Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist League

Review of our work

First Published: The People’s Tribune, Vol. 6, No.8, August 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: 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.

On the occasion of the Communist League’s sixth and last anniversary, we should sum up our experiences and indicate the direction for further motion.

The organizational history of the Communist League is well known and we do not want to restate it here. Of importance, however, is an examination of our political projections and how well they were carried out.

Briefly, the Communist League was formed with 11 members. Five of them were the core of the old Los Angeles section of the POC (the Provisional Organizing Committee to Reconstitute a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party) and six comrades were from the old San Pedro “Community Action Center”.

The objective situation was one in which, except for minor connections in two or three unions and two mass organizations, our little group was isolated. Subjectively, the knowledge of Marxism – the science of revolution – was minimal. Further, there existed some influence of the new “left” amongst some of the comrades.

It was clear to us from the beginning that the main form that the counter revolution took inside of the revolution was the form of revisionism. Revisionism wore a theoretical mask. It was clear that it would take theoretically developed comrades to really attack revisionism. We saw that the process of building the Marxist-Leninist Party was the process of the struggle against revisionism. Under these circumstances we raised the slogan, “Education is the main task in this period of Party building”. Some of our friends thought that this meant to withdraw from the class struggle and simply study abstractly. This of course was not true. At that time we made our principal points of concentration our work in the UAW and on the waterfront.

The projection was that unless we had some understanding of the laws of social development we would surely end up tailing the spontaneous movement. The history of the revolutionary movement in the USNA proved that this was undoubtedly true. Hence, we were correct, and history has proved that we were correct, to embrace Engel’s conception “that since socialism has become a science, it must be treated as a science, it must be studied.” (Engels, The Peasant War in Germany, International Publishers, New York, 1926, p. 28)

From the beginning, the “left” in this country had a studied program of ignoring the Communist League. By isolating us from the political “left” that evolved from the old SDS, they hoped that we would soon perish. We accepted this “isolation” in a positive sense since we knew that we could not pretend to make revolution on the campuses and in the coffee shops, and that we would be driven deeper into the working class. However, it was necessary for us to take up the struggle on one central point and that was, “Does the Party arise out of the mass struggle or is it the result of conscious effort on the part of advanced revolutionaries? Since Lenin settled this question long ago it would seem that such a struggle was on the level of whether Paris is in France or in Poland, that is, that it could be decided by going to any competent authority. However, this point was central because within it was the question of whether a grouping such as ours should go strictly to the advanced workers or whether we should concentrate on the masses – whether we should struggle for the leading role of consciousness or of spontaneity.

In this struggle for the party, all the history of the movement in this country proves to us that it is not enough to have a core of intellectuals to fight for Marxism. A serious movement would have to carry the fight for Marxism into the working class – in short to base the new party on a core of proletarian intellectuals. Under the existing conditions this necessarily meant a rather prolonged period of intensive struggle with the working class cadre in order to complete the process of recruitment and training.


Another aspect of this struggle was that the CL emerged as a multi-national organization in a situation where such groups as the OL and the RU did not allow Negroes or other national minorities to join them thus they effectively deepened the split within the working class along national lines. Their projection was that the Mexican national minority revolutionaries should belong to Mexican national minority organizations and the same for the Anglo-American and the Negro national minority revolutionaries. Our struggle to demand a single multi-national communist party in the multinational state was actually not only a struggle against white chauvinism and petty bourgeois nationalism but more abstractly it was a struggle against the specifics of syndicalism in the movement. Our principled fight has forced every so-called revolutionary group to abandon their position of national exclusiveness and call for a multi-national movement.

Simultaneously we launched a struggle to introduce Marxism-Leninism into the “left” movement. This was basically done by taking up the defense of Lenin and Leninism against the attacks by Lin Piao and his gang. Many times this took the form of a defense of Stalin; the attacks on Stalin were actually attacks on Lenin and on Marxism-Leninism. Of course this earned us great enmity from the “left” but it trained the comrades in the indispensable communist morality of seeking out the truth and defending it with might and main – no matter against whom and no matter what the personal results of such defense may be. Despite the gigantic and consolidated hostility to the Communist League on the part of the entire “left” – from the CPUSA to the Trotskyites – we have forced them to open the books and to struggle with us on the level of theory. As inept as they are at this, the theoretical struggle will certainly render them asunder and will clarify the goal.

The fact of the matter is that by the very formation of the CL and its adherence to and propagation of Marxism-Leninism, it created a polarity within the “left”. It is obvious that without polarity, there can be no struggle because it is impossible to know to whom you are talking. Within the context of that polarization, it became clear to us that the path of recruiting the best elements of the “left” was to concentrate in the working class.


In the minimum sense, we fully realized that a Party was an objective thing and that we could not wish it into existence. The construction of a Party was the result of the struggle to fulfill certain objective requirements. Some of these objective requirements are:

1) A national body of cadre-revolutionaries capable of finding their own way. This was to be accomplished by theoretical education and learning from participation in the labor movement.

2) Mastery of the laws of social development and the role of the various classes. Again education was the main weapon.

3) A national newspaper that would be the collective agitator and collective propagandist. By establishing the People’s Tribune we set out to fulfill this requirement. The struggle for the Tribune has been long and difficult, but the development of a newspaper which was aimed at the most advanced workers has been proven correct.

4) The development of an independent body of political knowledge and line. The central point within the USNA was our attitude toward the Negro Nation. Our concentration on the struggle to free the Negro Nation has become the dividing line in the struggle. The publication of the Negro National Colonial Question document was the opening gun in a theoretical battle none could ignore. In spite of some theoretical and historical errors the document has forced each group, including the CPUSA, to take a more scientific look at the question and to assert their positions. Along with the struggle for clarity on the Negro question we could not help but take up and furnish Marxism-Leninist solutions to the question of Puerto Rico, the Mexican national minority question, the Indian question and the question of all the oppressed nations and peoples within the multi-national USNA imperialist state.

5) We set out to establish real ties with the masses and especially with the proletariat. Contrary to the belief of some, this did not and does not mean that we simply be amongst the people, but that we struggle to become the leadership of the people. In the final analysis, this can only be done by recruiting the best representatives of the class into the Party. Owing to objective conditions, this task has just barely begun. However, it is significant and it should be noted that the struggle to ground the CL in the class has resulted in a membership of about 1/3 Latin American comrades, 1/3 Negro comrades and 1/3 Anglo-American comrades. This struggle has resulted in 60% of our membership being women. It has resulted in the workers being the leading elements on all of our internal bodies.

In a word, we set out to uphold our responsibilities in the inevitable process of party building. We can say that we have discharged our responsibilities with honor.


Much more important than the period we are leaving is the period which we are entering. All of our efforts in the immediate future must be to organizationally and ideologically prepare ourselves and the class for the upsurge of fascism in this country. This demands that we walk on two legs in all respects: that we struggle to win the vanguard of the proletariat to the cause of communism, and at the same time that we struggle to carry out the slogan – sink deeper into the masses. We must get underground. Not only are we being harassed by the cops and the labor goons, but we are now being threatened by the new “left” gangs. None of these goons dare to follow us deep into the class and this is our only security. We must uphold Marxism-Leninism everywhere, especially we must never cease to struggle to support the Marxist-Leninists within the Soviet Union for this is the crucial battlefield in the struggle against revisionism and consequently against imperialism. It is not for nothing that the Chinese comrades state over and over again that the mark of the communist is the ability to swim against the tide. We must uphold truth as we see it, we must never hesitate to move away from an error once we recognize it. Even with our relatively limited knowledge and experience, if we sail with the tide of history and not against it, it is inevitable that we will reach the other shore.

We see that the old situation that was characterized by a unity with the new “left” is smashed forever. With the formation of the new Party we leap forever out of that situation. The new situation and the new unity must be characterized by the struggle with the revisionists. Our roots are the Party and we know that within that Party are hundreds of brave workers who have contributed scores of years to the revolutionary movement. They maintain their loyalty to the Party because there has never been a polarity, never a real choice. The popular concept that the CPUSA is a gang of dying isolated old foggies is only testimony to the isolation of the “new left” from the labor movement. The fact is that the CPUSA is not only alive but it is growing and for historical reasons has a base in not only the trade union movement but also in the mass movement.

We have played a real role in this victory in the cause of communism. Like good soldiers, we must not stop to applaud or grow dizzy with our own estimate of success. Rather we must re-sharpen our trench knives, re-buckle our field packs and set out with a firm route step to the next incomparably more difficult field of battle. That battle can be none other than to drive the Gus Hall gang of revisionists from every position of influence in the labor movement. Only then can we lay across our shoulders the proud mantel of BOLSHEVISM.