Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Committee for Scientific Socialism (Marxist-Leninist)

RWL and OL: Two Wings of Same Bird


First Published: Forward!, No. 1, June 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.


We want to go from the general to the particular on the question of revolutionary practice and examine the work of representative organizations with which we are familiar here in D.C. We will focus on the OL and the RWL.

First, in relation to the principal contradiction, the two-line struggle within the communist movement:

The OL, representing the main danger – the right deviation, states that theoretical work and ideological struggle in the most recent past has set a firm foundation for the organizational consolidation of communist forces. Their call for a series of “unity conferences” is a call for a coalition of communist organizations around a set of principles allegedly forged in the struggle to defeat opportunism and revisionism. Through this “higher” form of organization, the communists will develop a party program, strategy and tactics.

The current plan supercedes their November, 1975, call which actually sought to establish the party a year prior to the development of the program. After criticism from virtually every communist organization in the movement, the OL “corrected” its “mistake” and gave the task of program development to its unity conferences.

The OL’s reversal of their earlier plan was accompanied by no self-criticism other than, ”We made a mistake.” No effort was made to establish how this “mistake” reflects an ideological stance. Thus, the OL leadership displayed a completely bourgeois approach to self-criticism and examination of errors on the one hand, and, on the other, a complete inability to fundamentally correct mistakes. Inevitably, this error will be repeated by the OL.

The call to form the party without a leading line represents a complete mistaking of form for content. The OL has never grasped that the party is the first, the leading, the most essential institution of the emerging proletarian superstructure. It is the organized consciousness and leadership of the class and its allies. Without its leading line–without a firm knowledge of the objective process and a corresponding line of conduct–the form of a party has no meaning. The essence of the party is not its democratic-centralism, party organ and party organizations. Rather, the essence is its consciousness and leading lines of conduct. By calling for the party without a program, the OL displayed its complete misunderstanding of the party as organized consciousness. By failing to do a deep self-criticism on this, the OL has placed itself as the very edge of the communist movement. If it does not call off its independent party-building effort and deepen its self-criticism, the OL will have to place itself outside the communist movement.

We have already noted that the OL, historically, has belittled ideological struggle within the communist movement – never leading struggle, responding only if attacked and constantly calling for unity around abstract, underdeveloped “principles.” Their current line of unity conferences to develop the program is more of the same. The OL has put forward no draft program for study and preliminary criticism; nor has it led struggle around programmatic issues at forums or in its publication. Fundamental questions, like the class analysis of the U.S., have never been addressed by the OL. Instead, the OL has simply called upon honest forces to show up at their conferences and struggle for unity.

Unity around what, we must ask? Genuine communists always assert leadership. If the OL has a draft program, it should have-been laid out months ago. Even the RU had the sense of mind to do this. The facts are plain to see: the OL has no draft. In fact, it has no idea what a genuine program is. All it has is its relatively big organization built along the line of least resistance.

Someday our party will be a big organization. Particularly if we concentrate, now, on establishing the correct ideological and political lines manifest in a genuine program, strategy and tactics. But the OL has things turned on their head. It has yet to grasp that the party is not just organization, but that it is organized scientific knowledge and practice. Without understanding this, the OL can go nowhere except into the marsh.

Thus, in relation to the principal contradiction in party-building–that of the two-line struggle within the communist movement–the OL has belittled theoretical work and ideological struggle historically and currently. Instead, they have attempted to suck-in intermediate communists and advanced elements by their unity conferences–an organizational ruse to cover their own lack of knowledge.

This is “revolutionary” practice in relation to the contradiction within the communist movement as the right deviation, represented by the OL, sees it. But what of the “left” deviation, the “revolutionary” wing? Do they view it differently?

Of course not. The form varies, but the essence is the same. Let’s examine the RWL.

The RWL says the development of program, strategy and tactics is the focus of our work. So does the genuine revolutionary trend and, even, the OL. What is the RWL’s plan to carry forward this work?

The RWL puts forward no plan. In the Bolshevik they say, “Unite with the Revolutionary Wing to Form the Party.” Apparently, the program will be emerging from their organization and communists and advanced elements should just step forward and join them in this work. Where is there a shred of difference between the OL call to join them in their unity conference and the RWL’s call to join them in their pre-party organization? There isn’t any.

Leadership cannot be declared; rather, it can only be established in struggle–in this case struggle over program. On this question the RWL has led lust about as much struggle as the OL–virtually none. So how is it that they can see two clear trends in the communist movement with themselves and a couple others the entire composition and leadership of one of them? And now the statement that they have NO unity with any other organized forces, all of whom are opportunists.

The RWL’s views of the trends and the leadership in the communist movement is so one-sided and subjective that it can only have one purpose: to cover up their own lack of understanding of the objective process, their inability to put forward concrete plans to forge Marxist-Leninist unity, and their effort, nevertheless, to suck in intermediate communists and advanced elements and build their own organization.

In essence, the RWL and the OL divorce the universality of contradiction from its particularity. Standing on their theoretical unity neither right nor “left” aspects of reformist trend understands how the general principles of M-L-M Thought apply to the concrete contradictions facing communists in the U.S. today. Mao stated that it is precisely within the particularity of contradiction that the universality resides (On Contradiction), yet the OL remains empirical while the RWL remains dogmatic in their mechanical materialism. Both, in essence liquidate the development of a true ideological line on revolution in the U.S.

How do these forces view practice in relation to the secondary contradiction in party-building – that between the communist movement and the spontaneous movement which takes particular form as the ideological and political struggle, led by Marxist-Leninists against the sham “socialists,” to win the advanced to M-L-M?

First of all, in liquidating the ideological struggle within the communist movement for leading line and relying on their own narrow basis of knowledge for the development of program, both wings of opportunism raise the secondary contradiction as principal. Thus, they endeavor to win the advanced without benefit of a genuine leading line. It can fool some of the advanced and win them temporarily, but only in the absence of presentation of the genuine leading line. The right, tailist line results in a big, reformist organization. The “left”, subjectivist line results in an isolated “super-revolutionary” sect. However, each can serve the other and temporarily side-track the revolutionary movement.[1]

The OL’s practice is to go among the masses and, raising minimum demands, draw out some ”advanced” elements and consolidate them into their Fightback organization. Here they focus activity on running from this momentary flaring of class struggle to that, always striving to bring in the “advanced” elements and put them to work on the next project. The OL puts forward no conception of the advanced worker and takes anyone in who will join. Theoretical work and ideological struggle within the Fight-back is decidedly secondary, if it exists at all. The essence is “practical” work. This is militant form and social-democratic content.

By drawing the more “advanced” elements into the Fightback the OL endeavors to separate them from the intermediate. By failing to struggle to raise the “advanced” to the level of communist consciousness, the OL basically tails the spontaneous consciousness. Thus, the OL line in practice bows to spontaneity politically, and it organizationally severs the advanced from the intermediate.

How is this different from the wing’s “revolutionary” line? It’s different in form alone; the content is the same.

The RWL’s practice is to go among the masses raising its line on party-building in the principal position, draw out an “advanced” element or two, bring them into their mass organization (ALSC) and raise the level of unity in ALSC to that of a communist organization (line on the central task, etc.). The RWL puts forward a mutated version of Lenin’s definition of advanced worker,[2] trying to cover their own dogmatism while maintaining their super-revolutionary coating. Basically they take in anyone who will unite around their line on party-building claiming, in essence, that these are the only advanced elements in the spontaneous movement.

By raising the level of unity of the mass organization (ALSC) to that of a communist organization,[3] the RWL line, in total unity with the OL line, endeavors to separate off the more advanced elements from the intermediate and backward by driving them out of ALSC or not providing a proper basis for them to unite.

The OL liquidates ideological struggle in the spontaneous movement by never raising the maximum program in opposition to the revisionists, trotskyists and consolidated opportunists and never striving to win the advanced to M-L-M. Instead, they strive to build up their own organization with minimum demands.

The RWL does the opposite in form, but the same in essence. They too, never raise maximum program to consolidate the advanced. The effect of both lines is to fail to expose the enemy, to fail to win the advanced to M-L-M and to sever the more active from the intermediate and backward.

This is “revolutionary” practice as the opportunist trends see it in relation to the spontaneous movement. Why?

The question arises as to the connection between the lines of these organizations and their practice.

Both suffer the same basic problem the lack of a Marxist method to investigate, study, analyze and pose solutions to problems. This is evidenced in their complete failure to pose the main contradictions in party-building in their particularity and to identify which is principal.

Without a clear grasp of the particular contradictions within a process of development, communists are completely unprepared to further their resolution. This goes to the essence of scientific process.

This dialectical world outlook teaches us primarily how to observe and analyse the movement of opposites in different things and, on the basis of such analysis, to indicate the methods for resolving contradictions. (Mao, On Contradiction, Selected Readings, FLP, p. 90).

This, precisely, is what the OL has not done in party-building. And without revealing the particularity of the contradictions in any process of development of the party, they have not taken the first step to revealing the essence of the process. Consequently their practice is necessarily spontaneous and is bound to hold back proletarian revolution.

The RWL has gone somewhere past the OL, but not too far. They, too, have not scientifically analyzed the exact contradictions in party-building. However, they have posed two general “strategic principles – “Marxist-Leninists Unite” and “Win the Advanced to Communism”. To some extent, these formulations reveal a perceptual knowledge of the two main contradictions.

This perceptual knowledge is not sufficient to get to the essence of party-building.

In order to reveal the particularity of the contradictions in any process in the development of a thing, in their totality or interconnections, that is, in order to reveal the essence of the process, it is necessary to reveal the particularity of the two aspects of each of the contradictions in the process; otherwise it will be impossible to discover the essence of the process. (Mao, Ibid., p. 99)

The RWL must deepen its knowledge of the contradictions if it wishes to transform its spontaneous practice into scientific practice. The RWL must lay out the contradictious in their particularity.

However, the RWL’s problem runs deeper than this because they have refused to recognize that even on the basis of their perceptual knowledge of the contradictions and their formulation of two principles, the question must be asked and answered as to which is principal. Even with a full knowledge of the contradictions in their particularity, scientific practice cannot be established without determining which is principal.

There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determines or influences the existence and development of the other contradictions. (Mao, Selected Readings, FLP, p. 110)

. . . whatever happens, there is no doubt at all that at every stage in the development of a process, there is only one principal contradiction which plays the leading role.

Hence, if in any process there are a number of contradictions, one of them must be the principal contradiction playing the leading and decisive role, while the rest occupy a secondary and subordinate position. Therefore, in studying any complex process in which there are two or more contradictions, we must devote every effort to finding its principal contradiction. Once this principal contradiction is grasped, all problems can be readily solved. (Ibid., p. 111-112).

So, out with it, RWL. What are the contradictions in party-building and which of them is principal? Without demonstrating knowledge in this regard, how are honest forces to be expected to accept RWL leadership on the resolutions of the contradictions?

Perhaps, we should assume the two principles (Marxist-Leninists Unite and Win the Advanced to Communism) represent the RWL’s knowledge of the two main contradictions. Fine, but which is principal?

According to the RWL, neither is principal!

We formerly put forth that Marxist-Leninists Unite was the principle (sic) tactic in party-building. We repudiate this. (RWL, The Bolshevik, p. 33).

The RWL, slipping and sliding, fails to come to grips with dialectics. If Marxist-Leninists Unite isn’t principal, then Win the Advanced to Communism is. There is no other way to look at it.

But what do we get from the RWL? Nothing except,

We believe that we must carry out the work of uniting Marxist-Leninists and winning the advanced to communism simultaneously. (Ibid., p. 34).

How profound! Of course, the tasks are simultaneous, but that begs the question. Which task is principal, determining the character of the other? This is the question which must be answered before scientific practice can be established.

In any given place, there cannot be a number of central tasks at the same time. At any given time there can be only one central task, supplemented by other tasks of a second or third order of importance. Consequently, the person with over-all responsibility in the locality must take into account the history and circumstances of the struggle there and put the different tasks in their proper order; he should not act upon each instruction as it comes from the higher organization without any planning of his own, and thereby create a multitude of “central tasks” and a state of confusion and disorder. Nor should a higher organization simultaneously assign many tasks to a lower organization without indicating their relative importance and urgency or without specifying which is central, for that will lead to confusion in the steps taken by the lower organizations in their work and thus no definite results will be achieved. (Mao, Concerning Methods of Leadership. Selected Readings, FLP, p. 292).

Which is it, RWL? Uniting Marxist-Leninists or Winning the Advanced to Communism? Since you repudiate the first as principal, you cannot fail, objectively, to make the second principal.

The RWL is obviously hesitant to come straight out on this. Raising winning the advanced as our principal task, reflecting the assertion that the contradiction between the communist movement and the spontaneous movement is principal in this period where the communist movement has yet to develop a program for proletarian revolution, is the exact same line the OL is running and the same line the PL and the RU used to consummate their bankrupt party-building efforts!

In essence this line calls for the development of a scientifically-formulated program primarily through work with the spontaneous movement.[4] On the one hand, this displays the RWL’s small circle mentality and empiricist outlook on the development of knowledge. On the other hand, it displays their tailest conception of the emergence of program coming not from consolidated communists through struggle over the lessons of their work in the spontaneous movement, but rather from the wing and their small circle of advanced elements.

It won’t take the “wing” long to form their “party.” As soon as they fast-talk[5] a few advanced workers with their particular “theory” and find they can’t go any further, the wing will re-copy Lenin’s draft program (leaving out the obviously inapplicable parts) and form the most isolated sect-party yet to emerge in the U.S. anti-revisionist communist movement.

Danger

The danger of opportunism in our ranks is seen in the unity of the “lefts” and rights in practice vis-ŗ-vis the bourgeois state. Both trends, by isolating the advanced in communist-controlled “mass” organizations, expose the best elements of the working class to the state.

This was proved recently when the Congressional Record published a complete list of all those from the DC area who attended the OL’s December Fightback conference in Chicago. This is a reflection of the OL’s internal looseness, but, more particularly, it demonstrates the inappropriateness of communist “mass” organizations in this period. Such organizations cannot fail to draw the attention of the political police.

The RWL has gone beyond the OL. They have adopted the policy of exposing all communists as such before the state. This was first revealed at their April party-building forum in DC where they attempted to link questioners to specific communist organizations. The tactics were employed to divert attention from the line struggle. This objectively serves the bourgeoisie, but the public linking-up of individuals to communist organizations is nothing more than a fascist, anti-communist method of work. The RWL must specifically repudiate and correct this method of work.

This general line has been carried forward in the ALSC. Here, the RWL initiated discussions and struggle over party-building lines in front of the bourgeois state. The effect was to expose many honest forces as communists. This is one of the clearest proofs of the petty-bourgeois nature of the RWL’s party-building line. It ignores the fact that we live under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and that our ability to work as open communists right now must be pursued in light of the inevitable illegal and secret work we must engage in now and in the future. We must make communist advances by using this legality to the utmost, but we must not be foolhardy in our work.

The RWL, completely displaying its bourgeois-democratic illusions, has liquidated secret work, has liquidated the building of an underground network capable of combating the secret police, and, objectively, has liquidated the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the essence of the RWL’s line and practice –liquidation of the building of secret communist organization among the masses and, hence, liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In their petty-bourgeois frenzy the RWL has taken to exposing comrades in the movement before the state and have demonstrated clearly that their organization is completely insecure. Until their practice is repudiated in this regard, taken to its ideological roots and corrected, honest forces should stay clear of the RWL.

Left and Right Serve Each Other

The OL’s right, tailest line is the main danger generally in the communist movement. This is because it is the line of least resistance and will always show immediate results until the genuine revolutionary line is more fully developed. However, the OL’s line, in particular, has been very much exposed by many forces in our movement, and, momentarily, we must focus on struggle with the “left” line.

The wing’s “left” line, as we have shown, is actually the exact same as the OL’s right line. However, it relies not on “results” but, rather, fast talk to get by. No doubt, its life in our movement will be short-lived.

However, the “left” line cannot be ignored to isolate itself from the movement and the masses. It must be thoroughly exposed, so that honest forces in the middle of the current struggle will not be sidetracked. Also, just like some honest, but frustrated former OL cadre who have been sucked-in by the RWL’s hustler style (in contrast to the OL’s blahs), some honest RWL cadre will swing to the right once they realize the line of their leadership is going nowhere. In this way, the “left” line of the wing ultimately ends up serving its right twin. This is why we must heighten the struggle.

RWL/ALSC Appendix

We have observed and studied the RWL line in practice in the ALSC and have struggled with it at local forums. The work in the ALSC is particularly revealing of the bankrupt, sectarian quality of the line.

The RWL’s complete muddle on mass practice is revealed in the particularity of their work in the ALSC, the mass organization from which the RWL emerged and in which the RWL line has organizational hegemony.

Over the years the ALSC has consistently organized around the annual African Liberation Day (ALD). In 1975 the ALSC organized marches and demonstrations across the U.S. to expose U.S. imperialism’s role in Africa. The ALD march in D.C. brought out several thousand people in a multi-national display of solidarity which linked up the struggle against imperialism to the struggle for democratic rights and against economic exploitation in the U.S. Over the years the work of the ALSC has attracted thousands of people, many of whom have stayed to work in or with the ALSC.

In 1976, the ALSC took NO part in ALD except for the publication of two propaganda leaflets. It organized no activities. By default ALD was turned over to the pan africanist All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) which carried out a march and forum under the revisionist and unscientific slogans of “Take ALD Back to Africa” and “Total Unification and Liberation of Africa Under Scientific Socialism.” Also participating in this was the PSP and other revisionist forces along with the trotskyists and consolidated opportunists. Only the WC and the CAP arose form the audience to raise the issue of imperialism and social-imperialism.

How is it that a mass organization like the ALSC, in which Marxist-Leninists exercise considerable influence, could so completely ignore the spontaneous struggle of Americans against U.S. imperialism and pass the initiative to pan africanists? Only two possibilities arise. Either the masses rose up and denied the revolutionary leadership of the communists, or the communists offered no revolutionary leadership. In this case, it will do no good to blame the “backwardness” of the masses. Rather, it was the RWL muddle-line on mass practice which allowed the revisionists to make gains.

Ever since the RWL emerged in the ALSC, it has been confused about how to work therein. In the winter of 1975-76, the RWL debated whether to use its organizational hegemony to shut down the ALSC. This course of action was eventually dropped and in early April a meeting was called to announce new principles of unity.

At this meeting the mass character of the ALSC was re-affirmed and two new principles of unity were added: opposition to both superpowers and membership open to all nationalities. At this meeting committee work for ALD, 1976, was begun.

The next meeting wasn’t until early May. Meanwhile, in closed meetings, the ALSC leadership debated further changes in the principles of unity. They announced that members of the ALSC should prepare for the May meeting by studying the party-building lines of the “revolutionary” wing.

By the time of the May meeting all initiative for ALD had passed to the AAPRP. At the meeting it became apparent that the ALSC leadership had been focusing not on the development of ALD plans but, instead, on adopting a party-building line for the ALSC. All the committee work of ALD was incomplete. While plans were announced for an ALD rally the weekend following the AAPRP rally and for an eight hour(!) forum on party-building and ALD, most of this meeting was devoted to a struggle around the wing’s line and practice.

In particular, the action of the RWL at the Iranian Student Association event earlier in the week was brought up and criticized by honest forces in the ALSC. The RWL had gone to the ISA event to insist that the ISA was opportunist for failing to adopt a line on the central task – party-building in the U.S. After disrupting most of the early evening with this ridiculous line, they walked out as the planned activities began. The RWL refused to accept criticism on this action and stated that all anti-imperialist mass organizations should adopt a line on party-building. Building the party is the only path to opposing imperialism, regardless of the level of development and focus of the people involved. “Party-building is the central and only task of communists and advanced elements.” This is the RWL’s completely unscientific and mechanical approach to things. They are not aware of the particular processes of development of different things. Thus, they adopt a chauvinist position in relation to the work of other honest forces.

At the next ALSC meeting in May all those who were not prepared to unite with the wing’s line on party-building were told to leave. This was the purge of the “Menshevik opportunists”–all genuine communists, advanced elements and middle forces who were not yet prepared to accept the RWL line. There had been only a part of one single meeting devoted to struggle over the line; there was no democratic process of adopting the line by the members. But these are secondary issues. In essence what the RWL line meant in practice was that communists should strive to raise the level of unity of the mass organizations in which they work to that of a communist organization. This is exactly what happened in the ALSC.

What is this but the complete destruction of the mass organization? The effect is two-fold. On the one hand, it is to drive the communists out of the organization, save those who unite around the particular party-building line. If the RWL doesn’t see any unity for struggle with these forces, then they should come out and make it plain by explaining why. As one comrade who had been purged from the ALSC said at a recent forum, “You don’t think you’re the revolutionary wing; you think you’re the whole damn bird!” This is empiricism, pure and simple – worship of the RWL’s own narrow experience.

On the other hand, the effect of the RWL line in mass work is to drive out the intermediate and backward (as well as most of the advanced who do not unite on the party-building line) and to provide principles of unity and practice which will insure that new intermediate forces do not join. This is simply sending the less developed forces back to the bourgeoisie’s misleaders, social props and the revisionists, while at the same time splitting off the more developed forces (the advanced) from the intermediate.

This is the left form of the OL’s right deviation of creating the Fightback – the same basic tactic all opportunists use. The RCP has its “intermediate” anti-imperialist and workers organizations. Elsewhere, dual unionism is advocated. In essence, it is all the same. Split the advanced from the intermediate and avoid the hard, communist work of working in and developing the existing, spontaneously-arising organizations of the masses.

The RWL ended up cancelling its forum and rally for ALD, claiming that to carry through on this work would be “bowing to spontaneity.”

All this conduct is the inevitable by-product of the RWL’s mechanical line which cannot perceive the particularity of different times, places and conditions. In general, this means completely confusing the contradiction within the communist movement with that between the communist movement and the spontaneous movement. This is why they are currently disrupting mass organizations which do not have lines on party-building, why they are endeavoring to split the advanced from the intermediate, why they are driving genuine communists away from “their” advanced elements, why they are liquidating the two-line struggle among communists, why they fail to raise M-L-M Thought at mass events, why they direct their main blows within the communist movement, and why they engage in communist struggle with all their cadre in front of the bourgeois state.

This is the conduct of people completely muddled in their knowledge of the contradictions with which they are trying to work. This is the unity of the OL and the RWL. Objectively, this is the line of complete spontaneity which can only serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. Honest forces beware!

Endnotes

[1] Experience in DC shows that the “left” wing’s line has had some success in winning over forces who formerly were infatuated with the right line (OL) and, in general, these forces fail to be critical of their errors in following opportunism.

[2] Recently, the RWL has been slipping and sliding on the definition of an advanced worker. They have attacked the CSS definition (knowledge of the antagonistic nature of class struggle and aware of the need for higher forms of organization, but unclear on the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the vanguard party) not on its merits, but rather for its failure to conform with Lenin’s 1899 definition given in A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy. Tailing the PRRWO, which has always asserted the correctness of Lenin’s definition in contemporary America despite the many differences (particularly, the state of fusion between the workers movements and the communist movement), the RWL has mutated the definition, completely altered its meaning and is still trying to get over as though Lenin were their source. Here’s what Lenin said:

“The history of the working class movement in all countries shows that the better-situated strata of the working class respond to the ideas of socialism more rapidly and more easily. From among these come, in the main, the advanced workers that every working class movement brings to the fore, those who can win the confidence of the labouring masses, who devote themselves entirely to the education and organization of the proletariat, who accept socialism consciously, and who even elaborate independent socialist theories. (“The Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy,” LCW, Vol. IV, p. 280).

“Those advanced workers were Social-Democrats. . . .(Ibid., p. 260).

Thus, according to Lenin, the advanced workers in Russia in 1899 were already Social-Democrats, already communists, independently elaborating socialist theory. Along comes the RWL, raising Lenin to liquidate Lenin. According to the RWL, the advanced are “independent leaders, who have practically demonstrated their desire and commitment for fundamental change, leaders who study, study a wide variety of materials in an effort to find answers to the problems facing them everyday.” (RWL, The Bolshevik, p. 29) They go on to say that advanced workers are eclectic studiers, everything “from Newsweek type magazines to communist newspapers and Marxist-Leninist works,” and that they are “active, in motion, agitating and propagating the understanding they have acquired from their study and practice about the fundamental problems in society and the long range solutions.” (Ibid., p. 29)

This is a practical definition, something to be tested and developed in practice and struggle. However, the RWL isn’t satisfied to struggle on this level. Rather, they’ve got to have a quote from the classics to back them up. So as a parenthetical thought, they add, “(We believe that this is elaborating independent socialist theories which are Utopian, but when these advanced grasp MLMTT they become the best communist agitators and propagandists forces in the mass movements and our future working class revolutionary intellectuals.)” (Ibid., p. 29) This gives them the basis for asserting that their definition conforms to Lenin and to demand to know why others’ definitions don’t.

This is the old “lazy bones” approach to struggle–sheer dogmatism. Raising Lenin to defeat Lenin. Nowhere in his definition did Lenin talk about “Utopian” socialists. His advanced workers were communists! If the RWL wants to use Lenin as their source, then they can, but it will not do to distort him to win points in polemics. We’re not trying to win arguments; we’re trying to understand advanced worker. Either the RWL should stick to Lenin’s definition and quit distorting him, or they should struggle around the correct understanding of advanced worker without trying to use Leninís 1899 definition to prove their point. Sophistry has no place in the communist movement.

[3] See appendix at the end of this section for an in-depth analysis of the RWL line in practice in the DC area ALSC chapter.

[4] Although we shouldn’t assume that the RWL does any genuine work among the spontaneous movements.

[5] “Fast-talk” should be explained in terms of the RWL’s use of theory. Their super-revolutionary posture goes hand in hand with their mechanical materialism. Theoretically and ideologically they appear to be right on because they have a quote from the classics to suit every occasion. They claim that Marxism-Leninism was re-affirmed in the ideological period behind us. Now all we have to do is mechanically apply this theory or ideology (they make no differentiation) to the unfolding...class struggle. Any attempt at true ideological struggle (applying theory in its generality to our particular concrete conditions to determine correct lines of conduct)is seen as a revision of theory by the RWL. Liquidating the importance of this ideological work, its no wonder that the RWL, which says political line is key, puts forward virtually no political lines (save doing propaganda and engaging In open polemics) toward the accomplishment of their two strategic principles.