"Every epoch has the material which constitutes the building blocks of the new, but its construction cannot take place in a mechanical way. The struggle between the old and the new, between what is passing away and what is coming into being, erupts in each epoch, with definite class forces taking sides. Irrespective of their will, classes act in a specific way. For capitalism and imperialism to continue, the capitalists and the imperialists must ensure that the new class, the proletariat, and all the exploited, are left without the leadership, consciousness and organization they require to put an end to the systems which cause them such suffering. They need to provide the working class with aims which go against its interests, nationally and internationally. The aim provided to the working class and people of the imperialist heartlands, of ensuring their own prosperity to the detriment of the well-being of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and at the expense of a growing polarization between rich and poor within the imperialist heartlands themselves, and of the natural environment, is extremely detrimental. The basis of this prosperity is the domination of the world, which has been pursued by splitting it on the basis of anti-communism. It has played a negative role and led to retrogression. It is still causing havoc in the ranks of the working people, especially in the working class movement. The capitalist governments and their official and unofficial agencies pay utmost attention to perpetuating the specter of communism, in order to introduce ideology and politics which paralyze the working people. The proletariat, the builder of socialism, and the other working people, the intellectuals, professionals, small farmers and fishers, trappers and small businessmen, and the oppressed, especially the women and the youth, must break loose from this vicious circle. They must take political stands in their own interests and organize consistently with the objective condition of their emancipation. Only then can they build the new society in this epoch. Such a society will emerge out of their political struggle for power, on the basis of which they must lead the entire society to provide solutions to the national and international problems which it faces and which face mankind.
"For the sake of emphasis, I reiterate that political work is the starting point of emancipation and the role of ideology is to serve it. It cannot be the other way around."
(Author's Note to Communism 1945-1991)
Study the Work of The Internationalists!
Today marks the 51st anniversary of the founding of The Internationalists at the University of British Columbia. The activity of The Internationalists during the period 1963 to 1969 set the thinking, political line, organizational principles and methods of work of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), which was founded on March 31, 1970. What was that work of The Internationalists? Is it important to study and bring forth its essence? Is it suitable and necessary for the work of CPC(M-L) at this time?
Hardial Bains, who was the national leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) from the time of its founding to when he passed away in 1997, was the founder of The Internationalists. He was most familiar with its activity and spoke to its significance of its work at a seminar held in December 1995 in Dublin, Ireland. When asked the question, why is it important to discuss the work of The Internationalists at this time, Comrade Bains remarked that it is not possible to consolidate the work of CPC(M-L) and turn the success of the work of CPC(M-L) into victory without bringing forth and grasping the essence of the work of The Internationalists and using it as a guide.
The theoretical thinking of Hardial Bains in 1963 was Marxist. The Internationalists, however, was not an organization known to be Marxist in the formal sense until 1968 at which time The Internationalists was re-organized as a Marxist-Leninist youth and student movement with the main task to create the conditions for the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). Can it be said that the work of The Internationalists prior to 1968 was not Marxist?
When Hardial Bains answered the question whether the activity between 1963 to 1968 was Marxist, he quickly replied, "Precisely so, it was profoundly Marxist. Without this work being Marxist how was it possible to carry out the reorganization of The Internationalists on a Marxist-Leninist basis in 1968?"
A number of reasons can be advanced to argue why the work of The Internationalists should be studied seriously. A lot of people were involved in this work which is identified with Hardial Bains. Thus it is essential for the strengthening of the leadership of the Party to precisely grasp the theory and practice advocated by Hardial Bains in the 1960s.
Thousands of University of British Columbia students demonstrate against U.S. actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis,
October 24, 1962. This international crisis amidst the Cold War bipolar division of the world and the desire of the youth to work out an independent stand on this and other important matters were the conditions which lead to the creation of The Internationalists at UBC in 1963.
As well, aside from the decision to study The Internationalist era, the most important question is how the study should be carried out. Should the study be done by activists who originate from that period preparing different themes on a volunteer basis; or, should the study be done on a professional basis in the form of a program dedicated to this study?
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) decided to undertake this study professionally, even if at the beginning this means one or two people with some volunteers assisting the work. This is how the Hardial Bains Resource Centre (HBRC) works. It not only carries out work on a professional basis, but more importantly, it works to preserve and make the materials available to all concerned. All those interested in joining this work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The occasion was the thirtieth anniversary of the
founding of the Irish Internationalists, at Trinity College, Dublin.
Ideological Struggle -- A Necessary Condition for the Winning of Victory
One of the most vicious forms the all-round offensive of the bourgeoisie against the working class takes is the ideological, through which it tries to justify what cannot be justified. What should the working class do about it? The sharpening of the ideological struggle reflects the sharpening of the class struggle itself. Beside justifying that there is no alternative to the crisis but to shift its burden onto the backs of the workers, the bourgeoisie continues to repeat the absurdity that a "free market economy" and "multi-party systems" are not only the best but the preferred systems of all times. It keeps repeating this over and over, even though facts from life tell an entirely different story.
How should such propaganda be combated? Can it be combated by just taking facts from life and proving that the claims made about the "free market economy" and "multi-party" system, according to which they are an answer to the crisis, are wrong? To do so will make no difference as it does not really hit at the central issue facing the working class. The working class must have its own program. It must have its own consciousness and organization. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to wage ideological struggle in order to ensure that this program is realized.
Economic and political exposures are good. Such things must be done. However, if the working class does not have its own program, if it does not wage ideological struggle to realize it, it does not matter how many times it is repeated that the bourgeois system is the source of the crisis. This would not stop the bourgeoisie from repeating that theirs is the best system in the world. What then should be done?
The working class, in both "east" and "west" and all over the world, is faced with the "free market economy" and "multi-party system." In the sphere of the economy, the free market economy deprives the working people of all means of production. In the sphere of politics, the multi-party system deprives the working people of all political power. The leader of society based on the capitalist system, the bourgeoisie will not permit the program of the working class to assume the leadership in society. On the other hand, the working class has no choice but to exercise its own leadership over society as the only way out of the crisis.
How can the working class establish its own leadership over society and take over the levers of economic and political power? The working class will have to fight for its own program, while carrying out a profound and ongoing series of critical exposures of the program of the bourgeoisie. It has to prove that if its own program assumes leadership it would get rid of the crisis in a way that favours the people, while the more the program of the bourgeoisie is implemented, the more the crisis deepens. A resolute ideological struggle has to be waged by keeping this in mind based on theoretical and ideological considerations, that is, on modern definitions.
As a starting point, the working class has to wage the ideological struggle in order to convince all sections of society that it has an alternative. Faced with an impasse, the bourgeoisie is presenting itself as a force for reform. There are two types of reforms. One is the neo-liberal reform committed to strengthening the stranglehold of the monopolies on all the resources of the society and nation. All of it is intended to eliminate the claims of the working people on society and its resources.
The working class also has its own program of reform. The guiding principles of its reforms are first, society must recognize the claims of all its members and secondly, the system on which society is based must be changed accordingly with political power resting in the hands of the people so they can exercise control over their lives. The working class program is based on these two and other guiding principles. Ideological struggle is crucial in this regard. The working class must raise its own consciousness as it refutes the claims of the champions of the private interests of the monopolies which call themselves political parties and proves that the essence of their reforms, the heart of the matter, is that they are anti-worker. This ideological struggle also has to be waged in order to elaborate its own program to change the direction of the economy and for democratic renewal of the political process.
The question is usually raised that even with a good program, if there is no one to propagate it and if it is not picked up by the media, it has no chance of success. Such a rendering of the program of the working class is only a partial truth. The whole truth is that so long as the working class does not wage ideological struggle in its own favour, it will remain vulnerable to the ideological offensive of the bourgeoisie.
It has to argue things out and prove that the neo-liberal reforms contribute to the deepening and broadening of the crisis in the long run instead of lessening it. It has to show that these reforms are not based on investigation and are not guided by social science but by the self-serving private interests of the most powerful monopolies. It has to point out that decreasing the disposable income of the working class is not good for the economy. Decreasing investments in education or providing resources to provide its private delivery will put maximum pressure on this disposable income, as will the cutbacks in health care. The same will result from the cutbacks in social programs. With the working class being pushed to the extreme, the neo-liberal reforms encourage the provision of privatized delivery of education and health care and social programs which benefit the wealthy.
The working class has to argue that society must accept the claims of all individuals and establish an economy on this basis. It has to provide arguments that the very release of the productive forces necessitates it. Society cannot afford to have massive productive forces being destroyed on an ongoing basis while facing big disasters from time to time. The workers will have to explain that the disasters the economic crises and bourgeois programs cause in social and spiritual affairs also result in war and social unrest.
The working class needs to explain fully why society must recognize that the basis of the economy has to change, especially the content of the relations amongst persons where there is concentration of wealth on one side and poverty on the other. Ideological struggle has to target the champions of neo-liberal reform and it has to avoid being fooled by those programs, which on the surface may look like they will solve the problem but in actual fact put the working class in a passive position. The working class will have to fight the entire propaganda that government provides money to big business for the purpose of creating jobs when, in actual fact, it is for purposes of maximizing capitalist profits.
A pitfall for the working class is the question of where the money will come from required for the deep-going reforms needed to meet the claims of all members of society and put political power in the hands of the people so they can exercise control over their lives. The source of wealth is only one, that is, the application of labour to nature. The source of wealth is the creation of surplus value. In other words, the working class will have to expropriate those who are expropriating their surplus value. It will have to declare clearly that anyone who is participating in the economy for their own ends without concern for the well-being of society or the working class does not deserve sympathy.
In sum, the aim of the communists must be to put the working class in the position of leading society. One of the ongoing ingredients required to realize this aim is ideological struggle.
(An edited version of an article
originally published in TML Daily, April 29, 1994.)
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