From the pamphlet: The Degeneration of PRRWO: From Revolutionary Organization to Neo-Trotskyite Sect.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
In PRRWO's relationship to other organizations in the communist movement, there was a similar quick degeneration of an initially progressive motion. A good example is the relationship between ATM and PRRWO. The relationship started out on firm footing. Both organizations had initial discussion, clarifying points of unity and differences. Out of these discussions, a unity statement was drawn up and distributed to the cadres of PRRWO for internal discussion. Information was shared about the general weaknesses and strengths of our work, which was more important since there was little other way of sharing experiences between the communists on the East and West Coasts. PRRWO sponsored a forum, where ATM was able to put forward its line, one of the most positive things about it being the thorough analysis of RU's revisionism that was presented. This development seemed to indicate that PRRWO was in practice repudiating some of its historical sectarian tendencies.
However, conditions were being set inside the organization for this development to be stunted and finally sabotaged. One of the most critical areas of work which was neglected while the left bloc perpetrated the abstract discussions on party building was the development of liaison work, especially with the ATM. Only when a crisis occurred was attention placed on our relations with ATM.
This crisis took the form of the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee, a band of petty bourgeois intellectual careerists with no practice and a very flaky history. MLOC presented a plan for party building to the ATM which was based on a military strategy (concentrate a superior force to destroy the enemy one by one). It was a plan which was founded on the careerist wishes of these "theoreticians." It was clearly a get-rich-quick scheme. But MLOC, feeding off the right error of conciliationism in ATM, was able to sell ATM this phony bill of goods. When PRRWO heard about this, there was immediate concern.
However, the concern was not all coming from the same place. Many comrades were legitimately concerned with preventing the MLOC swindlers from getting over. The ultra-left bloc seized on this concern, which served to hide their real concern over losing another base off which to leech.
At about the same time period, the leadership of PRRWO had begun to build unprincipled unity with WVO. This unity was unprincipled because there had been fundamental differences of line with WVO from the early beginning, and cadres from PRRWO had constantly raised the opportunist practice of WVO in the trade union, community and student work. The clearest points of difference were around WVO's right opportunist line of building phony "Ad Hoc Committees," where conciliation with the worst type of Trots, revisionists, trade union leaders, etc. would go on as the WVO would tail the bourgeoisie and its agents, while promoting themselves in the communist movement as mobilizers of the masses. Theoretical justifications for this practice gave rise to the differences over their position on the advanced, tasks in the trade unions, "unite to expose," etc. Knowing this, the leadership of PRRWO made an unholy alliance with WVO leadership, against the wishes of the cadres, who demanded at least a process of more thorough investigation of WVO's history and line. Although practically every meeting would result in an even clearer understanding of why there was no basis for unity with WVO, more and more back room deals were made, placing both the PRRWO and WVO cadres in a position of having to function together. What happened in practice was that to most of the communist movement and contacts among the masses, WVO and PRRWO would constantly clash in coalition and other mass meetings, while from the top leadership levels, the cadres were being told that it was our own sectarianism that was bringing on these difficulties.
Objectively, a positive aspect of this was that open polemics between two organizations with clear differences on line were held, an example being the WVO-PRRWO forum in N.Y.C. in November 1975. Here, the differences were more apparent than ever. However, the basis for this seemingly progressive step was the maneuvering of opportunists on the WVO and PRRWO leaderships, particularly Gloria F. and Jerry Tung. Frantic over the OL's plans for party building, as well as the development of the ATM-MLOC party building plan, Jerry Tung, who had been meeting with the chairperson of PRRWO outside the realm of scheduled liaison meetings, stressed the importance of coming up with a plan to provide an alternative for M-Ls and advanced elements. Rather than base a plan for party building on extensive scientific study and investigation, combined with sum-up of revolutionary practice, these opportunists were talking o yet another scheme in reaction to the ones already out there. Rather than deepen the line struggle over the fundamental differences on line that existed between WVO and PRRWO for the sake of building true unity, the unprincipled unity was taken to an even higher level by collaborating on a plan for party building, effectively sweeping the differences under the rug to pull ATM away from the clutches of MLOC. This blatant scheming and conspiring was justified as "strategy and tactics in party building."
The plan that was submitted to the PRRWO and later WVO did contain certain correct theoretical principles, as well as outlining certain practical activities to be undertaken by M-L organizations in this period. In essence, the plan called-for a Party Building Commission, based on political line unity on certain key questions (analysis of communist movement, political line as key link, uphold Lenin's definition of the advanced, uphold the chief form of activity propaganda, uphold self-determination for the black nation in the Black Belt South). According to the internal document put out by the Party Building Commission, the Principle of Unities of the wing were:
"a. Party Building is the central task of communists. Marxist-Leninists are today faced with the historic task of building the Bolshevik Leninist Party of a New Type, because we understand that without building such a party, it will be impossible to forge the two mighty weapons of the proletariat the United Front and the Armed Struggle, so that we can make our contribution to the international proletariat by establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat through violent seizure of power and wipe U.S, imperialism, one of the main enemies of the world's people, off the face of the earth. The Party cannot come from the "advanced of the mass movement" or by sitting in a closet studying theoretical works all day. It must come as a result of the fusion of communism with the workers' movement a fierce battle against all forms of opportunism to interject scientific socialism to the mass movement and give the spontaneous movement a planned conscious character. This party must be based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and must follow strict Leninist principles of discipline, key of which is democratic-centralism and factory nuclei as the basic unit of the Party, and practice criticism and self-criticism.
b. Political line is the Key Link. This means that at the present time the task which crystallizes and moves forward our ideological, political and organizational tasks at this time is the fight to hammer out the Party's basic line and program. It is in the struggle over political line that we will be able to disclose Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, which is fundamental, running throughout our struggle to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and even beyond. This in turn, serves our organizational work because it is the political line which is the basis for voluntary unity of will among Marxist-Leninists, which must be concretized into unity of action and discipline. To hold ideology is the key link lags behind the development of the struggle for the Party and is a right, tailist approach to party building, and would negate a period we have already been through. To hold organization is key link outstrips the given stage of the struggle for the Party because it presupposes that the political line of the Party has been determined. Although "left" in form, seeming to speed ahead of the process of development of the Party, in essence it would hope to unite Marxist-Leninists based on ideological principles since the line has not been hammered out.
c. That today Right Opportunism is the main danger in the workers' and communist movements. By this we mean that the belittling of the role of theory and the advanced element; leading to the worship of spontaneity, the basis of ALL opportunism, must be smashed if we are to make headway in our Party Building work. We must rid ourselves of the economism the path of least resistance the failure to link long and short-range goals in a concrete way that leads the workers' and communist movement in a direction acceptable to the bourgeoisie, a direction of reformism. Right opportunism is trade unionism (bourgeois ideology) in trade union questions, chauvinism on the National question; and Social-Democratic, loose knot traditions in the sphere of organization. It is the form of bourgeois ideology that tries to hold back the wheels of history, attempting to stave off the coming of our Bolshevik Party and the Proletarian Revolution it will have to lead.
d. Marxist-Leninists Unite! Ours is the responsibility to think in terms of the whole, to concentrate our forces so that we can most effectively deal with the tasks at hand. We must staunchly combat hegemonism, that bourgeois tendency of one organization or organizations swallowing-up other organizations in a chauvinist way, without regard for the internal affairs of organizations. We must struggle for the hegemony of the proletarian line. The hegemonist tendencies feed into the small circle spirit, a fear to join the rising genuine Marxist-Leninist trend, a longing to hold on to their own little grouping at any cost. We must combat the small circle spirit, and for this we must unite on a principled basis of mutual equality and cooperation. At the present time, the hegemonist tendency is the primary one. We must through a process of unity-struggle-unity, forge the iron unity that will culminate in the highest unity possible of Marxist-Leninists our formation into the democratic-centralist Party.
e. Win Over the Advanced to Communism. Our Party must be the general staff of the proletariat, the best elements that the working class and oppressed masses have to offer. For this it is imperative that, in the heat of the class struggle, we show the masses, most especially the advanced, their interests and how to fight for them and in this process make them see that only the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought applied to concrete conditions in the world today and to bring the message of their resolution revolution! The advanced workers must be trained and developed so that we ensure that our Party is rooted among the class that is rising in strength and which holds the historic mission of society, the abolition of classes, in its hands. This is the rock upon which the Party must be built.
f. Factory Nuclei as the basic form of organization. In order to avoid the Social-Democratic traditions of the Second International which have characterized modern revisionists on questions of organization loose-knit, undisciplined, based on territorial, electoral districts and not rooted in the point of production, we must establish the factory nuclei. The factory nuclei are the organizational link between the Party and the masses, most especially the working class. It is that form of organization which ensures the implementation of the Party's line, program and policies, and forges ever-firmer ties with the most advanced class in society. It is an illegal unit, by that we mean it hides among, not from, the masses. It is open to the masses, in that the work it directs leads the masses in the onslaught on capital, but it is closed to the bourgeoisie. It is through the factory nuclei that we make every factory our fortress, and make sure that the Party will have control of those strategic areas of the country (i.e., the industrial Mid-West) in the period of armed insurrection; moving over to the establishment of the Dictatorship and the construction and consolidation of socialism.
g. The right of self-determination of the Afro-American nation. The political essence of imperialism is the oppression of nations. Historically, Black people served as the foundation for the growth of capitalism in this country, from the history of oppression under slavery, moving on up to the consolidation of capitalism in the U.S. as the main mode of production (Civil War) and the sold-out bourgeois democratic, revolution (Reconstruction Period) Black people historically evolved into a nation in the black-belt South. They meet the five criteria for a nation as developed, by comrade Stalin although of course the development has been stunted and distorted, as in all nations that rise during the era of imperialism. The national liberation struggle of Black people in the South has been a clarion call for the masses in the U.S., with a rich, militant history of heroic resistance to oppression. We hold to the Comintern resolution of 1930 in regard to the Afro-American national question that the Afro-American nation in the black-belt South has the right of self-determination, up to and including secession. Although we realize that there have been changes in the objective conditions, particularly the development of capitalism, since the 1930's, and, that we must study these changes to update the Comintern's position, we reject the view of the revisionists who claim that capitalism's highest stage has "integrated" black people throughout the U.S. and .has in effect, solved the national question for us. We hold that to refuse to uphold the right of self-determination for the Black nation in the black-belt South is to essentially liquidate the question, and represents a slander of proletarian internationalism, it represents chauvinism, one of the key features of all forms of bourgeois ideology. We also hold that Black people in the north constitute a national minority, the material base for their oppression being the oppression of the Black nation in the black belt South, and that we must raise the demand for their full, democratic rights in connection with raising the demand for self-determination for the Afro-American nation."
(Taken from document of Party Building Commission)
Such were their alleged principles of unity. The Commission also proposed the development of a joint political education curriculum and areas for research and investigation, as well as coordinated activities on certain key fundamental revolutionary holidays, such as International Working Women's Day and Mayday. It called for the pooling together of the resources of communists who united on these questions to develop the party program as a basis to call for the first party congress.
On the surface, this plan seemed positive. In fact, it was a synthesis of the things many cadres had been raising for some time. But there were some things inherent in the development of this plan that would eventually overshadow any positive aspects about it. Most importantly, the plan was never put out for struggle in the entire movement. This would have insured the input of more M-Ls in the struggle for the party and would have intensified the struggle over who united just on paper and who united in reality. It would have unleashed much initiative and promoted struggle throughout the movement, which could only have had a positive effect on the genuine, while having a negative effect on the sham. Specifically, such intense struggle would have given the cadres more strength to find the truth, and there would have been little room for the opportunists to hide. The ultra-left bloc purposely developed this plan and kept it under wraps so that they could remain in the driver's seat. In fact, this plan was written by Gloria overnight and presented as the unity of the Central Committee, to be implemented without any discussion in PRRWO. Any differences with the plan were labeled as anti-party and objectively in unity with the opportunist "wing." The important thing to remember is that on paper, it's not too difficult to outline a plan for party building. But if this plan is built on a series of maneuvers and schemes to gain hegemony over the party building motion, it's not worth the paper it's written on. Let's not be fooled this was a battle between opportunists to deviate honest Marxists-Leninists' attempts at party building.
WVO and PRRWO went out to the West Coast to persuade ATM to see through MLOC's scheme and unite to expose MLOC. ATM correctly summed up the internal basis for this unprincipled unity as right opportunism and united with PRRWO and WVO to isolate MLOC. We would like to state here that it is a serious right error for ATM never to make public the sham plan of MLOC. As for WVO and PRRWO leaderships, once the immediate danger of MLOC had been dealt with, it was of no concern to them who would be swindled by these abstract theoreticians.
In the process of repudiating the sham plan of MLOC, ATM united with PRRWO around their plan for party building. This, we feel, was another serious right error. The comrades should have taken more time and more thoroughly summed up what had led to their unity with MLOC, building on their correct analysis that it was due to conciliation with opportunists. It is important to note, however, that ATM did attempt to deal with this criticism in practice, in the case of WVO. ATM had put forward in an above-board manner that they did not have sufficient unity with WVO to agree to their participation in a joint party building plan unless WVO "repudiated their line on a number of questions, the most important of these being:
1) the position on the advanced, which was and is opposed to the essence of Lenin's "Retrograde Trend" definition,
2) the position on the key link ideology as particularly reflected in their "Anti-Revisionist Premises";
3) the position on the Afro-American national question, which is no position at all.
The opportunists on the WVO leadership, realizing this was a prime opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and gain prestige in the communist movement, quickly "repudiated" although only in private all of these positions. PRRWO was propping up WVO. Meanwhile, ATM stated at that time that although this was a start, they had to see this in writing, including public self-criticism. WVO agreed to this. The PRRWO leadership pushed for quick unity around the party building plan, and thus, the "revolutionary wing" was born. This unprincipled unity was in complete contradiction with the objective and subjective conditions in the communist movement, was rejected by honest M-Ls in the movement, and in practice showed itself to be sham. As Mao Tsetung would describe it:
"They alienate themselves from the current practice of the majority of the people and from the realities of the day, and show themselves adventurist in their actions."
"Idealism and mechanical materialism, opportunism and adventurism are all characterized by the breach between the subjective and the objective, by the separation of knowledge from practice." (On Practice, p. 307, Vol. I)
As was mentioned earlier, anything built on such shaky ground was bound to explode over the first real test of such professed "unity." But this move by the opportunists did serve to temporarily stall their eventual exposure. Internally, for PRRWO cadres, the news that WVO was willing to repudiate its line on so many key questions made the previous criticisms over the unprincipled manner in which we united with them seem unfounded. The ultra-left bloc promoted itself not only as proving their leadership qualities to the cadres, but also as providing the necessary tactical leadership to the entire party building motion.
IWWD 1976: The "Wing" Disintegrates
However, as the "revolutionary wing" approached one of its tasks that of coordinating activities for International Working Women's Day 1976 it became obvious to the entire communist movement and advanced forces throughout the country just how sham the unity was.
On the surface, this sham unity could clearly be seen by the events that took place in the IWWD coalition. Here the communist movement was able to see an example of how in the struggle for correctly applying M-L-MTTT, one tendency covers another. The WVO showed itself as two-faced jellyfish, all talk of repudiation cast aside. Instead, WVO promoted itself as the organization with the overall most correct line," but was unwilling to put its line out clearly, hiding as they always do behind the masses, submerging M-L within a number of community organizations in the Asian community without relating the task of IWWD to party building. They even went so far, in an extension of their infamous "unite to expose" line, to invite revisionists, Trots, lesbians and other degenerate elements to the coalition. They clearly personified the main danger, right opportunism.
PRRWO, promoting itself as "fighting for the purity of M-L," used the opportunity given them by the blatant right opportunism of the WVO to engage in typical demagoguery and sophistry, turning the coalition meetings into forums on party building, and specifically into an arena for attacks WVO's line. Never was anything said about why, just a few months before, WVO and PRRWO were so united they considered themselves in the same "wing" of the movement. By engaging in such phrase mongering dogmatism, PRRWO in essence separated the task of building the party from the tasks of communists in the mass movement.
All of this has been put out and polemicized over in the movement in the past months, as WVO and PRRWO show themselves more clearly for what they are two sides of the same slimy coin. We feel it is important here to concentrate on what wan going on behind the scenes how exactly the WVO-PRRWO "unity" fell apart, as it was bound to do.
Unknown to PRRWO or ATM, WVO had for some time been establishing relations with the RWL, an organization with roots in the Afro-American national movement. The RWL, although supposedly an independent organization, had a history of conciliation with opportunism, of tailing helplessly behind whatever line happened to be dominant at that time. RWL had been under the influence of RU in its early history, had broken with them much later than the rest of the communist movement did, and almost immediately entered into relations with the OL The OL had been the major influence on the organization for a period of time until a struggle developed inside the RWL resulting in identifying right opportunism as the main danger inside the organization. As RWL was involved in this process of identifying and repudiating the dominance of a right opportunist line in their organization, WVO conveniently appeared to give "assistance" to the RWL. In reality this process of giving assistance to RWL was a process of hegemonistically seizing control of the RWL. This could be seen n the fact that rather than stay out of the internal affairs of the RWL, which was most important, especially since it was obvious that different organizations had historically wormed their way into positions of control, WVO immediately established joint commissions with RWL on party building, strategy and tactics, woman question and national question. These joint commissions merely served as a vehicle from which to get the RWL leadership to unprincipledly adapt most of WVO's positions. RWL began to see the world through WVO's eyes, just as it had previously seen the world through RU's and OL's eyes. All of this was supposed to be a prelude to the actual merger of both organizations. In later meetings, WVO justified this blatant opportunism with a new form of the same garbage the RU peddled to the movement, particularly to Afro-American communists. They reasoned that since RWL represented "strategic leadership" in the movement (which in reality meant that because they were principally Afro-American, WVO would automatically acquire a base in the national movement) and since WVO had "overall most correct line," the merger would be a great step forward for the party building motion. This, in essence, is the old line of "niggers and spics got the practice, we got the theory," that the RU pushed on us years ago.
When PRRWO leadership got word of these developments, the ultra left bloc flew into a panic. If the WVO pulled this off they would be in top position, something that the left bloc would never permit. It must be understood that among such opportunists, the interests of the masses is the farthest thing from their mind. All they are interested in are their own selfish careers. They all fancy themselves future leaders of the revolution, such is their contempt of the masses. They really believe that they will be able to fool people forever. Therefore, they jockey for top position on what they fantasize will be the leadership of the future revolutionary movement.
PRRWO leadership contacted RWL leadership, and once again, one tendency covered another. It was relatively easy to show RWL leadership that the whole manner in which they approached unity with WVO would only lead to them being once again dominated by another right opportunist organization. At the same time, the struggle from genuine M-Ls all over the country against WVO's right opportunist line made it clear to RWL's internal opportunists that they were about to join an organization with no future. It was at this time that the ultra-left bloc concentrated its major efforts at consolidating RWL around PRRWO's line, and formed a united front to kick WVO out of the "revolutionary wing."
We had spoken earlier of how the anarchistic manner that communications with ATM were handled was one of the ways the unity with ATM was sabotaged. Certain key differences with ATM's line had developed, particularly in regard to the positions on ERA and busing. Although we feel that ATM's support of ERA and busing are serious errors, these differences do not constitute a basis to terminate a relationship with an organization there had been a history of struggle with. These differences were opportunistically used by the ultra-left bloc of PRRWO to begin laying the grounds for future attacks on ATM. ATM did not know of all the behind-the-scenes deals that were giving rise to the new unity with RWL. However, once they were aware of what had taken place, ATM conciliated with PRRWO by not waging a relentless struggle to expose the way in which such quick unity was established with RWL, while WVO was suddenly being exposed as revisionist. ATM should have taken a firm stance against the maneuverings of PRRWO. By conciliating to PRRWO, ATM left themselves wide open for the stab in the back they so promptly received. The newly formed PRRWO-RWL bloc immediately began to launch attacks against ATM for "Menshevism." The "revolutionary wing" lost another feather. The "purge" of ATM from the "revolutionary wing" coincided with the purging of cadres from both the PRRWO and RWL.
In a move designed to persist in the fantasy of the "revolutionary wing," PRRWO leadership absorbed the Revolutionary Bloc into the organization, in secret from both the communist movement and the cadres of PRRWO, and put them principally on leadership levels. The "Revolutionary Bloc" was in essence a group of cadres, both from leadership and membership of BWC, who had come together in the midst of its disintegration, which is the topic for a whole analysis in itself. What is important to note about Revolutionary Bloc is that they had formed themselves into a collective before the BWC finally split up. The leading cadres from the "Bloc" and the chairwoman of PRRWO met constantly during this period, and in fact, Gloria F. would urge the Bloc to try and take over BWC before it split up. After the split, relationships with this collective continued, with the obvious purpose of recruiting them into PRRWO.
Independently, the "Revolutionary Bloc" never even got close to accomplishing the task of analyzing the split in the BWC and in the process putting out any synthesized line for struggle inside the communist movement. In essence, it never was a communist collective, let alone an organization with a clear line and policy. The fact that the "Revolutionary Bloc" had any credibility at all was due to PRRWO's saying that it was a genuine organization and represented the correct line in the BWC split, even though in practice, no one ever saw this. However, this was not to say that there wasn't intense struggle around this within PRRWO, with cadres demanding to know and see why the Bloc should be considered genuine, and leadership telling them not to be empiricist, that an analysis by the Bloc would be forthcoming (of course, it never was).
Making the "Revolutionary Bloc" part of the "revolutionary wing" and finally secretly recruiting them into the organization was just another clear example of the hegemonistic maneuverings of the ultra-left bloc. True to their backstabbing style, many of the people from the Bloc were purged as "Mensheviks" once they had outlived their usefulness to the left opportunists.
V Complete Degeneration, Massive Purges
All of these events speak to the level the bourgeoisie's agents go to in their attempts to stop the party from being built. We definitely agree with the neo-Trots of the "wing" when they speak of a bourgeois plan to subvert the party building motion it has been implemented by the "wing" and its leaders, especially Gloria Fonta๑ez, who are willing agents of the bourgeoisie, trying frantically to prevent their own downfall and exposure to the masses, whom they fear like the plague, and trying to prevent the real fusion of the communist movement with the masses.
Thus, we must analyze the latest round of purges, under the cover of the so-called "bourgeois plot" the opportunists "exposed," see them in light of other historical purges PRRWO has undertaken and understand why they did and had to take place when they did.
We have tried to show, throughout this history of the development of PRRWO, the way the left opportunists had gradually gained leadership of the organization, through defaming, discrediting and ultimately purging any members, particularly those on the Central Committee, who dared to raise opposing lines for struggle particularly again, those who dared to struggle against the historical left trend. In so doing, these left opportunists began to distort more and more the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The ideological basis had definitely been laid for the cadres of PRRWO to internalize many left views on key questions. The opportunists had been able to use the method of taking a kernel of truth and weaving from it a whole network of fabrications, distortions and outright lies
PRRWO, like the opportunist RU in the earlier period, had been able to establish certain credibility and respect among the masses and the communist movement. The attempts by the honest cadres in PRRWO to defeat the ultra-left trend, plus the development of the "political line as key link" formulation, had resulted in PRRWO's temporarily attaining leadership of the anti-revisionist communist movement. (It is important to remember that the communist movement as a whole, at this point, had a very perceptual understanding of what political line as key link meant in practice, which is why PRRWO, whose words and deeds didn't match, was able to get over.) This gave rise to feelings of security and even superiority on the part of PRRWO cadres, as well as almost implicit faith in the PRRWO leadership, who seemed to be proving themselves equal to their own boasts of being "staunch Bolsheviks defending the purity of Marxism-Leninism."
But cracks were beginning to appear in the opportunists' armor. The line of political line as key link, meaning that ideological unities had to be tested in the heat of the class struggle, that people and organizations would be judged by their deeds as well as words, being an objectively correct line, could not be upheld by opportunists. So the left bloc of PRRWO had begun to distort this concept, particularly internally, playing on PRRWO's successes. It had already begun to push in practice its famous "onlys" (only party building, only propaganda, only the advanced), little by little creating justifications as to why these were correct. It did this by trying to convince the cadres that ours was the only correct line, and that those who didn't support it were either totally opportunist or hopelessly "backwards.
The method of struggle in PRRWO, especially since the CL period, had been ultra-left and sectarian, seeking to create distrust and division among the cadres in an atmosphere of all struggle, no unity. This was consolidated in the beginning of l976. To do this, the left opportunists took a kernel of truth, being 1) the WVO had been proven many times over to be right opportunists in theory and practice; so no unity with them was possible, and 2) the need in this period of party building, to draw firm lines of demarcation with opportunists, enabling us to build a Leninist party of a new type. From this kernel of truth, the left bloc invented a whole web of intrigue that resulted in the destruction of PRRWO as an organization and the purge of at least 3/4 of its membership.
The left bloc began its plot by explaining to the cadres of the organization that since WVO had been purged from the "revolutionary wing" and since PRRWO had taken the "leading role" in the struggle against opportunism, we were sure to be under heavier repression from the state and the opportunist forces. Therefore, we had to close ranks, by increasing our security consciousness and adhering firmly to democratic centralism. While at first, this seemed correct under those circumstances, let's examine how in practice it was carried out.
We've shown that there had always been a distortion of the principle of democratic centralism within PRRWO. Cadres had struggled correctly for more democracy; the ultra-leftists constantly emphasized centralism. What was practiced was bureaucratic centralism; e.g., no Central Committee members had ever been democratically elected since the YLP Congress they were "co-opted" from the membership to insure their support of the existing leadership. Thus, they distorted the relationship between democracy and centralism, and the principle that the whole organization or party is subordinate to the Central Committee. So it was that from the top down, the ultra-leftists had gained control of the organization, with certain lackeys in key places to inform them of any threat to their power. At this point, the ultra-leftists, seeing that they had to make their move before their bankruptcy became any more apparent, gave a directive telling this was the time (again) when centralism had to be emphasized, since they, the Secretariat, the most Bolshevik of all, were bound to be the most under attack. Therefore, the organization had to rally unswervingly and, as we soon found out, unquestioningly around them.
The organization was also given a directive to increase our security consciousness. While this is always necessary, it was approached here on a ridiculous, ultra-left level. For example, cadres were given different names in each different collective of work they were involved in, which no one could ever remember. Cadres had never been trained correctly in the question of security; security matters, such as the exposure of agents or preparing for self-defense, were discussed by one or two top leadership members and never opened up to the membership. Because of this, a clear break between the legal and illegal aspects of work, cadres did not understand the dialectical relationship between the two. On the one hand, legal forms of struggle were negated as being reformist, while on the other hand, cadres didn't know how to defend themselves against attack by the bourgeoisie and its lackeys (blacklisting, redbaiting, legal tactics, etc.).
These things soon led to an attitude of paranoia in the organization. As we had been taught to view ourselves as the "vanguard of the vanguard," we were being prepared for the attack that the leadership said was sure to come down on us. Of course, since the left bloc had finished manufacturing their "plot," this was soon to be proven true.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned earlier, the ultra-left method of struggle was being pushed on us as the way to be "staunch" and to "Bolshevize" our ranks.
"The comrades who in the past loudly advocated 'ruthless struggles' and 'merciless blows' against comrades who occasionally made mistakes did so because, for one thing, they failed to make any analysis of the persons they were dealing with, and for another, were striking a pose in an effort to intimidate." Mao Tsetung, "Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing," p. 58)
At this time, we had already pulled out of much of our mass work and lost many of our contacts. In meeting after meeting, we phrasemongered about party building, with little concrete understanding of how to go about it. Even though there were comrades who saw perceptually that things were going wrong, they didn't see that it was that we were functioning under an incorrect line. Comrades who asked for concrete guidance to give communist leadership to their areas of work came under attack for being narrow empiricists. As a matter of fact, it was at this time that a whole campaign was waged internally against empiricism as being the main danger in our organization, which had as its hidden aim to brainwash cadres and contacts of PRRWO into thinking that we could not sum up our own work or draw lessons from direct practice, but that we had to wait for the leadership to do this for us. (The left bloc had already flip-flopped from copping to the left being the main danger in the organization to saying that around party building, which was key, our main danger had been historically right.) We were taught not to seek truth from facts, but to accept whatever version of things the Secretariat, controlled by the left bloc, would hand down. Lines were brought to the cadres only after they had been struggled out by the Central Committee, labeled as "correct" or "incorrect," and then the cadres had to defend the "correct" line without having been able to study it. Psychological warfare was carried out against those who dared to disagree with or even question these lines. Comrades were attacked as to their class basis, and errors they had made were blown all out of proportion. Comrades were beginning to feel more and more isolated and unsure; we began to engage in self-cultivation and do self-criticism for our "right errors."
Having scored another temporary success in gaining hegemony over the N.Y.C. International Working Women's Day Coalition (1976), although Resistencia (LPR) had had already begun to point out PRRWO's ultra-leftism, the left bloc prepared for its coup: They had discovered a "bourgeois plot" led by paid agents to usurp power in the organization, along with a faction that was going to raise to PRRWO cadres that the line of PRRWO was ultra-left and that their was an ultra-left bloc on the leadership. A call was put out to the organization as a whole to find out who was involved in this or who supported it, and purge them from our ranks. To the already paranoid cadres, this meant that we were being attacked and had to counterattack and deal "merciless blows" to anyone holding the "enemy line." As Gloria put it, "No mercy to the Mensheviks!"
We would like to raise here that in scientifically examining these charges of factionalism and accusations of cadres being paid agents, we have found absolutely no basis in fact to support this. If there had been a faction, we see that in this case it would have been a good thing and might have saved PRRWO from total destruction. But, unfortunately, PRRWO cadres had not organized themselves into any organized opposition, which would have fought against the neo-Trotskyites.
Six cadres, two of them on leadership levels, were chosen to compose this "faction." Both psychological and physical torture were used on these cadres, and under these conditions, some of them broke and admitted to these phony charges. The left bloc now had its "evidence."
From there, a witch hunt was started in all areas of the organization to find anyone who had any unities that PRRWO's line was left and that there was a left bloc on the leadership. Secretariat members were sent to section meetings to obtain more "confessions." No vacillation or repudiation was allowed. In each area, a "main proponent of the right line" (that of the "faction") was chosen attacked psychologically and in some cases, physically. The errors committed by these cadres were all "proven" to be conscious acts designed to help the "faction" take over the organization. As a matter of fact, all errors committed in their areas of work were blamed on these "Menshevik" cadres. Before they were purged, these cadres, for the most part, had been totally convinced they were opportunists, and since there was no chance for them to ever repudiate (nowhere in our study of M-L-MTTT have we ever found this!) or become Party members or supporters, the best thing they could do was just withdraw from all struggles and most certainly never hope to contaminate the "wing" with their impurity.
Since areas of work were not allowed to communicate with each other, we had no knowledge of how many people were being purged, or that the same fabrications were being spread throughout the organization. Honest comrades fell into serious conciliation and unity with the ultra-leftists and began to look around at each other for any signs of "weakness" (lack of consolidation around the left line). Therefore, cadres helped to purge each other, only to find themselves purged next. Some cadres left the organization on their own with a vague feeling that something was wrong, but still not knowing what. It is important to note that none of us left PRRWO thinking the left bloc was opportunist or even wrong, but believing that we were indeed opportunists.
They key point to remember is that these purges were carefully planned and executed one by one to create long-lasting division among the cadres and convince them they were "Mensheviks" and traitors to the revolution and to party building; that is why so many ex-PRRWO members are still afraid today to unite with each other, and some even are still going around begging for PRRWO's forgiveness, by doing so showing they haven't broken with the left line. These people must look at the facts and break with idealism and one-sidedness. The method used by the ultra-leftists to carry out their scheme shows definite preparation way beforehand, and behavior that can only be described as social fascist. A few months before the actual purge, the notes and old internal documents of cadres were all collected, under the guise of "security." The left bloc began to personally take over such key areas as finance and propaganda and agitation, especially Palante. The first cadres to be purged were all veteran cadres, cadres with a long history in PRRWO and much inside knowledge about past dirty work of the left opportunists. When the purges were going on, the entire Central Committee of PRRWO was purged, with the exception of Gloria Fonta๑ez. Several cadres were robbed by other cadres on the grounds that they were "Mensheviks" and unworthy to possess anything the "wing" wanted. Cadres were beaten and stomped on in section meetings. Mass organizations, long under PRRWO's dominance, such as PRSU, FFM, Revolutionary Youth Collective, etc., now had become mere appendages of PRRWO, even though in most cases there is nothing left of them; social-fascist acts were carried out on some of these people also, as well as mass purges of entire study groups.
In light of all these facts, we want to state that we see that Gloria Fonta๑ez, the mastermind of the destruction of PRRWO, is clearly an agent-provocateur, as her work of sabotage has been at too high a level to have been planned by any one person, no matter how opportunist.
We see that some of the cadres who participated in the process of the purges are guilty of conciliation and unity with ultra-leftism to a high level, some even having participated in these social-fascist acts. For these very serious errors, we are attempting to repudiate in practice. But we must state that we believe that this was due in many cases to blind faith, political na๏vet้ and amateurishness, which the opportunists used to manipulate us. We see that there is a basic difference between us and other comrades who are ex-members of PRRWO who have committed serious errors, and the die-hard ultra-leftists who now compose what remains of PRRWO a tiny circle of neo-Trotskyites, outside the communist movement. It is also our position that after Mayday 1976, when PRRWO had consolidated its left line and when its social-fascism had become common knowledge, there were no more honest elements left in PRRWO. After this time, even though there were more purges, they were of the type of the left opportunists stabbing each other in the back such as the purges of Carmen Cruz, a key part of the left bloc, and Robert Johnson ("Murphy"), who helped Gloria consolidate RWL into neo-Trotskyism.
Today, PRRWO as an organization no longer exists. Being a tiny sect, they can only hope to hide behind what is left of RWL and their "revolutionary wing" fantasy. Certainly, they soon will build another sham "Communist Party" in this country, which they'll have the gall to name "Bolshevik." They have already plainly distorted the teachings and science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, even though they still phrasemonger about supporting China and fighting opportunism. They use Palante, once a revolutionary newspaper, but now a scandalous rag sheet, to expose people to the bourgeoisie (as Trotskyites are famous for doing), giving directives to the masses and praising themselves amid their self-proclamations of being the vanguard "Leninist core of the revolutionary wing."
Because of the degeneration of PRRWO/RWL, the right has been able to temporarily gain momentum, particularly the WVO and OL, who lost no time in taking advantage of this situation. WVO capitalized on the degeneration of PRRWO. They put out a pamphlet on PRRWO very rapidly at the time of the purges, which proved that they were well prepared long beforehand. They also overtly or covertly tried to recruit ex-PRRWO and ex-RWL members under the guise that they, as genuine communists, had to follow the "overall most correct line, the Northern Star" WV, of course. This shows very clearly how both PRRWO and WVO aided in splitting RWL, and how the opportunists in these organizations helped to cover each other. It is important for communist to see this excellent example of how the ultra-left and right opportunists are but two sides of the same coin.
"It should not be forgotten that rights and "ultra-lefts" are actually twins, that consequently both take an opportunist stand, the difference between them being that whereas the rights do not always conceal their opportunism, the lefts invariably camouflage their opportunism with "revolutionary" phrases. We cannot allow our policy to be determined by what scandal-mongers and philistines may say about us...." (Stalin, The Fight Against the Right and "Ultra-Left Deviations)