First Written: late 1957 as a document of the Marxist-Leninist Caucus within the CPUSA
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Introduction to the 1959 Reprint: This document, “OUR REPLY TO THE CONCILIATORS OF REVISIONISM” first came out as a report given at a membership meeting of the Manhattan County of the Communist Party in February of 1958.
As can be deduced from its content, it came to grips with the unprincipled unity travesty perpetrated by the conciliatory line of the Foster-Dennis factions at the February, 1958 meeting of the National Committee, C.P.U.S.A.
This report marked the final break between the Caucus movement which waged an uncompromising fight within the Party for the purity of Marxist-Leninist principles and working class ideology on the one hand, and the revisionist and conciliating factions on the other.
The report attempted to expose the hypocrisy and political dishonesty of the Foster-Dennis factions and their slogans of “fight on two fronts ”,”let’s get to work”, “let all trends unite ”, etc. The report embodied the theoretical and political outlook for the consistent Left faction and the Caucus movement.
Herein we present it unedited and unabridged as representative of one of the stages of development in the struggle for a Marxist-Leninist vanguard type of working class Party.
The overriding fact and factor in our Party at the present moment is the open threat by the Revisionist faction to once and for all carry out the final liquidation of our Party. We say final liquidation because in point of fact the liquidators have already realized the main portion of their wrecking plan.
This decision by the Revisionists to strike the final blow NOW has been precipitated by the tremendous display of strength and unity of the camp of Socialism and the Communist Parties of the world.
The new plane of struggle of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples united with the lands of Socialism presages rough going ahead for the American imperialists and their assorted array of stooges and apologists.
The economic recession in our country together with the stepped-up attack of imperialist reaction against labor, the Negro people and national minorities (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Indian) are fast dispelling the illusion of exceptional American prosperity and “American democracy ” The Sputniks, the 40th Anniversary of the Socialist Revolution, the Cairo Conference, Little Rock, Maxton, N.C., are indeed the factors that impel and drive the Revisionists to immediate action.
Special note should be made in this connection with that historical document of the world working class, the 12-Party Declaration which has put the fear of hell in the heart of every Revisionist in our Party.
This declaration is the most powerful weapon which threatens to destroy every vestige of bourgeois, liberal and petty-bourgeois reformist theories and policies of our brand of revisionism.
The Revisionists in our Party constituting an absolute majority of the National Committee and in the leadership of some of the most important State and District organizations, like California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois and others see very clearly the writing on the wall and make haste to give the final touches to their “creative ” liquidation of our Party.
Where is the proof that the Revisionists have adopted such a policy of “finishing off the Party NOW?”
At the New York State Committee held on January 11th and 12th, Sid Stein, one of the top leaders of the Revisionist faction, spoke about the need to eliminate “every block and obstacle ” in the way of carrying out the “decisions of the Convention. ”
Which were those decisions according to Stein?
1. Policy of “independent action” meaning, of course, independence to support imperialism and freedom to attack the lands of Socialism, especially the Soviet Union.
2. Estimate of “left-sectarianism ” as the main danger – clutching to the weapon invented by Dennis and supported by the so-called left leadership.
3. The organization of a “broad Party of Socialism ” as one of the major tasks. In reality the narrow Party of Trotzkyism and Social-Democracy.
What organizational measures did he propose in order to carry out these decisions? Here is the program he (Stein) outlined concretely at the last National Executive Committee meeting:
A. That the next meeting of the N.C. order the immediate removal of the National Center to Chicago - away from the faction-ridden atmosphere of New York.
B. That the N.C. dissolve the present N.E.C. and N.A.C. and elect a new leadership based primarily on comrades who in the opinion of the N.C will carry through the decisions of the l6th National Convention.
C. That none of the present members of the N.A.C. nor of the previous Secretariat shall be included amongst the full-time functionaries in the new national center.
In case some demagogue should argue that Stein was talking for himself, let us remind such people that he (Stein) made clear that there were ACTUALLY HUNDREDS in the Party leadership who held the same opinions. Surely, no one who has read the Infamous Northern California District Resolution will fail to note the similarity of Stein’s remarks and the basic content of the Northern California Resolution.
We quote from the Northern California document:
“We are deeply disturbed at a current in the National Committee which has been trying to twist the meaning of the National Convention Resolution into its opposite; which sees, instead of left-sectarianism and dogmatism which brought us to this crisis, that revisionism is the main danger; which looks upon every attempt to discuss something new as a departure from Marxism-Leninism, and which hails every erroneous estimate of our Convention by Communists abroad as gospel, This has paralyzed our Party into inaction, and this paralysis is itself liquidating the Party before our very eyes.
“We will support wholeheartedly every effort of the National Committee to carry out this line of the National Convention and implement its decisions, and override all obstructions and diversions from this main task.... ”
So as not to leave any doubt in regard to the Revisionists’ plan for immediate wrecking and the concerted action by all Revisionist forces, we quote now from the Southern California District document, signed by the leading revisionists there and sponsored by the Southern California District Committee:
”Having thus reached the crossroads, we further declare that we will continue to try to exhaust all possibilities within the Party, recognizing at the same time that we can no longer have any illusions. Possibilities for change appear to grow less and less with each passing day.
”At this late hour, only a number of sharp and serious steps by the National Committee would be convincing evidence of a decisive change. Among such steps would be included:
a. A forthright repudiation of the characterization of our Convention as revisionist by foreign parties.
b. An equally forthright rejection of the proposition that the cause of the present Party crisis is revisionism.
c. Public reaffirmation of the policy of “fighting side by side with all who struggle for socialism and seeking to cooperate with all socialist-minded Americans to achieve Socialism ” (Preamble to Party Constitution) ‒and working to implement that policy at every point as a major Party task.
d.An open letter to the comrades who have left our Party which would be frankly self-critical of our slowness in carrying out the convention decisions. Such a letter should express the hope that these people will in their own way attempt to overcome the fragmentation of experienced Marxist cadre which has already taken place, and convey the willingness of the Party to assist in this wherever it is acceptable and in whatever form is possible (i.e. study groups, forums, clubs, and/or any other avenue in which people can continue to study and work together with or without the participation of present Party members.
e. A frank statement that a regrouping is necessary, inclusive of those who have left as well as those who remain in the Party, legalizing discussion along these lines, and expressing the need for finding ways of carrying it out in the near future – coupled with the taking of actual steps to do so.
f. Taking a number of immediate organizational measures that will help move the Party in the above direction including:
– shifting of staff personnel to eliminate obstructionists to such changes.
– making the present structure of the Party more flexible so that membership in the present type of Party club is not necessarily a requirement for adherence to the organization.
– steps to bring into line any Party organization that defies the line of the National Convention.”
Only naive people or deliberate conciliators will fail to point to the grave danger which confronts our Party at the present moment. And this danger does not come from some abstract ideology in our Party, namely revisionism, but from the concrete expression of the existence of that ideology, which is represented by the Right opportunist, revisionist faction within our Party, working hand in glove with the Trotzkyites, Social-Democrats as well as with organized groups of Right-wing renegades outside of the Party.
Did you comrades ever hear of the Men’s and Women’s Clubs in Brooklyn composed of ex-Rightwingers and actually led by revisionists within the Party?
Didn’t you know that something similar is being organized in the Bronx?
It is within the context of this concrete threat to the existence of our Party that we would like to discuss the report of Will Weinstone.
First, in regards to his characterization of our grouping as the “ultra-left ”.
If we are the “ultra ”, who then represented the authentic, the genuine 100 per centers? You guessed it – Will and Company.
Subjective characterizations come easy and cheap. In this case all Will and Company had to do was to use some “political geometry ”. They chose a position which included policies of compromise, “deals ”, and horse-trading with the revisionists, and this went under the heading of “tactics in the struggle for the Party”, even when it helped to obliterate the most basic Party principles. This position, objectively conciliationist, by the act of self-nomination, was labeled as “the left. ”
Anybody in the left who insisted on a policy of “no compromise on principle” with the revisionists bee me ipso facto an “ultra left”. Very clever, these 100 per centers.
What is the main character of this “ultra left” according to Weinstone and Company? It’s sectarian, factional and anarchistic, say Will and Company.
How is it proven?
1. Refused to support the Daily Worker.
2. Boycotted Party activities.
3. Is intemperate, instead of “serene ”.
4. Publishes “unauthorized, factional” literature, etc.
Let’s take up some of these charges, not in order to clear ourselves, since there is nothing that we have to apologize for, but in order to make our position as clear as we can make it.
First: Non-support of the Daily Worker – According to Will, Evie and others in his group of leaders – non-support of the Daily Worker is a crime against the working class and the Party.
At a rump conference from which the rank-and-file was excluded and to which we were not invited (we had to crash the gate), there were only two dissenters on the policy of support to the Daily Worker and Sunday Worker, Comrades Torres and Roman. These two comrades explained why they did not support the Daily Worker.
It must he a great hidden power that these two comrades have – to be able to kill the Daily Worker and threaten the Sunday Worker with their ideas of non-support.
Let’s not be foolish besides being dishonest. Was it just these two comrades who refused to support the Daily Worker, or was it the overwhelming majority of the Party membership and sympathizers as stated by most of the speakers? (See: Special Notes, next page)
If the criterion of “no-good Communist” is applied to those who refused to support the Daily Worker, then, and logically so, the criterion of “good Communist” must apply to all those who supported it. In that case, John Gates, Abe Magil, Sid Stein and ALL the revisionists are among the best of us.
And why did Gates, Stein and Company support the Daily Worker? Certainly not for its Marxist-Leninist content, but rather for its filthy revisionist line.
Comrade Foster made the following tragically belated characterization of the Daily Worker speaking about the policies of the revisionists, he stated:
“Its main strength is that it controls and uses the Daily Worker as its special mouth-piece.”
If that was true, and it was obviously so for nearly two years, then the proper, the political, the honest thing to do by Marxist-Leninists would have been to condemn and combat it. That is precisely what the rank-and-file, including us, did.
All talk about the importance of “saving the Charter” which appeared when the membership began to make its opinions felt was nothing short of demagogic, arguments to hoodwink and cajole the membership into continuing its support.
In one of his infamous articles in the New York Post, the renegade John Gates says:
“It is an open secret in the Party that many thousands of dollars that could have sustained the Daily Worker were withheld from it by sympathizers with the Foster group.
“I charge that the Daily Worker did not die a natural death. It was murdered.”
We say: Renegade Gates lies when he accuses the Brooklyn comrades of killing the Daily Worker.
So do those who say we helped kill it by our policy of non-support.
The Daily Worker was murdered, that’s true. But how and by whom?
The Daily Worker died a long time ago from an overdose of revisionist poison administered by the Gates-Charney-Fine-Lightfoot-Healy crowd.
* * * *
It wasn’t these two comrades who killed the Daily Worker. It was the line of the Daily Worker which killed it dead a long time before.
Did Lenin continue to support the New Iskra after the Mensheviks grabbed its control? He did not – he fought its editors and its Menshevik policies. What else could a consistent Marxist do?
As to the Sunday Worker – there is a weekly “Marxist” newspaper on the West Coast – “The Peoples World.” It is controlled by the revisionist faction. Its content reflects the revisionist line. If we were asked to support that periodical we would categorically say NO, and our likes and dislikes are not based on geographical but on ideological and political considerations.
Our position on the Sunday Worker will be determined by its content and its line, and not by fear of tags, labels or phony charges of non-adherence to any given line of those which exist in the Party at present.
We note in Weinstone’s report a revival of the old “unity” slogan of “let’s go to work and stop our bickering.”
In the old period right after the Convention, this slogan was raised in a more or less abstract form. Nowadays, this generality is projected in a more subtle, ear-catching, more concrete sounding appearance.
We are called to get to work in “defense of the Party”, in “support of our press”, “registration”, etc.
Ask any revisionist leader, “Where do you stand on these questions?” They will answer – “We stand four-square on the defense of the Party. We are for the “Peoples World” – as for the Sunday Worker, it depends on what kind of deals we make about its line. In regard to registration...we are for registering everybody inside, outside and on the other side of the Party.”
One thing you have to admit about the Revisionist faction, and it is that, like the bourgeoisie whom they represent ideologically within our Party, they are quick to find out on which side their bread is buttered – unfortunately, much more so than, some supposedly pro-Party forces.
The Revisionist faction is all for activity – provided it does not interfere with their revisionist line, and they mince no words about it either. Here is the way they put it and we quote from the No. California District Resolution:
“...we cannot get down to work except on the basis of the Convention decisions for on every phase of mass work the line of the Convention will have to be defended and fought for, against open or subtle opposition and distortions.”
This calls to our mind a reference by Lenin on the question of Party activities. Here’s the quote:
“Now, in what way is it possible to overcome deviations by broadening and deepening Social-Democratic work? Any broadening and deepening of our work inevitably gives rise to the question of how it should be broadened and deepened; If liquidationism and otzovism are not accidents, but currents generated by specific social conditions, then they can penetrate into any methods for the broadening and deepening of the work. It is possible to broaden and deepen the work in the spirit of liquidationism.... ”
So everything that glitters is not gold. Activity in general, given the present situation in the Party does, not prove that it is revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist activity.
Recently, George Charney suggested that in next year’s election (1958), the Communist Party join with “all Socialist groups, including the Trotzkyites, to select one candidate of ’Socialism. ’”
We served notice in advance that we would not participate in that kind of “activity” no matter how many factions were, for it. No matter how legal anybody tried to make it.
No subjective attitude, no wishful thinking or abstract moralizing against the ’evils’ of factionalism can obscure the fact that factions exist in our Party, despite the hypocritical denial by leaders of those factions. The sooner the rank-and-file realize this fact, and the sooner they become aware of the nature of these factions and the reason for their existence, the sooner the conditions for their elimination will be created.
Speaking about the problems of factions in the Russian Party in 1910, Lenin, referring to a group of conciliators, said:
“Every faction is convinced that its platform and policy are the best means of abolishing factions, for no one regards the existence of factions as ideal. The only difference is that factions with clear, consistent platforms openly defend their platform, while unprincipled factions hide behind cheap shouts about their virtue, about their non-factionalism.” (Underline ours) (Vol.IV, SELECTED WORKS)
And did Lenin ever deny the fact that from 1910-1912 the Bolsheviks constituted a Party faction? On the contrary, while admitting the fact, he explained the reasons. Here is what he said:
“.... the facts are explicit and unambiguous; immediately after the plenum, in February, 1910, Mr. Petresov unfurled the banner of liquidationisrm. Soon after, in February or March, Messrs. Mikhail, Roman and Yury betrayed the Party. Immediately after that, the Golos-ites started a campaign for Golos (see Plekhanov’s Dnevnik the day following the Plenum) and resumed the publication of Golos. Immediately after that, the Vperyod-ists began to build up their own ’school’... On the other hand, the first factional step the Bolsheviks took was to found Rabochaya Gazeta in September 1910.” (Underline ours.) (VOL.IV, SELECTED WORKS.)
But Lenin did not just participate in factional struggle and forget to fight for the elimination of factions in the Russian Party. He pointed out the way, the only way possible for really eliminating factions in the Party. To the question, “How should factions be eliminated?” he answers:
“What real guarantee is there that factions will be abolished? Only the complete healing of the split which dates from the time of the revolution (and only the purging of the two main factions of liquidationism and Ozovism) will lead to this (to) the creation of a proletarian organization strong enough to force the minority to submit to the majority.” (Underline ours) (VOL. IV, SELECTED WORKS)
Here Lenin posed the need to struggle on two fronts against the Right and Left deviation. But he was quick to distinguish between a principled fight against both Party deviations and the position of the opportunist centrist who moves to the Right and to the Left according to given situations, and then “cackles” about his “objective” and “principled” position. Here is how Lenin characterized Trotzky’s “centrists ”, that is, conciliationist, position:
“’What a delight I – wrote Trotzky – neither Bolshevik, nor Menshevik, but revolutionary Social-Democrat! ’ The poor hero of the phrase failed to notice one trifle; only that the Social-Democrat is revolutionary who understands the harmfulness of anti-revolutionary, pseudo-Social-Democratism in a given country at a given time....”(VOL.IV ,SELECTED WORKS)
The Right revisionist faction insists that they are fighting against Left-Sectarianism and dogmatism and that they have “the line.” Therefore, they proclaim themselves as the “militant guardians” of the l6th Convention policies and decisions. They give their own “interpretation” of the Convention policies and demand that everyone must carry out these decisions or else.
On the other hand, Weinstone ’s grouping says that they are fighting against both revisionism and left-sectarianism, and that it is they and no one else who are the real keepers of the Convention policies and decisions.
One must be blind not to be able to see that these are two “lines” projected here.
As far as we know Communist Parties throughout the world have one line and not two or three. Only in a Party where enemy class ideology has fragmentized its organization into different factions representing the opposite class ideologies is such a thing possible. Up until the present there have been four factions in the Party.
The end of factionalism in the Party can come about only if the Revisionist faction is eliminated from the Party. Abolition of the Revisionist faction is the pre-condition for Party rehabilitation. So long as that faction continues to poison ideologically, and paralyse organizationally, our Party will remain prostrate.
Ousting of the Revisionists from our Party is demanded by social and historical necessity.
We don’t believe any other group represents a permanent danger in our Party. As a matter of fact, we believe that once the Revisionist faction is out, the unity, growth and development of our Party will be a matter of a short period of time.
If, however, the Weinstone faction feels that we constitute a danger from the ’left,’ as well as agreeing that there is the danger of the Revisionist faction from the right, then the politically honest thing to do is to include in their faction’s program a call for the ousting of both.
One thing must be clear, our Party cannot much longer survive this present condition of political paralysis. Our Party is being choked to death! Living experience has shown that conciliationism is not the answer to the serious ailment of our Party. Conciliationism has been tried for nearly two years and the situation has worsened steadily. The truth is that conciliationism has only helped to aggravate the situation.
Conciliationism made possible the adoption of a ’line’ at the l6th Convention which is really made to order for the Revisionist faction.
The ideological ecclecticism and political hodge-podge, the deliberate mixture of liberalism, reformism and Marxism-Leninism could not and did not serve as the basis for the single line a real Communist Party is supposed to have. The most basic of Marxist-Leninist principles were castrated or fatally diluted.
Just read the proceedings of the Convention with an objective eye and decide for yourself if this is not true. No wonder the Revisionists insist on absolute adherence to the decisions of the l6th Convention.
Let’s present some examples of the record of the Proceedings dealing with Party fundamentals and important issues:
ON THE ROLE OF THE SOVIET UNION – Under the general title of “Independent Party of the Working Class,” we find the following:
“Its primary concern is for the present and future welfare of the American people. Its only allegiance is to the working class and people of our country. (Pages 319-320)
“The attitude of the Communist Party to these countries reflects its devotion to the great principle of working-class internationalism, which has deep roots in our country’s history. The tradition of international solidarity is a proud one. The Communist Party continues it and considers it a badge of honor.
“At the same time, the Communist Party recognizes that over the years it held certain wrong and over-simplified concepts of what its relations should be to other Marxist parties. The Party tended to accept uncritically many views of Marxists of other countries. Not all these views were correct; some did not correspond to American conditions.
“The Party also, viewed uncritically developments in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. It mistakenly thought that any public criticism of the views or policies of the Marxist parties of these countries would weaken the bonds of international working-class solidarity or bring comfort to the enemies of peace and socialism. ” (Page 320)
“Serious mistakes and shortcomings in the relations between the USSR and other socialist states – as in the examples of Poland and Hungary – have been revealed. ” (Page 321)
Indeed our official position on the Socialist world, including the Soviet Union, is expressed by two very short paragraphs on an ambiguous proletarian internationalism and a page and one-half of very subtle but very destructive criticism.
ON THE HUNGARIAN QUESTION – On this important question on which all Communist Parties have taken a forthright position, the CPUSA states the following:
“And while the imperialists intervened in the Hungarian tragedy, they did not dare to make it the occasion for open large-scale military intervention.” (Page 263)
“The Delegate: On procedure: What guarantee have we, in terms of scheduling – this is perhaps for the Presiding Committee – that it will be possible to discuss this fundamental event of recent months, that places the entire position of our Party in question, at this convention before the body?
“Chairman: It would seem to me that every question before the convention runs into the same difficulty. We are trying to do the best we can with all of them.” (Page 101)
“A Delegate: Comrades, I was a member of the Committee which brought in this report. We were informed by Sid Stein that the officers of Number Six Committee were of the unanimous opinion that to pose the question of Hungary before this Convention would be a provocation. (Page 102)
AND THAT IS ALL!!!
ON A MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY ORGANIZATION:
“We have tended to take over mechanically forms of organization and practices from abroad, rather than assimilate critically the experiences of brother parties, utilizing what is valid and applicable to our situations and problems. All this has helped bureaucracy to flourish at the expense of inner-party democracy.
“It is these concepts and practices which we seek to modify in order to establish a foundation for vast expansion of inner-party democracy. We therefore propose that our Constitution shall seek to guarantee that the will of the majority of our membership determines all policy decisions and the election of committees. At the same time provisions should be made for the right to dissent after decisions, while guaranteeing our ability to act in a united way, guarding against factionalism, federationism and parallel centers of leadership.”(Page 324)
And there goes your democratic centralism and every other, organizational principle.
ON THE AMERICAN ROAD TO SOCIALISM:
“The history of our country, the struggles of our people to fulfill the Bill of Rights, their attachment to the Constitution all point to the further conclusion that socialism in the U.S. will provide full civil liberties to all, including the right to dissent, and, as long as the people so desire, a multi-party system. This is not an academic question for our Party. This stand by our Party on civil liberties under socialism is of value in clarifying our perspective of socialism and also assists in strengthening the unity of the democratic forces of bur land for common action today.
“Socialism in America will be the realization of the dream of economic independence and political freedom, of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” under the conditions of today, in the age of atomic energy and automation. It will carry forward the best traditions of Jefferson, Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and of the great American pioneer labor and socialist leaders, William Sylvis and Gene Debs.” (Pages 305-306)
Someone must have gotten his road maps mixed up. This is not the road to Socialism. This is the road to Shangri-la.
ON THE ROLE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:
“Among those who are seeking a political realignment, some see the possibility of transforming the Democratic Party into such an anti-monopoly coalition party. They believe it possible to oust the Dixiecrats, break down the influence of Big Business, win over liberal Republicans and establish a coalition leadership of labor, farmers, Negro people and small business.
”It is wrong to assume that the only possible form of political realignment is a labor-farmer party. This rigid assumption can only serve to hamper the actual development of labor ’s independent political action. At the present moment the task of the progressives is not to prejudge the form of the eventual political realignment. The expansion of labor’s independent political role and all serious efforts to transform the Democratic Party by ousting the Dixiecrats and undermining the influence of Big Business, help create the pre-conditions for a new political alignment under labor ’s leadership, whatever its form. At the same time, the widest and most extensive education for the formation of a new party led by labor facilitates labor ’s current struggle to influence the situation within the Democratic Party. For it demonstrates that labor is not forever committed to the Democratic Party and will eventually, in one way or another, build a new political home for itself and its allies. “ (Page 270)
After reading this one gets the impression that we are in the wrong party. The Democratic Party appears to be the revolutionary vanguard.
ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION (The Negro Question):
“What we are trying to say is – examine this question, everywhere in your community, make this the major campaign in the spirit of the NAACP, in the long-range way – ’Free by ’63’ – not a campaign that starts today to finish tomorrow, but a long-range one.” (Page 249 – Steve Nelson reporting for Plan of Work Comm.)
“Similarly, because of its experience and discipline in the struggles of the American labor movement, the working-class component of the Negro freedom movement will of necessity leave its imprint of militancy and united mass action on that movement. It may be expected increasingly to influence program and tactics of the Negro liberation movement, and more and more to contribute outstanding personalities to its leadership. Our Party must base itself on this working-class strata of the Negro people.” (Main Resolution – Page 302)
Contrast the above with the opinions of a spokesman for the consistent left:
“The tremendous proletarianization of Negroes in the deep South has only sharpened the fundamental contradictions involved in the Negro question. These changes only emphasize the special, national character of the Negro question.
“Wilkerson and the Right do not see the inevitable next step in the face of shattered Illusions concerning the role of the Supreme Court and the Federal government. That is, the perspective of a developing national revolutionary Negro movement in the deep South, the eventual aim of which will be some form of autonomy or sufficient political power – in the hands of the suppressed to guarantee their rights… This in no way is in contradiction to the slogan of democratic integration. Thus the Negro people ’s movement becomes an especially significant part of the international anti-colonialist upsurge – a national revolutionary movement in the heartland of U.S. imperialism, the bulwark of world reaction.(Harry Haywood, Pages 107-108).
ON LATIN AMERICA – (MAIN STAMPING GROUND FOR AMERICAN IMPERIALISM):
“...a resolution on Latin America, Puerto Rico, and other important subjects, will be referred to the incoming National Committee for disposition. I so move.” (Sid Stein’s Report, Page 248)
“They also brought about the scuttling of FDR’s ’good neighbor’ policy in Latin America, which, despite serious limitations, had curbed aggressive intervention and developed better relations with the peoples of that area. ” (Main Resolution, Page 26l)
Let’s contrast the above with what another spokesman of the consistent left had to say:
“I believe it is not enough to say that for lack of time, and maybe in some other resolution, we don’t deal enough with the question of Latin America. That is our job – that is one of our number one jobs – the exposure of and the struggle against American imperialism and the subjugation, economic and political of Latin America. I think we must reject the line projected only last January by Norman Thomas when he said that, the Latin-American dictators, such as Batista and others, are trying to fool the democratic United States, and further, when he said, Latin American is full of pseudo-democrats, who trample on the rights of man in the same way that the Soviet, dictatorship does. I think that this only conceals the main enemy – American imperialism, and makes an excuse for an attack against the best fighters of the Latin American people.” (Al Lannon, Page 98)
On the Latin American question one thing must be added. That is the shameful, deliberate and dishonest deletions from the record of the Proceedings of the speeches made at the Convention on the Puerto Rican Question.
First of all, Charney’s speech was doctored and his chauvinistic remarks were deleted. Secondly, where are the speeches of the following comrades dealing with the Puerto Rican Question: Olga, Victor, Foster, Charlie Loman – and the filthy and chauvinistic speech of George Morris? What happened to those speeches? They were deleted in order to hide the evidence just like criminals do.
At the end of the Convention the leaders of the three main factions hailed the Convention as a great success.
“Now, comrades, the process of this convention, it seems to me, has not reversed what has been taking place through all these months of discussion in solving these various problems, but has continued this process, and brought us to a climax in the general line and the various documents that have been produced by the convention. And I must say that I have voted for every one of these documents, that I have been present when they were adopted, and so far as I know, there were no others that I would vote against.” (Foster, Page 236)
“This program, in my opinion, is genuinely a historic one, and one which has had and is having and will have an enormous impact on our country.” (Gates, Page 235)
None of these optimistic expectations of the great success and result of the Convention have panned out. The contrary is the truth. Life has a way of dissolving dreams.
Someone might raise the question that at the Convention some Marxist-Leninist parts were included in the Resolutions. That is true, but the fact still remains that such parts represent something like new patches in an old rotten pair of pants. That’s why there is such a strong feeling among the rank and file of ideological and political nakedness.
You can’t mix health-giving food and poison and expect to get anything but poisoned food. As a matter of fact, whatever Marxist-Leninist components there are in the Convention resolutions, actually help to make the revisionist poison more palatable and therefore more dangerous and deadly.
If, as it is clearly the case, no one can claim to have “the Party line,” then what is really that “line” that the Revisionists insist is the one, the only Party line? That so-called line represents their own factional program and nothing else. The same thing goes for Weinstone’s faction, as well as for that of Gene Dennis.
We make no pretense of having any Party line. The only thing we have is a platform based on Marxist-Leninist principles. The Party line will be forthcoming when there is a united Party, based on the ideology of the working class, the science of Marxism-Leninism.
This is the reason why we advance the opinion that the 12-Party Statement should be the basis for the unity of the pro-Party, Marxist-Leninist forces. Here we have a document representing the political and theoretical thinking of all Communist Parties of the world, except Tito’s and ours. This historical document establishes the fundamental theoretical basis for Communist Parties everywhere.
For the period of transition which our Party will inevitably go through in the struggle for a real, uncompromising Marxist-Leninist base, there is nothing that could assist and guide us in that quest than this powerful, thoroughly Marxist-Leninist document of the 12-Party Declaration.
The Revisionists are repelled by the 12-Party Declaration. They know that it acts as a dreadful dissolvent to their class collaborationist theories and policies.
While the so-called Convention decisions, because of their political and ideological compromising nature offers all things to all men, the 12-Party Declaration immediately and clearly separates the chaff from the wheat ideologically and politically speaking.
We are also of the opinion that the l6th Convention ’s policies have been tested in life for an entire year and have proven to be thorough failures. This outcome was inevitable given the unprincipled compromise worked out between the conciliationist faction of Weinstone, Davis and Dennis-Stachel with the Gates-Chamey-Healy-Fine-Stein revisionist faction.
The role of conciliationism as the hand-maiden of Right opportunist-revisionism was thoroughly exposed long ago by Lenin. Here’s what Lenin had to say about this phenomena:
“....the very foundation of conciliationism is false – the tendency to base the unity of the party of the proletariat on an alliance of all factions, including the anti-Social-Democratic, non-proletarian faction; false are its phrases against ’factions’ (when in fact a new faction is formed) – phrases that are powerless to dissolve anti-Party factions....”
“....By kissing Rabochaya Zhizn which waged no fight against the non-revolutionary Social-Democrats in Russia, Trotzky merely revealed the plan of the liquidators, whom he faithfully serves, viz., equality on the central organ means the termination of the struggle against the liquidators; the liquidators, in fact, enjoy full freedom to fight the Party; as for the Party – let it be tied hand and foot by the ’equality’ of the Golosites and the Party men in the central organ (and in the Central Committee). The victory of the liquidators would then be fully secured, and only the lackey of the liquidators could carry out or defend such a plan”. VOL. IV, SELECTED WORKS)
Let the Revisionists and the conciliators rant about the evils of quoting from the book. Lenin is useless to both Revisionists and conciliators, but for those who really want to build a real Marxist-Leninist Party in the United States, Lenin still remains the great guide and teacher that he was.
From the reading of his articles on these questions the clearest and most profound understanding emerges.
Does not the compromise on principle at the Convention reveal the source of the Party’s paralysis? Is it true or not that this compromise “on line” was the result of the so-called unity scheme between the Revisionists and conciliating factions? And who will ever forget the “unity” slates which were in fact the logical follow-Up to the basic political and ideological horsetrading?
Only one sector of the Party can be depended upon to work for its salvation – the rank-and-file.
For these reasons we advance the opinion that a Special Convention should be called to reconstitute the Party in the proper Marxist-Leninist basis. That Convention should be based on the following premise:
1. A thorough critical and self-critical exposition of the real problems involved in the stagnation and paralysis of the Party.
2. Absolute guarantees that the rank-and-file participates in the Pre-Convention discussion, with the lowering of the barriers which kept them out of participating during the last Convention ’s Pre-Discussion period.
3. Guarantees for the attendance of the rank-and-file to all Conventions – National, State, County, Section, etc.
The conciliationists are attempting to use John Gates’ exit as an excuse and smokescreen for another round of conciliationism. While every rank-and-file member expresses his gladness and satisfaction at seeing the most representative of American revisionists leave the Party; while riddance of John Gated in any. way represents a great defeat for revisionism, nevertheless, the Party members should he wary of any attempt by the conciliators to conceal the great danger which is represented to the Party in the continued existence of the powerful revisionist faction. They should not allow anyone to sell them the phony deal that now that Gates is gone, “we” can unite, kiss and makeup and be eternally happy.
Despite all the big talk about fighting revisionism, in practice, the conciliators are shielding the revisionist faction.
* * * *
The Puerto Rican and Spanish speaking Comrades, especially those in Lower Harlem and the Waterfront Sections, are being subjected to a widespread barrage of vilification and slander. This is nothing new to us – for years we have experienced the impact of the reflections within the Party of the same general experience of all Puerto Ricans outside the Party.
By a curious coincidence, we Puerto Rican Comrades are being told in effect what a certain imperialist Gauleiter told all Puerto Ricans in New York several years ago - ”It ’s unfortunate enough to be a Puerto Rican, considering the existing bias and pressures of the mores, but when you follow Vito Marcantonio you only compound your miseries.”
Our present “miseries” in the Party are also compounded by the fact that besides being Puerto Rican we are, almost all of us, in the consistent left. Why didn’t we have enough sense to be respectable Communists and be in the middle somewhere with Weinstone”s group or with Dennis’ group? Or at least with Gates, Stein and Charney, like a certain “respectable ” compatriot of ours.
This is not the occasion to speak of Uncle Toms in our midst except to state that the revisionists are more than welcome to have the only Puerto Rican “Tom” in existence. We Puerto Ricans certainly want no part of him.
Getting back to the problem at hand. The reason we act the way we do is the result of deeply ingrained anarchism, says the widespread slander. We Puerto Ricans, together with the other Latin Americans, cannot help ourselves. Anarchism comes natural to us because we come from backward areas and this, together with the anarchist influence emanating from Spain, makes it impossible for us to act like disciplined Communists.
All we can say about this convenient rationale for chauvinism and conciliationism, is that it should be added to the great arsenal of bourgeois ideas relating to the concept of the inferiority of the oppressed peoples, and to be considered as another contribution by “creative Marxists” to the general ideology of American imperialism.
The rumors that the Lower Harlem Section is in a state of absolute paralysis is nothing more than an attempt to – l) slander the Puerto Rican Comrades and – 2) to hide the inactivity of the slanderers.
We are more active and in a more basic way, than all the slanderers as we shall prove.
But before we get to the living facts of our activity, let us show first who is indeed inactive.
In Gene Dennis’ latest masterpiece Of the art of doubletalk published in the January issue of PARTY AFFAIRS, we read:
“In the period under review the national leadership of our party has been extremely slow in unfolding and carrying out the decisions of our convention. In fact, because of a disruptive, factional situation and because of the sharp political and ideological differences dividing it, the national leadership has reached a virtual impasse in its functioning, bordering upon paralysis. As a result, the national center has often been stymied in reacting in time to events and has not been able to give effective leadership to the work of the party as a whole.”
The paralysis which has beset the Party in general, due precisely to its pseudo-Marxist line, is well known to everyone, but the Lower Harlem Section is singled out and pointed to as an example of stagnation and inactivity.
Let’s see who does what....During the climactic period of the Little Rock incidents the Lower Harlem section reacted in the manner which corresponded to the importance of the Negro Question. We published and distributed widely in our area two leaflets, one in Spanish and the other in English. We sent Comrade B.V. to speak at a Harlem open air meeting on the same question. We held an open air meeting in the name of the Party. The response of the Puerto Rican community to this meeting was excellent.
At a State Board meeting, Comrade Patterson made a proposal to send a document of protest to the United Nations and parallel with this to develop activities around it.
Max Weiss, Charney and other revisionists opposed the motion on the phony grounds that the Party could not guarantee the necessary broadness that it merited. Weinstone, Evie and their colleagues joined the Rightwingers in forcing the pigeonholing of the motion. We, Comrade Torres and myself, fought for it and supported it all the way.
This was the same proposal that was later approved at a general membership meeting. That was the meeting where Blake Charney made the statement that the situation around Little Rock was ’so fluid ’ that the State Committee could not put out a leaflet.
What happened to that motion, approved by the overwhelming majority of the members present?
I’m sure Evie could tell us about the areas in New York County which didn’t lift a finger on the Little Rock issue.
We are participating in a movement which involves Puerto Rican masses in motion. When we say “in motion” we don’t mean Mardi Gras parades, but real struggles.
Some of the Puerto Rican Comrades who are involved in this movement will speak concretely about it. For us in Lower Harlem, as for all workers and oppressed people, Party activities have only one mean – STRUGGLE.
Right now there are seven Puerto Rican families waiting, eviction from two city projects, all of them in New York County, both projects outside the Lower Harlem area.
All of these families have been tagged with the stigma of “delinquent families” because, say the authorities, they have delinquent children. One particular family “V” has two boys in the army, ages 19 and 20. The father, the mother and another son will be evicted. What is more, these families find it extremely hard to find a new residence. As soon as the landlord finds that they are “delinquent” he refuses to rent them the apartment.
We are involved in this struggle and to the best of our ability are trying to mobilize support for these families.
When the Venezuelan revolt took place, our Section met, discussed the situation and reacted to it. We planned a series of activities (limited as they are) oriented to help the struggle of the oppressed Venezuelan people.
We put out a leaflet which included:
1. Exposure of American imperialism’s exploitation of the Venezuelan people.
2. Exposure of the nature of the criminal connivance between the Perez Jimenez regime and Yankee imperialism.
3. Exposure of the role of the local Spanish language press in regards to both Perez Jimenez and American imperialism.
4. Established the relationship between the struggles of the Venezuelan people and all Latin American peoples, including the Puerto Ricans.
5. Called for demands for freedom for all political prisoners and especially Farias and other working class political prisoners.
We have had a class on Marxism-Leninism and intend to start another in the near future.
I’m sure that after the Puerto Rican Comrades spell out their activities in the Puerto Rican movement, it will be realized that it is someone else that is paralyzed and inactive – it certainly isn’t the Puerto Rican Comrades...it certainly is not the Lower Harlem Section.
Now, how about the charge that we do not participate in County activities and especially in the County leadership? We are charged with violating democratic centralism.
Let’s set the facts straight and clear. For anyone who cares to observe closely, it was evident that as the Conventions moved down from the National to the State, County, Section, etc., the political and ideological atmosphere became clearer and sounder.
Why was that so? Because the rank-and-file of the Party in New York is essentially Marxist-Leninist, that is, of a left orientation. They wanted to see the Revisionists defeated and eliminated and did not care for the “left,” “ultra-left” baloney. As a result the Brooklyn and New York Conventions refused to accept the “package deals” and unprincipled unity of such phony proposals.
You Comrades who were present at the County Convention (reconvened phase) remember that George Watt made a speech for ”all trends ” to he represented in the County leadership. You will also recall that Evie Wiener followed Watt and joined him in the call for “unity.”
The Convention delegates disregarded both Watt and Evie and voted for a solid left ticket as they saw it. That was the will and mandate of the Convention.
But the question arises – why did Evie join Watt in the unity plea? Because Evie’s caucus was committed to this unity hoax with the Revisionist faction and they demanded full fulfillment.
The same shenanigans took place at the Brooklyn Convention – with the same results of the rank-and-file delegates refusing to go in for horse-trading.
A few days after the County Convention, Si Gerson sent his infamous Memorandum to the National and State Committees where he exposed the nature of the connivance between the Revisionists and their conciliators. Here are some excerpts from that document:
“1. There is now a deep-going split In the Brooklyn Party (and, from what I gather, in the Manhattan organization) which has adversely affected the entire party in the state to one degree or another. Many, many people have left the party.
“3. Responsibility for the split situation rests squarely on those who refused to fight for a united leadership and placed factional considerations before party unity. In the Brooklyn situation Charles and his friends refused even to vote for the agreement to which Charles was a party. He must take a share of responsibility, but the major share must be assigned to those older leading comrades who encouraged and sanctioned this type of activity. I have already personally advised Comrade Foster (May 6) that I hold him responsible for the encouragement of the rule-or-ruin policy demonstrated in Brooklyn by the temporary convention majority.
“4. The party cannot be consolidated on the basis of the results of the Brooklyn convention (or the Manhattan convention, as I gather from the reports). Failure to find new forms of unity will spell continued decline. What is needed, as a minimum, I feel, is the following:
“A. Swift intervention by national and state committees.”
It’s clear as daylight for anyone who cares to be objective.
The revisionists did not like what the rank-and-file had done in New York and Brooklyn Counties, and shamelessly called on the ”united leadership ” of Revisionists and Conciliators to reverse those decisions.
It will be recorded as a historical fact in the future that it was the rank-and-file, together with the consistent left, who saved the Party in New York by refusing to accept the “unity” deals and “joint slates.”
Another fact should be taken into consideration – this is the thinking and the attitude expressed by the Convention delegates on the Puerto Rican question. The following points were made by speaker after speaker on the Puerto Rican question:
1. The Puerto Rican Comrades have obviously been the victims of bureaucracy and chauvinism.
2. New York County has better than half of the total Puerto Rican population in the City. The Puerto Rican and Spanish speaking community in the County represents 22% of the total population.
3. For these reasons the top leadership of the County should he represented by Negro, white and Puerto Rican comrades.
That too, was an actual if not an official mandate. Of course, we are very much aware of the fact that we are living today in a period in our Party life where the parliamentarian has become a very important fixture.
With all of this as background the proposal by Evie’s group not to elect directly from the Convention any officers except the Chairman, becomes intelligible. This proposal was the convenient gimmick to permit the carrying out of two tasks by Evie’s group:
1) keep the Puerto Rican Comrades from any posts of influence, and,
2) allow for the accepting of revisionists to the County leadership and thereby fulfill their “commitments.”
Here are the facts which explain how this was done. At a meeting of the temporary staff Evie came in with a list of posts for the County Staff with everyone already assigned and ready for steamrolling. Olga to “Youth and Others” – Victor to “Puerto Rican Affairs” – Armando to “Education”(?), and just to mention one of Evie’s group – Ruth R. as “Organizational Secretary.” Now, Ruth R. got 43 votes which tied the lowest vote of those elected by the Convention. Armando got 74 votes – the highest of the full slate.
When the Puerto Rican Comrades protested, we were told that Armando’s tactics were no good.
If Armando was the problem, why wasn’t Victor or Olga proposed for the post of “Organizational Secretary”? Simply because they knew that there was no difference between Armando and the others. According to Evie’s group ’ none could be trusted.
How do you explain the fact that people who join the revisionists in joint slates, with the deadly, anti-working class, imperialist ideology which serves them as the content of their policies, at the same time refuse to accept the mandate of the rank-and-file of the Convention because of so-called differences in tactics. Our record shows that never, but never, have we made any deals voted for in any way or form or compromised with the Revisionists. The record shows that we fought them consistently right from the beginning.
Perhaps this is where the exception to our “tactics” originates.
As a matter of fact, sometime ago, before the National Convention, all the “left” was one happy factional caucus fighting against the Revisionists. So we thought. In those days, Evie, Weinstone, E. Cantor, Olga, Torres and Armando participated in one caucus. But soon enough we were jolted by the horse-trading proposals. So we split because of conciliationism and for no other reason.
From then on we were tagged as the ”ultraleft ” – ”leftist and factional ” – and as far as the Puerto Rican Comrades were concerned also ”anarchistic. ”
At the same meeting where the list for County posts was presented, it was also proposed that a Revisionist be co-opted to the staff as proof, as Evie put it, of our sincere desire for “unity.” We refused to go along with that, because the rank-and-file who really decided the policies, at the New York County Convention – had decided differently.
But some other things were taking place at the same time. For instance, after agreeing to publish all County Convention documents, Evie and colleagues refused to publish the Resolution on Jewish Work adopted by the County Convention. At first Evie stated that she had spoken to some “excellent” comrades in the County and they had said that the Resolution was bad.
Now, how many documents are published officially by the Party which stink to high heaven since the represent the line of the Revisionist faction and neither Evie nor anyone else has ever objected to these documents in that manner.
Was not the real reason the fact that this particular Resolution was “tainted” with the so-called ultra-left line? Could it be that the same people who sat down and decided where the Puerto Ricans fit also decided what is good and what is no good in a Resolution, even after its adoption?
Finally, after exhausting all arguments, the statement was made that ”anyway that Resolution was never acted upon. ”
Well, we don’t know how many Comrades will believe Olga, who was Chairman for that particular session when she says that every Resolution was followed by a motion to accept and that the Resolution on Jewish Work was officially adopted.
The more they stress the point about the Resolution not being acted upon the more are we convinced that what is involved here is not just a case of confusion or poor memory.
In essence the Puerto Rican Comrades were told – “Here’s what you rate as Puerto Ricans and ’ultra-leftists’ – take it or leave it.” WE LEFT IT.
At the State Board, a Comrade from Brooklyn raised the following question: “Why don’t the Puerto Rican Comrades get the floor when they ask for it?” Evie was the Chairman of that meeting.
It has been only because of the action of the Negro Comrades that we Puerto Rican Comrades have been able to express our point of view.
At the last State Committee meeting the leadership of Weinstone’s group opened up an attack against the Puerto Rican Comrades on the State Committee based on the question that they were ultra-left. We want to read to you the official minutes of that State Committee meeting dealing with this subject:
“Motion to endorse the main line of the report presented by Ben Davis (Ben). (Carried: 27-9; 2 abstentions; 14 with reservations on various questions concerning the section on the ’ultra-lefts.’”)
Seven of the fourteen who voted together for that report and at the same time protested were Negro Comrades.
... and this is logical. Comrade P. herself, at one Board meeting, blasted against the chauvinism rampant in the State Staff. Comrade Weinstone objected and said be disassociated himself from that statement. Comrade P. remarked: “If the shoe fits, wear it!”
It does fit! ... and we say the same to Evie and company.
We don’t take chauvinism from Charney on the Right, Morris in the Center or Evie on the so-called left.
We don ’t want any part of horse-trading with the Revisionists on any question, be it policy, joint slates, horse-trading or financial shenanigans.
Some day the rank-and-file will demand an accounting – our record is clean and it’s going to remain that way.
On the charge by Weinstone of factional, unauthorized publication by us....
It’s very interesting that all the charges that the revisionists make against the so-called left is passed right on to us by Will and the others. Sid Stein and the other Revisionists charge the Weinstone group with precisely “left-sectarianism”, “dogmatism”, and, yes, “factional, unauthorized publication of literature”, and “destruction of the Daily Worker.” The only charge against the consistent left which is original and for which Will can claim authorship is the one about “anarchism.”
The Rightwingers charge that the so-called left has a printing plant from which they issue “factional, unauthorized literature” and they concretize further – Foster’s last speech, the greetings by foreign Parties, the Pomanorov article, etc. were published there.
All we can say is this...let’s have some more of that factional literature, and we don’t care what faction published it. Let the Revisionists rage.
In regard to our pamphlet...it ’s been authorized by the Lower Harlem Section Committee...as good an authority on Marxist-Leninist literature as any other group in the Party.
In reality what Weinstone and Company do not like about our pamphlet is the fact that besides banging away at Revisionism, it also throws the glare of the searchlight on the problem of conciliationism.
Real struggle on two fronts, against Right and “Left” deviations presupposes a struggle against the compromising conciliators. The history of the Communist Parties of the world each us that the appearance of revisionism brings about the parallel development of conciliationism.
This is also true of our experience. Conciliationism is a particular, specific form of Right-opportunism.