This is the third convention of our party. I think by now everybody who’s in and around the party has become aware of a lot of the differences, mainly for the better, which indicate the maturing of our party in the class struggle in this country in comparison with the previous two conventions. There are a lot of similarities but there are a lot of differences. For example, this convention represents somewhat the fruition of what was at least subjectively a long difficult process of getting our party rooted in the working class and especially in the trade union movement. At our original convention we raised the concept of being a working class party as opposed to being a party of political playboys. And we went into that. At the second convention we went more sharply into the question of going to work, why it was useful and what was the political significance of that. And a lot of people went to work. And now while these may seem trite and ordinary matters, speaking self-critically and critically, it wasn’t all that easy. I think it’s an accomplishment that the party has become rooted mainly in the working class and that most of the delegates here today represent this fact of life. In addition, many of the delegates here today represent the development of the party and its friends as beginning to become leaders of the working class around the line of the party and known as members of the Progressive Labor Party. Which is a very important development and is a significant step forward.
Now I would say that for this convention that’s one of the most important changes. Additionally, I think another important change is the beginning of a break through with the minority working class in this country and beginning to win on our line of internationalism, as juxtaposed to the line of nationalism. And I think that’s an important step forward also. I think, to some extent, not enough, not sufficiently, we at this convention realize this has begun to happen and that a lot of possibilities are wide open for all of us to move further on both counts.
Now the most significant thing we’d like to develop out of this convention is the whole question of building a mass revolutionary party for socialism in our country. The time has now come when the party has developed to the point where it has achieved enough stability and maturity to begin to think in terms of doubling its numbers and becoming a significant force in the labor movement, the trade union movement, around the line that we’re familiar with: 30 for 40, fighting through on the question of racism, fighting through on the question of women’s exploitation and a number of other vital questions. And I want to elaborate on this concept of a mass party a little bit more in a few moments.
The second major significance of this convention, as already indicated, is the small growth of those comrades and friends of ours from other countries who are willing to deliberate with us to begin the long difficult process of achieving a certain amount of ideological and tactical unity on important questions. So that one of the historic goals of our party and people like us all over the world is to begin the process of building a new international communist movement on a much higher and stronger level than ever existed. Now this may seem somewhat presumptuous. We look around at one another – we all know one another more or less – we say “who us?” But believe me, it’s been people like you, in the past, who had in their time developed the communist movement to the degree that it ever developed. They were virtually little different from us, and they were able to do it, given the wisdom of Marxism-Leninism, of the people and the developing objective situation and so too we can do it. We can do it and we must do it. Now, no party, I don’t care whether it becomes larger or smaller (if it’s a small party naturally it’s somewhat different) can survive and make it alone without an international movement. Any movement ultimately will perish and wither if it’s not surrounded by fraternal comradely parties all over the world. This must happen. Don’t think that somehow or other a party will be built here or there and that somehow or other by the dint of their example, that will be sufficient. There’s some truth in that; that by the dint of example and growth, naturally that helps you flourish. It also helps the development of other parties. But it cannot be successful in isolation. It will not have the strength to withstand the attack, physically and ideologically, and must go under. So one of the important and significant tasks of this convention – not only of the international workshop – is the development of the strategy and tactics of our party, of how we’re going to play our role to aid the development of an international communist movement.
Now what is essentially necessary to do this? Naturally one could innumerate a long, long list and all these things would be necessary. But in sum, to make the one crucial point, we have to wipe out the remnants of revisionism in our party, and to the extent that we can, help influence as many people as possible in the mass movements around the world away from revisionism. Because in the mass movements, particularly outside this country, in Europe, in Asia, in other areas, where the “communist movement” is stronger, in many cases these movements have much of the leadership in the mass movement. So that the masses of the working class are very much under their influence. But we’re not going to defeat revisionism in their parties or win people away from revisionism unless we are alert to it ourselves and root it our continuously in our own party. And this has been the biggest weakness of the national leadership of our party – not being consistent or on the ball or giving the sharpest and best leader-ship to the struggle and often making right errors themselves, including myself, especially myself. So therefore, that fight starts first and foremost right here in our party and then in a comradely and constructive way we will try and learn and teach others on this question – but we don’t have all the answers and we have a lot to learn from others as well as learning from the working class of our own country. Now the facts of the matter are – facts, as they say, are stubborn things and sometimes as somebody pointed out it is a question of who you read – but the facts of the matter are that the long range major deviation of the international communist movement has always been revisionism. No movement – and I say this guardedly because I hope it’s not taken in the wrong way – no movement has ever been destroyed by left sectarianism. That doesn’t mean everyone around us should be crazy. But historically, objectively in the international communist movement no party has been destroyed by left sectarianism. Not that it is not an important danger and not that other parties including our own still haven’t been afflicted by it. But parties have been wiped out by revisionism although left sectarianism leads to revisionism. There’s an interrelationship, it isn’t a dichotomy, so to speak, or an absolutely irreconcilable contradiction. As Lenin long ago pointed out, quite correctly and much better than I, it’s two sides of the same coin. But the major weakness, the major deviation in the communist movement in the past has been right opportunism, revisionism, and we’re no different – in that sense that the same dangers haunt us and have to be resisted. Now, briefly, what are the circumstances in which this fight is shaping up, in which our party finds itself? What are the objective circumstances? Well, we’ve gone through a certain period where we’ve seen the international leadership of the communist movement turn into its opposite, transformed from being leaders of the revolutionary movement to becoming co-leaders of the imperialist movement. Even in the political lifetime of everybody here, fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be we’ve seen the leaders of these movements wined and dined by Nixon or whoever when only a few years ago Nixon and they were speaking daggers to one another. But even within that dialog one could begin to see the little tell-tale signs, to see the quantity turning into quality; to see Nixon and Kissinger in Peking and probably Chou En Lai in Disneyland soon. Now, of course, prior to that, those of us who are older, to use an unfortunate term, saw the same process developing when this jerk Khruschev came here, took off his shoes in the UN and people in the communist party here tried to explain that as some brilliant, philosophical act rather than that he was just a crude bore. (Probably his feet ached or something). But in any event, in one way or another, we’ve all been through this and seen the movement go down. None of these things, in any shape manner or form, can be described as victories for the working class. Lessons yes, but victories no. Now we’ve analyzed this, we’ve written about it, we’ve done what we could about it and I’m sure everybody has read our analysis and commented on it and I’m sure we’ll do better, later, as we learn more and study more and practice more. But this set back is part of the objective reality. The other part of the objective reality is that US imperialism, which has the prospective of world hegemony, and as the leader of the capitalist world and ultimately the leader of the socialist world that became capitalist, has had its ambitions dashed. That is to say, now, willy nilly, they are beginning to realize they are now perhaps one of the strongest capitalist nations but this dream of world hegemony is finished. To one extent or another that is behind the current struggle in the ruling class in our country which in a popular sense is referred to as the Watergate thing and we’ve written about that and I know everybody here has tried to wade their way through what’s been written and we’ve discussed it and put forward our point of view. But the main point that we should draw from this is that US imperialism as a world system has been set back and is declining, is going down – it’s not getting better. This is mirrored very much, not only in terms of the struggles going on in the ruling class itself between the stronger and the weaker to consolidate the “party” so to speak but in the way the working class is being oppressed and the way we see the deterioration of the system all around us. So this isn’t just an article in Fortune Magazine or Wall Street Journal or in Barons or the reports from the different banks. When you get on the subway, when you have to live in these houses or go to these hospitals or drink this water or make a phone call or go by a hundred movies that only show this filth you see, then it’s very very clear that every aspect of life in this country in terms of it’s material development and its cultural development is deteriorating. And that’s also the reality of the situation that we find ourselves in. Now, how does this become an equation so to speak? Well it’s very hard to make a flat statement that the decline of US imperialism equates the demise of the international communist movement. But to be safe, so to speak, to hedge, I will at least use the word, it offsets that. One of the ways that that manifests itself has been the continuing sharpening of the class struggle, although it’s in waves, in this country and around the world. For example, today there are serious large strikes in Puerto Rico which are paralyzing the economy there, which have the looks of becoming long term protracted struggles, perhaps, by the electrical and sanitation workers. And that’s true of almost every industrial area of the world. The class struggle has generally sharpened as the attacks against the working class has been sharpening – people are resisting. And more to the point, we could have drawn the conclusion some few years ago with the absolute demise of the international communist movement that the people at least in our party would have gotten so discouraged, so cynical, that they would have thrown up their hands and said “I quit.” Now there are a lot of feelings like that, and some people have, precisely for that reason, even though they don’t always understand it that way – although some do. But the fact of the matter is that our party has grown slightly throughout this period, and our leadership and our cadre have become more stable, and the work that they have been doing has been able to creak the possibility to move ahead, despite this. So therefore, the demise, the decline of US imperialism is not a myth; it’s not fiction, it’s in real life, in terms of the developments and consolidation of the class struggle and of our party in this country. And I don’t think there’s anybody, probably very few people, in this room today, who really doesn’t believe that if they were to apply themselves collectively, all of us, to the tasks ahead of us, that our party couldn’t become a much more significant force than it is today. And I think that’s the absolute fact if there is such a thing as absoluteness.
Now, what is the situation in our party today? What is the subjective situation in our party today? As I’ve indicated, is that we had developed a generally stable growing leadership and growing corps of cadre. Reflect for a minute back on the original convention of the party – those of you who were here. We elected a national committee at that time of some 20 some odd people of whom, 3/4 are no longer in the party. This was generally true also of the more consistent secondary leadership of the party, however you would refer to these type forces, and to the seemingly more committed membership. That is to say there was a very large turnover of leaders, and members. But particularly among the leadership. It used to be if somebody said something and you would say “why did you say that?” – “I quit!” Now you know I’m exaggerating, but individualism as opposed to collectivity, bourgeois ideology as opposed to Marxism-Leninism was the main characteristic of the leadership and the membership. It was do your own thing – if you don’t like it, tough. And then we came to the second convention. Well the situation had improved. We developed a more stable grouping of leaders and members. So more of these forces are now at this convention. So we elected at that time a national committee and only one person from that national leadership in the relatively short time after that, defected. And then recently we had another defection, ex-comrade Jeff Gordon from the west coast. But in the meantime as the party areas began to develop in other sections of the country we began to add to this national leadership and it grew so that basically it was a tiny minority of the leadership who defected and generally speaking political struggle and political differences and collectivity and Marxism-Leninism began more and more to become the trademark of that leadership. So that today, its reasonably accurate to say that there is a more stable, a more revolutionary leadership that exists in the party which sets the stage for further developments in that leadership and further developments in the party. Looking around the room there are many cadre here today who are club leaders or club members or section leaders where they’re required, who have been in the party quite a number of years and who have proven their devotion to the working class and to our party and to the development of an international movement by the dint of their participation and practice, and that’s very crucial to the subjective development in our party.
Then there’s the question of commitment. I don’t want to exaggerate. We don’t have, I don’t think, steeled leaders or members who can take the sharpest type of struggle, who can take the sharpest kinds of attack. I think we’re approaching this. But I think there is in that sense a generally modest commitment which has been proven by scores of party members and leaders to the party. And this question of commitment which we discuss many, many times is very important because not only is it a question of being able to sustain blows, both antagonistic and non-antagonistic, within and without the party, but it’s also the question of maintaining a long range outlook, a scientific approach, a non-subjective approach to the development of the work. And that is beginning to happen. And that of course is a plus. Now, of course, this indicates, a certain level of seriousness which now exists in the party which is an improvement and I’m not saying that there was no seriousness in the past I’m merely saying that there’s more, more seriousness, more seriousness about the work. How do you explain the fact that in this preconvention discussion we’ve gotten almost 250 discussion articles? That’s very good. We could have gotten more. The articles could have been better. We exhibit a lot of weakness and chauvinism in relationship to fraternal parties. We could have done a lot more to get articles from Canada; might have gotten the Liga to submit articles. We might have gotten more friends of the party to submit articles. But generally, it was a plus. The articles in general, not in the entirety, in general, had a note of self-criticism. At our last convention there was not a single word, and that’s not an exaggeration, in the preconvention discussion that was self-critical. Not a word. And we pointed out at the last convention. The few articles we did receive had no self-criticisms at all. Whereas in this discussion there was a lot of self criticism and some people were worried that there was too much self criticism – that people might feel down, you know, down about it. “I’m rotten, I didn’t do this; I didn’t do that.” Well I think if people are objective and serious they can handle self-criticism. They can evaluate it constructively and turn these self-criticisms into advances because I assume most people make self criticisms from a relatively honest point of view of trying to do something about that. Now if everybody who wrote self-critical remarks, which were very pointed in many cases, about the practice of their work or their commitment or whatever, and after this convention begins to apply it – that alone, if just those people did it, it would transform the party. If you take those self criticisms seriously and just those people who did it, the eighty or ninety who did it, that would transform the party. Because their self criticisms were to the point of how to build the party in the main, either directly or through the mass work which of course is an interrelationship.
Now, we have a lot of weaknesses left in the party, particularly among the leadership of the party, which is then inflicted on the party generally. For example, still one of the main weaknesses in our party is the question of having anti-working class attitudes. Now people have learned by now that you don’t go around saying workers are no good and we’re going to have nothing to do with workers. These things come our in a more surreptitious, covered, concealed way. That is to say, people who work in ships don’t have too many friends with fellow workers, or too many relationships, or they don’t participate sufficiently in their doings, in the union. Not too many of these workers are invited over to supper. When workers come around the party, as many have and still do, too many of these people are kept at arms length, one way or another. “Oh they’re in his base.” You know we have a chart, a pecking chart, “so and so is in so and so’s base; I don’t have to do anything about that.” In other words, there’s a very mechanical approach to it which in effect very often leads up to not developing a political base with these workers and they may not dislike the party but willy nilly they’re rejected. Some may realize they’ve been rejected, as they have and say, these guys talk a good game, but you know a lot of people talk good and they don’t do much. They wander off. Generally speaking this is still a big weakness in the party. And the leadership of the party hasn’t generally fought this, against it, with great sharpness or great clarity because willy nilly the leadership of the party is somewhat afraid of the working class. That is to say, the line which is always and is still being currently circulated by the liberals and the ruling class generally and a lot of these so called savants on the left, is that workers are reactionary, they’re anti-communist bastards, they’re racist bastards, they’re the heart and sole of the ruling class system in terms of supporting the bosses and therefore its a dream to win them. And you’re not going to win them and it’s a waste of time to try to win them. That still has a great deal of influence in the party and makes it very difficult to bring workers to the party. So as long as we’re inflicted with this bourgeois ideology so then the party will be limited in its development. But we know that in practice, in putting forward the line of the party, the ones who respond the best and the most and are the most eager to participate in and with the party are the workers. And that’s where we have to focus our fire and that’s the main thrust of the party’s work now and that’s the main thrust of the party’s work tomorrow, and that’s going to be the main thrust of the party’s work always, and we’re going to win on this question or we’re not going to become a revolutionary party.
Now generally speaking the same sort of thing can be said around the question of fighting racism within the party and outside the party. Because how did it develop? Well, first of all we know that it still goes on. For example, on the campuses where the main and central aspect of the party’s line is developing struggle against racist theories and their practices, our efforts are sporadic, timid, and very often defeatist. How many times do we still hear students or teachers or whoever say “oh you can’t do it, here they’re all rotten.” “It’s no use, it’s the masses, there’s something wrong with them. Look, you know if the world was like us it would be a nice world.” I’m not so sure. I’d like to think so. I think we have a long way to go and I don’t exclude myself one bit from this. I’m merely saying that I think this business of blaming the people, you see, is going to get us no place, that the main contradiction is internal, it is the party, and that more often than not some of the people are open to our anti-racist line and respond to it. We had this example at Brooklyn College, which is supposed to be the hot bed of Zionism, anti-communism, nationalism, etc., where Joanny Secler got behind those boys and kicked them and pushed them and made them have a teach-in against racism and about 350 people – more than half of them black – 200 of them signed up and within two weeks these same boys were saying “oh we can’t do nothing.” Within 2 weeks it was washed away. “Nobody’s interested.” After they just had this teach-in! Because the fear of fighting racism is so great the fear of the people is so great, that a very difficult effort must be made to keep struggling ideologically and otherwise to enable people to persist in these struggles. Because, still we’re all too easily put off by what is – true – real difficulties. There are a lot of people who are racist and there’s no question about it. But there are a lot of people even if they’re racist who are open on this question and of course there are enormous numbers of minority students who are more than open to do something about this question and somehow or other “they’re nationalist, they’re this” there’s something wrong with them, ”the jews are Jewish, the blacks are nationalist, the puerto ricans are puerto rican. The only ones who are any good are us.” Now that’s an exaggeration, but none-the-less, that’s how it comes out and we have to fight against it because a lot of people can be won on this question and many people have been won on this question. And we know when we do it even though every one of our efforts isn’t crowned with some great big success the fact of the matter is we have threatened these bastards about this. Where the Wall Street Journal recently devoted a whole page to this question, where still spewing this stuff out, where Newsweek, where Time – we’ve been through it – all the major bourgeois publications are still supporting these guys lock, stock, and barrel and of course in practice its unfolding right in front of ours eyes: unemployment all over the place, welfare cuts, exclusion of blacks and minority workers from particular industries, from upgrading in other industries, etc. So therefore we definitely have this problem within our midst. And additionally it takes the form internally within the party of excluding and isolating ourselves all too easily from minority students – or workers. And the same thing happens. A lot of people come around and only a few make it. Most of the people are kept away. And very often this disease; it’s very infectious and contagious. So even the minority forces or the working class forces who are won to the party begin to act in this image. Because they too are imbued with these fears and hangups or deviations or these attitudes. Therefore the party doesn’t get built. And here the leadership has been most guilty in not keeping this central question of building the party in the forefront of the perspective of all the work that the party does. This is not unrelated to this question because what’s the point of building the party if it doesn’t have these tentacles out to the working class and minority forces in a serious way? What’s the point? See? And secondly, the party leadership becomes just as influenced because of its relationship to life by these very same attitudes. “Oh we can’t win these people” or “oh it’s too hard,” although fewer people on the leadership, who have a little more political sophistication, will come right out and say that. But in practice that’s what happens. So that the concept of building the party becomes obscured and for a while tends to become abandoned. The party floats around the water like a ship without a rudder and the leaders are all off “being busy”. “What are you doing, I’m doing this, oh that’s good.” But, you know, getting down to the nitty gritty of leadership, of fighting these particular deviations and then building the party in the process of fighting these deviations, carrying the party’s line then becomes secondary and if you’re not careful becomes abandoned. Then of course we tend to think that the party is in some kind of popularity contest. We’ve spoken about this before. “We can’t say this because, the people in our jobs – look you know its right, 30 for 40 is right, but look you can’t raise it on the job, no one’s interested. Yeh, anti-racism, that’s good but what can I do, these guys are all racists. Nationalism, that’s terrible, sure, but the real world is, you see, that the people are nationalist.” Therefore, when you carry it to its logical conclusion, as has happened, every important aspect of the party’s line becomes denied because it’s not popular. Because people will say I don’t agree with it, or they’ll ask you questions about it or even god forbid they may say I agree with you. Then you got a problem, then you’ve got to make friends with this guy, then you really got a problem. So, therefore, there’s a retreat from the line. Well, if you retreat from the line then naturally you retreat from building the party. Because the party is not some mythical illusory organization. It’s a body that has a certain set of ideas and, theoretically, you try to build a party around these ideas, around this program. Now the immediate program is some of these things but the potential long range goal of the party is to build revolution, socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat. And that’s right, most people in the country and in the world are at this particular moment not won or opposed to this idea and that’s right it is hard. That’s right it is very hard. Therefore, when we raise these ideas, there’s resistance. So people say “well don’t put it in Challenge.” “Look I’m in the aircraft industry, it’s alright to say this in the hospital industry but, see, its different in the aircraft industry. Don’t say too much about the aircraft leaders because the workers really like them.” “Don’t say too much – hold it – farm workers? Aircraft leaders they’re all reactionary running dogs, don’t say anything about Cesar Chavez, he’s got a big base. Don’t say nothing about him.” Then someone else says, “That Cesar Chavez is bad, the other guy is bad, but look workers like Leonard Woodcock,” and you know on and on and on. So after a while you see, how do you fight the obstacles or the right wing in the labor movement or in the people’s movement generally? Because, see, every body will say, that’s what we should do but don’t do it where I live, don’t come around to my house with that shit. See? So then people will say (there’s a million variations) people will say: “I agree with everything. There should be more of it in the paper.” Then you ask, hey, how many of these papers did you sell on the job? You know, this guy agreed with it. “Oh, well, not too many.” Why not? Have you tried? “Well you see on my job I can’t sell it. In my department no body’s interested” or “They’re all against these ideas.” So in practice, that is, on a superficial ideological political level people agree. But it’s in practice where most of the disagreement to the party comes out and that’s more covert – that’s a lot harder to fight. Because, all too easily people say, “I agree.” But in practice, with their feet, they don’t agree and hopefully during the convention the workshops will help to ferret out or bring this to light. If there’s all this agreement then how come there’s not more development? In other words, based on the superficial level of agreement and self criticism, given the objective situation which is still favorable to the development of our party, the development then isn’t commensurate with the verbal agreement. There’s something wrong – something missing here. What’s missing is that we’re still afraid of the people and we still don’t have confidence in the people and we’re still reluctant to push revolutionary or advanced political ideas among the people. And this doesn’t mean we should be mechanical or crazy. We should be thoughtful and constructive. But we have to do it. And to the extent that we do do it, it happens. Example: I had a meeting with some teachers. People wanted to have an AFT caucus, a broad caucus developed at the AFT convention down in Washington, in August. We have a number of teachers in the party, we have a number of friends, there seems to be a good opportunity to build one of these caucuses we’ve been speaking about at this convention. Conventions are always good for this. Well we raised this idea. Well there’s agreement but then “I don’t know” and “I don’t know” and “I don’t know who I’m going to call, who should I ask?” Often the disagreement comes in the questions. It could have been wrong to call this caucus, that’s always possible, you can make a mistake, but based on the objective discussion and the situation and evaluation, nobody seemed to disagree. But in practice the caucus was fought for, this was the other night, in a very limited way. Well finally the caucus came off and low and behold about 50 people turned up which everybody felt was a fairly successful thing. And there were, I understand, fairly good suggestions for programs around fighting racism and there was a continuations committee set up including nonparty people and so forth. Almost every single person I spoke with amongst the teachers has told me, we could have brought double. We could have brought more. Now if this isn’t consolidated, you see, within a few weeks this can be erroded, this sort of forward thrust can easily be reversed. So that we have to consistently struggle. Nobody should draw the conclusion from a particular successful action that the impetus is only forward. It can be mainly forward. But there’s also still a lot of negativism in the party, in the leadership, which starts off by saying “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” or “I won’t, I won’t, I won’t,” or “I shouldn’t, I mustn’t”. And those of you who have reached that stage of the game where you have young children hear it every day. You know, you give them a book to read, “you can, you can, you can,” “The train that could, it could, it could.” And well I don’t want to say that we’re like children. I’m just simply saying that there are certain developments that are very similar and we can learn a lesson from the very thing we tell our kids – that we ought to be telling ourselves. We should be the little party that could, it could, it could.
Now all together these weaknesses spell revisionism. That’s some of the main ways revisionism manifests itself in our party. It’s not the only way, I’m sure there are others. People are looking at their clocks so I’m not going to innumerate them. But you know that’s pretty much what it is.
Now what’s a mass party and why are we after it and what does it mean for us? Well if we double our membership, which is what our goal is in the next 3 years, this would give us a party of approximately somewhere between 1,000 and 1200 members. Well what would that mean concretely? Concretely it would mean that probably in an industry like auto we’d be a force. That’s what it would mean. Because a number of the people we’d recruit would probably come from the auto plants. It would mean for example in other words, in a number of fields today where we have small toe holes, beach heads, it could be expanded into real significant forces where we could begin in a much more serious way challenging the trade union bureaucracy for leadership around the line of the party. That’s what it means. That’s what it means. Becoming a mass party isn’t just a numbers game, it isn’t just having more people in the party. It means beginning to have a qualitative effect, particularly in the labor movement. It means restoring the party as an important, vital force on the campuses as it was more some years ago. One of the big errors we made in our work on campuses was burying the face of the party and concentrating ... all our efforts on building SDS pure and simple and not broadening out the work. So naturally one of the things we want to do is rebuild the party as a force on the campuses because without a revolutionary perspective none of the reform struggles are going to go very far or last too long. And we say this in relationship to the antiwar movement. So that building a mass party guarantees the development of the mass movement in a left ward direction. It means winning the people to the left. And it means creating the basis for a serious revolutionary movement that can move on to other stages of this development including in the final analysis armed struggle. Now many people still have it in their heads that the party is going to be like the people in this room forever – that this is the party. Oh, some faces may change and the room may get a little bigger. But people have developed all sorts of notions about the development of the revolutionary movement in the country and of course they are influenced by the subjective development of the party. If the party remains a small isolated grouping – or a small grouping which gradually develops some broader ties, which is probably a more accurate description of our situation today then you see a lot of these ideas come forward of taking power with other people in a united front, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a united front. What does that mean? A lot of funny ideas begin to develop. We should have more than one party under socialism. We should have elections. And then when you push it further you find out that “well we should have some of the bourgeois around, you see, we have this unity of opposites. We have one society of two classes united in struggle see, united in that sense. They’re tied together in struggle.” A lot of people feel, always feel a little more comfortable with the bourgeoisie around, They feel that somehow their democratic rights may be preserved better with the ruling class around than with the workers. Socialism is good but let’s not freeze everybody out. So let’s have this one, let’s have that one – and all the groups they mentioned are all bourgeois groups all controlled by the ruling class – “Oh they’re workers, they happen to have some funny ideas.” Yeh, baloney, this concept was more developed and put forward in a more powerful and sophisticated way by Togliatti (who died a number of years ago) and if you want to read about it, those of you who are interested in such matters, if you want to get a much more polished, explicit, definitive explanation of this question read Togliatti because that was the line of the revisionists of this period. Parties taking power together with the bourgeoisie, shared power. Personally speaking, I’m selfish. I don’t want to share power with the bourgeoisie. I don’t want to, I only want them in one place – underground. I don’t feel that I have all that much democracy around me now that’s all. I don’t have friends in high places. I feel my friends are here willy nilly and in the shops etc. I feel happy with them. That’s right we step on each other’s toes, we commit injustices to one another, but you know some how or other I think we can resolve those contradictions in the long run. But with the other guys I don’t see any hope. I don’t see any hope of resolving these contradictions with them. I don’t see any way, how we can get along with them. And speaking personally I have no intentions of getting along with them. As far as I’m concerned if Nixon’s pneumonia turns into cancer that wouldn’t be so bad neither!
Now, I think that we have to realize that we can win, this is not some screwball idea and that victory is in our hands and that there’s nobody else to blame except us. That is to say we can develop a revolutionary movement. The masses have proven historically more than once, a hundred times, that they can be won to revolution and that they will engage in revolution and will persevere in revolution as long as it will take and that together we will learn how to do it better so to speak. Better. And that there’s nothing to be cynical about. There’s nothing to wail and moan about. There are only things to be objective about. If the old communist movement made errors, let’s learn what was useful in their practice and let’s discard what was harmful and let’s build on that. There’s a saying, you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. There’s no need for cynicism, there’s no need to share power, there’s no need to keep the bourgeoisie around.
There’s just no need for that at all. And if we’re going to get dialectical then let’s at least learn what the negation of negation is, and understand that its a positive concept. And that if you want to look it up in the dictionary it’s called sublimation and it means preserving and destroy. And that’s what we’re after. Some of our scholars in the party, our intellectuals, like to throw around these terms a little too loosely and dazzle the other school boys. And it won’t work. It only means what it means. It means what Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and the rest of them said it meant. And until you can come up with some-thing better, you’d better stick with that one. And I think that we have nothing to feel cynical about and basically everything to feel positive about. I’ve mentioned this before. The fact of the matter is that the way to progress, the way forward has always been identified with the communist movement. Communism has always been synonymous with advance and progress. In the last 75 years, more or less, give or take a few years, the working class has generally identified with socialism, with communism, with dictatorship of the proletariat as the way forward. Despite all the errors, none of them has rejected it, nobody has said we don’t want it. Only the bourgeoisie says they don’t want it. We are in the historical epoch of the development of socialism. That these setbacks are serious, that these defeats are serious is true. But they can and they will be reversed and the objective needs of the working class and people generally require socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat and that’s where the class struggle is going and that’s where we’d better be because we can win and we will.