Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Unified and Strong: October League Holds 2nd Congress

First Published: The Call, Vol. I, No. 11, August 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Delegates from every region of the country attended the Second National Congress of the October League, Marxist-Leninist in July and adopted two resolutions; one on the struggle of the Afro-American people, and another calling for increased organizing efforts within the trade unions.

The October League, a multi-national organization was formed last May, 1972 when the Los Angeles-based October League merged with the Georgia Communist League of Atlanta. Since that time, the October League has expanded to every major region of the country and has become a significant force in the young emerging communist movement in the United States.


The Congress was convened with opening remarks by the October League Chairman, Michael Klonsky, who pointed out several examples of the excellent revolutionary situation in the world today. Klonsky emphasized that the great victories of the Vietnamese and other Indo-chinese peoples, as well as the sharpening divisions between different monopolists and imperialist countries had produced favorable conditions for the growth of the young communist movement.

Klonsky said, “This shows the unity of interests between the struggles of the oppressed nations for liberation and the struggles of the working class in the capitalist countries.” He added that support for the national liberation movements by the working class in the oppressor nations was the ”cornerstone of proletarian internationalism and the cornerstone of the October League’s program and policies.”

Klonsky, however, warned that these favorable conditions could change at any time and that the aggressive and fascist character of the imperialists would never change. Pointing out how the imperialists arc trying to isolate the young communist movement from the working-class, he added that “while revisionism (right opportunism) is the main ideological danger facing the world struggle for socialism, the main danger to the young communist movement in the U.S. is ultra-leftism.”

Keynote speaker at the Congress was Odis Hyde, a veteran Black worker from Oakland, and a long-time fighter for the working class and the rights of Black people. Hyde recalled the role of communists in building the trade-union movement in the U.S. and pointed out that the sell-out actions of the present leadership was a disgrace to the memory of the many fallen martyrs who gave their lives to organize the working-class. He cited I. W. Abel’s no-strike pact with the steel companies as the best example of this betrayal.

Hyde also pointed out the importance of the struggle between two lines in the development of every communist organization and emphasized the need to oppose revisionism and Trotskyism at every step along the way.


The resolution on The Struggle of the Afro-American People in the U.S., as adopted by the Congress, traced the development of the Afro-American people as a nation over a period of several hundred years in the “’plantation area of the South.” The resolution support ed the right of self-determination, up to and including the right to secession, while urging continued support and leadership in the democratic struggles of Black people.

The resolution referred to Black people outside of the “Black Belt” area of the South as “an oppressed national minority” who had been ripped from their land and driven into the ghettoes of the north, it pointed out that the Afro-American people had been transformed from a nation of share-croppers and small farmers into a people comprised mostly of industrial workers. Further more, it added that the advance of industrialization alone could not wipe out the national oppression of Black people nor liquidate their struggle for democratic and national rights.

The resolution called for communists to build the united front struggle of Black people to be led by the working class and to forge unity between the Afro-American struggle and the general workers’ movement. It characterized the common enemy of both movements as the monopoly-capitalist ruling class, and the common goal the overthrow of U.S. imperialism and the establishment of socialism.

Special emphasis was placed on work among white workers in order to combat white chauvinism and to win support for the democratic struggles of the minorities. The resolution also stressed the unity between the different nationally-oppressed peoples.

The resolution criticized the Communist Party, USA as the main opportunist force within the Black Liberation struggle and attacked their attempts to steer the movement towards reformism and reliance on liberals and electoral struggles.

It also condemned “leftist” attempts to liquidate the national struggle of Black people, either under the banner of separatist slogans such as “Free the Negro Nation” or along lines which distort Marxism, like “Proletarian Nation” and “Nation of a New Type,” all of which weaken the united front, destroy Black unity and drive a wedge between Black workers and white workers.

The Congress then adopted a Labor Resolution which underscored the importance of work within the trade unions and criticized “ultra-leftists” who, under the slogan of “united front from below,” abandon the unions to the reactionary union leadership.


The resolution stressed the need to organize the left and progressive forces within the labor movement and the need to struggle within the unions for revolutionary leadership against the labor aristocrats. It pointed to the work the OL has done over the past year in organizing large, militant rank-and-file caucuses; organizing non-union shops; as well as participating and leading workers struggles in the South.

Special emphasis was placed on the role of Black and Latino workers as the main force in combatting the class-collaborationist and chauvinist policies of the reactionary trade-union leadership. In addition, the resolution proposed the organization and development of various types of city-wide, intermediate workers’ organizations.

A special presentation was given the Congress on the history of the Chicano peoples’ struggle in the Southwest which traced the expansion of U. S. imperialism from the Mexican War to the present oppression of the people of Mexican ancestry with the expansion to the west. It also showed how the Chicano and Mexican people have always opposed this “Manifest Destiny” policy from the early revolutionary movements in Mexico to the present struggles of Chicano and Mexicano farmworkers and the surging movements against deportations.

The OL Congress was marked by a great spirit of unity throughout and a firm conviction that the next year would bring even greater victories for the world revolutionary movement.