First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 1, No. 7, November 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
The Bolshevik Organizing Collective/Communist Workers Committee (M-L) is a collective in North Carolina which recently merged to form one organization. Comrades from the Bolshevik Organizing Committee, whose political history is primarily in the Black Liberation Movement, were once part of the Revolutionary Workers League (RWL). They split from RWL during the struggle for the correct line. Comrades from the Communist Workers Committee, whose history was primarily in the student, anti-war, and women’s movement, were once associated with New America Movement (NAM). These comrades split from the social-democrats of NAM in the struggle to uphold Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and the walking class as the most revolutionary class. Both groups merged in the course of struggle against ”left” otzovist of RWL and the main danger of the right October League (OL) and in the struggle to unite with the correct line of Workers Viewpoint Organization.
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On every question, there exists two class interests, reflected in two outlooks, two lines, two roads. One is the road of the bourgeoisie and the other that of the proletariat. The central task which has faced the revolutionary proletariat in the U.S. since the degeneration of the “Communist” Party USA (CPUSA) has been the question of building the proletariat’s genuine revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Party.
In the 60’s and early 70’s there were mass spontaneous upsurges among students and oppressed and national minorities – “fire at the treetops” – the most conscious sectors of society of that period against U.S. monopoly capitalist rule. Internationally, masses in the Third World waged fierce struggles of national liberation against U.S. imperialism.
At the same time, the great, glorious and correct Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tsetung, waged a determined struggle in defense of Marxism-Leninism against modern revisionists led by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Internally, under the leadership of Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line the Chinese people also waged the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. These were the “salvos” which led the most advanced revolutionary elements from the fire at the treetops to struggle to grasp Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and adopt the proletarian world outlook in struggling to defeat U.S. monopoly capitalist rule and struggle for socialism. Today with the emerging flow in the working class movement and the struggle by the growing anti-revisionist communist forces to fuse Marxist-Leninist Mao Tsetung Thought (MLMTT) with the working class movement, the fire at the tree tops has begun burning at the tree trunks!
It has now been 8 or 9 years since revolutionary forces have been struggling to grasp MLMTT and apply it to the concrete conditions of making revolution in the U.S. and forging a Party. In these years the major question facing our young communist movement has been which way to the Party, the instrument necessary to create the revolutionary subjective factor for revolution, the instrument needed to lead the working class in smashing capitalist rule, and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. There are forces in the Communist movement calling for and some actually constituting an Organizing Committee, while others are calling for the slaughter of circles. The Question IS:
As all the great Marxist teachers taught us, Marxism grows, “becomes stronger, more hardened, and more vigorous” (Lenin) in the struggle against the bourgeoisie, in the struggle against revisionism. This is the great lesson concentrated in the slogan raised by the Communist Party of China (CPC) of ”Study Marxism, Criticize Revisionism”. Our movement went through three periods during which there was fierce struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in sphere after sphere. It was through this struggle of the last 8 or 9 years that a “sorting out process” has taken place between genuine and sham, between those who waged merciless struggle against bourgeois ideology and for a firm proletarian stand and world outlook, and those who raised MLMTT only as a show piece but continued to be dominated by the bourgeois world outlook, by old habits of thought and action.
The struggle in the three party building periods of the communist movement was fierce and merciless. In the twists and turns of the bourgeoisie’s counter-revolutionary dual tactics, in the struggle to answer the pressing questions facing the proletariat in its struggle for revolution, opportunists and revisionists jumped out right and “left.” The comrades of Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO) correctly lay out a summation of the Communist movement in the U.S. (see Workers Viewpoint newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 5, August 1976, page 6)
Throughout this struggle, we see how dialectics is a mercilessly sharp two-edged sword which cuts right and “left.” It is in this struggle that opportunists and revisionists have been sorted out, and that genuine Marxist-Leninists have been steeled and are moving forward.
THIS SORTING OUT PROCESS GOES ON. At this point, there are forces like ATM and several collectives around the country, that were in the past part of the rising genuine Marxist-Leninist forces, but have now taken a centrist stand in the most recent period in the sharp struggle against the “left” otzovist clique of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization/ Revolutionary Workers League (PRRWO/RWL). (Otzovists were left opportunists that Lenin struggled against, who argued against all open Communist work.)
These forces tried to stand above the concrete line struggle that came down between WVO and the “left” opportunists. August Twenty-ninth Movement (ATM) and these other collectives used either slander and/or false lines of demarcation between themselves on both sides of this concrete line struggle.
This opportunism was facilitated by conditions set by such opportunists as the October League (OL) and PRRWO/ RWL, which consistently spread slander, lies, half-truths, and false accusations about WVO in the Communist movement as a cover for their own opportunism and revisionism. ATM has yet to take a clear and principled stand on this struggle. So far, It has resorted to some of the worst methods used by consolidated opportunists and revisionists in the movement. In Revolutionary Cause #7, ATM writes:
We recognize national nihilists (ATM is referring to PRRWO) when we see then, such as their chauvinist cousins in WVO who slap the entire movement of the Puerto Rican national minority in the face by referring to this history and YLP’s role of leadership as the actions of ’shock troops.’ (WVO Journal #4, p.11 [sic. p. ii]) Of course, we mustn’t forget that when the masses were in the streets fighting the state’s forces, one of WVO’s leaders was in the PLP condemning them for “bourgeois nationalism.” He has since left the PLP but has laid its baggage “on the threshold of the party” to quote Trotsky. Let him deny it in print.
Comrades, is this drawing lines of demarcation? The above statement by the ATM shows in a concentrated form some of the most opportunist maneuvers used by the OL and PRRWO/RWL. The statement accuses WVO of national nihilism and chauvinism. The first statement “shows” how WVO is “national nihilist” by taking a statement out of context, and by confusing readers about the meaning of the term “shock troops.” Let’s look at the context of the WVO statement. WVO writes:
...our opportunists (PRRWO) are not bourgeois democrats. They are petty bourgeois democrats who first came into the movement on their genuine indignation against capitalism. And during that period they played the role of ’shock troops.’
Here WVO is talking about the period in which the Young Lords Party, the predecessor to PRRWO, was playing a genuine anti-monopoly capitalist role. Is calling someone “shock troops” a “slap in the face”? Comrades, shock troops means troops especially chosen, trained and equipped to lead the attack! In fact, this term was used by Lenin to describe bourgeois democrats in their original vanguard role against the Czarist autocracy.
And then we see the same lies that OL has continually used about the “leaders” of WVO being past “leaders” of PLP. This is the main response OL has been able to come up with in the sharp and cutting polemics WVO has directed to the right opportunist OL. Again, this is slander based on lies. This is not a principled nor substantial line of demarcation. Comrades, carefully look at the direction where this is moving! This is headed in a straight road right into the marsh, and it will end up in the marsh unless comrades wage struggle against it and make a determined change in direction.
At this point after 8 or 9 years of struggle, our movement is demarcated into to clear and definite trends. There is the opportunist trend which includes OL, representatives of the left-wing of social-democracy in the U.S.; the anarcho-syndicalist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) representing the anti-monopoly petty bourgeoisie; the “left” otzovist clique of PRRWO/RWL and an assortment of loose groupings like Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee (MLOC), League for Proletarian Revolution, I Wor Kuen, Revolutionary Communist League (formerly Congress of African People).
Finally, there’s other groupings which have taken opportunist stands and put forth opportunist lines, but given the fact that these groups struggled in a principled manner against the pragmatic trend led by OL and RCP and that some struggled against the otzovist clique, we see comrades in this grouping as likely to join with the genuine forces. It is with these comrades that we seek to struggle in the immediate future, with an eye of moving forward our tasks of forging a. genuine Marxist-Leninist Party of the U.S. proletariat and uniting them around the correct line of WVO.
In the recently published book, A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China by the CPC, we read:
Chairman Mao formulated the basic line for the entire period of socialism as. Follows: “Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the complex s protracted nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education. We must correctly understand and handle class contradictions and class struggle: distinguish the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and handle them correctly, otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place. From now on we must remind ourselves of this every month and every day so that we can retain a relatively sober understanding of this problem and have a Marxist-Leninist line.” This basic line of the Party is founded on Marxism-Leninism; it is the lifeblood of our Party, the torch that illuminates all our work, the essential guarantee of the triumph of socialist revolution and construction. (P. 46-47)
This is the line put forth by Chairman Mao representing a major development in the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the class struggle during the whole period of transition from capitalism to communism. The Northern Star guiding the proletarian vanguard in the period of socialism is grasping the key link of class struggle. This is clearly not to mean that there isn’t class struggle during other periods, nor that it is less important then. The point is that during socialism, there is greater danger of losing sight of this fact (as we can see by the capitalist roaders in China pushing the “Three Directives” as key link). Maintaining or not maintaining this orientation is decisive as to whether the socialist or the capitalist road will prevail.
Likewise, we must grasp the basic line guiding us through this stage of the struggle of the proletariat to smash the rule of capital and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. And this key link of class struggle within the party (or within the genuine communist movement before the formation of the party) takes place in sphere after sphere, in one ideological realm after another, where necessity dictates that the struggle between the 2 classes, the 2 lines, and 2 views within the communist movement or party, is terribly fierce. We must grasp our “Northern Star,” that essential orientation which will decide whether or not we serve the proletariat and lead it in overthrowing the bourgeoisie.
Foto Cami, from the Party of Labor of Albania, in his article, “Objective and Subjective Factors in Revolution,” writes:
Imperialism, Lenin pointed out, is the ’epoch when according to the general admission of the Marxists, the objective, conditions have already ripened for the destruction, of capitalism’ ...Under these circumstances special importance was assumed by the role of the subjective factor which was elaborated by Lenin in an all around manner.
An essential aspect of the basic line of our party during the period up to the overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat was laid out by Lenin in his Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International. In this great work, Lenin calls on all genuine Communists to undertake “the immediate preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Lenin writes:
The present stage in the development of the international communist movement is marked by the fact that in the vast majority of capitalist countries, the proletariat’s preparations to effect its dictatorship have not been completed, and in many cases, have not even been systematically begun. From this it does not, however, follow that the proletarian revolution is impossible in the immediate future; it is perfectly possible, since the entire economic and political situation is most inflammable and abounds in causes of a sudden flare-up; the other condition for revolution, apart from the proletariat’s preparedness, viz. a general state of crisis in all ruling and in all bourgeois parties, also exists. However, it does follow that the Communist Parties’ current task consists in not accelerating the revolution, but in intensifying the preparation of the proletariat.
The “immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat” as an essential aspect of our basic line is a question of the orientation of our work, of the focus of all of our, tasks, in this period and up to the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. This slogan constitutes a line of demarcation between genuine Marxist-Leninists and sham forces who unite with the dictatorship of the proletariat in words, but who fail to take up the difficult but pressing work of immediately and universally preparing for it.
We must grasp how the amateurishness of our movement, how any backwardness is not merely a problem we have to correct before we reach a revolutionary situation in the future, but rather that all backwardness represents immediate and serious obstacles to the proletariat’s development of its revolutionary consciousness, leadership, and organization. Failing to grasp this slogan opens communists to adopting a patient attitude towards our shortcomings and towards backwardness in our movement. On the other hand, upholding the revolutionary interests of the proletariat and the vast majority necessitates that we grasp this slogan and that we adopt a ruthless intolerance for any and all backwardness, which stand in the way of preparing the proletariat to seize state? power, and a revolutionary determination to overcome all obstacles. It is the difference between providing excuses for ourselves and our movement on the one hand and setting out in a determined manner to overcome all and any obstacles quickly on the other. Comrades, this is a crucial orientation; this is our Northern Star which we use to find our bearings in all situations, which we use to place all our tasks in their correct context. In grasping this, we take up our smallest daily work with a sense of urgency, with a strong determination to cast aside all that stands in the way.
Comrades, we must grasp this deeply! In our view, those forces which nave refused to take a principled stand on the struggle between WVO and the otzovist clique (PRRWO/RWL) have lost this orientation. In Revolutionary Cause #8, ATM writes that their Second Congress, “on the basis of a careful summation of the history of party building in the U.S. over the past several years laid out the correct line that party building, like our revolution itself will be a protracted process in the U.S. (emphasis in the original). We take it that ATM is referring to party building not in the general sense, which goes on throughout the history of the party, but rather, that ATM is referring to the formation of the Party. The line put forth here reflects a loss of one’s bearings. It is as if the aim of the movement itself becomes forming the Party, rather than keeping our orientation in the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Comrades, we cannot take a view that the formation of a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party in the U.S. is a far away goal that someday (maybe!) we will reach!! This is subservience to the underdeveloped aspects of our movement; it is a failure to keep our bearings, and a failure to take up the struggle for the Party, which, as Lenin said, will “increase tenfold the work of preparing the proletariat for the conquest of political power”!
We must remember Lenin’s teachings:
The opportunist wing of any party always defends and justifies all backwardness, whether in programme, tactics, or organization. (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, LCW, Vol. 7)
The view that sees the Party as a far away goal objectively denies the history of our movement and the fruits of that history. This view denies the fact that struggle has been fiercely waged for 8 or 9 years in our movement, and that this struggle has not been a waste of time. The truth, comrades, is that this struggle has been taking place, and it has been tremendously fruitful in that it has forged a core of genuine Marxist-Leninists, has forged line clarity and clear lines of demarcation. It is the duty of genuine Marxist-Leninists to struggle to unite on the basis of the overall most correct line which has emerged in this struggle, and under the leadership of the leading circle which has emerged out of this struggle, the WVO!
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, there is no such thing as a non-class or supra-class political party. All political parties have a class character. Party spirit is the concentrated expression of class character. (A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Comnunist Movement, P. 42)
Upholding the interests of the proletariat in the U.S. today means actively and seriously struggling to forge the genuine revolutionary M-L party of the U.S. proletariat. We firmly unite with WVO that “a firm proletarian class stand ’serving the interests of the vast majority,’ dictates that genuine communists and the advanced must actively work to liquidate their present circles, based on unity of ideological and political line to form the great whole – the Party of a new type.”
Upholding the proletarian class stand on the question of party building is a question of practicing Party spirit. The fundamental criteria for determining who practices Party spirit and who practices circle spirit is the stance one takes towards Chairman Mao’s teaching that the “correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” The question of Party spirit is a question of actively striving to slaughter all our own circles and actively waging sharp class struggle against any and all lines which stand in the way of this. In this struggle we must grasp how this question of party spirit vs. circle spirit is a question of class struggle, a question of the struggle between the proletariat’s stand, method, and viewpoint on this question and the petty bourgeoisie’s stand, viewpoint and method. We must grasp how the petty bourgeoisie’s class outlook fosters circle spirit due to the petty bourgeoisie’s fear of becoming “a cog in a wheel,” the petty bourgeoisie’s striving for autonomy, individualism and anarchism, all of which are in direct opposition to the proletarian party. Our movement has a strong social basis for the kind of petty bourgeois autonomism and anarchism which clearly stands in the way of forging the party. We must grasp how lines objectively reflect circle spirit, even if it is not “intended.”
We first came to grasp this question in struggling against a slogan put forth by RWL saying that “political line is not mere formulation” and RWL’s accusation that “WVO holds that political line is mere formulation.” Comrades, this is a cover for circle spirit.
This view that “political line is not mere formulation” has been taken up by many of those forces who have not taken a clear stand, or rather, have taken a centrist stand on the struggle between WVO and the PRRWO/RWL clique. This is an opportunist line which belittles the decisiveness of line and provided a convenient way of creating false lines of demarcation with the correct line, and thus justified not uniting. In this way, this line serves circle spirit. This line also stops principled line struggle by saying “lines merely formulated are not significant,” thus it is not important to struggle for line clarity. It serves the worst kind of philistinism. Political lines are concrete answers to the questions facing the proletariat in its struggle for state power, for political power, for the dictatorship of the proletariat. A line that is put forth either in the main answers correctly questions facing the proletariat in its struggle, or it doesn’t answer it correctly. Formulating political line involves a correct analysis of both the objective and subjective conditions and a correct application of MLMTT to those particular conditions. In our struggle against opportunists we expose their line, show how it fails to represent the interests of the proletariat and of the vast majority, and show what class interests in fact it does reflect. We then deepen this by showing how it represents a failure to understand and correctly apply MLMTT, and how it is an incorrect analysis of the concrete conditions.
Again, we need to repeat Chairman Mao’s teaching that the “correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.”
This “mere formulation” line is a total belittlement of the decisiveness of line. Further, it serves the purpose of maintaining autonomous circles by drawing false lines of demarcation and, thus, standing in the way of the building of the Party. Comrades, this serves the interests of the petty bourgeoisie and not of the proletariat.
In order not to bow to spontaneity and, thus, allow bourgeois ideology to take command of our practice, the Chinese comrades explained “In itself the question of the line is part of the ideological superstructure, but because it represents in concentrated form the interests, the aspirations and the world view of a definite class, it constitutes the basic principle which guides all action.” (Basic Understanding of the CPC, our emphasis!)
We can also see where this line is headed. Ideological and political lines are approached as “mere formulations” that don’t mean much until we see them in action, as opposed to seeing ideological and political lines as either correct or incorrect guides to revolutionary practice which we must perfect and propagate, and on which our practice is based. This is headed right into the same corner of the marsh which RCP occupies with their pragmatism and empiricism. This is headed towards the same belittlement of theory and worship of blind practice that was defeated in the second period of party building.
Chou En-lai, at the Tenth National Congress of the CPC, said:
Chairman Mao teaches us that “the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” If one’s line is incorrect, one’s downfall is inevitable, even with the control of the central, local and army leadership. If one’s line is correct, even if one has not a single soldier at first, there will be soldiers, and even if there is no political power, political power will be gained. (Tenth National Congress Documents, P. 17)
It is on the basis of line that Marxist-Leninists liquidate their circles and unite. Clearly, the ultimate test of line is actual history and attempts to put it into practice, but Marxist-Leninists use their telescope in formulating line, in differentiating correct and incorrect lines by grasping the class effects and class purpose of particular lines that are put forth. As the movement developed and grew, opportunism and revisionism found better and higher forms to hide behind and try to pass off as genuine. But at the same time, genuine forces have heightened their grasp of the science and heightened their ability to differentiate sham from genuine.
ATM has recently also come out with a variation of the “mere formulation” line. In Revolutionary Cause #8, they write:
...the most important part of this process (of party building) is the TESTING of the political line in practice. It is this testing of views, of stated unities, in the crucible of mass struggle which will allow us to develop the solid basis of programmatic unity. This component must be taken into account and made a central part of any real viable plan for party building.
Comrades, this is nothing but circle spirit and the belittlement of the decisiveness of line. This is nothing but stuff we heard in the eclectic period, when everything was judged by how much practice, not what kind of practice or what guides our practice. This is opportunism in party building defined, when fundamental differences in programmatic elements are still rampant, when the bourgeois and petty bourgeois lines of revisionism are still disguised under “Marxism-Leninism.” And those opportunists are talking about building the same party we are talking about.
Just at this point, then, when these opportunist organizations need to be forced out into broad daylight so genuine communist organizations can unite around correct guiding principles and lines, the ATM is coming out with the proven bankrupt line of the RCP, that “the most important part of this process (of party building) is the TESTING of the political line in practice.”
Does not this remind us of the notorious distortion of Marxism by the Russian economist Rabocheye Dyelo, when they misquoted Marx, “Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes”?
Comrades, this is the ghost of RU and OL reappearing in the flesh of ATM! This marks the reappearance of the circle spirit of the pragmatists. The internal basis for this circle spirit is failure to uphold the revolutionary interests of the proletariat and the vast majority. There are also particular historical circumstances which have helped this failure to uphold the proletarian class stand to jump out. Many genuine and honest forces in the Wing, or close to the Wing were completely baffled or confused by the appearance of the thoroughly bankrupt and degenerate “left” otzovists of PRRWO/RWL. Because of a weak grasp of the development of opportunism and revisionism, many honest forces were left at a loss to explain where the degenerate line came from, how it emerged, etc. ATM, among these forces, goes to great length in its political organ to explain how the PRRWO that it had unity with is a different PRRWO from the “left” opportunist PRRWO. ATM describes this metaphysically as if it were two different organizations altogether, rather than grasping and explaining the dialectical process of development and degeneration. This reflects the same ideological and theoretical weakness which has led to opportunist accusations of WVO over the questions of whether there existed unity for the WVO and RWL merger. This would also lead many to not understand how the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks were even in the same Party. It is the failure to grasp firmly that contradictions exist inside the proletarian Party between bourgeois and proletarian ideology and lines.
In Workers Viewpoint newspaper (Vol. 1, No. 5, August 1976, P. 18), WVO correctly pointed out how the disintegration of the Revolutionary Wing was an example of the inevitable sorting out process in the communist movement. But some honest comrades have a petty bourgeois pessimistic view that the communist movement is falling apart. Based on this incorrect outlook, they fear sharp turns and want a guarantee and insurance for “success,” and lasting unity.
Comrades, our approach to uniting M-L is struggling for unity on line, “the more or less clear expression of social classes.” Achieving this constitutes a principled basis for unity. Clearly, we want to struggle to ensure that the line we unite with is implemented. We all recognize how social practice naturally lags behind our most advanced development of line. Thus we struggle to see whether an organization is waging some form of rectification struggle to overcome deficiencies in practice and to correct past errors, etc. But, it is our duty as communists to seek to unite on the basis of line, and on the basis of this unity, liquidate our circles and unite into the larger whole.
Comrades, the immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat demands that genuine communists struggle hard and urgently so that we may achieve principled unity around the correct line and unite to build the Party. It is this unity which will “increase tenfold the work of preparing the proletariat” for the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Lenin said in Retrograde Trend in Social-Democracy, forming the Party is the greatest step towards the fusion of the communist and working class movement. It is the concentration of genuine communist leadership, the ability to organize widespread national political exposures, the ability to bring all our forces under one center, that will allow us to make major strides in the preparations to defeat the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Comrades, we must not lose our bearings! Grasping party building as an immediate task facing the proletariat, and not a far away, protracted struggle, is grasping our Northern Star, grasping the slogan of taking up the immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Throughout the struggle for communism, both in the struggle against the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and in the struggle to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, a watershed between genuine and sham has always been the stand taken towards the dictatorship of the proletariat. In our concrete time, place, and circumstances the stand we take towards the dictatorship of the proletariat is determined by the stand we take towards the forging of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Party, the necessary instrument for the immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Comrades, we call on you to take the revolutionary road of the proletariat, to struggle against all who excuse and justify backwardness in the movement, to struggle against all who advocate complacency and “patience,” and who fail to push for intolerance of backwardness and a sense of urgency in moving forward our tasks!
In the struggle to forge the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of the U.S. proletariat, we must grasp the international experience of the revolutionary proletariat as summed up by our great teachers. We must also grasp the particularities of the present conditions in the U.S. and apply the MLMTT stand, method and viewpoint in correctly laying out the road to the Party.
The theoretical basis guiding the thinking of the Party is the highest current development of the proletarian science. Today, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought constitutes the theoretical basis on which we must build our Party. Is this sufficient basis on which to demarcate the Party? NO. In general modern revisionism is exposed to Marxists, and because of this revisionists and opportunists need to hide under the signboard of MLMTT.
Further, in studying the Russian experience in party building we need to look not only at the struggle leading up to the Second Congress of the RSDLP (1903), but more significantly we need to look at the 1912 experience when the Bolsheviks constituted themselves an. independent Party. Up to that time factions were permitted in Social-Democratic parties. But history made clear that the proletariat needs a party of Bolsheviks and not of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
It is because of this that the Party must be built on one trend, on clear lines of demarcation, on the highest development of the line and the highest level of Bolshevization of various spheres that exists at any time. Because of this, it is important that revisionists and opportunists be sorted out as much as possible before the Party, and once the Party is formed, class struggle continues and we must purge the Party of all opportunists.
The revisionists in the Communist movement have discarded all the above principles and lessons. The OL is building a revisionist Party on the least common denominator, letting every petty bourgeois element they can get their hands on into “their” petty bourgeois, unprincipled “unity trend,” and allowing them to put in their “two cents” on the “line” of the Party. This is the exact same capitalist road to party building which the MLOC is advocating, calling on everyone to join them in writing the Programme with no lines of demarcation (see article in this issue), and even recently accusing OL of being too exclusive! Then there is the otzovist clique of PRRWO/RWL, who have screamed loudest about drawing firm lines of demarcation and thus building the Party on a principled basis, but whose deeds have proved otherwise. The clique ran around yelling charges of “hegemonism” because WVO struggled against the view “all organizations stand abreast.” Instead WVO scientifically argued that comrades needed to struggle for the overall most correct line around which the Party would be built. In essence, the PRRWO/RWL methodology of “all stand abreast, no overall most correct line, everyone has aspects of the most correct line, etc.” is the same stuff MLOC and OL are trying to get over. The otzovist clique simply has a more “militant” cover. This shows the unity of “right and left”, Menshevism and “Inside-out” Menshevism.
Again, we must seek the stand, method and viewpoint of the proletariat on the question, not dead formulas. Unlike the Russian Bolshevik Party and the Communist Party of China, the party building struggle in the U.S. has been growing in conditions of bourgeois democracy. This has several implications. One is that it has been easier to wage open polemics and to circulate the various papers and journals put out by the Marxist-Leninist groupings in the U.S. This has made it easier for genuine forces who correctly grasp and uphold the leading role of theory, and who uphold the decisiveness of ideological and political line, to carry out the necessary struggle around lines put forth in the movement. These conditions of bourgeois democracy have also made it more possible for any petty bourgeois intellectual(s) to start a circle around themselves. As Lenin said about the various Russian Social-Democratic circles abroad, who were also functioning under less repressive circumstances, “there was no criterion [other than line struggle] by which to judge the strength or importance of one or another circle. The importance of many of them, which are now forgotten, was exaggerated, but in their time they wanted through struggle to assert their right to existence.” (“Preface to the Collection of Twelve Years,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 106) Finally, these conditions have made it possible for forces to group and regroup, and for trends to consolidate into definite organizational forms.
In One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Lenin wrote:
...everyone at the Congress [Second Congress of the RSDLP] clearly realised what any impartial person may easily ascertain from the Congress minutes and from the entire history of Iskra, namely, that the Organizing Committee was mainly a commission set up to convene the Congress, a commission deliberately composed of representatives of different shades, including even the Bundists; while the real work of creating the organized unity of the Party was done entirely by the Iskra organization. (Emphases in original, p. 75)
The Organizing Committee approach to building the Party is connected to particular conditions and circumstances. At this point in our movement, putting forth an Organizing Committee approach to uniting genuine Marxist-Leninist forces is a concession to petty bourgeois illusions and demands for bourgeois democracy as the method for building the Party. In fact, the Organizing Committee approach today represents the capitalist road to the Party and cannot build a genuine Party.
On the other hand there is the proletarian road to party building! The proletarian road correctly grasps the stand, method and viewpoint of building the Party as laid out by the great revolutionary teachers of the proletariat, particularly Lenin and Chairman Mao. The proletarian road demands that firm and clear lines of demarcation be drawn and that genuine forces unite on the basis of the highest development of the correct and leading. Marxist-Leninist revolutionary line in the Communist movement. The correct proletarian road to party building also grasps how the Organizing Committee method is not appropriate to the present conditions in the U.S. Communist movement, in which the correct trend of building the Party on the proletarian ideological plane led by the WVO has emerged as the only trend on which the genuine party of the proletariat in the U.S. can be founded.
The WVO represents the leading force in the proletarian road to party building. In the last two years, WVO has demonstrated clear and consistent revolutionary leadership in the struggle against right and “left” opportunism. During this time the WVO has led our movement in making major strides in grasping MLMTT in the conditions of making revolution in the U.S. It has been a leading force in retrieving a MLMTT understanding of the development of the Party and of the struggle to build this party on the proletarian ideological plane, of the character of the proletarian party. It has clearly proven its ability to grasp deeply the international situation, based on Chairman Mao’s teaching, the growing danger of fascism, the dual tactics of the bourgeoisie and how it comes down in particular questions. WVO has clearly demonstrated a grasp of MLMTT strategy and tactics, a correct analysis of the working class movement and the communist movement as it has developed through its periods, and a correct grasp of the principal contradiction developing in the movement.
In this past year, WVO has not only clearly emerged as representing the leading line in the Communist movement, but also has developed the national scope and organizational infrastructure to, in fact, Organize the genuine forces in the Communist movement. It is because of this that we say that WVO not only represents the leading line, but, in fact, it is the leading circle in the Communist movement today. It is on the basis of this line and organization that the Party will be built. That is why we say that the Proletarian Road to party building is not setting up an Organizing Committee, but rather, the Proletarian Road is the liquidation, the slaughter of circles in the interest of forging the larger whole!
Lenin in 1909 wrote:
The Bolsheviks prepared the ground for partyism by their implacable struggle against the anti-Party elements in 1903-05 and in 1906-07. Now the Bolsheviks must build the Party, build the Party out of their wing, build up the Party by utilising the vantage-ground gained in the inner-Party struggle.
Comrades, today we must build the Party out of the genuine revolutionary trend led by the WVO! And the path to this party necessitates the slaughter of circles! The petty bourgeoisie is deadly afraid of this slaughter. The “small shop proprietor” outlook fears organization, fears the thought of becoming a cog in a wheel. Thus we see circle spirit jumping out! We must wage a resolute struggle in the short period ahead against those forces who are honest and some genuine who have not consolidated into an opportunist trend, but who in the ruthless line struggle in the Communist movement have momentarily lost their bearings or who, because of a failure to grasp the inevitable appearance of opportunism, or because of fear that opportunism will jump out unexpectedly, thus seek “guarantees” and “insurance” on class struggle and hope that this “won’t happen again.”
Comrades, the struggle in the Communist movement has been fierce, but definitely positive. In this struggle we have sorted out opportunism and revisionism right and “left.” In this struggle comrades have been steeled and the correct ideological and political line has developed, been deepened, been tested, and been sharpened!
Comrades, we must build the Party from the ranks of those genuine forces, the most class-conscious forces, that have emerged in the cause of the fierce struggle and the sorting out process in the Communist movement. We must stand firmly with the proletariat and for the interests of the vast majority, which means that we wage sharp struggle in order to build the principled unity of genuine Marxist-Leninists in the U.S., that on this basis we earnestly seek to liquidate our circles and unite into the whole, into the genuine Marxist-Leninist revolutionary communist Party of the U.S. proletariat!
Comrades, there are only two roads! The BOC/CWC on the basis of having achieved ideological and political unity with the leading circle – the WVO – have chosen the correct proletarian road and are prepared to liquidate our circles and form the great whole!
FORWARD TO THE PARTY CONGRESS!!