Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: Lesson of Elections Build the Mass Movement

First Published: The Call, Vol. I, No. 3, December 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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It is said that practice is the only test of truth. This past election campaign provides us with an accurate yardstick with which to judge the various approaches to the question of bringing socialism to the United States.

It was in the context of this election that the different groups and parties revealed themselves before the people. The struggle of different ideologies came across and was sharpened greatly because of the fact that the elections were taking place in the midst of the sharpest economic and political crisis U.S. imperialism has known in nearly 40 years.

The imminent defeat of the imperialist aggressors in Indochina coupled with a deepening economic collapse has forced a reshuffling and a mad scramble of the various imperialist groupings and factions, who in desperation are looking for a way out. This sharpening internal struggle within the ruling class has brought about a near collapse of the traditional Democratic Party apparatus, for one thing, accounting in large part for the massive defeat for McGovern and his faction.

On the international level, the various imperialist super-powers are in a life-and-death struggle over the spoils from the deteriorating empire of the U.S., the largest and strongest (up until now) imperialist country in the world.

Aside from shattering the Democratic Party apparatus, the rapidly changing conditions have also caused the least stable sections of the left movement to lose their bearings, while the revisionists and opportunists of the Communist Party USA and the various Trotskyist groupings have exposed themselves to a greater number of people then ever.


The CPUSA was caught up in its contradictions as it desperately tried to scoop up some of the dissident Democratic Party forces who fell by the wayside in the shake-up, once they saw that there was little or no chance at all of building a third party or “third force” reformist organization. With many of the young honest people leaving the CP because they were fed up with the policies of a “peaceful transition to socialism,” CP head Gus Hall himself attacked the “right opportunism” of the party, hoping that this bone thrown to the youth would halt the exodus.

In the CPUSA’s latest election pamphlet, “Make This Election Count,” Hall chides the CP for tailing the McGovern campaign and the Democratic Party, “A serious weakness” he said, has surfaced in the party. “It has an over-all designation-it is right opportunism.”

Of course, his main objective, especially seeing that the McGovern campaign could not be salvaged, was to provide a “left” cover for the politics of class collaboration and betrayal which he himself has had the leading role in developing.

Other forces, some even calling themselves “Maoists” and “communists” were swept up into the swirl of Democratic Party campaign politics. For some it was simply a softly spoken endorsement for McGovern’s “anti-war” promises. For others, it meant a complete abandonment of the difficult task of building the independent, militant movement of the people in their struggle against imperialism and its policies.

In either case it showed the unstable character of many of the existing communist collectives and organizations whose lack of roots among the masses have allowed them to be blown about by every “immediate situation.”

Despite all of their cries that the “Vietnamese support McGovem” and “McGovern is our only hope” in ending the war, it has become clearer and clearer through the election that, as Madame Binh stated in a recent TV interview, “The individual candidates are not important, it is the policies which we must oppose...” (CBS interview) The real factors involved in the victory of the Vietnamese people and the real force that has driven the U.S. Government whether under Nixon or McGovern, closer towards a negotiated settlement has been themselves along with the militant mass support which they have gotten from the people of the U.S. and other countries.


The reactionary Nixon gang of course will try and portray their victory as a mandate on the part of the people for their imperialist aggression in Indochina and their racist, anti-working class policies here at home. However, we must not be fooled. To the extent that the elections do express the will of the people under capitalism (not very much) they expressed the thinking of a people sick and tired of war, fed up with the freeze on their wages and a people wishing for an end to the national and racial oppression of the minorities which has “torn the nation apart.”

Nixon won the election primarily because of demogogic promises that peace would come soon; because of the weakness of the liberal posturing and vacillation of the McGovern campaign ending in their open and blatant groveling at the feet of the fascists, Wallace, Daley and even Nixon himself; and finally because the people were impressed with Nixon’s trip to the People’s Republic of China. This represents the first time since 1949 that the U.S. Government, under Democratic or Republican leadership has been forced to recognize China and China’s victory against attempts at imperialist blockade.

Now that the election is over, the facade of peacemaking and economic stability which Nixon attached to himself will rapidly disappear. An all-out assault against the working class is beginning, aimed primarily at the upcoming labor struggles in rubber, electronics and most importantly, in the auto industry. The fascist attack is being directed mainly at the Afro-American and other minority people within the country and continued aggression against the Third World countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The tasks of the people are becoming clearer with each passing day, either fight back or be crushed. The developing strike wave, especially in the South, where the capitalist attack has hit the hardest, is evidence that the working class will not sit back and allow the burden of the capitalist crisis to be sluffed off on their backs. Nixon’s policies are driving the workers and peoples of various nationalities and colors closer together. The recent struggle of the sailors aboard the U.S.S. Constellation exemplifies this trend towards unity between black and white.


The prospects ahead are for a new upsurge in the U.S. people’s movement against imperialist policies which may rapidly surpass the heightening of struggle which we experienced from 1965-1968. The elections have shown us that our job is to strengthen and consolidate the mass movements of the people behind the revolutionary leadership and not dissipate our efforts in the present capitalist elections.

By relying on the masses and militantly opposing the reactionaries and their opportunist agents within our ranks, we can develop the US. people’s movement into an even more significant part of the world-wide united front against imperialism.