Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The truth about the relations between the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA and the Communist Party of Canada (M-L)

Letter of the NEC of the Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists to the NEC of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) December 1,1979

Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists
National Executive Committee
December 1, 1979

National Executive Committee
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

Dear fraternal comrades:

Our two Parties are fighters in the same trench against imperialism, revisionism and all sorts of opportunism. We have gone through thick and thin together. And this is not surprising in the least. The proletariat is an international class, and its parties in the individual countries are fighting contingents of the one international party of communism, of the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. The norms and relations between these contingents are regulated by the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

Today the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement is under tremendous attack from imperialism, revisionism and opportunism. Both internationally in general and in North America in particular the imperialists and revisionists are attempting to surround the proletariat and the Marxist-Leninist parties with a ring of fire. The “three worlders” and the international opportunist trend of Chinese revisionism are occupying one of the advance posts in this ring of fire. The struggle of the Marxist-Leninists against Chinese revisionism, “three worldsism” and so forth requires the closest international cooperation and the most serious and sober estimation.

Thus we are astonished by the recent action of the CPC(M-L) in selling the rights to the book by Jorge Palacios entitled Chile: An Attempt at “Historic Compromise” to the utterly corrupt and rotten to the core American neo-revisionist and “three worlder” sect known as the so-called “Revolutionary Communist Party of the U.S.A.” This act damaged the struggle against the “RCP, USA.” It helped pave the way to the U.S. tour by Jorge Palacios on the “RCP, USA” platform. Furthermore, the selling of the rights to this book was carried out without consultation with us. Indeed, it was carried out without even notifying us. It in fact amounted to a violation of the most elementary norms of fraternal relations between parties. And it shows an extreme underestimation of the struggle against opportunism in the U.S.

Therefore, in the interests of strengthening the relations between our two Parties and of strengthening the struggle against Chinese revisionism we are writing you this protest against the selling of the rights to the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA.” We stand for strengthening the relations between our two Parties. We believe that the cooperation of our two Parties in the struggle against imperialism and revisionism has great significance for North America. But the building and strengthening of our cooperation require that the problems and difficulties that emerge be dealt with straightforwardly, calmly and openly, they must be looked at square in the face. And the difficulties that have come up in this question of the selling of the rights to the Palacios book involve a major tactical blunder as well as a violation of principles. We hold that true friends are not those who sit still or who even applaud while errors are made, but those who have the deep love required to tell the truth even when it is unpleasant.

Now let us go into some details on the questions we are raising.


The selling of the rights to the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA” helped smooth the way to the Palacios tour of the U.S. This tour had great significance. With this tour, the RCP of Chile openly denounced its relations with the COUSML and publicly concluded an alliance with the “RCP, USA.” The RCP of Chile broke its relations with us in a very unprincipled manner. It never indicated via letter or discussions what was on its mind, but acted unilaterally and by surprise. Nevertheless, it is clear that it has broken relations with us because we stand for carrying the struggle against Chinese revisionism through to the end, because we have denounced Mao Zedong Thought, and because we defend socialist Albania. Meanwhile it has taken the very dangerous step of concluding an alliance with one section of the international opportunist trend of Chinese revisionism (namely, the “three worlder” sect, the “RCP, USA”) allegedly against the other sections. In fact, seeing the deepening of the struggle against Chinese revisionism with the condemnation by many parties of Mao Zedong Thought, the RCP of Chile has stopped halfway in the struggle against Chinese revisionism and even run back in panic into the arms of a section of the “three worlders.” Instead of carefully sorting out the issue of Mao Zedong Thought, it has instead gone onto a very dangerous anti-Marxist path and has picked out its alliance with the “RCP, USA” as a reward for the gangster-like anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian stands of this contemptible sect of Avakianite “three worlders.” We are in no hurry to come to a final conclusion on the RCP of Chile, and we hope that they desist from the path they have taken. It would be a pity and a loss to the international movement if this Party which has shed its blood in the struggle against reaction, does not stop and reconsider this very dangerous and slippery inclined slope that it has set foot on. But at the same time we refuse to compromise our principles; we refuse to take part in any alliance with “three worlders,” or to stop the struggle against Chinese revisionism. Indeed, continuing and carrying through the struggle against Chinese revisionism is our duty in order, among other reasons, to help the RCP of Chile.

The fact that the rights to the Palacios book were in the hands of CPC(M-L) was an obstacle to the Palacios tour. Such a thing could not prevent the RCP of Chile and the “RCP, USA” from seeking each other out, it could not by itself prevent the Palacios tour, but it was a definite obstacle, a definite thorn in the side of the “RCP, USA.” The agreements concerning this book were a complicated set of agreements between the RCP of Chile and the CPC(M-L), the RCP of Chile and COUSML, and CPC(M-L) and COUSML. As long as the rights for North America were held by CPC(M-L), then the fact the CPC(M-L) and COUSML were the Parties with the agreement with the RCP of Chile and responsible for the book would always be evident. This would be an embarrassment for the “RCP, USA” and indeed for any unprincipled change of relations by the RCP of Chile. It would expose more blatantly the RCP of Chile’s unprincipled dropping of relations with us and the establishment of relations with the “RCP, USA” and what that signified.

Once the rights to the book were sold, then the fact that the “RCP, USA” had the rights was used as the justification for the trip by the “People’s Front (Chicago).” It was said that the “RCP, USA” had gotten the rights by some means or other which were unknown to the “People’s Front (Chicago),” and so what could one do, etc., etc. The trip was made to appear natural in the eyes of the public. As well, the “RCP, USA’s” publishing of this book was used as a way to make it appear that the “RCP, USA,” which in actual fact had never done any work at all for the support of the resistance movement of the Chilean people, was actually a supporter and enthusiast of the solidarity movement. And it served as a way for the “RCP, USA” to cement its side of the alliance with the RCP of Chile. And it made it easier to present the issue as if the RCP of Chile had never had any relations with the COUSML.

Naturally, even if the CPC(M-L) had kept the rights to the book by Palacios, then of course this alone could not have stopped the alliance between the RCP of Chile and the “RCP, USA.” But CPC(M-L)’s holding of the rights to the book would have been a thorn in the sides of this alliance. By selling the rights, this thorn was removed. Moreover, the COUSML instead of the “RCP, USA” was put into a somewhat embarrassing position on the question of this book. And furthermore the CPC(M-L) puts itself in the apparent position of having worked with the “RCP, USA,” even though only on this transaction, even though for the present apparently neither the “RCP, USA” nor you yourself wish to publicize this particular transaction. And today, when the issue of “no united front with ’three worlders’” is such a burning issue, to even give the appearance of working with them when it is completely avoidable – even if only on a question of the rights to the book by Palacios – is a tactical blunder.


The selling of the rights to the book by Palacios was carried out without consultations with us and indeed without even notifying us.

The trip by Palacios and the alliance with the “RCP, USA” hits first and foremost at us. The selling of the book to the “RCP, USA” gives the “RCP, USA” a weapon which is being used first and foremost against us. In practice, the selling of the rights to this book took the book out of our hands and turned it over to the hands of the “RCP, USA.’’ Yet it was carried out without any consultations with us. You did not even notify us about it. Finally it came up in discussions in early November between our two Parties because our delegate, asked you a direct question about how the “RCP, USA” got the lights to the book.

To us, this lack of consultation is truly astonishing.

It is quite clear that the selling of the rights to the book was not simply an ordinary commercial operation related to the routine business dealings in the book and pamphlet trade which are part and parcel of the operation of the National Publications Centre. On the contrary, the selling of the rights to the book by Palacios was first and foremost a political act. And this act involved a political significance that affected us, first and foremost, although it has a general international significance too. The selling of the rights to the book by Palacios involved a contact with the “RCP, US A,” and this was objectively a political contact, not just a run-of-the-mill business dealing.

We would have firmly believed that you would not undertake such an act without our approval, since it affected us first and foremost, but you have not even notified us. We believe that when our fraternal comrades are undertaking actions in the U.S., they have an obligation to consult with the Marxist-Leninist Party in the U.S. Our two Parties may not always agree on certain tactical issues, but that does not give you the right to unilaterally undertake actions such as the selling of the rights to the Palacios book that affect us first and foremost and undermine our stands and struggle. It shows how much this act violates the elementary norms of fraternal relations, that it is an act in which you fail to even consult us even though it concerns a dealing with a group that you hate, namely, the “three worlders” of the “RCP, USA.”

This question of consultation and cooperation is, in our view, one of the most important questions of principle involved in the issue of the selling of the rights to the Palacios book to the “RCP, USA.” This question of consultation and cooperation is important in itself in the strengthening of the relations between our two Parties. But it is also important in particular in the question of the struggle against revisionism and opportunism. We hold that there should be cooperation between our two Parties in the struggle against opportunism. This cooperation can be a tremendous force on which the opportunists will break their teeth in vain.


Furthermore, the act of selling the rights to the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA” shows an extreme underestimation on the part of the NEC of the CPC(M-L) for the struggle that the COUSML is waging against the American opportunists. The selling of the rights to the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA” is related to your wrong assessment of our polemical struggle against the “RCP, USA.” For some time now you have been taking a hostile attitude to the polemics against the “RCP, USA,” to the polemics showing that U.S. neo-revisionism is the American expression of the international opportunist trend of Chinese revisionism, etc. You have not publicly supported them while privately you have constantly opposed them. This has amazed us. Your comments on our work have not been directed towards helping us to carry out the polemical struggle more vigorously, but have been directed towards casting doubt on this struggle. Thus your remarks have not been a motive force for the further development of the struggle, as fraternal criticism should be, but have served as a damper on the struggle. It appears that you underestimate the struggle against the American opportunists. Indeed, over the last period you have floated informally to us and in fact urged upon us insistently, if in an offhand manner, a number of theses directed against the polemical struggle against the opportunists.

(A) First of all, you began by opposition to the struggle against the forces that might roughly be called “centrist.” You began to express opposition to our polemics on the occasion of the publishing of the article “How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” in The Workers’ Advocate of February, 1978. This article began the open polemical struggle against the “obstacles in the struggle against social-chauvinism,” that is, against what might be called “centrism.” You opposed the attack in this article on “idealist anti-revisionism.” With respect to our pamphlet Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC, you advocated that the only issue on which this miserable sect of “Klonskyites without Klonsky,” the MLOC should be openly opposed on was on vacillation on certain theses of “three worldsism.” According to your view of the time, only open “three worldsism” or direct vacillation should be attacked. Nor did our pamphlet Why did the “RCP, USA” Split? of March, 1978 meet with your approval. Picking out this or that issue, you also opposed it. Under one pretext or other you opposed all the attacks on what might be called the “centrist forces.”

(B) From opposition to the struggle against what might be called the “centrist” forces, you passed over to reconsidering your stand on our struggle against the open social-chauvinists and “three worlders.” You advocated to us insistently that the issue was that we should not be opposing the local American opportunists in public polemics at all, but dealing with international issues. In your view, these two things were two mutually exclusive categories which you counterposed to each other. This you advocated to us as a matter of principle. On this question you have informally but very sternly floated to us a number of different theses, which however all agree with each other in counterposing the struggle against the domestic opportunists to the question of the international struggle against revisionism; and counterposing the struggle against revisionism to the elaboration of Marxism-Leninism and the defense of its purity.

It should be recalled that at the end of 1976 our two organizations agreed, on your suggestion, to a certain tactical coordination in the struggle against Chinese revisionism. You were to openly take on the Chinese revisionists, while we were to refrain from openly attacking them and to instead continue the attack on the domestic social-chauvinists (Klonskyites and co.). Of course, in attacking the domestic social-chauvinists we did not refrain from sharply attacking the “three worlds” theory, nor did we refrain from, at the proper time, passing over to the open attack on the Chinese revisionists themselves. The tactics you suggested were very successful and we have to this day been very satisfied with the results of this temporary tactic suggested by you. But naturally, the proposal of such a tactic even temporarily means that it could not be a principle to not attack the domestic opportunists. Today of course we continue to attack openly both the domestic opportunists and the Chinese revisionists (and other international revisionist and opportunist trends).

For that matter, the CPC(M-L) made a number of suggestions to us in 1976 and 1977 in regard to attacking the Klonskyites. We enthusiastically took up various suggestions from the CPC(M-L) concerning this struggle and to this day have been very happy with the results and with the wisdom of the original suggestions.

Nevertheless, later on you made it into a principle that it is a mistake to deal with the domestic opportunists. Most recently, you have retracted the absolute opposition to such attacks. (Naturally it is impossible in practice to refuse to attack the opportunists over a long period of time – the issue is thus how the opportunists are attacked. There can be good polemics and there can be miserable polemics, but without committing suicide it is not possible to avoid all polemics.) But you still have maintained to us that such attacks should have a certain very restricted role, that they should only expose certain misdeeds of the opportunists, with the idea of the misdeeds of the opportunists or their role apparently regarded rather narrowly. Thus you still counterpose the polemics against the domestic opportunists to articles on international issues and to the elaboration of Marxism-Leninism.

(C) You have also opposed the slogan “Build the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social-Chauvinists and Against the Social-Chauvinists.” (But you waited until we had gone public with this slogan to oppose it, although we had consulted with you ahead of time.) You have opposed this slogan so vehemently that you have let it get in the way of giving public support to our campaign to found the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA. You have opposed the slogan by the means of counterposing the struggle against the opportunists to the other work in building the Party. You have gone to the extreme of insisting that the slogan of “Build the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social-Chauvinists and Against the Social-Chauvinists” is in fact in your view a manifestation of Chinese revisionism and the Chinese revisionist type of “two-line struggle.” It is hard for us to express our sheer astonishment at seeing that our struggle against revisionism is denounced as a manifestation of the ideology of Chinese revisionism. Our denunciation of Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought and of its theory of “two (or many) headquarters in the party” is not that it fights revisionism too hard, but that it conciliates revisionism and is opposed to the principled struggle against revisionism. The errors and monstrous crimes of the Chinese revisionists did not stem from fighting revisionism too hard or from issuing too many public polemics against Khrushchovite revisionism. The Chinese revisionists did not fail to take a sound Marxist-Leninist stand because they were too busy waging a polemical struggle. On the contrary, the failure of the Chinese to wage a stern, consistent, protracted struggle against the Khrushchovite revisionists, including the open polemical struggle, was and is one of the glaring manifestations of their failure to base themselves on the sound, principled positions of Marxism-Leninism. It was one of the manifestations of their failure to defend the purity of Marxism-Leninism. The theory of Mao Zedong of the “many headquarters in the party” was not a theory to justify fighting too hard against revisionism, but a theory to justify a liberal, conciliationist, social-democratic and nonchalant stand towards the defense of the purity of Marxism-Leninism, the defense of the monolithic unity of the party and the stern, unyielding struggle against the modern revisionists.

All these transcendental principles against the polemical struggle that you have urged us to follow were based on two things:
(a) counterposing one thing to another, the struggle against the domestic opportunists to the struggle on the burning international issues, the polemical struggle to the elaboration of Marxism-Leninism, the struggle against opportunism to the struggle for the building and strengthening of the party, and so forth; and
(b) an underestimation of the struggle against opportunism in the U.S., an underestimation based on general, abstract, high-sounding principles and devoid of a serious, detailed consideration of the struggle here, which is brushed off in an offhand manner.

It is our view that these principles that you are urging on us would amount to, if taken to their logical conclusion and followed consistently, conciliation. We have expressed this assessment to you previously. We believe that your act of selling the rights of the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA” is a verification of the accuracy of our views on the general direction in which the principles you are urging on us can lead, if taken to their logical conclusion, if errors are allowed to grow.


The selling of the rights to the Palacios book to the “RCP, USA” is also a tactical blunder when regarded from the point of view of the international struggle in general and not just that in North America.

First of all, we wish to stress that time has shown that the polemics we launched against the domestic American opportunists were well-chosen and did raise the burning international issues. This has been verified to the extent that even the groups that we hit at proved to be of significance internationally. For example in 1979 it has become crystal clear to everyone that both the “RCP, USA” and the Barry Weisberg MLOC/“CPUSA(ML)” social-democratic sect, even when taken just in themselves, have their international significance and that the duty of the COUSML to protect the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement included our duty to sound the alarm against these groups. And it is also crystal clear that without public polemics no real alarm could be sounded to the international communist movement.

But more on the “RCP, USA,” For some time and especially since the open condemnation of Mao Zedong Thought, an international trend has been attempting to form and crystallize itself. This trend or, to be more precise, jumble of forces trying to crystallize itself and align itself into a trend, can roughly be called “centrism.” For convenience, we shall call these forces the “centrists” in the rest of this letter. This trend is not crystallized yet. And it is having great difficulties. Its ideological and theoretical poverty can be seen in that it has had to stoop to pick up the “RCP, USA,” to begin an open alliance with the “RCP, USA,” and so forth. On its part, the “RCP, USA” has seen its opening and is trying to make contacts in the international movement. The “RCP, USA” says that it is translating its “theoretical” works on Mao Zedong Thought and sending them internationally and it is quite happy to try to come out as the standard-bearer of this “trend.”

By picking up the “RCP, USA” and rewarding it for its gangster-like anti-communist attacks on Comrade Enver Hoxha, the Party of Labor of Albania and Marxism-Leninism, the forces trying to form a centrist trend are committing a despicable act. Some of them may hypocritically insist on their loyalty to Albania, while standing on the platform next to the anti-Albanian gangsters of the “RCP, USA.” But it is not enough to see that such acts are despicable. There is yet a further point of great importance tactically. And that point is that the alliance with the “RCP, USA” is also an act of great desperation for the centrists, that it leads them to the brink of a great fiasco and self-exposure, and that the “RCP, USA” is a weak link for this trend trying to crystalize itself.

We hold that the alliance of the centrists with the “RCP, USA” should indeed be made into a total fiasco for the centrists, that it should be used to throw this would-be trend into greater disorder.

Why is the “RCP, USA” a weak link?

– First of all the “RCP, USA” is a “party” that has never done anything praiseworthy.

– The “RCP, USA” still holds to the “three worlds” theory. Furthermore, it admits that Mao Zedong is responsible for what it oh so delicately calls the “opening to the West” and for the allegedly good version of the “three worlds” theory. It also upholds most of the unofficial writings of Mao (except possibly Mao’s interviews with John Service and similar material – we shall see what stand the “RCP, USA” takes on them in the future).

– The centrists are using the “RCP, USA’s” attacks on Albania for their own purposes, but the knife can be pointed in the other direction. The “RCP, USA’s” nauseating attacks on Albania can be used to discredit centrism, especially now when many centrists are not yet prepared to come out into the open with all-out attacks on Albania.

– The “RCP, USA” is opposed in its own country by the dedicated Marxist-Leninists of the COUSML, who know the “RCP, USA” at close range and have the enthusiasm and the ability to strike heavy blows at them.

Thus at the present time an international condemnation of the “three worldsism” and the gangster-like attacks on Albania of the “RCP, USA” would put certain opportunist forces into disarray. It would give certain forces who have set foot on the dangerous inclined slope of centrism the maximum opportunity to reconsider this dangerous anti-Marxist path they have set out upon. But independently of what happens to the centrists or to any forces flirting with centrism, such a condemnation of the “RCP, USA” would give an impetus to the struggle against centrism.

But to sell the rights of the Palacios book to the “RCP, USA” and to underestimate the struggle of the COUSML against the “RCP, USA,” instead of recognizing the significance of the fight against the “RCP, USA,” amounts to:

– Taking the “RCP, USA” and its friends off the hook and to fail to go all out to fight the infiltration of the “RCP, USA” into the international movement as an allegedly legitimate force with the same rights and prestige as anyone else.

– Helping the “RCP, USA” to find a way to promote itself internationally, especially among certain forces in Latin America which are still considering the question of Mao Zedong Thought and which have respect for the RCP of Chile, although they do not presently follow the position of the RCP of Chile.

– Taking off the hook all those who, by allying with the “RCP, USA,” are allying with one section of the “three worlders” allegedly against the other section.

– Shifting the point of attack to those forces among the centrists with more prestige and who may have accomplished some merit-worthy deeds in the past and who may indeed in some cases still not have revealed whether they will degenerate all the way or turn back. Thus it is shifting the attack away from the weak link of the centrists, a weak link which is completely black.

– Possibly to replace the denunciation of the “RCP, USA” with a premature precipitation of an open break with certain forces that should be allowed time to come to their senses, although (a) without refusing to fight their errors in the meantime; (b) without excessive expectations of change on their part; and (c) without ceasing the ideological clarification that is so vital at this time of confusion and disarray internationally – indeed, this ideological work should be stepped up and for one thing the centrists should be stuck to the wall by condemning alliances with the “three worlders” like the “RCP, USA.” while at the same time the ideological clarification of all the issues related to Mao Zedong Thought, Chinese revisionism, etc., should be stepped up. Here we stress that it is not a matter of benevolence towards certain forces, of softness, but of not artificially inciting the struggle, and of instead patiently, coolheadedly leading the struggle onto the right path. It is also a matter that certain forces should be forced to expose their own dark acts by being in front of the whole world the author of the split between themselves and the Marxist-Leninists – this is a matter of tactics, but this tactic may also be interwoven with matters of principle, especially in regard to a proper attitude towards certain forces whose destiny may not yet be determined.

This concludes our exposition of some of the issues involved in the sale of the rights of the book by Palacios to the “RCP, USA.” We have written this letter because we wish to resolve this issue and to strengthen the relations between our two Parties.

Deepest communist regards,
Joseph Green, for the National Executive Committee Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists