Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist League

Reply to October League (ML): Call for Unity of Action Against Fascist Offensive


First Published: The People’s Tribune, Vol. 5, No. 9, October 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“To be attacked by the enemy is not a bad thing, but a good thing.” This is the lesson of history. If one does not struggle and gain successes, he will not be attacked, but if one does gain successes, he will surely be attacked. The slanderous nature of an attack is a fair indicator as to how successful one is.

The December issue of The Call(the political paper of the October League [ML]) reaches a new low. Unable to refute the positions of the Communist League theoretically, the October League has now resorted to outright lying. We rather suspect that these lies are for overseas consumption. Here, the wish is the father of the thought that, perhaps such experienced and steeled parties as the Chinese Communist Party could be misled as to the state of affairs in the USNA Left by a simple set of statements that appear without proof or references.

Because we know that there are a number of honest revolutionaries in and around the October League, we would like to set the record straight. First, it is no coincidence that the language, the formulations and the lies used in this article are exactly the ones used by the Communist Party of Canada (ML) in their unanswered attack against the Communist League. The obvious reasons behind the growing ideological unity of the October League and the dispicable so-called Communist Party of Canada(ML) do not deserve comment.

The OL declares that we are isolated and have a petty-bourgeois character. Lenin teaches us that truth is concrete and so let us examine these and the rest of the slanders in the sense of concreteness. Isolation is a two edged sword. It is necessary for the OL to at least indicate who and what we are isolated from and who and what we are united with. We are isolated from the Left movement that grow out of the old Students for a Democratic Society. We are isolated from them because our organization is fully and totally working in the shops and plants and seldom runs into any of their members. It should be noted, however, that the lack of unity of action with this new Left is not our fault. They have over the past few years, rejected out of hand all calls for unity of action. Our communist nuclei working in the factories and the communist fractions working in the proletarian neighborhoods guarantee that we can never be isolated from the proletariat. As regards, the “genius theory”, we must plead ignorance of just what the OL means when they attempt to saddle us with this concept. Last month we were “doctrinaire”, this month “geniuses”, according to the OL. We are Marxist-Leninists, and that means to uphold the doctrines of Marx and Lenin. Our approach to the understanding of the theory of knowledge is to be found in Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.

As regards the charge that we have some “new” theories of Marxism, it would be easier to argue if we again had some indication of what they were talking about. We rather suspect that they might be referring to our insistence at this time to build a Party by bringing together the most conscious representatives of the class. We insist that the Party is the conscious element and only indirectly evolves from the spontaneous struggles. On the other hand, the new Left, especially the OL, insists that the Party arises directly out of the mass struggle. We again suggest that the OL study What is to Be Done? and rely on the historic experience of the international communist movement. It is senseless for us to forever debate a point that was proven in practice over 70 years ago.

As for the question of our general line, the October League has taken it upon themselves to spell out this line for us. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, but we are quite capable of stating our policy and carrying it out in practice. What is our general line? Our general line, which historically flows from the Communist Manifesto, the program of the Comintern, the revolutionary principles of the 9th Party Statement, the 12th Party Statement and the Declaration of the 61 Parties – in general is as follows:

Unite with the workers of all countries, unite with the oppressed peoples and the oppressed nations. Oppose imperialism, accept the special historical responsibility for leading the struggle against USNA imperialism. Oppose reaction everywhere, Struggle for world peace, for liberation of the direct colonies, the neo-colonies, and all the oppressed nations and peoples from the yolk of USNA imperialism. Defend the Socialist camp. Unite with the masses, struggle for the immediate cultural, economic and social goals. Build a communist party by selecting the most advanced, the most class conscious the most courageous and the most far sighted workers. Relying always on the advanced class, struggle hard for the socialist revolution, for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Unite with the proletariat of all countries to build a world without capitalism, without the exploitation of man by man. In this manner, guarantee the conditions for the happiness of all persons.

This essentially is the general line for communists in the USNA.

It is extremely difficult to argue against liars. The OL is stating a flat lie when they say that we have ever indicated ever said or wrote that the Chinese party or its leading organs were run by revisionists. Why does the OL tell such lies? They lie because they are rotten chauvinists who believe they can deceive the Communist Party of China. The Communist Party of China is the leader of the international revolutionary movement. It is a Party steeled in over 30 years of revolutionary war and 25 years experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Communist Party of China upholds Marxism-Leninism. The CPC has by word and deed held high the banners of proletarian internationalism0 Along with Stalin, we consider Mao Tse Tung the leading continuator of Lenin’s great work. We hold that the great polemics on the general line of the international Communist movement conducted by the CPC were indispensable to the formation and regrouping of the Marxist-Leninist forces in the battle against revisionism and imperialism. The ideological and theoretical contributions of the CPC and the undisputed philosophical leader of the world Communist movement, Mao Tse Tung, have been historic.

This briefly is our estimate. We are confident that the movement – here and abroad will reject a “polemic” that consists of lies and fabrications.

We must also address ourselves to the ploy utilised by the OL to attempt to confuse the naive on the question of the line of the CPC and Marxism-Leninism. First, what is Marxism-Leninism? It is the scientific expression of the interests of the proletariat; it is the class ideology of the proletariat; it is a scientific teaching addressed to the proletariat to guide it in its revolutionary struggles. It is the theory of the proletarian revolution, of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the building and transformation of Socialism to Communism. Marxism is a creative science, universally applicable.

The line of a Marxist-Leninist Party is the application of these universal truths to the concrete conditions of a country. Hence, there is a difference between the universal truth, and the concrete application of that truth. One thing is abstracted from history and the other reflects changing momentary relations. Thus a political line zig-zags, while the abstraction could be viewed in a straight line. Because the OL does not, or cannot understand this distinction, they wound up in full support of Lin Piao, and when the CPC found it necessary to move on the Lin clique, the OL simply adjusted their line without one word of self-criticism. This is also true around the situation in Chile. The OL actually contributed their “widows mite” to the situation that led to the fascist coup, As an evaluation, the OL “self-criticised” Allende. Only the very naive can be taken in by such a line and such double talk. They should take to heart the CPC’s warning:

If it is not a party that can use its brain to think for itself and acquire an accurate knowledge of the trends of the different classes in its country through serious investigation and study, and knows how to apply the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and integrate it with the concrete practice of its own country, but instead is a party that parrots the words of others, copies foreign experience without analysis, then such a party is absolutely incapable of leading the proletariat and the masses in revolutionary struggle... (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 49)

No, M. Liars and Slanderers, we do not think that we are “the only revolutionaries”, as you state. We know that we are a part of the mighty international army of the proletariat. Marxism is a science; it is objective and therefore it belongs to all who care to take the effort to master it. We respectfully suggest that you make this effort.

The OL accuses us of raising the slogan of class against class. What class against what class? What is the OL accusing us of? If they are accusing us of building a Party that is independent of and in opposition to all bourgeois parties, then we plead guilty. Such a party would from time to time find itself in the trench with one or the other of the bourgeois parties, This is inevitable under the conditions of capitalism, where there are very sharp contradictions within the ruling class, However, to accuse a Marxist-Leninist of attempting to sharpen the class struggle and to drive the class contradictions to their conclusion is laughable. The October League wants us to replace the class struggle with the national struggle. Really, such hopeless confusion. One of the forms of the class struggle is the national struggle – and the national struggle cannot be brought to conclusion without the overthrow of the power of capital – not simply imperialist capital, but all capital. Is that not basically class against class? (Incidentally, however, we have no means to implement such a slogan, and therefore have not raised it).

As for our position on the national question, it is a well known fact that the only fresh position on the national question in the USNA in the past 50 years is the CL’s position on the Southwest. Our pamphlet on the Negro National Colonial Question is a comprehensive statement available to all. We have endorsed and are fighting to implement the statement of the Conference on the Indian Question and other questions of oppressed peoples.

The October League accuses the CL of rejecting the United Front against imperialism. We say again, as we have in the past that we are ready to join with any and all in the fight against fascism in the USNA. More explicitly, we declare that we are prepared to set aside our differences to the extent of carrying out unity of action against the fascist offensive. We urgently ask the October League to meet with us at any time or place to discuss the necessity of unity of action against the fascists.

It is absolutely possible to carry on the ideological debate while defending the masses from the horrors of fascism. We await your reply on this matter.