This document is in response to “We Are the Continuators!”, produced by the old ideas clique, and disseminated through the stolen media outlets of the PCR-RCP. Before getting into the arguments we want to note that the so-called “continuators” have classified the entirety of the organization to which they belonged as a “cancer” and thus conceive of us according to an antagonistic contradiction. The fact that they would do this speaks to the kind of sectarianism inherited from the New Communist Movement that should have no place in our movement. For our part we are disappointed in their departure, hope that they will return, but do not see them as a problem that should be stamped out as if they are the same as fascists. To be clear, we are only answering their vitriolic document because they are promulgating various claims that are either untrue or half-true. Otherwise we do not want to descend into that age-old sectarian practice of mud-slinging that detracts from organizing.
Clearly the awkward title of “We are the Continuators” is meant to associate the splitting clique with the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) at the initiation of the People’s War. The title is a play on the PCP’s “We are the Initiators”. If they had used the original title, however, they would have been more accurate: members of the old ideas clique in Montreal were in fact the “historical leadership” of the PCR-RCP that were behind its founding and thus significant in initiating Maoism in Canada. We have no problem recognizing this fact and, unlike them who have invented a conspiracy of an “Ottawa cancer”, do not project an original sin unto the past. Some of the members of the Montreal “continuators” were foundational to contemporary Maoism’s emergence in Canada; their contributions cannot be denied. And after they were expelled, when multiple opportunists crawled out of the woodwork to tell us this “historical leadership” was always wrong we did not accept these critiques. We recognize the contribution of these former comrades but, because we understand the dynamic aspect of history, also understand that comrades can lose their way.
But the logic of “We are the Continuators” is based on the claim that Montreal initiated the PCR-RCP and so it must retain ideological and practical leadership over the Party. We believe that this is a problem because, regardless of the initiation, within the first five years of our party’s existence the PCR-RCP grew beyond Montreal’s boundaries to incorporate militants in Ottawa and Toronto. In the three congresses since this growth, the last of which represented party representation from the west to east coasts, it makes no sense to define the PCR-RCP as representative of only Montreal. Moreover, the individuals who precipitated the crisis that caused the “continuators” to break from the rest of the organization (i.e. the individuals who led the physical assault at the bookstore) were relatively new recruits to the Party who are not at all “continuators” but in fact represented a real break from the Party as it was. The fact that some elements of the “historical leadership” have gone to bat for recruits who are much newer to Maoism, who have also come from the academic student milieu (though they pretend otherwise), speaks to a strange regionalism. A small collection of former cadre in the expelled Montreal cell might be the “initiators” but their current mass base, particularly those who caused this problem to begin with, are extremely young recruits who have far less experience than the comrades the “continuators” have suddenly classified as cancerous.
Aside from different conceptions of the mass line, the sad basis of this conflict is that the “historical leading group” no longer monopolized the leadership. This fact is the result of a process that any communist should celebrate: the movement became Canada-wide, individuals and organizations were incorporated into the movement from coast to coast, and so at the last Congress a Central Committee that represented the national growth of the PCR-RCP was elected. The “historical leading group” who were in fact the initiators were not prepared for what it would mean to grow across Canada; they assumed that they would remain in control and that other regions, who did not know them, would continue to elect their leadership. This entire “continuators” document can thus be classified as a complaint made by the “historical leadership” regarding actual organizational growth: the historical leadership, the old ideas clique, actually does not want to make revolution across Canada if this means it cannot retain control over Party leadership. It would prefer to remain regional, even justifying the goonish actions of its Montreal recruits as long as these recruits stay true to the historical leadership.
Let’s look at their arguments regarding their expulsion from the PCR-RCP and judge them in this light: these are the complaints of the “historical leading group” that is no longer in charge because the organization has grown beyond their region; it is an attempt to reassert leadership, it is based on the desire to exist above centralization and criticism/self-criticism.
Responding to “We Are the Continuators” does, however, carry with it some difficulties. First, for such a long document, the old ideas clique actually say very little in it: the document is more style than substance. Second, the document contains paranoid conspiratorial delusions which, because they lack any substance or basis in reality, are difficult to concretely disprove. This also extends to another document produced by the old ideas clique, “Dispelling the Myths”, which goes even further in characterizing the CC as scheming conspirators, relying on a web of unsubstantiated and, frankly, delusional claims to support this fantasy. Third, there are so many lies contained in their document that it is impossible to refute them all. We ask that comrades view the entire document with skepticism; our lack of refutation on specific points does not imply agreement. Instead, in response, the PCR-RCP will: address a few of the most egregious lies, examine the old ideas clique’s supposed refutations of the specific criticisms we raised in the announcement of their expulsion, and finally touch on some of the fundamental political differences underlying this conflict.
Lies, Damned Lies, and “Continuations”
First, “We Are the Continuators” begins with a ridiculous and frankly bizarre attempt to frame the current conflict as a conflict between the legitimate PCR-RCP, and a group of former supporters of the Social Revolution Party (SRP). The old ideas clique alleges that SRP supporters wormed their way into the PCR-RCP, laid dormant for years while secretly maintaining a parallel leadership structure and political perspective, only to finally come out into the open during the last Congress and seize control of the Party’s leadership. While on the surface this is patently ridiculous, we would like to unpack the specific claims a bit further.
By way of background, the Social Revolution “Party” (SRP) was an ambitious if poorly named organization which launched in 2009. It had a limited presence in both Ottawa and London Ontario. After coming into contact with the PCR-RCP at the G20 in Toronto in 2010, the SRP began a process of merging with the PCR-RCP which ultimately culminated in the creation of a PCR-RCP cell in Ottawa in early 2011. At the time, the PCR-RCP published a unity statement praising the members of the SRP for their “revolutionary commitment” and “rich experience in organizing, especially among the working class.” In turn, the statement also praised the “Popular Action Movement” (PAM) conception for making “a positive contribution to the debate on the need to fight right now to create the backbone of a new popular power.” (www.pcr-rcp.ca/en/archives/738) Following the merger, the SRP abandoned its former positions in full –including PAM – and adopted without question the line of the PCR-RCP, a fact which the former SRP members were praised for at the PCR-RCP’s second Congress. The former members of the SRP –who now number only three in the entire PCR-RCP- did not maintain any sort of parallel organization: in fact, the only continuation of the line of the SRP was in the form of a document, “A Communist Position on Bourgeois Democracy and the Parliamentary System”, which was turned into a pamphlet by the Montreal cell of the PCR-RCP and distributed at Maison Norman Bethune!
With this in mind, it is simply absurd to say that the current conflict within the PCR-RCP has anything at all to do with the merger of the SRP in 2010. If that was the case, we have to ask: 1) Why was the SRP allowed to merge into the PCR-RCP if its political orientation was so “cancerous”? Would this not have represented sheer opportunism from the traditional leadership of the PCR-RCP? 2) Why is it that the majority of the Party’s expansion after 2010 shares the conceptions advanced by the former SRP members? 3) How does this understanding explain that both the Toronto and Quebec City branches, neither of which had anything at all to do with the SRP and who both predate the merger of the SRP with the PCR-RCP, also continue to recognize the legitimate leadership of the PCR-RCP? In short, the old ideas clique cannot answer these questions, because their assertions are nothing but absurd paranoid delusions.
Second, we want to reiterate that there is no such thing as the “Quebec District.” This was never a recognized formation within the PCR-RCP: indeed, the creation of an entity called the “Quebec District” was recognized to be the beginning of a factional formation, organized around the “old ideas clique.” The “Quebec District” does not represent the PCR-RCP in the Province of Quebec: it refers to only a small number of activists in Montreal and Valleyfield. We wish to point out that the Party branch in Quebec City and the organizing committees in Montreal and Hull all recognize the legitimate leadership of the PCR-RCP. The assertion that there are cells which we have left out by virtue of being unconcerned with the development of the Party in Quebec is specious at best; why were these cells never revealed to the Central Committee before the cells in Montreal and Valleyfield were expelled? We also refute the assertion that the Montreal cell constituted 50% of the PCR-RCP’s membership: while this may have been true in 2014, it is only true if all of the Party’s growth since 2014 is rejected. We maintain that the expelled sections constituted roughly 15% of the Party’s membership: a significant amount, but far less than the weight these wreckers assert they have. (We are unable to give an exact measure because the old ideas clique consistently refused to report concrete membership numbers, instead giving vague estimates which reflected no growth and promises that a major wave of recruitment was always right around the corner.) Instead, the adoption of the label “Quebec District” is nothing but a cynical attempt to make an isolated group of wreckers seem less isolated for those who do not know better, while also cynically inflaming national tensions within the PCR-RCP.
Third, we reject that there is such a thing as an “opportunist clique” which has seized leadership of the PCR-RCP. We want to remind readers that the current Central Committee was elected at the 2016 Congress of the PCR-RCP. One Central Committee member was expelled for involvement in the March 4 altercation at the Maison Norman Bethune, and a second resigned. The remaining Central Committee is recognized as the legitimate leadership by 85% of the Party’s membership: all of the branches and organizing committees with the exception of the old ideas clique in Montreal and Valleyfield. It is absurd to suggest that this supposed “opportunist clique” was able to build a base, unhindered, within the Revolutionary Student Movement: current members of the old ideas clique were also active in the RSM, attended several Congresses of the RSM, and only in the last year refused to struggle politically within the mass organization for their own perspective. The accusations about the class origins of the so-called “opportunist clique” are absurd and laughable: the notion that the Party is demographically proletarian in Montreal –the only region where we had professionals in the membership of the Party!- and demographically petty-bourgeois elsewhere is such an inane statement that it does not deserve to be dealt with in-depth.
Fourth, on the 2016 Congress: the old ideas clique assert that through its activity in the RSM, the “opportunist clique” was able to stack the Congress with its supporters. This is patently false. Through activity in the RSM, many revolutionaries were attracted to the PCR-RCP. Many formed organizing committees in places where the PCR-RCP had no presence, and joined branches where the PCR-RCP did have a presence. This was also true of the Party in Montreal. Before the 2016 Congress, the previous Central Committee made the decision to transform all of the organizing committees into branches, so as to allow the greatest possible participation in the Congress proceedings. Members of the old ideas clique embraced this idea at the time. As a result, there was only one challenge at the Congress to the status of a delegate, or the apportionment of votes: the member whose presence was challenged was from Montreal! This is just another lie in a long series of distortions by the “old ideas clique.”
Fifth, the old ideas clique distort the issue around their relaunching of Partisan. The Central Committee never took issue with the necessity of engaging in classic propaganda. However, it was clear that the relaunch of Partisan on a provincial basis in Quebec was an attempt to use Party resources to produce infrastructure preparing for a split. History has proven us correct here. Instead, the Central Committee reiterated the conclusions of our 2014 Congress which noted that the broadsheet newspaper format of Partisan was resource intensive and ineffective: in a proposal drafted by the historic leading group, including members of the old ideas clique, we agreed in 2014 instead to localize Partisan at the city-level, while centralizing Partisan on the Party website. We therefore felt it necessary that the efforts of the so-called Quebec District be towards this conception of Partisan, rather than repeating a mistaken practice which we had since abandoned.
Sixth, with this in mind, we find it particularly odd that they critique the recent tour in Western Canada –which was approved of by the Central Committee while members of the old ideas clique still sat on it, with no objections on their part – for not organizing “leafletting among the masses.” In fact, there was substantial propaganda work done in each of the locations we visited, which was primarily organized by comrades in these locations: the “handful of contacts made on the internet” that the old ideas clique disparages. As a result, we were able to present the line of the PCR-RCP to a few hundred people who had never come into contact with us before, which resulted in the consolidation of contacts in Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina, the creation of an organizing committee in Winnipeg, and the strengthening of our existing work in Saskatoon. If the old ideas clique think that our time would have been better served by randomly distributing a few hundred pamphlets they’re welcome to that, but this perspective it is unsurprising that they were never able to expand substantively outside of the founding cities. What is truly ironic is that we followed the precise methods employed by the old ideas clique when they first attempted to expand into Ontario: in Toronto and Ottawa they contacted existing groups of activists as the basis for expansion.
Finally, the old ideas clique asserts that the PCR-RCP now rejects Protracted Peoples War (PPW) as revolutionary strategy, and rejects the necessity of a “party”, of the central role of the “proletariat”, and concepts such as “mode of production.” Here they are unable to substantiate any of their ridiculous claims because they are nothing short of absurd. In case anyone is confused, the PCR-RCP continues to uphold the necessity of the Party for leading revolution, the centrality of the working class in the revolutionary struggle, and the strategy of Protracted Peoples War. The basic proof of this is that we continue to uphold the PCR-RCP Programme: it can be found on our provisional website. These are nothing but baseless accusations from a group of wreckers grasping at straws.
Unfortunately, we do not have the space to address all of the lies in “We Are the Continuators”. We hope here we have exposed a few of the most egregious examples, which should give the reader pause in accepting the truth of the rest of the assertions of the “old ideas clique.”
On Supposed Refutations
The old ideas clique directly addresses seven specific infractions which we laid out in the notice of their expulsion. As we will show, ironically, in their attempts to refute these infractions, they actually admit to each of the infractions that we brought up in the statement of expulsion.
First, on the issue of not launching the rectification campaign mandated by the Central Committee, the old ideas clique admits openly that they failed to do this. While they assert that the rectification campaign was intended to stifle debate, nothing could be further from the truth: the line struggle within the PCR-RCP, mandated by the 2016 Congress, is ongoing. The point of the rectification campaign was clearly stated in the motion adopted by the Central Committee: it was to correct the stagnating work in Montreal, and also avoid the missteps in Montreal (particularly around hyper-sectarianism and transphobia) from sabotaging our work in the rest of Canada.
Second, the old ideas clique deliberately muddies the issue of using violence to solve political disagreements. In the expulsion statement, the Central Committee of the PCR-RCP listed two incidents: the “ejection” (that is, punching and forcible removal) of Party supporters from Maison Norman Bethune on March 4, and the intimidation of Café workers in Montreal in April. We explicitly stated that such actions were “not a Maoist way of solving contradictions among the people.” At no point does the PCR-RCP reject the necessity of political violence towards the bourgeoisie as part of the revolutionary process: it is absurd that the old ideas clique would seek to obfuscate this very specific critique. Instead, despite alleging that “the only violence used by the Party is against the bourgeoisie and the enemies of the revolution” the old ideas clique then goes on to admit that they did in fact use force to eject Party supporters –two of which were supporters in good standing, as recognized by the Central Committee, despite the “old ideas clique’s” assertions to the contrary – before bragging that they should have attacked the comrades more severely (dealt “actual blows to their physical integrity”)! The old ideas clique can’t even keep its own story straight! Moreover, we believe that legitimate political violence by a proletarian party should be organized, disciplined, and accountable to the political leadership. What happened at the Maison Norman Bethune and the Café were nothing of the sort, but instead was an impulsive outburst by a number of members who could not control their tempers. Indeed, this hot-headed indiscipline cost the Party a propaganda victory and alienated a number of potential contacts, concretely undermining the Party’s work. If the content of this incident were not condemnable on its own, the form would be, and the fact that the Old Ideas Clique does not recognize this speaks to how far their perspective has departed from reality.
Third, the old ideas clique reject that they were unwilling to struggle politically. While they did produce many documents before the last Congress, these documents were intended to shut-down discussions on pertinent issues. Indeed, when the Congress opted to open these issues for discussion within the Party, including the positions the old ideas clique had prepared, the old ideas clique voted against even opening these issues to discussion. And indeed, despite rejecting their unwillingness to struggle, the old ideas clique proves the opposite by characterizing discussions on specific parts of the Programme as being a game with already loaded dice. The old ideas clique justifies their unwillingness to struggle by saying that “Opportunism is open to discuss anything, so long as its own propositions are the subject, and so long as they are guaranteed adoption.” We note the irony.
We would also like here to refute the idea that the only documents prepared for the last Congress were produced by the old ideas clique. The previous Central Committee divided the labour of producing Congress documents between its members: members of what became the old ideas clique were responsible for producing political and organizational updates, whereas others were responsible for producing updates to the Programme. Despite the assertions of the old ideas clique, these updates were not intended to reject the fundamental positions of the PCR-RCP. Instead, they were intended to improve and modernize sections on the national question and gender, as well as add a section about the environment. The necessity of these updates to the Programme had been demonstrated through nearly a decade of activity amongst these sectors: while we were successful in rallying both indigenous peoples and gender-oppressed people to the Party, the advanced elements of these groups consistently critiqued our Programme for inadequately dealing with these contradictions. We feel it is the height of dogmatic arrogance to think that the Programme as it was constructed in 2006 is eternally infallible. Such is the insecurity of the old ideas clique.
Fourth, on the sexual assault allegation: the Central Committee received a long criticism from a former supporter of the Party, which is alluded to in “We Are the Continuators.” This criticism contained within it a serious allegation, not made on behalf of the survivor, of sexual assault supposedly carried out by a leading member of the PCR-RCP. Given the severity of the allegations, we undertook to investigate this issue to the best of our ability. These allegations were not, contrary to the assertion of the old ideas clique, “circulated… internally in all cells except those of Quebec”, but rather the long criticism in question was sent to a few comrades in Ottawa for translation by its author, with the full knowledge of the Central Committee, including those from the old ideas clique. The Central Committee did not circulate this document to any other sections. Before the 2016 Congress the previous Central Committee, including members of the old ideas clique, opted to not make public the allegations due to our inability to verify them. The Central Committee reached out to the alleged survivor, and did not receive any response. At the Central Committee meeting on March 5, 2017, we were told for the first time of the existence of a letter, from the alleged survivor, denying the allegations and asking that she not be contacted. We have repeatedly asked for a copy of this letter, and have to date not yet received it. In fact, the quotes contained in “We Are the Continuators” are the first time the contents of this letter have been seen by anyone on the current Central Committee. The refusal to turn-over the letter, which the old ideas clique had nearly two months to do between March 5 and their expulsion in May, is nothing short of obstruction of the investigation into the very serious allegations we received.
Fifth, despite implying that the accusations of transphobia are misplaced, the old ideas clique never affirms its commitment to struggle against forms of bigotry like transphobia. Instead, the old ideas clique suggests that any statements in support of trans-liberation constituted condescension “towards the proletarian women of the RCP” (clearly not trans women). The statement goes out of its way to distance itself from what it characterizes as “queer and radical feminism”, before specifying that while it criticizes non-Marxist conceptions (which it later clarifies as including the concept of “gender identity”), this was a criticism of these concepts and not of transgender people themselves. The old ideas clique wants our trans-comrades to know that transphobia is nothing personal. The Central Committee emphatically rejects the weasel-worded defence of bigotry and unreservedly confirms our commitment to trans-liberation. Such a position is a basic litmus test for revolutionaries.
Sixth, while the old ideas clique notes that “the most insulting accusation is probably that of theft”, it then proceeds to admit and justify that it did in fact illegitimately seize the majority of the Party’s resources. The old ideas clique justifies this by arguing that the majority of the dues were paid by comrades in Quebec, and thus they “did not steal anything; [they] simply took back control over [their] resources.” We would like to take issue with a number of things here. First, we would like to repeat that as a Party operating along democratic-centralist lines, these were never “Quebec’s resources” (and certainly not the resources of the old ideas clique who do not represent all of the Party’s members in Quebec): all of the dues collected were the collective resources of the entire Party. Second, it was always accepted that for the time being, there would be less money collected in the rest of Canada. This was not only because the only professionals in the Party were in Quebec (which really casts doubt on the supposed more-proletarian composition of the Party in Quebec), but because the membership outside of Quebec was considerably younger than in the province while also, until recently, being numerically fewer. Past Central Committees understood that while we needed to constantly struggle against low rates of dues collection, it would likely be some time before the rest of Canada was able to match the contributions of the comrades from Quebec. For this we were grateful. Furthermore, one of the reasons for the over-contribution of comrades from Quebec was a change in dues structure –from remitting all dues to the centre to keeping 1/3 of the dues locally – which was never told to the Quebec cells because members of the old ideas clique consistently failed to decentralize decisions of the Central Committee.
Finally, it is nice to see that the old ideas clique accepts that they did in fact reject democratic centralism by not abiding by the decisions of the legitimately elected Central Committee. While they attempt to justify why this is the case, we note that the underlying assumption is that, despite the democratic processes of the Party, for the old ideas clique it is actually the Party’s historical leadership which is/should be in charge. The Central Committee is of the opinion that democratic centralism matters, and is worth upholding, not only when one’s opinion is the majority position within the Party.
While the old ideas clique attempts to refute the seven specific reasons for its expulsion, ironically it ends up affirming each allegation. And let it be clear: the Montreal and Valleyfield cells were not expelled for reasons of political line (transphobia excepted), but for blatant violations of the Party’s internal rules and regulations. Indeed, the line struggle, which they allege their expulsion was intended to end, is still on-going: any former member of these cells who, alongside the vast majority of the Party, recognizes the legitimate leadership is welcome to rejoin and participate in that line struggle.
Given the density of misinformation contained in “We Are the Continuators” it is difficult to have a substantive discussion on the political differences between the old ideas clique and the PCR-RCP. Many of the specific criticisms brought up by the old ideas clique –for instance, that the PCR-RCP rejects Marxism for post-modernism and social democracy- are so ridiculous and unsubstantiated that we are left with little recourse other than to just say “no” and move on. However, despite the numerous ridiculous quasi-political accusations (that the PCR-RCP rejects the Party, the central role of the proletariat, Protracted Peoples War as revolutionary strategy, etc.) we still contend that the central political issue is the “old ideas clique’s” rejection of the mass line, and by extension, MLM.
The old ideas clique asserts that the PCR-RCP rejects what it refers to as “revolutionary action” of which there are four objective forms: classical propaganda, armed propaganda, revolutionary action among the masses, and Protracted People’s War. While the Central Committee thinks that it is a stretch to argue that the characterization of all activity as being composed of these four forms is the “greatest contribution of the RCP to the communist movement” we do not reject the conception outlined here. However, as other internal documents have noted, “revolutionary action among the masses” is an ambiguous term which needs to be made more precise. For the old ideas clique revolutionary action among the masses is simply showing up to rallies, shouting correct slogans, and fighting with the police. While we do not dispute the necessity of these forms of revolutionary action among the masses –despite accusations they would be hard pressed to find a single official statement decrying “adventurism” – we argue that other forms of revolutionary action among the masses are needed. It was these other forms that were outlined in the document “The Mass Line and Communist Methods of Mass Work”, which the old ideas clique spends a considerable amount of time critiquing.
Fundamentally, the old ideas clique makes an infantile mistake in conflating concrete struggles with legalism. This is part of the irrational anti-economism identified by some members of the historic leading group, including members of the old ideas clique in the lead-up to the 2014 Congress. We reject that this is the case: an illegal union drive is such an example. Furthermore, we reject that all of the concrete work that communist organizers undertake must necessarily be illegal. While the old ideas clique pokes fun at communist organizers engaging in the day-to-day necessities of keeping the revolutionary movement functioning, we note the necessity of this less exciting but equally important work. And we also note the irony that many of the old ideas clique also engage in this type of activity: from the distribution of newspapers, to the printing and assembling of pamphlets, tabling, operating book stores, etc. With this in mind, we reaffirm that the avoidance of economism is primarily a subjective matter, that is to say a matter on the level of politics: many concrete types of work can be subsumed into the revolutionary movement if it is done openly and consciously as a step towards Protracted People’s War.
A further misunderstanding of the mass line can be seen in the “old ideas clique’s” rejection of mass and intermediate organizations in favour of what they term “small movements.” First, we can look at the proof of the utility of such a strategy: when pursuing this type of organizational approach to the organization of the masses, the Party stagnated (hence our 2014 Congress) and we had no active role in any of the major surges of mass activity in the early 2010s. Second, here the old ideas clique confuses bureaucratic and political leadership: fundamentally it does not believe that the Party is actually capable of politically leading the masses –indirectly, through the influence of correct ideas and practice, and subsequently holding leadership positions among mass organizations. Instead, the old ideas clique is so insecure in its political orientations, a result of its stagnation and isolation, that it thinks the only way it can influence the masses is through detachments directly subordinated to the Party, whose only role is a propagandistic one, responding to struggles as they spontaneously arise. The old ideas clique then turns around and says that the PCR-RCP thinks that the Party should be led by the mass organizations, despite the fact that “The Mass Line and Communist Methods of Mass Work” argues the exact opposite. Ironically by focusing only on responding to the spontaneous movement of the masses, the old ideas clique abandons the necessity of preparing for Protracted People’s War: the very thing they accuse the PCR-RCP of.
We should here look at the concrete practice of the old ideas clique. Nearly every attempt at launching a “small movement” has failed. Indeed, the RSM was launched several times before it was transformed into a mass organization with staying power. The Revolutionary Workers’ Movement stagnated and fell apart in 2012, only to be relaunched in the past year. The Proletarian Feminist Front remains at a low level of activity, having stagnated from its past work. The Red Youth Front is the second incarnation of this formation, the first having become defunct nearly a decade ago. We too are happy to examine the May Day demonstrations which the old ideas clique highlights: despite months of propaganda work, the old ideas clique only mobilized some 30 people in their contingent. Compared to the rest of Canada, this number is quite small: in Toronto alone, the PCR-RCP was the lynchpin in a mass rally of hundreds that, despite assertions to the contrary, was combative and militant. The old ideas clique refuses to draw concrete analyses from concrete conditions: here compare the two major propaganda initiatives of the PCR-RCP and the old ideas clique, the Fuck the 150th campaign and the “Month of Socialism” in commemoration of the October Revolution, respectively. The former was massively successful and applied revolutionary communist politics to the Canadian context; the former has more akin with the actions of a historical society. Thus for the old ideas clique to draw a distinction between their “be everywhere” approach and our supposed “concentrated” approach is to draw a false dichotomy. If only they were going everywhere! Instead, they repeat the same mistakes –largely due to their inability to engage in substantive self-criticism – and thus cover very little territory at all.
On the question of the mass line and Protracted People’s War, the old ideas clique straw-persons the argument they attempt to critique. They take umbrage with a passage in “The Mass Line and Communist Methods of Mass Work” which argues that armed defence of mass organizations can constitute the opening stages of the strategic defensive. The old ideas clique suggests that this means that the PCR-RCP has abandoned the necessity of preparing for revolutionary struggle, that it represents a spontaneist approach to the question of revolution. They over-reach in their argument. The purpose of “The Mass Line and Communist Methods of Mass Work” was never to lay out a proposal for how to launch Protracted People’s War, but rather to summarize a conception of the mass line based on the experience of the international communist movement and our own mass work, and then to conceptualize that understanding within the framework of Protracted People’s War. Thus, the document stipulates that armed defence of mass organizations can constitute the opening stages of the strategic defensive: not that it must, that it will, that it is necessarily so. In making this straw-personed critique, the old ideas clique conveniently leaves out other internal documents –such as “The Role of Unions in the Revolutionary Process”- which, using the understanding of the mass line advanced in “The Mass Line and Communist Methods of Mass Work” makes the argument for the necessity of offensive actions as well. Such a selective reading shows nothing but bad-faith, and a real grasping at straws.
We have argued elsewhere that the abandonment of the mass line by the old ideas clique constitutes a departure from MLM. “We Are the Continuators” further cements that departure. Indeed, such a departure is made explicit when the old ideas clique denies that Maoism constitutes a moment of rupture from the communisms that came before it. Maoism as a third-and-higher stage of Marxism requires recognition that it is a moment of rupture from Marxism-Leninism. The old ideas clique shows candidly that their perspectives are in fact not Maoist, but rather tired hold-overs from the Marxist-Leninist movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The rest of the revolutionary movement has moved on.
In closing, we’d like to remind the old ideas clique that continuity – being a “continuator” – is only part of the dialectic between continuity and rupture. While the old ideas clique can boast about being the continuators of the failed tactics which led to the stagnation of the Party (and in this we’re quite happy to let them bear the title “continuators”!), the Central Committee gladly points out that the vast majority of the Party opted to instead rupture with the failed approach. The PCR-RCP, the legitimate PCR-RCP, contains both sides of this dialectic: we uphold the continuation of the genuine revolutionary tradition in Canada, while rupturing with the mistaken practices and ideas of the old ideas clique. As the revolutionary movement continues to expand across Canada, the failed tactics of the “continuators” will inevitably see them relegated to the dustbin of history, where all wreckers belong.
-Central Committee, PCR-RCP