On Reactionary Trends and Sectarianism Within the UWSA

On Reactionary Trends and Sectarianism Within the UWSA

RSM-UW Report from the UWSA Annual General Meeting

 

At the 2017 annual general meeting of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA), the Revolutionary Student Movement-UWinnipeg (RSM-UW) brought forward three motions: a motion to hold a second general meeting each fall, a motion in support of anti-tuition activism, and a motion to denounce Israeli apartheid and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in opposition to the State of Israel.
These motions were brought forward as part of the pan-Canadian General Assemblies campaign of the Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire – Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) to promote campus democracy and advance the agenda of working class and marginalized students. The fall general meeting motion passed, upholding student voices as the highest decision-making power in the union. The anti-tuition activism motion was significantly weakened by amendment before being adopted, and BDS was not voted on as the meeting had lost quorum by the time it was brought forward for a vote. The latter two motions were heavily debated and criticized largely due to misinformation, needless sectarianism, and reactionary scare tactics that we will highlight and correct.

Although the RSM-UW celebrates the adoption of provisions including funding for direct action training and the consideration of allocating funds for legal charges that student may incur through anti-tuition activism, one of the provisions supporting an upcoming April 18 rally organized by both RSM sections in the city was eliminated. The rally has already garnered a wide range of support from student groups, unions, and revolutionary organizations, which we hoped the UWSA would join.

The amendment to eliminate the provision supporting the rally was brought forward by the recently re-elected UWSA Status of Women Director, and seconded by the incoming Vice President External Affairs (VPEA). In moving the amendment, the Director put forward several factually incorrect statements that would ultimately jeopardize student organizing with the MER-RSM. The statements are as follows: that the rally should not be supported due to its affiliation with the RSM; that the RSM is a communist organization; that the MER-RSM is affiliated with the Parti Communiste Revolutionnaire – Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP); and that either organization encourages violent revolution. Another argument for the amendment was put forward by the outgoing VPEA and Local 08 Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) representative, that the rally should not be supported as it was not led by the CFS, with which the UWSA is affiliated. It should also be mentioned that this individual has since expressed a desire for increased solidarity among student organizations to achieve common goals, and is also known for their consistent commitment to anti-oppression and students’ struggles. We hope that all tendencies which divide progressive students can be rectified so as to build a unified movement of proletarian students capable of smashing the bourgeois education system.

We respond to the first argument by clarifying that we are a broadly-based student organization led by communist principles and open to anyone who upholds anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, and anti-oppressive principles. This includes maintaining a strong anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-ableist, LGBTQ2SIA+ inclusive and upholding proletarian feminism. There are many members of our organization across a variety of tendencies, including many non-communists. We would also clarify that while the MER-RSM was an initiative of the PCR-RCP, we are not an organ of the party. We are completely independent, have our own democratic structure, and do not advocate for any specific ideology or strategy for revolution. Finally, in response to negative connotations of violent revolutions, while the RSM does not advocate for a specific revolutionary strategy, we certainly do not condemn the successful liberation struggles that have been won through violent means.

Furthermore, the argument against supporting the April 18th rally because it is not led by the CFS is completely sectarian, and is merely for the purpose of maintaining subservience to the bourgeois monopoly of the student movement. Unprincipled sectarianism should always be opposed; however, choosing to work outside the CFS is not sectarianism. In fact the liberalism, bureaucracy and opportunism which is universal within the CFS, along with the continuing marginalization of any message other than its own, was a significant factor in the formation of the RSM itself.

The amendment in question and the poorly researched arguments for it were more about red-baiting and perpetuating misconceptions that undermine radical organizing than they were about supporting the fight of working class students against attacks on access to education. These comments, whether intentionally or not, are part of a reactionary and reformist trend within student organizing across Canada which reared its ugly head at the AGM. This resulted in a rejection of crucial support for the April 18th rally, which would have greatly strengthened our ability to reach out to students at the U of W, a campus with a long history of radical activism. It is particularly alarming that the more problematic of these arguments was supported by the incoming and VPEA, as they will oversee all of the UWSA’s campaign work in the coming year. Holding sectarian views on student organizing and incorrect ideas on the RSM and in turn delegitimizing the necessity of a radical student organization for the working class and marginalized students creates extremely problematic barriers, suppressing radical expression and student organizing. We find this to be completely unacceptable coming from those in positions of power in our student association, and we believe that all students and their organizations should stand together against tuition fees.

The BDS and anti-Israeli apartheid motion was opposed by some students who attempted to portray criticism of Israel and the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. This tactic is a common attempt to delegitimize any opposition to Israel. BDS is not anti-Semitism; it is a vibrant and diverse global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots groups from all faiths and backgrounds, including many Jewish people, who are dedicated to challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. These students also repeated misinformation about Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), a student group at the University of Manitoba which was unjustly banned by the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) in a gross violation of freedom of speech and belief. The students at the AGM alleged that SAIA and its activities put Jewish students at risk, and that a BDS endorsement by the UWSA would do the same, all of which is patently false.

Another argument put forward by students in response to the BDS motion was that it is not the place of the UWSA to take a position on political issues. However the UWSA is at its core a political organization, which historically and presently has taken many stances and undertaken many campaigns on social justice and equality issues within our country and around the world. The UWSA was constructed and is maintained by UW students as a tool for struggle as we decide. Its purpose is whatever UW students decide it is. If the UWSA membership holds a vote on an issue, then that issue is within the mandate of the UWSA, and BDS is no different.

Furthermore, globally, student organizations are a key part of the BDS movement, as they were in the divestment movement against South African Apartheid in the 1970s and 1980s, and we believe the UWSA must be a part of this. As the discussion was derailed by those apologists for settler-colonialism, the AGM lost quorum, and the meeting was adjourned without a vote being held. The BDS motion will be revisited at the UWSA general meeting in the fall, and we encourage all UW students to attend the meeting to ensure the passage of this crucial motion.

In summary, the results of the AGM were mixed. While it was a partial victory for working class and marginalized students, there were also some setbacks. In sharing this statement we hope to highlight some of the reasons for these setbacks, as a way to clarify our politics, prevent future needless sectarianism at UW, and encourage students to support similar motions in the future.

We see the need for students to be united against symptoms of capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. In bringing forward motions pertaining to the fight against tuition, BDS, and the necessity for increased campus democracy, the RSM-UW was able to illuminate the reactionary trends within the UWSA. As such, we hope that the aforementioned individuals can internalize our criticisms and work with us in the future. Through struggle, we hope to establish ourselves as a legitimate organization for mobilizing students at the UW, contributing to a broader revolutionary movement across Canada and internationally.

 

Signed,

Revolutionary Student Movement – UWinnipeg

Resolutions of the Sixth Congress of the Revolutionary Student Movement

Resolutions of the Sixth Congress of the Revolutionary Student Movement

 

  1. CEGEP/College Expansion

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee will produce a general plan to intervene into CEGEPs or colleges that can provide guidance for local sections to intervene in institutions in their areas.

Be it further resolved that this plan provide a strategy given the perceived limitations within these institutions that would make organizing in these institutions dissimilar from our experience in universities. This should be achieved through gathering information from the experience of the MER-RSM members currently or historically in CEGEPs or colleges.

Be it further resolved that this plan be available to MER-RSM members by August 18th, 2017 to provide ample time to plan interventions for the beginning of the fall semester.

Be it further resolved that where sections exist in the same area of a CEGEP or College where the MER-RSM does not have a presence, that those sections be mandated to engage in preliminary social investigation where capacity exists – up to and including the initiation of a new section.

  1. Ideological Advancement

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee will develop a reading list for sections and members who have finished the basics course, and ensure that courses are accessible upon the organization’s website.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee compile a recommended reading list for both the basics and advanced course, and ensure that courses are accessible upon the organization’s website.

  1. General Assembly Campaign Propaganda

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee will centralize all of the propaganda materials from previous General Assemblies campaigns and make them accessible to all sections.

Be it further resolved that the Coordinating Committee create propaganda specific for General Assemblies campaigns.

 

  1. Plan for starting the Transformative Justice Committee.

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee is tasked with providing an open mechanism for MER-RSM members or people in our periphery to launch complaints against members that may have engaged in patriarchal, transphobic, racist, ableist, etc. behaviour or violence, which includes a process of investigation, mediation and rectification.

Be it further resolved that upon receiving a complaint that the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee strike an Ad Hoc Transformative Justice Committee, of members of the Coordinating Committee and the MER-RSM members that are not directly tied to the incident presented, to investigate the complaint, and proceed forward with a rectification process if necessary.

Be it further resolved that a list of comrades that would be willing to act for the Transformative Justice Committee be compiled along with a list of their relevant skills.

Be it further resolved that a list of resources be created to aid in the work of both the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee and Transformative Justice Committee going forward in this matter. This list should also be made available to leadership of every section.
Be it further resolved that any member of the MER-RSM who has a complaint that they wish to be investigated by the Transformative Justice Committee and Coordinating Committee has the right to contact their regional organizer or any Coordinating Committee member; to be represented by another member if they wish, and to have that complaint dealt with as soon as possible. Should the complainant be in an emergency situation, the Transformative Justice Committee and Coordinating Committee should provide as much support as possible.

  1. Regional Events for 2018

Be it resolved that for the 2017-2018 school year regional organizers are tasked with holding regional events of either a political, organizational or social character.

Be it further resolved that the next Pan-Canadian MER-RSM Congress be held in 2019.

Peterborough delegation has offered to host the next regional event and potentially the next Congress.

  1. Financial Motion

Be it resolved that all sections of the MER-RSM take on fundraising initiatives and aim to apply for institutional funding wherever possible.

  1. Publication

Be it resolved that each section commits to preparing at least one article per issue for the publication before the next congress.

Be it further resolved that the publication produce an issue at least once a year.

  1. CAFE

Coordinating Committee of MER-RSM will produce guidelines on how to oppose CAFE and other MRA organizing with the goal of shutting such organizing down.
Be it further resolved that Coordinating Committee of MER-RSM produce propaganda for all sections organizing to oppose CAFE and other MRA groups. Likewise, sections currently engaged in anti-MRA work should centralize existing propaganda.

 

  1. Proletarian Education

Be it resolved that the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee be tasked with synthesizing an analysis of what proletarian education is to look like and what a proletarian student is.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee be tasked with seeking input from sections on these political questions.

  1. Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day

The MER-RSM sections will hold events on March 8th under the banner of Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day, and promote a celebration of Proletarian Feminism and revolutionary gender oppressed people.

  1. Solidarity with International League of People’s Struggles

The MER-RSM affirms our solidarity with member organizations of ILPS, where appropriate, in order to strengthen and concretize our international solidarity work.

 

  1. Strategic Plan of the MER-RSM

The MER-RSM affirms that the organization of proletarian students, and building towards revolution in Canada is its primary goal.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM adopt, as its immediate strategic orientation, the achievement of general assemblies with an eye towards organizing strikes.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM adopts the following general plan of action:

  1. MER-RSM sections should, where possible, campaign for the creation of General Assemblies, in which every student gets a vote and can initiate motions, as the highest decision making body of their respective student organizations. This includes but is not limited to unions, federations and associations.
  2. Due to the contours of student politics in English Canada, MER-RSM sections should initially work towards campus-wide General Assemblies.
  3. Once General Assemblies have been won within a student organization, MER-RSM sections should work towards program or faculty level General Assemblies.
  4. Campaigns for General Assemblies should take on a life and organizational form independent from the MER-RSM, but remains connected to and led politically by the MER-RSM.
  5. When General Assemblies have been achieved, MER-RSM sections should initiate controversial left-wing motions in order to build quorum and hype around the General Assemblies. This can include things like abolishing the student union council, condemning the occupation of Afghanistan, or other issues which will serve to separate the advanced and intermediate from the backwards.
  6. As soon as possible, MER-RSM sections should put forward motions to hold a one day strike putting forward demands based on the 2015 Red Spring Day of Action as a basic program.
  7. As more MER-RSM sections are able to organize strikes, MER-RSM sections should begin to coordinate with each other to hold strikes on the same days. This can continue to expand and grow in scale.
  8. The strategic goal of this process is the holding of an unlimited student strike across Canada, in which the RSM is a leading political force.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM affirms that this is not a stagist conception of revolution, where at the end of this process revolution will spontaneously emerge. Instead, the RSM should understand this process as a strategy which will train and attract cadre and build capacity.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM at no point in this process stop engaging in independent, anti-capitalist and revolutionary propaganda. Nor should the MER-RSM ever liquidate itself into the general movement, and should instead constantly advance its own promises and positions even while leading campaigns of lower political unity.

Be it further resolved that the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee should begin looking towards the creation of a short general program of promises, which touches on the immediate needs of proletarian and oppressed students. This program should form the basis of the demands advanced during strikes. It should concretize the political positions of the MER-RSM Coordinating Committee.

  1. Consolidation of Organizational Documents

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee consolidate all our documents in French and English relating to methods of organization and how to conduct ourselves. These documents should then be translated and distributed to every section and also made available to new sections and organizers as necessary.

Be it further resolved that this should take the form of a package that includes checklists for different kinds of events as well as guidelines for weekly meetings and also all report templates. In addition to this material any documents already in circulation should be included.

 

  1. Solidarity with RSM Sudbury in the face of State Repression

The MER-RSM condemns the Sudbury Police and Ontario Provincial Police for their actions against RSM Sudbury.

The entire MER-RSM stands in solidarity with RSM Sudbury during this difficult time, and we offer them any assistance they deem necessary to continue the good work they are doing in Sudbury.

 

  1. Solidarity with Igor Sadikov

The MER-RSM stands in full solidarity with Igor Sadikov against Zionist attacks, and we uphold his critique of Zionism.

Déclaration sur le départ de la section de Montréal (Statement On the Departure of the Montreal Section)

Déclaration sur le départ de la section de Montréal (Statement On the Departure of the Montreal Section)

Déclaration sur le départ de la section de Montréal du Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire

[English to Follow] 

Nous, le Comité de Coordination du MER-RSM, sommes déçu.es de voir la déclaration récente du MER Montréal annonçant leur départ de notre organisation. Bien que nous soyons déçu.es, nous ne sommes pas surpris.es: leur déclaration survient dans une suite d’évènement dont; la démission des membres du MER Montréal du Comité de coordination, des mois de non-communication avec le Comité de coordination et un manque de participation à la vie du MER-RSM pancanadien. En effet, le MER Montréal est allé jusqu’à ne pas assister au récent Congrès du MER-RSM, malgré le fait qu’initialement ils/elles s’étaient porté.es volontaire pour que celui-ci ait lieu à Montréal. C’est dans ce contexte que le Comité de coordination a envoyé un appel final au MER Montréal, qui stipulait que leur adhésion à l’organisation serait résiliée si ils/elles ne reprenaient pas contact avec le Comité de coordination. Au lieu de lutter sur les désaccords politiques avec le reste du MER-RSM, le MER Montréal a choisi d’annoncer son retrait.

Il y a de nombreux aspects de la déclaration du MER Montréal qui, selon nous, sont contestabless, nous tenons à  nous  concentrer à soulever les différents politiques. Principalement, ces différents sont: le rejet de la nécessité d’organisations de masse indépendantes et leurs critiques mal avisées du Sixième Congrès du MER-RSM, qui a eu lieu à Ottawa en février

Le MER Montréal n’est pas d’accord avec l’importance de l’indépendance des organisations de masse et intermédiaires. Ils/elles soutiennent leurs critiques en pointant vers un article de la revue Arsenal, le journal théorique du PCR-RCP, et en suggérant que de permettre des initiatives indépendantes des masses équivaut à liquider l’importance d’un parti, et même de la révolution. Nous sommes fermement en désaccord avec cette critique: nous pensons qu’un mouvement révolutionnaire robuste doit engager la société sur de multiple niveaux, y compris au niveau intermédiaire et des masses, à l’aide d’organisations de masse et intermédiaires travaillant aux côtés d’organisations au niveau du parti.

Nous soulignons l’importance de l’indépendance des organisations  de masse et intermédiaire, et de leurs propres structures démocratiques internes: nous pensons qu’un aspect crucial de la ligne de masse est de faire confiance aux masses pour gérer leur travail. Le MER-RSM doit maintenir son indépendance organisationnelle, plutôt que d’agir simplement comme un appendice directement sous le contrôle organisationnel du PCR-RCP. Nous sommes attristé.es de voir le MER Montréal rejeter la ligne de masse et adopter comme pratique une caricature d’organisation d’avant-garde qui substitue le leadership politique par un leadership bureaucratique.

Le MER Montréal a fait trois critiques principales du sixième Congrès du MER-RSM. Avant de s’engager dans ces critiques, nous voulons souligner l’absence du MER Montréal au dernier Congrès, ce qui fait que beaucoup de ces critiques proviennent d’une position d’ignorance relative. Bien que nous aurions dû  être plus proactifs pour publier diffuser l’intégralité des motions adoptées sur le site Web du MER-RSM. Cependant, le MER Montreal aurait trouvé les réponses à beaucoup de leurs questions dans le «Rapport» qui a été publié peu de temps après la clôture du Congrès. En gardant ceci en tête, le MER Montréal critique les deux éléments suivants: l’accent “inutile” mis sur les assemblées générales, la substitution de la Journée Internationale des travailleuses par la «Journée des travailleurs/euses de genre opprimé» et la taille du Congrès.

Nous trouvons étrange que le MER Montréal soit en désaccord avec la campagne pour les Assemblées générales, étant donné que celle-ci a été suggérée pour la première fois par un camarade de Montréal lors du premier congrès du MER-RSM en 2012. Cependant, nous sommes de l’avis que la critique considérant cette campagne comme étant apparemment “inutile” est de mauvaise foi. Le MER-RSM a toujours avancé la notion que les AG ne sont pas une fin en soi, mais plutôt un forum dans lequel la lutte des classes est possible. Ainsi, afin de favoriser la lutte des classes sur les campus, nous avons créé et tentons de créer des AG là où elles n’existent pas. À leur tour, les AG sont un outil permettant d’entreprendre des grèves étudiantes, et qui de par l’augmentation du niveau de militance et de la lutte à travers le Canada, contribuera à créer une génération de militant.es et les conditions pour la révolution.

De plus, dans les contextes où les AG existent déjà (comme au Québec!), les camarades ne sont pas tenu.es de s’engager dans ce type de pratique. Nous avons toujours été clairs sur cette conception stratégique aussi bien dans les motions présentées aux congrès du MER-RSM, que dans nos documents. En effet, si le MER Montréal avait lu le «Rapport» publié après le Sixième Congrès du MER-RSM, ils/elles auraient trouvé cette même conception répétée ci-haut. Alors que le MER Montréal peut être en désaccord avec cette orientation stratégique (notons bien, que jamais celui-ci fut ouvertement manifesté au MER-RSM), il est malhonnête d’affirmer que l’objectif de la campagne des AG n’est pas clair.

Le MER Montréal a aussi critiqué le MER-RSM pour avoir appelé à une «Journée des travailleurs/euses de genre opprimé» le 8 mars, plutôt que la traditionnelle «Journée internationale des travailleuses». Nous sommes en désaccord pour dire que cela constitue l’abandon de 100 ans de lutte des femmes de la classe ouvrière pour leur émancipation. Nous ne pensons pas que l’inclusion des femmes trans et des prolétaires non binaires mine la lutte pour l’égalité entre les genres et ne porte pas atteinte à la lutte pour la révolution. Notons qu’il y a eu un débat considérable sur cette motion au Congrès, soulignons également qu’en ne participant pas au Congrès, le MER Montréal a négligé leur devoir de s’engager dans une lutte de ligne avec leurs camarades sur une question importante qui était clairement controversée.

Enfin, le MER Montréal essaie de justifier leur attitude distante parprise de distance  relevant un supposé déclin de la taille du MER-RSM ppan-canadien. S’il est vrai qu’il y a eu moins de participant.es au congrès du MER-RSM cette année que par le passé, mais ceci n’a rien à voir avec la taille du MER-RSM. En fait, le MER Montréal n’a pu constater cette diminution de participant.es, que puisque le MER-RSM est maintenant trop grand et largement répandu à travers le Canada, pour qu’il soit possible de rassembler tous les membres pour chaque Congrès. C’est pourquoi, nous avons pour les deux derniers congrès, utilisé un système de délégation plutôt que d’accueillir d’inviter tou.tes les participant.es. En fait, si le MER Montréal avait assisté au Congrès, ils/elles auraient découvert que le MER-RSM était plus grand que jamais,  et ce même si les membres de MER Montréal ne sont pas inclus.es dans le total.

Le Comité de coordination est déçu que le MER Montréal ait annoncé leur départ du MER-RSM pan-canadien. Cependant, pour toutes les critiques faites par le MER Montréal, nous voulons noter que pas une seule fois ces critiques n’ont été soumises à l’interne au MER-RSM, ni aux Congrès pour que celles-ci soient discutées de manière ouverte et démocratique. Le MER Montréal a abandonné sa responsabilité de lutter avec  ses camarades. Dans la mesure où le MER-RSM défend l’importance de la lutte politique, le MER Montréal s’en écarte, le Comité de coordination voit le départ du MER Montréal comme un revers temporaire pour le MER-RSM dans une seule ville. Nous reprendrons bientôt nos activités à Montréal et continuerons de contribuer au mouvement révolutionnaire au Canada et au Québec.

Nous invitons tou.te personne à Montréal intéressée à nous aider à reconstruire le MER-RSM à nous contacter.

Statement On the Departure of the Montreal Section of the Revolutionary Student Movement

We, the RSM Coordinating Committee, are disappointed to see the recent statement of the MER Montreal announcing their departure from the broader organization. While we are disappointed, we are not surprised: their statement follows the resignation of MER Montreal members from the Coordinating Committee, months of non-communication with the Coordinating Committee, and a lack of participation in the life of the broader RSM. Indeed, the MER went as far as to not attend the recent RSM Congress, despite initially volunteering to host it in Montreal. It was in this context that the Coordinating Committee sent a final appeal to the MER Montreal, which stipulated that their membership would be terminated if they did not resume communication with the Coordinating Committee. Instead of struggling with the rest of the RSM over political disagreements, the MER Montreal chose to announce their resignation.

There are many aspects of the statement made by the MER Montreal which we find objectionable. However, we want to highlight the political differences. Chiefly, these differences are: a rejection of the need for independent mass organizations, and misplaced criticisms of the Sixth Congress of the RSM, held in Ottawa in February.

MER Montreal disagrees with the importance of independent mass and intermediate organizations. They make their criticism by pointing to an article in the PCR-RCP’s theoretical journal Arsenal, and by suggesting that to allow for independent mass initiatives is to liquidate the importance of a Party or even more broadly, revolution. We clearly disagree with this criticism: we think that a robust revolutionary movement engages society on multiple levels, including on the mass and intermediate levels, with mass and intermediate organizations working alongside party-level organizations. We uphold the importance of independent mass and intermediate organizations with their own internal democratic structures: we think that a crucial aspect of the mass line is to trust the masses to run their own affairs. The RSM should maintain its organizational independence, rather than acting simply as an appendage directly under the organizational control of the PCR-RCP. We are sad to see the MER Montreal reject the mass line, and adopt as their practice a caricature of vanguard-style organizing which substitutes political leadership for bureaucratic leadership.

MER Montreal has levelled three main criticisms of the Sixth RSM Congress. Before engaging with these criticisms, we want to highlight that the MER did not attend the Congress, and so makes many of these criticisms from a position of relative ignorance. While we should have been more pro-active about posting the full text of the adopted motions on the RSM web site, MER Montreal would have found the answers to many of their questions in the “Reportback” which was posted shortly after the Congress ended. With that in mind, the MER Montreal criticizes: the apparently “pointless” focus on General Assemblies, renaming IWWD to “Gender Oppressed Workers Day”, and the size of the Congress.

We find it strange that the MER Montreal would take issue with the General Assembly campaign, considering that it was first suggested by a comrade from Montreal at the first RSM Congress in 2012. However, we think that the criticism of GAs being apparently “pointless” is a criticism made in bad faith. The RSM has always put forward the notion that GAs are not an end in-and-of themselves, but rather serve as a forum in which class struggle is possible. Thus, as a means of furthering class struggle on campuses, we have attempted to create GAs where they do not exist. In turn, the GAs are to build towards student strikes, which by raising the level of militancy and struggle across Canada, will help create a generation of militants and the conditions for revolution. Furthermore, in contexts where GAs already existed (such as in Quebec!), comrades were not required to engage in this type of practice. We have always been clear about this general strategic conception in the motions presented to RSM Congresses, as well as in our documents. Indeed, had the MER Montreal read the “Reportback” issued after the Sixth RSM Congress, they would have found this same conception repeated there. While the MER Montreal may disagree with this strategic orientation (though we should note, never openly within the RSM), it is dishonest to say that the point of the GA campaigns is unclear.

MER Montreal criticized the RSM for calling for a “Gender Oppressed Workers’ Day” on March 8th, rather than the traditional “International Working Women’s Day.” We disagree that this constitutes an abandonment of 100 years of struggle of working-class women for their emancipation. We do not feel as though the inclusion of trans women and non-binary proletarians undermines the struggle for gender equality, nor does it undermine the struggle for revolution. While we note that there was considerable debate on this motion at the Congress, we also note that by not attending, MER Montreal neglected to struggle with their comrades on an issue which was clearly controversial and important.

Finally, the MER Montreal attempts to justify their aloofness by pointing to the supposed decline in size of the broader RSM. While it is true that there were fewer attendees at the RSM Congress this year than in the past, that has nothing to do with the size of the broader RSM. Indeed, and MER Montreal was aware of this, it was because the RSM is now too large and wide-spread for it to be feasible to bring everyone together for every Congress. As such, we have for the last two Congresses, used a delegation system rather than having everyone attend. In fact, had MER Montreal attended the RSM Congress, they would have discovered that the RSM is larger than ever, even when members of MER Montreal are not included in the total.

The Coordinating Committee is disappointed that MER Montreal has announced their departure from the broader RSM. However, for all of the criticisms that MER Montreal makes, we want to note that not once were any of these criticisms brought up internal to the RSM, nor at RSM Congresses, to be discussed in an open and democratic manner. MER Montreal has abandoned their responsibility to struggle with their comrades. Where the broader RSM upholds the importance of political struggle, MER Montreal backs away from it. With this in mind, the Coordinating Committee sees the departure of MER Montreal as only a temporary setback for the RSM in a single city. We will resume activity in Montreal shortly, and will continue to contribute to the broader revolutionary movement across Canada and Quebec.

If anyone in Montreal is interested in helping to rebuild the RSM, we welcome you to get in touch with us.