Ultra-Leftism: Deadly Contagion
Stephen Von Sychowski
Ultra-Leftism may not be a term that many youth are familiar with, but it poses a great threat to all progressive movements.
This article will focus on two practical difficulties that come along with ultra-leftism: sectarianism, and the splits that come about as a result of that sectarianism.
Sectarians are dogmatic and rigid; they formulate their political line, or borrow one from a previous revolutionary experience in a different time and place and try to apply it out of context in current conditions. They metaphysically consider their theory the only one that could ever be correct and refuse to accept that tactics must change with the conditions.
While Marxist-Leninists will work within the labour movement, mass movements, help strengthen those movements and put forth a communist line, sectarians will refuse to work within trade unions that are run by reactionary leaders or in mass movements dominated by their political adversaries.
Marxist-Leninists realize that the only way to correct the incorrect path of such organizations is to work in them and help to work them towards the correct positions, towards revolutionary ideology and away from reformist bourgeois ideologies. Ultra-leftists on the other hand are quite happy to form their own organizations instead which will compete with the previously established ones. In this way splits occur.
What’s better, one large united movement directed against capitalism or many tiny little groups fighting each other while the capitalists laugh in the background? If you answered in favor of united movements, you are probably on the right track. If you answered otherwise you may be suffering from a bit of ultra-leftism.
Ultra-leftists will, because of their sectarianism, either refuse to work in mass peace movements, solidarity movements, unions, student movements and so on or, even worse, they will infiltrate such groups and then split them. Either way a large, united movement against imperialist interests has been split in to two or more smaller groups all with similar aims but different tactics which are doomed to spend as much time or more fighting one another rather than their common adversary, capitalism.
Sometimes they get caught in the act and while they are creating divisions, recruiting for their own ultra-leftist sect and preparing for a split, they are first expelled from the organization by those who want to avoid a rupture. In these cases the sectarian ultra-leftists will always turn the blame on the organization in question and label them as divisive when in fact the opposite is the case.
At the same time, ultra-leftists will accuse Marxist-Leninists of being reformist or non-revolutionary because we will make concessions, not on principles but in tactics in order to work within and build up various movements while asserting our Marxist-Leninist ideology. But by doing otherwise, the sectarians isolate themselves and are forced to form their own separate movements or “coalitions” which are composed in reality of only themselves as members of whatever front groups they have formed. They are very happy to work under such conditions because although it dooms their work to uselessness, they are able to work in conditions of complete “ideological purity” wherever they go.
Marxist-Leninists on the other hand do struggle for ideological clarity, purity and cohesion amongst themselves in the YCL and especially the Communist Party because the Communist Party must have consistently revolutionary theory in order to lead the working class and its allies to the victory of socialism and communism.
However we realize that in mass movements, within the labour movement and so on it is neither realistic nor necessary to have such purity and to refuse to work with others in an attempt to achieve such conditions would be suicidal to the movement against capitalism.
Besides, how can you convince someone of your position if you start out by denouncing them and refusing to work with them or talk to them?
So who does ultra-leftism benefit? The sectarianism of ultra-leftism is extremely destructive to the communist movement, the peace movement, the labour movement, solidarity movements, the student movement and all mass movements that oppose capitalism because it divides them, weakens them and ultimately therefore strengthens the position of capitalism and the class enemies of the workers.
Therefore ultra-leftism is a counter-revolutionary ideological trend, one that is contradiction with Marxism-Leninism and with the struggle for socialism. It is of use to nobody but the ruling classes and their allies. This is why in many cases ultra-leftist organizations have been set up and/or funded by police organizations in capitalist countries to divide and destroy all movement against ruling class interests.
There have been similar cases in countries around the world including Canada where still many organizations exist today which are according to many people CSIS and RCMP front groups used to spread chaos, confusion and disarray through the progressive movements and to gather intelligence. While much of this has been speculation there is indeed much evidence to suggest that it is in many cases not far from the truth in the least.
All revolutionary young people must make a definite break with counter-revolutionary ultra-leftism which comes in such popular forms as Trotskyism, anarchism and so-called “Maoism”.
Marxism-Leninism remains the only truly revolutionary and working class ideology, theory and philosophy. It is the scientific system of thought which has guided all great revolutionary upheavals of the proletariat from the Great October Revolution (Russian 1917) to the Cuban revolution of 1959 which has built up socialism and the heroic resistance of the Cuban people against imperialism. It furthermore shall be the theory by which the proletarian revolution in Canada will be carried through to victory not by splits and division but by revolutionary tactics arrived at by scientific analyses of the conditions at hand.