Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

100% opportunism, an argument to justify opportunism

First Published: In Struggle! No. 91, June 23, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Below we have the conclusion of the open letter that two ex-militants of the CC(ML) sent is concerning their group’s dissolution. For those who have not read the first part, see issue 90, p. 2 of the newspaper.

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The whole line reasoning in favour of the dissolution is based on the premise that the Communist Circle was a 100% opportunist group. Without quibbling about percentages, we would nonetheless like the League to define what it means by a “100% opportunist group”. It seems to us that it can only refer to a group in which the proletarian line is completely absent, in other words, , a counter-revolutionary group. Consequently, we do not understand how the League can explain that it acts differently with a so-called “100% opportunist” group, such as the Circle, and with a counter-revolutionary group, such as the CPC (M-L). Does the League place the 100%-opportunist groups somewhere halfway between The ML movement and the counter-revolutionary groups?

Fully consistent with its own conception of “100% opportunism”, the League negates the role of internal factors, of the struggle between the proletarian and bourgeois lines in the development of the NPE[1] and later of the Communist Circle. According to the League, the transformation of the NPE into the Communist Circle was nothing but a hoax to deceive the movement, “new paint on an old car”. And thus, according to the League, the Circle had been, and remained, incapable of change for it lacked the basis for change, i.e. internal factors, since the line struggle is, to all practical ends, non-existent in an opportunist group! And so the Circle had no other choice but to abandon itself, body and soul, to a M-L group. However, given that the Circle lacked the basis for change, how did it come to recognize its opportunist nature?

The answer is again very simple. Only external factors could bring the Circle to recognize that it had to dissolve. And what were these external factors? Why, the League, of course, because of its firmness in the struggle against opportunism in general and the opportunism of the Circle in particular.

As a matter of fact, according to the League if the Circle survived for so long it is only because of another external factor, this time, IN STRUGGLE!, which by compromising with the Circle’s opportunism, encouraged it, The League’s reasoning is not incoherent. The problem however, is that it has no more relationship to reality than it has to the laws of dialectics. Our position is that the Circle was part of the M.L. movement. We believe, contrary to what the League says, that the setting up of the Communist Circle did represent a real attempt to break with the NPE. The Circle broke with the NPE even if the break was not complete and if many of the past errors of the NPE survived in the Circle. And thus, for lack of having completely self-criticized its past errors, of which small-groupism was not the least, a tendency that secretly cherished the dream of developing the Circle into a full-fledged organization at the head of the movement, was able to gain strength after the setting up of the Circle.

By not openly identifying itself, this tendancy dominated the Circle. It was the principal bearer of intellectualism and theoreticism within the Circle and it was at the source of the erroneous positions of the group on, among other things, the building of the Party and on agitation and propaganda. What the League and the leadership of the Circle refused to acknowledge was that this line was beginning to be questioned within the Circle and that it had been consistently losing in strength from November on. The conception of agitation-propaganda, the conception of the role of theory and its relationship to practice as put forward in the Circle’s Documents, as well as the Circle’s criticisms of the League and IN STRUGGLE! as put forward at the first national Conference were increasingly being put into question within the group. Moreover, we believe that far from promoting the development of opportunism within the Circle, the group’s participation both in the October 9 Conference and in the October 14 regional coalition, instead had the effect of forcing the bourgeois line out into the open, and this contributed to its fall [2]. By December, the Circle was paralysed. The leadership, whose internal divisions were hidden from the members as a whole, was no longer capable of directing and leading the Circle. The League’s intervention came at a time when the Circle’s internal contradictions were the sharpest possible and the bourgeois line had “its back up against the wall”. So it capitulated and the leadership was “unanimous” in proposing dissolution. Far from being secondary, internal factors were decisive in the Circle’s dissolution.

A dissolution which avoids self-criticism

The dissolution of the Circle as it took place was not a good thing. It amounted to a disguised, and therefore opportunist, rallying. The League took advantage of internal factors which played in favour of such a dissolution. By basing itself on the bourgeois line within the Circle and on a leadership that displayed total contempt for the masses within the Circle, and preferred to propose dissolution of the group rather than facing a line struggle, and by relying on the legitimate aspirations of Circle members in their practices rather than relying on their conciousness and their capacity to wage the line struggle, the League destroyed the Circle in order to pick up the pieces.

All the League’s fancy and pompous works about its firm struggle against opportunism cannot hide the reality of that situation. The process of dissolution/ self-criticism is one that, in fact, avoids true self-criticism. The Circle stole away from the movement’s criticism, thus getting around answering to the movement for its errors on the pretext that it was not, indeed, a part of the movement.

The dissolution of the Circle is not a victory over opportunism but a victory for opportunism.

Two ex-members of the Communist Circle (M-L)


[1] NPE: Noyau des Petites Eotreprtses Collective whose line was similar to that of the RCT and who later formed (in 1976) the CC (ML).

[2] It should also be noted that the meetings with IN STRUGGLE! that were at the origin of the CC(ML)’s criticism were interrupted by the leadership of the CCL(ML).