforts were fruitless. Today, the Canadian proletariat is organized and led… by the bourgeoisie. More precisely, by those reformists parties like the NDP that speak on its behalf, lead its organizations and want to make sure the struggle of the workers stays within the limits authorized by the ruling class.
The party that we are building is totally different from those old workers’ parties who have now achieved bourgeois respectability. It is also totally different from those who are cast in the same mould and wants to replace those who already exist if ever they become discredited. The party that we are organizing is also completely different from the set of parties and organizations that claim to be revolutionary or even communist or “Marxist-Leninist,” but whose outlook does not go beyond the electoral farce and /or parliamentary tricks.
No, the party we are building is a genuine revolutionary communist party. It is a vanguard party that brings together proletarians who are the most conscious of their class interests and all revolutionaries who support the cause of the proletariat.
Why a vanguard party and not a party for the whole class, like the Trotskyists suggest? Simply because history teaches us that the proletariat spontaneously does not go beyond reformist thinking or at best, trade-unionism. The proletariat truly exists as a social class: that is a fact, no matter class consciousness exists or not. However, his ideas, his understanding and his consciousness remain under the domination of the bourgeois vision, which is so pervasive in our society.
Spontaneously, the proletarian consciousness, even in its most radical expression, will not outgrow the spirit of rebellion. For its consciousness to go from rebellion to revolution, the minority of proletarians who already have a revolutionary consciousness—because of their experience, but mainly because they have acquired some theoretical knowledge concerning revolution—must be organized.
We are all aware of how well organized the bourgeoisie is. It has a state apparatus, a police force, an army and political parties. The proletariat is also well organized but all too often, it is the bourgeoisie who organizes it. This should be evidence enough of the importance for the proletariat to get well and solidly organized so that it can carry out its objectives.
But to be well organized is not enough. We also need a vision, a clear outlook that states who we are and where we are going; a vision of the world that reflects our fundamental interests and that allows us to break away from the bourgeois perspective that tailors our lives and our thinking.
This proletarian ideology is summarized today in what we call Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is definitely a question here of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and not just of Marxism or Marxism-Leninism, because it is our belief that Mao’s contributions to the revolutionary science of the proletariat as well as the experience of the Chinese Revolution—and especially, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—are experiences that we must absolutely take into account to distinguish between the revolutionary line and the revisionist and reformist ones. Therefore, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the ideology on which our party is based on.
But the RCP distinguishes itself from bourgeois workers’ parties not only from an ideological and a political standpoint: it is also different in its style and organization. Our party’s only raison d’être is to make revolution and build socialism, then communism. It must work with the proletarian masses in order to bring them to act collectively as a revolutionary class. It must assume the responsibility of educating and organizing.
The party mainly carries out its educational tasks through communist agitation and propaganda, publishing of paper and magazines, distribution of leaflets, intervention among the broad masses, organization of study groups, etc. Agitation and propaganda not only serve to overcome bourgeois ideology and points of view and to expose capitalism as the source of the affliction of the masses: it also serves the purpose of demonstrating how socialism represents the only possibility of true emancipation of the proletariat. But its most important function is to propagate the necessity and the possibility of revolutionary action, of distinctly proletarian politics totally separated from those of the bourgeoisie.
Agitation, propaganda and education are the only way that the party can guide and lead the masses. This also requires constant organizational work—especially the progressive and systematic rallying of the most advanced elements within the proletariat.
It is the objectives of the party which determine its organization. Be it only because of its opposition to parliamentarism and the electoral system, the party seeks in no way legal recognition on the part of the bourgeoisie and its state. It certainly must take full advantage of the possibilities it has to develop activities of agitation and propaganda as thoroughly as possible within the broad masses. But at the same time, as a distinct and proletarian party clearly separated from the bourgeoisie and its institutions (and whose aim is to destroy and overthrow the bourgeoisie), the revolutionary communist party organizes itself clandestinely, avoiding any form of state control, preserving its autonomy, its capacity to act and the security of its activists.
The communist party is an organization that groups together the vanguard, those who we call revolutionary proletarians. It is an instrument of struggle, the headquarter of the revolution. One does not become a member only by purchasing a membership card or by having someone offer them one (as is the case in bourgeois parties). To be a member of the party, one most be involved as an activist, to be part of one of its grass root organizations (a cell); to take part in the discussions and the internal life of the organization; to contribute to its financing and the realization of its goals.
The fundamental organizational principle of the party, which corresponds to its current struggle at any given point in time, is democratic centralism that is to debate on the broadest possible scale and to firmly unite in order to be able to apply its decisions.
Within the ranks of the party, struggle over political line is not only permitted (in many cases it is a matter of fact), but we hoped for it to happen and we encourage it. Communists are well aware that correct ideas don’t come out of the blue. They develop in the fight against erroneous ideas.
Sometimes, the correct line—the one that corresponds to the fundamental interest of the proletariat—may only be advocated by a minority, especially in some specific bodies. This was namely the case in China, before Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. Consequently, this minority must be heard and must have the opportunity to express ideas that go against the current, to wage a struggle as fierce as possible against bourgeois conceptions and to steer the party back onto the revolutionary road. What’s important is that once a decision is reached, everyone devotes themselves to carry it out, including those who doubt the worthiness of this decision and have decided to pursue their arguments within the organization. It is also an important task to be able to evaluate the nature of the contradictions that are developing within the party to see if they are antagonistic or not.
Of the three tools the proletariat needs to wage revolutionary struggle, the party is certainly the most important. Without the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party, a revolutionary army will flounder into adventurism and armed revisionism. And the movement of the masses will never be able to go beyond its fully justifiable rebellion onto revolution.
Does this mean that the formation of these three tools must be carried out over three distinct periods (first, the formation of a party; secondly, building of an army; and finally, waging the revolutionary action of the masses)? Absolutely not. The revolutionary action of the masses (led by the vanguard nucleus, even though we are only at the first stage of party building) and the construction of the military apparatus can and must help to reinforce the political component—the party, namely to bring to it the most advanced elements.
To assert the utmost importance of the party and its careful building is mainly to make sure we never forget this task as central. This is crucial because to overlook it and to concentrate efforts on the two other tasks would be simply a waste of effort. Every action we take, the policies we put forth must be done with the objective to form and reinforce the party.