Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

May Day 1972: Four years of Growth and Struggle

Published: People’s Tribune, n.d.
Reprinted: People’s Canada Daily News Release, June 26, 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Toronto (PCDN ) June 26, 1972 – A recent issue of People’s Tribune, the political paper of the Communist League, printed the text of a speech given in Los Angeles, California by a leading member of the Communist League on May Day of this year. The full text of the speech, as printed in People’s Tribune, follows:

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Dear Comrades and Friends:

This May Day, 1972 has a real special significance for the revolutionary movement and especially for the Communist League. Today we are celebrating our 4th May Day, and it has been the culmination of four solid years of growth and struggle. May Day is always a day of summing up experiences and pointing out the path of future development.

What is the international situation on this May Day of 1972. First of all, we absolutely endorse the statement of the Chinese Communist Party that we are living in the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world wide victory. This is the motion of history. It is the principle aspect of the social struggle today. However, understanding the principle aspect alone gives us a one-sided view of the process of motion. We need to examine the other aspects and find out how the one influences the other.

The pattern of international struggle that has been developed over the past twenty years still holds, although there are some obvious shifts in the center of political gravity. The wars raging throughout the colonial world between the peoples of the oppressed nations and the invading piratical imperialists form a frame of reference for the whole of the struggle. These wars are becoming sharper and more fierce, and consequently the resistance of the imperialists is becoming more frantic.

Heroic Asia is the storm center of the world revolution. The peoples of Vietnam hold the front lines in the struggle against imperialism. The savage attack by the Nixon gang against Haiphong and the burning of Hanoi is an indication of the weakness of US imperialism – not of their strength. The recent attacks on the whole on Indo-China only confirms the fact that the so-called Vietnamization of the war is a farce. The US imperialists have been whipped, are being whipped and will continue to be whipped as long as they keep up their attempts to invade and conquer these brave and fighting people.

The revolutionary movement is on the upsurge again in Africa. The liberation wars in Angola and Mozambique are arousing and agitating all of the African peoples. The days of the fascist regimes of Portugal and the union of South Africa are numbered. Not that these Hitler like gangs can be pushed aside at will (they cannot) but because the full military power of the imperialists of the US, France, and Great Britain stand behind these gangs. However, it is evident that the present trend in Africa is irreversible and the developing struggle cannot end but with the liberation of the African masses.

United States imperialism is the most powerful and aggressive imperialism in world history. It has gathered around it, subservient to it and dependent upon it every type of old and new imperialism in the world. Every feudalist butcher in the world survives today only by the grace of the US imperialists. It is clear that every liberation struggle in the colonial world of Africa, Asia and Latin America is directed first and foremost at the US imperialists.

We have to estimate our struggles against US imperialism as a part of the international struggle, and hence our position is one of strength, not the weakness that is reflected by our numbers, but the strength of our position and connections with the international movement. That movement today represents the greatest coming together of revolutionary strength in the history of the world. In the historical sense we have nothing to fear from the imperialists. However, there is a new tactic by international revisionism that is being injected into the political thinking of the movement. That tactic is the old “Lulling to sleep” game. Today, the CPUSA (Communist Party of the USA) is pushing the line that the “HOUSE OF IMPERIALISM IS CRUMBLING”. This line is the opposite side of the line they have been pushing for the past twenty years – a line that said US imperialism was so strong that it is senseless to struggle with it. Kruschev summed up the position of international revisionism when he said, “The US paper tiger has atomic teeth.” Such collaboration and grovelling at the feet of the imperialists naturally gave them an appearance of strength that they did not and do not possess.

Comrade Enver Hoxha the Bolshevik leader of the Albanian Party of Labor was quite correct when he stated:

Even now, when it sees its approaching doom, when it has strong and determined opponents such as the socialist camp and its great alliance with all the peoples of the world, US led world imperialism is mustering, organizing and arming its assault forces. It is preparing for war. He who fails to see this, is blind. He who sees it but covers it up is a traitor in the service of imperialism.

But we think that exaggerated, unrealistic optimism is not only bad but also harmful. He who denies, belittles, who has no faith in our great economic, political, military and moral strength is a defeatist and does not deserve to be called a communist. On the other hand, he who, intoxicated by our potential, disregards the strength of the opponents, thinking that the enemy has lost all hope, has become harmless, and is entirely at our mercy, he is not a realist. He bluffs, lulls mankind to sleep before all these complicated and very dangerous situations which demand very great vigilance from us all, which demand the heightening of the revolutionary drive of the masses, not its slackening, its disintegration, decomposition and relaxation. (speech delivered at the Meeting of 81 Communist and Workers Parties in Moscow,&Nov. 16, 1960.)

This comprehensive statement of Comrade Hoxha clearly describes the double edged sword that the revisionists are using – one edge to panic the masses and the other to lull them to sleep and slacken the struggle. Let us point out a few things – a few instances of the strength of the US imperialists and imperialism and then we will be able to deal with its weaknesses in an objective way.

At the risk of boring you with statistics we would like to point out a few facts, and then we can analyse these facts. First of all let’s examine the question of poverty among the peoples of the USNA (United States of North America) to give us some indication of the direction within the country. In 1959, 22.4% of the people of this country lived below the level of poverty. That rounded out to some 40 million persons – 29 million were “white” and eleven million were Negro and “others’! Or percentage wise it means that 18% of the “whites” and 56% of the Negroes lived below the level of poverty. However, in 1969 that figure had been reduced from 40 million to 24 million. Breaking it down it meant 16 million “whites” reduced from 29 million or from 18% to 10%. For the Negro people the number was reduced from 11 million to 7 million or from 56% to 32%. (US Dept. of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the US, 1971, Bureau of the Census, p. 291). Now, how do we account for these statistics? These figures are an indication of the looting of the colonial world. Like in old Rome – the taxation and looting of the provinces, provided the wherewithal to feed the idle sector of the urban population who in turn provided the soldiers and the: slave drivers for the empire. The truth of the matter is obvious! United States imperialism has considerably strengthened its position, while at the same time French, German, British, Japanese and Soviet imperialism have also strengthened their position relative to the US and also absolutely. Another indication of this fact is that in 1950, the Federal and state governments paid out a total of 2 billion 456 million dollars in welfare while in 1970 this figure was increased to 14 billion 467 million.(ibid) Not a bad amount of hush-mouth money for a system that is going bankrupt.

Not only is this gigantic increase in income and welfare an indication of the ability of the US imperialists to loot the colonies and even other imperialists, it is an indication of the level of bribery of the working class within the US. It would seem as if imperialism and imperialist bribery is a good thing if it steadily increases the living standards. Actually the standard of living has declined in this country since 1964. Furthermore, the temporary unity of the imperialists and certain sections of working class cannot be in the interests of the class. It is in the George Meany’s interests to go for the bribe. It hardly helps the unemployed in the industrial cities. Bribery is a tactic of the imperialists and therefore not in the interests of the workers. Look around you, Look at the moral, intellectual, and social shamble that we call our homeland. This crime ridden, drug infested, socially depraved society is the result of bribery of the class. Can anyone say that bribery is good for the class? The CPUSA says so and even fights for some more of,the bribe, never raising the slogans of internationalism.

We do not want to take a one-sided view of the capabilities of US imperialism. There is another, fatally weak side that we must examine, and construct our policies on.

We are living in a period that is politically very similar to the period when Great Britain had established a colonial monopoly and was bribing the working class into aquiesing to the policies of the imperialism rulers. The British Communist Party at that time collapsed as a revolutionary organization. Like us, the revolutionaries of that time were attempting to reconstruct a revolutionary Comniunist Party. Then they sought out Frederick Engels for his advice, he gave them some political advice that we must pay strict attention to today. First of all, Engels warned, that revolutionaries must not try to reconstruct the old Party. It was too compromised, too tied to imperialism. They had to build a new party that could take up the new tasks of the period. Secondly, othey must not try to use the old social base as the base on which to build the new Party. They had to go deeper into the masses and there build the party.

We have and are taking that advice. We are discovering,however, that there are different levels of understanding that advice, and from time to time it is necessary for us to re-state our understanding.

First of all we want to restate the Leninist understanding that the Party must be based on a particular section of the working class – the proletariat. And, we might say it must be based in that section of the proletariat that has the least ties to capitalism and therefore is in the social and economic pOsition to make the fight without compromising from social or economic pressures. That conception has been the guiding star of the League in our process of building the Party: We have never bent to the conceptions that we have to work amongst the Negro people as such or amongst the welfare recipients as such. We are struggling to base the League and the future party in the proletarian sections which are most actively engaged in the struggle against capitalism and are in such a position that they cannot disengage themselves It is from this point of view that we want to examine our social projections.

There are many confusions about what the proletariat is and who and where is the most oppressed and most exploited element. Some of the Left assume that the most oppressed and the most exploited elements are automatically the Negro people, the Puerto Rican peoples, the Mexican, Indian and other national minorities. On the surface this appears to be true. But because such an analysis leaves out the concepts of classes existing amongst the Negro people or the Mexican minority, such a shallow line inevitably leads to a veering toward the national bourgeoisie of these oppressed peoples. Furthermore, such an analysis gives only-formal recognition to the fact that there are sharp classes and class struggle amongst the Anglo-Americans. Again, it is the dry statistics that provide the water of life to the revolutionary program.

What do the facts tell us. Firstly that 8% of the Anglo-Americans and 20% of the Negroes earned less than $3,000 last year. And further, that 10% of the Anglo-Americans and 20% of the Negroes earned less than $5, 000 (ibid, p. 316 ). In a rough sense, this is the base for the revolution in the United States. In rough figures this would mean that about 32 million Anglo-Americans and 4 1/2 million Negroes fall into the under $5,000 category. At first glance at these figures, our conceptions are beginning to broaden. Let us go on – 1,500,000 Negroes and 35,000, 000 Anglo-Americans made over $15,000 per year. We can absolutely leave them out of our picture. Further, we see that the medium income for the Negro people in 1970, $6,191 is lower than the medium income of Anglo-Americans 15 years ago which was $6,332. Even from this rough picture we are beginning to see that there is a class oppression that is the leading factor in this country. The vast majority of the poor and oppressed people are Anglo-Americans. However, the most oppressed and the most exploited groups are the national minorities, the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Negro and other national minorities. It is obvious that we are going to have to walk on two legs. The urgent task of revolutionaries today is to unite the most oppressed and exploited section of the Anglo-American workers with the most oppressed and exploited section of the national minority workers and the whole with the revolutionary national liberation movements of the Negro, Puerto Rican, Mexican , Indian and other oppressed peoples. In short – to steer away from the shallow revisionism of the CPUSA where they say, “Unite the working class – Anglo-American = with the Negro liberation movement.” This chauvinist nonsense doesn’t begin to see that the first point is to unite the working class – in all its national aspects. Then, you will have automatically begun the second task. This is true because the historical evolvement of the Negro workers is such that the class demands and the national demands cannot be separated.

To the CPUSA the working class is Anglo-American and organized and the Negro, Mexican, Puerto Rican national minority workers and workers of the other minorities are members of the national liberation movement. They wonder – those of them who still wonder – how it is that they cannot move beyond the bourgeois concepts of racism.

We should point out that this week we received from the printers our comprehensive statement, the Negro National Colonial Question. This document is the most thorough, rounded and developed statement that has ever appeared in this country on this question, as far as we know. This is a statement of the CL – not of some big head, literally scores of comrades contributed to writing it and the entire League has contributed to financing and distributing it. Now that it is out, the battle is just beginning. We have to master that statement, it is the weapon with which to demolish the last bastion of the CPUSA, their fortress called racism.. This statement is sure to be a cornerstone of the political structure we are building.

On this May Day – the Communist League and all honest revolutionaries face the most critical tasks that have been faced by the revolutionary movement inside the US in the past 100 years. That task is to overcome the stifling resistance of revisionism and to build a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the United States of North America. In order to build such a Party, in order to struggle against the revisionism that is stifling and destroying the revolutionary movement, we have to know what it is that we are fighting and how it arises. Lenin teaches that revisionism is a system of liberal bourgeois theories within Marxism. It is an anti-Marxist trend within Marxism. Revisionism is imported into the working class and revolutionary movements. Its source is the liberal intellectuals who infest the movement, and the declassed petty-bourgeoisie who are being ruined in the struggle against monopolies. The concept that the bribed section of the working class is the well spring of revisionism is incorrect. This concept arises because a large proportion of the CPUSA workers who embrace revisionism are in this strata of the class. Furthermore, the highly skilled sector of the class is fertile soil for implanting revisionist ideas. But, if we are going to understand and carry out the struggle against revisionism it is imperative to understand its source. This period of crisis within Marxism and in the whole of the revolutionary movement is not the first crisis nor shall it be the last. History teaches us that the struggle against revisionism is an integral part of the struggle for the revolution. One cannot proceed without the other. It is from this point of view that Lenin wrote:

The question raised by the crisis within Marxism cannot be brushed aside. Nothing can be more pernicious or unprincipled than attempts to dismiss them by phrasemongering. Nothing is more important than to rally all Marxists who have realized the profundity of the crisis and the necessity of combating it, for defence of the theoretical foundations of Marxism and its basic propositions, which are being distorted from diametrically opposite sides by the spread of bourgeois influence to the various fellow travellers of Marxism.

The first three years awakened to the conscious participation in social life wide sections which, in many cases are now for the first time beginning to acquire a real acquaintance with Marxism. The bourgeois press is creating far more fallacious ideas on this score than ever before, and is disseminating them more widely. Disintegration in the Marxist ranks is particularly dangerous in this situation. Therefore, to understand the reasons for the inevitability of this disintegration at the present time and to close their ranks for consistent struggle against this disintegration is, in the most direct and precise meaning of the term, the task of the era for Marxists. (“Certain Features of the Historical Development of Marxism”, V.I. Lenin, from Against Revisionism, FLPH, Moscow 1959, p. 138.)

This is timely and wise advice and is the basis for the political projections of the League.

The Communist League is in the process of maturing, and that maturing is throwing us into collision with the revisionists in a different way, in a way that calls for mass exposure and repudiation. It is becoming very clear to us that the struggle against the revisionists is not some moral duty of Marxists-Leninists, but it is the life and death issue of the revolution,of the building of a Party. It has been stated since the late 1940’s that actually, Socialism is stronger than capitalism. However, the socialist camp has not been able to fully halt the international rampage of US imperialism despite this superior strength, because international revisionism consistantly saps that strength and constantly scatters and misdirects that strength. Coming to grips with imperialism is a political impossibility so long as revisionism remains in a strong international position.

We are reaching that point of our development where we have to lay plans and work out programs that lead to a confrontation with imperialism.History shows clearly that to resist confronting imperialism is to renounce revolutionary practice and to open the door to class collaboration and to revisionism. And what we are talking about is not the idealist revisionist conception of the few heroes liberating the masses, but a political organization that wins the position of Vanguard of the working class by its series of confrontation on behalf of the masses and finally side by side with the masses.

The first arena for this confrontation and struggle is to more firmly get into the international struggle of revolutionaries. By this time the majority of the left is aware of the role of the international revisionists. What seems to be lacking is the firm understanding that the international revisionists are the servants of imperialism and there is nothing that they can do that is progressive.

It is absolutely necessary to continue the great campaign of exposure that reached its high point during the Cultural Revolution in China. We have to show over and over again that the role of the USSR as the emerging international peacemaker is the imperialist adjunct of the USNA’s role as war maker. Lenin points out how imperialist peace is the adjunct of imperialist war and the necessity of struggling against them both. In the international arena this role of the revisionists is becoming clear. For example, the so-called “Peace of Tashkent” which ended the first Indian invasion of Pakistan, but also prepared the international situation for the final dismemberment of that country. An identical role is being played by the USSR in the aggression of Israel against the Arab countries. But, far more dangerous are the indications that the Soviet Union is bull-dozing its way into a position to attempt to play the same role in the long and bloody battle for the liberation of Vietnam.

The United States has made it clear that it takes the right to bomb the population of North Vietnam. When the international protests against this barbaric, fascist practice were isolating the US, Nixon broke off the Peace talks. The uprisings and the military offensive of the Vietnamese have furthered this isolation. Panic stricken, Ambassador Kissinger rushed to Moscow for consultations. His return was marked by the announcement that the US would resume talks in Paris with the first point on the agenda being the halting of the so-called “invasion” of Vietnam by the Vietnamese. It was under this slander that Eisenhower first ordered the US imperialist troops into Vietnam. However, it is clear that the collusion aspects of the relations between the US and the USSR are proceeding at the expense of the heroic people of Vietnam and the colonial masses throughout the world.

It is clear that on this May Day, the overwhelming task of revolutionaries is the re-affirmation of Marxism by repudiating Soviet revisionism and intensifying the struggle against it. A major aspect of this re-affirmation is the militant defense and popularization of heroic Albania as well as the history molding role of the People’s Republic of China.

There is and has been for some time an immature and childish concept that it is possible in this stage of history to have a Communist Party that is a “pure” party. It is from this undialectical projection that certain groups label fighting Parties as revisionist or non-revisionist. We recognize the fact that every Communist Party in the world is locked in the internal struggle between revisionism and Marxism-Leninism, and while it is obivious that the revisionists by virtue of their wealth and connections with imperialism have made some inroads on the fighting capabilities of certain parties, in no way will the Communist League fail to support every revolutionary and fighting projection and action of communists throughout the world.

We must begin with our international commitments to the revolution, but these international commitments are expressed concretely in the struggle against the lead dog and pathfinder of international revisionism – the CPUSA. Historically speaking, it has been the policies of Jay Lovestone, former General Secretary of the CPUSA and later the policies of Earl Browder, another former General Secretary of the CPUSA, that laid the ideological basis for modern revisionism.

If anyone has doubts as to what revisionism is and how it disorients and emasculates the revolutionary movement just take a look at the present work of the CPUSA.

Henry Winston, Chairman of the Communist Party USA is publishing a book. A preview is printed in the January issue of Political Affairs. I think that a little peek (and that’s all you will be able to stand) at this document will serve to show why we have to launch a practical and theoretical attack against the revisionists. Winston’s book entitled, From the Anti-Slavery to the Anti-Monopoly Strategy starts out:

Because of the perpetuation of racism and the resulting division between the triply oppressed Black workers and the exploited white workers it took more than 60 years of struggle against the bosses government supported violence to win the right to organize. Labors fate, as in the past, is inseparably bound with that of the Black Liberation Movement. (Political Affairs, June 1972, p. 2)

Now this is not a laughing matter no matter how funny it sounds. There are some serious and rotten chauvinist conceptions behind this kind of talk. First of all, Winston is furthering the fascist line that the Negro workers are not producers nor are they the source of profit – they are the “lumpenproletariat”. This is the same old line of the Bourbon South; that Negroes are oppressed but whites are exploited. Winston further compounds this with the statement that there is a labor movement that is while and a national movement that is black. It is small wonder that they continue to scream about racism so much. They indeed are not simply chauvinists, they actually think in racist terms. In fact, they are the leaders of the pack and all the more dangerous because they nestle within the mass movement and within the political left.

Having hung the mantel of bourgeois liberalism on the teachings and person of Karl Marx, Winston goes on to give him a religious trapping by associating him with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Our opinion is that as a cleric, and hampered with the ideology of the clergy, Dr. King played a very important role in the history of the Negro people. Any of us who were in the movement before or at the beginning of the Montgomery Boycott fully well understand that the real hero, the real fighter of Montgomery, Reverend Shuttlesworth, was carefully pushed out of the picture. He was beaten, jailed, isolated by the liberals and finally driven to oblivion. It was Dr. King’s conception – or rather the conception of the bourgeoisie that they gave to King – the concept of non-violence that allowed for the inevitable upsurge of the Negro masses and at the same time rendered it harmless. This outlook coincided with the needs of the ruling class. Thus, while it appeared that King was leading a revolution, it was in the sense of history a very profitable way of allowing the militancy of the Negro masses to be exhausted without in any way interfering with the rights of property. Part of the unreal picture of militancy on the part of Dr. King was his open alliance with the CPUSA. As for me and for the thousands who lived through the bloody struggle for Watts in 1965, we will never forget how the Governor flew King into the thick of the fight and after taking one look, King said publicly, “The police and Army must use all possible force to crush this rebellion quickly.” However, the Negro middle class and the misleaders of the masses held King as their spokesman – therefore, the CPUSA wasted no time in linking themselves with King and maintaining that link to this very day. Winston goes on to say:

“Though not a Marxist, King was steadily moving toward a state that tended to coincide with the Marxist-Leninist concept of an anti-monopoly policy.” (ibid. p. 6) I rather think that we should examine who is leading who in this sort of situation. There is no doubt that King was one of the strongest threads between the CPUSA and the Kennedy gang of butchers. The CPUSA was the real loser when King was murdered. However, not content with making the CP a follower of King, Winston goes on to make Karl Marx a follower of Frederick Douglass. Winston writes:

In 1846, two years before writing the Communist Manifesto, the young Karl Marx had already revealed his deep understanding of the struggle against slavery in the US. His thinking closely paralleled the direction Frederick Douglass was taking and this remarkable parallelism in the liberation strategy of these two giants of world history continued throughout every phase of the anti-slavery struggle. (ibid, p. 7)

So, there you have it – straight from the horses mouth. Karl Marx learned from and followed Frederick Douglass. We of course have to admit that the one who thinks is always in arrears of the one who does. But this is only an indication of the shamelessness of the revisionists. Shields Green, Frederick Douglass’ servant who went on to die with John Brown was 100 times the revolutionary that Douglass was. Douglass was the anti-labor, original petty-bourgeois nationalist who betrayed John Brown and then grabbed his wife and fled to England for safety after he learned of the plan to attack Harpers Ferry. I often wondered why it was that the powers that be made sure that I learned of such men as Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. I was in my 30’s before I began to learn the truth about the greatest hero of American History, John Brown and the Negro and Anglo-American revolutionaries who fought and died with him. Why doesn’t Winston point to Theodore Weiner, the communist military genius of the Austrian revolution who instructed Brown in modern military tactics. Or, Charles Kaiser, the German communist who died on the prairies of Kansas fighting the US army in defense of escaping Negro slaves. No, Mr, Winston, that would be too much like a fighting alliance between Negro and Anglo-American. It is better to keep it in resolution and in newspapers rather than in the bloody process of the revolution.

Still fighting to make Marx become the liberal tail of the petty-bourgeoisie Winston writes:

Marx’s polemic against Kriege has profound significance to the struggle against white chauvinism: it demonstrated his irreconcilable opposition to every form of accomodation to the influence of racism. (ibid, p. 8)

If you can make sense out of that statement, I wish you would help me. The paragraph starts off with white chauvinism, which in that period was an incorrect concept and ends with racism which in this period is an incorrect concept. It isn’t that the CP leaders are a little screwy, they are purposely and with a great amount of skill seeping confusion and anti-communism into the Marxist movement.

Beneath all the rubbish in this document, Winston slips in a few things that we have to watch. First of all is his assertation that what we are dealing with is State monopoly capitalism. This formulation appears on nearly every page of the book. If this is state monopoly capitalism, then things aren’t so bad after all. Under the conditions of the political struggle of the working class in the United States, State monopoly capitalism can only mean a naked fascist dictatorship. The state is firmly in the hands of the imperialists and the taking over of the major industries by the state is an inevitable political process. Engels pointed out in Socialism Utopian and Scientific that “With trusts or without, the official representative of capitalist society – the state – will ultimately have to undertake the direction of production.” (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, F Engels, Int Pub. N.Y. p. 613) This has happened in the Post office and is happening in the railroads, but this does not mean that the state holds a monopoly in other fields. Winston is trying to feed us the old revisionist bull of creeping socialism. Winston would have us think that the path to socialism is the growth of capitalism until the quantitative aspects bring about a qualitative change. The train of this absurdity is that free enterprise changes to monopoly. The state is compelled to take over the monopolies and the democratic control of the people over the state more and more gives the productive process the character of socialism until the process is completed.

It is obvious that this trash could only be peddled in a situation where the working class is unorganized and politically backward and where the revolutionaries are unskilled politically, theoretically backward, and ideologically weak.

It is with the objective understanding of the situation that we turn for a few moments to the League itself, its growth and the orientation toward the future struggles. First of all, it should be obious that as we enter into a period when the mases are beginning to stir and when the reactionaries are making their move, the League is going to have to drive harder and harder toward the concept of building a Party to guide the class. The result of our policy of concentrating on the construction of a Party instead of a leaderless and disconnected mass struggle is going to gain us many enemies and few friends. We have to learn to rely on ourselves and firmly tell our sunshine friends that we fully understand their demand to criticize the League for its insistence on maintaining a fixed azimuth on the policy of Party building. From all sides, and occasionally within the League we hear the, cries, “The League won’t go to the masses”, “The League is sectarian”, “The League doesn’t care about anyone but the Negroes”, Lenin also had to fight this battle. Lenin said:

We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and are under their almost constant fire. We have combined voluntarily, especially for the purpose of fighting the enemy and not to retreat into the adjacent marsh, the inhabitants of which, right from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group, and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now several in our crowd begin to cry out: Let us go into this marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: How conservative you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the right to invite you to take a better road! Oh yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only, let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us, and don’t besmirch the grand word, “freedom”; for we too are “free” to go where we please, free, not only to fight against the marsh, but also those who are turning towards the marsh! (What Is To Be Done?, V.I. Lenin, Progress Pub, Moscow 1967, p.11.)

The League was born in the mass struggle. The defeats suffered by the masses in the great worldwide upsurges of the oppressed in the years of 1955 to 1969 proved to us that the crying need today is that the working class be led by a Marxist-Leninist Party. Without such a party victory in the struggle of the masses is impossible. While we are struggling to gain influence in the mass movement, this struggle is connected to the concept of building a Party – not to the concept of building a mass struggle alone.

The past four years have seen a series of developments within the CL. In the beginning our small and infantile forces were faced with a life and death decision: “Get out into the movement and like a falling star gain the applause of the left for your brilliance and splendor and then fall back into this undefinable grouping of radicals and become submerged in the intermovement struggles”, or we could risk the chance of isolation by insulating ourselves from the movement, make the elementary connections with our class and in the course of struggles in our plants and communities develtop an independent Marxist-Leninist line on the revolution in the United States. That was oour first battle and the issue was decided in favor of the Communist League.

Secondly, we had to make the fundamental decision: What is the leading factor in our work of Party building, the factor of quality or the factor of quantity? After a series of struggles this issue was settled in favor of the Communist League, in favor of quality. However, this struggle continues today, and it is at the center of the struggle to consolidate a Marxist-Leninist core at the very heart of the League. We are determined to fight for the highest possible quality of the organization, even at the expense of certain quantitative aspects of our development. And why are we so firm in this decision? Simply because the principle aspect of the struggle today is theory guiding activity – not as it once was the struggle to abstract theory from the class struggle Our task remains to build a Communist League wherein our cadre can merge into the working class struggles and emerge as leaders of that struggle. To do this we have to continue the fight to develop theoretically stable, ideologically firm comrades whose life styles and general outlook will allow them to swim freely in the sea of humanity. Our basic task remains to play our part in the international defeat of worldwide revisionism. We have an extremely difficult job to do because the material base of revisionism is stronger here than in any other country. Therefore the role of the theoretical struggle becomes decisive.

As good communists – we turn our faces to the future. We see the storm clouds gathering. We know the history of the ferociousness of dying classes. The death cells in Brazil, in the Phillippines, in South Korea, in South Vietnam – indeed wherever the forces of the happy future confront the slavers they are met with the final weapon of reaction – the weapon of terror. We are the sons and daughters of brave peoples. Our heritage is the heritage of the ragged revolutionaries who were the first to raise the banners against colonialism and defeat it. Our forebearers were the conductors of the underground railroad who outsmarted and outfought the slave power. In our blood flows the blood of the Seminole, the Choctaw, the Lakota, the Blackfoot – the passion blood of the Indian peoples who gave the breath of life to the high flown phrases of liberty or death. Our history was cradled in the breast of the African slaves who have bloodied the centuries with dauntless heroism – who with unparalleled determining has unswervingly trudged through the blood of the martyrs ever onward against the oppressors. This heritage and history is our shield and our Excalibur. In our ranks there is no place for fear or cowards. We are ideological heirs of Marx and Engels who with the pen and gun have taught us. In our Communist League beats the heart of great Lenin. The iron will of Stalin is our ideological base. The bravery of Enver Hoxha, the great liberating thought of Mao Tsetung is our courage. We face the future with confidence. Under the banners of Lenin, we are marching to the staging areas where the great invincibile armies of communism are preparing the final assault against the ramparts of capitalist slavery. The enemy finds and shall find our class and peoples unafraid – eager to answer the call of history. We spit with contempt upon their fascist terror – upon their prisons and their thugs. They can do nothing to us that they have not done to our forebearers and are not doing to our comrades. We know that across the mountains and beyond the storms lies the bright, happy, peaceful future of humanity. We are the shock troops responsible to guide mankind along that journey.

At this great happy day of the working class – on this eighty-six May Day, we turn our faces to our embattled comrades around the world shouting our historic slogans: