First Published: The Call, Vol. 4, No. 5, February 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Faced with the rapid growth of the Marxist-Leninist movement and the party-building forces in the U.S., opportunists of all stripes have begun to spew forth slanderous anti-communist attacks designed to spread confusion and get people to abandon the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism.
Nowhere is this desperation more evident than in the Jan. 11, 1976 issue of Claridad, the organ of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP). In an article entitled “Sectarianism as a Principle,” the PSP-U.S. Branch leadership launches a disgusting attack on those groups who have taken up the principled struggle against revisionism and particularly on the October League.
Here are the main points of PSP’s position:
The break with the modern revisionists of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. (CPUSA), and the Soviet social-imperialists is nothing more than “sectarianism.”
“The October League has contributed nothing to the revolutionary struggle in the U.S.”
The OL and implicitly the new communist movement in the U.S. today is “counter-revolutionary” and should be attacked.
While spreading page after page of slanders and attacks on the OL, the PSP continues its disgraceful work of apologizing for the revisionist Communist Party U.S.A. whom it warmly welcomes in to its activities, and for the Guardian, whom it claims was “split” by the October League.
This attack is good in one sense because in its blatant defense of revisionism and the Communist Party, PSP exposes itself as the centrists that they are. Their role in this country is to try to pump life back into the decaying corpse of the revisionist party and they have devoted a considerable part of their journalistic work to attacking many anti-revisionist organizations. Secondly, their attacks are good in the sense that they are so full of obvious lies that anyone who works with the OL or reads our newspaper, The Call, can see through them immediately.
We are quite willing and able to discuss with PSP and anyone else why we oppose the CP and the “Anti-Monopoly Coalitions” which it has built around International Women’s Day and May Day. That we do so openly in the pages of The Call is what troubles the centrists like PSP and the Guardian. This is what they term “sectarianism as a principle.” By turning facts on their head, they claim that the break with revisionism is “sectarianism” while their own rabid attacks on Marxist-Leninists are principled and just.
Secondly, let PSP back up their claim that OL has “contributed nothing” to the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. They write in their own patronizing style: “Had the OL’s work been occasionally constructive our reaction to its divisiveness would be critical but not one of complete censure. But there remains one objective fact:
“What organization, front or coalition has October League ever built? Where are its mobilizations of people around popular mass issues, its united front work, its attainment of unity among forces with political differences? The answer is, simply, that the OL has done nothing, not one thing, toward the advancement of these goals. It has been the key to no front, coalition, nor mass organization.”
Even with its hatred for the Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. why is PSP afraid to mention the OL’s efforts in forging the National Fight-Back Organization which just held its first National Conference attended by more than 1,300 people (mostly workers of various nationalities)? By the way, this conference was endorsed by more than 70 organizations most of which differ with the OL on one question or another. It was PSP which was too sectarian to endorse the National Fight-Back or even attend for that matter. But let the CPUSA wave its finger and PSP will faithfully come running to their meetings to provide them with a “left” cover.
Is it not true that the OL also played an initiating role in the founding of the Communist Youth Organization? Or that since OL and others exposed the CP’s backward role in SCEF (Southern Conference Educational Fund) that this organization has become broader and more active than ever before?
PSP leaps instead to the defense of the CP and the opportunist Walter Collins who for all intents and purposes had reduced SCEF to a piece of paper under their leadership.
Has the PSP forgotten the efforts of the OL in building for Puerto Rican Solidarity Day in 1974? Hundreds of workers attended the Madison Square Garden rally and similar actions in “other cities as a result of OL’s work in the coalition that included PSP and other groups. In fact, while recently expelling OL members from the Boston branch of the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee, the PSP even admitted that these comrades had been among the hardest workers for the coalition and were being expelled simply for their role in opposing Soviet social-imperialism.
Does the PSP leadership think that by saying the OL has done “nothing” and is weak and isolated, that these lies will become truths? Why does PSP devote so much of its precious newspaper space attacking such an isolated bunch of do-nothings, as they try to label the OL?
Finally why does PSP leave out the content of all the struggles it claims OL has forced upon everyone from the National Lawyers Guild to the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committees? Why doesn’t it mention that PSP opposed our anti-Zionist stand within the Guild? PSP only claims that organizations of anti-imperialists like the NLG and SCEF have no need to oppose Zionism. “Taking these positions (on international affairs – ed.) can only turn potential members away and split the organization,” says Claridad.
So it becomes clear what PSP means by “sectarianism.” Internationalism will “split” the anti-imperialist movement while remaining silent in the face of Zionist aggression and the war threat posed by the two superpowers is “unifying.” Along with the CPUSA the PSP leadership has now become the staunchest defenders of the Soviet Union’s aggressive efforts everywhere from Angola to Latin America. Everywhere it puts forth economism and reformism while slandering and attacking the People’s Republic of China and the Marxist-Leninists for “sectarianism” when they dare stand up for their principles.
This is the work of today’s centrists who claim to be “independents” but in fact do the dirty work for the modem revisionists. But your slanderous attacks will only be a rock dropped on your own toes. They will serve to awaken the genuine revolutionaries in our movement and in your own ranks to the real role you are playing and the real masters you are serving.