First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 10, March 14, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) has accused the October League of “ducking and hiding from a debate” with them on the subject of the international situation. This and other wild accusations are contained in the March issue of their newspaper Revolution.
What are the facts of the matter?
Last November, we clearly stated in The Call that we wanted to debate with the RCP in the interests of fighting for a Marxist-Leninist line on the international situation and building unity among the Marxist-Leninists.
The RCP made contact with us after the idea of the debate was suggested in The Call and some initial discussions were held. For a moment, we hoped that the RCP leaders might break with their sectarianism and hatred of genuine Marxist-Leninists long enough to develop unity around the purposes and principles of such a debate.
In the midst of these discussions, the RCP staged its Conference on the International Situation in New York. At this conference the RCP formed a bloc with a whole array of revisionists, centrists and Trotskyites. The political thrust of this bloc was to conciliate with Soviet social-imperialism, prettify imperialism and revisionism and attack China, the Marxist-Leninist movement internationally and the October League.
Not only was the political line of this conference utterly bankrupt, but RCP frantically tried to back it up with the tactics of organizing cheering squads, silencing speakers from the floor and physically attacking at least three people who opposed their line.
Having witnessed this display, we felt that an open public debate with the RCP at this time would only become a haven for opportunists and provocateurs.
To add to these reservations we had about the debate, the RCP tried to structure the ground rules to facilitate the promotion of their opportunist line. They demanded that we agree “not to mention China or the struggle against the ’gang of four.’” They were hoping to cover up their revisionist opposition to China, the Chinese Communist Party and its new chairman Hua Kuo-feng.
What kind of “principled ideological struggle” can take place where communists are forbidden to even mention the danger of capitalist restoration in socialist China posed by the ’gang,’ the significance of Chairman Mao’s concept of the three worlds, or the Chinese Communist Party’s line on the two superpowers and the Soviet Union as the main source of war?
Taking all these factors into consideration, the OL proposed a different format for the debate. We suggested leadership-to-leadership discussions to try to struggle out differences, coupled with an exchange of polemics around different points on the international situation to be published in each other’s press. This way people all over the country could read and study the discussion free from the theatrics of a meeting like the RCP conference in New York.
But the RCP refused this reasonable proposal. Now they are peddling the lie that the “OL refuses to debate.” In fact, it is the RCP which refuses to carry out a debate in a way that helps to develop clarity and unity, insisting instead on a debate based on demagogy and provocateur tactics to promote their opportunist line and attack Marxism-Leninism.