I. One of the African guests who participated in the workshop commented yesterday afternoon that the most impressive thing was its spirit of constructive internationalism. “A few years ago, we would not have been able to express our differences without being at each other’s throats. This new spirit indicates a great maturity for our movement and the Progressive Labor Party!”
Comrades and friends from some 20 countries participated in our workshop. From the outset, we tried to devote ourselves to establishing a new spirit of international consultation and criticism among friends.
The old international movement had and still does, keep its differences and its criticisms bottled up at the top. We determined that this should not happen to us. We began by reaffirming the principle first put forward by Marx and later by Lenin that it is the right and responsibility of communists to criticize each other and to raise questions and differences with others, regardless of national boundaries. Communism knows no borders.
II. In this spirit, we began by discussing some of the fundamental concepts our Party has put forward in recent years, particularly those in RR III. Differences were expressed, and to some degree discussed, on many questions including:
Nationalism and the role of national liberation struggle
Tactical unity with petty-bourgeois forces, or even bourgeois forces,
The 2-stage theory of revolution,
The role of peasants, and whether it’s possible to win peasants to socialism or even whether there are peasants in the traditional sense of the word
The history of the Chinese revolution, particularly alliances with the KMT,
The question of survival versus principle, and which is primary.
Aside from these and a few other minor points, our workshop was unanimous in every respect, (smile) We realized that these differences would not, could not be resolved at this meeting, and determined that the exchange of views should be continued and expanded (see below).
III. Next, we discussed the mass movements around the world, and sought to arrive at some common programmatic demands for this movement(s).
Taking into account the perspective for the coming period which was described in Milt’s opening remarks, that is of sharply increasing inter-imperialist rivalry and the decline of U.S. imperialism, where does that leave us. We expect a sharp increase in nationalist propaganda (we can already see this begun) in every country in the world in the form of increasingly hysterical anti-’foreigner’ and racist propaganda.
The fundamental basis of any international program for the mass movement we felt must be a total and complete rejection of this ’national interest’ bullshit. We should adopt some popular slogan–for example “Workers of all nations, Unite!”
We agreed, too, that as communists we must participate in the mass movements which arise around the world–national liberation struggles, agrarian reform movements, etc., even when we don’t agree with the leadership or the line of these movements. But we must participate in them as communists. This means raising the revolutionary consciousness, and putting forward our program within these movements.
Some of the programmatic points for these movements which were suggested were:
1. Worker-peasant alliance...fight for better working and living conditions for agricultural workers as part of working class.
2. Fight against imperialism in any one country should be spread to an international war against imperialism.
3. A shorter work week – not necessarily 30 for 40.
4. Defeat racist ideology in every country in the world.
5. Stop racist immigration laws/immigrant workers and native workers UNITE!
6. Support for strikes around the world...this can and should be fought for within the labor movement(s|.
7. Men and women workers unite...equal pay for equal work, (particularly example cited: the border towns of Tijuana, Mexicali and Juarez are sites of several factories which exploit women workers).
While there was not unanimous agreement on these points, the general feeling war positive. It was agreed we should circulate a draft of this program proposal to all our groups and friends, and ask for comments, additions, etc.
IV. Our most important decision was to continue and expand our workshop. We agreed on some general guidelines for this process:
1. Participants in our ongoing meetings should be generally part of the anti-revisionist stream.
2. They should be involved in the mass struggle.
3. We all agree to try to work out some common programmatic points and to try to work together at fighting for them.
4. We will all agree to frank and open exchange of ideas and criticisms. We recognize it will take years of ideological struggle and experience in the mass movements before a unified line will emerge. This process we’re confident will lead eventually to the establishment of a new International-it will be loose at first just as our PLM was, but over the years, it will grow and grow together.
V. We concluded with certain concrete proposals:
1. We will put out a journal for continuing this international discussion–the first issue of this journal should contain a report on our workshop, the draft programmatic proposals. It will also contain the reports from comrades and friends in Puerto Rico, Canada, Angola and elsewhere which were presented at the workshop. The report from the P.R.S.L. was particularly stimulating and interesting in its report and evaluation of the current strike wave. No room here for more on this situation. READ THE JOURNAL!
2. Everyone here and all our friends should make a serious effort to read and criticize each other’s literature. This means not just sending it to our offices and to the leaders...but subscriptions by as many as possible. We can all start here and now by subscribing.
3. We would have regular consultative meetings of this workshop, including new participants...loose at first...perhaps twice a year.
4. We will try to organize visits among our friends and comrades to each others countries. We will make serious effort to coordinate and even direct members and friends who are “vacationing” to other countries to involve them in this work.
5. The PRSL, CPL and PLP will meet together more regularly, and function temporarily as a kind of ad hoc coordinating committee for this ongoing workshop.
6. We recommend the establishment of a WAM international committee to develop ties among workers around the world, strike support, shorter work week struggles, etc., including in some countries recruiting workers directly into WAM. This committee would also develop specific organizing demands for foreign workers in this country...i.e., fighting the racist immigration laws.
(ATTENTION READER: THIS IS AN ADDITION TO PROPOSAL 2 ON THE PRECEEDING PAGE. PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING ADDITION TO THAT POINT
Members, leaders, friends and mass base in all parties to read this literature and the journal.
RELY ON INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS AND ITS PARTIES TO SHARE LINE OF NEW COMMUNIST INTERNATIOMAL. End of addition. Thank you.)
7. We set up a sub-committee–Sylvia, Levi, and others–to begin immediately to draft a pamphlet on the racist immigration laws and how to fight them.
8. We recommend the PL book on racism now being prepared should add a chapter on racism as an international weapon of imperialism.
9. Among students we propose:
a. SDS should increase its international ties,
b. We should organize study groups of foreign students.
c. We should encourage foreign students to work within existing foreign student groups around at least two points:
1. fight racist immigration restrictions on foreign students
2. build the fight against racist ideologies on the campuses everywhere
10. Articles should be prepared by us if possible for our first journal on the return of Peron, and Peronism and its modern significance (the invasion of Latin America by the European Common Market that Peron represents); the devaluation of the U.S. dollar.
11. In addition we took the first steps to setting up specific task forces or sub-committees to study the situation in particular countries, and to write articles on particular topics such as agrarian reform, shorter work week, etc.
12. All literature put out by CPL, PRSL, and PLP should contain the names and addresses of all three groups.
13. The word “America” should be discontinued as a term to describe the U.S. This usurpation of three continents by this one country should be condemned by us and certainly not copied.
14. Most important, our party should make (PLP) a special effort to expand its international work...The International Committee should be expanded by the new N.C. ...at least one person in every area...Also, special effort must be made to recruit foreign workers. Basically, this means as part of the spirit of this convention one thing... BUILD THE PLP. Extra special effort to do all the things that lead to recruitment of foreign workers—involving them in the rank-and file caucus in WAM, in Party Study Groups; in writing for and distributing CHALLENGE. Working with them in their special struggles, as vs. deportation and super-exploitation. The International Committee must lead a struggle in the party to overcome the obstacles to this work; our own U.S. nationalism-racism, which prevents us from building close ties with foreign workers.
This means the International Committee must win club organizers to struggle around recruiting foreign workers within the overall struggle for recruitment. The different forms of racism and male chauvinism that are encountered in working with people from different cultures must be fought against as part of the struggle to build COMMUNIST ties with these forces. This, of course, cannot be done without increased commitment to fight against our own racism and male chauvinism.
As we recruit foreign workers, the special application of the concept of “Now who can you recruit” must be “Who can you recruit who is still in your country, or who is going back (and/or, are you going back)” Who can you involve in helping translate RR III and other articles.
VI. In the ’old days’ it would have been easy to solve many of these knotty problems: Just pick up the phone and call Moscow, or check out the latest issue of Peking Review. Today we see answers to these questions will come through frank public exchange of views and criticisms and through our experience in the common struggle against the international ruling class. This week-end, we have taken the first tentative steps towards the ’New Days’–TOWARDS THE BUILDING OF A NEW INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT!
NOTE: In accord with the spirit of our workshop, we devoted some time to criticism and self-criticism. A couple of the points raised were:
1. We should have had more prepared written material
2. We should have planned a discussion on Peronism, the dollar crisis, etc.
ANOTHER NOTE: The comrade typing this report just asked, “What language is our bulletin going to be in?” Good question–we must admit we did not discuss this. Presumably, it would be at least bi-lingual–English and Spanish.
AMENDMENT I: We resolve to step up the campaign in defense of Adiv and Vered, and other Israeli revolutionary Communists who have been imprisoned by the fascist Israeli regime.
AMENDMENT II: We resolve to step up support for the militant workers of Puerto Rico who are engaged in massive strikes.