First Published: New Worker, Vol. I, No. 2, July 1969
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The following document represents a key section of the report given by Comrade Jonathan Leake at the New York City Unity Conference which was held on June 21-22, 1969.
The overall experience of the building of the PRP, the internal struggle, and the split that resulted may be summed up as follows: Clarity is the only genuine basis for unity. Ideological clarity and a full airing of views within the Party must never be avoided or suspended, even if the unity of the Party or its leadership is threatened or disrupted. Revisionism, Trotskyism, opportunism, adventurism, and all other forms of bourgeois ideology can only be defeated by openly confronting and opposing them, by the Marxist-Leninist practice of criticism, self-criticism and mutua1-criticism.
This practice cannot be expected to emerge spontaneously, but must be a systematic, disciplined, and permanent feature of the internal life of the Party, carried on regularly by all sections of the Party, Under the direction of the Central Committee and the leading bodies of the Party.
There are no “pure” communists. All of us are born, raised, and educated in bourgeois society. All of us are subjected to the daily processes of indoctrination by all forms of the bourgeois media and culture which make us susceptible to the open, and more subtle, habits of thinking and action, to idealism, subjectivism, pragmatism, and dogmatism which are the ideological basis for revisionism and Trotskyism, which are the fertilizer, so to speak, which nourishes these ideas.
The experience of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which unmasked and defeated the revisionists and capitalist-roaders in the Party and State apparatus, has in China shown us the extent of the danger of bourgeois ideology within the revolutionary movement, and the need for constant vigilance at every stage of struggle. Even after the achievement of state power, in fact, especially after the achievement of the initial stages of socialist construction, the bourgeoisie attempts to halt the inevitable progress of society, to turn the clock back and restore capitalism, and it works at this not merely through the various left-over forms of bourgeois culture, habits, customs, etc. but within the Party of the proletariat itself, not simply at the level of the rank and file but at the highest levels of leadership.
As Comrade Mao Tse-tung has correctly pointed out, the contradictions within the Party, the struggle between the two lines, is also a specific form of the class struggle, a struggle between the proletarian revolutionary line, and the bourgeois reactionary line, which determines the direction of the Party, along the socialist road or the capitalist road. Of course, the bourgeois reactionary line within the Party, before or after the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, cannot be expected to openly declare its purpose and intentions; it must “wave the red flag to oppose the red flag,” and conceal its basic reactionary nature with “left” phrase-mongering and other opportunist tactics. In the periods of relative calm and stability, the bourgeois line expresses itself primarily as right opportunism, with a strategy of unprincipled alliances, conciliation to the bourgeoisie, the adoption of reformism, and the tail ending of phony ̶-;loyal opposition” groups.
This right opportunism relates directly to the petty-bourgeoisie, and springs from the tendency of the petty-bourgeoisie to maintain the temporary relative stability at all costs.
Right opportunism finds ready allies in the social-democracy and in the bureaucracy of the trade unions, as of capitalist society, which are well as the supposed liberals and progressives, the churches, the Intelligencia, decadent artists and cultural pimps and usually gives birth to various theories of “progressive capitalism” to the supposedly “exceptional” nature of capitalism, to coexistence and peaceful competition with the ruling-class, to praising sections of the capitalist class as “dynamic,” and other such drivel and garbage; in other words, the abandonment of the class struggle itself, the slackening and eventual abandonment of discipline in the Party and its struggles, and the transformation of the Party from a militant and advanced detachment of the proletariat into a degenerate and reactionary agent of the bourgeoisie. This is the historic path of the social-democracy, which brought the necessity for the construction of the Communist International and the split in the Russian Social-Democracy into the Bolshevik and Menshevik Parties, a totally principled split, without which the October Revolution and the founding of the first Dictatorship of the Proletariat, would never have been possible.
This path of right opportunism, taken by the modern revisionists led by Soviet revisionism, has led to the necessary construction of new and genuine Marxist-Leninist Parties throughout the world, many of these also based on the breaking away of the genuine Marxist-Leninist forces from the revisionist Parties, also principled divisions, without which there could not be the correct application and development of Marxism-Leninism as brought to an entirely new stage by Mao Tse-tung, the advanced form of scientific proletarian ideology in this age, “in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is heading for worldwide victory.”
In the periods of relative upsurge and the heightening of the class contradictions, the primary expression of the bourgeois line is “left” opportunism, specifically ultra-leftism and what Comrade Lenin correctly designated as the “infantile disorder,” left-wing communism. This left-opportunism relates to the sections of the petty-bourgeoisie which are directly feeling the hard ships of the continuing crisis continuing crisis of capitalist society, which are looking for “radicalism” and “extremism” of any variety, and also to sections of the lumpen-proletariat which have a natural tendency to adventurism and an aversion to discipline.
“Left” adventurism of this kind finds ready ideological and practical allies in the anarchists and spontaneists, and tends to spawn various ultra-leftist and super-revolutionary theories of “new classes,” of apocalyptic and mystical concepts of revolutionary struggle, and the glorification of terrorism and destruction. Like right opportunism, it causes lack of discipline and the disintegration of the democratic-centralist structure of the Party, it breaks mass organizations into roving rebel bands, the party from the level of struggle of the broad masses of the proletariat. Like right opportunism, it often limits itself to the specific interests of specific sections of the oppressed, and at a specific time, neglecting the need for the Party to address itself to the broad interests of the entire proletariat, taking into account stages of development at different times.
Trotskyism especially tends to combine aspects of right opportunism and left adventurism in a foul mixture that misleads and confuses, and leads to demoralization. However, as the experience of the great proletarian cultural revolution has shown, in this era, with genuine Marxist-Leninist revolutionary vanguard forces developing throughout the world, and the overall expression of the correct proletarian-revolutionary left line, the primary error and direction of the bourgeois line, within the proletariat and its political forces is the right opportunist line, but we must be constantly vigilant as regards the forms of right opportunism which take on a “left” guise, and Trotskyism is the cesspool from which this combination draws its main nourishment and support.
The split in the PRP was a principled split, arising from the irreconcilable contradictions between the proletarian revolutionary line, defending the living armed ideology of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung, and the bourgeois revolutionary line attempting to formulate a grotesque and impossible combination of genuine Marxism-Leninism with the pseudo-theories of the traitor Trotsky.
The experience of the struggle between the two lines in the PRP lays the basis for the unification of the proletarian revolutionary forces in the PRP with the main force representing Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought in the U.S.A. The comrades and cadres who have correctly upheld the line in the PRP have further evaluated and consolidated this experience, and look forward to joining the ranks of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. (Marxist-Leninist) with the full and open airing of views, rejecting a formalistic unity without clarity, but assured of the potential and necessity of this unification, based on the common acceptance of the correct and unwavering world leadership of all genuine, revolutionary struggles, the great and glorious Communist Party of China led by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, and the Albanian Party of Labor, led by Comrade Enver Hoxha.
Rejecting not only the revisionists and Trotskyists of the CP, SWP, etc. and their total bankruptcy, but also the conciliators of revisionism, the PLP and other tendencies posing as “Marxist-Leninist,” the genuine, Marxist-Leninist sections of the PRP have initiated contact with C.P.U.S.A. (M-L) towards this unification, and we have been filled with enthusiasm at the response of the comrades of the C.P.U.S.A. (M-L) who have proposed a conference towards this unification.