First Published: The Call, Vol. 4, No. 5, February 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Increasingly in the world, Marxist-Leninist unity is developing as a stronger and more decisive factor. With the factors for revolution as well as world war both growing rapidly, the need for a single, unified party to lead forward the working class and the people of the U.S. has never been greater. The superpower war preparations, the deepening crisis of capitalism and the developing menace of fascism all demand that communists take the task of unifying into a single party more seriously than ever before.
Furthermore, there is a substantial basis for that unity to develop. This has been shown on several fronts in recent months. For example, the recent National Fight-Back Conference was an outgrowth of united efforts on the part of several Marxist-Leninist groups as well as more than 70 other organizations. While these organizations expressed differences with one another, it was evident through the course of the whole conference that a great deal of unity existed on the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
The recently-formed Communist Youth Organization also brought together several groups and collectives of Marxist-Leninist cadres to further the efforts of this organizing attempt.
International Women’s Day events and May Day demonstrations, both last year and this, have and will serve as a way for communists to deepen their unity and to the ideological struggle among themselves. These conditions have been created in the course of a sharpening struggle against the modern revisionism of the Communist Party U.S.A. as well as against their defenders (the centrists).
The revisionist CP has begun to issue calls to its faithful to “step up the attacks on the Maoists.” As the hegemonist war preparations grow with each passing day, the genuine Marxist-Leninists are the greatest thorns in the side of the superpowers. The growing reactionary attacks from the revisionists as well as from the war-conscious imperialists have pushed the communists closer together. Each new assault on the people by the superpowers draws the lines of demarcation in our movement sharper whether it be around the war in Angola, Puerto Rico or right here in the growing fight-back against the crisis.
Revisionist party chairman Gus Hall is forced to take note of the growth of the new communist movement in the Dec. 1975 issue of Political Affairs. He argues with his fellow revisionists that “it was a mistake to see the struggle against Maoism as ’just a discussion of some tactical differences.’” He adds, “it was a mistake because this was not how the Maoists saw it and that while we were dealing with it as a tactical difference they were organizing a world movement against the Communist (revisionist – Ed.) parties and the working class movement (labor aristocracy–Ed.) in great haste.”
Here for once Hall speaks with an element of truth, an element which our centrists on the Guardian and others refuse to admit. The fight between Marxism and revisionism is a strategic (not just a tactical) battle. A crucial part of that battle between two antagonistic ideologies is the building of a new party. This was a process that began nearly 20 years ago when the initial breaks from the revisionist party were made in this country. Since then Hall and the revisionists internationally have tried unsuccessfully to attack “the Maoists” as “allies of U.S. imperialism” because of the leading role we have played in exposing the imperialist stand of the other superpower, the U.S.S.R.
But the growing exposures of the role of revisionism and social-imperialism worldwide have drawn thousands of new revolutionaries to our ranks. Our soon-to-be weekly press reaches out to tens of thousands around the country. Also significant has been the growth of our movement among workers, national minorities and veterans of the old Communist Party.
As the lines of demarcation between the Marxist-Leninists and the revisionists have been drawn, a new feature of the struggle has emerged in the rise of an anti-party opposition based around groups like the Guardian, the U.S. branch of Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP), Workers’ Viewpoint, Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO), and several smaller groups and collectives. While having a host of differences among themselves, this collection of centrists and ultra-“left” phrase-mongers has united around one thing–opposition to any and all efforts to concretely organize a new party. At one time most of these groups paid some lip service to party-building. As the struggle sharpened both internationally and in this country, however, they have increasingly become anti-party, anti-Marxist-Leninist voices and conciliators with the revisionist calls of “united action.” Sometimes dressed in ultra-“left” rhetoric, sometimes in open agreement with the CP and the Soviet Union, these groups have become the loudest voices of pessimism and anti-party-building.
One example could be seen in a recent issue of the centrist Guardian where editor Irwin Silber comes out loudly in opposition to party-building efforts. Repeating Gus Hall’s revisionist slanders, Silber claims that “OL’s proposed party will be fatally flawed.” He continues: “For there is no way in which a new communist party will be able to lead the struggle against the US. bourgeoisie if it more and more consistently finds itself in objective alliance with that bourgeoisie in the critical struggles against imperialism around the world ...”
This lie of a supposed “alliance” between the Marxist-Leninist movement and U.S imperialism is a rehash of Moscow’s social imperialist rubbish. It is nothing but a clever excuse for Silber’s support for Soviet aggression in Angola. Opposition to both imperialist superpowers is the only basis upon which a new party can be built. We can no more support the Soviet Union’s aggression around the world under the name of opposing U.S. imperialism than we could have backed Hitler’s anti-U.S. drives.
So while the Guardian claims that party building is off to a “false start” and is “fatally flawed” by the staunch and uncompromising opposition to Soviet social-imperialism, Silber is in effect standing in defense of the existing party of revisionism and social-imperialism, the CPUSA.
Another voice in opposition to the “Call to Unite” was recently heard from the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers’ Organization. PRRWO not only aligns itself with the Guardian’s anti-party stand but goes so far as to single the October League out as “the main revisionist danger” (Jan. 8-Feb.8 issue of Palante).
Speaking from a pseudo-“left” pose PRRWO claims that the communist movement in the U.S. is “pregnant with revisionism” which they consider to be the main and rising trend. Their pessimistic view sees revisionism rampant everywhere. Unable to distinguish the growing Marxist-Leninist forces from the revisionists, PRRWO actually capitulates to the revisionists. To them the struggle to build a new party is hopeless and they can offer no alternative to their defeatism except active opposition and sectarianism towards any and all party-building efforts.
PRRWO claims that the program for the party must be developed outside the party formation first and only then can the party be built. This is a false issue, through which PRRWO tries to hide its basic opposition to. a Marxist-Leninist party being built at all.
Of course the party must be built around a program. And it is also true that a party cannot be formed simply around “minimum principles of unity” such as those laid out in the ”Call to Unite.” But this was not the purpose of the “Call to Unite” as PRRWO pretends. Rather the minimum principles of unity lay the groundwork for those truly desiring unity to come together. They serve as a basis for struggle for a complete program which must come through discussion among the Marxist-Leninists leading up to the founding congress of the party.
We have always published our programmatic views on the national question, busing, the woman question, and all the major issues facing Marxist-Leninists. In recent months, the OL has published a number of resolutions from our Third Congress, which go deeply into all of the questions that lie behind the minimum principles of unity. We will certainly struggle for these views to be reflected in the party program.
PRRWO’s mystification of the party and its program–their claim that “all sorts of opportunists” will be united into the party if a program isn’t written first–is a reflection of their basic anti-party line and their blocking with opportunists to hamper the construction of the party. PRRWO’s whole history has been one of unprincipled blocks with one opportunist formation after another-first with the Revolutionary Union and then with the pro-social-imperialist Communist Labor Party. Now they are uniting with the centrists only for the purpose of anti-party opposition.
In response to the charge that the principles are too vague, i.e., that “anyone could accept them,” practice has shown that these principles have separated the opportunists from the genuine Marxist-Leninists. The line of demarcation drawn through these basic principles, has in fact, made it impossible for groups like Workers Viewpoint and PRRWO to join, but has left the door open to the many other Marxist-Leninist cadres and organizations who, while having differences among themselves, are still able to unite on a principled basis.
It is such things as PRRWO’s active, chauvinist opposition to school integration and their sectarian world outlook which lie at the root of their split from Marxism-Leninism and not their phony criticisms of “no program.” It seems that all the ultra-“left” posturing of PRRWO is simply a cover for their rightist opposition to the party.
But within the ranks of all the groups calling themselves communist and party-builders, the sentiment for unity on the part of the rank and file is growing. They have entered these organizations, not for the purpose of building a small circle around this or that leader nor have they joined for the purpose of upholding the shameful sectarian and wrecking ambitions of a small handful of opportunists. Rather they are pushing for Marxist-Leninist unity on the basis of sound principles and program.
Every group and individual communist will be judged in the coming period in large measure on their stand and contributions to communist unity. Those who stand in word as well as deed for the building of a new party and who do so with ideas and concrete plans will win the support of the masses who demand such communist unity daily. Those who prove to be anti-party splitters and wreckers and who continue to conciliate with the revisionist party will become isolated and soon discarded by the masses.