Published: The Communist, Vol. 1, No. 8, May 24, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We the genuine lefts who have split from the right opportunist wing of the Black Workers Congress demonstrated in THE COMMUNIST No. 7 that the differences in principle between us and the Rights concern not only the BWC but the entire communist movement. We demanded that every communist and worker revolutionary stand up and fight for a Leninist path to the Party, in opposition to the Economist trend of our movement. A staunch response is particularly necessary in this period of upsurge where we sorely need a Communist Party to lead the struggle for proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Recently the opportunist wing of the BWC published their newspaper, which we refer to as the NEW COMMUNIST (because it takes as its model the Menshevik NEW ISKRA). The article “Two Line struggle in the BWC” presents their position on the recent split, and reveals our Economists’ hatred for ideological struggle. We say this first because our Rights have given only the most superficial presentation of their line, cloaked nicely in some well known generalities. Second, while glossing over differences in line, our Rights take special care to concern themselves with personalities. Thus for anyone who has not been directly involved in the struggle, the fundamental differences in principle between this opportunist wing of the BWC and the Leninist wing, are clouded and dimmed rather than sharpened.
In the course of this article we will also refer to a document known as the “Thesis of the Central Committee on the Left Line in the BWC”. This document represents the new line of the opportunist wing, and reveals their rejection of the revolutionary line of the BWC, as represented in issues no. 1-4 of THE COMMUNIST and our three pamphlets. The “Thesis” was clearly the basis for the article in the NEW COMMUNIST and in fact serves as a much fuller presentation of their views. It betrays the Economism of our Rights, their Menshevik view towards organization, and their complete abandonment of the practical tasks necessary to build the party. We urge our Rights to publically print this document, and give it wide circulation in the communist movement, so that we may more readily expose its opportunism and so that all might see its blatant Economism. For now however, since the majority of people have not seen this document, we will primarily concern ourselves with the Right’s article in the NEW COMMUNIST. We say from the beginning that because of the surface treatment our Rights have given the struggle, their article touches only briefly on what are in fact long standing and very important differences between us, and between the Leninist and opportunist wing of our movement. We caution all our comrades not to be taken in by our Right’s generalities and belittlement of the struggle, and to recognize instead that the fundamental differences which brought about the split in the BWC are also the fundamental differences between the Leninist trend and opportunist trend of the communist movement as a whole.
We address four fundamental questions here, which are common to all the Economists of our movement: 1) the denial of the practical tasks necessary to build the party; 2) the distortion of the relationship between theory and practice; 3) the non-Marxist view towards “Left” and Right opportunism; 4) the liquidation of the fight against Economism and amateurishness.
Before we speak to the Rights’ denial of our practical tasks, we’d like to show just who the real phrasemongers are in this struggle. Our Economists begin their presentation with the following statement:
Among all genuine Marxist-Leninists there is agreement that the central task for communists is party building. What the new Communist Movement does not agree upon is how the central task is to be accomplished . . . How are we to construct the Party? That is the question that perplexes the new communist movement and that is the problem that caused the most intense two line struggle in the history of the Black Workers Congress. (New Communist, p. 3).
Why are these statements nothing but phrasemongering? Because our Rights begin by raising an important practical problem – how to build the party. Yet when it comes to answering this question we get absolutely nothing. Why is it that our Rights, who throughout their article and in all their writings speak repeatedly about practice, and how we lefts ignore practical work, present not a single example of a practical task necessary to build the party?
Secondly our Rights present a generality that is universally true – that party building is a reflection of the dialectical relationship between the objective and subjective factors. Yet again, while they speak grandly throughout the article about dialectical relationships, they never explain just WHAT IS the dialectical relationship between the objective and subjective factors of party building in the US.(and let us note that the Thesis is absolutely no better on either of these questions, as these statements are quoted directly from it, p.7).
Thus we can see that our Rights provide no concrete explanation of the “dialectics of party building.” They reveal themselves as totally incapable of explaining how the theory of party building is transformed into the revolutionary practice of party building.
Comrades, one of the fundamental differences between the Economist trend of our movement and the Leninist trend is a correct understanding of the transformation of theory into revolutionary practice. The Economist trend of our movement – our Rights included – do not and cannot present this question correctly for two reasons. First because philosophically they fail to even recognize the transformation of Opposites; secondly because their Economism does not allow them to grasp the practical tasks dictated by a Marxist-Leninist understanding of party building.
First, on philosophy. Marxism-Leninism teaches that the transformation of opposites is the most important point in grasping dialectics. It is no revolutionary dialectics to grasp difference and contradiction: the bourgeoisie does this in a thousand ways – supply and demand, worker and boss, plaintiff and defendant, etc. Grasping difference and contradiction is only a phenomenal understanding of the relation of opposites; it is a grasp of the separate aspects of a thing. It’s only by showing the unity and struggle of opposites, their transformation into one another under given conditions, that we can go beyond appearances to the essence of things and understand the laws of their movement. As Lenin teaches us:
Dialectics is the teaching which shows how opposites can be and how they happen to be (how they become) identical-under what conditions they are identical, transforming themselves into one another-why the human mind should take these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, transforming themselves into one another. (“Conspectus of Hegel’s The Science of Logic, CW, v. 37, pp. 97-8)
Comrades examine carefully the article of our Rights and you will find that they speak of theory and practice, they speak of objective and subjective, they speak of linking this aspect to that one – but nowhere do they speak to or explain the transformation of opposites under given conditions.
This error is by no means limited to our Rights alone. Neither OL nor RU understand the transformation of opposites and both fall into the same errors our Rights make, seeing the theory of party building over here and the practice of party building over there. They all fail to grasp the leading role of theory, and the necessity to use theory as a guide to action, as a weapon which, transformed into revolutionary practice, becomes a material force to change the world.
In opposition to the Economist trend of our movement we lefts, and all genuine Marxist-Leninists in the US, stand firmly with the ideological and organizational foundations of a Marxist-Leninist party brought forward by Lenin in What is To Be Done (WITBD) and One step Forward, Two Steps Back (OSF, TSB). We recognize that the struggle to build the party is the struggle to transform these principles into revolutionary practice, and in turn to have our practice serve to deepen and develop our understanding of these principles and our ability to apply them.
It is our position that the Leninist principles of party building dictate very particular practical tasks – first and foremost that of winning the class conscious vanguard of the proletariat to the side of communism. Lenin teaches us that this first step in linking communism to the workers movement can only be done by defeating the opportunism and chauvinism in the ranks of the proletariat. If our Economists and petty bourgeois democrats would take Lenin seriously (rather than taking their ’creative’ selves so seriously), they would have to agree that the practical task of winning the advanced cannot be done without making propaganda the chief form of activity as Stalin says, and in particular without topical political exposures, that present the working class with a consistently Marxist Leninist viewpoint of events occurring around them. As we have said time and again, there is no better way to organize these exposures, on a uniform, nationwide basis, than through a newspaper of the Iskra type. And we will add, as we have said before, that a newspaper is not the ONLY means to carry on such exposures – but it should be the primary means. A powerful central organ, that is taken up by the whole of an organization, and is used as a weapon, as a collective propagandist, agitator and organizer – must be the center of our activities in this period!
All of the Economists of our movement adamantly deny that the development of an ISKRA type newspaper should be the center of our work. They all very clearly belittle the necessity to develop a stable core of propagandists, who can produce exposures consistent in principle. Our Rights in particular have also risen against the necessity to use public meetings and forums, pamphlets and study groups, as platforms for bringing forward communist propaganda and political agitation.
The Economists of our movement also ignore the training of professional agitators and practical workers, and join together in attacking the necessity to make factory nuclei the principle unit of organization for the party.
Comrades, these are the tasks, the practice which the Leninist principles of party building demand. And it is precisely the accomplishment of these tasks which will enable us to achieve our goal of building a party that is bound with all its fibers to the working class. Taking up this practice can only take us deeper into the. ranks of the proletariat, and increase ten-fold our ability to expand our political agitation and LEAD the working class in its struggle against imperialism.
One of the favorite arguments of the Economists of the BWC and one which has produced unity among the RU, OL and the BWC is that we genuine lefts “absolutize theory”, that we have an “idealistic conception of theory,” etc. We have just brought forward one way in which the Rights distort the relationship between theory and practice, by failing to recognize that these opposites transform themselves into each other under given conditions. Now we will examine this attack made with vigor by all the economists that our theory is “divorced” from practice.
Let us begin with a Marxist-Leninist understanding of absolutizing one aspect of a contradiction. Mao explains very clearly that there are two meanings which we can give to absolutizing. The-first is to ignore that each aspect of a contradiction is the condition for the other’s existence and thus to view opposites as isolated and apart from each other: ”The fact is that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. Without its opposite aspect, each loses the condition for its existence.” (Mao, ON CONTRADICTION, SW, v. 1, p.338) But Mao goes on to show what is more important, the second meaning of the identity of opposites:
The matter does not end with their dependence on each other for their existence; what is more important is their transformation into each other. That is to say, in given conditions, each of the contradictory aspects within a thing transforms itself into its opposite, changes its position to that of its opposite. This is the second meaning of the identity of contradiction. (ibid, p. 338).
Here too is the second meaning of absolutizing one aspect of a contradiction: to consider the two aspects of a contradiction without regard to the whole process that makes them two aspects of a single whole. We will inevitably consider the two aspects separately and one-sidedly if we do not see theory guiding practice, how the subjective factor transforms into the objective factor, how theory becomes a material force when gripped by the masses, how an Iskra type newspaper trains the masses in revolutionary practice if it consistently directs itself to the advanced among the proletariat.
Comrades, this is a Marxist understanding of how we can absolutize one aspect of a contradiction. But nowhere, not in the written line of the BWC, not in the polemics of the genuine lefts, and not in our latest issue of the COMMUNIST can the opportunists find any proof of their claim that we “absolutize theory”. Where have we considered theory one-sidedly, and separately; where have we failed to recognize that theory is useful only as a guide to action, and that it is no Marxist Leninist theory which fails to recognize the need to transform theory into the material force of revolutionary practice? We challenge our Rights, and all those in the communist movement who unite with them, to show to us concretely how our line reflects the error of “absolutizing” theory.
We are of course prepared to hear the cries of all our Economists that written or not, the line of the BWC was to “absolutize theory” by divorcing it from practice. Proof of this argument is their claim that we lefts somehow hated) the spontaneous movement of the working class. The Rights of the BWC present this argument in much the same way as OL and RU:
The concept that the ’leftists’ put forth was that any engagement in the mass spontaneous struggles of the workers or national minorities was “bowing to spontaneity”, regardless of whether we gave those struggles a planned conscious character or not. (NEW COMMUNIST p. 3)
The “Thesis” states that: “The general understanding that leadership and cadre throughout the organization had was that the spontaneous upsurge of the masses was something to be avoided at all costs.” (Thesis, p. 9)
Comrades, the Economists of our movement make these foolish claims because they must of necessity attack the Leninist trend of our movement, particularly the PRACTICAL TASKS our trend demands. These opportunists know only too well that as the Marxist Leninist trend of our movement grows and develops, it can only more fully and clearly expose their narrow, Economist practice; can only more soundly put them to rout. The truth is that the Marxist-Leninist trend of our movement by no means divorces theory from practice. But we most definitely stand against a certain type of practice, which is characteristic of our movement – that is building the mass movement in a narrow spontaneous fashion.
Let it also be said that it has never been the line of the BWC, nor is it the line of the genuine lefts, that the spontaneous movement should be “avoided at all costs”. This sort of argument clearly reflects how little our Economists understand the role of an Iskra type newspaper in the struggle to lead and not tail the spontaneous struggles of the proletariat. We have consistently said that we too want to “build the mass movement” but we want a revolutionary mass movement and not a reformist one. The only way to build the revolutionary activity of the masses is, as Lenin teaches us, through the organization of political exposures. With the weapon of an Iskra-type newspaper, which teaches the workers to respond to events and activities of all classes and strata from a communist point of view; which aids in consciously working out specifically communist policy corresponding to the general tasks of communism in this country; which gathers a network of advanced workers around a common activity; which in sum acts as a collective organizer, agitator and propagandist – all this can only tremendously increase and heighten our ability to lead the struggles of the proletariat and develop a mass revolutionary movement of the working class. Comrades we will resolutely struggle against all who claim that we see building the party “isolated from the struggles of the masses”. And we will consistently expose this argument as a cover for right opportunism, as an attempt to divert us from a Leninist path to the party because it diverts us from what must be the center of our activities, an ISKRA-type newspaper.
For those who still holler that our position stands opposed to involvement in the day to day struggles of the workers – dear opportunists, just how do you expect to build factory nuclei, to train practical workers, to develop an Iskra type newspaper, without day to day work in the struggles of our class? We ask comrades why it is that when all the Economists of our movement attack the Leninist trend and speak so fondly of “building the mass movement” of the proletariat they rarely mention the tasks of political exposure, political agitation, organizing advanced workers around a common activity that is occurring nation wide?? We ask them how they plan to develop the struggle of the proletariat, not just against one employer, or group of employers, but against the entire capitalist class and the government that supports it – without taking up these tasks? Yet when this opportunist trend has no answers to these questions, when they of necessity continue to bow to the spontaneity of the masses and refuse to recognize the need for a “mass of consciousness” on the part of communists, dare they deny that they are in fact Economists?!
Invariably coupled with the argument that the Leninist trend of our movement divorces theory from practice, comes the claim that we are “left” opportunists. What is the basis for this? According to our Rights, we are “left” opportunist because we lefts have “promoted the ‘theory of cadre’ in the organization” (New Communist, p. 6). The “Thesis” claims that “Comrades you will find no more concrete expression of subjectivist thinking of absolutizing the subjective factor, the ’theory of cadres’.” (Thesis, p.11). The Economist trend as a whole claims that we are dogmatic, and isolated from the masses.
This accusation of ”left” opportunism is nothing more than an attempt by our Economists to ensure the freedom and domination of right opportunism. To expose this truth, we will first present a Marxist-Leninist understanding of Right and “left” opportunism.
We genuine lefts consider that the struggle and transformation of opposites under given conditions is the starting point for understanding the distinction between “left” and right opportunism. Stated briefly, right opportunists ignore that opposites transform themselves into each other. On the other hand “left” opportunists ignore that opposites can be transformed into each other only in necessary given conditions and that in the absence of those conditions no such transformation can take place. Both are in essence the same since they both fail to “accelerate the transformation of things and achieve the goal of revolution. (Mao). Similarly, both “lefts” and rights fail to prepare the conditions for revolutionary change – right opportunists, because they passively refuse to recognize the power of revolutionary theory and practice to transform the contradictions in nature and society; “lefts” because they impetuously refuse to recognize that nature and society can be changed only when objective processes have reached certain given stages and only when the necessary conditions for transforming opposing aspects of a given contradiction are present.
Here is how Comrade Foto Cami of Albania explains the characteristics of “left” opportunism:
Marxist-Leninists ... fight against the viewpoint of those representatives of ”left” trends who are characterized by the overestimation and absolutization of the role of “subjective activity” in the transformation of reality and by the negation of the role of objective conditions, of the real possibilities of the situation. These “left” trends see the will of the revolutionaries for action, their determination to throw themselves into struggle irrespective of the conditions and situation, as the only determining factor. According to them, even if a revolutionary situation does not exist it can and must be artificially created by the vigorous actions of a militant group consisting of several armed brave and resolute men. (OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE FACTORS IN THE REVOLUTION, Albania Today, Jan. 1973, p. 21)
With this understanding, we ask comrades to examine the line of the genuine lefts of the BWC. How are the tasks of developing an ISKPA type newspaper, factory nuclei, Bolshevik organization – how are these things the reflection of “absolutizing subjective activity?” In what way do they reflect our negation of the role of objective conditions and the real possibilities of the situation, or as the HISTORY OF THE CPSU(B) says, our failure to base our practical activities on ”the needs of the development of the material life of society.”(p.116) The truth is these tasks very definitely correspond to the objective reality that there is no Party. It is the accomplishment of these tasks that will allow us to overcome our isolation from the proletariat, and link communism to the workers movement.
Return now to the particular arguments of our Economists. They tell us that we perpetuated the ’theory of cadres’ and that this is a “left” opportunist error. Here our Economists have simply used the example of the ’theory of cadres’ from the Party of Labor of Albania and slapped this formula down on this country with absolutely no regard for concrete conditions. To prove this, first look at why the ’theory of cadres’ was a “left” opportunist error in Albania.
The PLA put forward that theirs was a backward, semi-feudal agrarian country and that even by 1924, “The working class had not yet reached that point of ideological and political maturity to set up their trade unions, even less, their party.” (PLA, p. 17). (The trade union movement in England had been going strong since the first half of the 1800s). The proletariat in Albania was small and weak and as well, the occupation of Albania by Italian fascism, British and other imperialists, made fighting a war of national liberation to oust imperialism the urgent task that the vanguard of the proletariat had to see. But Trotskyites generally and historically hold that national liberation struggles are not class struggles and are not the first stage of any revolution. In the genuine Marxist-Leninist sense of how “left” opportunists desire to skip whole stages of the revolution, the Trotskyites and other anti-Marxist trends inside the communist movement in Albania denied the objective necessity of the Albanian national liberation struggle. The ’theory of cadres’ cannot be understood as a ’left’ opportunist error without understanding the Trotskite line of action in relation to the conditions in oppressed nations. The PLA sums it up: “The anti-Marxist view of the leaders of the Shkodra Communist Group had their origin in their erroneous concepts of the role of the social classes and strata in the Albanian revolutionary movement and in the situation created in Albania by the enslaving policy of Italian fascism. They said that in Albania “there existed no proletariat and no bourgeoisie in the real sense of the word, that the handicraftsmen were the most revolutionary part of the population, and that the peasantry would become the allies of the proletariat when the latter emerged as a result of the further capitalist development of the country and became capable of taking up the banner of socialist revolution. In their view, since there was no proletariat and no bourgeoisie, no genuine class struggle could be waged and as a consequence, conditions for revolution were not ripe. They also maintained that the communist movement had come into being in Albania not as an absolute necessity of the working class in order to fight against the capitalists but as a result of foreign influences. Under these circumstances since this movement was already afoot, the duty of the communists was to educate and train cadres who would eventually start agitation among the broad masses of people, would draw the proletariat behind them and would take the direction of the communist revolution into their own hands. It was with these cadres, theoretically educated and trained, that they intended to form an Albanian communist party. (HISTORY OF THE PARTY OF LABOR OF ALBANIA, p.59)
The Trotskyite “theory or cadres” must be considered a “left” opportunist line under conditions where 1) there is a blatant denial that the proletariat exists or it is too weak to lead other revolutionary classes, particularly in oppressed nations, 2) there is a line that the first objective stage of the revolution should be skipped, and 3) strictly education to groom cadres for the next stage of the revolution is called for.
Can it be said that an attempt to “groom cadres” by holing them up in back rooms for “education” is a “left” opportunist error in our conditions? We don’t think so. Unlike Albania, the US has a proletariat that is more than 60 million strong, and that has a very long and militant history of struggle. Today, with the deepening economic and political crisis, the spontaneous upsurge of the masses is becoming wider and deeper, encompassing not just trade union demands, but also political demands. Given these conditions, a line which says “we have to get ourselves together theoretically before we can undertake any political work” (New Communist, p. 6) would reflect a right opportunist line of passivity. It would reflect a refusal to recognize the mobilizing and transforming role of theory, a theoretical justification for following the line of least resistance.
The arguments of the RU and OL are no better. On the question of isolation, we of course will not deny that we, along with the communist movement as a whole are relatively isolated from the workers movement. This is one of the sore points of our movement and stems precisely from its failure to take up the task of winning the advanced. The question is what makes isolation automatically a “left” error? Don’t our economists know that either a right or “left” line could lead to isolation from the masses? For example would they claim that certain university “Marxists” who sit in their ivory tower contemplating the principles of Marxism while adamantly refusing to use these principles to change the world are “left” opportunist? Are not such “Marxists” isolated from the masses? Comrades it is our position that the isolation of the communist movement comes primarily from the fact that we have not set ourselves the task of winning the class conscious vanguard of the proletariat; because we lag miserably behind in our task to organize comprehensive political exposures. Comrades we cannot stress the importance of this task too much. As Lenin teaches us: “And one of the fundamental conditions for the necessary expansion of political agitation is the organization of comprehensive political exposure. The masses cannot be trained in political consciousness and revolutionary activity in any other way except by means of such exposures. Hence, activity of this kind is one of the most fundamental functions of international Social Democracy as a whole, for even the existence of political liberty does not in the least remove the necessity for such exposures it merely changes somewhat the sphere against which they are directed. (WITBD, p.85–our emphasis) Political exposures are FUNDAMENTAL to the training of ourselves and the masses in political consciousness an revolutionary activity. We know of course that many will say “But we are already doing political exposures, Don’t you know that RU, OL, PRRWO, and even the opportunist BWC have national papers?” True, but not a one of these organizations CENTER their activity on developing an Iskra-type paper. And all belittle the importance of political exposures in their press. And for those who raise this question we ask, why is it that none of the communist organizations in the country (with the exception of CLP) put out a weekly newspaper? Comrades when Lenin talked of the importance of political exposures he meant it and he set for the Iskra the goal of WEEKLY publication. We’d do well to follow his example.
Comrades it is clear that neither the opportunists of the BWC, OL or RU can make these false cries of dogmatism and “left” opportunism without also fundamentally attacking the very foundations of a Marxist-Leninist party. Their attack on the Leninist trend of our movement represents a turn to bourgeois criticism of Marxism and an attempt to ensure freedom for opportunism and revisionism in our midsts.
We have and shall stand in firm opposition to the Economist trend of our movement. We shall consistently expose the opportunism of this trend, and their attempt to turn our attention away from our main danger – right opportunism, particularly in the form of Economism and revisionism.
Comrades, it is absolutely essential to grasp that party building is inseparably bound up with the struggle against revisionism and economism in the ranks of the communist movement. Without a fierce struggle against these bourgeois influences we cannot even think of founding a Marxist-Leninist party. Without a constant struggle against the tendency to belittle the role of the conscious element; against the passivity and inaction of our Rights; against a path which is wholly acceptable to capitalism because it is marked by reformism and trade unionism and not by revolutionary consciousness and communist politics. We stand fundamentally with Stalin in saying that without the destruction of Economism and the theory of tailism we cannot create a genuine communist party:
It scarcely needs proof that the demolition of this theoretical falsification is a preliminary condition for the creation of truly revolutionary parties in the West.
As long as the opportunists of the BWC and OL refuse to recognize that our primary fight is against right opportunism, as long as they insist on focusing our attention on their false cries of “left” opportunism and sectarianism, they can only make it even more difficult to defeat the poison of Economism – they can only drag us backward and not forward. And as long as the RU fails to recognize that the struggle against right opportunism must focus on the struggle against the economism in our ranks, must expose this “theoretical falsification” of Marxism, they too will be unable to demolish this trend.
Comrades the Economism that still plagues our movement has been a fundamental obstacle towards overcoming the narrow, local and amateurish character of our work. Lenin explains, there is a direct connection between Economism and amateurishness and “we will never eliminate this narrowness of our organizational activity until we eliminate Economism generally (i.e., the narrow conception of Marxist theory, of the role of Social Democracy). (WITBD, p. 128.) It is no accident that the Economist trend of our movement never speaks to this question of amateurishness, its connection to Economism, and the fact that we will be unable to build the party without the fiercest struggle to overcome this obstacle. A few important examples of the connection between the Economism of our Rights, and their amateurishness, should reveal to all that the great aversion the petty bourgeois democrats of the BWC have towards these questions will prevent them from overcoming their narrow, backward amateur methods.
We will begin with the BWC’s activities in the Black Women’s United Front (BWUF), an organization formed on the initiative of the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP) and other forces, to speak to the special problems of Black women. At the founding meeting our Economists revealed their hatred for ideological struggle; their inability to work out an independent communist policy; and their subservience to the existing divisions of the class. Organizationally they behaved as the rankest of amateurs.
Here is how. First, at no time was any kind of policy or decision made on the founding meeting. Cadres who participated had no guidance on programs, organizational structure, etc. The speech that was given reflected a complete abandonment of the organizations line. Black women are oppressed, we said, on the basis of class, sex and race. Now while it is true that racism is one of the most important forms of national oppression, it cannot be understood apart from the oppression of the Black nation in the Black Belt south. Racism is the result of national oppression and further serves national oppression and will only be overcome by the overthrow of imperialism and the liberation of oppressed nations. In addition, both CAP and OL put forward that the BWUF should be a nationally exclusive organization, limited only to Black women. This stand is one which bows to the existing divisions of the class rather than struggling to overcome them. Communists everywhere should attempt to develop proletarian forms of organization, and in the US this of necessity means multi-national forms of organization. It is criminal for communists to put forward that it is not in the interests of Black women, and the class as a whole, to have the participation of all nationalities in the struggle against the special oppression of Black women On this question the BWC was silent, and refused to take up any struggle at all against this narrow nationalist line. What is this but hatred for ideological struggle? Our position is that we stand for united proletarian organizations in every sphere of the class struggle. (See Lenin’s essay CORRUPTING THE WORKERS WITH REFINED NATIONALISM, CW, v. 20, p. 289). We hold that it is absolutely correct to build organizations which speak to the special demands and problems of different sections of the class and the people as a whole e.g. youth organizations, or organizations which deal with the special demands of the elderly, women, etc. But it is our duty to unite all these organizations all of the toilers regardless of sex, age and nationality against the common enemy, monopoly capitalism. The Vietnamese Women’s Union which many of our economists have had the good fortune to meet with do not exclude men or the different nationalities in Vietnam from membership, and as a matter of fact, there are men within the national leadership Of the Vietnamese Women’s Union. What should we have done at the founding conference of the BWUF on this particular question? We should have struggled with the different activists there to see the correct position, having faith that they would have been able to see the correct path. If our line had been defeated, then we should have tried to give an example of how the minority respects the decisions of the majority and waited to properly raise the question at another time. We certainly don’t hold that if a nationalist organization does not see the correctness of the above line, then Marxist-Leninists should run off because it is not pure enough for them.
No. But not to place proletarian politics in command is a worse and more cowardly sin, and people in the long run are not going to have respect for so-called “Marxists” who hide their principles and treat them as if they cannot understand the same things as our so-called “Marxists”.
Organizationally, the speaker for the BWC was late because of lack of preparation. There was no agitation or propaganda prepared. Cadres who came from different districts had no unified line and no guidance. There was no summary of the work afterwards, no criticism, and nothing to guide future work. How could it be otherwise? The Economism of our Rights can only lead to a justification for such amateurish methods.
Another example of the amateurishness of our Rights was the BWC’s participation in a conference on the struggle to stop the importation of South African coal. Here too there was no line and policy. A speech was prepared the night before, and no other agitation or propaganda was done. The leaders of the opportunist wing also revealed their narrow nationalism by refusing to take an Anglo comrade – who had done a lot of work around the struggle – to a private meeting with ALSC. No, said our “leaders” first we must ask if it’s alright with ALSC. Clearly our Economists are ashamed of the Anglo comrades who have ventured to “integrate” the BWC!!
Finally it is also a well known fact that the BWC has no program and apparently no concern for the struggle of the unemployed. On this question their amateurishness even helped to stifle the initiative of comrades. This occurred when the UAW sent some 50 buses to Washington and not a single cadre was assigned to go, even though Detroit had plenty of unemployed autoworkers. This occurred only because of the narrow scope of vision of our economists, who cannot see beyond Detroit’s city limits, and because their amateurishness prevented them from making a decision before the buses left and not after.
Comrades, these examples are only a few of the many times that we can see the unity between Economism and amateurishness. Only when we recognize this connection, and only when we grasp the necessity to focus all our attention, efforts and strength to overcome these barriers will we be able to build a communist party, because as Lenin says, “Without improved organization there can be no progress of our working class movement in general and no establishment of an active party with a properly functioning organ in particular.”(AN URGENT QUESTION, CW, v. 4, pp. 221-2).
Comrades, we have shown that the opportunist wing Of the BWC, with their cries of “left” opportunism and “dogmatism,” have in fact, attacked the ideological foundations of a Marxist-Leninist party, and attempted to hide their blatant Economism.
We hold that Marxism-Leninism is a science and the great teachers, Marx, Fngels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao and the leading communist parties today, the Communist Party of China, and the Party of Labor of Albania have applied this science to the struggle for proletarian revolution. Each in their times and particular conditions, have creatively developed the science, enriching the theory of Marxism-Leninism.
But we caution the petty bourgeois democrats of the communist movement. Under the guise of “new conditions” revisionists the world over have shown their treachery. Using the signboard of “creative” Marxism, these traitors have completely abandoned Marxism-Leninism and adopted the ideology of the bourgeoisie. As the Albanians say:
Contrary to the old opportunists, the present-day revisionists speculate with the new conditions and phenomena. It is on this basis, in fact, that they have declared Marxism-Leninism, to be outdated and try to ’enrich’ it with their ’new,’ ’creative’ conclusions and theses, with their ’solutions’ which are anti-Marxist from top to bottom. They come out with slogans of struggle against ’dogmatism’, of the ’creative development’ of Marxism Leninism, allegedly in conformity with the changed conditions. This disguising of present-day revisionism, under the slogan of the ’creative development’ of Marxism is one of its most important features in the ideological field. (About Some Actual Problems of the Struggle Against Modern Revisionism, Figret Shehu, in SOME QUESTIONS OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION IN ALBANIA AND OF THE STRUGGLE AGAINST REVISIONISM)
When faced with the “new” theories presented by our petty bourgeois democrats in their newspaper, and their THESIS, when faced with their call for “freedom of bourgeois criticism” of Marxism-Leninism, we must stand with all our great teachers and the international communist movement in defending ORTHODOX LENINISM. THIS IS STILL THE ERA OF LENINISM!