Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Ivo Banac

WSA And PLP Repudiate Revisionism

Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 157, Issue 11, 13 February 1970. 
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In their letter to the Daily four members of the “Revolutionary” Union (RU) have once again demonstrated their determination to prevent the building of a mass-based anti-imperialist, anti-racist, pro-working class SDS chapter. The aim of Weiss-Keilch-Weiss-Hagen (hereafter Weiss etal.) is to scare off Stanford students who see a need for such a chapter by claiming that its organizers share all of the independent positions of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), and are therefore, somehow, strictly interested in building PL idea.

Doug Hogan’s article in the Daily (Feb. 9) has already made it clear that this is not our purpose. Quite a few people who do not agree with the Worker-Student Alliance caucus of SDS are participating in the creation of the new SDS chapter, and even the WSA members do not necessarily agree with many PL positions. The difference is that the “R”U is interested in its own sectarian cadre-building, whereas we want to build a mass movement in which all the students who are willing to fight against imperialism and racism can participate.

Many of us who strongly disagree with the “R”U would, for example, have no objection to having the “R”U in SDS. Thus is not based on the liberal “love-thy-neighbor” attitude, but rather because we think that the presence of the “R”U and its participation in debate would make it clear why “R”U must be repudiated.

Conflicting Positions

At the recent Los Angeles National Council meeting of SDS many conflicting positions were advanced. The fact that over 500 people from the Western states took part in this National Council is a tribute to our determination to build a mass, fighting, radical student movement. To Slander PL, as “R”U does, with the aim of isolating it from the student movement can in no way change this fact. However, as an individual who agrees with the PL independent line, I would like to reply to some points raised by Weiss etal.

Briefly, PL holds that nationalism is a bourgeois class outlook (and is therefore inherently reactionary at the time when the bourgeoisie is in no way progressive) which advances the notion that national unity is primary and class unity secondary. “Revolutionary” movements, and have therefore become the captives of imperialism.

It does no good to completely distort Mao Tsetung’s October 1938 statement on “Patriotism and Internationalism” by putting the word “nationalism” in brackets after “patriotism” as Weiss etal., do in order to cover up their betrayal of proletarian internationalism.

The fact is that U.S. imperialism can make a deal with nationalists. The disgusting spectacle of Ceausescu and Nixon kissing each other last summer in “socialist” Rumania is a sufficient example of this truth. So also are the Paris negotiations, where a deal is being prepared to sell-out the struggle of the Vietnamese people.

Repudiate Revisionism

Unless nationalism and revisionism are repudiated, all of the national liberation struggles can and will be turned around. In that context it is a crime to sit back and glorify the people who are responsible for these reversals. PL has a duty to educate the American workers and other progressive forces about the nature of bourgeois ideology. It doesn’t intend to end up as those million Indonesian communists, whose grave was dug up by their “compatriot” Suharto. It could not be otherwise.

The Indonesian CP ideologically disarmed its members under a slogan of “placing class interests under national interests” (D.N. Aidit, “Report on the Second Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the VI-th Congress”). Nor does PL intend to ignore the nationalist degeneration of the Black Panther Party, which has in alliance with the sell-out “Communist” Party completely repudiated its original goals. These goals included the organizing of black workers and armed defense of the black community from police attacks.

It would take too much space to answer out-and-out lies raised by Weiss et al. about PL’s role in San Jose State, Pittsburgh-Des Moines & GE strikes, and other struggles. However, it should be mentioned that PL members Bridges Randle, Hari Dillon, John Levin and Gene Marchi are currently serving or will serve jail sentences (of 1 year, eight, six and six months respectively) for their role in the S.F. State strike, which as Weiss et al. put it so politely, “they had helped to build.”

It would be interesting to see if the “R”U can, for a change, come out and defend their positions. After all, if they find PL line so repugnant, let them at least expound their idea of what be more expedient tactics and more correct views. Until that time it would behoove them to slow down their noisy campaign of slanders and vituperation.

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(Ivo Banac is a graduate student in history and a member of the SDS Worker Student Alliance caucus.)