First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 1, No. 5, August 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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An invincible proletarian vanguard Party has to be built on the granite theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought in its application to the concrete political, economic, military, organizational, philosophical and other ideological spheres.
The Bolshevik Party was founded by Lenin after the most vigorous struggle against opportunism line-by-line, sphere after sphere. In the course of combating the opportunist line on concrete issues in various spheres, the correct lines and principles were developed. These universal principles are the foundation for the Proletarian Party of a New Type in all countries.
Comrade Stalin summed up this part of the Bolshevik history:
The whole history of the struggle against the ’Economists,’ Mensheviks, Trotskyites, Otzovists and idealists of all shades, down to the empirio-criticists, was a history of the building up of just such a party. The Bolsheviks wanted to create a new party, a Bolshevik party, which would serve as a model for all who wanted to have a real revolutionary Marxist party. The Bolsheviks had been working to build up such a party ever since the time of the old Iskra. They worked for it stubbornly, persistently, in spite of everything. A fundamental and decisive part was played in this work by the writings of Lenin – What Is To Be Done?, Two Tactics, etc. WITBD? was the ideological preparation for such a party. Lenin’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back was the organizational preparation for such a party. Lenin’s Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution was the political, preparation for such a party. And lastly, Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism was the theoretical, preparation for such a party.
It may be safely said that never in history has any political group been so thoroughly prepared to constitute itself a party as the Bolshevik group was. The conditions were therefore fully ripe and ready for the Bolsheviks to constitute themselves a party. (History of the CPSU(B), Ch. 4, sec.5. p.l4O-l4l)
Studying, allying Marxism and criticizing revisionism question by question, sphere after sphere, dealing with different problems coming up as a result of the need for the link between the subjective factor and the objective factor period after period, Lenin defended and further developed Marxism, and particularly throughout the early periods concerning the nature and character of the Proletarian Party of a New Type, which, due to historical limitations, were not fully developed by Marx and Engels. These developments were historically necessary and inevitable in order to undertake the immediate task of overthrowing the Tsar and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in the new era of imperialism.
Today in the U.S., we have the tremendous benefit of the scientific summations and laws of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought. MLMTTT is the theoretical basis that guides our thinking and action. We must apply this theoretical basis to the concrete practice of the U.S. revolution and in the context of a steel-to-steel fight against the bourgeoisie and combating opportunism and primitiveness of all kinds that will deviate us from the path. We must build a Bolshevik Party in the U.S. by struggling for study and application of MLMTTT in sphere after sphere. In the immediate period ahead the key link is the development of the political line for the draft Party Program.
During the first period of the U.S. communist movement, genuine Marxist-Leninists struggled against eclecticism – the petty bourgeois theories of “student as vanguard,” “lumpen as vanguard,” Nkrumahism, Guevarism, etc. All petty bourgeois radical theorists were sorted out for the failure to adopt the standpoint of MLMTTT, reaffirming the leading role of the working class, the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania at the head of the international anti-revisionist communist movement.
Negation of eclecticism, however, does not mean reaffirmation of the entire science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought in all spheres. In fact, the need for a party, the role of theory to guide practice were not reaffirmed during that period. With the defeat of eclecticism, the second period began with a two-line struggle over the key link of either following the pragmatic line of the Revolutionary Union (RU) to build the mass movement through blind practical work, or upholding the leading role of Marxist-Leninist theory to pursue the principal task of party building. Unlike the first period where the eclectic advocates were swept out of the movement, the sorting-out of opportunists occurred within the communist movement through struggles in the second period.
With the dominant line in the communist movement being upholding the leading role of ML theory and principal task of party building, many genuine Marxist-Leninists put a forceful end to the second period and pushed the communist movement forward, more firmly steeled in the party building motion. Today we must build the party on the proletarian ideological plane and grasp the key link of political line, that particular sphere to which we must apply Marxist-Leninist theory in order to develop the program to lay the foundation of the genuine U.S. Bolshevik Party. Mainly by overcoming the obstacle of opportunism in the political sphere, all communists and advanced workers will be tested and opportunists will be sorted out through struggle over the programmatic elements, and the genuine will be bound together by the program itself.
Individuals and organizations are sorted out over concrete questions of the key link in any particular party building period. They also are sorted out when they are not advanced elements or are in capable of withstanding the necessary hardships to move forward in any phase of the communist movement.
Moreover, genuine and sham organizations and individuals are all sorted out in any period of the development of the communist movement or the party if they do not practice the proletarian line of study Marxism and criticize revisionism, of criticism and self-criticism, mass line, link theory with practice and the objective, with the subjective, stand with the interests of the vast majority, be able to unite with the majority including those who made mistakes and are willing to change – these sum up the five criteria for membership and the three great traditions of the CPC.
These criteria and traditions, their proletarian character and the establishment and practice of the tradition around them is the character of the party. These criteria and traditions are the concentrated expression of the proletariat, the most advanced class in history. They are the concentrated expression of the will of the proletariat, its broad mindedness, far-sightedness, organization, discipline and militancy. When organizations or individual-communists violate this proletarian character in practice in any period of development of the party over any particular question or sphere, they will inevitably unleash the floodgates of opportunism (especially when opportunism is stifled with theory) and sooner or later be condemned to political bankruptcy.
Opportunist October League (OL), Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee (MLOC), Resistencia, and the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization/ Revolutionary Workers League clique (PRRWO/RWL) have no such strategic outlook on building the working class vanguard Party. Hopelessly blocked by their petty bourgeois outlook, they cannot even comprehend this process of building the party on the proletarian ideological plane in the thick of class struggle.
They don’t understand why certain definite forms of opportunism and ideological trends are historically inevitable due to class, material, and ideological bases, independent of our will. They cannot comprehend the significance of these struggles and can only conceive of these processes of differentiation as evils of some individuals, bad intentions of leaders, the work of agent provocateurs, etc. They view unity and disunity of organizations as simple unity and disunity of “given persons, groups, and institutions.”
Opportunists are characterized by a lack of ideological and political definiteness, by a spinelessness, drifting with the stream or dominant trend, mutating their political positions from time to time according to the “chopping and changing of petty politics” and not able to make a shred of contribution to the struggle for the party.
That’s why those marsh forces did not take definite positions during the struggle, but engaged in petty rumors and whispers over the split, awed at the spectacular, Otzovist displays of the PRRWO/RWL clique, but totally at a loss as to why these present-day Otzovists died hard. (Before the Otzovists died, they made a contribution by leaving the name “fruit flies” to describe those in the marsh who, after the battle is already won, come crawling out like bugs and declare “We told you so!,” like when Resistencia sided with the PRRWO/RWL clique on their “left” opportunist lines. They even dare to stand above the split, but borrow arguments from WVO here and there to make the pronouncement that they’re already dead. Some even lumped WVO with the Otzovist clique, and cried, “they are all the same!”)
Marsh forces are incapable of understanding Lenin’s words “...the bourgeois influence over the proletariat that gives rise to liquidationism (=semi-liberalism) which likes to consider itself part of Social-Democracy) and otzovism, semi-anarchism, which likes to consider itself part of Social-Democracy) is not an accident, nor evil design, stupidity or error on the part of some individual, but the inevitable result of the action of these objective causes, and the superstructure of the entire labour movement in present-day Russia, which is inseparable from the ’basis’.” (Against Liquidationism, p. 79)
Marsh forces are incapable of understanding the split, let alone its historical significance. Lenin again summed this up for us. For the same reason they cannot make heads or tails out of ideological struggle; they claim today that unity never existed within the Revolutionary Wing. But this is only their nature. As Lenin stated:
The Mensheviks [October League, Resistencia, MLOC–ed] do not weigh up the implications of all these manifestations of liquidationism [of the Otzovist PRRWO/RWL – liquidators of a new type–ed.] They either conceal them or are baffled by them, at a loss to understand the significance of certain facts, floundering in minutiae, vagaries and personalities, unable to draw general conclusions, unable to grasp the meaning of what is going on. (The Liquidation of Liquidationism, LCW, Vol. 15)
A concrete in-depth analysis of the split and the degeneration of the Otzovist PRWWO/RWL in order to bring further clarity to the communist movement is not even a serious question for the OL. What the OL is interested in doing is to whip up enough sensation and “I told you so’s” to get enough mileage to further drag along its lowest common denominator eight principles of unity, a “unity trend.” The OL loves the “left” opportunist PRRWO/RWL. This was the best thing to ever happen to the OL, because now they can use the “left” opportunist PRRWO/RWL trend to cover over their own right opportunist trend!!
While claiming that unity never existed for the wing, the OL, the present-day leading banner-carrier of the opportunist trend, as usual, presented a philistine analysis of the split, but feared to even mention the criteria of the Revolutionary Wing: (1) propaganda as our chief form of activity, (2) focus on winning advanced workers, (3) Marxist-Leninist analysis of fusion, advanced workers, periods, key link, 4) factory nuclei as our main form of organization, (5) political line as key link, (6) necessity to grasp nationally specific forms of revisionism, (7) attitude toward criticism, self-criticism, (8) upholding the leading role of M-L theory and party building as the central task, and (9) waging open polemics.
Why? Because those are the very aspects that exclude the OL and the RCP from any genuine Marxist-Leninist trend! OL’s hodgepodge analysis, failing to do a serious historical account of each organization’s line – including the WVO – since the crystallization of the Revolutionary Wing last fall until its disintegration in Feb./March, is a hallmark of right opportunism. Slipping and sliding in its latest Class Struggle, the OL points out the August Twenty Ninth Movement’s (ATM) position in support of the E.R.A. What the right opportunist OL fails to mention is that ATM’s line was put forth in the process of the Wing’s disintegration, not when it was formed.
At a loss to understand certain facts, the OL negates PRRWO’s historical development and general thrust of its line during the formation of the Revolutionary Wing. In struggling with the WVO and other communists (in fact, in their Feb. 1976 journal, PRRWO had to admit that the WVO had been open and above board about differences with them; WVO’s relation with PRRWO had been one of principled struggle). PRRWO began to change their line on a number of important questions: their “C”L motion, the U.F.T. strike, united front tactics from above and below, the advanced worker, communist work in trade unions, recognizing “left” as the main danger in PRRWO, factory nuclei as the key link, united front as a tactic and not a strategy. After struggle, with the WVO, PRRWO changed its position to support the Oct. 27 Puerto Rican Solidarity Day, as well as achieving unity on busing and the E.R.A.
It was PRRWO’s opportunist line on organization, going against the correct verdict “of the merger of RWL and WVO, that put a stop to their steps forward and eventually opened a floodgate of opportunism, backsliding on all major lines.
WVO’s unity with other members of the Revolutionary Wing was over their methodology, the character of their organization in relation to building the Party, theoretical tasks, open polemics for line, and criticism-self-criticism. These are precisely the absolute lines of demarcation with the OL! On the question of differences between member organizations during the Revolutionary Wing’s existence, it was impossible to have a Wing without differences over political line – precisely over the key link which was and would have been continually struggled out in the third period. Differences within the Revolutionary Wing over political line were struggled over openly in public forums, newspapers and journals. Yet the OL hopes to get over without providing a concrete analysis of the formation and development of the Wing until its end, without drawing out concretes and specifics and understanding the cause and the effect.
Lenin, in reviewing the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, summed up:
In each of these stages the circumstances of the struggle and the immediate object of the attack are materially different; each stage is, as it were, a separate battle in one general military campaign. Our struggle cannot be understood at all unless the concrete circumstances of each battle are studied. But once that is done, we see clearly that development does indeed proceed dialectically, by way of contradictions .. . (One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward, Progress Publishers, p. 206)
Only those thoroughly bourgeoisified, metaphysical intellectuals, who would question why Lenin was in the same party with the Mensheviks and Trotsky, or why Chairman Mao was in the same party as Liu Shao Chi, Lin Piao, and now Teng Hsiao-ping would say political unity never existed before between WVO and the PRRWO/RWL clique, and that it was all such a big hoax! This argument is second best only to the PRRWO/RWL clique’s explanation of their purging 2/3 of their membership and leadership, that CIA agents and cops were strategically placed one by one, post by post, in key spots of their organizations!
PRRWO/RWL’s classical Menshevik line on merger (between RWL and WVO) opened a floodgate of opportunism which manifested itself in rapidly developed neo-Trotskyite political lines and consummated organizationally into an isolated “left” sect.
Though the political line is the key link in this period of party building, opportunism can still rise in other spheres. It is exactly in another sphere – the organizational sphere – that PRRWO/RWL’s degeneration and dive into the marsh began, the question being the merger of RWL and WVO within the Revolutionary Wing, the two organizations having achieved sufficient ideological and political unity, (see “Party Spirit-Circle Spirit” article in WV newspaper, June 1976).
By our willingness to liquidate ourselves in the merger with RWL, the WVO practices Party spirit, working in the interest of the vast majority. The Chinese comrades have concisely summed up the world outlook and stand of the proletariat on this question:
Chairman Mao has made ’working for the interests of the vast majority of the people of China and the world’ one of the principal requirements for successors to the cause of the proletarian revolution, and it has been written in our party constitution. To build a party for the vast majority or for the interests of the minority? This is the watershed between proletarian and bourgeois political parties and the touchstone for distinguishing true Communists from false. (Tenth National Congress, CPC, p. 13)
A petty bourgeois proprietor’s world outlook, careerism, Menshevik line on organizational questions and circle spirit is the historical, class, and social basis of the PRRWO/RWL degeneration. This and the pragmatic and narrow nationalist ideological trends (see WV Jnl. #4) represent the ideological, social, and class basis which has led to the rapid degeneration of the “left” opportunist Otzovist clique.
An important condition (which dissected the Menshevik essence and charted out the Otzovist path of the PRRWO/RWL clique) which forced their nose dive into the marsh has been WVJ #1 and the WVO’s hot pursuit in the national tour. Internally, cadre on the leading body of RWL and on different levels of both organizations struggled against the rapidly developing Trot line and the halting of the RWL and WVO merger.
Given these bases and conditions, the exposure and collapse of the “left” line has been thoroughgoing. Opposition to the Otzovists sent them more and more into a petty bourgeois frenzy. A panic followed. First RWL’s philistine leadership broke democratic centralism to block the circulation of the correct line internally by tricks. RWL stated that its party building position was a principle of unity for the New York and Wash. D.C. African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) chapters and purged those who held WVO’s party building position and even members who they suspected held WVO’s party building position. Trying to be “consistent,” the “left” clique attempted to force RWL’s party building position as a principle of unity on the entire ALSC, and thus liquidating ALSC and its proletarian internationalist duty of supporting liberation struggles in southern Africa, which is objectively a social chauvinist position! The forced Otzovist mood and panic continued as similar purges took place in the February First Movement (FFM) and the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU). When the Wash. D.C. WVO forum was scheduled, the Wash. D.C. RWL chapter cancelled the African Liberation Day events “in order not to bow to spontaneity.” For the WVO forum in Durham, N.C., the RWL leadership panicked for fear of their local leadership’s inability to defend their “left” line and flew in national leadership to defend their hopeless, raggedy line! Due to internal and external opposition against the rapidly consolidating Trot line, PRRWO/RWL leadership unleashed waves of purges of their own cadre and leadership, in an attempt to intimidate and force immature elements in line. With each wave of purges, the remaining PRRWO/RWL leadership became more and more frenzied. Because purged cadre and leadership from both organizations have internal documents which reveal the untold careerist Menshevik line on the organizational question and the degree of opportunism and ideological and political degeneration of the line and leadership, the PRRWO/RWL clique resorted to the cry of being infiltrated by paid bourgeois agents to cover their maneuvering and opportunism; thus, the physical intimidation of their former cadres and leaders.
It was clear that these internal documents would reveal PRRWO/RWL’s lying, double-dealing and opportunist ideological and political lines. This accusation of police agents and infiltrations then could be used to cover up this cesspool of opportunism. Now PRRWO/RWL could disclaim these documents as CIA/FBI lies. This is the result of opportunist panic in an attempt to cover their tracks.
The accusation of infiltrators from the state is a very serious question, and attempts at infiltration should be expected. We should have no bourgeois democratic illusions on this point. Are paid agents in PRRWO/RWL? We do not know for a fact. But the Trotskyite line and petty bourgeois frenzied panic of the “left” clique is objectively accomplishing similar results – splitting and wrecking – that a paid agent would instigate and carry out.
Every issue of the past Palante reveals internal opposition to the PRRWO/RWL leadership. The latest Palante (vol.6, #7) unfolds a bizarre “polemic” on “Mensheviks, Right Opportunist Concilliators and paid bourgeois agents.” What is clear is that some PRRWO/RWL cadre are challenging the neo-Trotskyite line of their leadership (“The Bolshevik line is up for question”, p. 7) and are attempting to halt the further degeneration of both organizations into an even more isolated sect (“Bolsheviks are isolated from the Proletariat”, p. 7). The cadre have raised the question of their leadership being “hegemones” (“Bolsheviks are hegemones”, p. 7). This was a major accusation that the careerists in the PRRWO/RWL leadership raised against WVO around the merger to cover their petty bourgeois proprietor world outlook. Now those PRRWO/RWL cadre who were hoodwinked to believe the philistine “hegemonic” explanation of the split are raising the same charges against their leadership”! In fact, the hypocritical PRRWO/RWL leadership has practically appointed themselves as the leading circle when issues of Palante state that PRRWO/RWL are “the quintessence of Marxism” and that “the international proletariat has bestowed upon us (PRRWO/RWL) the name of Bolshevik”! Comrades, dialectics is like a two-edged knife, mercilessly cutting the “left” as it attempts to cut the genuine communists!
Another effect of the rapid degeneration is the “left” clique’s inability to wage polemics. The recent WVO National Tour (May 28-June 18) provided a clear example. In the Wash. D.C., Durham N.C., and San Francisco forums, the “left” opportunist RWL started off with a super-revolutionary posture. Yet when the “left” sloganeering, sophistry, and phrasemongering were penetrated to its opportunist essence, the RWL began to crumble. This is an important lesson for us in how to struggle with ’left” opportunists. First, you have to expose their attempt to strike a posture. Second, cut through the generalizing and sloganeering. Third, pin them on the essences and concretes. And fourth, they crumble! On the character of the party, building the party on the proletarian ideological plane, RWL laughed at the fact that bourgeois ideology has a conscious and unconscious aspect and said it was an unimportant question. On the contrary, the character of the party is a fundamental question of studying Marxism and criticizing revisionism. If we do not grasp this crucial question tightly, we will inevitably degenerate. The failure to seek out and combat bourgeois trends of thought in their method of thinking in their own organizations was precisely a major cause of the degeneration of PRRWO/RWL.
On the international situation, in order to draw a line of demarcation with the WVO, the RWL had to backslide and in the course of this had to distort Chairman Mao’s 1970 May 20th statement, written when the principal contradiction in the world was clearly one between imperialism and oppressed countries. The line was exposed for failure to point out the danger of world war and belittling the relative rise of the Soviet Union, the main source of war in the world today, and the rising of the inter-imperialist contradiction (see the 6/76 WV newspaper, “Expose RWL’s ’Left’ Opportunism on the International Situation”).
The RWL’s line totally distorts Chairman’s Mao’s May 20, 1970, statement and follows the “example” of opportunists such as the MLOC and IWK who up until late 1974 still claimed that the principal contradiction in the world was between oppressed nations and imperialism. They held to this even after the CPC had already laid out to the world that it just wasn’t possible to tell which one of the 4 fundamental contradictions is principal, due to the rapid rise and sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradiction in this period of transition and instability, this period of “storms on the horizon.”
RWL, MLOC and IWK try to substitute their understanding of the excellent situation today, in the context of the larger historical motion in the world, for the necessity to understand the two immediate different paths to revolution - that either world war will lead to revolution, or revolution will prevent world war.
The RWL and MLOC opportunists take out of context their half slogan “revolution is the main trend.” Doing so concretely belittles the inter-imperialist contradiction, sees it as the secondary contradiction in the world, and thus belittles the danger of world war and the need for the proletariat to get prepared to take the path of turning imperialist war into civil war.
When pinned down on their application of this general line to the situation in Angola, the RWL had to admit that Angola showed a situation where revolution was clearly the main trend. The WVO exposed this position by pointing out the logic of their “revolution is the main trend” leads to supporting the MPLA, seeing the intervention into revolutionary struggles by Cuban troops and Soviet social-imperialist support as being genuine internationalism and not seeing the contention of the 2 superpowers in Angola which can lead to world war. Concretely, the RWL/PRRWO line on the international situation as applied to Angola unites them with the Trotskyites and revisionists.
The harder the “left” line was hit and exposed, the more the RWL would draw sharper lines of demarcation and sink deeper into the swamp, because unlike the” indefinite OL right opportunists, the “left” opportunists try to be “consistent.” This is why a “left” deviation if not checked rapidly leads to Trotskyism/ like the Progressive Labor Party. The WVO’s position was that party-building being the principal task meant that it was related to other tasks and that communists must have a plan based on Marxist-Leninist theory to win advanced workers in the thick of class struggle. The RWL further deepened its boycottist line by saying that party-building is the only task and communists should not give Marxist-Leninist leadership to spontaneous mass struggles because that means “bowing to spontaneity!”
Another exposure of the “left” line took place on united front tactics. The WVO put forth the Leninist position on this question which holds that communists enter these “forbidden premises” under two conditions: (1) maintaining initiative and independence and (2) having an ability to win over some workers from misleaders. The WVO raised to the RWL that one of their leaders (Owusu Sadaukai) had participated in the Puerto Rican Solidarity Day event on October 27, sat in the section with revisionists, maintained independence and initiative and won away some of the over 17,000 people in the audience from the revisionist PSP and “C”PUSA. The RWL repudiated his participation and said that he was incorrect and operating under a right opportunist line!
Over the polemic on the political level of advanced workers, today in relation to the spontaneous movement of the 60’s, RWL said that the working class movement is completely fused with the communist movement historically and this cannot go backward, despite the degeneration of the CPUSA. This way they claim that advanced workers are the same as in 1899 Russia, where most of them were already communists. The “proof” they give are some workers from the national movements. This is nothing but sheer sophistry, a total confusion of advanced elements (some of whom are workers) from the past two movements, the national and student movements, and the advanced from the multinational working class movement since 1974. The polemic is around advanced workers. This is the methodology of the demagogue that hustles its cadre into place based on distortion and appeals to narrow nationalist retrograde trends of thought. This is why the “Bolshevik” (RWL’s journal) whips up the RWL cadre by referring to them as advanced elements who turned themselves into Marxist-Leninists.
The “left” line of distortion and confusion continued around an analysis of party-building periods. WVO showed how in Bolshevik, the RWL first states that it is polemicising on the question of party building periods (which Lenin explains in the conclusion of WITBD?) but uses Stalin’s quote from “The Party Before and After” to substantiate their line. RWL’s opportunist mis-leadership consciously distorts the question of periods of party building with the two general steps toward revolutionary insurrection (which Stalin refers to as periods) as laid out by Lenin in ’Left’-Wing Communism. The question of concrete periods in party building is not a polemic over whether we are in the first general step of winning the vanguard. The question is what is the analysis of each past and present period of party building, i.e. the eclectic period, the period of fighting for the leading role of ML theory and the present period, where political line is key; what is the principal obstacle that we must overcome” to “put an end to the third period;” it is a question of the way Lenin would analyze the communist movement and periods of party building.
Line by line, aspect by aspect, each forum showed that the otzovist RWL could only shout revolutionary generalities and could not apply the science to the concrete. Along with the WVO, local communists in these areas, ex-RWL cadre who resigned from RWL and FFM chapters waged ideological and political struggle against the RWL “left” line.
The “left” opportunists are true die-hards. The harder their line was exposed and hit, the tighter and more fully developed their neo-Trotskyite line became. Failing to heed Lenin’s teachings on differences and deviations, the RWL clung more tightly to their otzovist rag.
Any difference, even an insignificant one, may become politically dangerous if it has a chance to grow into a split, and I mean the kind of split that will shake and destroy the whole political edifice, or lead, to use Comrade Bukharin’s simile, to a crash. (“Once Again on the Trade Unions,” Collected Works, V. 32)
Initially they strike a super-revolutionary pose. Though they appear to struggle, in essence they do not. The “left” are Philistines at heart. All around the country, they were called out, but they fear real engagement, point by point. They obscure principled line struggle by dodging questions and raising up generalities. When members of their mass organizations or their own cadre ask questions or present opposition, they are purged and ideological struggle is squashed. Lately, the WVO and comrades from other organizations have attempted to struggle with the RWL cadre when we see them, but the “left” opportunist leadership has ordered them not to take documents or struggle over line, unless the leadership knows first! Under the cover of security and democratic centralism, this is Philistinism to the bone! In essence, cadre are ordered to put loyalty to the organization above ideological and political line struggle. In addition, under the cloak of security and democratic centralism, the RWL cadre have gone into hiding, so that they won’t be forced to defend their raggedy line!
Relative to the right opportunist OL, however, the “left” fights back and forces all genuine communists to seek more clarity theoretically and practically. In fact, our struggle with the “left” clique has brought more clarity to the communist movement on party building, the international and various domestic situations around which the OL and RU have mislead the communist movement all these years!
But the right opportunist OL does not fightback in polemics; they squirm in polemics and mutate their line to whatever is the current dominant mood of the day in the communist movement, whatever is “in fashion.” During the first WVO forum held in Washington, D.C., we offered the OL cadre as much time as they wanted to lay out their polemics on major questions facing the communist movement. The OL liberals refused to speak! During the entire forum the OL refused to raise their hands to put forth their line. Similarly, at the Atlanta forum, the WVO asked the OL to come on the stage and make a presentation on the WVO’s criticism of OL’s call for a party and position on the international and domestic situations. The OL asked, could they go into the hallway to get their line together! When they did return, three cadre gave a combined ten minute general response on “Black people have struggled for so many years for integration” and “OL is building a new party ’cause we are the unity trend!” etc. The OL refused to come on the stage and did not deal with one polemic! After the quick response, the OL cadre deepened their philistine attitude toward polemics by trying to run from the forum. As the Atlanta OL leadership tried to run away, a local comrade from Atlanta criticized OL for running from principled polemics and commented: “OL, after this forum, WVO will be leaving Atlanta, but we are here to stay; we work in Atlanta everyday. You will have to face us!” Comrades, even when the right opportunist OL is offered the stage, they cannot submit their polemics to the communist movement. Instead, the liberalism can only fake at polemics in the Call and Class Struggle, where they can print all kinds of slander and anti-communist accusations that they do not have to defend from their “cozy, sheltered” newsroom.
Though the existence of the Revolutionary Wing was an important development in the party building motion in the U.S. communist movement, the disintegration of the Wing and the degeneration of the “left” opportunists is not a bad thing but a good thing. It represents a sorting out process, a necessary and revolutionary motion of grouping and regrouping. In the entire struggle with the otzovist RWL/PRRWO, the best elements have come forth, first breaking with right opportunism and now struggling against the “left.” The experience of the rapid disintegration strengthens us even more in carrying out our central task of party building. The struggle to build the party continues despite “given persons, groups or institutions.” In defeating the otzovists and liquidators of his time to further unify and develop the party, Lenin emphasized:
From this point of view the process of unification does not necessarily take place among given persons, groups or institutions,’ but irrespective of given persons, subordinating them, rejecting those of them who do not understand or who do not want to understand the requirements of objective development, promoting and enlisting new persons not belonging to those ’given,’ effective changes, reshuffling and regrouping within the old faction, trends and divisions. (“Notes of a Publicist,” Collected Works, vol.16, p.214.)
Besides the echoes of the assorted opportunists OL, MLOC, Resistencia, there are some honest comrades who hold an objectively opportunist line on this question. The second view on the disintegration of the Revolutionary Wing is the petty bourgeois pessimistic view that the communist movement is falling apart.
This view fails to understand how opportunism in matters of organization (e.g., opportunism of PRRWO/RWL on the merger) opened a floodgate of opportunism on every other major line held by the “left” clique and turned PRRWO’s former “left” deviations into a “left” trend, and RWL’s former right deviation into centrism, and then into a full-blown “left” opportunist trend. Based on the halting of the merger and the Revolutionary Wing’s demise, this pessimistic view now poses the question of guarantee and insurance. To cover for an objective petty bourgeois fear of sharp turns and a new form of circle spirit, the “guarantee view” of unity now raises, “How can we insure that sufficient ideological and political unity will be built to guarantee lasting unity? The “guarantee view of unity” tendency stands above making a concrete analysis of the split, on the one hand stating disagreements with the “left” opportunist PRRWO/RWL, but on the other hand also having some disagreements with the WVO. This is a refusal to see the polemics in the framework of the struggle against an entire ideological trend represented by the present-day otzovists. In fact, this view removes the struggle out of time, place, and conditions. Comrades, we must examine the stages of the development of the question very closely and take a stand on which trend was fundamentally correct. We have no problems with comrades disagreeing with the line and practice of the WVO and we see the necessity in struggling out disagreements and arriving at the correct line. But we do disagree with comrades who refuse to see the class struggle in its concrete circumstances and attempt to stand above it and fail to state clearly their summation of a struggle which is as important as this with the “left” opportunists – from the Marxist-Leninist stand, method and viewpoint. Lenin said:
In each of these stages, the circumstances of the struggle and the immediate object of the attack are materially different; each stage is, as it were, a separate battle in one general military campaign. Our struggle cannot be understood at all unless the concrete circumstances of each battle are studied. (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Progress Publishers, p. 208.)
The guarantee unity view refuses to grasp that a major factor in defeating the trot line of PRRWO/RWL has been externally the line struggle with WO and internally the genuine Marxist-Leninists who struggled for this correct line.
After PRRWO’s Menshevik line on the organization question, RWL first took a centrist position. The WVO pointed out that RWL’s centrism was objectively shielding and aiding PRRWO’s rapidly consolidating “left” opportunism. In fact, we pointed out that the RWL had become a “faction of supporters” of PRRWO’s otzovism. (WV Journal #4, p.93) Now RWL’s centrism has tailed the path of PRRWO’s consolidated neo-Trotskyite lines and RWL proudly carries the banner of otzovism.
The guarantee-unity view has objectively stepped into the former shoes of the RWL “faction of supporters of PRRWO’s otzovism.” By not fulfilling their communist duty to make a concrete analysis of the split, the guarantee-unity view shields the Otzovist PRRWO/RWL and objectively has become the new faction of supporters of otzovism.
Yet they claim: “We are not Otzovists, we disagree with RWL/PRRWO too!”
’We are not Otzovists,’ cry the members of this clique. But make any of them say a few words about the contemporary political situation and the tasks of the Party and you will hear in full all the Otzovist arguments, slightly watered down (as we have seen in the case of Maximov) by Jesuitical reservations, additional suppressions, mitigation, confusion, etc. (Lenin, “The Faction of supporters of Otzovism and God-Building, Collected Works, vol. 16, p. 40)
Comrades, though you claim you are not shielding the otzovist PRRWO/RWL and that you are not otzovists yourselves, why is it that the guarantee-unity view cannot answer the question: Why has the “left” degenerated? Which trend was fundamentally and overall correct? Comrades, your idealism which made you flip to PRRWO/RWL is the same idealism which prevents you from answering this fundamental question.
Lenin pointed out:
Genuine dialectics does not justify the errors of individuals, but studies the inevitable turns, proving that they were inevitable by a detailed study of the process of development in all its concreteness. One of the basic principles of dialectics is that there is no such thing as abstract truth, truth is always concrete .... (One Step..Two Steps, p.207)
Just like the OL, the guarantee-unity view is made of the same stuff, holds no side is correct in the split which feeds the right opportunism of the OL who, after the split and disintegration, jumps out and says, “I told you so.” Both are guilty of eclecticism, just like Bukharin:
The gist of his theoretical mistake in this case is substitution of eclecticism for the dialectical interplay of politics and economics (which we find in Marxism). His theoretical attitude is: ’on the one hand, and on the other,’ ’the one and the other.’ That is eclecticism. Dialectics requires an all-round consideration of relationships in their concrete development but not a patchwork of bits and pieces.
Why is Bukharin’s reasoning no more than inert and empty eclecticism? It is because he does not even try to make independent analysis, from his own standpoint, either of the whole course of the current controversy (as Marxism, that is, dialectical logic, unconditionally demands) or of the whole approach to the question, the whole presentation – the whole trend of the presentation, if you will – of the question at the present time and in these concrete circumstances. You do not see Bukharin doing that at all! His approach is one of pure abstraction: he makes no attempt at concrete study, and takes bits and pieces from Zinoviev and Trotsky. That is eclecticism. (Lenin, “Once Again on the Trade Unions,” Collected Works, vol.32, p.4-46: pp.450-4-51.)
Comrades of the “guarantee” line: check this out and thoroughly repudiate your line!
The new communist movement has undergone a fierce sorting out process in each particular period of party building, from the mid-sixties in the struggle against eclecticism until today, when political line is the key link. The struggle to move the communist movement forward, into a new period, has also added to the strengthening of the foundation of the party we are building step-by-step in each period. We must apply Marxist-Leninist theory to the particular key link and raise it to the proletarian ideological plane, and have these lines and traditions sink deeply into comrades’ minds and souls.
The split in the Revolutionary Wing and the fast degeneration of the PRRWO/RWL into a “left” sect is a rich negative example from which all genuine Marxist-Leninists must learn. We must grasp its historical development, in each particular stage, its conditions, ideological, social, and class basis and its effects. The PRRWO/RWL nosedive into the marsh from the “left” is a clear example of the dialectics and swift thoroughgoingness of the sorting out process.
The WVO has, in the last three years, waged fierce ideological struggle with both main representatives of right and “left” opportunism. In waging the struggle on two fronts, WVO line has been firm and consistent. We have been true to the proletariat and its science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought. In the course of struggle, negation of opportunism has given rise to the “negation of the negation,” a higher synthesis of the correct line. Its resilience and strength has been tested in the fiery heat and deepest freeze of right and “left” opportunism. Today, the WVO’s line is clearly the most correct and consistent line that has turned into a material force pushing both the communist and workers movements forward. In the course of these struggles, Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers are coming forward wave upon wave. Comrades, presently the state of the U.S. communist movement is excellent. The situation is better than ever before!
We must build the Party on the proletarian ideological plane and grasp firmly the key link of political line, struggle for a genuine program to form the Bolshevik Party in the period ahead. This is our task!
BUILD THE PARTY ON THE PROLETARIAN IDEOLOGICAL PLANE, GRASP THE KEY LINK OP POLITICAL LINE!!!
CARRY THE STRUGGLE ON TWO FRONTS THROUGH TO THE END!
FORWARD TO THE U.S. BOLSHEVIK PARTY!!
 The Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee (MLOC) also steps out to utter their responding echo on the disintegration of the Revolutionary Wing and the degeneration of the PRRWO/RWL clique. Flowing from their outlook on military campaigns to ”unite” the ML movement ”by surprise” and ”sneak attack”, MLOC is also unable to make a concrete analysis. They can only lump the WVO with the PRRWO/RWL and make anti-communist remarks about our principled ideological struggle being ”screaming and yelling matches.”