“These were the most inspiring days of my life.” so spoke John Harris from San Francisco in his closing remarks to the PLP convention. In one form or another, his words were also spoken by most people attending the convention. Many were heard to say: “It’s too bad every member of the party couldn’t be here at this great event.” Almost everyone attested to the incredibly enthusiastic spirit of the convention, which reached the boiling point at the get-together Saturday evening of the party and some of its friends. Many voiced their frustration at their inability to convey their feelings adequately. Some said: “I would never be able to describe what happened this weekend and have people believe me.”
What unlocked these revolutionary feelings? This is an important question because the great unity of purpose achieved at our convention was a significant political development that will move our party ahead.
First of all, the participation of people from 18 countries, especially our comrades from Canada and Puerto Rico, showed the great possibilities for redeveloping an international communist movement. As was pointed out, no one party can survive without the support of other parties around the world in the fight for power or in power.
Second, this convention was the first that showed the qualitative development of PLP as a working class party. Workers and others who work for a living were in the majority at the convention. The convention was also completely multi-racial in attendance and participation. This showed what the future can– and will– be like. Workers and students– men and women, black, white, latin, and asian – worked together in total harmony to advance and develop the line of the party.
The key was the triumph of the left line over various right-wing tendencies in our party. The fight against revisionism is inspiring.
The convention came on the heels of a fight against the right-wing trend. The leadership and some party members had fallen prey to taking our party for granted and not making its development the center of our work. So we came into the convention in the spirit of self-criticism and criticism around questions relating to how we could sharpen our line and build the party. Paper sales had risen; classes had been organized; more people had been recruited, especially workers; and our mass work had intensified around the line of the party. At the convention itself about a dozen people, most of then minority workers, joined the party. This development proved we were on the right track, and that our perspective of DOUBLING THE PARTY MEMBERSHIP was a realizable goal if we all applied ourselves to this task. In every workshop there was a serious effort to combat revisionism and lay plans to move the working class leftwards while building the party.
There is every reason for the party and its friends to have more confidence in themselves and the working class as a result of the convention. The convention demonstrated that workers can be won to Marxism-Leninism and revolution. Everyone left with this conviction. This revolutionary optimism contradicts bourgeois ideology, which gives vent to defeatism, negativism, and cynicism. Our ideology moves us to greater degrees of comradeship and confidence in each other and the masses. This confidence, respect, and love for one another was evident in the warm goodbyes and vows to build the party. People who had only met each other for the first time left as close friends and comrades. These feelings are at the root of our political line. Confidences in the people; confidence in the working class; confidence in Marxism-Leninism; and confidence in one another– the party.