First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 6, June 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This is a letter sent to the RU by the Hawaii Revolutionary Organization (HRO), for publication in Revolution–Ed.
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The Hawaii Revolutionary Organization wholeheartedly unites with the Revolutionary Union in their summation of our immediate central task–that of consciously putting an end to the old period, moving forward to the new period and building the new revolutionary Communist Party. Based on our understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, the international situation, lessons drawn nationally and on the sum-up of our experiences in Hawaii, we unite with the main thrust of the RU Draft Programme for the Party of the Working Class as a statement of unity to form the Party and as a guide to action for the working class.
Recent victories of the Cambodian and Vietnamese people serve to further clarify that imperialism is indeed on its deathbed and that revolution and resistance is a trend which is growing stronger every day and everywhere.
As the crisis deepens, the growing struggle in this country of the working class, the oppressed nationalities, and other people is proof that in the face of increasing attacks the masses will rise up, choosing to fight back!
We approach the publication of the Draft Programme as an important and crucial step towards putting an end to the old period and advancing ahead towards a higher level of struggle for the working class. Particularly for our work in Hawaii we see that to advance in any qualitative way, we must bring an end to a period in which we have developed relatively independent and alone.
At this time, when mass struggles are building everywhere, when the deepening of the imperialist crisis and rising wave of spontaneous rebellion is before us, it is impossible for independent groups to formulate a correct line or lay out the many tasks necessary to give correct leadership based only on their own experience and general understanding of national conditions. Such a line and program for action can only be summed up by a Marxist-Leninist party based broadly among the working class and masses of people.
We commend the RU for taking the responsibility and initiative to put forward this Draft Programme and in the main we recognize it as the correct tine representing the interests of the proletariat in opposition to reformism and revisionism.
For the most part, revolutionary work in Hawaii has developed apart from the rest of the country. Our geographic isolation from the mainland along with our narrow outlook has limited our relations with national organizations. As a result there has been no national organization with members here; neither has there been a center representing lines from the mainland.
From the mid ’60s through 1970, the bulk of our work was focused around the struggle against imperialism in Indochina. Rooted on the university campus, this struggle was carried to the high schools and some extent to the community. The movement was not consciously Marxist-Leninist nor linked with the masses in any day to day struggle.
In 1971, the occupation of Kalama Valley (a struggle of working people and small farmers against profit-making developments which would evict the whole community living in the Valley and drive the petty producers from the land) marked the beginning of revolutionary work which mobilized the masses around their own class interests in basic contradiction with the bourgeoisie around conditions in Hawaii.
Such shifts of capital scurrying about in search of higher rates of profits has meant the loss of agricultural jobs and mass evictions as the large landowners, developers and banks have closed down plantations and attempted to force out communities and small farmers to make way for tourist and urban development. Since Kalama Valley, resistance to these types of developments has played a major role in building struggle among the masses and exposing the bourgeoisie and the role of the state.
Alongside these struggles, for the last two years communists have begun to clarify their tasks in regard to the working class, and in the last year we have begun to consciously attempt to build the revolutionary workers’ movement in a systematic way. In this period we have started a workers’ support organization; an anti-imperialist workers paper, and have begun to go among the working class, joining their day-to-day struggle and unfolding from these broader class struggles which raise class consciousness.
Briefly, we have summed up that the movement in Hawaii has been strong in as much as we have put emphasis on going to the masses and, in this way, combatting dogmatism. But our work has been plagued by economism and reformism. Not having a firm grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought has limited our ability to bring a revolutionary line to the working class.
For the last two years there has been a conscious struggle to root out rightism in our mass work. Our main errors in building struggle has been to tail trade union leadership in the early stages of our work and in mobilizing the masses as pressure groups in negotiating with agencies of the state around the land and housing struggles.
In fighting evictions and for housing, we have fallen into putting the concrete demand above raising class consciousness. This has meant that while negotiating with the state for these demands, we have not thoroughly exposed how these evictions are rooted in the basic nature of capitalism and what the role of the state is in such struggles. This has in effect blunted class consciousness.
Summing up our work and drawing basic lessons, we unite with the section of the Draft Programme which says, “So long as the bourgeoisie has state power it will continue to attack and attempt to corrupt every gain won by the working class–and it will sooner or later succeed in setting back the workers’ movement, so long as the fight for concessions is not conducted as a by-product of the fight to overthrow capitalism.” And further, we have come to grasp more firmly that our basic task in building struggle is to “bring to the workers, through all their struggles, the understanding of the antagonistic contradiction between themselves as a class and the bourgeoisie, and consistently guide the struggle toward its final aim.”
In summing up our past work we have criticized our narrowness in outlook and line which has raised our primitiveness to a principle. These tendencies have limited our links to the mainland and kept us isolated from advances being made and sharp line struggle. In effect, these tendencies have isolated workers in Hawaii from the developing workers’ movement on the mainland.
At one time we held the line that because of our isolation and relative primitiveness, we could not unite with any party-building effort and questioned the line which called for the party. However, after concretely summing up work in Hawaii, advances made nationally, the international situation and through sharp line struggle, HRO has broke with our previous backwards position and firmly united with the line put forward by the RU.
We see this thrust into a new period and the forming of the party as a tremendous gain for workers in Hawaii, who will benefit from the struggles and lessons summed up nationally, and who in return can consciously link up nationally and contribute to the further development of the revolutionary workers movement.
We think it is significant that revolutionaries in Hawaii, for the most part isolated from the mainstream of the communist movement, have now summed up their work, in light of their application and knowledge of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and have reached similar conclusions as forces on the mainland. To the extent that we have seen these lines build struggle of the working class both on the mainland and in Hawaii, we see this as a strong indication that these lines are correct.
In uniting with the RU line, we consciously are attempting to discard this old baggage and fight all “defense of backwardness” and “against any legitimization of narrowness” around the party-building question. To remain independent as this party movement builds is (for those who cling to such independence as a principle) to become independent from the working class.
At this time, when imperialism is heading deeper into crisis, when revolution and resistance is sweeping the world, when the working class in this country is standing up and fighting, and when the basic differences among communist forces are exposed as clear line differences, we firmly oppose all lines which call on the working class to “wait,” “slow down,” or in any way tolerate primitiveness which stands in the way of proletarian revolution.
The present situation in this country is one in which struggle has been fierce and “uncomfortable” (for some), opportunist centers are either being smashed or paralyzed, and honest revolutionary forces are engaging in sharp discussion and struggle around the Draft Program me. We take the stand of the revolutionary, proletariat and see these developments as a fine thing.
We see this line struggle around the Draft Programmme as a correct method to put to rest baggage from the old period and consciously step forward into a new period – a period in which we forge the correct line to lead the working class and on that basis form its advanced detachment, a revolutionary communist party.
We are confident that the programme as adopted by the Founding Party Congress will represent a true Marxist-Leninist understanding of the historical and world situation, of the class forces in the united states and will serve as a beacon light for proletarian revolution.