Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist League

Reply to Attacks by October League (ML), Part 2


First Published: The People’s Tribune, Vol. 5, No. 2, March 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We are moving forward in carrying out the task of building a Communist Party of a New Type in the USNA. The rapidly approaching Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists in May is a sign that Marxist-Leninists and honest revolutionaries are responding to the need for consciousness and principled unity in the Communist movement, As a result, a split is taking place in the Left. On the one hand, there are elements in the Left that are determined to take on the true role of the conscious elements in history and unite the struggle of the working class with the theories of Communism. These revolutionaries are attempting to break with the history of revisionism in the USNA, i.e., the CPUSA, and unite with Marxism-Leninism. On the other hand, there are elements who are attempting to reconcile the interests of the imperialists and the working class. These revisionists and conciliators are more and more openly exposing themselves.

History has shown that every true Bolshevik party was built on and steeled in the struggle against revisionism. The CL welcomes the chance to point out what the disguises of the revisionists and their conciliators are; how they hide behind revolutionary sounding phrases, and how their actions bespeak the designs of traitors to the class. In Los Angeles, the OL(M-L) leadership has played just such a role. They have rapidly moved from a position where in words they united with the line of Marxism-Leninism to a position where they now attack the M-L and honest revolutionary forces and openly unite with both the Trotskyites and the CPUSA.

The OL(M-L) leadership accuses us of being Trotskyites, slanderously charging that we “refuse to support” and “damn” the 9 point peace treaty.

In upholding our proletarian internationalist duty, the Communist League gives firm and determined support to the Vietnamese people, the Provisional Revolutionary Government and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It is USNA imperialism and Soviet social imperialism that we refuse to support and shield. Comrade Lenin guided us long ago when he made the distinction between real fighters against imperialism and mealy mouthed pacifists: “It is not he who repeats the general, meaningless, non-committal, goody-goody desires of pacifism who really works for a democratic peace but it is he who exposes the imperialist character of the present war and of the imperialist peace that is being prepared, he who calls upon the peoples to rise in revolt against the criminal governments.”[1] It is the duty of all Marxist-Leninists to consistently and uncompromisingly expose and isolate USNA imperialism and Soviet social imperialism.

With the signing of the “peace treaty” it is clear that there is not now nor has there been peace in Vietnam. The USNA imperialists have attempted and still are attempting to impose an imperialist peace, a robber’s peace, upon the Vietnamese people. But the militant and courageous Vietnamese will not allow this. Therefore, the imperialists are continuing their aggressions. As one bourgeois commentator put it, “It would be hard to prove that even a cease-fire has been established.”[2] Since the cease fire was declared, around 16,700 Vietnamese have been reported killed and nearly 13,000 wounded.[3] President Nixon is preparing to return the full 7th Fleet complement of aircraft carriers to waters off of Vietnam.[4] And now he is carrying out the political groundwork for the restoration of open war with the Vietnamese. The President threatened, “We have informed the N. Vietnamese of our concern about this infiltration and what we believe it to be a violation of the cease fire... I would only suggest that based on my actions over the past four years, that the N. Vietnamese should not lightly disregard such expressions of concern.”[5]

The USSR has colluded with the USNA in their continuing aggression. Growing pressure from the Soviet people forced Kosygin and Brezhnev to publicly plead with Nixon to end the war in order to carry through the huge Soviet-USNA wheat deals. But the wheat deals have been finalized with no abatement in the war.

The communists in the oppressor nation have an even heavier responsibility to expose the imperialists. Stalin clearly lays out the essential role that the proletariat of an imperialist country has to play in the defeat of that country’s imperialist aggressors internationally:

(e) The interests of the proletarian movement in the developed countries and of the national liberation movement in the colonies call for the amalgamation of these two forms of the revolutionary movement into a common front against the common enemy, against imperialism....g) The formation of a common revolutionary front is impossible unless the proletariat of the oppressor nations renders direct and determined support to the liberation movement of the oppressed peoples against the imperialism of its ’own country’ for ’no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.’[6]

Failure to expose the imperialists would be a flagrant chauvinist betrayal of the Vietnamese people’s struggle against USNA imperialism. By shielding imperialism, it is in fact not the Communist League, but the October League that is refusing to support the Vietnamese people.

The October League calls us Trotskyites, but with calls of “unite all that can be united,” and “unity of action” who is really joining with the Trots against the working class?

Let us analyze the meaning of the “unity” slogan. For Marxist-Leninists, the call for unity is the call for Communists 1) to unite the theories of Socialism with the working class, and 2) to build unity within the class. The OL confuses and distorts this line by advocating that the theories of Socialism be taken to the movement and not to the working class. They call for a united front of every trend in the movement, not for a united proletarian struggle. In short, they misrepresent the role of the conscious element, which is not to make the revolution, but to bring Socialist theories to the masses and to lead the insurrection. Revolution will be carried through by the working class.

Dimitroff shows that the proletarian can only be united by a proletarian Communist Party, “The united front of the proletariat brings to the fore an army of workers which will be able to carry out its mission if this army is headed by a leading force which will point out its aims and paths. This leading force can only be a strong proletarian, revolutionary party.”[7]

The Communist League will unite with all Marxist-Leninists and honest revolutionary forces who want to build a Communist Party of a New Type that will take the theory of Socialism to the most advanced of the advanced sections of the USNA working, class. But before there can be any unity, a clear delineation must be made of all differences. For as Lenin guides us, “Unity of the proletarian struggle for a Socialist revolution demands now....an unconditional struggle between the worker’s parties and the party of the opportunists.”[8]

The Communist League will not unite with the revisionists and their conciliators who want to separate the Communist movement from the working class and sell out the revolution to the bourgeoisie.

Engels spoke of these people who in their loud cries of unity try to draw us away from the working class: “One must not allow oneself to be misled by the cry for ’unity.’ Those who have this word most often on their lips are those who sow the most dissension… Those unity fanatics are either people of limited intelligence who want to stir everything up together into one nondescript brew, which, the moment it is left to settle, throws up the difference again in much more acute opposition because they are now all together in one pot (you have a fine example of this in Germany with the people who preach the reconciliation of the workers and the petty bourgeoisie) – or else they are people who consciously or unconsciously want to adulterate the movement. For this reason the greatest sectarians and the biggest brawlers and rogues are at certain moments the loudest shouters for unity. Nobody in our lifetime has given us more trouble and been more treacherous than the unity shouters.”[9]

What is the Marxist-Leninist position on Trotskyism? We have always held that the Trotskyites are counterrevolutionary agents whose role is to be the center and rallying point for the enemies of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat® Trotsky himself was an agent of the German fascists, actively trying to destroy the Socialist Revolution in the USSR. Trotskyism is not some incorrect trend within the Communist movement to be bargained with or argued with. Stalin makes clear that: “Trotskyism is not a political trend in the working, class but a gang: without principle, without ideas of wreckers, diversionists, intelligence service agents, spies, murderers, a gang of sworn enemies of the working class? working in the pay of intelligence services of foreign states.”[10]

But apparently the OL does not agree with this. Wanting to unite the movement, they consider these agents part of “all those who can be united” against imperialism. In words they are against the Trotskyites, but in deeds they find them a viable force to argue, bargain and finally unite with.

Last spring in the Los Angeles Anti-Imperialist Coalition for the April 22 demonstration, the OL leadership took a fairly militant stand around the Trotskyites and united with other honest revolutionaries and Marxist-Leninists on this question. Thus, the Anti-Imperialist Coalition refused to have anything to do with the Trots, But in this last “anti-war” action on January 20th, the OL(M-L), who were the leaders of the Anti-Imperialist Coalition, took a different stand. At one preparatory meeting, the chair (OL) raised the question of whether or not the Coalition should unite with the Trotskyites “for the sake of a larger, higher impact demonstration.” The OL leadership present put up a militant fuss about at how the Trots are sell-outs to the Vietnamese struggle, etc. However, despite their protestations, the OL leadership refused to oppose the proposal. Further, the CPUSA, bastion of world wide revisionism in the USNA, raised the point that in order to fight the “sectarianism” that has been, dividing the Left movement, we should bury the hatchet for the sake of unity and unite with the Trotskyites (and quit attacking the CPUSA). The OL also refused to oppose or expose that line. They did not join with the honest revolutionaries and Marxist-Leninists who exposed it as nothing but sheer trickery that would drag honest revolutionaries into the arms of the revisionist traitors. By not opposing the incorrect line, the OL effectively sided with the CPUSA and the Trots against the honest forces. Through struggle by the honest forces, the AIC decided not to deal with the Trots.

But that is not the half of it. As leadership of the Temporary Steering Committee, the OL called a meeting to further carry out the work of the AIC. But when comrades went to the designated place, it had been moved. And, it was not at the place to where it was supposed to have been moved either. Thus, by these underhanded methods, the OL succeeded in isolating the CL and other honest elements who had opposed uniting with the Trots and the CPUSA.

Up to this point the OL had united with the Trots and CPUSA by refusing to oppose them, but at a subsequent meeting, they, together with the RU, the CPUSA and others, arrived with a plan that flatly contradicted the earlier decision of the AIC. They had met with the Trots and had decided: 1) To share the final rallying point of the march and the speakers platform with the Trotskyites; 2) Not to attack the Trotskyites if the Trots would not attack the 9 point peace plan, and 3) Courteously to advertise the Trots’ m arch route and meeting place on the Anti-Imperialist January 20th Committee’s leaflet.

The OL, the RU, and their godparent, the CPUSA, had blocked with the Trots against the honest revolutionaries and Marxist-Leninist forces in the Anti-Imperialist Coalition. Everywhere, the goal of the Trotskyites is counterrevolution. Thus, objectively this bloc was an attack on the struggles of the Vietnamese people and on the revolution in the USNA. It was a bloc with the agents of USNA imperialism and of Soviet social imperialism to bolster the fascist attacks of the USNA imperialists and to aid in the defeat of the world revolutionary struggles.

As can be seen, the OL does not agree with the Marxist-Leninist line on Trotskyism, but prefers to side with the revisionist CPUSA, seeing Trotskyism as a legitimate trend and not as a gang of murderers and spies. In discussing the Trots, all the CPUSA can say is: “Sectarianism, however, is clearly on the wane in the anti-war movement, The most serious difficulty we face in this regard is the stubborn opposition of the SWP-NPAC (Socialist Workers Party-National Peace Action Coalition) forces to the Struggle to force Nixon to sign the peace accords.”[11] How can the OL oppose the revisionism of the CPUSA when they have chosen to be their conciliators?

Last spring in the Anti-imperialist Coalition the OL mouthed the words of “anti-revisionist” and united with the M-L forces in opposing the CPUSA when they wanted to join the AIC’s contingent at the April 22 march. But in actual practice, when the CPUSA barged in with their banners flying it was the honest Marxist-Leninist forces who had to go over the OL leadership to kick out the CPUSA. The OL later criticized themselves for their liberalism. But this fall in the Anti-Imperialist Coalition meetings, the OL(M-L) openly accepted the CPUSA as a force to be united with. When the Marxist-Leninists and honest forces raised objection to the CPUSA, the OL sided with the CPUSA by ignoring the struggle. Their leadership even went so far as to chide a CL member for refusing to unite with the CPUSA.

Failing to draw a clear line of clear demarcation between revolution and counter-revolution, the line of the OL and that of the CPUSA of “unite all who can be united,” even the Trotskyites, is identical. The CPUSA says, “Our job is to throw every force we can into this struggle to complement the strength of the Vietnamese people.” and “While we Communists are fighting for united action by all peace forces, and recognize the necessity of certain kinds of compromises in the interests of unity....This position (of the Trots, ed.) seriously jeopardizes any continuing unity between NPAC and other peace forces.”[12]

The OL paper says, “Secondly, we must take advantage of the present favorable conditions which exist in the world today and unite all those that can be united into a broad united front directed against the system of imperialism and its policies.”[13] And “For revolution to be successful in the U.S.,...the three weapons of revolution must be taken to oppose imperialism and its policies of war and fascism.”[14]

The OL starts by considering the revisionists to be weak and harmless and the Trotskyites to be merely wrong Marxist-Leninists, rather than counter-revolutionary agents outside of the Communist movement. From this position the OL has moved to a position of alliance and collusion with them. The OL leadership balks at exposing the Trotskyites and revisionists; they call for unity with them. Lenin described this state of affairs in a similar situation:

The attempt of the conciliators to unite at all costs with the Liquidators (the August Conference, 1912) proved fruitless, and the unifiers themselves became ideologically and politically dependent on the Liquidators.[15]

As Marxist-Leninists we carry out our proletarian internationalist duty by seeking the unity of all the Marxist-Leninist and honest revolutionary forces on the principled basis of Marxism-Leninism and the struggle against revisionism. Despite the efforts of the OL (M—L) to drag us away from the working class into the marsh of the movement, the motion to oppose the forces of fascism and the disunity of the working class is growing daily. That motion is expressed in the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists:

It is out of this struggle for scientific socialism, for correct line, that the real unity of the revolutionary movement will develop in its highest form, a single organization that fights for the whole working class to overthrow imperialism. Lenin pointed out and history has confirmed that the Party of the New Type can only be built on the basis of the struggle against revisionism and opportunism (incorrect line). We don’t want to unite purely for the sake of uniting, but for the sake of struggling for the correct line for the working class in the struggle against the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.[16]

On its own initiative the OL(M-L) has placed itself in the line of fire of the true Marxist-Leninists as we battle against revisionism to build a real Bolshevik Communist Party in the USNA. The OL leadership must bear the responsibility for becoming the target of assault instead of part of the firing squad. The Marxist-Leninists and honest revolutionaries in the USNA will not flinch in the face of their duty to fight for principle and clarity and victory for the dictatorship the proletariat. “There and can be no middle road.”

We should sum up our critique of the position of the October League (M-L). For those who watched the maturing of this “New Left” on the campuses during the 1960’s, this is no difficult problem. Now, as then, they bubble forth in the vacuum created by the collapse of the Communist Party. At that time, they came forth with an open rejection of Marxism-Leninism. Now it is thinly veiled – a tactic demanded by the historically inevitable development of a multi-national Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.

The essence of the policy of the “New Left,” when they were opposing the construction of a Marxist-Leninist party from the confines of their campuses, was the unqualified support of the petty bourgeoisie who controlled the national liberation movement both within and without the USNA. Today that policy is couched in pseudo Marxist terms, but the content is exactly the same. These people – without history and indeed without social roots in the proletariat – see only the oppression of nations without seeing the classes and class struggle that is the generating force. We Marxist-Leninists are duty bound to build a class party that is independent of and in opposition to all the bourgeois political parties.

Communists have a special role to play in history. We Communists have never taken credit for discovering the class struggle. We have never taken credit for being the only fighters against oppression. Lenin is clear when he points out that recognition of the class struggle is not enough to make a person a Communist. A Communist is distinct from other anti-capitalist fighters by recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is obvious that to tie the proletariat to the tail of the national bourgeoisie of the colonies is to render that strategy impossible. Hence, the tactic of the communist is not simply to support the petty bourgeoisie in their struggle against imperialism.

In his Preliminary Thesis on the National-Colonial Question Lenin wrote:

...it is necessary to wage a determined struggle against painting the bourgeois-democratic liberation trend in backward countries in Communist colors; the Communist International must support the bourgeois-democratic national movements in colonial and backward countries only on the condition that the elements of future proletarian parties existing in ail backward countries, which are not merely Communist in name, shall be grouped together and trained to appreciate their special tasks, viz., the tasks of fighting the bourgeois-democratic movements within their own nations; the Communist International must enter into a temporary alliance with bourgeois democracy in colonial and backward countries, but must not merge with it, and must unconditionally preserve the independence of the proletarian movement even in its most rudimentary form.”[17]

Further Lenin points out, “A certain rapprochement has been brought about between the bourgeoisie of the exploiting countries and those of the colonial countries, so that very often, even in the majority of cases, perhaps, where the bourgeoisie of the oppressed countries does support the national movement, it simultaneously works in harmony with the imperialist bourgeoisie, i.e. it joins the latter in fighting against all revolutionary movements and revolutionary classes.”[18]

Despite the fact that the Panama government is challenging the USNA imperialist occupation of the Canal Zone, the USNA imperialists find it in their favor to continue to send millions of dollars worth of tanks and guns to that country. This is true throughout all of Latin America except Chile, where military aid was only recently temporarily suspended.

The issue at hand is simply this – Should we support this developing flunky socialism of the rising national bourgeoisie, or should we struggle against the ravages of Kruschov’s revisionism and build a party of the class?

The following quote is the one time in their editorial that the OL (M-L) quoted from Lenin:

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by the small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc...to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution!. Whoever expects a ’pure’ social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.” (“The Discussion of Self-determination Summed up” Selection from V.I. Lenin and J.V. Stalin on the National and Colonial Question, Calcutta Book House p. 52)[19]

It is unfortunate for them that there are quite a few books of Lenin around and quite a few people to read them. Actually, Lenin was polemicizing against the Zimmerwald “Lefts” who characterized the Irish rebellion as a “purely urban petty bourgeois movement which, not withstanding the sensation it caused, had not much social backing.”[20] Lenin was a revolutionary and the armed blow of a section of the “petty bourgeoisie and a section of the workers”[21] against the British imperialists naturally received his support and the support of all communists. It is unlikely that today Lenin would support a Jack Lynch, former Premier of Ireland, who is still trying to ride the coattails of that rebellion, Leninists support the “bourgeois liberation movements in the colonial countries only when these movements are really revolutionary.”[22]

The leadership of the OL (ML) find common cause with the petty bourgeoisie of the colonial and semi-colonial countries. However, any revolutionary who understands the necessity of studying scientific socialism is hardly intimidated by their burps. If we could paraphrase Marx, “On the level plain, simple mounds look like hills; and the imbecile flatness of the present ’new left’ is to be measured by the attitude of its great intellects’!

In the interest of clarity we would like to present the concluding paragraphs of Marx’s “Address to the Communist League”:

The first point on which the bourgeois democrats will come into conflict with the workers will be the abolition of feudalism. As in the first French Revolution, the petty bourgeois will give the feudal lands to the peasants as free property, that is to say, try to leave the rural proletariat in existence and form a petty bourgeois peasant class which will go through the same cycle of impoverishment and indebted ness which the French peasant is now going through.
The workers must oppose this plan in the interests of the rural proletariat and in their own interests. They must demand that the confiscated feudal property remain state property and be converted into labour colonies cultivated by the associated rural proletariat with all the advantages of large scale agriculture, through which the principle of common property immediately obtains a firm basis in the midst of the tottering bourgeois property relations. Just as the democrats combine with the peasants so must the workers combine with the rural proletariat.. Further, the democrats will work either directly for the federated republic or, at least, if they cannot avoid the single and indivisible republic, they will attempt to cripple the central government by the utmost possible autonomy and independence on the part of the municipalities and provinces. The workers in opposition to this plan, must not only strive for the single and indivisible German republic, but also strive in it for the most decisive centralisation of power in the hands of the state authority. They must not allow themselves to be led astray by the democratic talk of freedom for the municipalities, of self-government, etc. In a country like Germany where there are so many relics of the Middle ages to be abolished f where there is so much local and provincial obstinacy to be broken, it must under no circumstances be permitted that every village, every town, and every province should put a new obstacle in the path of revolutionary activity, which can proceed in all its force only from the centre. It is not to be tolerated that the present state of things should be renewed, whereby Germans must fight separately for one and the same advance in every town and in every province. Least of all is it to be tolerated that there should be perpetuated by a so-called free municipal constitution a form of property, namely municipal property, which still lags behind modern private property and which everywhere is necessarily passing into the latter, together with the quarrels resulting from it between poor and rich municipalities, as well as the municipal civil law, with its trickery against the workers, that exists alongside of state civil law. As in France in 1793 so today, in” Germany the carrying through of the strictest centralization is the task of the really revolutionary party.
We have seen how the democrats will come to power with the next movement, how they will be compelled to propose more or less socialist measures. It will be asked what measures the workers ought to propose in reply. At the beginning of the movement, of course, the workers cannot yet propose any directly communist measures. But they can:
Compel the democrats to interfere in as many spheres as possible of the existing social order to disturb its regular course and to compromise themselves, as well as to concentrate the utmost possible productive forces, means of transport, factories, railways, etc., in the hands of the state;
They must drive the proposals of the democrats, who in any case will not act in a revolutionary but in a merely reformist manner, to the extreme and transform them into direct attacks against private property, thus, for example, if the petty bourgeois propose purchase of the railways and factories shall be simply confiscated by the state without compensation as being the property of reactionaries. If the democrats propose proportional taxes, the workers must demand progressive taxes; if the a democrats themselves put forward a moderate progressive tax, the workers must insist on a tax with rates which rise so steeply that large-scale capital is ruined by it; if the democrats demand the regulation of state debts, the workers demand state bankruptcy. Thus, the demands of the workers must everywhere be governed by the concessions and measures of the democrats.
If the German workers are not able to attain power and achieve their own class interest without completely going through a lengthy revolutionary development, they have at least the certainty this time that the first act of this approaching revolutionary drama coincides with the direct victory of their own class in France and will be very much accelerated by it.
But they themselves will have to do the most for their final victory by becoming enlightened as to their class interests, by taking up their own independent party position as soon as possible and by not allowing themselves for a single moment to be led astray from the independent organizations of the party of the proletariat by the hypocritical phrases of the democratic petty bourgeois. Their battle-cry must be: permanent revolution.[23]


[1] Lenin, “Bourgeois Pacifism and Socialist Pacifism,” Lenin on War and Peace, FLPH, 1966, pp. 85-86.

[2] Chicago Tribune, Section 2, 3/47/37

[3] Newsweek, 3/26/73, p. 17.

[4] Chicago Sun Times, 3/18/73.

[5] Newsweek, 3/26/73, p. 16

[6] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Int. Pub., 1939, pp. 82-3.

[7] Dimitroff, United Front Against Fascism, New Century Publishers, 1935§ p. 83.

[8] Lenin, “And Now What?: Tasks of the Workers Parties Relative to Opportunism and Social Chauvinism,” Works, Vol. XVIII, Int. Pub., N.Y., 1930, p. 106.

[9] Marx, Sel. Works, Vol. II, “F. Engels to August Bebel,” London, June 20, 1873.

[10] Stalin, Mastering Bolshevism, New Century Pub., 1946, p. 12.

[11] Dynamite Hallinan, “Build the Pressure for Peace,” Peoples World, 1/20/73, p. M-2.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Building a New Communist Party in the US”, Part I, The Call.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Lenin, “Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity,” Lenin Against Revisionism, FLPH, Moscow, 1359, p. 2dQ.

[16] “Call for a Conference, Conference Preparatory Committee”, 11/19/72.

[17] Lenin, Works, Int. Pub,, 1943, p. 236,

[18] Ibid., p. 241.

[19] People’s Tribune, Vol 5 #7,

[20] Lenin, Works, Int, Pub., Vol. 5, p. 302.

[21] Ibid., p. 303,

[22] Lenin, Works, “Commission Report on National Colonial Question,” Vol. X, p. 241.

[23] Marx, Sel. Works, “Address of Central Committee to Communist League,” pp. 166-67.