Written: October 13, 1975
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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MIA Introduction: This is a letter written by Mort Scheer, a founder and long-time leader of Progressive Labor, to Tucson Marxist-Leninists in response to a query about the relationship between the early Progressive Labor Movement (PLM) and earlier and contemporary U.S. anti-revisionists.
Oct 13, 1975
I received your letter – sorry for the delay in answering sooner. Hope, however, that youíve received the material you requested.
Glad you’re writing a history of the anti-revisionist movement in the U.S. Hope that it will prove to be a useful weapon in the further development of the communist movement.
Concerning some of the questions you posed, while we heard of “Turning Point,” to the best of our knowledge none of their forces joined PL – certainly there was no merger as such. As for the “Anti-Thesis” group, there were not a split-off from PL but mainly were affiliated with the Hammer & Steel group.
Some of the earlier members of PLM had split from the P.O.C. but they were only a few. We had some initial contacts with P.O.C. but never a perspective of either joining or merging with it. They were too “backward” looking – i.e., didnít focus on building a new party, with new forces. Many – like Al Lannon – former National Committee leader of the CP and leader in POC still viewed S.U. and Khrushchev as revolutionary communist center. We paid very little attention to the P. O. C. and had little to say about it.
The handful of comrades that came out of the CP to form PL had a history of struggle inside the old Party only since the 20th Congress (1956). The base of the group was primarily in Buffalo and in NY industrial clubs. We realize that many details were left out in the article [“The History of the Progressive Labor Party – Part One,” in Progressive Labor August-September 1975 – MIA] which is not book length of course. The details can be filled in and if you have specific questions, please feel free to contact me.