Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

P.L.P. Third Convention

From the Third convention of the PLP held July 13-15 [1973] in N.Y.C.

Student Report

During the last few years? PLP, SDS and its friends have taken the initial steps in building a broad-based movement against racism. This struggle has centered on the fight against the racist ideology of Jensen, Herrnstein, Banfield and the practices that follow from this – budget cuts, sterilization, psychosurgery, racist unemployment etc. This has been the positive side of the party’s work among students in the past 2 years. On the other side we have generally failed to build the party in the course of this activity. This has been a sign of revisionism. A mass presence for the party on campus was not established, few students were recruited, the relation of the struggle against racism and revolution was not dome, and party agitation(C-D, PL mag, and forums) was at a low ebb. Working almost solely from within SDS has limited our ability to function on the campus and to broaden the united front against racism.

The main weakness in our work was not building the party. As one comrade put it the party’s line was “put under the table.” Our greatest task is to establish a mass communist presence on the campuses and to recruit students to the party. One immediate step is for student comrades to function as open communists. In most situations of fighting racism in the classroom we have stopped short of putting forward the party’s line. Also, we haven’t used the classroom struggles to recruit people to the party. In practice it’s been mainly us, alone, fighting the racist text instead of winning a group of students in the class to join the struggle and join the party.

The party will also build a mass presence on campus. This means more PLP forums and leaflets, getting teachers to use PLP literature, and having a schedule of party events. We also want to broaden out the party’s influence and build a massive anti-racist movement. SDS should be maintained and built as a student organization to fight racism but the party can’t be limited to just working in SDS. Party members should join other campus organizations(like newspapers, student govt., minority student organizations, graduate student groups, etc.) and try to win them to the anti-racism campaign. In this process we can win students directly to the party from these organizations. Our outlook must be to build the united front from below.

To improve our work on campus we need a specific, plan. This must include:
1) Issue at the start of each semester a schedule of party activities for the semester. This can include forums, movies, debates, teach-ins, dances, demonstrations. This schedule should be mass distributed on the campus.
2) Getting involved in the student gov’t, and the school newspaper. This might include running for elections, volunteering for a committee, Joining the newspaper or radio station, writing, a column or sending a letter to the paper.
3) Making plans for classroom struggle. If the teacher is hostile we should fight. If the teacher is friendly we should work with him or her to plan the course to spread the party’s ideas.
4) Planning a major teach-in against racism on each campus in the fall across the country where we have a presence.
5) Making a list of the people we plan to work with. This must include minority students. The leadership must constantly keep track of how our relations with these people is developing.
6) Building of an anti-racist struggle on campus. Our work in the newspaper, student govt, classroom the teach-in, Party agitation can all be used to build this struggle.

Amendments added at the Convention:

1.) The report should include our strategy of building a Worker-Student alliance. This has been one of the basic ideas of our strategy for a long time and it was not really a part of our discussion at the Convention.
2.) Also students should see themselves in a position to win workers to the party by meeting them, following them up, and involving then in the trade union work.
3.) Students should help spread the anti-racist campaign to workers.
4.) There should be more discussion of how to use Challenge-Desafio to build the party on the campuses.
5.) There has to be an emphasis on recruiting many more Minority students to SDS and the Party.
6.) The students should be involved wherever possible with foreign students. This is a concrete way that we can get the line of the party to other people in other countries. This is dealt with also in the report from the International Workshop.