Published: Palante, March/April 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Comrades and friends:
The struggle against opportunism and for the strictest adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought has been and continues to be at the heart and guts of the struggle for party building. As comrades of RWL have already shown, the October League’s call for the party is nothing but a Menshevik call, a bankrupt line with a historical development – the successors of the RU – no different, in essence, from the bankrupt call of the CL. The thread running throughout is that they are those good-for-nothing parties, that Lenin described.
A political party can combine only a minority of the class in the same way as the really class conscious workers throughout the whole of capitalist society represent a minority of all the workers. For that reason, we are compelled to admit that only a class conscious minority can guide the vast masses of workers and get them to follow it... If the minority is really class conscious, if it is able to reply to every question that comes up on the order of the day, then it is in essence a Party. If the minority is not able to lead the masses, link itself closely up with them, then it is not a Party, and is good for nothing even if it calls itself a Party.
Still another manifestation of the main danger in the communist movement is the right opportunist line of the Workers Viewpoint Organization, The WVO, who we considered a fraternal organization, who we believe has made some contributions in the struggle for the party, has also slipped backwards, propelling themselves into the marsh of opportunism. The WVO makes the same old error of considering itself the leading circle, boasting that they have the overall correct line, bragging about how they in the main have led the struggle against the OL.
It is true that the WVO has made some contributions in the struggle against the OL, but they go to the essence of the OL’s right opportunist line. This is because, in essence, they are in unity on how they see party building. The Menshevik line on party building coming forward in the WVO line is contained in a whole system of views which they have called the “Anti-Revisionist Theoretical Premises”.
In their attempt to disclose nationally specific forms of opportunism, what the WVO really discloses is their distortions of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. In their fixation on ideological line (which they use as a way to introduce new theories), the WVO has failed to integrate Marxism-Leninism with the concrete problems of the U.S. proletarian revolution. They have failed to analyze the critical questions we face in party building – fusion, periods of party building, key link to party building, tactics of party building. (For a more in-depth analysis of our position on these and other questions, see our recently-published pamphlet, Party Building in the Heat of the Class Struggle). Instead, they give us a set of “anti-revisionist theoretical premises,” which, according to the WVO,
we will develop further as we go along in struggle, and which are the sole basis and guarantee that the party won’t degenerate into revisionism.”
In failing to outline any real nationally specific forms of opportunism, the WVO instead shows us how they haven’t grasped the essence of the struggle against opportunism and revisionism internationally and how, in fact, they have distorted this struggle. The WVO lays out 4 so-called nationally specific forms of opportunism. They are pragmatism, centrism, bourgeois democratic illusions, chauvinism, and a fifth so-called “premises of the premises”, which is supposed to be Marxism-Leninism.
These “premises” are not nationally specific forms of opportunism. The Second International was riddled with all of the above. Lenin proved this in his works Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky and the Collapse of the Second International, especially. All of these are manifestations of bourgeois ideology, most especially in the highly-developed capitalist countries.
The most alarming feature of the WVO line and the reason why they have slipped into bankruptcy is their capitulationist line towards the revisionists. This is what they say about revisionism:
The revisionists have illusions on the nature of the bourgeois state. They don’t understand that the bourgeois state machinery has to be smashed – and that there must be the dictatorship of the proletariat. Revisionists don’t understand the role of force in history... (WVO journal, Vol. 2, #1, p. 28-29)
Comrades, if the revisionists simply didn’t understand the nature of the bourgeois state, they wouldn’t be revisionist. Revisionism is a system of views. It is conscious bourgeois ideology in the communist and workers movements. The role of the revisionists is, in fact, to consciously distort the role of the state. To do this, they have developed an elaborate set of views– the theory of peaceful transition to socialism, peaceful coexistence, the productive forces theory, the theory of the inevitable peaceful collapse of capitalism. They are not confused or muddled. They are very conscious. They profess to be Marxist-Leninists, only to try and lull the communist and workers movements to sleep while they carry out their criminal designs in peace. Lenin constantly explained the conscious treachery of the revisionists:
The dialectics of history were such that the theoretical victory of Marxism obliged its enemies to disguise themselves as Marxists. Liberalism, rotten to the core, tried to revitalize itself in the form of socialist opportunism. (“The Historical Destiny of the Doctrine of Karl Marx”, emphasis in the original)
But the WVO says, “Revisionism is characterized by muddle on the question of bourgeois democracy, which objectively disarms the proletariat and the oppressed.” No, we must insist that this is anti-Marxist. The struggle against modern revisionism today is not characterized by Marxist-Leninists struggling against some “muddled” being. It is, in fact, a struggle against a vicious enemy. Where in does this struggle lie? We stand with the line of the international communist movement. We quote from the Party of Labor of Albania in Battle Against Modern Revisionism”
Such illusions (about the revisionist’s nature–PRRWO) are very harmful. The present Soviet leaders are the closest collaborators of Khruschev. It was they together with Khrushchev who prepared and carried out the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, who worked out the revisionist line and put it into practice, who launched the frenzied attack on Marxism-Leninism in ideology, politics, economics, organization, art and culture, etc. It was they who attacked and are fighting against the Marxist-Leninist parties, who linked themselves with U.S. imperialism, the bourgeoisie and world reaction, who are doing everything in their power to set up an imperialist-revisionist Holy Alliance against Communism and the peoples of the world.
Marxist-Leninists are not to be deceived by the outward appearances, or the demagogy that the new Soviet leaders use so freely. Behind it they should look for the content, the essence of things, and distinguish words from deeds. If we look at things in this way, then it is clear that the present Soviet leaders have not changed and do not intend to change. They are determined to follow their road of betrayal. And this is only reasonable. They cannot turn back on to a correct road without sentencing themselves to death. So there can be no hope that the revisionist traitors will change their course. Change will certainly come about some day, but it will not be the revisionists who will make it, but the Marxist-Leninists, who will put an end to the revisionists rule and will bring them before the court of revolution. (“The Struggle of the Party of Labor of Albania Against Modern Revisionism, In Defense of the Purity of Marxism-Leninism”, p. 216)
From WVO taking such a soft line on revisionism, it naturally follows that they would pursue unity of action with the revisionists. Again, allow us to quote from the Party of Labor of Albania on this question:
The anti-imperialist front of the peoples must be achieved on a sound basis. It must be a true anti–imperialist front, in which all those, who to this or that extent are effectively fighting against imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism are to be united. With their entire policy and activities the Khrushchevite revisionists have excluded themselves from the anti-imperialist front. To include the revisionists in this front means to introduce ’the fifth column’, ’the Trojan Horse’, to undermine it from within. Our Party firmly upholds the great Lenin’s idea that it is impossible to fight successfully against imperialism without, at the same, resolutely fighting against its offspring and close ally, revisionism. ’If the struggle against imperialism is not closely connected with the fight against opportunism’ emphasizes Lenin, ’the struggle against imperialism becomes an empty phrase and a fraud.’ For our Party of Labor, the idea that ’unity of action’ with the Khrushchevite revisionists against U.S. imperialism is a touchstone and a positive and effective form of struggle against revisionism, is absolutely unacceptable.
In fact, to cooperate with the revisionists, to enter into unity of action with them, is to slip gradually into the revisionist positions, to accept their treacherous line...
With their slogan of ’unity of action’ the revisionists are trying to attain their sinister aims of putting aside the deep ideological and political differences of principle, for the sake of the alleged struggle against imperialism headed by the USA. This would be nothing but complete capitulation to revisionism, giving up the struggle against it, an acceptance of ideological co-existence with it. (Ibid, p. 222-223)
Flowing from this right opportunist line, here is what WVO analyzed about centrism. They explain that:
The theory of centrism is the theory of the ’golden mean’, taking the average of two opposites, balancing out the two aspects of an antagonistic contradiction, staying neutral in the struggle between two lines… it combines two into one and compromises between revisionism and Marxism-Leninism. (WVO journal, Vol. 2, #1, p. 29)
They then go on to say that “In wavering between two lines, centrists tend toward opportunism”. Comrades, centrism is opportunism. This is how Lenin dealt with Kautsky and the opportunists of the Second International:
The imperialist epoch cannot tolerate the existence in a single party of the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat on the one hand, and of the semi-petty-bourgeois aristocracy of the working class, which enjoys crumbs of the privileges of the ’Great Power’ position of ’their’ nation, on the other. The old theory that opportunism is a ’legitimate shade of a single party that avoids Extremes’ has now become a great deception of the workers and a great hindrance to the labour movement. Open opportunism, which immediately becomes repulsive to the working masses, is not so dangerous and harmful as this theory of the golden mean, which with Marxian catchwords justifies opportunist practice, and by a series of sophisms tries to prove that revolutionary action is premature, etc. Kautsky, the most notable representative of this theory, and also the greatest authority in the Second International has revealed himself as a first-class hypocrite and a virtuoso in the art of prostituting Marxism. (“The Collapse of the Second International”)
WVO too, have, revealed themselves hypocrites, prostituting Marxism-Leninism, who intend to sway all petty-bourgeois vascillators into an all-out attack on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, and they too have become repulsive.
WVO in their fixation on ideological line is distorting Marxism-Leninism to come up with new theories that in essence cover the revisionists and opportunists of all shades. Any one in the least familiar with the development of our movement knows that the anti-revisionist communist movement didn’t develop by some mystical “understanding of ideology”– that in fact the struggle against metaphysics and idealism in its infinite variety of forms – stemming from the ideological root, the worship of spontaneity– is an ever uncompromising struggle against opportunism.
But WVO, in their subjective idealist, Hegelian dialectical approach, negates totally the development of the movement and the struggle against opportunism. They popped up as the “leading circle” to enlighten the movement. In fact their attempt is nothing less than to promote the “freedom of criticism” which to the petty-bourgeois radicals in the leadership of WVO and all those that support their treason to the working class, amounts to attacking, distorting and revising the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. The days of claiming to be profound, of claiming to be the sole representatives of the line which is going to “vaccinate” us against “old germs” the sole basis, and guarantee that the Party won’t degenerate, the days in which as a result of belittling theory, as a result of the reality that our movement, a young movement, has had to go from a perceptual to rational level of understanding, and therefore these swindlers could temporarily get over, those days are over. We stand on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, and no accusation that we’re dogmatists will make us conciliate to the treachery of our accusers. We stand guilty as charged- we hold to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought tightly – we fight to hold on tightly, to defend, to apply, to build a Bolshevik Party, free of Menshevism, to lead the proletarian revolution. It is no wonder WVO has slipped backward with such a line on opportunism. We would like to disclose this further by a more in-depth elaboration of their position on pragmatism, showing how in essence WVO and OL have no fundamental differences.
The right opportunist line of not strictly adhering to the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, dialectical and historical materialism regarding philosophy and ideology, takes the form of trying to render the teachers more profound and in the process unleashes all sorts of anti-Marxist positions, cloaked in a mass of abstract phraseology. An example of this form of right opportunism can be found in the Worker’s Viewpoint, who claim to have made a great contribution to the communist movement, by, according to them, placing “Party building on its proper ideological plane, raising questions of ideology previously ignored.” The problem is that the ideological plane WVO speaks of placing the Party on is not Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, but bourgeois ideology – mechanical materialism, Hegelian dialectics (clashes and explosions giving rise to new phenomena without a process of development) and a totally subjectivist and erroneous appraisal of the Party building motion.
To illustrate this point, we would like to polemicize with WVO’s line on pragmatism and party building, as expressed in their article “Marxism or American Pragmatism”. The article’s purpose is to expose the essence of the right opportunist line on party building promoted by the RU, and in the process put out the correct line, WVO does a good job of analyzing how pragmatism was one of the main philosophical trends guiding RU’s line – “Practice, Practice, Practice”, sum up the advances of the last period of building the mass movement and poof,! we’ll have our Party. However, WVO fails to get to the essence of the ideological and social basis for the economist, right opportunist tread crystallized by the RU – because they do not grasp the essence of all opportunism – the worship of spontaneity- and they do not have a dialectical-historical materialist analysis of the central task. They do not see two sides of the movement – a reflection of the struggle to grasp the truth in the struggle against falsehood – that has propelled us forward.
This article, written in 1974, makes no mention of the rupture that had been taking place since 1972 with the right opportunist trend, headed by the RU. Instead of one dividing into two – sham and genuine, they see the movement suffering from a “left” hook and a “right” punch. Instead of the process by which genuine Marxist-Leninists went from a perceptual to rational understanding of our task of party building, the WVO says we have a movement suffering from these “hooks and punches” that lead to unprincipled methods of party building, like the NLC. This completely negates that the NLC was a crystallized example of how one movement divided into two; the NLC was initiated by genuine communists and degenerated through the opportunist maneuvering of the RU.
This view can only lead to a Hegelian concept of how we have a revolutionary wing existing today. WVO would have us believe that the old period was a total mess of opportunism, low level of theory, etc., but that somehow without tracing the development of the struggle in the communist movement and how through this struggle a wing emerged, which went from a lower to a higher level of understanding of just what it takes to build our Party) we are to believe that the wing just popped up.
In fact, we must draw out how WVO sees this development and see how it is a part of a system of views which leads, them to proclaim themselves-as having the overall most correct line and being “the leading circle” in the movement today.
In the article WVO states that it was the “right punch” that temporarily disarmed the communist movement. This covers the treacherous role of the revisionists of the CPUSA, who backed up by the CPSU, distorted and revised fundamental principles, leaving us with nothing but slimy bourgeois ideology. We will never be able to adequately sum up the role the RU, OL, Guardian, etc. play in spreading bourgeois ideology among the masses if we don’t bring out in the stark light of day the fact that these fools are merely carrying on in the traditions of the Modern Revisionists, sinking deeper and deeper into the marsh as they create more justification for their errors. Without tracing the opportunism in the communist movement to its source, the modern revisionists, we are blinded. This in fact, is a conciliation to the treacherous revisionists.
WVO’s attitude towards left errors is further proof of their missing the essence of all opportunism as was summed up by the teachers, most especially Lenin in What Is To Be Done. WVO states that left errors are a “senile disease” that “will not spread far”. This line belittles the left danger, which although is not the main danger must be actively struggled against. We cannot expect ultra-leftism to vanish of its own accord, or just stay isolated. One could only hold this view if there is no understanding of the basis for all opportunism. Only by staunchly struggling against the worship of spontaneity, which can assume either a right or left form, can we insure that both right and left errors will be checked. For example, anarcho-syndicalism, promoted by the frenzied petty-bourgeoisie with its hatred of discipline and organization, and receiving support from workers fed up with the treachery of union leadership, has had historically strong roots in this country – from the line of Deleon and the Socialist Party in. the late 1800’s and the IWW to the anarcho-syndicalist line of the RU on trade union work. This is no “senile disorder” but rather, an error that got to be rooted out, for it is definitely dangerous.
Instead of holding to what Lenin laid out so long ago regarding the basis for all errors, WVO creates a new theory – saying that the “root of all these manifestations” is a peculiar form of bourgeois ideology, pragmatism.
Pragmatism is one of the many forms that bourgeois ideology takes which leads to the worship of spontaneity, but not the only one. WVO narrows the scope of communists and advanced elements into looking for different examples of pragmatism instead of broadening our outlook to deal with the essential question – idealism and metaphysics, which can take the form of chauvinism, voluntarism, reformism, centrism or empiricism. This view itself flows from an empirical method – looking at form, phenomena, manifestations of pragmatism instead of looking for the essence, the source of all ideological deviations.
WVO makes a grave mistake in analyzing pragmatism as a “uniquely American bourgeois philosophy” Pragmatism is a form of bourgeois ideology which negates the guiding, mobilizing, and transforming role of theory (consciousness). It breaks the interrelationship between objective and subjective factors. It is part and parcel of the many forms in which idealism and metaphysics are promoted to pacify the masses and keep the international bourgeoisie in power and it is not unique to any particular bourgeoisie.
It takes a stronghold in advanced capitalist countries, but is not confined solely to them. WVO raises the part, “American Pragmatism”, before the whole, bourgeois ideology, and this in itself deals with bourgeois ideology in an exceptionalist way. In fact Lenin, in his great work Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, warned against considering pragmatism, which he regarded as the latest “fashion” in American Philosophy as unique.
From the standpoint of materialism, the difference between Machism (which Lenin struggled against in Russia) and pragmatism is as insignificant and unimportant as the difference between empirio-criticism and empirio-monism. Compare, for example, Bogdanov’s definition of truth with the pragmatist definition of truth, which is:
Truth for the pragmatist becomes a class-name for all sorts of definite working values in experience”.
Lenin taught us, as did Marx, Engels, Stalin, and Chairman Mao that in philosophy, we must not be fooled by all the verbiage of new systems of thought that constantly bombard us, but rather we must grasp the common thread running throughout, which is idealism and metaphysics. If we fail to do this, we ourselves fall into an empirical method of combatting bourgeois ideology and this is exactly what WVO does by placing pragmatism as a “unique bourgeois.”
The rapid development of capitalism in the U.S. did not mean that the U.S. developed its own particular ideology. This is a negation of universal principles guiding bourgeois ideology. Bourgeois ideology in all countries has the same source, the same materialist base – private ownership of production – socialized production – upon this economic base is built a superstructure- the courts, institutions of learning, etc., through which bourgeois ideology is promoted. The different forms it takes does not mean that one form is unique to a particular country- this would imply that the material base for these bourgeois ideas are unique. This is American Exceptionalism. Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought teaches us that the US governing capitalism, in both its economic base and superstructure are universal and not that there are exceptions to this universal law.
WVO must view it differently, because they say that, “The ideology (Pragmatism) can be bodily transferred from the bourgeois superstructure – the realm of ideology – to the Marxist-Leninist movement and superstructure of Marxist-Leninist ideology...”
We have never heard of one country having 2 superstructures at the same time. The tasks of Marxist-Leninists are to smash the capitalist economic base, construct a socialist economic base and then, through ideological struggle, crystallized through the continuance of class struggle and struggle between the two lines, transform the superstructure so that it can conform to the socialist economic base. That’s why, for example, 800 million people in the People’s Republic of China today are studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, grasping the key link, the class struggle to view two superstructures, a bourgeois one and a Marxist-Leninist one, with one capitalist .economic base is not only totally metaphysical, it is dangerous. It denies the need to smash the state so that we can transform the superstructure. This would follow with the revisionist theory of peaceful transition to socialism- gradual changes leading to socialism. It’s also dangerous because it combines the two into one, stating that pragmatism can be part of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought develops and grows in a steel to steel struggle against bourgeois ideology, because ideological struggle is a reflection in the realm of ideas of the hostile, irreconciliable conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
This distorted view of ideological struggle could never analyze the history of the struggle to build the Party correctly – it could never see the development of two wings of our movement. The wings developed in the fire of the class struggle and the struggle between two lines, which represented a reflection of these struggles – one wing representing in the main bourgeois ideology within our movement, and another, representing in the main proletarian ideology. It leads to conciliation with opportunism and revisionism, because rather than seeing bourgeois ideology as hostile, incompatible, and therefore needing to be purged, it will have us seeing opportunism and revisionism as a part of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought (This bankrupt view is carried through in the anti-revisionist premises). More on this later.
That is why WVO refers to pragmatism in the Marxist-Leninist movement as tendencies existing equally everywhere. From this, they totally negate the heated struggles in the old period that continue through to the present day, struggles which exposed revisionism and chauvinism (nation of a new type), reformism (Throw the Bum Out), etc. WVO negates this whole process and in fact state that the movement is “only beginning... this task” – the struggle against revisionism. Let us examine more of WVO’s historical analysis of the struggle that has gone down, and how they analyze the opportunists and revisionists. (In another part of this polemic, we will show, for example, how WVO reduces the reason for the separation between the communist movement and labor movement as “existence of political liberties”, totally liquidating and covering again the treacherous role of the revisionists and right opportunists, given their material aid by the labor aristocrats and the upper petty-bourgeoisie in keeping the communist movement and labor movement separated).
This distortion of two line struggle continues. WVO states, in response to the RU’s line on anti-imperialist consciousness, “It is not anti-imperialist consciousness that is absent, but our consciousness as communists that is questionable and needs to be raised.”
A general raising of communist consciousness is a nice cover by which opportunist swindlers, when exposed, can cop to needing to have had their “consciousness raised”. It is only in the heat of class struggle and the struggle between the two lines that we distinguish sham and genuine, and thereby raise our consciousness, our vigilance, about the need to safeguard the purity of Marxism-Leninism against all distortions. WVO continues to belittle the struggle against falsehood, this time reducing the role of the treacherous union leadership, ’the labor aristocracy’:
Keep the rank and file cool to prevent the emergence of spontaneous mass leadership”.
The labor aristocrats’ role is to prevent the emergence of conscious leadership, to isolate the communists and advanced elements so that they will not rise up and seize the trade unions, winning them under communist control. The labor aristocrats are in fact trying to coopt the spontaneous mass movement, bringing the workers under the wing of the bourgeoisie, promoting the theory of spontaneity among the workers. WVO’s blurring over the role of the labor aristocrats is why they can refer to the labor leaders as “misleaders” and not conscious leaders, under bourgeois orders, of the workers.
This conciliation continues. WVO states that the main weakness of the CP was a “weak theoretical base”. Wasn’t it the slimy revisionists and opportunists, who found a home in the social basis of the Party, who promoted the worship of spontaneity, part of which is the lack of training of communist cadre? To place it on a phenomena without dealing with the essence of that phenomena is to leave us disarmed without an understanding of the true role of revisionism.
To further illustrate our point, see how WVO analyzes the reason for uneven development of communists.
Our movement is marked with theoretical weaknesses resulting from the different origins of the various communist forces.”
WVO places the main reason for uneven development completely on the objective factor. It is true that communists come from different class backgrounds, and are rooted among different classes and strata of the Society; this is not the principal reason for uneven development at this time. The primary reason is to what extent we struggle to master and apply Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought to the concrete questions of the American Revolution. It is in this struggle that we see who’s struggling to grasp the tasks and who is not. It is on our ability to accomplish these tasks that our development must be gauged. WVO reveals a reductionist view on the communist movement. If uneven development is only gauged by social origins, then how can we explain the struggle taking place within the movement today- as groups from different origins? Or is it by drawing firm and clear lines of demarcation, and analyzing how these lines came to be drawn? The two wings of our movement are characterized by social origins and roots. The opportunist wing is more representative of the white upper and middle petty-bourgeoisie, whereas the genuine wing is more representative of the more oppressed nationalities, working class and lower petty-bourgeoisie. But it would be vulgar materialist to just base our analysis on this. No, we must see how forces interpret the universal truths embodied in Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought and apply them. It is on that that we analyze the wings of our movement.
Even when WVO deals with the subjective aspect of the communist movement – they miss a crucial part, the struggle against opportunism.
“Many communist collectives are more consolidated... because of the persistent study of the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought in combination with some form of practice”. This is not enough to truly consolidate, truly Bolshevize any communist collective. Study linked to practice, to answer the questions raised by practice and thereby serve practice, is empty unless linked to the class struggle, the struggle between the two lines. This shows no grasp of the history of the movement, whereby consolidation of the genuine wing was a result of a battle against the sham Marxists who tried to hold us back, but from which we emerged even stronger than before. Only we know that this is not merely a question of ignorance, of “No investigation, no right to speak.” There is a reason why WVO distorts the history of the movement and belittles the struggle against opportunism, leaving us with a movement that was going nowhere fast. WVO knows full well the dangers of empiricism, of relying on one’s own experience, to the negation, of the indirect experience of other comrades. For them to put forth such an undialectical, no-struggle, bleak picture of the history of the movement, is a continuation of the policies of the opportunists. The RU, OL, and CL all said that before them there was nothing, and now, we have the correct line that will lead you into the light. WVO is following the same pattern. Listen to this statement.
We must grasp this principal task (theory) tightly, for not to do so will be not to grasp it at all.
In the previous period, genuine Marxist-Leninists had to go from a perceptual to a rational understanding of Party building; through this we were able, through struggle, and summing up our practice, to formulate concepts and theories on Party building–fusion, periods, key link, tactics. This knowledge could not have been acquired full blown at one shot. Chairman Mao said that we must go from grasping a thing to firmly grasping it, not that if we don’t grasp it firmly, we’re not grasping it at all. This is a metaphysical conception of the theory of knowledge, the rationalist school of thinking which negates the need to go through perceptual stage of knowledge to go to the rational stage, from which we oust proceed to revolutionary practice.
WVO obviously sees that the period when we were going through a perceptual stage of understanding Party building was “not grasping it at all”. Therefore, everything previous to WVO was eclectic, opportunist and muddled. The movement was at a standstill, awaiting the anti-revisionist premises, which we will get into at a later point, to lead us and put the party on “the proper ideological plane”.
We think this highly opportunist analysis is put out to put forth the WVO as the ’leading circle’ with the “overall correct line”, a hegemonist, sectarian stance towards the communist movement, especially the revolutionary wing. From this they now feel they must launch attacks on the “rising dogmatist trend”, attacking the genuine wing for having no ties with the masses and no practice among the masses. If by ties and practice they mean their revival of the ghosts and monsters of the RU days, of tailing behind the mass movement, concentrating on the intermediate and backward elements, lowering the level of propaganda to go with the lowest common denominator, uniting with the revisionists and the bankrupt labor leaders-instead of concentrating on our primary illegal work, of separating the struggle to build the Party from their work among the masses, making distinctions between Party Building and “the real world” (In a recent struggle in a International Working Women’s Day Coalition, WVO opposed struggling over the line on Party Building and its relationship to the Woman Question, saying, ”You always want to talk about Party Building, but we want to talk about the real world.” If by practice they mean shifting their forces to building the mass movement because of the flow period and the rise of the danger of fascism and war, then we agree – we do not intend to carry on this type of economist, tailist practice. Our tasks are clear–to unite Marxist-Leninists and win the advanced to communism on the basis of political line, thereby bringing closer the day when we will have our Party, capable of leading all the mass movements under revolutionary proletarian leadership, in the process training and consolidating advanced elements, who because they represent the interest of the masses, are ever strengthening our ties with the masses. We must raise the struggle for the Party in all our work, for Party building is not just something for the Marxist Leninists to debate, but something which we must involve the masses, most especially the advanced in this period. There is nothing more real than the urgent need to complete our central task, and we are confident we will complete it.
It is WVO, for all their talk of nationally specific forms of revisionism, on the dangers of pragmatism, etc., who have slipped into the marsh of opportunism, conciliating with revisionists and resurrecting the same “Practice” line of the RU and the OL in a new form.
(For our position on the advanced, refer to Party Building In The Heat of the Class Struggle).
Rather than uniting Marxist-Leninists, WVO has been conspiring and intriguing. A clear example of this has been seen in practice in the consistent positions they took in the International Working Women’s Day Coalition, where as the two line struggle on Party Building in relation to how were we going to tie up the work of the IWWD flowing from the central task intensified. WVO’s position was that “You always want to talk about Party Building but we want to talk about the real world.” What is more real than the great task of the proletariat in the building of its Party to make proletarian revolution? Any discussion with the masses on Party Building, WVO labels dogmatism, ultra leftism, “throwing obstacles” into the “work.” This was nothing but a manifestation of their right opportunist line in practice – which opposes propaganda as the chief form of activity. They oppose winning the advanced to communism, Marxist-Leninists unite on the basis of line, the key link to party building.
But rather than be upfront and fight for their raggedy right opportunist line, the WVO instead in word agreed that political line is the key link to party building, in word agreed that the two tactics are: win the advanced to communism, Marxist-Leninists unite, only to go around and attempt to sabotage the growing unity within the wing, promoting a petty-bourgeois pessimistic view that sharp, open polemics on the two lines on party building is destructive, divisive. Their cry for unity is nothing but a sham attempt to block the deepening of the drawing of the lines of demarcation that has been taking place. That undoubtedly will continue to take place as we move forward firmly to the formation of a Bolshevik Party, demarcated from the Mensheviks, petty-bourgeois leeches, that insist on peace, and unprincipled compromises, that wiggle like snakes when you touch their opportunist nerve. For the WVO, that opportunist nerve is the “Anti-Revisionist Theoretical Premises.”
The WVO, will reach a less receptive ear as they continue to show themselves, as they already have shown, that they are afraid of polemics. The WVO leadership will continue to develop theoretical justifications for their bankrupt line. Comrades in the WVO must make a thorough break, puncture that nerve, make them squirm, demand that they explain how they intend to build a Party which is not founded on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. Check it out comrades, they say the Anti-Revisionist Theoretical Premises is the ideological foundation of their party. Break with that; cut loose their grip. They want to take you into the marsh. Stand on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, and watch them call you reductionist dogmatists, ultra-leftists; like all right opportunists, what they are attacking is the quintessence of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought.
We must not be fooled by the “leading circle”, “overall most correct line”. This is not impressive, it is only a further exposure of old hegemonic squirming, double dealing maneuvering, which the RU, OL, CLP and all the sham have tried to get over. These philistines are no different from the philistines which a great poet once described, “a Philistine is a gut void of everything but fear, and hope that God will have mercy on him.”
At the IWWD Coalition, many comrades rejected WVO’s schemes. The Puerto Rican Student Union and the February First Movement were exemplary in the struggle. We quote a comrade from PRSU, who took a stand at the IWWD Coalition. She said to the WVO, struggling against their attempt to squash struggle by calling for a vote:
In Aspira, a poverty-pimp organization, they do things by voting. I’m not a communist, and I see the need to struggle over the line on party building here. You’re supposed to be communists. You should be ashamed. You just want to get us involved in practical tasks, without dealing with the question of line.
Learn from the masses – WVO! Shame on you!
I hope our American friends will believe us. In this field of line struggle we have rich experience. We will always adhere to the correct line. We will always adhere to Marxism and will march from victory to victory. Whoever violates this line, whoever departs from this line, will fail.
The special character of our Party’s 50-year struggle is this: the wrong line always fails. Lines that split the Party have always failed. In the end we have always united. The desire of the Chinese people for liberation, oppressed by imperialism as they were for 100 years, is reflected inside the Party. Our people need a Party to lead, and a leader. Even though our struggle is by no means ended, we can see that the victories grow greater day by day and that we will continue to win. Our line is out in the open, clear and open. Schemers can never win. Comrade Chou En-Lai