Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist)

How we are building an Actual Struggle Unit of the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist) Part One

Published: North America News, June 3, 1972.
Reprinted: People’s Canada Daily News Release, June 29, 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Toronto (PCDN) June 26 – North America News, dated June 3, 1972, printed an article entitled “How We Are Building An Actual Struggle Unit of the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist)”. This is part one of an enlarged and revised portion of the report given by the representative of the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist) at the first session of the conference of the Buffalo Student Movement, “Uphold the Revolutionary Aspirations of the American Proletariat”, held April 23 to 19, 1972. The text of the article as printed in North America News follows:

* * *

The lifeline of our work is putting MAO TSE-TUNG THOUGHT in command, following the Internationalist method of work, and implementing the overall political-organizational line of the ACWM (M-L) and adhering closely to and translating into program the correct policy formulated at the first National Committee meeting of the ACWM: THE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS HAS HIGH ASPIRATIONS. Whenever we have adhered to this policy and in light of local conditions adopted specific policies in line with firing the broad masses with the conviction to fight for their genuine, proletarian aspirations and to go against everything moribund and decadent, that is all the fascist and social-fascist lines that block our achieving our aspirations for a socialist and Communist America; whenever we have created a revolutionary atmosphere for implementing both the overall and specific policies, and worked hard for a definite period of time with a definite plan we have learned various methods for implementing the policy and changing the situation locally.

When we arrived on the local scene, the holy alliance of the so-called left including old and new style trotskyites, old and new style revisionists, old and new style chance intellectuals,“new lefts”, etc., were standing on the sidelines gesticulating and criticising the broad masses for not being active in joining their bureaucracies to fight for impossible, social-fascist reforms in their so-called “self-interest” – today, the holy alliance is standing on the sidelines widely gesticulating and viciously attacking the revolutionaries and the broad masses for talking about and actually organizing for ANTI-FASCIST REVOLUTION. What we did was to boldly declare: “All Bourgeois Ideas Are Dead – Only the Revolutionary Ideas of the Broad Masses Are Alive” – and we left the holy alliance to rot. We dared to RELY SOLELY ON THE BROADEST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE and dared to make BUILDING THE PARTY on the basis of MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT primary and everything else secondary. The masses are marching forward over the stinking hulks of the holy alliance. To be sure they come around sometimes to foul up the air but every time this only gives rise to fresh revolutionary energy and a vigorous atmosphere of ideological and political struggle on a principled basis and we have used their attacks to heighten the political consciousness of the revolutionaries and the broad masses and dared to build the communist organization, interally and externally, on the strength of each upsurge. A young but a new and definite trend is being established to BUILD THE PARTY and AROUSE THE MASSES.

All our comrades have been somewhat surprised by the massiveness of the present upsurge and on the other hand somewhat sluggish to organize this upsurge. This shows the presence of considerable idealist thinking still amongst us. Comrades, our principle lesson is that this is a real world and that in this real world our people have a most real and genuine aspiration to overthrow oppression and participate in the liberation of mankind. Our principles, policies, line and methods of work are reflections of this aspiration and must represent what is new and coming into being in America. The line of the holy alliance within our own ranks is to doubt or intellectualize about these definite aspects of this real world or to agree in theory but not in practice; that is to refuse to do the practical work necessary, on the basis of very definite guidelines, to BUILD THE PARTY and AROUSE THE MASSES.

We started as a DIRECTED STRUGGLE UNIT sent by the centre to start communist work in a new area. At first, we undertook investigation and agreed that, on the one hand, we should propagate among the people, in the course of our investigation, the over-all political line of the ACWM and on the other hand only listen and learn from the masses about local conditions. The first struggle in our group was over propagating the general line. The negative line confused our discipline of starting communist work at a low level with not starting at all. We held: “How can we analyze class attitudes towards revolution and the masses experience in struggle unless we propagate the over-all line of ACWM (M-L)?” Following this line we not only analyzed local conditions but created public opinion in support of our over-all political line. On the basis of our analysis we made an over-all plan for changing the situation locally and adopted definite specific, policies for implementing the over-all political-organizational line of ACWM (M-L)

At first, we started to build a discussion group dealing with the primary problem facing the masses in that area, Because we had no agitational organ and could only do mass work among a relatively limited section of the masses, some comrades neglected to build this discussion group. We held that this group was an embryo of the local communist organization and was in fact the only revolutionary ideological and political center which was arousing and serving the mass movement in our local area. It was through this group that we built unity of thinking and unity of action among our comrades. We said not to carry out propaganda on this basis was extreme rightism and following the idealist line of making correct political line a matter of discussion or personal taste. On this basis we mobilized the genuine revolutionaries to take action and rely on the maximum majority of the people to support and build the group. We found that the erroneous comrades were intent upon solving problems other than Party building – they would claim the main problem was waging struggle in some particular area or dealing with the antics of a particular holy alliance clique. We showed through our own practice that “Without a revolutionary Party, there can be no revolutionary movement.” Only where we paid primary attention to propagating the line of the discussion group and the over-all line of ACWM(M-L) were conditions created to initiate and carry through genuine revolutionary struggles against the enemy. At the same time we constantly participated in the life and struggle of the masses and put into practice the guidelines to STRUGGLE AGAINST THE ENEMY TO UNITE THE PEOPLE and gave leadership to those who came forward in struggle, wherever ideological, political and organizational work had created the necessary material conditions. Class struggle moved ourselves, our supporters and the broad masses forward enormously but only where the soil had been tilled through painstaking, detailed and protracted work of UNITING THE PEOPLE TO STRUGGLE AGAINST THE ENEMY.

By this time class struggle was breaking out everywhere we went and we initiated a public communist organization. This was absolutely essential to consolidate our work internally and externally and to keep our work closely supervised by the masses. The negative line collapsed completely and opposed moving forward. We resolutely opposed communists declaring themselves passive liberals and waged sharp ideological struggle against the bourgeois individualist, line. We summed up that the positive and main line had always summed up experience from the standpoint of policy, analysing the methods used to implement our policy, and consciously and ceaselessly sought to move forward while the negative line refused to consciously participate in our formal meetings and outside the meetings spent all the time “analysing” why certain details were in “contradiction” with the policy and without ever taking our policy to the masses declared “things can’t change”, “I’m unclear what to do”, etc. We encouraged the comrade to do self-criticism and at the same time carry out disciplined work at a low level. This method was based on (1) We must have communist discipline, and (2) We are all young and willing to give up our bourgeois hang-ups to serve the revolution. Through this method we maintained the solidity`of the group and waged struggle against the bourgeois line and at the same time allowed the erroneous comrade to gain strength among the masses and through criticism and self-criticism.

The communist organization took up building the discussion group on a wide scale and developed a local organ of working class propaganda to train ourselves politically and build the discussion group. Both the group and the agitational work had an enormous effect in a relatively short period of time. On this basis, the organization also sponsored various meetings, open and closed, on questions facing the people and led struggle against fascism. The negative line wanted to neglect our basic program and ignore our policy and take up one action after another or one intellectual discussion after the other instead of turning our policy into a material force and organizing the people day by day on a conscious and disciplined basis. Right from the beginning we took up the question of building a leading group in the new discussion group by consolidating activists on the basis of applying MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT to sum up the political and ideological struggle taking place and using it as a guide for leading the practical movement. We took in new members, consolidated a new leading group in our organization and called a conference to sum up our work and bring it under the supervision of the masses.

Our guidelines are:

1) IDEOLOGICAL GUIDELINES: PAY ATTENTION TO THE POLICY, APPLY MASS LINE IN EVERYTHING. STRUGGLE AGAINST BOURGEOIS HANG-UPS, STUDY AND APPLY MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT IN A LIVING WAY – We started with general and over-all ideological work against fascism and moved to particular through the participation of the masses and the application of the mass line. By starting only from what we know and taking it to the masses and constantly summing up experience by analyzing our social practice we drew specific guidelines. The ideological struggle in our group was over whether or not correct lines come from the masses or from individuals divorced from the masses. We held that the anti-fascist revolution of the American working class and people is independent of any individual’s whims and that it is up to us to participate in this struggle by carrying our general propaganda against fascism building a discussion group to build the Party, and struggling against fascism ideologically and politically while the negative line held that all this may be true but “it is very difficult to follow the correct line”. In other words this line finds bourgeois individualism easy and proletarian revolution hard. In terms of study we advocated persistent study of Chairman Mao’s “Three Constantly Read Articles” in order to grasp firmly our basic orientation. In solving practical problems, we studied the Red Book. In each definite stage of the process of development of the political strength and development of the organization we advocated study of “On Contradiction” as a guide for summing up definite and concrete experience. We held that not to sum up class struggle on a regular basis and in light of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought was detached and at best non-revolutionary.

2) POLITICAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL GUIDELINES: Building the Party is primary and everything else is secondary. We followed the line of participating in the daily life and struggles of the masses while concentrating our attention on building conscious, Marxist-Leninist discussion and discussion groups among the masses. The discussion groups which must go on constantly and deal with the history and practical problems facing the masses in a systematic way are the core of building party organization. We initiated a united front discussion which dealt with the principle contradiction in that particular area and relied on the broadest majority to support it. For that work to be successful it is mast necessary to immediately begin to consolidate and train a leading group on the babis of MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT.

3) LEADERSHIP – all decisions of our group are taken collectively and generally after consultation with the broad masses. On that basis leadership leads in solving problems facing us and developing methods for implementing policy. Our leadership constantly carried out ideological and political work among unit members in tight of our policy and constantly analyzed his own experience in implementing the policy. We demystified the question of method of work by adhering to the guideline that if MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT truly commands our hearts and heads there can be no antagonism between theory and practice.

4) UPHOLD REVOLUTIONARY FORM – internally uphold the formal organizational discipline of conscious participation and implementation of definite decisions. Externally build mass democracy in which masses consciously deal with definite problems. In conversations, discussions or any activity always follow “action with analysis” in order to consciously carry out the policy of the group.

5) BUILD A BASIC PROGRAM – BUILD AN ACTION PROGRAM. Primary attention must be raid to building the PARTY and building the organs of working class propaganda. Building a discussion group, building a leading group and building the agitational organs are primary. Build an action program of mass democratic meetings, forums, denunciations, etc. on the basis of and in order to serve the basic program.