First Published: March 1963. This version taken from Revolution Today: U.S.A., published by the Progressive Labor Party in 1970.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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EDITOR’S NOTE [to the version of this text that appeared in the Marxist-Leninist Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 1:
During the past year the Progressive Labor Movement has been discussing the debate concerning correct Marxist-Leninist theory for our movement and for the international movement. The following article is based on a report by Milton Rosen to the October 24, 1963 meeting of the National Coordinating Committee of the PLM. The general line of the report was adopted unanimously, with one abstention. (There are twelve members on the NCC.) The report was redrafted based on the discussion in the NCC and submitted to members and friends of the PLM for further discussion. This article includes much of that discussion, thus improving the content of the report.
We recognize that the article deals with many key questions of concern to revolutionaries in our country, and especially with the interlocking effects of revisionism in this country and in the international movement. Therefore we are asking for additional criticism and discussion to improve the level of political understanding we have now reached.
* * *
Two paths are open to the workers of any given country. One is the path of resolute class struggle; the other is the path of accommodation, collaboration. The first leads to state power for the workers, which will end exploitation. The other means rule by a small ruling class which continues oppression, wide-scale poverty, cultural and moral decay and war.
The task of Marxist-Leninists is to lead the working class in its conflict with the oppressor class; to destroy capitalism’s grip on the people-ideologically, politically, economically; to defeat it. In order for a vanguard to accomplish this, it must be free of the ideology of the ruling class. It must have a strategy, based on the science of Marxism-Leninism, that takes into account the general development of the science and understands the particular circumstances of any given situation.
Marxism-Leninism has always been under sharp attack by the entire international capitalist class. They have always sought to undermine the ability of the science and its practitioners to win the working class and other key sectors of the population. Yet, despite every conceivable obstacle placed in the path of Marxist-Leninists by the ruling class, one billion people are now in the process of creating their socialist societies.
The decline of the world capitalist system has been so rapid that imperialism has renewed and invigorated an all-out drive against Marxism-Leninism, hoping to keep the rest of the world from revolution and socialism; and to subvert, roll back, crush and destroy countries that have moved to socialism or that have won independence from colonial rule.
The imperialists of the United States have for the past twenty years assumed the leadership of this drive. They hope to accomplish what Hitler and company failed to do: establish their political and economic hegemony over the capitalist world, then use this powerful base to dominate the entire world.
When applying intense pressure, intimidation, confusion or plain corruption in the past, imperialism has been able to win adherents from the Marxist movement to its side. Now the situation is more desperate than ever for imperialism. There is a powerful socialist and anti-colonial system in the world which has the potential power to crush imperialism.
In order to reverse the historical trend to national revolution and socialism, U.S. imperialism has mounted a significant counter-offensive. This counter-offensive has many components, including: a mighty military build-up of nuclear and conventional armaments in the United States; a determined effort to subvert, take over and contain colonial and national freedom movements around the world; an active policy of counter-revolution in regard to the socialist countries; support for fascist forces all over the world (most notably the rearming of West Germany with nuclear weapons); a consistent attempt to compel “allies” to follow blindly U.S. imperialism’s policies; and finally, a massive ideological campaign directed against the people of the world in general and the socialist camp in particular. The content of this campaign is that: U.S. imperialism is a force for peace, a force for freedom, a force for people’s welfare; if imperialism has shortcomings, they can and will be overcome; that U.S. imperialism is itself the most progressive social system in the world. But the key force of the argument imperialism uses to “convince” the world of its new “beautiful” nature is the force of its nuclear weapons and its threat to use them.
Confronted by this offensive many important elements in the international Marxist movement have resurrected revisionist political positions that were buried many times in the past. Some of the main premises of the classic revisionism of Bernstein and the Second International are presently reappearing in transparent disguises, namely: that the state in a bourgeois society is above classes and mediates the class struggle, and that revolution is no longer desirable or necessary, especially in the advanced countries where parliamentary democracy provides the vehicle for an evolutionary and gradual transfer of power to the working class.
The defeat of these false concepts in the past removed an important stumbling block and made possible the triumph of the Russian Revolution.
Four other revisionist ideas that must be dealt with today by Marxist-Leninists are:
(1) that U.S. imperialism will not wage war because of the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons; that the “sober circles” dominating bourgeois society are “rational”–meaning they are not guided by class interests and not subject to the objective economic laws of society as outlined by Marx and Lenin;
(2) that all wars, no matter what their size or character are bad, since any one may escalate into a nuclear war;
(3) that in time the USSR will have such material wealth that underdeveloped countries will be irresistibly attracted by its example, and this will be the primary reason for their moving into the socialist camp; that the USSR, by extending large-scale aid to bourgeois nationalists, can use this aid to win them to a socialist outlook; that the tremendous success of socialism will capture the imagination of the workers in advanced capitalist countries to such a degree as to guarantee a socialist transformation there;
(4) that since U.S. imperialism can prevent economic crises it has no need to expand and can disarm of its own free will; that armaments are not a necessary part of imperialism but hurt its profit position and therefore that a welfare state can be established in the U.S., mitigating the class struggle at home.
Such revisionist fallacies have the effect of sapping the revolutionary will of the people to struggle in the face of imperialism’s mounting aggression.
A great debate has broken out in the international movement. The outcome of this decisive debate will determine to a great degree the character of the class struggle in every country in the world.
The nature of the class struggle in our country is a very important factor for the workers of our country and also for the workers of the entire world. If the workers in our country can defeat or weaken their own ruling class then the path to freedom and peace will be easier for all other workers. The more workers that defeat imperialism in their own countries the easier it will be to defeat the U.S. ruling class at home. Therefore the line that prevails internationally will affect the class struggle in every country, including our own.
Obviously, if the international working class takes the line of collaboration with U.S. imperialism the U.S. ruling class will be greatly strengthened. It will be better able to conduct class war against its workers. U.S. workers are more and more paying a stiff penalty for the class collaborationist policies that have been carried out at home by their union leaders and by the leaders of the Communist Party for the last twenty years.
Consequently, the dispute in the international movement is not merely a political debate but a matter of life and death for millions of people. The fundamental question is whether a revolutionary line is to be adhered to and strengthened or weakened and abandoned. Revisionism, which always describes itself as a “creative development of Marx and Lenin based on new circumstances,” has always been the first step in the abandonment of revolution itself.
To build a serious Leninist movement in our country it is necessary to understand what has been the dominant weakness of the U.S. communist movement.
From the earliest days of the communist movement in the United States to the present, revisionism and its political manifestation, class collaboration, has been the chronic weakness.
Revisionism has usually been identified with individual leaders: Lovestone, Browder, Gates. But revisionism, which permeated the ’entire fabric of the Party, could not be uprooted by the mere removal of its chief spokesman. The CP., still led today by many who led that party together with Lovestone, Browder and Gates, stands as a fitting memorial to their ideas.
Revisionism always came forward in this country based on the theory of “American exceptionalism,” that the development of capitalism in the U.S. was different than in other countries; that a revolutionary outlook was not necessary: for the U.S. imperialists, it was claimed, were different from other imperialists, as they did not follow an expansionist policy. Enlightened capitalists, they could make automatic concessions to their own workers. Therefore, there could be an evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary one.
These illusions were fostered by the rapid development of American imperialism after World War I–from 1920 to 1929 it exported the then unheard of amount of $20 billion capital. This unprecedented expansion gave the U.S. ruling class the maneuverability to buy off sections of its working class. And this, despite some resort to violence, was the policy followed even in the most severe times of depression.
After the expulsion of Lovestone, the Party developed a militant pragmatic approach which appealed to workers during the Depression and produced a mass base for the CP. But even at that time there was no long range revolutionary strategy developed which could sustain the Party when the objective conditions of the Depression changed.
Nonetheless, by utilizing its militant pragmatic approach the CP. was able to recruit tens of thousands because of its hardhitting fight for reforms. The CP. fought for social security, industrial unionism, unemployment insurance, wage and hour laws, public welfare and all the other gains credited to the New Deal. And, of course, the Party, standing on the side of bourgeois democracy, was in the forefront of the anti-fascist struggle.
The CPUSA played a heroic role in this period among American workers, defending the Russian Revolution and its gains. As such, it was the sole group in this country that opposed the attempts of U.S. imperialism to “strangle the baby in its cradle.”
Of special significance, in its defense of Negro victims of white ruling class oppression and its writings on this matter, the CP. heightened the social consciousness of the country as a whole to a level unknown since the Civil War era.
On balance, despite thousands of devoted revolutionary-minded members, the CP. was a party of reform not revolution. Earl Browder, who led the CP. in its most influential period, later aptly characterized the Party’s revisionism:
... the CP. rose to become a national political influence far beyond its numbers (at its height it never exceeded 100,000 members), on a scale never before reached by a socialist movement claiming the Marxist tradition. It became a practical power in organized labor, its influence became strong in some state organizations of the Democratic Party (even dominant in a few for some years), and even some Republicans solicited its support. It guided the anti-Hitler movement of the American League for Peace and Democracy that united a cross-section of some five million Americans (a list of its sponsors and speakers would include almost a majority of Roosevelt’s Cabinet, the most prominent intellectuals, judges of all grades up to State Supreme Courts, church leaders, labour leaders, etc.). Right-wing intellectuals complained that it exercised an effective veto in almost all publishing houses against their books, and it is at least certain that those right-wingers had extreme difficulty getting published. It displaced the old Socialist Party of Norman Thomas as the dominant influence on the left, and that party split up during the 1930’s ... it gradually merged with the organized labour movement and the New Deal in all practical activities, while retaining the facade of orthodox Marxism for ceremonial occasions. It became the most successful reformist party in the Marxist tradition that America had seen, while remaining unchallenged as spokesman of revolutionary Marxism in its ideological aspects. While championing the Soviet Union in international affairs, it turned to the Jeffersonian American tradition as equally authoritative as that of Marx.
The development of a significant Left in the country and a powerful trade union movement which organized mass-production U.S. workers posed a big problem for the ruling class. Heretofore the ruling class had the majority of the organized workers pretty much under control. For the most part these organized workers were in the skilled craft categories under reactionary leadership in the AFL. The ruling class had not been able to solve its many contradictions. Mass unemployment was widespread and unchecked. A section of the ruling class supported Roosevelt’s candidacy and program of limited, minor reforms in order to head off revolutionary action. However, unemployment, poverty and racism continued. In the course of winning concessions, and with the advent of World War II, the CP. developed an uncritical, non-class attitude to the Roosevelt administration. Once again illusions about “progressive capitalists,” capitalism’s ability to solve its fundamental contradictions, the neutrality of the state and about U.S. imperialism were spread.
United States imperialism emerged from World War II stronger than ever. Its capitalist competitors–’enemies” and friends–were on their knees, ravaged by the war. European economic recovery was underwritten by further export of U.S. capital. The Soviet Union, which had borne the brunt of the war against the Nazis, was devastated. Unlike the war-torn capitalist powers, it could rely only on its own resources for economic recovery. Indeed it seemed it was to be the “American Century.” U.S. monopolists were to pick up the pieces and assemble them as they saw fit. They would rule the world in any manner necessary for maintaining their control.
To make matters easier, U.S. workers had gone through a period of full employment because of the war. After the war a four-year unfulfilled domestic demand for consumer goods and large scale export throughout the world produced nearly full employment. This further enhanced the notion that capitalism could solve its internal contradictions, could overcome cyclical crises. Capitalist ideologists crowed about “people’s capitalism,” the “welfare state,” unlimited production and full employment forever.
By this time, despite sincere but inadequate attempts by William Z. Foster and others to change the situation, and subsequent paper reversals of the line, the Communist Party USA was unable to recover from the body-blow of revisionism. Even so, because some struggle did continue within the organization, militant positions sometimes prevailed. This was true up through the end of the Korean War.
In order to understand the inability of the Party to overcome revisionism, one has to know the depths to which the Party leadership and some of the membership had sunk. Browder’s famous Bridgeport speech on the agreements reached at Teheran put the CPUSA in complete unity with the U.S. ruling class. He said:
Every class, every group, every individual, every political party in America will have to re-adjust itself to this great issue embodied in the policy given to us by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill. The country is only beginning to face it so far. Everyone must begin to draw the conclusion from it and adjust himself to the new world that is created by it. Old formulas and old prejudices are going to be of no use whatsoever to us as guides to find our way in this new world. We are going to have to draw together all men and all groups with the intelligence enough to see the overwhelming importance of this issue, to understand that upon its correct solution depends the fate of our country and the fate of civilization throughout the world.
We shall have to be prepared to break with anyone that refuses to support and fight for the realization of the Teheran Agreement and the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition. We must be prepared to give the hand of cooperation and fellowship to everyone who fights for the realization of this coalition. If J. P. Morgan supports this coalition and goes down the line for it, I as a Communist am prepared to clasp his hand on that and join with him to realize it. Class divisions or political groupings have no significance now except as they reflect one side or the other of this issue. . . .
Marxists will not help the reactionaries, by opposing the slogan of “free enterprise” with any form of counter-slogan. If anyone wished to describe the existing system of capitalism in the United States as “free enterprise,” that is all right with us, and we frankly declare that we are ready to cooperate in making this capitalism work effectively in the post-war period with the least possible burdens upon the people.
The entire leadership of the CPUSA except William Z. Foster and possibly a few others endorsed Browder’s line. The ensuing “self-criticism” failed to get at the roots of revisionism. Not only weren’t there significant changes in leadership, but those few who had fought Browderism before and after the exposure were expelled from the Party as “factionalists.” Jacques Duclos, a leader of the French CP., who now hails Khrushchev’s views on co-existence, and who seeks to unify the French CP. with the “socialists,” the same “socialists” who only a short time ago wanted to fight the war in Algeria to the finish, attacked Browder in 1946 for this very same line he himself holds today. He then said:
Earl Browder made himself the protagonist of a false concept of the ways of social evolution in general, and in the first place, the social evolution of the United States. Earl Browder declared, in effect, that at Teheran capitalism and socialism had begun to find the means of peaceful co-existence and collaboration . . . with a view to reducing to a minimum or completely suppressing methods of struggle and opposition of force to force in the solution of internal problems of each country.
Browder’s expulsion after World War II had little effect, because, except for the Chairman, the leadership remained the same. The essence of the Party’s line became united front behind Wallace (the New Roosevelt), with the liberal imperialists, not the working class, as the leading element. Therefore, the CP. failed to fight for an independent position for the working class, failed to present socialist aims and a socialist perspective and failed to expose the nature and the aims of U.S. imperialism.
This failure to play an independent role had deep roots. William Z. Foster, writing in 1945, said that central to Browder’s role
was the constant playing-down of the independent role of the party ... (It) expressed itself in various forms of tail-ending after the bourgeoisie. . . . For at least ten years it had the effect of facilitating the demagogy of the Trotskyites, and Dubinsky Social Democrats . . . Browder refused to criticize more sharply the reactionary policies of the A. F. L. Executive Council, except in the most flagrant cases. . . . But the worst . . . (was) shameless tail-ending after American finance capital ... as progressive bodies and as qualified to lead the nation... .
These tailist policies carried into the good work done in organizing the CIO. The CP. gave many of its best forces as organizers, who instead of being known as communists, playing an independent role, lost their identity in a false conception of the united front. Instead, they became CIO bureaucrats and not communists, and eventually together with other pie-cards voted to kick communists out of the leadership of the trade unions.
In an attempt to make it appear that they were moving in a new direction the Party leadership proposed a line explained by Eugene Dennis, the general secretary:
For a people’s government that will advance the cause of peace, security and democracy! For an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly government! What is projected in this slogan, it should be made clear, is a political objective that reflects the united front program which is bringing into a broad coalition all the democratic and anti-imperialist forces including the third party movement.
Actually this line was opportunistic in that it substituted this false and unrealistic strategy in place of developing a revolutionary strategy to socialism.
... the Communist Party holds that the workers and their allies could elect such a people’s front government under the Constitution by vigorous action. Beyond this point, in practical policy, the Communist Party has not planned. But it is clear that such a people’s government would be elected, probably, when the great masses of the people, facing conditions of a serious political crisis, would feel the urgent need of it.
The tactics flowing from this ridiculous strategy were necessarily sectarian because it was patently impossible to elect such a government in 1948.
Years of revisionism came home to roost with a vengeance as the government mounted a powerful anti-labor, anti-communist offensive which neither the trade unions nor the CP. could effectively deal with.
McCarthyism, and the steps leading up to it, were a necessity for the ruling class, which needed a “treasonous conspiracy” to win the people for a cold war crusade against the USSR. (The second world war had left behind anti-fascist, pro-Soviet feelings among the people which were dangerous to America’s rulers.)
Illusions prevailed that the government would always act impartially, that the government wouldn’t allow the bosses to trample on workers’ rights, and that the government wouldn’t allow unemployment to return in force. The workers felt that in the final analysis the government wouldn’t let the workers down. For a while class collaboration looked as though it could satisfy the needs of the workers, at least a section of the organized workers in the crafts and in the heavy basic industries. But millions of Negro workers never shared in the “mutual trusteeship.” Millions of unorganized workers never received any part of the big “payoff.” Millions of workers in the lighter industries never shared in the gravy train.
Events internationally began to contradict the “incontradictable” economy. A great deal of the world was breaking away from imperialism, thus limiting the areas of foreign exploitation. To offset this, and the increasing competition from other capitalists, U.S. imperialism was forced to turn the screw on its own workers in an effort to sustain maximum profits.
To consolidate the grip of reaction over the labor movement, the AFL and the CIO were merged in 1955. This “unity,” hailed at the time by the CPUSA, enabled Meany and Co. to completely dominate labor and prevent the re-emergence of militant tendencies. Instead of using the enormous potential of 16 million organized workers for their own interest, the AFL-CIO leaders abandoned any fight in the workers’ interests–proceeded to intensify red-baiting and called on the workers to support the cold war.
With the working-class leaders hog-tied by class collaboration the ruling class was able to stifle dissent. The cold war, with its military buildup which was to provide full employment forever, became a noose around the workers’ necks. Arms production was a source of maximum profits for the bosses. Since the arms had no social function and cost fantastic sums, the workers’ tax money became a prime source of profit. This was the post-war version of Keynesianism. Schools, hospitals, housing, roads were all in a state of decay in the areas where the workers lived. Overproduction reasserted itself in almost every consumer industry in the country. Plant capacity, expanded with the workers’ tax money, was unable to be fully utilized. Unemployment began to mount and remain at high levels due to a stagnating economy and the development and wide-scale introduction of automation.
The labor aristocracy was beginning to feel the pinch. It was getting more and more difficult to get concessions. Real wages began to decline. Working conditions deteriorated as the men were forced to keep up with, or out-produce, the new machines. A worker’s “patriotism” was measured by how well he adjusted to his worsening conditions. In the preceding period the ruling class had succeeded in denuding the labor movement of communists, helped in great part by the C.P.’s opportunist policies. To prevent any possibility of struggle, the ruling class passed a series of repressive measures. More and more the government, intent on stripping the workers of their main weapon, shed its “impartial” air and moved to outlaw strikes. Anti-communist legislation was passed and utilized as a further measure to control the workers.
Obviously, if the workers were to reverse the situation a counter-offensive would have to be launched. Such an offensive would bring them into direct conflict with the cold war line of the ruling class. This would, of necessity, bring them into collision with their own leaders, who in the main supported the policies of the ruling class. For the most part the labor leaders are prime practitioners of class collaboration and reflect the ideology of the bosses in the labor movement. Such “leaders” came on to the scene riding the wave of the ruling class’ anti-communist crusade.
One of the factors making it possible for them to consolidate their power was the C.P.’s failure to lead a militant fight against the monopolies’ onslaught.
The bitter fruits of the labor leaders’ collaboration were loaded onto the backs of the workers. These “leaders” hailed the system, urged reliance on the government and made no answer to the bosses’ assault. Instead of carrying on a militant struggle for jobs and conditions most unions were converted into centers of ruling class propaganda.
They ignored their own official program for a shorter workday, for organizing the South, and for independent political action. Reuther’s and Meany’s claim that capitalism was “people’s capitalism” became a hollow joke.
The trade union leadership tried to cover up its sell-out by adopting the bosses’ slogan: “national interest.” The CP. tried to obscure its betrayal by attempting to shift the workers away from struggle. This was done either through perpetuating illusions about the Democratic Party as the “lesser of two evils,” or by generally diverting the workers from recognizing the ruling class and its state apparatus as the main danger.
More recently it has continued to pursue this line by advancing the notion that the ultra-right is the main danger. In doing this it separates the ultra-right from its class base-the ruling class. The CP. thus tries to divert the workers from fighting the main sources of monopoly power which control the state apparatus and manipulate it in their interests. It attempts to mislead the workers into believing that the Pentagon and/or other “hot-heads” are separate and apart, and not dominated by the state (acting for the ruling class) or its “reasonable” Commander-in-Chief, the President.
Thus, according to this logic, the threat of war, or the onslaught against workers’ conditions and hard-won gains comes not from the ruling class but from various and sundry irresponsible individuals and “mad-men.” The CP. views the late President and the present administration as a vehicle for progress. After the assassination the Worker described the administration as one of
reason and reasonableness in groping toward universal disarmament; the attitude of concern for the economic and social welfare of the working people; the policy of urgent and definitive elimination of segregation, for securing to the Negro people their full and equal rights.
As a matter of fact, the Kennedy-Johnson administration is the most cunning and dangerous to date. On the one hand it practices aggression abroad and oppression at home; on the other hand it poses as the champion of world peace, Negro rights, and workers’ conditions. The records show unemployment increased; more virulent anti-labor legislation was passed; the infamous McCarran Act was enforced; the war of genocide in south Vietnam was stepped up; Cuba was invaded; the world was brought to the brink of nuclear war by Kennedy’s Cuba policy; the arms budget was increased by billions; preventive war concepts were adopted.
These policies nourished the development of the open fascists; the growth of a significant openly fascist trend points up the growing contradictions of U.S. imperialism. It indicates a class in trouble, unable to fully operate through bourgeois democracy. The people had to be kept in line–had to accept deteriorating conditions. The ruling class adopted the double tactic of using the ultra-right as a diversion to protect its moderate image and to mask its aggressive policies. At the same time it used the ultra-right to crush the people’s will to resist.
Thus the ruling class creates a system of blackmail: if you don’t support “us good guys” the extremists will take over. In fact, the ruling class uses the ultra-right to prepare fascist reserves as its deterioration continues. Therefore, the people’s main blows must be aimed at the heart of repression–the ruling class–while at the same time striking at all manifestations of open fascism.
The heart of any alternative program to be fought for by communists, is based on the fact that the problems of the workers will never be solved under capitalism. Only socialism can organize automation (presently wiping out 40,000 jobs per week) to suit the needs of U.S. workers.
What is required is an alternative path of struggle which would open up an all-out fight for the shorter work day, along with a drive to unionize the South. The emergence of a labor movement organized around an independent class program, and the complete eradication of segregation and discrimination in the labor movement–which in classic “divide and conquer” style prevents unity–are goals to be fought for.
A genuine vanguard would help the workers fight for a new leadership in the labor movement. It would try to organize sections of the more conscious workers in the trade unions into formations that could make their leverage felt. It would unmask, not conceal, the actual character of the state. It would expose the role of imperialism in relation to oppressed people. It would make clear to workers the relationship between their own battles and the battles of oppressed people everywhere. It would point out how every and any revolutionary victory assists them in their struggle at home. It would continuously and openly advocate socialism as the only fundamental solution to the problems they face. It would consistently show the need for state power in the hands of the workers. It would strive to build a revolutionary party based on Lenin’s concept of workers’ rule.
As the screw is turned on the U.S. worker he is slowly but surely beginning to understand that collaboration is no answer. Despite intense pressures he is beginning to grasp the relationship of the state to the ruling class. Armed Kentucky miners, printers on long strikes, longshoremen tying up the country, rail workers compelling their union to make a pretense of struggle, rank and file activity bypassing the union leaders, workers refusing to accept government-controlled settlements, government arbitration boards being characterized as phony, almost two million workers in the Teamsters union and the expelled unions from the old CIO still following paths somewhat different from the one laid out by the ruling class–all show in a small way that battle lines are beginning to be drawn and that millions of workers will not sacrifice themselves on the altar of the money men.
The direct corollary to the squeeze on U.S. workers is the intensification of the drive for U.S. monopoly domination throughout the world. U.S. arms have bolstered reaction and fascism all over the earth. They have been the decisive factor wherever counter-revolution has developed. The policy of nuclear intimidation and blackmail was foreshadowed in the closing days of World War II, when the U.S. unilaterally dropped the atomic bomb on a defeated Japan. This act was a warning to the people of the world–a warning which John Foster Dulles developed into the doctrine of “massive retaliation.”
After the Second World War the Soviet Union was ringed by a network of military bases. In quick succession there unfolded a series of counter-revolutionary efforts in Greece, Iran, the Philippines, Guatemala and Hungary. With its invasion of Korea, and the ultimate goal of reversing the victory of socialism in China, the U.S. initiated a policy of open aggression to roll back and defeat revolution in Asia. Coinciding with counter-revolution was the systematic restoration of Nazis and militarism in West Germany, preparing that country to once again take her “rightful” place as the chief tormentor of the peoples of Europe. West Germany’s payoff for following U.S. policy dictates was unlimited financial aid and her promotion to “U.S. ally number 1” in the “European Community.” The ultimate reward: a new Wehrmacht with nuclear arms, preparing the way for an atomic version of the traditional “drive to the East.”
Here at home the new trend slowly but surely developing in the ranks of the workers because of sharpening contradictions is paralleled by a new trend emerging in the radical movement. This trend among radicals is, to a degree, a development and extension of the efforts of those forces who, over the years, tried unsuccessfully to defeat revisionism in the CP. Many genuine communists tried to transform the CP. into a revolutionary party. Today the C.P. leadership is a hopeless apologist for imperialism. By its consistent collaborationist line the C.P. has compromised itself irrevocably with advanced workers. The process of political corruption of the C.P. leaders has been intensified and given a new mantle of “respectability” by the revisionist line propounded in the international movement.
A genuine Marxist-Leninist party could have made a tremendous difference in the struggles of the working class of our country. Had the C.P. followed a truly Marxist-Leninist course it could have retained, even under the severe blows of the class enemy and even in periods of necessary tactical retreat, a secure base among the people. The total penetration of the C.P. leadership by the ideology of the ruling class was an important ruling class victory.
However, this is not a defeat from which the workers cannot recover. So long as there is a class struggle in this country there will be a revolutionary force. Because of the developing contradictions of U.S. imperialism a new revolutionary party will arise in this country stronger than ever.
The ability of U.S. imperialism to amass maximum profits, an absolute necessity for modern-day monopoly, rests to a great extent on the super-exploitation of the Negro people. Hundreds of billions of dollars in profits have been accumulated over the years from the labor of the Negro people. The direct exploitation of Negro workers has, moreover, enabled the ruling class to increase its oppression of white workers to a degree not generally recognized.
The ruling class has been able to maintain the South as a low wage sanctuary, holding the cheap labor market of the South as a club over the heads of northern whites. At the same time, the existence of millions of low paid Negro workers in the north also tends to depress the wages of all other workers. Maximum profits achieved through discrimination enable the ruling class to amass enormous capital to develop neo-colonialism, automation and extend capitalist productive capacity–all of which produce still more profits. Racism is a bulwark of U.S. imperialism. A powerful fight against racism is an important blow against the very foundation of imperialism. Its eradication is tantamount to the smashing of imperialism.
Under these circumstances recognition that the Negro liberation movement is the key to the development of a successful revolutionary movement in this country is mandatory.
Although the liberation movement is in its early stages it is clearly the most revolutionary development in the country today.
A common resistance to a common racial oppression; racial solidarity; a common historical tradition and cultural identity; a common desire for dignity and equality are the motor forces of the freedom movement.
At the same time the class aspects of the movement have come increasingly to the forefront because Negroes have become an important component of the industrial and non-industrial working class and a small Negro bourgeoisie has emerged.
But since, in fact, the reason for the racial oppression is economic exploitation, Negro workers, because of their interlocking interests as colored people and colored workers are objectively being placed as the leading element of both the freedom movement and the class struggle generally.
The post-war surge of the anti-colonial liberation movements, along with the victory of socialism (particularly in China and Cuba) have had tremendous impact on, and accelerated the pace of the Negro freedom movement. Events in Africa also have special significance for the Negro people. However, increased militancy was not easily come by. It was accomplished practically without allies. Even those parts of the labor movement thought of as the natural allies of the Negro people in their fight for equality were in most instances class collaborationist and had been converted into cesspools of racism.
The absence of a genuine Marxist vanguard deprived the Negro people of a consistently anti-imperialist force which fights the poison of white chauvinism and develops the necessary unity between the freedom struggle and the class struggle which must be jointly waged by Negro and white workers and their allies. This absence severely weakens the fight for the leadership of the Negro working class in the freedom movement; it has meant failure to point out that socialism is the only way to gain genuine Negro freedom; it has meant failure to develop the essential intermediate forms of struggle that advance both the movement for Negro freedom and emancipation for all workers.
The imperialists are alert to the dangers in the freedom movement, and attempt by all means to contain and emasculate it. The monopolists have been able to control in one way or another the Negro leadership. This middle class leadership has supported the cold war even though the cold war intensifies the problems of the Negro workers, rather than resolving them. If support of the cold war by the Negro leadership was meant to buy them integration in a white man’s structure it has proved a dismal failure.
The leadership of the NAACP and the Urban League failed to win even their limited demands. They propounded the concept of gradualism and tokenism, buttressed primarily with court action. Their ideology was not “Freedom Now” for the Negro masses. They preached reliance on the good will of the white ruling class; they clung to its political institutions, especially the Democratic Party. They denied the need for direct mass action, characterizing it as “provocative.” They struck out at any militant development among the Negro people while militantly peddling the anti-communist crusade with extreme red-baiting.
The failure of this leadership to win victories of substance, even for middle class Negroes, by 1960, forced the development of the integration movement. The integration movement developed in the South because it was in this area that the greatest oppression existed. It was also in the South that the traditional leadership was the weakest. In the South no reason existed for illusions about the Southern oligarchy.
The integration movement developed around the strategy of non-violent direct action. In the main the movement developed under the leadership of students and clergy. Its goals were solely equal civil rights for Negroes. Unlike developments of bourgeois nationalism occurring in other areas of the world, the integration movement had few, if any, independent demands; it had no program of political and economic demands. It accepted the primacy of the white ruling class in all spheres and sought only to reform some of the worst manifestations of racism. It pleaded with the ruling class to curb racism, because it weakened the “democratic” image the white ruling class tried to establish among the oppressed people of the world. But unemployment ravaged the Negro communities, North and South. Small farming was rapidly being eliminated in a period of mechanization. The general economy provided no new opportunities for jobs.
Despite this limited outlook the integration movement captured the imagination of millions. Tens of thousands of Negroes were brought into sharp conflict with the Dixiecrats. The leaders of the movement displayed great courage and skill in developing non-violent tactics. Many establishments were integrated in the heart of the South. Hundreds of thousands of Negro and white people in the North supported the integration movement. The old line leadership was forced to adopt many of the policies of the integrationist leadership in order to maintain some base among the people. Millions of white Americans were confronted with the knowledge that Black Americans had had enough.
In the course of these limited struggles thousands of young Negro militants emerged as new forces capable of taking the liberation movement forward to new, higher stages. SNCC exists because of this development. For one thing, illusions about the government (the state apparatus) are disappearing. Meaningful programs are resisted by the state, which uses all its agencies and often force and violence. Secondly, while integration is good, you can’t eat it. Thirdly, the entire concept of working within the framework of the two-party system is being questioned. A “Freedom Now” Party has emerged in the North, and all strata of the Negro people are probing to determine exactly how to begin challenging the white ruling class for power. All this is leading to a general re-evaluation of the strategy of non-violence, and in many cases armed self-defense (originally proposed by Robert F. Williams) is being advocated and used.
Because the main section of the integration leadership has no far-reaching program for independent power and no anti-imperialist outlook, it is in a bind. It cannot take the Negro masses further. Consequently, sections of the integration leadership compromised themselves with the government. The Negro people are not in the same position economically and politically as were the white workers years ago. They cannot afford the “luxury” of a collaborationist leadership.
The ruling class has been dealing with the integration movement on two levels. On one level it identifies with the movement. By doing this, it tries to create further illusions about its “fairness,” hoping that people will continue to believe that racism can be eliminated within the capitalist framework. The ruling class also hopes to change the racist image that it currently has among the colonial peoples. It corrupts elements of the integration leadership, either with direct monetary contributions or with minor posts in he government and some job opportunities for trained Negroes in private industry. At the same time it puts forward meaningless legislation supposedly to curb racism.
On the other level, the ruling class and its Dixiecrat agents step up the terror against the Negro people. The federal government, while mouthing platitudes about the Dixiecrats, allows them to operate at will. The federal agencies, like the FBI, openly collaborate with them. They have yet to capture or stop terrorists.
The Justice Department, instead of vigorously using its enormous powers to indict racists, indicts militant integrationists. The Army is never used to break the power of the racists. The Army is used whenever it appears that the Negro masses are threatening to abandon non-violence. This was the case in Birmingham.
In the North, police terror is being stepped up against the Negro people. No racists are prosecuted by the liberal mayor of New York City, only militants are jailed for fighting racism. The ruling class is the chief racist because it perpetuates the system that demands that profits be produced and it derives the maximum profits that racism makes possible. These actions by the ruling class prove that equality cannot be won under capitalism, and that only power in the hands of the workers, Negro and white, can ultimately guarantee freedom for the Negro people.
Birmingham, which marked a turning point in the liberation movement, is a classic example of how the ruling class functions. Here in this industrial complex the sharpest and most protracted fighting rages. It is here that the ruling class has some of its largest investments in the South. This is where the Wall Street magnates depend on the hard labor of Negro workers. Here it is necessary to have a poorly educated, unquestioning Negro worker to do the dirty work, to stay in line, to accept plantation discipline in a factory environment. It is here that the southern racists did a most thorough job for their northern masters. But it is the main sections of the ruling class that benefit most from this situation. Maximum profits are their goal. The gravy, in the form of managerial jobs, lucrative retail trade based on plant employment and higher real estate values stemming from a great industrial system are the rewards for the local racists.
This two-level strategy of the ruling class has had much success. Despite massive outpourings of integrationists from one end of the country to the other, victories on key questions have been few and slim. Negro workers are unemployed in ever-growing numbers. No key concessions have been forced from the ruling class regarding the democratic rights of the Negro people. Even more dangerous, the open coddling of the Dixiecrats by the Kennedy-Johnson Administration has encouraged racist tendencies among wide sections of white Americans.
Another important development among the Negro people is the emergence of the Muslim movement. This religious, bourgeois-nationalist trend has gained considerable strength especially in the northern cities among Negro workers. This happened because the Muslims vigorously developed the idea of Negro identity and dignity; they advocated a form of independent political power (separation) and no one countered that with any alternative form. In this way the Muslims were able to capitalize on the aspirations of the Negro people.
At the same time, the integrationists failed to produce any appreciable gains. And the Communist Party abdicated the fight for a socialist and nationalist outlook for the Negro people and left the field altogether.
A strength of the Muslims has been their strong position on the government. Some Muslim leaders have been relentless in exposing the failure of the state to act for the benefit of the Negro people. However, the Muslims’ plan for separation is in contradiction to their general estimate of the white ruling class. They put forward no specific program to achieve separation or even indicate where their new state would be. They simply asked the ruling class to give them land. Obviously this ruling class will not simply turn over territory on request when it will not even grant the Negro people civil rights. Thus the Muslims create the illusion that the ruling class will set up some kind of “reservation” for the Negro people. It should be noted that in the past months Muslim influence is on the decline, as people cannot find in it a program for action.
Within the Muslim movement there are significant contradictions. The Muslim paper has consistently supported anti-imperialist struggle. Recently they made a valuable contribution reporting the Cuban Revolution, revealing how the Negro people m Cuba won complete freedom and equality in the course of the revolutionary struggle and victory. But the Cuban Revolution was and is led by Negro and white. This contradicts the Muslims’ extreme and undifferentiated hostility to all whites. Also the Muslims refer to the Chinese Revolution favorably. But the Chinese have always advocated the unity of all oppressed peoples regardless of color as the means to destroy imperialism internationally.
One of the central tasks for a revolutionary movement is to help coalesce the various dissatisfied elements that make up a growing alternative trend in the Negro freedom movement, elements that embody the most militant forces and concepts, and reflect more directly the interests of Negro workers and farmers.
This re-alignment would serve to isolate those who compromise with the government’s policies at home and abroad, and would prevent the dispersal and crushing of more militant forces.
Among the policy implications of this re-alignment would be: development of a bond of mutual support with the world-wide anti-imperialist liberation movements; identification of the ruling class as the wellspring of racist oppression; recognition of the government as the servant of the ruling class; development of a strategy for achieving political power for the Negro people together with all other workers. This should be based upon the eventual merger of the liberation movement with the over-all class struggle–and armed self-defense–to achieve demands.
Only such a program can attract and organize the millions of Negro workers who today are attracted to no group because no group has the program that fits their needs.
But if Leninists are to be able to play this kind of role they themselves must be free of illusions. They must have ideological clarity, at least on fundamental questions. Therefore, illusions about the state must be combatted so as to be able to overcome illusions among the people. The CPUSA long ago lost the ability to understand the implications of the fact that the Negro people are the main source of maximum profits for the ruling class; that this power structure is the main exploiter of the Negro people; that the state is the political leadership of the ruling group.
During World War II the Communist Party abandoned the Negro workers. It did this by distorting a correct slogan: “all out for the war effort.” The Negro workers’ demands were shunted aside. Browderism relegated the “Negro question” to the status of just another minority problem to be solved by the “enlightened ruling class.” The Party more and more ties itself to the gradualist policies mouthed by the ruling class and the reformist Negro leaders. Democratic Party convention platitudes are relied on to accomplish Negro liberation. The CPUSA persists in maintaining the fiction that those representatives of the ruling class who make up the current administration are not the main enemies of the Negro people.
James Jackson, editor of the Worker, writing in a magazine calling itself the World Marxist Review says:
The entire trade union movement in our country has been stirred to its depths. . . . There is already a substantial beginning toward wiping out remaining color bars and discriminatory practices in the unions, and major components of the trade union movement are giving valuable support to the Negro Movement. As a consequence of the mass actions of the Negro people and their white supporters the Federal government has been compelled to exercise its constitutional obligation to uphold the rights of its Negro citizens.
Jackson hails Kennedy’s stand on civil rights. He says:
In a subsequent message to the Congress, the President called for the enactment of a Civil Rights Act of 1963 which would have the effect of nullifying the bulk of the state Jimcrow, anti-Negro laws, and generally outlaw the practices of racial segregation and exclusion in places of public accommodation, in voting and voter-registration, in employment, and in schools.
He characterized the upsurge of the Negro people for justice as a “peaceful revolution” for those measures of democratic rights which white Americans have long since enjoyed. He warned that if the Congress would not act promptly to secure those rights to the Negro citizens there could be no assurance that the Negroes would abandon their struggles in the streets for them, but on the contrary, he foresaw and feared a growth in civil strife. Jackson then refers to remarks made by Gus Hall, Communist Party leader.
Gus Hall said recently that the relationship of forces within the nation and within the South, as well as within the Federal Government itself, are such that with determined, sustained struggle, and further involvement of the trade unions and masses, victory can be won–“a death blow can be dealt to the whole system of segregation everywhere.” This is a time and a cause when a century of history is packed into days, he said.
In an article which refers to itself as “On the Ideological Position of the Communist Party of China” reference is made to the role of the Dixiecrats and the ruling class as regard the Negro people.
The distorted picture of the American scene which the Chinese Party presents is especially glaring in relation to the Negro Freedom Struggle. The perpetrators of the terror against the Negro people in the South are in the first place the Wallaces, the Barnetts, the Eastlands and the rest of the Dixiecrat racist elements, supported chiefly by the extreme Right in other parts of the country. In its failure to move against these elements and to take resolute action to crush the terror, the Kennedy Administration shares in the guilt, and the Negro people are fully aware of this. The Chinese Party makes every effort to place the main responsibility for the oppression of the Negro people on the Kennedy Administration.
Earlier in the article, the CP. lays bare its position of apologizing for the Kennedy-Johnson Administration and the ruling class on the Negro movement by indicating that the state is not the main enemy of the people. It says:
One could, as the Chinese leaders evidently propose, apply this characterization mechanically and dogmatically, and conclude that since these things are true of imperialism as a whole, then every section of monopoly capital, and every spokesman for it, must be branded as equally reactionary. Hence one cannot differentiate among them in any significant way, but must direct one’s attack at all equally. More, one must conclude that the most dangerous sections of monopoly capital are those which are in control of the Federal Government, and hence the attack must be centered on these.
In an attempt to answer the Chinese, American Communist Party leaders only further expose their class collaborationism.
In the first place they always refrain from, and divert any exposures of the state apparatus. It is never the state, i.e. the ruling class, that is fundamentally responsible for racism. It is always someone else. The Dixiecrats are placed as a force unrelated to the ruling class. Examples of good, progressive and bad, reactionary, unreasonable forces in the State are cited, but no mention is made of the fact that one of the State’s functions is to resolve differences in the ruling class without weakening the class or its rule. The labor movement is pictured as seething with activity to overcome racism. This is part of the CP. policy to cover up for the AFL-CIO labor leaders, who are also tied to the ruling class policies.
To expose the labor leaders on their continued racism would ultimately force the CP. leaders to expose the government. No one can seriously believe that a movement under the leadership of Meany, Harrison, Dubinsky and Reuther is cleaning out racism, nor is there any evidence to lead anyone to such a belief.
The CP. apologists for the Kennedy-Johnson Administration are in direct conflict with the newly emerging militant forces in the liberation movement; forces that more and more recognize the class role that the Kennedy-Johnson Administration plays, forces moving into more direct conflict with the main sections of the ruling class. The clearer these forces become as to the class character of their oppression, the better they are able to fight on a day-to-day level against local racists and to cope with the two-pronged strategy of the ruling class. They become capable of fighting the collusion between the state and the local Dixiecrats. At the same time, this exposure and loss of illusions opens up perspectives for far-reaching solutions. It is seen that not only the local racists have to be smashed, but the entire class which nourishes and dominates the southern bourbon.
The need for independent political power is becoming more evident as the Negro people are denied satisfaction on any of their demands. It is also obvious that most white workers are still riddled with the self-defeating concepts of white supremacy. Much of the labor aristocracy sees the onrushing freedom movement as a threat. The Negro worker wants a job. But what jobs? Consequently, many white workers view the Negro as competing for their jobs. While the level of class struggle among white workers is rising, it still is not at the pitch which would objectively force them to seek alliances with Black workers.
White workers must learn that they will never be secure themselves as long as racism poisons their thinking, and disunites the working class. Therefore, it is crucial that the Negro people fight for some form of political power now. They cannot and must not wait for the white workers to catch up. In order to do this, Negro workers must not be sucked into the self-defeating idea that the white workers are the source from which gains can be won. The Negro workers can only win victories of substance from those who control the economy. The economic royalists Would like nothing better than for Black workers to view white Workers as their principal enemy.
The precise forms of this power must be developed. A program for Negro power will emerge. It will be evolved by revolutionary forces in the liberation movement and Marxist-Leninists. Some tentative concepts being discussed today are: development of an independent political force outside of the parties of the monopolies, which would elect Negro representatives to the various political bodies; coordinated development of self-governing and protective bodies outside the existing political structures wherever Negroes make up a large section of the population.
Some embryo examples of this have developed already. In Monroe, North Carolina, then under the leadership of Robert Williams, Negroes mobilized themselves outside of the state apparatus to defend themselves. They no longer were willing to wait for, or depend on the state to act for them. In doing this, they took the first small steps to take power into their own hands. The failure of the national government to act for the terror-stricken Negro community in Birmingham compelled the people there to move in a similar direction. It is reported that there exists a block-by-block militia organization to defend the people. Once again, the Negro people begin to move to establish, no matter how limited, their own power. While it is not possible to blueprint the extension of this phenomenon, it is quite possible that these formations may begin to exercise greater independence encompassing forms in addition to defense.
Independence and power can enable Negro workers to enter into alliances with other sections of the workers on an equal footing. Such organization can strengthen the revolutionary growth in the country and give real meaning to the eventual and absolutely necessary unity of all workers to achieve state power.
In the final analysis, racism will be defeated only through the establishment of a socialist state where the workers hold power.
Intrinsic parts of the vanguard’s role in fighting for Negro liberation in this period are consistent exposure of U.S. imperialism’s drive against the colored people moving to freedom all over the world and the linking of the freedom movement in the United States with all other liberation movements in a common world-wide anti-imperialist front. This is necessary because the Negro people’s movement is part of the world-wide anti-imperialist liberation movement. If the liberation movements all over the world weaken imperialism, it encourages Negro revolution at home. The defeat or weakening of these movements would allow U.S. imperialism to concentrate more or all of its energies in defeating the Negro people at home. In this sense the C.P. line, buttressed by the revisionist line in the international movement, plays into the hands of imperialism and must be combatted and defeated.
The emergence of a powerful anti-imperialist peace movement in our country is important for all people who desire peace. Peace will not be won by reliance on the so-called “more sober circles” among U.S. imperialists. Nor will it be secured by allowing imperialism to maintain and extend its grip over large portions of the world; that is a peace based on the “status quo” of aggression and expansion. Peace will not be won by calling for peace, nor by presenting the horrors of atomic war, however necessary that may be. Peace will not be won solely through small meetings and working out “compromises,” although negotiations and compromises are valuable instruments in the fight.
The way to fight for peace is to bring millions of Americans into sharp conflict with the foreign policy of the government. In order to do this, it is necessary to expose the contradictions between these policies and the needs and aspirations of the people.
In recent years, there has been a sharp battle between the concept of an anti-imperialist peace movement and the concept of a peace movement which wants to “win the peace” by winning the cold war. The latter concept has been, for the most part, the one around which the peace movement has operated. Though this may be hotiy denied by some of its leaders and adherents, winning the cold war can be the only goal of a movement which includes the administration as a “factor for peace.” In other words it commits the extreme absurdity of including the war makers themselves in the peace camp. The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, a major component of the peace movement in this country, follows this line and has conducted a relentless anti-communist crusade in and out of its ranks. While there have been notable offshoots from SANE, most important the Women Strike For Peace, the peace movement has not been able to emerge as a class force. It has not been able to win the working class (which in the main goes along with the government’s foreign policy) because, not being anti-imperialist, it cannot link up and explain the harmful consequences of the foreign policies of the ruling class as these policies worsen the conditions of the workers and stand in opposition to the class requirements of the workers. The peace movement has stuck essentially to the question of ending testing. While this is an important issue, it doesn’t deal with the heart of the matter, which is that U.S. imperialism is the source of the war danger in the world.
The objective of revolutionaries would be to move the peace movement to an anti-imperialist position. However, this cannot be accomplished if the “revolutionaries” have the same outlook as the backward sections of the peace movement. Unfortunately, this is the case.
Events around Mme. Nhu’s visit to the U.S. graphically illustrate the disastrous consequences of opportunist peace policies. One would imagine that the visit to our country of a rabid fascist like Mme. Nhu would evoke a storm of protest in the peace movement. This movement, on several occasions, has mustered thousands. Mme. Nhu was then an active partner in the war of extermination going on in south Vietnam. Crimes have been committed against the people by local fascists and the U.S. fascists that would make Hitler dance his favorite jig. Their crimes, and her attitude toward the crimes, made even the hard-bitten State Department blush. More important, there are 16,000 troops at war in Vietnam.
But in New York City, the peace movement could muster only a couple of hundred pickets to greet her. Obviously, several factors were at play. If the leadership of the peace movement feels that the Kennedy-Johnson Administration is really not so bad and is really moving in the direction of peace, and if the recent Test-Ban Treaty is a fundamental breakthrough, then it follows logically that the war in south Vietnam is not of concern in the fight for peace. It’s just a bit “dirty.” After all, it is against bad communists. It’s just that it was led by nasty, inefficient people. If only the Buddhists wouldn’t burn themselves up and if only the U.S. could hurry up and smash the “Viet Cong,” then the awkwardness would be ended. And, after all, the administration would take care of Mme. Nhu.
Secondly, the peace movement is built around the testing issue. Now that “issue” has been removed. “Therefore, we are much closer to peace.” At least that is what Kennedy and Khrushchev told us. But where are we?
Every spokesman in the government who has testified indicated that the treaty not only doesn’t weaken the U.S. military, but on the contrary, freezes its advantages over the Soviet Union. Underground testing has been legalized by the treaty. Now we find out that the poisoning of the atmosphere, which was the whole impetus behind the peace movement and over which even the imperialists shed crocodile tears, will not be ended. The atmosphere will be poisoned anyway by underground testing. “Radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests will continue to plague mankind even after the signing of the treaty.” Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists this month, Sloan-Kettering’s L.D. Hamilton notes that “explosions of enough energy not far enough underground can produce considerable fallout.”
The day the treaty was okayed in Moscow, tests resumed underground. Stockpiling for overkill is being accelerated. More Polaris subs are being built. Since the treaty, West German Nazis are being given more nuclear weapons. After the treaty was signed, General de Gaulle indicated that the French nuclear air force will shortly become operational. After the treaty, Fidel Castro told the world that U.S. provocations were stepped up against Cuba. The U.S. pulled off coups in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. McNamara, returning from south Vietnam after the treaty, said we will guarantee victory over the “Viet Cong.” One can see the progress of the treaty.
Dr. Hans Morganthau, of the University of Chicago Center for the Study of American Foreign Policy, told the 130th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Cleveland, December 28, 1963, that the treaty was “completely inconsequential” in its impact on great world issues.
Morganthau described the treaty as “merely a formal recognition of Western military superiority.”
The principal function that the treaty serves for the Soviet Union, Morganthau said, was a show of the success of Premier Khrushchev’s policies over those of Communist China.
“New negotiations [with the Russians] should be seen in this light,” he said, “rather than as if a general abatement of tensions has occurred; this has not happened.”
The fact is that the treaty makes the threat of war greater than ever. It disarmed the entire peace movement in the United States.
Thousands of people are led to believe that the U.S. is sincerely following a peace line. After all, if Khrushchev says Kennedy was moving towards peace, who are we to argue? Therefore, the peace forces are momentarily demobilized, and are prevented from being won over to an anti-imperialist position.
In the meantime, the U.S. is stepping up its aggressive actions against China. A purpose of the treaty is to further divide the international communist movement. It attempts to create a situation in which China would be isolated if she tested nuclear weapons. (Obviously, the imperialists knew that China would reject this treaty.) Once having isolated China, they could heat up the campaign, aided by the Soviets, that China is a dangerous warmonger, a danger to peace, and therefore, we must destroy China. This would be a conditioning program, all in the name of “peace” of course, to have the American people accept expanded military action in Asia. Implicit in the whole deal is denial of nuclear weapons to China, thus trying to impose a strategic inferiority on her.
Obviously, Chinese possession of nuclear weapons adds strength to the struggle of the people of Asia. When the Chinese gain ownership of nuclear weapons, it will consolidate the struggle for socialism and peace in Asia, just as the Soviet Union’s possession of the bomb strengthened the struggle for socialism and peace in Europe. And this, above all, is what U.S. imperialism seeks to prevent.
Completely abandoning a class position, the Soviet leadership equated giving nuclear arms to China with a presentation of U.S. nuclear arms to neo-Nazi West Germany. Using this false equation, the Khrushchev leadership hypocritically obscured the fact that the U.S. was already giving the West Germans control over nuclear weapons through NATO and the multi-national atomic fleet.
In the October 1963 issue of Political Affairs the CPUSA polemic against the Chinese attacks them for opposing this test-ban treaty. They accuse the Chinese of going against “hundreds of millions of people in all parts of the world,” who hailed the test-ban “as a welcome initial step in the direction of peaceful coexistence.” The CPUSA statement then lumps the Chinese together with Goldwater, De Gaulle and other reactionaries. As a final demonstration of the validity of their line, they call the Chinese “Trotskyites.”
These illogical assertions could simply be dismissed as absurd if they were not the same caricatures of China that the ruling class presents in its press. However, it would be more accurate t0 lump the CPUSA with the Kennedy-Johnson Administration, since in this 20-page diatribe against the Chinese, not one word appears opposing the foreign policy of the administration.
It is impossible to build an anti-imperialist peace movement if you do not have an anti-imperialist line.
The over-riding feature of the growth of socialism in the USSR was its consistent anti-imperialist line. The Soviet Union was a beacon to all workers. In its infancy, relying on the Soviet people, it threw back united imperialist intervention and dared to build socialism; later it bore the brunt of the onslaught of the Nazi war machine, smashed it to bits and turned once more to performing miracles of socialist construction and reconstruction. No words from whatever source can block out this truth. No force on earth can taint this accomplishment. The U.S. imperialists have tried from the earliest days to tar its image in the eyes of the people of the world as a political despotism. Were they really concerned with the Soviet people or did they fear that the example of great accomplishments of the Soviet Union would stir the oppressed peoples and workers of the world to ever greater revolutionary efforts? Those who joined hands in the defamation of the Soviet Union joined hands with imperialism.
While one can point to errors of Stalin and the Soviet leadership in this period, it is generally recognized that there existed a militant revolutionary line. Otherwise, how can one explain how one of the world’s most backward countries rapidly became the second producer nation? How can one account for the emergence of millions of technically and culturally-trained people in a country that had been noted for mass illiteracy? Without this recognition of the correctness of its main line, one is hard Put to understand why the Soviet party and people were feared and hated by the imperialists, for the very reason that the working People and oppressed people of the world revered and loved them.
Their unyielding anti-imperialist line and their generally correct application of Marxism-Leninism made it possible to defeat imperialism time after time, encouraging hundreds of millions to take the road to socialism and freedom.
Along with Browderism the next most serious post-war manifestation of collaboration in the international working class movement was the emergence of Titoism. The basic motive behind the development of Titoism was the apparent strength of imperialism after World War II. The Titoists put forward the proposition, based on a supposedly “changed imperialism,” that there would be a long period of tranquility. They envisaged the development of their own economy, without rapid industrialization, based on long-term credits and imports from the United States. The Yugoslavs advanced the notion that the socialist state is not a new and more advanced type of state; it is not essentially different from a bourgeois state. According to them, the bourgeois state
is characterized by those attributes that belong to the socialist state during the stage of transition from capitalism to socialism.
Under conditions of “gradual and peaceful integration” of capitalism into socialism, according to them, “state capitalism” is the highest phase of imperialism and at the same time, “the first phase of socialism.”
Stalin and the Soviet party met this theoretical clap-trap head on. They re-affirmed that the gradual and peaceful development from an advanced state with a capitalist economy into socialism is a hoax and a rejection of the basic Marxist position that there can be no socialism without the smashing of the state apparatus, replacing it with a new state built on workers’ power.
Revisionism in Yugoslavia was used to penetrate the working class movement with the line of the imperialists. It dove-tailed with the cold war policies of U.S. imperialism directed at world domination. In 1951, Stalin expounded the law of “maximum profits,” in which he clearly defined the objective process governing imperialism’s drive against the peoples of the world.
The main features and requirements of the basic economic law of modern capitalism might be roughly formulated in this way: the securing of the maximum capitalist profit through the exploitation, ruin, and impoverishment of the majority of the population of the given country, through the enslavement and systematic robbery of the peoples of other countries, especially backward countries; and lastly, through war and militarization of the national economy, which are utilized for obtaining the highest profits. It is said that the average profit might nevertheless be regarded as quite sufficient for capitalist development under modern conditions. That is not true. The average profit is the lowest point of profitableness, below which capitalist production becomes impossible. But it would be absurd to think that in seizing colonies, subjugating peoples and engineering wars, the magnates of modern monopoly capitalism are striving to secure only the average profits, or even a super profit which, as a rule, represents only a slight addition to the average profit. It is precisely the maximum profit that is the motor of monopoly capitalism. It is precisely the necessity of securing the maximum profit that drives monopoly capitalism to such risky undertakings as the enslavement and systematic plunder of colonies and other backward countries; the conversion of a number of independent countries into dependent countries; the organization of new wars–which, for magnates of modern capitalism, is the new “business” best adapted to the extraction of maximum profits–and lastly, attempts to win world economic supremacy.
The 20th Party Congress of the Soviet Union was a crystallization of developing revisionist trends. The Congress was used by Khrushchev and his cohorts as a springboard to elaborate a new policy for the world Marxist movement. The dynamite-packed report, which somehow managed to get into the hands of U.S. imperialists, to this day has never been presented to the Soviet people.
But in content and in the manner it was presented this report had nothing in common with a serious Marxist analysis and evaluation of Stalin’s true role. It did not place both his enormous contributions and his serious errors in their historical context, but offered instead a subjective, crude, total negation of a great Marxist-Leninist and proletarian revolutionary. It did not examine the source of Stalin’s errors, many of which were matters of principle and others in the course of practical work. Thus, it was impossible to conclude which were avoidable and which arose from the historical realities of the time and the fact that the young Soviet state was the first proletarian dictatorship in history without experience or precedent to guide it.
This is not to say that Stalin’s errors were not serious and without severe consequences. A heavy price is being paid both within the Soviet Union and in the international working class movement for errors contrary to socialist principles.
In the matter of Party and government organization, Stalin did not apply proletarian democratic centralism. He was guilty of abrogating it. There was a great development of centralism without the absolutely essential corresponding growth of proletarian democracy. This fostered a growth of bureaucracy which often resulted in reliance on administrative “diktat” rather than the participation of the party membership and people in making and carrying out policy. Such a one-sided development created the conditions for the growth of privilege among administrative cadre and a weakening of the concept of “serving the people” as the highest reward of a Communist. This had the effect of impairing the ties of Stalin and the Party with the people.
Stalin also erred in confusing two types of contradictions which are different in nature. Thus, he did not differentiate between contradictions involving the Party and the people on the one hand and the enemy on the other, and contradictions within the Party and among the people. Consequently, he did not employ different methods in handling these different types of contradictions. Stalin was right to suppress the counter-revolutionaries. If he had not, he would have been derelict in his defense of the Soviet State. Thus, many counter-revolutionaries deserving punishment were duly punished. But, because contradictions within the Party and among the people were not recognized as something totally different, something natural and even essential to the Party’s theoretical growth and development, no Communist method of principled inner-Party struggle, proceeding from unity through struggle to a higher unity, was developed. Many innocent people, or people with differences which could have been worked out in the course of principled ideological struggle, were wrongly killed. Moreover, such a failure to differentiate between these two different types of contradictions and to handle them correctly created an atmosphere which stifled inner-Party debate, inquiry and exchange. This is detrimental to the training and development of Marxist cadre and collective leadership. It has the further negative aspect of encouraging the learning of Marxism by rote rather than through political and intellectual struggle, which is the only kind of learning that endures. This error contributed to a low level of theoretical training and consciousness on the part of many in the Soviet Union, which makes it possible for the present Soviet leadership to go so far along the path of revisionism.
The one-sided emphasis on centralism as practiced in the Soviet Union under Stalin had its counterpart, to a degree, in the relations of Stalin and the Soviet Party with brother parties. This resulted in distortion of true proletarian internationalism which demands the full and equal participation of all parties, large or small, in the making of policy. It is one of the ironies of the current situation that a number of the fraternal parties which un-questioningly acceded to Stalin are in the main blindly following Khrushchev in a disastrous collaborationist line today. Thus, it can be seen that Stalin’s errors and their sources are not being seriously studied and corrected, but are only being opportunistically used. Stalin’s contributions, which an over-all historical evaluation of his life demonstrate to be primary, are being thrown out. His grievous errors are being perpetuated.
The crude, public attack on the Albanian Party at the 22nd Congress, CPSU (in which Khrushchev openly called for a change in the Party’s leadership), and China’s exposure of the economic pressure brought to bear upon her as a “persuader” in the ideological dispute, make clear that the present Soviet leadership has not learned the lesson of non-interference in the internal affairs of other parties or the true meaning of proletarian internationalism.
Under the pretext of “combatting the cult of personality” Stalin is ground into the dirt and Khrushchev lauded to the skies. Stalin is “exposed” but no one explains the role of the exposers who themselves participated in the leadership of the Party and the state during Stalin’s period. On what basis do Khrushchev and others repudiate responsibility for all errors during this period and shift the blame solely on to Stalin while taking all credit to themselves? Has one of them shown himself capable of self-criticism? If so, it is a carefully guarded “top secret.”
In initiating and repeating their violent attacks upon Stalin, the present leadership of the CPSU sought to undermine the influence of this proletarian revolutionary among the people of the Soviet Union and throughout the world. In this way, they prepared the ground for negating Marxism-Leninism, which Stalin defended and developed, in order to introduce their own revisionist line.
Corresponding to this internal development, has been the step-by-step abandonment of a Marxist-Leninist position on imperialism. From the generally correct estimate that the forces of peace, freedom and socialism were stronger than the forces of imperialism and war, Khrushchev drew a series of wrong conclusions. He imagined that imperialism would draw proper conclusions from this changing relationship of forces and learn to live with socialism. The idea was fostered that there were now sober “enlightened” capitalists who wouldn’t resort to war to promote their interests. This deduction was based on the concept that nuclear weapons have become so devastating that the imperialists too, could be destroyed, and therefore would refrain from war. Also, embodied in his position was the fear that local wars, however limited, could be the spark that would ignite a nuclear war.
Therefore, Khrushchev says, “local wars in our time are very dangerous ... we will work very hard to put out the sparks that may set off the flames of war.” This position is confirmed in Khrushchev’s message of January 3, 1964 to all heads of states and governments, which said “one cannot fail to reckon with the fact that wars that begin with the use of conventional weapons, in our time, may grow into a world war with the use of thermonuclear weapons.” This “theory” of Khrushchev’s would have maintained the Cuban people, the Algerian people, and the people of south Vietnam in chains forever.
This in effect, whatever words to the contrary, rules out consistent support of wars of liberation, because any war, just or unjust, could ignite atomic war.
The principle of peaceful coexistence determines the general line of the CPSU and other Marxist-Leninist parties.
This concept means that Marxist-Leninists in the oppressed nations must take a position of co-existing with their oppressors rather than defeating them in revolutionary struggle. Thus, Khrushchev put forward a one-sided position on peaceful coexistence, rather than maintaining the central theory of Leninism, which is the continuous revolutionary process.
Khrushchev’s conception of the non-inevitability of war is separated from the material economic contradictions confronting capitalism and rests on the idealist subjective notion that certain “reasonable capitalists now recognize the danger inherent in all wars and reject war as a means of solving their contradictions.” On January 3, 1964, Khrushchev said “no one except madmen, except political figures blinded by hatred, can resign themselves to such a prospect.”
Lenin’s teaching that imperialism is the period of wars and revolutions, or Stalin’s analysis of what is the motor force (maximum profits) of imperialism today are ignored. The effects of inevitable capitalist crisis are passed over, and the questions of Fascism, and its relationship to imperialist decline, are disregarded. The possibility of preventive war is also overlooked. Indeed, a rosy picture is painted of capitalist intelligence and good will, a very dubious foundation for the basis of a Leninist policy. Khrushchev pictures the U.S. government and its head as resisting the forces of war, and not as representatives of the imperialist forces of war. He includes them in the peace camp in spite of the fact that the 1955 twelve-party statement, and the 1960 statement of the Workers’ Parties, clearly stated “U.S. imperialism is the main force of aggression and war.”
Khrushchev has praised Eisenhower, “as one who has a sincere desire for peace,” and who “also worries about insuring peace just as we do.” He praised Kennedy, as one who showed “solicitude for the preservation of peace and who worked to create reliable conditions for a peaceful life and creative labor on earth.” As early as the 20th Party Congress he indicated he saw that “symptoms of a sobering up are appearing.”
Finally, Khrushchev nowhere deals with war as an extension of politics. His non-inevitability of war thesis does not come from a policy of weakening and smashing imperialism; it is not based on the acceleration of the fight against colonialism and neocolonialism; and it does not include the concept of workers in the capitalist countries moving towards smashing the capitalist state and establishing their own power. Khrushchev sees the solution of all international contradictions between imperialism and the socialist anti-colonial camp in the cooperation between the U.S. and the USSR.
Gromyko, in a speech to the Supreme Soviet, on Dec. 13, 1962, said:
... if there is agreement between N. S. Khrushchev, the head of the Soviet government and John Kennedy, the President of the United States, there will be a solution of international problems on which mankind’s destiny depends.
Khrushchev himself underscores this, saying:
We (U.S.-U.S.S.R.) are the strongest countries in the world and if we unite for peace there can be no war. Then if any madman wanted war, we’d but have to shake our fingers to ward him off.
The inevitable struggle between two systems must be made to take the path exclusively of a struggle of ideas.
Obviously the exclusive battle of “ideas” is in complete contradiction with the Marxist interpretation of the class struggle.
Two other revisionist ideas advanced at the 20th Congress and carried forward to this day were a one-sided placing of the possibilities of a peaceful transition to socialism and a non-class attitude to bourgeois nationalist leaders in governments. In his report to the 20th Party Congress, under the pretext that “radical changes” had taken place in the world situation, Khrushchev expounded the “theory” of peaceful transition. He said that the road of the October Revolution was “the only correct road in those historical conditions,” but that as the situation has changed, it has become possible to effect socialism “through the parliamentary road.” This is a clear rejection of Lenin’s teaching on State and Revolution which thus far has been confirmed in all revolutionary experience.
The second proposition in effect abandoned the class approach to bourgeois nationalist leaders and governments. It does not judge them on the basis of whether their policies support the overall anti-imperialist struggle and is generally in the interest of the peoples. It advocates the unprincipled power politics approach of the bourgeoisie, namely trying to woo them by “aid” and diplomatic maneuvering. A glaring example is the unprincipled “aid” to India.
In succeeding years the bitter fruits of Soviet policy have begun to ripen. What might have been useful and legitimate criticism of Stalin and the Soviet leadership, from which the whole international movement could have learned, instead was converted into an assault on the very heart of Marxism-Leninism. Many communist parties all over the world, in the name of the 20th and 22nd Congresses, have now disavowed the concept of workers’ rule. In its place has sprung up non-Marxist-Leninist ideas of reform, wherein a multi-class government, including the ruling class, could shift into socialism.
Gus Hall wrote:
The state must enter into the realm of our economic developments. But it must be made to do so in partnership with the people, curb the power of the monopolies and not to add to their powers ... the trade unions and the public should be democratically represented in the management of these institutions. But this development puts the necessity to have a state where the working class and the common people have the dominant influence. Such a state can then proceed from private ownership of the means of production to the social ownership of the means of production.
Hall disassociates himself from Lenin’s concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat by calling people “dogmatists” who call for “militant revolutionary actions ... the dictatorship of the proletariat, and smashing the bourgeois state.” Hall claims that advancing these ideas would “separate us” from other Americans.
According to the Italian Communist Party
it is possible to break up and abolish monopoly ownership of the major productive forces, and transform it into collective ownership . . . through nationalization.
At the tenth Congress of the Italian Communist Party, Togliatti, in his address, presented the notion that the state in an imperialist country is a vehicle for revolutionary progress. He said:
... In this lies the value of reforms of the economic structure, nationalizations, and attempts at state planning and programs. It is right for us, too, to encourage the state to take this course, provided that democracy is developed at the same time, not merely in the traditional form of public debate, but in the form of democratic control and leadership organs, such as to enable the working class and the workers of all categories to intervene to make of state intervention an instrument of struggle against the powers of monopoly capital, and to deal a blow, limit and break down the domination of large monopoly groups. It is possible thus, to open up the prospect of a new type democracy, of a renewed democracy. . . .
Failing to accept Lenin’s concept that imperialism is “moribund, dying capitalism,” and that in its final stages the imperialists’ grip on the state structure becomes more intense, not less intense, Togliatti then calls for
... starting from the present state structure, on the ground of the democratic organization in which the masses participate today, and imposing deep reforms of structure, to develop such a movement and to reach such results as to modify the present power bloc and create the conditions for the formation of another bloc, in which the working people participate. . . .
These ideas completely reject Lenin’s thesis that the bourgeois state must not be reformed, but destroyed, and that the workers must not share in power but be in power as the dictatorship of the proletariat. Considering the reality of modern politics, Togliatti’s ideas are more likely to lead to the corporate state than to socialism.
By creating illusions about the national bourgeoisie of various countries, communist parties within these countries have abandoned an independent and revolutionary perspective. As a result of policies which lose sight of the class nature of the national leaders, parties have been almost wiped out or sections of them have been won over to the ruling class. The Iraqi experience and the betrayal of a section of the Indian Communist Party are examples.
An example of the depths to which a supposed communist leadership can sink is given by S.A. Dange and his group, which presently dominate the national leadership of the Indian Communist Party. The New Age, official Communist Party weekly, on November 1962, carried a banner headline and a statement of the National Council of the Communist Party of India, which for sheer jingoism, give the Hearst press a good run for the money. The headline reads: UNITE TO DEFEND MOTHERLAND AGAINST CHINA’S OPEN AGGRESSION. A typical example of the statement:
... The Communist Party joins hands with all our patriotic people who stand behind the Prime Minister’s stirring appeal for national unity in defense of the country. The National Council pays its humble tribute to the remarkable heroism of our soldiers in the face of extreme odds. . . The last few weeks have seen an unprecedented upsurge of our people against Chinese aggression. . . The Communist Party of India is not opposed to buying arms from any country...
Compare this with the testimony of Gen. Maxwell Taylor, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was testifying at a secret Congressional hearing. As released by the committee, Taylor told the congressmen, “that India might have started the border fight with China.” Rep. Robert L. F. Sikes (Dem.-Fla.) said, “Let me talk about Red China and the Indian operation. Did the Indians actually start this military operation?”
“They were edging forward in the disputed area,” replied Gen. Taylor. “Yes Sir.”
Worse than this we have the situation where the CPSU supplies the Indian ruling class with weapons to fight and kill workers and peasants of socialist China. In the Congo, where the people fight for freedom, we witness the Soviet Union voting for a resolution in the U.N. July 13th, 1960 which legalized U.S. penetration of the Congo under the cover of the U.N.
This led to the murder of Patrice Lumumba and the subsequent imprisonment of Antoine Gizenga. Neo-colonialism was imposed on the backs of the Congolese people. The Soviet position on the Congo showed a total lack of understanding of the class composition of the U.N. and its continued domination by the United States. It is an example of how Soviet moves have, in fact, Placed obstacles in the path of liberation.
This line is in essence one which builds up illusions about imperialism and results in disarming the masses and diverting them from consistent class struggle to wipe out imperialism.
The fact is that in the past several years the imperialists have been able to check the movement for socialism-they have been able to use the incorrect line of the Soviet leaders to split the international movement, and have stepped up their counter-revolutionary activities.
All renegades from Marxism-Leninism have found in the Khrushchev line a confirmation of their own opportunism. Earl Browder, in a recent interview with the FBI said:
Khrushchev occupies today a position on the big issues in the world that I occupied in 1945. When the Chinese accuse him of revisionism they are merely echoing and elaborating the arguments used against me when I was thrown out of the movement.
Tito, attending a meeting of the Supreme Soviet, Dec. 12, 1962 hailed Khrushchev and said that he
had followed it with close attentiveness, and that he was generally in agreement with what Nikita Sergeyevich had said concerning the relations between our two countries . . . that our views on the major international issues are identical or nearly so. . .
What imperialism fears most is revolution. Revolution deprives them of profitable areas of exploitation, areas of essential resources and strategic areas for military aggression. Revolution weakens imperialism, although in its fury to repel revolution it may appear strong. One of the most debilitating features of the Soviet line is that it weakens the will to revolution. Hence, the warnings to go slow, “examine the parliamentary process” and depend on Soviet economic supremacy to topple capitalism by example, winning bourgeois nationalists by buying them off with “aid.”
Peaceful co-existence alone is the best and sole acceptable way to solve vitally important problems confronting society.
And in the program of the CPSU 22nd Congress there appears the remarkable statement:
... when the Soviet people enjoy the blessings of communism, new hundreds of millions of people on earth will say, “we are for communism.” ... the question at issue today is: which system will give the peoples more material goods and spiritual values . . . it is precisely in this field, I think, that the hardest battles between socialism and capitalism will be fought.
Instead of supporting a revolutionary line, the revisionists seek to integrate the socialist and capitalist systems. In an interview with Drew Pearson, Tito said, “Economic and political integration is our perspective.” Winding up discussions at the international forum of Marxist scientists in Moscow on problems of modern capitalism, a report printed in Tass Sept. 3, 1962 quoted A. Arzumanian as saying, among other things:
Now at the third stage of the general crisis of capitalism, state ownership cannot be considered an ordinary reform. It is connected with the revolutionary struggle to do away with the monopolies, to overthrow the rule of the financial oligarchies. . . . The state ownership of industries and of banks is now becoming the slogan of the anti-monopolist coalition.
What difference can there be between this notion and the proposition put forward by the Titoists who say:
The specific form of state capitalist relations can be ... the first steps towards socialism ... the ever-growing wave of state capitalist tendencies in the capitalist world is the most eloquent proof of the fact that mankind is heading more and more in an irresistible manner towards the epoch of socialism.
Thus the opportunists tell us the way to socialism is to unite (integrate) capitalism and socialism, “politically and economically” with the state apparatus of imperialism in the vanguard.
Despite revisionism, the past 42 years have witnessed unabated revolution, always under the most difficult circumstances, always confronted by the seemingly impossible. The following events and revolutions demonstrate that when people were organized around a correct line they have been, and can be, victorious. They have shown that they can take everything the imperialists hurl at them and defeat them. They dared to fight back. What is more, they dared to win. Some of the most important examples are:
1. the Russian Revolution;
2. the consolidation of the revolution and the achievement of the first five-year plan;
3. the defeat of Nazism;
4. the reconstruction of the Soviet economy in record-breaking time after World War II;
5. the Chinese Revolution;
6. the defeat of U.S. imperialism in Korea;
7. the defeat of French imperialism in Indo-China;
8. the Cuban Revolution;
9. the Algerian Revolution;
10. the war for freedom in south Vietnam.
All these efforts have won despite the most resolute efforts of imperialism. In the case of Korea, the Koreans and Chinese volunteers won in the face of threatened atomic warfare.
If the international movement were united around a policy of class struggle, it would be an invincible force. Collaboration and accommodation never satisfied the appetite of imperialism. It always grabs for more. The louder some people begged Hitler for mercy, the less they got-the more he took. U.S. imperialism has been engaged in armed conflict since the end of the Second World War. The only thing that slows it down is when it is met by fierce resistance. Does anyone seriously think that the United States would have stopped at the Chinese border in Korea if it had not been turned back by the Chinese volunteers? Does anyone believe that imperialism would not have taken over Hungary and Eastern Europe if the Khrushchev leadership had not pulled itself together under the advice and pressure of the Chinese Party and other communists, and responded to the requests of Hungarian revolutionaries to help crush the counter-revolution? Does anyone think that the U.S. ruling class would have refrained from open invasion of Cuba if the Cubans had not made it clear that they were ready to defend socialism to the last man and woman?
Peace was imposed in those areas only because the revolutionary will of the people was the highest. Often, in order to have peace and freedom you must wage revolutionary war. The history of our country will tell us that.
Experience has shown that accommodation never leads to freedom, nor in the long run to peace. The advent of atomic weapons does not change this truth.
Not only has revolution been successful in this period, but it has for the first time in history made it possible to contemplate peaceful existence. If it is now possible to even speak of preventing nuclear war, it is wholly due to the success of revolutionary struggles. Will the fight for peace be accelerated by slowing down the revolutionary process or vice-versa? Co-existence then, must be imposed on a ruthless imperialism by the force of strength and battle.
It would be a disastrous blow to our own efforts if the freedom movements around the world were slowed down, halted, or crushed. It was the success of these movements which helped spark the militant and inherently revolutionary battle of the Negro people. Socialist revolutions and national liberation movements in other countries act to weaken imperialism at home, because it is the monopolies’ power here which oppresses workers in other lands. Their weakening can only assist the workers here. What is more, revolutions elsewhere act as an example to the workers here, enabling them to learn the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism.
The slogan “workers of all countries unite,” is not a meaningless platitude, but the heart and soul of a revolutionary outlook. U.S. imperialism must be defeated. If the “paper tiger” has nuclear teeth, it is not for us to recoil, but to recognize it as the fact, and develop the means to pull them.
U.S. imperialism is faced with overwhelming contradictions. Some of them are:
1. between the U.S. imperialists and the USSR (which will continue despite the line the present leadership follows);
2. between U.S. imperialism and the oppressed peoples;
3. between U.S. imperialism and China;
4. between U.S. imperialism and other capitalist countries; 5. between U.S. imperialism and the people of our own country.
U.S. imperialism is becoming more and more isolated from all people. Despite attempts of the ruling class and its ideological puppets to create illusions among the masses, more and more people, including our own, are learning from bitter experience the true nature of imperialism. U.S. imperialists more and more often find that there is a great gap between what they desire and what they are capable of achieving. The overwhelming majority of the peoples of the world are opposed to imperialism. They could probably prevent war if united in a world-wide anti-imperialist front. But can anyone guarantee that the imperialists will never launch a war even if the people do all in their power to prevent it? The answer is no. Only by pointing to both possibilities, pursuing correct policies, and preparing for both eventualities, can we best organize the people to wage battles in defense of world peace.
But capitulation to imperialism only accelerates the war danger. The more imperialism is weakened, the less chance for war.
All serious Marxist-Leninists are ready, willing and able to utilize every form of struggle to prevent a nuclear war. This includes negotiations, concessions that do not betray peoples’ basic interests. We recognize the devastating power of atomic weapons, but to show demobilizing fear in the face of them, emboldens even the most “reasonable” U.S. imperialists. Revolutionaries seek the banning and destruction of all nuclear weapons. They reject the approach which makes testing of nuclear weapons the center of the struggle for the peace movement, and above all, they reject illusions about the partial test-ban treaty.
No matter to what degree the Soviet leaders placate U.S. imperialism, the material reality of the contradiction between them persists. The Soviet Union is the second largest producer in the world. As such, it is both a market and a source of competition with which imperialism must deal. If the Soviet leadership feels that it is buying absolution with its present line, it is only deceiving itself. It has forgotten the basic laws governing imperialism. The U.S. is setting the Soviet Union up for the kill. German rearmament, including nuclear weapons, grows unabated. Imperialism continues to aim its nuclear arsenal at the heart of the Soviet Union. U.S. imperialism is moving to dominate the newly liberated countries and areas of anti-colonial struggle, as well as to control its western allies. This is all preparatory to dealing with its main target, the Soviet Union.
Marxist-Leninists must arouse the heroic Soviet people to the plans of imperialism. To equate the Soviet Union with the imperialists would be a bad mistake. The Soviet people fought for and won socialism. The Soviet people will in time defeat the wrong line of its present leadership.
The colonial and national liberation movements threaten the life-line of imperialism. They lessen its ability to amass maximum profits, making the imperialist economy less stable. Hundreds of millions of people are now embroiled in a life and death struggle with imperialism. The imperialists have to spend vast energies to cope with these dynamic movements. The threat of atomic weapons holds little fear to people who have been experiencing a living death all their lives. If the imperialists were to use atomic arms against any of these people, it would bring the wrath of the peoples of the world against them, and would expose forever, their “new look” cultivated for “neo-colonial” ends–of being for “freedom, national independence, self-determination,” etc., etc.
Mass revolutionary action is what will decide the fate of these peoples, and to a great extent, the fate of imperialism.
The experience of the Congo and other colonial areas, has taught oppressed people that the imperialists will fight tooth and nail to preserve colonialism. The imperialists are learning to develop new forms to maintain old ways. Neo-colonialism is the form through which the imperialists maintain economic domination of an area by “indirect” political control. For this, the United Nations, the impartial “socialist” Yugoslavia, and peace-minded India are invaluable. These forces combined with the U.S. in the Congo to cheat the Congolese people of their freedom.
Neo-colonialism is at the heart of the foundation of Malaysia, where the British have been able to exploit divisions of the people to maintain their economic and political control.
In the final analysis, when all this hocus-pocus fails, U.S. imperialism will resort to naked force, as in south Vietnam.
The Negro people of our country, who are waging a decisive battle for democratic rights and national liberation, are becoming increasingly familiar with the two level strategy of neo-colonialism. More and more they see that they will never win their full freedom under imperialism. The character of their struggle will lead them increasingly into direct conflict with the state apparatus. And just as the revolutionary struggles of one group of workers tends to spur others on, so will the Negro liberation movement weaken the imperialists, thereby assisting the white workers in their struggle. This will in time lay the basis for a genuine alliance against the common enemy, especially when the white workers are forced to resist the white ruling class, which is increasing their exploitation.
The liberation movements, far from acting as a force to ignite or spread war, are a key force for peace. The Negro freedom movement in our country can also be a decisive force for peace, can weaken the grip of the imperialists on other peoples. Would anyone who considers himself a revolutionary in our country ask the Negro to go slow, because U.S. imperialism might be provoked? We say full speed ahead–we support the national liberation struggles of the peoples of the world including the Negro people. Then–victories bring us closer to peace and freedom.
Modern revisionists say that almost all oppressed people are now free. Therefore, don’t rock the boat. Those 50 millions or so who are still in chains, will eventually be free. The Chinese Communist Party views neo-colonialism as oppression and sees the national liberation movements as decisive. They say:
The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are now concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm centers of world revolution, dealing direct blows at imperialism.
The national democratic revolutionary movement in these areas and the international revolutionary movements are the two great historical currents of our time.
The national democratic revolutionary struggle of the peoples of these areas is an important component of the contemporary proletarian world revolution.
The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles of the people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are pounding and undermining the foundations and the rule of imperialism and colonialism, old and new, and are now a mighty force in defense of world peace.
In a sense, therefore, the whole cause of the international revolutionary movement hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggle of the people of these areas, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.
Therefore, the anti-imperialist struggle of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America is definitely not merely a matter of regional significance, but one of overall importance for the whole cause of proletarian world revolution.
The general economic recovery of western Europe following World War II has made it possible for western European capitalists to intensify their resistance to U.S. control. No longer are they willing to blindly follow the economic and political dictation of their U.S. masters. This has been dramatically driven home by the differences of opinion between De Gaulle’s concept of a united Europe with a Common Market, and the version of the United States and Great Britain. The Atlantic Alliance has been greatly weakened by the failure of the United States’ European “partners” to fulfill their end of the bargain in NATO. Within the past year, almost all of western Europe has refused to go along with U.S. ideas about trade with socialist countries. Recently, Great Britain, the most trusted, has dared to enter into trade relations with Cuba. The French have the audacity to enter into independent relations with China. Germany, the bulwark of NATO, often appears to be subservient to U.S. interests, but in fact, is jockeying for its own interests, and ultimately for control of Europe. Within Europe itself, there are deep-seated hostilities and fears. These divisions will not be reconciled, especially as the fight for markets is increased. The continued loss of markets, due to revolution, undermines all imperialist relations and spells imperialism’s doom.
The great debate, now taking place between two trends–revolutionary struggle or revisionist opportunism–in the international Marxist movement did not spring up overnight. It has been a number of years in the making. Throughout the world Marxist-Leninists, both inside and outside of the official communist parties, were becoming increasingly aware that on the international as well as national scenes, the underlying philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, dialectical materialism, was, in the practice of the present Soviet leadership and those who followed it blindly, being superseded by opportunistic pragmatism. The concept of the Marxist vanguard was fast turning into its opposite–timid “tailism.” Class struggle, the dynamo of social change, was more and more being discarded for class collaboration under the general catch-all phrase “peaceful co-existence.”
In the CPUSA those with a will to struggle found no means or ideological leadership for it. On the contrary, every move to introduce a fighting vanguard policy was met with contemptuous rebuff. When the Chinese Communist Party began to provide political and ideological leadership for the world Marxist movement, it was warmly welcomed by true Marxist-Leninists, because it accurately generalized and confirmed their own experiences.
From the moment the Soviet leadership embarked on a path of opportunism, the Chinese Communist Party took the initiative to fight for a correct line. As early as 1956, in two articles on the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, it counteracted the gross distortions of Khrushchev’s evaluation of Stalin and placed his serious errors in perspective. It upheld the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and reaffirmed the class nature of every state, and the bourgeois state as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. It reiterated the basic Marxist truth that only revolutionary class struggle could achieve state power for the workers, that the oppressed peoples of the world must conduct revolutionary struggles for freedom and social progress, and that these two struggles support each other, weaken imperialism and are the path to peace and socialism. It holds not that war is inevitable, but that the only chance for preserving peace lies in exposing and opposing imperialism. It firmly maintains that the general line of foreign policy for the socialist countries cannot be “co-existence” but the strengthening of the unity and the power of the socialist camp and the strengthening of the unity of the world communist movement around the revolutionary line.
The Chinese position on peaceful co-existence, on war and peace, and on negotiations, has been shamelessly distorted by many communist parties. Some have been unscrupulous enough to say the Chinese would welcome and are trying to provoke world nuclear war as a swift path to revolution. Even those who say this know it is the “big lie.” It is no accident that the imperialists use these distortions word for word to help whip up anti-Chinese and general anti-communist prejudices. In an article the Chinese said:
We hold that the oppressed peoples and nations can achieve liberation only by their own resolute revolutionary struggle and that no one else can do it for them.
We have always maintained that socialist countries must not use nuclear weapons to support the peoples’ war of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars, and have no need to do so.
We have always maintained that the socialist countries must achieve and maintain nuclear superiority. Only this can prevent the imperialists from launching nuclear war and help bring about the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.
We consistently hold that in the hands of a socialist country nuclear weapons must always be defense weapons for resisting imperialist nuclear threats. A socialist country must absolutely not be the first to use nuclear weapons nor should it, under any circumstance, play with them or engage in nuclear blackmail and nuclear gambling. The fact is that when the leaders of the CPSU brandished their nuclear weapons, it was not really to support the people’s anti-imperialist struggles.
Sometimes, in order to gain cheap prestige they just publish empty statements which they never intend to honor.
At other times, during the Caribbean crisis for instance, they engaged in speculative, opportunistic, irresponsible nuclear gambling for ulterior motives.
As soon as their nuclear blackmail is seen through and countered in kind, they retreat one step after another, switch from adventurism to capitulation and lose all by their nuclear gambling.
The masses of the world are well aware of the Chinese position on relations between states with different social systems. They practice “the five principles of co-existence.” China’s role at the 1955 Bandung Conference is well-known. The world is familiar with the fact that the Chinese negotiated for a long period with the United States in Korea. It is well aware of China’s participation in the 1954 Geneva negotiations on Indo-China, and again in the 1961-1962 negotiations on the neutralization of Laos. The Chinese demand for a complete and universal ban on the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and the destruction of present stockpiles, is a forthright position making it difficult for imperialist demagogy. Important, too, are China’s achievements in reaching negotiated border settlements (Burma, Nepal, Pakistan) as well as her firmness in repelling attacks on her rights and sovereignty. The Korean battle prevented imperialism from unleashing a full-scale war in Asia. The Indian border counter-action, disabused, at least for the time being, the U.S.-inspired invasion of China by the Nehru government. These demonstrations of determination and strength are important in the fight for peace. Nor are people unaware of the great restraint China has shown about the occupation of Taiwan, and the continued use of this and other areas by the United States to provoke and plan aggression against China. China has been capable of the widest range of tactics to preserve peace and support revolutionary struggle in Asia. This is a tribute to her skill, firmness, and patience in the face of constant pressures.
It is true that the Chinese are conducting a vigorous struggle for Marxism-Leninism in the international movement, but only after and because the Soviet leaders opened the assault on Marx-ism-Leninism. Is this inconsistent with the concept of maintaining unity in the international movement? We say no. Nothing would be more disastrous than the unity of the socialist camp against world revolution. The Chinese have made great efforts to prevent the splitting of the international movement. At the beginning, their position was not put forward as a drive against the Khrushchev leadership of the international movement, but as an effort to persuade those who had departed from Marxist-Leninist ideas. In this way, they hoped to curb, and eventually defeat, the revisionist line taking shape.
For a time, this policy showed results. The shift of the Soviet position in regard to Tito, after the ’55 reconciliation, was an example. The statements of ’57 and ’60 were others. The general effect was to compel the Soviet leaders to acknowledge revisionism as the main danger in the international movement, and Tito its main practitioner. However, this victory ultimately became a paper victory.
The 1960 Moscow statement of the 81 parties said:
The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of international opportunism, a variety of modern revisionist theories in concentrated form. After betraying Marxism-Leninism which they termed obsolete, the leaders of the League of Yugoslav Communists opposed their own anti-Leninist revisionist program in the Declaration of 1957; they set the League of Communists of Yugoslavia against the international communist movement as a whole.
All the world is able to view the Soviet leadership’s unprincipled, unexplained flip-flop on Tito. Articles in the Christian Science Monitor twit the Soviet leaders:
In 1958, the major part of the Premier’s address was directed against the Yugoslavs, who ten months earlier, had refused to sign the Moscow Declaration of the World Communist parties, and in May had come out with a “revisionist” program of their own. In 1958, Mr. Khrushchev tore into the Yugoslav communists for having collectivized only about 2 percent of their farmsteads.
An article by Eric Bourne said:
... rapprochement between the heretical Yugoslavs and the Soviets has certainly gone further now than at any time since the patching-up in 1955. It is now nearly two years since Yugoslav foreign secretary Koca Popvic found on a Moscow visit that the Soviet and Yugoslav foreign policies were either identical or similar on most major East-West controversies . . . but he did get a firmer than ever confirmation that Yugoslavia is a “socialist state” . . . the Soviet leader also wrote off that part of the 1960 Moscow Declaration which dubbed revisionism (Titoism) the main enemy of the communist movement and inscribed in its place the dogmatism of his rivals in Peking.
If the Chinese were narrow nationalists or mere opportunists, they could have allowed revisionism to go unchallenged. In an immediate and narrow sense, China’s challenge to opportunism has been extremely costly to her. The Soviet Union, exerting economic pressure to “solve” ideological differences, terminated aid to China and tore up trade agreements between the two countries.
The Chinese have moved to open and sharp struggle with the Soviet leadership because they recognize that Khrushchev’s policies are rapidly undermining the stability and revolutionary potential of the international movement. They are aware that a disarmed movement is an open invitation to the imperialists to intensify oppression and aggression against all people. In a short time, as previously indicated, we have seen the tragic decimation and disintegration of parties and movements that have followed the Soviet line. This will only be a shadow of events if that line prevails. The Chinese Communist Party has helped other communists to see things for what they are. This is a profound contribution to proletarian internationalism.
Building a revolutionary party in our country could be decisive in the fight for peace and socialism. It has been proven that revolutionary changes do not occur without political organization. If U.S. imperialism is the main enemy of the people of our country and the people of the world, then it can only be defeated by a vanguard party, capable of leading millions directly.
The ruling class is well aware of the potential of such a development and has, over the years, exerted great effort to prevent it. One could say that the defeat of revolutionary ideology and organization is a major internal objective of U.S. imperialism.
It is true that U.S. imperialism is the most powerful ruling group in the world, and to build a vanguard within its very “citadel” appears once more to be doing the impossible. However, U.S. communists have a great deal in their favor.
There is a growing level of revolutionary experience and understanding in the world.
The victory of socialism in Cuba–the combination of flexibility and adherence to a consistent anti-imperialist policy–characterizes socialism in that nation. This, combined with Cuba’s closeness to the U.S., makes socialism more understandable to broader sections of our people. Ever growing sections of our people are coming into conflict at various levels with the ruling class. The Negro liberation movement is quickly moving to new levels of battle.
We are part of the world-wide anti-imperialist front that is taking shape. This makes us and our allies–the people fighting for national liberation and progress, the workers throughout the world, a majority, as compared to U.S. imperialism with its handful of supporters. This is not “pipe dream” talk, but an important reality bearing on our daily activities.
The experience of our predecessors is two-sided. On the one hand there are negative features which we expose, criticize, and reject. But we are not interested in exposure per se–but in studying the source of the errors and not repeating them. On the other hand, the communist movement in our country in its militant days created a legacy of dedicated and courageous struggle. There is a residue of positive feeling for communists among sections of the people which can be reactivated by a principled, fighting vanguard. Young radicals can learn from and emulate the devotion to the working class and socialism of such outstanding communists as William Z. Foster.
The defeat of revisionism on a world basis will be a decisive ideological victory of the working class leading to the defeat of imperialism.
An effective movement in our country demands the understanding of Lenin’s theory of the state. Lack of clarity on this basic point has been the main stumbling-block to the movement over the years. Every state, with all its government forms and institutions, is an instrument of the ruling class. Only under fully-developed communism where classes have completely disappeared will the state disappear.
In an imperialist country like ours, the state is the political arm and high command of the ruling class no matter what “administration” represents it any given time, and no matter whether that administration’s tactics are “democratic” or violent–or both. We have in the U.S. a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. This state apparatus must be swept aside and a new state built reflecting only |he aspirations of the workers and their allies. This new state must be a dictatorship of the working class, in order to prevent counter-evolution by the displaced class and other elements hostile to the new workers’ state.
It is not written in the stars that a privileged ruling class must hold power. This country was born in revolution, and Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Nat Turner and many others confirmed our right to revolution. A vanguard must fight for the right to revolution as being in the best interests of the American people. Here, where there is much prattle about “freedom,” it is forgotten that those who lose the right of basic change can never be free.
We envision no easy transition to socialism. We say those who promote the notion of voting socialism into existence create illusions. We say that those forces who see an evolutionary path to socialism based on an accumulation of reforms–the last reform toppling us into socialism–live in a dream world. Despite all the hoopla, any serious examination of the reform movement in this period shows no significant gains, despite militant activities in some sectors. The white workers and the Negro people are losing ground. At this moment when thousands of our people are fighting merely for reforms, they are often met by ruling class violence. The miners in Kentucky, the integrationists North and South are but two examples. What would be the response of the ruling class to revolutionary demands? Violence is inherent in capitalism. The more advanced and deeper its fatal contradictions, the greater its violence as it fights against being forced off the stage of history.
Communists do not advocate violence. But they must, in all responsibility, warn the people of the actual character of imperialism, and alert them to what can be expected as the conflict sharpens. We say that the people must be able to defend themselves and their progressive achievements from ruling class terror. Not to do this is not to be revolutionary, to be afraid of the consequences of fighting imperialism. Naturally, communists would welcome a peaceful transition to socialism, and do all in their power to compel the ruling class to surrender peacefully. However, to date, nothing indicates that the U.S. imperialists would even remotely contemplate this eventuality under any set of circumstances. As a matter of fact, U.S. imperialism is becoming one of the most destructive ruling classes in the history of mankind.
The U.S. is rapidly abandoning much of its heralded bourgeois democratic form. The Negro people, especially in the South, are confronted with a judicial structure and police set-up which not only fails to protect their rights but itself is part of, and conspires with, those who break the law. In recent years, repressive legislation has been passed which, in effect, rules out fundamental dissent and curtails the right of the working people to have their own organizations. A whole network of truly subversive agencies such as the FBI and the CIA, lavishly endowed with unlimited funds, accountable to no elected body, rides rough-shod at home and abroad. Sen. Eugene McCarthy writes of:
... its 14,000 employees among whom are specialists in intelligence analysis and espionage, U-2 pilots and assassins.
Events surrounding the assassination of the President and the subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald have only begun to lift the lid on the cesspool of corruption which makes a mockery of our “democratic rights.”
The declining “democratic” norms are necessary to prevent the workers and their allies from fighting their worsening positions. Of course, this is not done all at once, but unevenly and in a zig-zag process, depending on the needs of the ruling class and their room to maneuver. Communists believe it is in the interests of the workers to fight for whatever is positive in the Constitution and whatever democratic gains the people have won over the years. Only the people led by a vanguard party would be capable of picking up the banner of freedom and democracy long since abandoned (except in demagogy) by the ruling class.
The essential tactic of the united front has been distorted in recent years to mean that communists should operate in “the mainstream” without identity, and without an independent perspective. Under such circumstances “revolutionaries” have tailed behind or even impeded militant developments. Instead of winning workers to new levels of understanding, they have often pandered to and sunk to the backward tendencies among the people. Communists must achieve tactical flexibility and utilize all forms of struggle. Participation in united fronts should be around a specific program for limited objectives. Participation with other forces should not be a cloak for passivity, or the excuse for the failure to build the vanguard or to obscure its independent line.
While the vanguard recognizes the need to fight for reforms at certain stages in the development of the people’s consciousness, should not create the illusion that reforms, in and of themselves, can lead to socialism, or that the ruling class can satisfy the needs of the people. It plays a leading role on the day-to-day level, fighting to win victories where possible, and always exposing the actual nature of the ruling class, increasing the class consciousness of the workers, and learning and devising the strategy and tactics for revolution.
The working class is the main class on which to rely to smash the power of imperialism. A continuous fight must be waged for this concept. This is particularly necessary among students, intellectuals, and certain sections of the petty bourgeoisie. They observe many of the present-day manifestations of corruption and misleadership in the unions, the prevalence of bourgeois ideology among large sections of workers, and draw superficial conclusions. Many of them do not understand the historic role of the working class, by virtue of its relation to production, and consequently cannot grasp the dialectics of the class struggle. This gives rise to cynicism, go-it-alone tendencies, and eventually, rationales for capitalism. The aspirations of these groups will never be solved under decadent capitalist reaction. Only alliances with the workers can create the necessary strength for victory, ensuring the conditions for creativity, morality, and the security they seek. Objectively, their future is tied with that of the working class. Weakness within the working class must be viewed not from a defeatist point of view, but scientifically analyzed and combatted.
The fight for a correct policy must be accompanied by continuous criticism and self-criticism. We know that this vital idea was paid lip service in the past, and we know that this simple recognition is no guarantee for improvements in the future. But there is absolutely no way to change policies and people without thorough-going evaluation. It is very plain that those who have attempted to fight revisionism in the past, including many of the leaders of today’s Progressive Labor Movement, have been weak in understanding dangers of revisionism. They did not display initiative, boldness, or consistency in this effort. In short, they were not equal to the task. Many of those now attempting to build a new movement have had years of incorrect training based on erroneous ideas. However, some people did attain the political development to break from the corruption of revisionism. It is necessary to build on this development to defeat the intense pressures of the ruling class.
In the coming period the vanguard must educate and re-educate older and new revolutionaries in the science of Marxism-Leninism with particular emphasis on the philosophy of historical and dialectical materialism. A key weakness of the movement in this country has been the lack of ideological training of members and leaders. “Following the leaders,” has too often been substituted for independent scientific analysis based on international and national experience. Revolutionaries have a responsibility to develop the widest discussions and practices as the basis for formulating a correct line.
Socialist methods of inner-party struggle must be developed, and an atmosphere created for frank and open examination of ideas and work. This can lead to unity in struggle–leading to a higher level of unity. It means the step-by-step destruction of illusions and notions of the old movement, in order to create the theoretical and practical basis for a new movement.
We understand that words alone cannot develop the confidence necessary for this achievement. We can only win the confidence of genuine revolutionaries and workers by the actual development of deeds and the advancing of Marxist-Leninist concepts.
Fighting for a revolutionary outlook nationally and internationally, the working class in our country will set the stage for an end to its oppression. Correct Marxist-Leninist theory and practice is the only guide to the triumph of the working class. More than one billion people have found that out. Hundreds of millions more are on the way. U.S. workers will not be far behind.
 Browder, Earl, Socialism in America, reprinted from “St. Anthony’s Papers,” Cahier on International Communism, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, Chatto & Windus, London, 1960, pp. 101-102.
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