Published: Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 3, June-July 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In the last few months the “revolutionary wing” (Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization – PRRWO, Revolutionary Workers League – RWL, and August Twenty-Ninth Movement – ATM), as well as Workers’ Viewpoint Organization (WVO), have launched a series of wholesale accusations of other organizations without substantiation, slanders against individuals, large scale purges of their own organizations indicating that several of their own cadre were possibly paid agents, and violent confrontations with cadre of other organizations.
The actions of the “wing” and WVO in recent months have constituted an ideological campaign to drive out the opposition, not a struggle over political line. All criticism is seen as attacks. While each have stated that “political line is the key link”, the focus of the heated exchanges has not been a thorough struggle to understand
* how the vanguard party will actually be built,
* how the proletariat will be united for socialist revolution,
* how the right of self-determination for the Black Nation will be fought for,
* how the trade unions will be won over to the side of the proletariat,
* how the labor aristocracy will be driven out of the trade unions, or
*how the proletariat will be mobilized against the threats of imperialist war.
Instead, what we have heard is a lot of heat over the questions of who is, and who is not a genuine “Bolshevik”.
– Last December at a Black Women’s United Front meeting in New York, RWL and WVO actively sought to destroy the gathering. Neither RWL nor WVO had participated in the BWUF prior to this, but attempted to utilize the meeting for their own ends. The result was that workshops were disrupted and some older Black women left the meeting demoralized because of the disruptive behavior of RWL and WVO.
– In Atlanta, in March, the “wing” had a forum. It was called in the name of PRRWO, RWL, and ATM. Neither ATM nor PRRWO showed up. RWL launched a tirade against the OL which prevented independent forces in the meeting – of which there were very few – from asking questions or participating in discussion.
RWL would only call upon their own cadre, brought in from out of town.
– In New York and Boston, several forums have been held recently by the “revolutionary wing” or WVO which have been nothing more than yelling and screaming matches, in which all manner of filthy and abusive language was used.
– In San Francisco in June, WVO and RWL again conducted a yelling crusade against each other in which a fight was narrowly missed, each organization provoking the other. Not able to settle their differences politically, each organization had to resort to violent intimidation.
This has been the pattern around the country, where forums have degenerated into shouting and screaming matches. Mass mobilizations have been turned into violent confrontations. Cadres of various organizations have been intimidated. Ex-cadre of PRRWO have been attacked on the street and put into the hospital.
Comrades should carefully consider the implications of the following statements from PRRWO and RWL in the last few issues of PAIANTE, the political organ of PHFWD:
The Revolutionary Wing.. .indicts menshevism and all Mensheviks as objective bourgeois agents...the enemies of the working class, the mensheviks have long ago sold out the interest of the proletariat by aiding the state in their operations within the movement.(v.6, #6, p.l)
Mensheviks today are the main aide of the bourgeois state apparatus, in particular of the intelligence community in this country, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, Army & Navy intelligence, etc., in their attempt to wreck, split demoralize and slander genuine Bolsheviks. (ibid., p.2) “The state depends primarily on the sham wing of our movement. (ibid., p.2)
Many times they do this by setting up front organizations, like in the first period of party building where the U.S. organization under the leadership of the notorious gangster Ron Karenga, an old croney of the thoroughly bankrupt element, Amiri Baraka, served as a front, where the secret political police could at random provide external provocation measures to get the BPP. (ibid., p.2)
Such slander must be seen as an act of provocation, as expressions of petty bourgeois infantilism of the worse kind. All of these statements and the entire articles they were drawn from have nothing to do with two-line struggle, drawing lines of demarcation or whatever banner might be raised for justification.
If this is in any way doubted, one need only read on to the characterization of organizations such as I Wor Kuen (IWK) and Resistencia Puertorriquena as the “fruit flies of the movement” (ibid., p. 3) or the manner in which PRFWO and FWL have named scores of their past cadre to the state through the pages of PALANTE and the BOLSHEVIK in the name of “purging our ranks of mensheviks.” Such public exposures must be reserved only for known bourgeois agents, not cadre who have left an organization over two-line struggle. And then it is the obligation of the organization involved to document in detail this accusation, make a self-criticism as to the conditions, source and rectification of the line and practice which led to this occurrance, etc. Otherwise such public accusations without substantiation are no different in effect than the goals of the agents themselves; seeking to divide and split, seeking to discredit the communist movement in the eyes of the masses, breeding distrust of the working class for the communist movement and of their involvement with any organization which is carrying on activities against the state.
The MLOC condemns such allegations against Ron Karenga, or the unprincipled comments regarding Amiri Baraka. PRRWO and RWL’s referral to people as “gangsters” or paid bourgeois agents, without support or substantiation are anti-proletarian, national chauvinist and run counter to the interests of the revolution. The FBI, itself, in Senate testimony explained that they were responsible for promoting the conflict between the Black Panther Party and U.S. organization, how they framed Ron Karenga, and carried out other such sabotage of the movement. At the time, almost all of the Left accepted or promoted the attempted destruction of the BPP and US.
In this presentation we have only focused on the recent actions of the “revolutionary wing” and WVO. We have not sought to make a full presentation on the origins, development and present state of the wing, nor on the various lines of the organizations involved – PRRWO, RWL, ATM or WVO. However, the recent actions which we have described can be summed up as representing a definite political trend at this time, a petty bourgeois “left” infantile disorder.
Ideologically: The view of the “wing” and WVO that they, and they alone, are the party cadre, the Bolshevik cadre, the only genuine combatants against opportunism, clearly reveals the subjective, formalistic and doctrinaire stand of these organizations.
The comrades from Resistencia Puertorriquena in Vol. 5, #5, of their organ Resistencia, have pointed out the tendency of the “wing” to see things in a one-sided, subjective manner. “They have a ’left’ opportunist line characterized by their ’onlys’: only party building, only propaganda (rejecting agitation), only line struggle (discarding all other forms of struggle), only political line (ideology and organization are not important for them), only the advanced (it is incorrect to pay any attention to the intermediate or attempt to raise the general level of consciousness of the masses according to them)”, etc.
In assessing this stand, we are guided by the comments made by the Sixth Congress of the Communist International, in summing up a left infantile line held by comrades in China at the time:
Well, comrades, is this just ultra revolutionary high voltage subjectivism of a petty bourgeois gone wild — or what? I do not know what it is subjectively, but I know perfectly well what would have been the objective meaning of such action in practice. (Minutes of the Sixth Congress of the Communist International, German Edition, vol. III, p. 24).
Politically: The “wing” completely misunderstands the tasks of the revolution and the relations between classes: Party building is the central task, but not the only task, as they say. Comrades who oppose the line of the “wing” are not all paid agents, not all “Mensheviks”. The “wing” belittles in effect the importance of developing political line in this period and wages very little struggle over political line. For the PRRWO and RWL all contradictions are antagonistic. Their all-struggle line has led the RWL, for example, to try and abolish African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) as a mass organization and objectively led the ALSC to conciliate with modern revisionism on the question of Angola and Azania, stripping ALSC of any will or ability to mobilize the masses.
Organizationally: There can be no doubt but that the “wing” suffers from extreme sectarianism. Internally, the answer to all and every difference is purge, purge, purge. All comrades who show any doubt, raise any criticism, show any disagreement or dissatisfaction about the “Bolshevik” line, are labeled right opportunists, “Mensheviks”, or even paid bourgeois agents. This is clearly the line of “relentless struggles” and “merciless blows”.
In conclusion, it should be obvious that this is not a comprehensive analysis or criticism of the “revolutionary wing”, nor is it an overall evaluation of the lines of any of the organizations composing the “wing”.
At the same time, the MLOC considers it an obligation to oppose the stand, strategy, tactics and organization of the “revolutionary wing” and WVO which has wrapped itself in the banner of the “Leninist core”, the “quintessence of Marxism”, or any other such holy cloth, to cover its unholy alliance.
As Comrade Enver Hoxha pointed out,
A fool’s foolishness, even of a political character, may be excused once, but, when it is repeated many times over, then this is a line. (in ALBANIA TODAY, Nov-Dec. 1975, p. 33).
Comrades and friends, these developments do not permit any proletarian to sit back and ignore what is happening. One must take a stand with the working class, against petty-bourgeois revolutionism. In the near future, we will be taking up this question in a fuller way.
To the “wing”, irregardless of the current membership, Marxist-Leninists and militant workers must respond: “first demonstrate your ability to lead the working class movement, first demonstrate your advanced theoretical qualities and your staunch Bolshevik discipline before the masses, not in empty forums, first show us your ability to work in a communist manner, show us your ability to work for the interests of the majority, or of organizing your work in an exemplary manner, show us this then hold out your hand for the honorable title “Bolshevik”.