Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

COMMUNIST CONFERENCE – Marxist-Leninist Caucus Maps New Party

First Published: The Marxist-Leninist Vanguard Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1958
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A historic Communist Conference was held in New York City on the weekend of August 16-17. Eighty-three delegates, representing local caucuses throughout the nation, met to guarantee the survival of Marxism-Leninism in the U.S.A. This meeting of the most consistent Marxist-Leninists forces in the Party, amongst whom were several already expelled leaders, unanimously approved a collective course of action and ideological direction. Thus a new stage was reached in the struggle against revisionism which has wracked the CPUSA for the last two years.

The call to the Conference had been issued by a provisional committee and had the endorsement of the Waterfront Section, the Lower Harlem Section, the North Philadelphia Section and of State Committee members in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In addition, rank and file members from many other areas of the Party were present.

The Party bureaucracy’s answer to the call was a statement issued by the National Administrative Committee, threatening any member who attended with immediate expulsion. The statement was issued in that weekend’s Worker, along with a story naming various people as “ringleaders” of the group. One of the first actions of the Conference was to vote a condemnation of this as “another service rendered to the ruling class by leadership of the CPUSA, who now ’finger’ us to the FBI.”

The Conference was opened by Harry Haywood, internationally known authority on the Negro question. Haywood greeted the delegates and submitted a proposed agenda which was unanimously, adopted.

Lucille Bethancourt, former Smith Act defendant, and one of the leaders of the movement in Chicago, chaired the first session.

One could not avoid noticing the outstanding composition of the Conference. Workers, Negroes and Puerto Ricans stood out at this Conference in sharp contrast to present day meetings of the CPUSA.

Forty percent were under 45 years of age and the average age level was thirty-six! This composition and the dynamic enthusiasm of the delegates prompted one of them to say: An hour has struck! The main political report was delivered by Armando Roman, party veteran, leader of the Puerto Rican Section, and a member of the New York State Committee. He analysed the struggle raging in the Middle East and the serious threat of war, exposed the Titoite revisionist line of the leadership on all fundamental questions of the class struggle, and proposed concrete programmatic steps to guarantee the survival of Marxism-Leninism in the USA.

On Sunday the Conference reconvened amidst great enthusiasm. After unanimous approval of the political report, it proceeded to the report on Organization. The report, entitled “Immediate Organizational Tasks of the Marxist-Leninist Caucus in the CPUSA”, was delivered by A. Marino, Waterfront Section organizer and member of the N. Y. State Committee. It dealt with the latest developments in the Party crisis, traced the history of the Marxist-Leninist Caucus, and called for the formation of a Provisional Organizing Committee for the Reconstitution of a Marxist-Leninist Party. The report summed up the purpose of the Conference in a nutshell when it said: “Our expulsion from the CPUSA places on us an inescapable duty. That is to find the way to carry on the fight for a real Marxist-Leninist party under any and all conditions.”

After electing a 19-member steering committee by acclamation, the conference adjourned. Here was a group of Communists who knew what their task was. They left the Conference determined to carry it out.