First Published: The Call, Vol. 3, No. 12, September 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Detroit Collective, a Marxist-Leninist collective, has reached political and organizational unity with the October League (Marxist-Leninist). Unity was reached after many months of study and struggle. There are several things that helped us reach this decision.
First, the recent developments within the anti-revisionist movement which have led to more clarity on the danger of centrism and conciliationism to revisionism. Our clarity on these questions was directly affected by the OL-Guardian struggle. We feel that this has been a turning-point within the anti-revisionist movement, in that it laid bare the nature of the right danger on many important questions, especially on social-imperialism, the national question, and party building.
Secondly, we have over the last year gained greater clarity on the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. With this increased clarity, we have been able to understand more clearly the need for a genuine communist party and what the party-building process will involve. In addition, we arrived at the position that the political line of the October League is fundamentally correct.
Thirdly, the decision was based on the sum-up of our practice as a small, all Afro-American local collective in the city of Detroit.
1) For the last several months we have been directly involved in the struggle against centrism and conciliationism to revisionism here in the city of Detroit. While we have made some errors in that struggle, it has enabled us to gain insight into the nature of the local-circle trend, which upholds primitiveness and economism in principle.
When we say economism, we are not limiting it as many have done to the question of whether or not to participate in mass work before the party is built. As we have stated before, participation in mass work is part and parcel of party building. But the economist position places mass work over party building, states that, mass work, in and of itself, is more important than organization based on clear Marxist-Leninist principles, and is more important than a staunch stand on revisionism and social-imperialism. This approach downplays the guiding role of revolutionary theory, the Leninist position on organization, and the danger of revisionism to the proletariat.
In short, economism in the U.S. at this time means that people put the question of Marxist-Leninist politics and party building in a secondary position and refuse to make a clean break with revisionism arid social-imperialism, thereby upholding the spontaneous struggle of the masses as primary.
This struggle unearthed some of the incorrect attitudes that are probably reflective of “independents” throughout the country, which we as a small collective were guilty of also. One is the attitude which says, “Well, I am not clear on the various lines of the national organizations,” or “I don’t agree with this or that aspect of an organization’s line. So until I get clarity, I will remain independent.” We have found that often times the claims of unclarity in fact conceal centrism and conciliation to revisionism. We feel that in uniting with a pre-party national organization that people must decide whether the general thrust of the organization is correct and unite with that thrust. Further clarity can only be obtained from struggle and practice within the organization.
2) As an integral part of the fight against centrism and conciliationism to revisionism, we feel that the stance an organization has on the national question is in part the determining factor in whether it practices Marxism-Leninism or revisionism. In the past we feel that we have made an empirical error containing the seeds of revisionism on the national question. We did not approach the national question from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint which begins by looking at nations within the epoch of imperialism and places the national question directly in the center of proletarian revolution in this country. Instead, we asked the empirical question of whether the nation still exists, which in seeking the answer would have reduced us to headcounts and bourgeois sociological demography. In gaining clarity on the national question, people must unite with Marxism-Leninism. We feel that the October League line on the Afro-American national question upholds Marxism-Leninism. We feel that this position still speaks to the situation inside of the U.S. where imperialism still rules but has not been able to solve the national question within its borders.
Multi-national unity is a question of principle for communists and our existence as an all Afro-American collective hedged on the question of multi-national unity, and in practice upheld petty-bourgeois nationalism.
Our organizational merger represents one of the steps in the process of building a genuine multinational communist party in the U.S. We urge other small anti-revisionist collectives and other formations to practice Marxism-Leninism and break with centrism and revisionism. In this critical period, it is time for all genuine communists to move forward and immediately build a Marxist-Leninist party.
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The Seattle Organizing Committee for a New Party (M-L) is proud to announce our merger with the October League. Feeling that building a new party is a matter of immediacy, the Organizing Committee has struggled against the main deviations on the questions of principle which crop up in Seattle just as they do in the rest of the country. The Committee has had to guard against dogmatism and its twin brother, right opportunism. Since the beginning, in its attempt to build principled unity, the Committee has welcomed the ideological integrity of the October League, particularly its struggle against the left opportunism of some groups which sound very revolutionary, but practice national chauvinism, male chauvinism, dual unionism, and tend toward social-fascism.
The Organizing Committee and the October League agree that a revolutionary party will be built in the course of hard struggle in the present crisis when “the factors for both war and revolution are increasing.” Communists should be in the thick of the struggle and submit their practice to the supervision of the masses. We need a new party because the CPUSA has turned its back on revolution. The CPUSA began its decay when it deserted the Afro-American people and abandoned the revolutionary principle of self-determination.
Today the leaders of the CPUSA are nothing but a collection of scabs and traitors to the working class and act as the deceitful arm of Soviet social-imperialism which has no better use for the workers than their death in a third imperialist world war.
Today the situation for party building is excellent. U.S. imperialism has been dealt body blows from the victories of the Indochinese people. Utterly isolated abroad, it faces endless political and economic problems. Last year the workers’ strike movement reached historic proportions. Now thousands of people across the country are uniting to demand “JOBS NOT WAR! MAKE THE BOSSES PAY!” These rapidly changing conditions place great demands upon the communists.
Only a people’s movement led by the working class and a new communist party can effectively fight against the crisis and prevent an imperialist war. We see our merger with the October League (M-L) as part of the process through which communists can unite into a single body and put an end to the primitiveness which has hurt our movement during recent years. We have high hopes that comrades around the country will unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and build a new communist party.