Our Statement of Principles develops four main points:
1. The Present period is characterized by the increasing struggles of the peoples of the world against U. S. imperialism. This weakens the domestic position of monopoly capitalism, enabling our struggles to advance. Looking at it from the opposite direction, whatever we accomplish against the monster, from inside the monster, creates favorable conditions for all the struggles of the world’s peoples. The role and duty of U. S. revolutionaries is thus made clear. The period of reciprocating domestic and international conflict against U. S. imperialism, mounting in intensity and overcoming difficulties and setbacks, will continue for a relatively long period, but its end result is certain – the destruction of U. S. imperialism.
2. The dual nature of the struggle of Black people: As Mao says, “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black People.” Black people, kidnapped from their homeland and brought to this country, were the first victims of U. S. imperialism, outside and inside the U.S. borders. Today, theirs is a national liberation struggle, closely linked with the struggles of the colonial and semi-colonial world. Yet, since the great majority of Black people are workers, their struggle is also an advanced- component of U. S. working class struggles. The resistance of Black people embodies elements of both internal and external confrontation with U.S. imperialism.
3. The obligation of revolutionaries to join with the U. S. working class, and, through all its struggles, develop the consciousness and practice of unity with the Black people, and the peoples of the world, in their conflicts with U. S. imperialism; and the consciousness that the edifice of monopoly, while seemingly strong, is basically unstable, and that theirs is the power to send it toppling. There are a number of fancy ideas circulating as to who are the revolutionary forces, some aspects of which, on investigation and practice, may prove to have some applicable merit. But in this era, and especially in the U. S. itself, revolution can only mean the overthrow of the ruling class by its chief antagonist, the working class, together with its allies. It is not possible to conceive of the overthrow of monopoly without a mass revolutionary movement, based first, on those who are most consistently oppressed and exploited by the U.S. ruling class – and this means the U. S. working class, black and white. Therefore, genuine revolutionaries, while recognizing the difficulties of working class mobilization, do not throw up their hands in defeat, but patiently develop, through practical experience, the strategy and tactics of victory.
4. The need for a Marxist-Leninist party, and the proliferation of revolutionary collectives, and the exchange of experiences between them, as the present indicated step in this direction.
As of now, no left political party combines the first three of the above points in a unified central focus. Certainly, none have developed a consistent tactical line to implement this strategy. Nevertheless, we believe that most serious revolutionaries would generally agree with these three points and understand their importance as a basis for developing a revolutionary program. This is not surprising, since these points are not concocted from thin air, but drawn from the experience of the world revolutionary movement, and from the practice of revolutionaries in this country, however diffuse.
As to point four – the need for a Marxist-Leninist party – we do expect some resistance to this idea on the part of many who consider themselves revolutionary and, in the present situation, objectively are revolutionary. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the reasons for this resistance and, hopefully to provide food for thought for those who are in this position.
The offensive mounted by capitalism against Marxism – Leninism forms the backdrop for all the reasons commonly given for opposing a Marxist-Leninist party. This attack has intensified over the last 100 years, drawing occasional profit from the lesser and more serious mistakes of Marxists and Marxist organizations. (And there are certainly many instances of such error. ) But these attacks rely mainly on invention and slander. Battered by all the propaganda of the ruling class, it is hard not to be affected by it. Certainly, revolutionaries try to reject ruling class propaganda. But the individual by himself can hardly evaluate the unconscious effect on his outlook resulting from this subtle and overt barrage of half-truth and misinformation.
We do not accuse any of our readers of being suckers for this line, but ask only that they recognize the possibility that, despite their conscious revolutionary will, they may be unconsciously influenced by the ruling class propaganda provided for our daily indoctrination.
Against this backdrop, the most specific and concrete cause that turns people off the idea of a Marxist- Leninist party is previous experience with countries and organizations that claim to be Marxist-Leninist. It has become increasingly clear to revolutionaries the world over that the Soviet misleaders have copped out on the peoples of the world, refusing to support them to any significant degree: above and beyond that, throughout the world they are playing a counter revolutionary role. They have made conciliation and collaboration with U.S. imperialism the cornerstone of their policies. Where they do provide rhetorical support or even material aid to revolutionary struggle, they try to use this minimal assistance to influence or blackmail the recipient into soft-pedaling and giving up the struggle, as they are trying to do in Viet Nam. They fear the wrath of U.S. imperialism, and do not wish to endanger their collaboration with it. They have captured the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and turned it into an instrument to feather their own nest at the expense of the working people. They tremble for their positions and their lives. Fear of revolutionary struggle, and as speedy a process of capitalist restoration as they can bulldoze or trick the workers of the Soviet Union into accepting, are the main characteristics, of their betrayal of Marxist-Leninist principle known as ”modern revisionism.”
Under the influence and coercion of the Soviet revisionists and prompted by their own native revisionism, some other “socialist” states in Eastern Europe follow the same path, with the added penalty of becoming economic vassals of the Soviet Union, in a new Tsarist empire. Thus, though we can hold no brief for the Czechoslovak revisionists, who wanted to speed up the peaceful transition to capitalism in their own country, and gain economic leverage by fitting themselves into the capitalist world market, we condemn, without equivocation, the imperialist aggression of the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia, which is all the more vicious because it was carried out under the signboard of “Marxism-Leninism”.
The kowtowing of Soviet modern revisionism to U.S. imperialism has been documented in the struggles of the world’s peoples, and can be found not only in the carefully authenticated writings published by the Albanian and Chinese Communist Parties, but also in those of many independent and unaffiliated researchers. U.S. Big shots even brag about it in public print. We cite an example of this subservience. It is one of the less important ones, objectively – other instances of betrayal have been responsible for the death of thousands, and the defeat of revolutionary struggles. But we choose this simple example because it is so naked and can’t be obscured by any possible “justification.” Not long ago, a plane load of GI’s Vietnam bound, strayed, advertently or inadvertently, over a Soviet island, were forced down, and compelled to disembark. The wires hummed; from the Soviet island to Moscow for instructions, from Washington to Moscow (via Hot Line?) and back to the island from Moscow. Before you could say “Brezhnev and Kosygin”, the Soviet officials on the island gave the soldiers a good dinner and wished them well on their merry way to Vietnam. If this had happened over Sweden, the plane and the troops would probably have been interned for the duration of the war in Vietnam. The Soviet Union had every historical precedent to justify this course and the United States couldn’t have done anything about it.
Also, the Soviet Leaders would have been doing a personal favor to the GI’s involved by prolonging their life expectancy. They didn’t even extract a token concession from the U. S. that this particular plane and these particular soldiers would be returned to the U. S. on the condition that they would not be used in Vietnam. The only possible explanation for this behavior is that the Soviet revisionists had deals cooking with U. S. imperialism that they didn’t want to jeopardize. Incidentally those deals are slow in maturing, partly because the slavishness of the Soviet leaders inspires our imperialists, like the crafty traders they are, to play hard to get, demanding a still higher price in concessions and accommodation.
Although the plane incident may be considered minor, other examples are certainly not. One of the most blatant examples of Soviet revisionist counter - revolutionary practice is their friendship with, and support of, the fascist government of Indonesia. A few years ago, on instructions from the U. S. CIA, a military clique of Indonesian generals, led by Sukarto and Nasution, overthrew the national democratic government in power, established a fascist regime, and proceeded to massacre anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 Indonesian workers, peasants, and communists. This was a slaughter unprecedented since Hitler turned Europe into an oven. The Indonesian fascists accomplished in three months what the U. S. and their Saigon puppets couldn’t accomplish in six years against peoples war in Vietnam. The Soviets fell all over themselves to bring “legitimacy” to the new regime. They invited fascist foreign minister Adam Malik to Moscow to work out arrangements for military aid and to extend repayment of Soviet loans to Indonesia to get the fascist regime out of economic trouble. They moved to lend legitimacy to the Indonesian fascists by bringing the “new” Indonesia into the United Nations. Kosygin may not have swung the Knife, but his footprints leave a trail of blood nonetheless.
Not satisfied with only pursuing its own Great Power interests, the Soviets hare developed a series of “theories” which are no more than modern extrapolations of the old Second International’s fight against Leninism. They have aided the revisionists within many of the world’s Communist Parties and enabled them to become the dominant trend. “Peaceful transition”, “Peaceful Coexistence”, and ”Peaceful Competition” have become rallying cries for right opportunists everywhere. At home the twin notions ”state of the whole people” and ”party of the whole people” have likewise served to liquidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and its vanguard party in the Soviet Union itself.
It is therefore not surprising that revolutionary minded people, summing up the present experience of the Soviet leadership, and identifying it with “Marxism-Leninism”, are repelled by the concept. In a similar way, examination of present practice of the U. S. Communist Party as ”Marxism-Leninism” leads to a similar revulsion. First, because this party supports, and tries to build support for, the tactical lines of the Soviet revisionists. But also recent experience in this country proves to revolutionaries that the C. P. tries to act as a brake on revolutionary struggle. Its method is to distort the strategy of the united front. To form a united front behind “progressive” politicians, and political forces attached to the ruling class, is the absolute limit of their struggle, They constantly try to turn all resistance to the U. S. ruling class into loyal opposition. In 1964, for example, the C.P. used its influence in the infant anti-war movement to convince many people that they had to vote for Lyndon Johnson to stop Strangelove-Goldwater. Then four years later, after Johnson had implemented Goldwater’s line on Vietnam; when millions of people throughout the country were thoroughly disgusted with U. S. imperialism in Vietnam; when Johnson and his sidekick, Humphrey, were widely discredited; the C. P., camouflaged, actually mobilized its members and followers in support of Eugene McCarthy. And for many years now, within the labor movement, the revisionist CP has put up phony opposition to the reactionary running dog, Meany, by backing the liberal lackey, Reuther. Thus most revolutionaries don’t identify present day U. S. Communists as revolutionary, but rather think of them, as liberals. Liberals, of course, are only liberals. But “liberals” who masquerade as “communists” are dangerous counter-revolutionaries, capable of doing a job for U.S. imperialism that no ordinary liberals can do.
Because the C. P. has lost almost all its previous working-class base, and is small, there is a tendency to underrate its service to imperialism. True, the C. P. is small, but also the ranks of conscious revolutionaries are still small. Also the revisionist party has a strong financial base, and many of its leaders have considerable skill in manipulation. At the present time, it often serves as a way station between revolutionaries and the imperialists, facilitating the cooption of revolutionary struggles by the ruling class.
But the identification of Soviet and U.S. communist party revisionism with Marxism-Leninism, though understandable, is intellectually sloppy because it doesn’t take into account the development of theory and tactics as a process of struggle, tends to compress past, present and future in a. makeshift time capsule, and thus fails to understand both the way revisionism develops and the nature of Marxism-Leninism. Marxism, from its creation in the 1840’s by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to its present day application and development by Mao Tse-tung, has had to fight for its position every step of the way. This is only natural, since it is the reflection, in the realm of ideas, of the actual class struggles of the proletariat – viewed in the light of all past history. As the working class must struggle in the realm of practice against other classes, and in alliance – temporary or long term – with other classes, so the theory of the working class must contend with those of other classes, and, primarily, of course, with that of its absolute enemy, the capitalist class.
The two main areas of ideology with which Marxism-Leninism constantly contends are bourgeois and petty- bourgeois ideology, corresponding to the two main non-proletarian classes. In colonial and semi-colonial countries there is, in addition, feudal ideology. This ideological battle takes place, both between the Marxist-Leninist party and other parties, and within the Marxist-Leninist Party itself. Non-proletarian and anti-proletarian ideology surround the working class and its party on all sides, and is historically, materially, and technically much stronger than proletarian ideology. First, because it has been promulgated by various types of exploiting classes for thousands of years, and its attributes have almost the character of fixed habits and prejudices. Second, because in this historical period, in which the proletariat and its ideology is exerting its strength for the first time, the ruling class in all non-socialist states enjoy control of the entire society – its means of life, education and communication. And even in socialist society, where the proletariat and its ideology rule, there remain, for a long time, both the actual remnants of the old exploiting classes, and the habits, customs, culture and traditions, of thousands of years of exploitative society. These permeate the new, young, proletarian dictatorship in every pore, threatening to restore capitalism in the name of socialism, through peaceful evolution, through degeneration, or even through violent overthrow.
Ideologies, whether bourgeois or proletarian, serve the interests of their respective classes, but that is as far as the similarity goes. Proletarian ideology, Marxism-Leninism, is true social science; it is both partisan and, at the same time, an objective, true reflection of the real social process. This is so because the interests of the working class are in accordance with the progressive evolution of history; the proletariat cannot free itself completely without freeing all of society, by abolishing class society altogether. It cannot become a new exploiting class, and it has, therefore, no interests which are ultimately directed against any section of society. Its ideology must be “objectively true” or it cannot liberate itself. Bourgeois ideology, on the other hand, in any of its variants, can only serve its class by concealing its own class character, and the objective nature of reality. What good are historical and dialectical materialism to the bourgeoisie? They can only predict the downfall of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie needs pragmatism and eclecticism; it needs religion; it needs the fairy stories that “democracy” under capitalism means rich and poor are equal, that everyone can become a Rockefeller, that people are naturally selfish anyhow, that you can’t change human nature, that the U. S. is not a class society, etc. , etc. And more than anything, it needs to infuse into the “radical” movement, the working-class, and the Marxist-Leninist Party: contempt for theory, pragmatism, anarchism, revisionism, corruption of individuals, bombastic left phrasemongering, and bourgeois-liberal reformism, even more than it needs police agents and provocateurs within the movement. It needs all these to put off, for as long as possible, its overthrow and, under the self-delusion of its own false theories, it really believes it can put it off forever. When the working-class is strong and awake, when the Marxist-Leninist party and its, ideology have credit in the working-class, bourgeois ideology camouflages itself with a “socialist” or “communist” label. In today’s revolutionary world, bourgeois ideology under a “communist” label exists everywhere, in many places alongside its open “non-communist” variant.
The continuous practical and ideological struggle within the socialist organization, and among the masses, came to be known as the struggle ”between two lines.” Working-class leadership in the united front against petty bourgeois leadership; all-round political struggle against the institutions of the state vs. narrow trade union economism; armed struggle vs. peaceful transition; reliance on mass struggle vs. reliance on parliamentary maneuvers; proletarian internationalism vs. national chauvinism; revolutionary vs. reformist practice – all these contradictions, and many others, are battled out to victory or partial victory, or to setback or defeat for the proletarian camp.
The advent of World War I created a major contradiction which subsumed these other aspects of the struggle between two lines: Would the socialist parties in Europe sharpen the struggle against their own imperialist ruling classes, or would they cave in and support them?
These parties had grown strong in the period preceding the war, had control or considerable influence in the trade unions, and held many seats in parliament. As these parties anticipated the war, they agreed, after a sharp struggle, on a militant line of ”war against imperialist war.” But when push came to shove, when the bullets started flying, almost without exception, these same parties collapsed into support of their native imperialism. Under the leadership of Lenin, however, the left wings of these parties joined together to develop the policy of “revolutionary defeatism.” Each worked for the defeat of its own country’s imperialism.
Lenin not only revived and developed the fundamental tenets of Marxism concerning class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. He also fashioned concrete principles for the nature and functioning of the vanguard party as a disciplined detachment of the proletariat, practicing criticism and self-criticism, and combining legal and illegal work. He analyzed imperialism as a world system, describing its distorting effects, not only on the colonial and semi-colonial world, but on the working-class of the imperialist countries as well, where a privileged caste is created through bribery by the monopoly ruling class. It was on this “aristocracy of labor that the socialist parties of Europe had based their program, and, Lenin pointed out, this explained their overall reformist approach and their ultimate capitulation to their own imperialism. Finally, Lenin developed the strategy of worker-peasant alliance in an underdeveloped country. These were the instruments through which the Russian proletariat was able to shape the class struggle and forge power for itself. And as the European socialist parties degenerated still farther, Communist parties of mass strength and influence grew throughout Europe and took root also in colonial and semi-colonial countries. Since Lenin led the affirmation of the revolutionary essence of Marxism, and applied it to the new conditions of imperialism, the ideology became known as Marxism-Leninism.
Similarly, after the death of Stalin, all the many contradictions that made up the struggle between two lines in the Communist parties of the socialist countries, and the rest of the world, were, concentrated in the new major contradiction that faced the world communist movement: How to deal with aggressive U. S. imperialism that had established its authority over the capitalist camp, and had eagerly inherited the criminal responsibility to put down and subvert the mushrooming national liberation movements in the colonies and semi-colonies. To face it in tit for tat struggle or to knuckle under? To support the liberation movements or to make a deal? To uphold and consolidate the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism or to revise them in order to justify and cover up a counter-revolutionary betrayal?
After a series of complicated struggles, the Soviet Communist Party was captured by a clique which proceeded as rapidly as possible towards diluting , the party ideology, sucking up to imperialism, and taking a planned step-by-step road towards capitalist restoration. Most, but not all, world communist parties fell in line. Revolutionary communists around the world began to rally behind the Communist Parties of Albania and China, who firmly upheld Marxism-Leninism.
In this period, Mao Tse-Tung occupies the same relation to the revolutionary movement that. Lenin did in his day: Defender of the revolutionary essence of Marxism-Leninism, and leader in summing up revolutionary experience and developing the military, political, economic and ideological strategy that will finish off world imperialism, headed by the United States. This is the meaning of the concept ”the thought of Mao Tse-tung” – Marxism-Leninism applied to present day struggles against imperialism and revisionism. Perhaps in the future it will get the name Marxism-Leninism-Maoism – and some already use that phrase. But the triple combination is a bit of a tongue-twister, and we’ll stick to Marxism-Leninism for now, drawing a clear line between those who use the name to express their revolutionary determination and unity, and those who use it as a fig leaf.
Many might respond to the above exposition with, “Sure, I dig Mao – he’s a great revolutionary and many principles of Marxism-Leninism cannot be denied, and I try to apply them. A disciplined, vanguard party seems necessary to accomplish the revolution, and as long as it’s part of the people, unites with the people and serves the people, it’s fine. But experience shows that after the revolution it separates itself from the people, develops interests that are opposed to the people’s interests, and degenerates. Sure I can see how the working-class needs a strong state apparatus, call it dictatorship of the proletariat, if you will, to prevent a capitalist restoration, but when the Communist Party is captured by a clique that so-called dictatorship of the proletariat gets to be mighty close to fascism, at least in the area of participation in political life. Sure, one should fight this degeneration, but experience shows that it’s a losing fight, and we need new ideas and new instruments in place of these discredited concepts.”
The Stalin question: Stalin is the bridge between Lenin and Mao theoretically, practically, and organizationally. The successes of the world proletarian and people’s movements are a part of our history, and they are our successes, they are the successes of our class. The mistakes and errors must also be ours. We admit the mistakes of our class and its leaders, try to correct them or, failing that, try to avoid repeating them. But we will not disassociate ourselves from these errors in the opportunist manner of many bourgeois intellectuals and armchair “revolutionaries”.
We do not conceal our bias: Since the imperialists and their ideological running dogs, the Trotskyites have not spared themselves in abuse of Stalin, since Khruschev and his successors have found it necessary to outdo even the imperialists in the castigation of Stalin, in order to pull of their accommodation to imperialism and their initiation of capitalist restoration; we have the tendency to want to defend him, and so do. Second, in making an analysis of mistakes and shortcomings, we should certainly acknowledge the achievements, and they were more than a few. Agricultural collectivization and socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. The defeat of fascism. The rise of national liberation struggles owes a great deal to the Soviet Union under Stalin’s leadership. Are the victories in China, Vietnam, and elsewhere conceivable outside this context? Nor is the more than considerable improvement in the health, well-being and education for Soviet citizens themselves, a matter to be lightly dismissed. Third, the Soviet Union did not knuckle under to imperialism in Stalin’s day. And much more can be said.
Nevertheless, it is true that the capture of the Soviet Communist Party by the revisionists, and the subsequent and continuing betrayal of socialism, did not happen by accident; its roots are certainly to be found in the conditions, movements and leadership during the previous period. We advance a critical assessment, concentrating on a major contradiction, with the recognition that it is cursory, and the stipulation that it is tentative, and with the insistence that, as revolutionaries, we should judge Stalin by Marxist (materialist) and (working) class standards, rather than by the bourgeois criteria of his imperialist, Trotskyite, and revisionist assailants.
It is very difficult to do this, because we are still being bombarded with bourgeois propaganda about how ruthless Stalin was in suppressing opposition, how he eliminated all freedom and democracy in the Soviet Union, etc. First of all, as Mao points out, as long as classes continue to exist, freedom and democracy are class categories. Under bourgeois democracy – actually, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie – there is freedom for capitalists to exploit and oppress the working class and other classes. There is very little freedom for the victims of exploitation and oppression to resist. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, there is no freedom for exploiters, but among the ranks of the people, the working class and its allies, there is not only freedom from exploitation but full democratic rights. And despite all bourgeois propaganda to the contrary, this was generally the case in the Soviet Union, during the period of Stalin’s leadership.
Nevertheless, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, there are still many contradictions – between the people and their former exploiters, between the working-class and its allied classes, and within each of these classes. The handling of these contradictions, in concrete practice, is the essence of Marxist-Leninist leadership; and it is against this standard that we evaluate Stalin’s role.
Stalin concentrated the entire energy of the Soviet people on transforming the Soviet economy from a very backward, semi-feudal stage to an advanced industrial stage, in the shortest time possible. It was his judgment – certainly correct – that unless the Soviet Union were converted into an industrial and military power, it would be destroyed by the military intervention of the imperialists. It was a simple question of survival for the first socialist revolution and proletarian state in history, (leaving aside the short-lived Paris Commune), Anyone or anything that stood in the way, that imperiled this survival, had to be pushed aside, ruthlessly if necessary. But, ironically, in order to succeed in this immense transformation, Stalin had to rely on a group of educated, privileged, petty-bourgeois administrators, specialists and technicians who could formula the intricate planning required for socialist construction, and oversee its execution. The Soviet economy was in a terribly depressed state as a result of World War I, the civil war, and the foreign intervention; it had to be revived and expanded as rapidly as possible.
It was Lenin who first advanced the need, and carried out the policy, of bribing the petty-bourgeois group of administrators, technicians and specialists to work for socialism. Lenin said that unless this was done the Soviet state could not survive. He also said that in the future they would have to pay a stiff price for that present necessity.
The price proved out stiff indeed, as this group became increasingly adept at entrenching itself in its privileged position, and at increasingly dominating the educational system, and thereby instilling bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology into even the children of workers and peasants. These elements were able to insinuate their way into the Communist Party at all levels, and grew into the social base through which a new bourgeoisie was built up, which, soon after the death of Stalin, was able to take hold of the state and the economy, and direct them towards state capitalism – a very serious defeat for the Soviet working people, and a severe setback to the world revolutionary movement.
The leadership of the Party was not unaware of the dangers, nor did it fail to conduct sharp struggle against bureaucracy. And it did succeed in nipping several attempts at takeover in the bud. Many of the privileged sections of the population, particularly within the top leadership itself, were jailed or executed. The bureaucracy was purged. The enthusiasm of the masses for socialism, and their genuine love for Stalin, was partly a result of this anti-bureaucratic stand. But that same enthusiasm was also partly dampened by the atmosphere created in the wake of the purge trials. Many of those purged, especially the “leaders”, were guilty of the crimes attributed to them, including espionage and sabotage. But more than a few were innocent. Still it cannot be forgotten that among all the European countries, only the Soviet Union was cleansed of Hitler’s “fifth column,” which so effectively facilitated Nazi takeovers everywhere the Nazis invaded in mainland Europe, except the Soviet Union.
In retrospect, the chief error seems to have been that Stalin, and the other party leaders, tried to handle contradictions between the bureaucrats and the people administratively – by mobilizing one part of the bureaucracy against another. They failed to sufficiently mobilize the people and rely on them to resolve the contradiction. Although information and propaganda were carried to the masses, and their approval won, mass ideological struggle did not progress to that necessary degree so that the masses could recognize , and thus prevent, the revisionist takeover.
Despite the fundamental failure, it is clear that without the experience of the Soviet proletarian dictatorship, headed by Stalin, the Chinese revolution could not have advanced to its present level. It was by examining this concrete Soviet experience that the Chinese party and people were able to draw vital lessons concerning the difference between the people and the enemies of the people; and concerning the need to link up completely with the people, rely on the people, carry on ideological struggle among the people and involve them in every aspect of the revolution, including and especially disputes arising within the Communist Party – all of which is being accomplished in the present Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
To be good at translating the Party’s policy into action of the masses, to be good at getting not only the leading cadres but also the broad masses to understand and master every movement we launch – this is an art of Marxist-Leninist leadership. It is also the dividing line that determines whether or not we make mistakes in our work. (Mao Tse-tung)
Does hindsight tell us that a cultural revolution was required in the Soviet Union? Let’s look at the Chinese experience. Five years before the start of the Cultural Revolution, important economic problems had not been solved; it would not have been possible to carry out a Cultural Revolution on the mass basis of the present one. (Perhaps, if the Chinese waited another five years, it would have been too late to prevent a severe setback.) If we re-examine Soviet experience, we would have considerable, difficulty in finding any opportune time for a cultural revolution. Still, we have to say that opportune time or not, the failure to find the way to fully guarantee the supervision and control of party and state functionaries, and economic managers, through developing mass action, was the direct, though delayed, cause of the revisionist takeover. The Soviet Party, and Comrade Stalin, faced probably the most difficult responsibilities of any leaders in the history of the communist movement Not only because their task was unprecedented, with almost no experience to go by, but also because the material conditions for solving many problems were so poor.
The Chinese Party evaluation of Stalin lists his achievements, and notes some mistakes, summing up as follows: Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist who made some errors; some could have been avoided, others were scarcely avoidable. It goes on to state that a thorough evaluation of Stalin’s work would not be achieved for a long time. Probably a definitive evaluation of Stalin’s role will come from the Soviet people as they topple, or after they topple, their revisionist regime.
While we would not want to discourage anyone from seeking new solutions to old problems, it seems clearly wrong to shelve such principles as a disciplined vanguard party and a dictatorship of the proletariat that have proved necessary and decisive in successful revolutions despite difficulties and shortcomings in their practice. Much better to learn from previous error and develop a surer practice. But rejection of these concepts, based on errors in their application, reflects a natural even unconscious, fear of the dictatorship of the proletariat on the part of many, especially from the middle classes. There is an objective basis for this fear, inasmuch as the functioning of the dictatorship of the proletariat will destroy the relative advantage the middle classes hold over the proletariat. Similarly, there is rejection of participation in a disciplined organization based on criticism and self-criticism because of reluctance to fight against individual interest and devote one’s self to the interests of the people. It is a difficult problem for revolutionary collectives and for the individuals in them – a real struggle. So, to avoid that struggle, and, because of unconscious shirking, the search for gimmicks to replace revolutionary organization will undoubtedly continue.
We have, in the preceding pages, concentrated our attack on revisionism (and revisionist parties) in order to clearly distinguish it from Marxism-Leninism, in order to try to win over to Marxism-Leninism those revolutionaries and potential revolutionaries who firmly reject the betrayals of Soviet revisionism and the bourgeois-liberalism of the U. S. revisionists. We hope that we have made some progress – at least to the extent of encouraging further investigation. We are confident that sincere investigation will win over many genuine revolutionaries to the work of developing a revolutionary party in the United States.
However, just as many are turned away from Marxism-Leninism by the record of revisionist parties, others are turned away through the work of parties claiming to be anti-revisionist and revolutionary, but whose politics and organizational methods belie that claim. A whole host of ”Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist” organizations, differing and splitting from each other on almost a daily basis, share apolitical line and organizational style that sabotages mass struggle. Historically Trotskyites have alternated between left and right opportunism – between left phrasemongering to oppose the current stage of struggle, and outright tailing after the bourgeoisie and backward elements in the people’s movements. Today, in the U.S., the main Trotskyite trend is right opportunism, (SWP), which manifests itself in billing John Lindsay as a major speaker at a Student Mobilization anti-war rally, and in uncritically supporting all “black nationalists”, without distinguishing between revolutionary and reactionary nationalism.
But, whether “right” or “left” in form, these Trotskyite organizations act as wreckers. They do not put the needs of the people in first place, do not serve the people, but parasitically attach themselves to people’s movements to promote their organizations at the expense of the struggle. This was recently illustrated by their behavior in the antiwar movement, where the participation of the masses was sacrificed for organizational control by the Trotskyites. Marxist-Leninists do strive for leadership in people’s organizations, but based on political program and organizational style that are direct opposites to these wrecking tactics. Marxist-Leninists strive to unite all who can be united in struggle against the enemy and build the mass movement and the united front. They do not strive to split mass organizations and reduce them to front groups that can be carried around in their hip pocket. Within the united front, Marxist-Leninists struggle for a class line against the imperialist enemy; they try to link up particular struggles with other meaningful struggles, to expose the nature of the enemy, and to isolate its agents. Marxist-Leninists strive, ever, to extend the mass character of the struggle and advance it to a higher stage. Marxist-Leninists should not be confused with wreckers.
Another organization, Progressive Labor Party, today exhibits both the wrecking style of work and the “left” opportunism of the classical Trotskyism of the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s. It is our view that revisionism, or right opportunism, constitutes the main long term danger to the revolutionary movement. But “left” opportunism constitutes an immediate danger because it sabotages the struggle against the imperialist enemy and its right opportunist agents. “Left” opportunism is left only in form; its essence is right, counterrevolutionary, because it uses ultra-revolutionary slogans to beat down mass struggle and to conceal its own practice, which is consistently conservative, and objectively in the service of the imperialists.
It is our view that the PLP, pretending to uphold the Thought of Mao and posing as Marxist-Leninist, is in fact guilty of systematic “left” opportunism. The prestige of Mao and the Cultural Revolution, worn like a mantle on the shoulders of PL, make its opportunism particularly destructive despite its relatively small numbers. (And even within PLP a distinction must be made between many of the member who are new to the movement, and the leadership, who have long since crystallized their reactionary views into a world outlook.)
The deterioration of the Progressive Labor Party is a great disappointment. For a time it appeared that the organization would make a significant contribution to a revolutionary movement in the U. S. In its early stages PL seemed to be carrying out a genuine struggle against revisionism. It took a militant and principled stand before the HUAC; it raise the anti-imperialist consciousness through its support of the Cuban people’s struggle against the United States. It supported the Black Liberation movement, and contributed to the defeat of pacifist and liberal ideas in that struggle and in the antiwar movement. Its launching of the student May 2 Movement was helpful practically and ideologically. Whatever mistakes PL made in line and action in that period could be called short-comings. In our view that is no longer the case.
In order to demonstrate our case we will examine three aspects of PL’s work: its position on Vietnam, its approach to Black Liberation, and its strategy o: the worker-student alliance. We will try, in the course of our remarks, co indicate a correct approach to these questions.
For more than two years now, PL has been openly attacking the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its leader Ho Chi Minh with particular venom, along with the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, as betrayers of the Vietnamese people. The main leg of the argument was that since Vietnam was accepting Soviet “aid”, they were thus giving support to revisionism by helping it appear as opposed to U. S. imperialism. Since they accepted Soviet “aid”, they would have to follow Soviet orders, would soon be in sell-out negotiations with U. S. imperialism, after which their knuckling under was just a matter of time. Who did this position help? The Vietnamese face U. S. imperialism, guns in hand, defeating it on the battlefield and winning support all over the world. Here in the United! States their persistence and heroism has raised the consciousness of millions and advanced all struggles against the ruling class. Revolutionaries and working people owe a profound debt to the Vietnamese people and their leader Ho Chi Minh, for exposing and weakening U.S. imperialism. And, contrary to the statement that North Vietnam has sold us out, they have advanced our struggles a thousand fold. Of course, in Vietnam, as everywhere, revisionism has its adherents, and certainly the Soviet Union tries to widen its influence and subvert the struggle. But PL doesn’t help the struggle by conceding them the victory.
The Vietnamese believe that they can subordinate Soviet aid to their overall strategy of people’s war, without compromising the struggle. The Chinese believe that accepting aid from the revisionists actually weakens the long-run struggle against imperialism, because it tends to strengthen the hand of revisionist pressure and propaganda, in the service of imperialism. The Chinese hammer home the position that “aid” from revisionists is sham aid and real betrayal. They call on all peoples to cast away illusions about the nature of Soviet revisionism, and express confidence that indeed they will. The Chinese do this not out of any “diplomatic finesse,” though they possess it in considerable quantity, but out of a principled application of THE CORRECT HANDLING OF CONTRADICTIONS AMONG THE PEOPLE, one of Mao’s major works.
The Chinese continue to give all-out support to the Vietnamese people, and their leadership, in word and deed. Within the last year, China’s three top leaders – Chou en Lai, Lin Piao and Mao himself – have openly stated their support for the North Vietnamese and the NLF – the most recent statement being Lin Piao’s declaration that the Chinese “support the correct leadership of Ho Chi Minh in the Vietnamese struggle.”
We fundamentally agree with the Chinese position on Vietnam. We do distinguish between Soviet revisionist intentions and the Vietnamese response. We hold that it is a bald-faced lie to say that the Vietnamese are under the “domination of the Soviets” it is a cheap slur and counterrevolutionary treachery to argue that Ho is a “traitor” and “puppet”, being “maintained in power by the S. U. and the U.S. and that negotiations constitute a sell-out. We remind PL of Mao’s assessment of negotiations: “How to give tit-for-tat depends on the situation. Sometimes, not going to negotiations is tit-for-tat; and sometimes, going to negotiations is also tit-for-tat.”
In fact, if PL could maintain their own declared principles consistently, they would be compelled to denounce Mao and the Chinese. For example: If Ho Chi Minh and the NLF are revisionist betrayers for accepting Soviet “aid”, and deserve to be attacked, shouldn’t the Chinese be attacked for transporting that ”aid” through China, and shouldn’t Mao be branded as a revisionist and a betrayer? If the Vietnamese are such rotten sellouts, what does that make Mao and the Chinese for covering it up? We would prefer to see PLP take an honest position and criticize Mao instead of parading as exponents of Mao. But apparently PL prefers to slink around in the shadows, hoping to “scoop the left” with their revolutionary wisdom and self-acknowledgement that they are more revolutionary than Ho and the Vietnamese.
PL, of course, claims otherwise. They maintain they support the Vietnamese by “supporting the dictatorship of the proletariat as the only solution”. It is here that they degenerate into classical Trotskyism. The Vietnamese, the Chinese, and all oppressed peoples must fight, or in the case of the Chinese, have fought, for the new democratic revolution as the only way to reach socialism. It was only by uniting all patriotic classes, led by the proletariat, that the imperialist oppressor nation could be defeated. The Chinese Trotskyites called for the dictatorship of the proletariat and claimed thereby that they supported the revolution, when in fact they cast themselves as the pariahs of the revolution , mistaking one stage for another and objectively sabotaging the struggle. The Vietnamese are fighting a war of national liberation, a war for the reunification of their country. But the fight is more than that. Led by the working class and bolstered by the experience of socialist construction in the north, the Vietnamese, once achieving victory, will be in an extremely favorable position to move forward to socialism.
The thesis “all nationalism is reactionary” provides the theoretical window dressing for this denial of the revolutionary nature of the national struggle of oppressed peoples. Mao said: “In wars of national liberation patriotism is applied internationalism.” There is an identity in these struggles between their national and class aspects. PLP’s formula “all nationalism is bourgeois and leads to the greatest corruption among workers “ends up placing national and class struggles in opposition and in effect sabotages both. It is Huey P. Newton, and not the leadership of PLP, who applied Mao’s thesis that “In the final analysis, a national struggle is a question of class struggle.” Huey pointed out that to be a revolutionary nationalist, you must of necessity be a socialist.”
The history of imperialism is nothing if it is not a history of the growing resistance of oppressed nations and peoples, particularly of the working masses of those nations. The running thread in the literature of Marxism from Marx, through Lenin and Stalin, to Mao has been the recognition of the shift of the revolutionary storm from Europe to Asia, from the advanced industrial countries to the backward colonies. It was inevitable that the theory of “nationalism” would undergo a corresponding development in the direction of recognizing it; revolutionary aspects.
The struggle of Black people in America is a case in point. Imperialism in its most moribund and decaying form, has stepped up the national genocide of black people. It has used economic compulsion to drive Blacks out of the Black Belt in the south. It has physically massacred and imprisoned countless blacks during uprisings, and on a daily basis. It has sought to destroy any national identity, pride, or consciousness, and it has offered up national suicide in the form of assimilation and integration as an alternative. PLP has accommodated itself to this national genocide by reducing the common history and existence of a people to the single factor racism. “Fight Racism.” PL’s ubiquitous slogan expresses PL’s own national chauvinism. First, for PL “nationalism is a reaction to racism” and nothing more. Get rid of racism and you will get rid of nationalism and you will be left with class against class. What a crude excuse for a theory! Second, the focus on “white racism” as the main enemy and “black racism” (nationalism) as the secondary enemy is difficult to distinguish from the monopoly bourgeoisie’s line as expressed in the Kerner Report.
Progressive Labor, the Kerner Report, and Walter Reuther all take the heat off the imperialist ruling class by focusing on the enigmatic enemy – RACISM. Third, the main blow’s against the racist ideology of the ruling class are being delivered by the Black liberation movement itself, particularly by the Black Panther Party, a point PL studiously avoids making. We maintain that it is essential to uphold the Black Liberation struggle. In our view “revolutionary nationalism is applied internationalism” and we, therefore, give full support to the Black Panther Party and Black workers’ groups such as DRUM who adhere to revolutionary nationalism, and oppose reactionary nationalism and Black capitalism.
Why does PL need this thesis “all nationalism is reactionary” and who does it help? PL’s application of the line in practice has led it to some of the most vicious slanders and wrecking techniques since the Trotskyite maneuvers of the 1930’s. The February PL magazine contains a critique of the Black Panther Party. In it they say: ”Despite the frequent waving of the Quotations of Mao Tse-Tung (the Red Book) it is quite apparent that the Panthers have no class outlook and believe they are out to fight a war against white people in general. ”In the March Challenge, editorializing on the murders of Carter and Huggins, they say in black letters “PANTHERS SHOT, NATIONALISM GUILTY”, thereby implying that these revolutionary nationalists, these heroic martyrs of the revolution, were responsible for their own death. It really makes your skin crawl.
The PL article makes the thrust of its attack on the Panthers’ program for self-defense. They say: “The Panthers appear to be conscious that there is more to organizing Black people than just talking about the gun. Their ten point program is based on solid working-class demands that the oppressed Black people can identify with. But this is only on paper. What they have done, in fact, is to ignore the working-class demands and concentrate on the question of armed self-defense and conduct themselves in a semi-military manner. “Yet in the very same article PL can say, “the young Panthers have armed themselves and are looking for a place to go. They should continue along this path of arming themselves and the people with the view towards defending Black communities from police attacks. Today, unfortunately, the tendency is to deemphasize the armed struggle. “Well, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Throughout the article PL keeps advising the Panthers to stick to self-defense and forget about political struggles as if all-round political struggles were not vital to self-defense.
It’s hard to believe. When speaking of the outstanding self-defense organization in the nation which has both positive and negative experience to sum up , whose blood has been spilled, whose roll of revolutionary martyrs grows and grows – when the ruling class sets its hirelings the task of provoking unequal struggle, tries to set up individual Panthers and the organization for the kill – do we need that shameful voice from the sidelines egging Panthers on to more “self-defense”? If PL is so strong for self-defense, shouldn’t they be leaders in organizing it? In spurring the Panthers on, shouldn’t they, at least, try to develop a strategy for self-defense. Or even a word of sorrow or sympathy for the brave who fell? To wave that banner of “self-defense” for Black people is an extreme form of national chauvinism – yes, racism. If PL stated that it wanted to keep Blacks in an inferior position, do the dirty work, everyone could recognize what that meant. PL’s advocacy of “self-defense” for Blacks only is even worse than that. PI, a predominantly white organization, calls upon Black people to fight and die against PL’s own ruling class, while PL claps and shouts “Hurrah”. Disgusting!
Community control of the schools – no good, says PL, because you can’t win any real control, you’ll just be manipulated by the foundations, the mayor the Teacher’s Union leadership, and the governor. Again PL refuses to recognize the contradiction between the intentions of the enemy and the will of the people. Instead of supporting the struggle, trying to help it overcome all obstacles like the foundations, the mayor, etc. – instead of standing with the aroused masses, PL stands with the racist system. This is not an exaggeration. Both stand in the path of the surging people crying STOP! PL’s pamphlet Black Liberation Now, published two years ago, put forth as demand 5 of eight demands: “Community control over the schools, guaranteeing that African and Afro-American history be taught and taught right.” In those days few people were raising those demands so PL raised them. Today many raise them so PL opposes them.
The point is that PL leadership doesn’t give a damn what they say – nor do they give a damn what they do. The March Challenge, reprinting without authorization DRUM photographs, doctored one of the photos appearing on page 4 so that a sign reading “Black workers power”, according to DRUM, was changed to read “Black Workers Organize”, in an effort to spread their anti-nationalist line. They will find some left-sounding gimmick to oppose struggle, and when possible, serve themselves. If that fails, they will turn to slander and fabrication. A really good question, to ask is: Why?
The article goes on to attack the Panthers’ electoral activities, the Newton defense, etc. and fails to mention the Breakfast for Children Programs, organization of parents, high school and college students, free health clinics, and growing ties with black workers in other parts of the country, such as DRUM, as well as its own activities in plants.
We are not commenting on any correct aspects of criticism raised in the PL article. First, because most of them can be read as self-criticism in the Panther paper and are already corrected in practice. But, more importantly, PL’s “criticism” is not criticism at all, but a thinly veiled attack. Genuine criticism, even sharp criticism, can help a revolutionary organization overcome its errors and carry the struggle forward. But lies, slander, and arrogant, Sermon-on-the Mount, posturing, serve the ruling class, not the revolutionary movement.
The Panthers have seen the need to apply the mass line and serve the people. PL sees all of the reform struggles that the Panthers undertake as necessarily spreading illusions about state power and diverting the people from achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. The key to revolutionary tactics lies in the way reform struggles are approached, not in whether the struggles are for reforms. The Panthers address themselves to meeting the real needs of the people and do so by actually helping the people, on the one hand, and by systematically exposing the ruling class, spreading the Thought of Mao, and forging a disciplined cadre, on the other. PL uses abstract slogans like “smash the state” and “Fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat” as a club against the struggles of other organizations, such as the Panthers, and as a camouflage for their own relatively conservative practice.
The relationship of PL to the student movement is also a matter for serious concern. PL factionalism is threatening to destroy SDS. Predictably PL factionalism within SDS has engendered a factional response. On many campuses splits have already occurred. The pattern is simple: PL so screws up the works in specious ”ideological” disruption, that, patience exhausted, other forces create a counter-organization, or disintegrate. This procedure shows that PL does not want to serve the people, to learn from others, or to unite with others; it merely wishes to carry out leadership coups.
It offers up the worker-student alliance as a grand strategy for power. Historically, other strategic alliances were based on the relations of classes, such as the worker-peasant alliance. PL’s half- baked strategic alliance of workers, who constitute a class, with students, who do not, simply does not fit the bill. Sure, there are tactical alliances of students and workers against, let us say, a local administrator or official, or even a mutual aid pact between forces; but as a grand strategy, the worker-student alliance has been give no class content, and in practice is just another gimmick for opposing struggles. Its real meaning is probably best summed up in the incredibly sectarian statement made in the February PL Magazine editorial “Opposed to imperial- ism stands the Progressive Labor Party and its political supporters. ” the masses be damned!
In all advanced industrial countries, the student movement is playing a vanguard role and often brings advanced ideas to the workers. To preach to the students, as PL does, about workers, and to use that preaching as a club against student assaults on the ruling class is to cater to the most conservative non-struggle rationalizations of students. Don’t smash the Standard Oil recruiter, only a worker-student alliance can defeat the ruling class. Such arguments are indeed “left” in form and right in essence. When the students do move in support of workers’ struggles, as in Richmond, California, PL advises them not to act as “shock troops ”, and in effect orients their struggle on the most backward workers, and opts for business-as-usual Trade Union strike strategy. When the workers move before the students do, on the basis of revolutionary ideas, such as the black Detroit auto workers, PL finds one thing after another wrong with the struggle, and advises students: “Hands Off!” And when students and workers form joint solidarity pacts, PL attacks the opportunism of the leaders on both sides. The only consistency in their application of worker-student alliance strategy is opposition to the most militant struggles with the most advanced consciousness, whenever they are led by anyone other than PL, which is almost always, since PL’s reactionary line seldom leads to their leadership of the struggle.
Mao, whom PL pretends to uphold, says to tell whether a youth is revolutionary is to see if he joins with workers and peasants and becomes part of them, learns from them, and takes part in the struggles as a worker or a peasant. On the other hand, Mao also says that the student movement against imperialism is part of the whole people’s movement, and will certainly spread to the workers and the peasants. On the one hand, to join the workers as a revolutionary worker and apply the mass line; and on the other hand to build the strongest possible student movement against imperialism. This is the way to influence working class struggle away from economism, (ordinary Trade-union demands only), and the way students can contribute to the development of working class leadership in the United Front against imperialism.
We hold that the proletariat is the only class capable of leading the struggle for socialism. Students will therefore aid the struggles of working people in three main ways: First, as communist intellectuals who will bring communist ideology to the working class; Second, as a group students will spread anti-imperialist ideas among workers, and Third, by building a powerful anti-imperialist movement, including a Marxist-Leninist section within that movement, on the campuses. We have confidence that the working class will grasp these truths, and raise all the struggles of the people, including the students, to an entirely new level.
When one of PL’s positions is argued against in the student movement, PL screams that it is the victim of red-baiting, that it is the victim of anti-communism. We do attack PL’s positions and we tag them as objectively counter-revolutionary. In the course of our activity, however, we have worked with many individual members of PL whom we have found to be disciplined and sincere. We urge them to study both their own work and the classics of Marxism-Leninism. We believe that they will be able to tell right from wrong. The revolution needs them. We do not make this suggestion lightly, or as a “good tactic” to divide leadership from membership. At the heart of our analysis stands the distinction between honest theoretical and practical errors to which we are all subject and systematic sabotage, in the guise of slogans, which mark the leadership of PL as enemies of the people.
The last phenomenon we shall discuss is anarchism. Lenin, in reviewing the history of anarchism in Russia, said, ”Anarchism was not infrequently a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class movement.” If we look at its development as a phenomenon of the present day struggle in the U. S., and assess it as an ideology, we have to conclude that in the present period, it has both a good and a bad side. Its good side is its rejection of mis-leadership by revisionists and Trotskyists (all types), and of opportunism – both left and right. Its basic faith is in people. It is healthy and honest for students – who are mostly children of those with at least some power in society – to be fearful of following in their parent footsteps.
But this kind of honest spontaneity can not lead to sustained revolutionary action since it is planless, whereas the counter-revolution is not. The bad aspects of anarchism outweigh the good in the long run. First of all, anarchism inhibits the development of coherent ideology. Some are proud of this because they think ideology means inflexible dogma. But, although anarchism does suggest an intuitive feeling that some tactics and strategies are better than others, positive criticism and summing up of struggle is crippled by the lack of a coherent view of what to aim for and how to get there.
Also, the anarchist’s “anti-elitism” easily degenerates into opposition to the development of leadership. This is very serious for at least two reasons. On that the development of leadership in the struggle is fundamental to victory. It is as necessary as it is difficult, for the working class to bring forth leaders from its ranks who stay with the people and sum up the experience of struggle, learning from mistakes to refine the tactics and strategy of the struggle. There is a contradiction between leadership and the people, but this contradiction has to be resolved by the supervision of leadership by the people and by their criticism. It cannot be glossed over simply by an anti-leadership neurosis; rather it needs patient and prolonged training of leaders through the many twists and turns, the victories and setbacks, of the mass movement. Secondly, an anti-leadership policy will not really prevent the creation of leaders: it will only guarantee that the leadership is always superficial and quixotic. Without leaders developing over a long period of struggle, there can be no theoretical growth, and every struggle is ad hoc – unrelated to past or future development – and the strategy and tactics of victory remain undiscovered. Thus, while anarchists can sometimes spark rebellions, they cannot carry through the victory of the revolution.
Although some anarchists can achieve a high level of discipline within the confines of any immediate struggle, their thought and action militates against the formation of disciplined organizations. Huey Newton’s criticism of anarchism is very much to the point here: “In this country the anarchists seem to feel that if they just express themselves individually and tend to ignore the limitations placed on them, without leadership and without discipline they can oppose the very disciplined reactionary state. This is not true.
They will be oppressed as long as imperialism exists. You cannot oppose a system such as this except to oppose it with organization that’s even more extremely disciplined and dedicated than the structure you’re opposing. “I can understand the anarchists wanting to go directly from state to non-state but historically it’s incorrect. . .
. . . we can side with the student radicals. We should try to encourage them and persuade them to organize and weld a sharp cutting tool. In order to do this they would have to be disciplined and they would have (to have) at least some philosophical replacement of the system. This is not to say that this itself will free the individual. The individual will not be free until the state does not exist at all, and I think – I don’t want to be redundant – this cannot be replaced by the Anarchist right away.
Finally, because the course remains, by definition, unplotted, defeats cause dejection and frustration, so that some groups become completely undiscriminating in their tactics. This is very serious, as has already become apparent in a number of cases. These groups easily become infiltrated by police agents, and are often provoked into harmful acts. Fortunately, this has not become a mass phenomenon, and to the small degree that it does exist, it has already been largely discredited.
While we oppose anarchism ideologically, and consider that, all in all, it does a disservice to the revolution and objectively aids the enemy, we are not alarmed by it. It has picked up no base in the working class, so that its harm is minimized. And even in the student movement, most activists are past that stage, and are searching for concrete answers to what they recognize as’ the protracted nature of the struggle. The healthy development of the movement over the last decade indicates the growing capability to overcome error and, through struggle, achieve a more correct strategy and tactics, and a higher level of theory. We are encouraged by the increasing frequency of statements about the need for a Marxist-Leninist party, and by the many people who are studying Mao, and his forerunners, and are applying what they study. We are confident that this tendency will grow and triumph over all the anti-proletarian and non-proletarian trends in me movement.
This brings us back to where we started, and why we produced this pamphlet. It is perhaps not necessary to point out that talking about revolutionary collectives, or even starting one, won’t overcome the subjective and objective hazards. Our own history is worth telling. About 10 months ago, a handful of us got together on the following basis: we were activists and having read some of Mao’s works considered ourselves to be generally in that camp. A few of us had experience in the communist movement, but, in the main, we were products of the recent mass upsurges in the country. As a group our understanding was not high, but our determination was. We consciously stressed the activist side of struggle. We believed, and experience has shown, that, given a desire to “serve the people”, and a revolutionary spirit and daring, cadre will emerge in the course of the struggle, and theory will be more intimately connected with practice. We began with sharp differences, and we still are not completely united. But we have made progress, have expanded our struggles, and have tried to sum up our experiences: what you are reading is a beginning in that direction.
We are workers and students and we have grown steadily. We have not had a public existence as a group – this pamphlet is our first public expression. Our growth has come from the mass struggles that we have taken part in, and from the few that we have helped to initiate. We have, had some ideological problems, and have suffered a few losses and we still have some serious problems to overcome. Subjectivism, egotism, bad work habits and style of work, are all continuing problems. Our ability to sum up our own experiences is still weak; our discipline is improving, but is still faulty. We still have a long way to go in the area of criticism and self-criticism, and correcting individual and collective weaknesses that prevent us from serving the people as Communist revolutionaries. We state this because it is true; but, despite our consciousness of our many failings, we are encouraged by our own progress, and we believe that our overall development should give encouragement to others.
We want to make it very clear: We are not raising a banner and saying, “Follow us!” We want to join with others to create an instrument that will not be our plaything, or anyone else’s plaything, but a useful tool for the people. If, in the exchange of experiences, we exhibit any tendencies to pass ourselves off as an Authority, a swift kick will be appreciated.
We have written these papers in the hope that they will stimulate others to join together to advance the struggle. We believe that the situation is favorable. Our difficulties are many, but they are much less than those of our imperialist ruling class. If we are determined, self-critical and modest — and base our work on the needs of the people – we can surely win.
 The above represents a summary of our analysis of Progressive Labor Party. For a more complete analysis of PL, you may send for our paper, “Left Opportunism – Twin Brother of Revisionism.”