Founding of The Internationalists, March 13, 1963
The Vibrant Legacy Inherited by CPC(M-L)
On March 13, 1963, an event which was to have far-reaching historical consequences was organized at the University of British Columbia. Under the leadership of Hardial Bains, students responded to the need to create an academic atmosphere on the campus and established a discussion group called The Internationalists. They did so based on the analysis of the key thing which was absent from their lives at that time, their need for the kind of consciousness and organization which would open a path for themselves. As a result, The Internationalists were the most vibrant broad student movement from the outset, whose mark left its imprint not only on all its members and fellow-travellers, but on the politics of Canada ever since. In this regard, it was the most important organization of the sixties whose continuous legacy is to organize revolution as a practical task, going step by step, presenting to itself the concrete tasks for the period. Being dedicated to revolution in a concrete way it was also a movement based on maximum ideological and political mobilization and a broad appeal.
The uninterrupted advance of The Internationalists led to the adoption of the Necessity for Change analysis with its profound conclusion adopted in 1967 that Understanding requires an act of conscious participation of the individual — an act of finding out. On the basis of this conclusion, The Internationalists were reorganized as a Marxist-Leninist youth and student movement in Montreal on May 7, 1968 and carried out the work required to found the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) in Montreal on March 31, 1970. The achievements of The Internationalists became the legacy inherited by the Party and this legacy remains central to the Party work to this day.
One of the key features in the organizing of The Internationalists was that it established its program on the basis of the conditions of the time and involved everyone in working it out and carrying it out in real life. The Internationalists has significance in the life of the Party today because its positions and program were based on the actual conditions of the country and this remains the case today. The organization also worked out theory in the course of the struggle to change those conditions. Another most significant feature was that it drew its membership by making appeals to the broad sections of the people, involving them in work and encouraging the best elements to join them. The Internationalists relied on the working class to set the aim to resolve the crisis in its favour in every period so as to open society’s path to progress. Any deviation or opposition to the fundamental positions would have led to the destruction of The Internationalists and to CPC(M-L) as well.
Fundamental Positions of The Internationalists
• The program of The Internationalists was based on the
• The Internationalists worked out theory in the course of the struggle
• The Internationalists relied on the working class to set the aim
Militant defence of its independence and thinking for itself are important legacies CPC(M-L) inherited from The Internationalists. The insistence of the Party to think for itself in opening the path for its work and not to depend on or bow down to this or that analysis from any other quarter ensured that both The Internationalists and CPC(M-L) could pass through extremely complicated periods successfully without compromising their principles and fundamental positions or merging with the fad of the day.
During the sixties, one trend was to blindly follow the Soviet Union and other countries without carrying out an independent analysis of the conditions of the country in which the Party was operating and thinking for itself. The seventies brought another fad, which was to pick up this or that idea and turn it into a document and seek unity on that basis. The necessity was and continues to be to this day for parties to examine other countries from an angle that can advance the movement of the working class and allies in the country where they are operating and the workers of all lands. No struggle could be successful if based on replicating models from the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, Yugoslavia or any other country while not basing action on a concrete analysis of Canada and the needs of the international communist and workers’ movement. Such an independent stand and thinking for itself has stood the Party in good stead.
This can be seen at the present time. The legacy of militant defence of its independence and thinking for itself means the Party stands firmly on its own two feet and is capable of finding its bearings in the complicated circumstances that characterize this historical turning point. The crux of the problem during this turning point is that the arrangements and forms of a civil society no longer function because the rulers have abandoned the aim of serving the public good in favour of neo-liberal nation-wrecking to pay the rich. New forms of collective decision-making are beginning to see the light of day amongst the peoples in various parts. Those who consider their peers to be equal members of the polity activate the human factor/social consciousness. They do so by taking decisions on a collective basis as a matter of the principle that everyone is entitled to participate in arriving at the decisions that affect their lives. Just like the slogan of the society which is passing away was no taxation without representation, a guideline today is to speak in one’s own name with the aim of creating a socially responsible society which is accountable to each and everyone of its members. Only in this way can the members of the polity affirm their rights and exercise control over the decisions which affect their lives and bring a system into being which ensures that can take place.
Those who live off the thinking of others and succumb to the official state disinformation can provide nothing vibrant nor inspire the working people to march on and build the New. Sooner or later those who mouth what they hear from the old forces collapse. Such is the case of those who eke out a living repeating phrases, refuse to analyze the unfolding events and fail to implement the Party’s positions, line and guides to action in a living way.
The Internationalists and the Party have been able to use the organizing and mobilizing power of Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought, which has developed as work on the theoretical front has gained experience and expertise over the past 58 years. Theory develops as it illuminates a path forward for the ongoing work based on the conclusions drawn from the unfolding new experience gained here in Canada and by the international working class in all spheres of work. The Party has its program for renewal at this time to ensure it remains consistent with the concrete conditions of today. The Party inherited this quality from The Internationalists, to always base its political action on its own analysis of the national and international situation without succumbing to the lure of an idea. This quality can be found in the fullness of the analysis of the present period found in the pages of The Marxist-Leninist and Workers’ Forum and its political action program to Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs!
As the conditions have changed, so have the analyses and political programs, while the theory known as Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought that The Internationalists began to work out in its day has become all the more powerful. The role played by theory can be seen in the work in different spheres. The Internationalists and the Party have been able to use the organizing and mobilizing power of Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought over the past 58 years. Today the Party takes up work on the theoretical front to provide modern definitions to guide the work for political renewal, set a new direction for the economy and make sure a modern democratic personality is brought into being in the form of an anti-war government. Revolutionary theory develops in the course of revolutionary action by paying attention to what the ensemble of social relations reveal. It illuminates a path forward for the ongoing work based on the conclusions drawn from the unfolding experience of the workers’ and communist movement in Canada and internationally.
The working class is the class of the here and now and the future. Its work is to lead the struggle to emancipate itself and create a new society without exploitation of persons by persons. The dogmatism and phrase-mongering of the obsolete classes and parties that call themselves democratic but form a reactionary cartel to keep the people out of power, can be seen in their double-talk during elections and their promises to provide problems with solutions, which they never keep. They content themselves by dogmatically repeating the false ideological belief that theirs is the ultimate system humans are capable of developing and the final form of democracy.
In hailing the work of The Internationalists, CPC(M-L) draws attention to some of its salient features. These were not worked out in a dogmatic fashion from ideas but according to the conditions and analysis of the times as they developed, and by taking into consideration conclusions that have been added to theory. By doing so, the practical politics and summing up of the work enriches the theory making it applicable to the contemporary conditions.
More than ever before, the practical politics to realize an aim the people set for themselves, and not adherence to this or that “ism,” are crucial to achieve the definite aim the people define. The concretization of a line of march takes place only in the course of political work — the practical politics — which refers to the work to vest the sovereign decision-making power in the people whose representatives are not elected officials who toe a party line. Today, the rulers are seizing more and more power to decide policy and wield it through ministers and hired private agencies. These are police powers which are transferred to narrow private interests which are replacing the functions of a civil service and the aim of serving the public good.
As it celebrates its own 50th anniversary, CPC(M-L) greets the 58th anniversary of the founding of The Internationalists by paying deepest respects to their founder Hardial Bains. CPC(M-L) salutes all those members in its ranks today who participated in the work of The Internationalists and the founding of the Party by subordinating themselves to the striving of the working class and its allies to exercise control over the decisions which affect their lives. Building the Party by implementing collective methods of deliberation and of taking decisions and supervising their implementation does indeed give rise to the New. It will culminate in a system which affirms the people’s desire for equality, peace, freedom and democracy in the form of an anti-war government which will embody a totally modern democratic personality. The working class will constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people with the aim of creating a society without the exploitation of persons by persons. Only when constituted on a modern basis which enshrines the claims the members of the polity and its constituent parts are entitled to make on it, will they themselves provide solutions to problems caused by inequality, the failure to respect the hereditary rights of the Indigenous nations and the outstanding claims of the Quebec and Métis nations.
Long Live Our Party!
Long Live the Work of Its Founder Comrade Hardial Bains!