First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 3, May 17, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This statement was written by The League for Marxist-Leninist Unity, a recently formed communist collective in Southern California. The League is one of several organizations which has united with the basic views expressed in the October Leagues declaration, “Marxist-Leninists Unite to Form the New Party,” first printed in the November, 1975 issue of The Call. The statements of other organizations also uniting with this proposal will follow in upcoming issues of The Call.
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The League for Marxist-Leninist Unity announces its intention to join in the May Unity Meeting which will lead to the founding of anew Marxist-Leninist Party. We view the call for Marxist-Leninists to unite issued by the October League as a tremendous step forward for the working class and our movement. The objective and subjective conditions for the formation of the party exist and we call on all other Marxist-Leninist organizations and individuals to participate in the building of a party which is rooted ideologically, organizationally and politically in Marxism-Leninism.
For the League, participation in the organizational formation of the new party represents the culmination of a long period of study and struggle. In the past, the attitude of many of us had been to take a position above the ideological and political struggle in the anti-revisionist movement. We have come to see that unity can only be built upon the basis of a correct political line and by the clarification of clear lines of demarcation with opportunist trends, whether of the right or the “left.” This can only occur in the course of the struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity. Any other approach objectively holds back the development of a new communist party.
The struggle against the right opportunist Revolutionary Union on the national question, trade- union question and party building clarified for us, as well as others in the anti-revisionist movement, a correct Marxist-Leninist line on these questions. The struggle against centrism and neo-Trotskyism (particularly the CL) on the international situation has further distinguished Marxism-Leninism from revisionism. These two struggles have placed the genuine Marxist-Leninist forces in a position to reach organizational unity based on a correct political line.
These struggles and the development of our movement have fully confirmed the Marxist-Leninist tenet that the correct political line emerges in the struggle against the incorrect line. The task for Marxist-Leninists in the present period is to struggle for the correct line to be reflected in a party program. In this struggle, political line is key.
Though there continue to be many differences among Marxist-Leninists, we believe that the theoretical and practical work has been sufficiently completed to come to a correct political line embodied in the program of the party. There is a sufficient basis of unity in the anti-revisionist movement for Marxist-Leninists to enter into a concrete struggle for the correct political line for the new party. What all Marxist-Leninists must do in this period is to take up party building actively, to respond to the call for the party by putting forward their views in a concise way on the main questions facing the movement, and to enter into the party-building process concretely.
Through Marxist-Leninists stepping forward in an open and above-board way, and attending the conferences at which the political line and program of the party will be struggled out, Marxist-Leninist unity will be guaranteed.
We would like to briefly state our views on two questions which we believe must be addressed in the party program. We choose these two, not because we think others are unimportant, but because there has been much confusion and controversy on these questions in our movement.
l) The trade union question–We must win the trade unions to the leadership of the party and transform them into revolutionary organizations that fight for the complete emancipation of the working class. This requires strategically that all the labor bureaucrats (who are agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement) be driven out of the working class movement, and replaced by true representatives of the proletariat. The trade unions are the key mass organizations of the working class. We must make every factory our fortress by building factory nuclei and relying upon the leadership of the units and fractions and the strength of the rank and file.
2) Periods in the development of revolution–The new party must firmly grasp the relationship between the two historical stages. The first stage is winning the best elements of the working class to communism. The second stage is winning the masses to the side of the party and preparation for the seizure of state power. We are in the first historical stage and will be for a period after the party is formed. Our primary task in the workers’ movement is to win the best elements of the working class to communism–that is, those workers who respond most rapidly and most easily to socialist ideas and who are the most active and dedicated to the cause of the proletariat. This requires that we actively bring communist ideas to the workers through propaganda and agitation; that we go into the heat of the class struggle, and that we consolidate the best elements from among the workers ideologically, organizationally and politically on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. This means concretely building the factory nucleus as the basic unit of the party. While grasping what is primary, we must reject all notions which separate and counterpose the struggle of the masses to the building of the party.
We anticipate sharp struggle over these and other questions. Some important questions will remain unresolved. But the key questions must be resolved in the party program: The formation of the party, functioning with one center and one organ, rather than in the previous narrow, isolated and scattered fashion, which has characterized our movement, will allow us to move forward with the theoretical tasks of deepening our understanding of such questions as fascism, the history of the CPUSA, and class analysis of the U.S. We will also be capable of moving forward with the practical tasks of rooting the party in the factories and communities.
When we say political line is key in this period, we mean concretely the struggle over the political line to be reflected in the party program. The program must be brief, precise and lay out with clarity our maximum and minimum program. The program must put forward an analysis of the working class movement historically, internationally, and in the U.S. and establish clear positions on the major questions of political line-the national question, trade union question, united front, woman question and international situation. It must raise the agitational slogans for the struggle. The program is a practical document–it is a guide to the working class in the years ahead.
Again, we call on all Marxist-Leninists to put party building into practice and to forge unity around a Marxist-Leninist program.