Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization

History of the Development of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization

Issued: August 1974.
First Published: In In the U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism: The Struggle for Proletarian Revolution Moves Ahead. The Political Positions of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, November 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We see it necessary and important to take time in this part to briefly sum-up the history of our organization and the developments since our historic Congress of July 1972. Since it would be impossible to sum-up all our 5 year history, we will just go through the major changes and struggles that have brought us up to the present period: the period of Marxist-Leninists Unite for the formation of a genuine multi-national communist party to lead the proletariat to seize state power, for the establishment of socialism. In the course of our history we have gained valuable experiences, made tremendous contributions to the communist movement, as well as committed serious errors which when proven bankrupt, we have moved to repudiate in the interest of the proletariat.

We would like to share with the whole of the communist movement our errors as well as our contributions so as to further the unity of Marxist-Leninists in the struggle against U.S. imperialism and USSR Social-Imperialism. The class struggle in our organization has been intense, in our relentless struggle against opportunism of all shades, both right and left opportunism, always moving forward towards a better understanding of the science of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Tse Tung Thought.


In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the objective spontaneous movement of the oppressed Puerto Rican national minority in the fight against racism, national oppression as well as class oppression and for the recognition of the struggle for national liberation of Puerto Rico, was at a high level. Puerto Ricans were struggling for better housing, decent education, against the violent police repression, against the injustices committed in the U.S. ruling class penal system and struggling hard to maintain their jobs, since they along with Blacks, were always first fired, last hired. Puerto Ricans were struggling against the corrupt union officials who more and more every day show their true class interest, that as the same of the capitalists, who year after year, presented the workers with a clear sold-out contract. Puerto Ricans found themselves on picket lines fighting along with their class brothers and sisters. Puerto Ricans learned from the examples of the Afro-American people in their fight for self-determination, and marched in masses, protesting the colonization of Puerto Rico as well as the liberation of other colonies and dependent countries from the U.S. imperialists.

This was the objective situation at that time. Of course, since the CPUSA had treacherously betrayed the working class and oppressed nationalities in their struggle against the vicious monopoly capitalist class, without a subjective factor, the struggles had no communist leadership. The masses were painfully groping in the dark. It was out of this very concrete and objective condition, that the vital need for organized struggle arose. It was out of this vital need that the YLP-PRRWO arose.

The organization in the main developed from Puerto Ricans, Blacks, Dominicans, Mexican-Americans from the working class, students and unemployed proletarian youths. There were a few petty-bourgeois intellectuals. The early principles of our organization were to “Serve and Protect the People.” And as such we proceeded to try to give leadership to the struggle of the oppressed Puerto Rican national minority, always connecting it to the overall struggle of all oppressed and exploited people. The early garbage offensives, the student conferences, health conferences, free Puerto Rico committees, preventative medicine programs, demonstrations at the UN to demand that the colonization status of Puerto Rico he put on the agenda before the whole of the world’s people educated the masses as well as ourselves, for we learned both from the positives and the negatives. We learned how to organize mass activities, how to prepare speeches, how to retreat orderly from the vamping police. Some activities were spontaneous, others were well organized.

This was all the process of growth of a young revolutionary organization, who had no clear defined ideology and who did not understand the importance of study. But our determination, sacrifices, sincerity and love for the masses of the people as well as our open criticisms of our work, gave us credibility among the masses, as well as among the young communist movement. The other factor was that, although we did belittle the importance of theory, we did not altogether ignore it. In studying faithfully the teachings of Mao Tse-Tung from the Red Book, we developed the ideological (although primitive) basis for proletarian positions to later combat erroneous ideas in the Organization. As a result of our objective development, and to emphasize once again the lack of a centralized revolutionary organization of professional revolutionaries, our consciousness could only be embryonic and as such we were destined to worship spontaneity. But with our perceptual understanding, we proceeded to prepare to consolidate the Organization into a disciplined revolutionary organization based on the principles of democratic centralism and criticism and self-criticism. “Truth develops in the struggle against falsehood.” “A relentless struggle against opportunism begins.”


The first early struggle of an ideological nature developed as to whether or not we would be a study group or a mass organization. The struggle centered around Diego Pabon, one-time chairman of the Organization, a right opportunist, who, although he upheld that our main task was the theoretical training of the membership and that we should therefore study the works of Lenin, had as his purpose to lead us straight into the hands of the revisionist CPUSA. His motive was to create a Puerto Rican Study Group directly linked to the CPUSA. In fact, he brought a leading member of the CPUSA to talk to us. In his approach you could also see how he raised theory to knock theory, for he dogmatically insisted that we study all of the 40 volumes of Lenin and do nothing else. In the struggle against Diego, the opposition in the Organization was not dialectical, but diametrically opposed. The placing of practice over theory, the denial of the dialectical relationship between theory and practice led to a malady that was to be with us for a long time and was the root for worshipping spontaneity. For Chairman Mao teaches us:

The creation and advocacy of revolutionary theory plays the principal and decisive role in these times of which Lenin said: ’without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.’[1]

Our early studies included everything from Mao, Che, Fanon, to Kim Il Sung. The curriculum itself was indicative of the struggle in the organization and of our primitiveness.

The next major struggle was against Felipe Luciano’s bankrupt line. Felipe, the then Chairman of the organization, had a distaste for theory which clearly came out in his claiming that the Black Panther Party had isolated themselves from the masses by introducing Mao Tse-Tung Thought to Third World People, who could not relate to that “theory.” It wasn’t the people who could not relate to it, it was Felipe. He wanted our organization to abandon the study of Mao. Felipe claimed that the Black Panther Party was sectarian for not uniting with the reactionary Black nationalists. Felipe’s demotion in August 1970 (later purged in 197l) was brought on in the struggle against crisis orientation and charismatic leadership. Crisis orientation was the method of work at that time. It meant that during periods of intense flow things would work well, but in between, nothing would function. Nothing but spontaneity straight up. Charismatic leadership was the method of leadership whereby the organization would be as strong as the personality of the leader, Felipe. When there was no personality around, there would be no leadership. Nothing but petty-bourgeois individualism, ideological self-cultivation and adventurism. The advanced elements waged a relentless and tireless struggle against this opportunism and put forward the study of theory, particularly dialectical and historical materialism. Today we can see how Felipe has degenerated more and more into an adventurist and careerist element displayed in the recent role he took in the reactionary film “Badge 373” where he plays a “P.R. revolutionary” and degrades the national liberation struggle of P.R. and the revolutionary movement of the oppressed Puerto Rican national minority inside the U.S.

The training of cadres was raised and a party school was established, with a curriculum on studies such as On Practice, On Contradiction, Mao’s Military Writings and Stalin’s Dialectical and Historical Materialism.

But we were still weak in understanding that the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought comes from without and that as a science it must be pursued as such. Our study continued to be spontaneous. As a result of many struggles inside our organization and with other organizations in the communist movement, over positions we held– such as the divided nation theory which said that Puerto Ricans in the U.S. were part of a divided nation – a solid study of Marxism-Leninism and arming our cadres with it surged again in September of 1971. It resulted with us outlining our problems to be:

1. We are not integrated with the daily lives of the people, especially the working class.
2. We have not armed-the cadres with proletarian ideology, with a Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-Tung Thought analysis, methods of thinking and methods of work.
3. We need to strengthen collective life.
4. We need to strengthen democratic centralism and criticism-self -criticism.

Our not having studied Stalin on the National Question led us to adopt the line of Browder and Co. on the Puerto Rican National Question. This erroneous and opportunist theory was a clear deviation from Marxism. It led us to make erroneous plans and policies such as opening a branch in Puerto Rico and that we were the party of the proletariat. In the middle of all this, we were preparing to hold our “Party Congress” at which we were going to proclaim ourselves the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party. But as a result of the struggle inside the organization and struggle with other organizations in the communist movement, comrades began to question these theories. Objective reality forced us to study, for the organization was headed towards chaos and disorder.

We began intense study of Stalin’s national question, the criteria for a nation, and saw that in fact, Puerto Ricans in the U.S. were not part of a divided nation, but part of the multi-national proletariat, and that our responsibility as part of the multi-national proletariat was to demand the liberation of the colonies and give resolute aid to the struggles of the oppressed nations by struggling against U.S. imperialism inside the U.S.

Upon studying Foundations of Leninism, on “The Party” (by Stalin), we saw that we could not call a Congress to declare ourselves the Puerto Rican Party, but that our central task as communists was to educate and organize the working class and to build the party of the proletariat. In the course of the struggle, however, due to the fact that we had not mastered the dialectical approach to struggling over political lines, many errors were made. Honest comrades who were raising correct positions became one-sided in their approach, making it difficult and drawn out. The dishonest, opportunist and wavering elements tried to seize control of the situation, knowing that their days were limited, by promoting subjectivism and narrowness. It resulted in a split in the organization in May of 1972, 2 months before the Congress was to take place.

The split marked our dealing death blows to anti-Marxist lines and with the split came the advance of Marxist-Leninist lines which united the advanced around our tasks and gave us the basis to turn the Congress from the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party into one that would proclaim our task to be to ”create the conditions for the formation of the multinational party” (PRRWO Congress Resolutions, July, 1972). This party was defined further as a communist one, guided by the ideology of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-Tung Thought. (Shortly after the Congress we deviated from the central task and adopted the line to build the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class – to be later elaborated on in the part on the National Liaison Committee).

The Congress was a culmination of many quantitative changes into a qualitative leap forward for our organization. It marked a higher theoretical understanding of Marxism-Leninism and the beginnings of repudiation of erroneous lines. As Chairman Mao teaches us:

All our cadres, whatever their ranks, are servants of the people and whatever we do is to serve the people. How then can we be reluctant to discard any of our bad traits. Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected. That is what being responsible to the people means.[2]

From our primitive study and analysis, we advanced at the Congress our political positions on certain questions and united our ranks on the basis of our political line. Our stands on some of them were clear as far back as two years ago.


All over the world, the main tendency is revolution and the triumph of socialism. The Congress Resolutions go on to say:

The leadership of the world revolution are the national struggles in the colonies and neo-colonies. The national struggles can only be successful if led by the working class.[3]


The Russian Revolution marked the beginnings of the revolutionary era. But in the 50’s, the petty-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie took power in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and they proceeded to sell out the world revolutionary movement in favor of peace and economic competition with the U.S. Using Marxism-Leninism, they revised Marxist-Leninist ideology and practiced to establish capitalism in the Soviet Union. We call this phenomenon “revisionism”. Little by little, the Soviet Revisionists began to unite with and support revisionists in other countries and control countries through “mutual aid”. Soviet revisionism evolved into social-imperialism. (Socialism in words, imperialism in deeds). Today Yankee imperialism (U.S. imperialism) and social-imperialism are uniting and at the same time are in competition with each other to divide the world between the two of them.[4]


In Puerto Rico, the large proletariat which has been firm, with about 200 years of historical struggle, has sufficient strength to direct the struggle for national liberation and socialism. Being a capitalist colony, Puerto Rico is confronted with socialism as the next stage.[5]


Although the Congress was a vital and important step for the organization, the presence of worshipping spontaneity was still to plague us. We kept struggling with the forms it took and not with its ideological roots. After the Congress, sharp two-line struggles ensued as to whether or not we were a communist organization or a workers organization. The holders of the line that we were a workers organization put forth that our task was to integrate ourselves with the masses and that our cadres had to be sent to the factories to transform.

As such the line of integrating ourselves with the masses is correct, for communists must be one with the masses. We must go to the masses, take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and synthesize them with the weapon of Marxism-Leninism and turn them into systematic and concentrated ideas – then go to the masses and propagate the ideas until the masses embrace them as their own and turn them into action. However, the holders of the line that we were a workers organization were clearly coming from the economist viewpoint of worshipping the spontaneous movement of the masses and not one of bringing scientific socialism to the advanced in order to build firm ties with the masses and give the revolutionary working class movement a deliberate and organized character.

The theory that consciousness comes from within in relationship to cadre remoulding is the theory of trade unionism.

This line was defeated by the majority who reaffirmed that we were a communist organization, and as such the ideological remoulding of our cadres comes from the study of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-Tung Thought and its concrete application and through criticism-self-criticism as the weapon to correct our mistakes, and that yes we have to train cadres who do not fear difficulties in the heat of the class struggle, but face the mighty storm.

The development both ideologically and practically of every cadre is the very life of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization. We are all cadres and as such, ours is the task of proletarian revolution. We must build our organization which will struggle for the building of the multinational communist party, which will lead the class struggle of the proletariat. We must therefore build our organization on the basis of reality, defeating idealism and applying from the masses to the masses.[6]

Another significant struggle was the one over Palante. After the Congress we struggled over what was our responsibility to the oppressed Puerto Rican national minority. We saw clearly that there existed in the communist movement a division of labor and that because we came out of that struggle, we had to inject consciousness to this national movement as well as struggle in the communist movement, that to raise the banner for the national liberation struggle of Puerto Rico was not just the task of the PRRWO. However, in not understanding how to merge the struggle against national oppression with the overall struggle of the multi-national proletariat for socialism, we committed a right error. We set for ourselves as the central task of the organization to build national forms of mass organizations around these general principles:

1. Defense of democratic rights
A. Right to speak our language
B. Struggle for bi-lingual programs that really teach our history and culture
C. Right to mobilize freely and agitate for the national liberation struggle of Puerto Rico, i.e. the right to freedom of movement.

Although it is correct to struggle for these things, we liquidated Palante’s communist role by turning it into an “anti-imperialist newspaper” of the “masses”. This line led to making Palante a mass organization with a communist core within it that was united around the above stated principles. Reality proved this to be incorrect. And as a result, today Palante is once again our organ.

As well as committing right errors and right deviations, we have also made left errors (most especially in this period). Many left errors obviously were made in struggling with the right. However, they were made and we do not want to leave the impression that every struggle in our organization resulted in the correct Marxist-Leninist positions. In our early periods our left errors were characterized by sectarianism, most especially to the other organizations within the broad revolutionary movement, in the Puerto Rican sector of that movement. Of course, that logically flowed out of us thinking that we were “the Party.” Later other left deviations such as the left-wing communist position on trade unions – developing dual organizations (in opposition to union, but outside the unions and not relating to the unions) – the slogan of “Workplaces Belong To Those That Work Them – reflected this tendency. In the recent period of struggling with the modern economists we also have made left errors. In still not fully understanding the dialectics between theory and practice, we have to a certain extent belittled practice.

However, to sum-up, the overall thing we in the PRRWO have suffered from historically has been the lack of theory. We certainly have not been armchair revolutionaries or book-worshippers. In our history which has consisted of many line struggles, however, the Marxist-Leninist position has also been battling with incorrect tendencies and as a result today, the PRRWO is a multi-national communist organization, dedicated to the education and organization of the class. Today we are firmly fighting to implement Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions and to build the party of the proletariat.

The different tendencies, trends and lines in our organization are a reflection also of the struggle within the communist movement for the clarity of the Marxist-Leninist line: for the building of the Party to lead the masses; and against the modern economist line that claims that the party develops spontaneously. This brings us to the period of the relations with the RU, The National Liaison Committee and the “Broken Alliance”.


Every generation of Marxists-Leninists in the U.S. has been confronted with great ideological, political and organizational tasks. In July, 1972, during the YLP-PRRWO Congress, four organizations came together to try to work out a common program. The organizations were the PRRWO, RU, IWK, BWC. The basic principles of unity were: anti-revisionism and upholding Mao Tse Tung Thought, anti-Trotskyism, and a vagueness about joint-city strategy and tactics. (We would like to emphasize the principles that united us on the National Liaison Committee – adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought, struggle against opportunism, and party building.) There was also verbal agreement (though not in deed) on the concept that every one of the organizations were ’subordinate to what was coming into being’ (meaning the multi-national communist party). (Life proves today that the RU was not subordinate to what was coming into being. In fact, the RU thought that they were the party and wanted both the BWC and the PRRWO to ’submerge’ ourselves into the RU.)

The main programmatic thrust of the NLC (National Liaison Committee) was to be joint work on a city-wide basis where the organizations coexisted, mainly in New York, Philly, Detroit and Chicago. But the main work of the NLC turned out to be struggling for unity on the line. From the outset, the main questions struggled around were the national question and party building. Additionally, there was struggle for clarity of the strategy for proletarian revolution, the UFAI, and the central task of communists, which we all agreed at that time was the building of the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class. The first sharp ideological struggle broke out with the IWK, the RU, PRRWO and the BWC, who felt that the IWK manifested tendencies towards Bundism (isolation from the American workers movement, while pushing all Asian concepts). Moreover, it was felt IWK resisted basing its work on the industrial proletariat and workplaces (a principle of unity we forgot to mention earlier), while favoring to work more in the ’community.’ None of these contradictions were resolved, and unity finally degenerated when the IWK refused to attend any further NLC meetings and discontinued working with the local workteam in New York.”

After the NLC helped the BWC consolidate around the RU position on the national question, the RU put forward a proposal for forming ’The Party.’ The essence of the proposal was that it was necessary to organize work-teams of the most developed cadres from each organization (’flying squadrons’, as they were called) to go about the country organizing and recruiting various independent ’collectives’ who were just out there. In the meantime, the various secretariats of each organization would merge and form an interim committee that would be the basis for the Central Committee of the new Party. All of this would be topped off in about a year at a Congress where the party would be called into being with a program and permanent leading body elected. The BWC and PRRWO put forward the line that said that a ’collective’ of this type would be mainly white and petty-bourgeois and that we should concentrate our attention on the industrial proletariat. (To add, both the PRRWO and the BWC made clear to the RU that they had to Bolshevize their organizations and purge their ranks of opportunist and careerist elements.)

In addition, we maintained we should strengthen the role and work of the BWC and PRRWO in the revolutionary national movements and as communist organizations as a first step towards party building. The RU disagreed with this view, saying that the time was now to form the party before other ’opportunist elements’ (meaning the CL and OL) formed the party first.”[7]

The RU’s rush was not “because they really saw the need to build the party of the proletariat as the central task, but rather it was because they were rushed to build a Menshevik party, before being exposed. Their ’party’ would be one where every striker could proclaim himself a party member, a party not based on the advanced, for the RU has never, even until today, said that the work of the party must be based on factory nuclei.

To continue:

In the meantime, and just prior to that time the RU attacked the slogan, ’Black Workers Take the Lead’ and the concept that a Black communist was both a communist and a revolutionary nationalist. The leadership of the BWC and PRRWO took opposing positions to that of the RU, but the RU held to its position and even went one step further by saying that the BWC and PRRWO leadership were degenerating into Bundism and bourgeois nationalism.” (The PRRWO has yet to sum up the errors made in struggling with RU’s revisionist line on the national question. We do not hold, however, that we made Bun-dist errors, as the RU claims we did. We are sure that left errors, errors of narrow nationalism, were made, for, in struggling so ruthlessly against the right, one is bound to make left errors, if one is not vigilant.)

This struggle quickly escalated into a struggle over how the national question related to carrying out the central task itself, the building of the revolutionary consciousness, unity and organization of the class and its leadership in the United Front came into question itself.”[8]

Given the fact that there was a complete breakdown on how to advance the question of party building and the opportunist nature of the RU’s proposal, the BWC and PRRWO secretariats were thrown into study and struggle on the question of party building and the central task. This, along with the summing up of the weaknesses and errors and history of both organizations, led the BWC and PRRWO secretariats to conclude, after much study and struggle, that the central task of communists was indeed to build the party. This made us see even more clearly how the RU was in fundamental error on some of the most important questions facing the U.S. proletarian revolution and the root cause of all their (and our own errors, the bowing to spontaneity and belittling the conscious element, ’the logical basis of all opportunism’) opportunism.[9]

This sharp struggle was what led to the “Broken Alliance,” for the concrete situation calls for all Marxists-Leninists to build a genuine Bolshevik Party. This is the main and central task at this time, and must be done inseparably connected with the spontaneous revolutionary movement of the working class.

But still today the RU has not learned from its errors, and proceeds to belittle the importance of theory and of the advanced element. This is because the RU is not making errors of ignorance, but, in fact, has a consolidated right opportunist line. The RU today claims that both the PRRWO and BWC are separating theory from practice and have become nothing but dogmatists “who want to build the party isolated from the masses,” that the PRRWO and BWC, in saying that since the treacherous betrayal of the revisionist CPUSA, the central task has been the building of the party (our emphasis) is to say that theory has played the principal role for 24 years. Why does the RU sink to such opportunist tricks and distortions? Where can they document that this is what PRRWO and BWC are saying? Isn’t it a fact that what both organizations are saying is, “We, the cadres and leadership of the BWC and PRRWO and genuine communists throughout the movement, must work wholeheartedly and resolutely at fulfilling our revolutionary responsibilities with all due haste, place the question of building a genuine multi-national communist party based on the fundamental principles of M-L-MTTT and the revolutionary experience of the U.S. on the order of the day.”?

Where does it say separated from the masses? Isn’t it a fact that what the BWC and PRRWO and all genuine communists have laid out is that the task of the class-conscious fighters of the proletariat is to bring scientific socialism to the advanced so as to give the spontaneous movement a conscious character? We communists do not have a distaste for the struggles of the masses; what we do have a distaste and hatred for is for the revisionists and opportunists who want to keep the masses tied to the wings of the bourgeoisie. We do hold to the teachings of Lenin:

To bow to the spontaneous movement and belittle the importance of consciousness is to insult the workers drawn to consciousness as to light, and lower the value of theory in the eyes of the party; that is, to depreciate the instrument which helped the party to understand the present and foresee the future, and, in the third place, it meant to sink completely and irrevocably into the bog of opportunism.[11]

But let us examine RU’s practice. What has been their role historically in the mass movement? Where are the advanced they claim to have made? Historically, RU’s role in the mass movement has been one of tailing and worshipping the spontaneous movement, and not of giving it conscious leadership. Let us see for ourselves; let the concrete facts prove our point.

In the November 4th Coalition in New York, the RU was too cowardly to come out clearly against the CPUSA, and tried to cover themselves by insisting that “we just unmask the revisionists through their practice ” which must be done, for no one negates that you must expose the revisionists through their words, as well as their deeds. However, when we wanted to struggle for the clarity of M-L, when we wanted to draw the line of demarcation with the revisionist theories of the CPUSA and with other groups that supported them, the RU called us “sectarian” and “ultra-left.” Why was the RU opposed to opening this struggle? Could it have been, perhaps, that their own right opportunist, revisionist line was going to come to light, or perhaps the RU didn’t want to ruin their chances at later joining with the CPUSA. In a leaflet handed out by the RU in the CPUSA’s celebration of Mayday this year, 1974, this is what the RU had to say: “A call to those veteran fighters who still want to make revolution” was the title of the RU’s leaflet. It goes on to say that the RU was proud to proclaim that “many of us in the RU are ’red diaper babies’” and goes on to say, ”We are here today because we want you to join us in upholding the old revolutionary spirit of Mayday.” Treachery! Nothing but pure treachery and an insult to M-L!

Or does the RU call their advance in the mass struggle, their paper organization, UWOC? “Jobs or Income Now” was their favorite slogan. You, the RU, raised only the economic issues and did not fulfill the communist responsibility to thoroughly expose the bourgeois state and educate the masses that capitalism means unemployment and increased attacks on the working class. But let us continue to show you, if you will permit us, in your most recent summation of your, practice (in your famous theoretical journal, Red Papers 6)

The RU in the Bay Area decided to try to begin building support for the strike and issued a call for the creation of Farah Strike Support Committees (FSSCs). We initially approached the ACWA [EROL Note: The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, a major AFL-CIO union], but the union wanted no part of such support groups. We then decided to go ahead and build independent FSSCs. We sought to unite workers, Chicano movement forces, to work out some principles of unity and what the major practical focus of FSSCs would be.[12]

So first, the RU tries to unite with the union bureaucrats, asking them to help build support committees, then proceeds to unite all those that can be united to build independent FSSCs. RU looks like magicians; if this trick doesn’t work, pull another out of the hat; never mind the ultimate goal. From there, the RU goes on to tell the work done by the FSSCs in building the strike. They say:

Seeing all of the development the ACWA leadership was forced to offer minimal support, while doing little on its own to build the boycott. In March, 1973, the ACWA and ad-hoc committee of union bureaucrats called for a mass demonstration in front of Mervyn’s department store in San Pablo, Calif, (a major retailer of scab Farah pants). The FSSCs and the RU members in them overestimated the strength of the union bureaucrats and their desire and ability to mobilize support for the strikers.

So, while the picket line was a success (over 300 people turned out to tell Mervyn’s to ’Take those damn slacks off the racks’), the FSSC relinquished the day’s program to the union bureaucrats.[13]

But who was it that really was. responsible for the fact that the day’s pro. gram was surrendered to the bureaucrats; was it the FSSC? Was it, in fact, the so-called communists, the RU, that was so impressed with the 300 people that turned out, that things like politics did not matter? After all, why should it, since to the RU to give conscious leadership is “dogmatic ’n’ left,” and will isolate us from the masses. We must rely on the wishes and will of the masses; education of the masses is pure dogmatism. “The masses learn from their own experience.” This, it seems to us, goes against the teachings of Lenin, who says that the workers of themselves can only develop trade union consciousness and not social democratic consciousness. This is an example of how RU says it prevented this struggle from strictly becoming trade unionism. Is it on these advances that RU sees building the party? On the advances of bargaining for the better labor sale of the working class? But the people don’t need you, the RU, to do that. They have their own trade unions which will always keep them in the narrow confines of trade unionism. Are you talking of building a party of a large trade union? For we know a party is the advanced detachment of the class and a recorder of the spontaneous struggles. This is what Stalin has to say on the subject:

But, in order that it may really be the advanced detachment, the Party must be armed with revolutionary theory, with knowledge of laws of the movement, with a knowledge of the law of revolution. Without this, it will be incapable of directing the struggle of the proletariat, leading the proletariat. The Party cannot be a real party if it limits itself to registering what the masses of the working class feel and think, if its drags at the tail of the spontaneous movement, if it is unable to rise above the momentary interest of the proletariat, if it is unable to raise the masses to the level of understanding the class interest of the proletariat.[14]

But do we hear the RU saying they are having other problems in their mass work, other than that they overestimated the union bureaucrats? Do we hear them saying that, in the famous work in the post office, they are having such problems as:

But Outlaw wasn’t able to unite Black and white workers as well as it should have to win the strike. We had struggled within Outlaw for an understanding of the national question, but we hadn’t been able to get it to deal with national oppression in a broad enough way and haven’t been able to involve many Black workers in it, although they were active in the strike.[15]

Perhaps, aside from the fact that all you raise is trade union politics, it could be your stand on the national question in relationship to Black people. Perhaps it’s because of your own racism and national chauvinism. You, who try to liquidate the national question, the question of self-determination, always look to blame someone else.

So, when summed up, your advances in mass work have amounted to nothing but tailing behind the most backward. You have denied the advanced workers in those struggles the only weapon that can end the misery of the working class, i.e., M-L-MTTT. You, the RU leadership, have been criminal to those hardworking cadres who sincerely wish to truly give leadership to the masses. It is criminal, for as Stalin says:

It is such theory that our cadres need, and they need it as badly as they need their daily bread, as they need air or water.[16]

The PRRWO’s Relationship to the National Continuations Committee

With the break from the Revolutionary Union and their consolidated right opportunist line, the PRRWO continued in the spirit of party building to further train the cadres to be genuine Bolsheviks, in the interest of the proletariat. It was in this spirit that we united with the Black Workers Congress to enter the Continuations Committee that was developed out of the Conference of North American Marxists-Leninists for the building of the party around these principles: l) Adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism; 2) A struggle against revisionism, which is headed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the CPUSA; 3) The struggle to build a multi-national Marxist-Leninist communist party to lead the U.S. working class to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism; 4) The resolutions which were approved by the May Conference and printed in Marxists-Leninists Unite. These four points were to be the basis for minimum political unity for all organizations on the National Continuations Committee for local committees and for individual Marxists-Leninists. By the time we entered the National Continuations Committee, a struggle had ensued on the question of the fourth principle, as to whether or not Marxists-Leninists had to have minimal unity with the resolutions passed at the Conference. After struggle in our organization, we united that Marxists-Leninists cannot just unite on three principles that were not up for debate (adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism, the building of a multi-national communist party, struggle against opportunism), but, in fact, must unite on the basis of political line, for it is in the application of Marxism-Leninism that we can further draw the lines of demarcation, see the correct from the bankrupt. Our understanding of the resolutions at that time was that it was a minimal principle of unity, struggle, unity and, as such, we entered on the local Continuations Committee on the basis that we will unite with what is genuine and disunite with the sham, and that party building must be closely linked with the political line. We agreed that we would carry on an investigation of the political lines of the different organizations in the Continuations Committee, most especially the line of the Communist League, as well as wage struggle on some of the resolutions passed, which either we were not completely clear on, or disagreed with.

At the same time, we agreed to work towards the Party Congress in September. Upon the meetings we had with the Communist League’s National Leadership, we found out that we had some definite disagreements with their line (although at the beginning we had been impressed, particularly with their training of cadres), most specifically the way they saw the dictatorship of the proletariat and the Negro colonial question. CL claims that the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a slogan for the vast majority, but for communists, and, “It is possible to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat by combining several parties in the apparatus.” There it is, the theory of a multi-party system – a Trotskyite position, pure and simple. As the work continued, new developments began to take place. We began to see that the CL’s attitude towards struggle was one of not struggling, but of dogmatically insisting things would be resolved in the Congress of the Party.

We began to see that they would not admit their mistakes openly, in the spirit of promoting unity, but that the opposite was the fact, one of promoting disunity. When people wanted to struggle on the resolutions, we were handed the line that they were not up for debate. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when CL put out, in their People’s Tribune for May (section on the International Report), a clear attack on the Communist Party of China and on the international line of the communist movement, and puts forward that imperialism is the main trend, not revolution.

Right after this, the Communist League’s June edition of the People’s Tribune comes out with the article, “Class Struggle in the Soviet Union,” which says it is childish to believe that capitalism has been restored in the U.S.S.R. Once again, this goes against the international line of the communist movement. (For an in-depth analysis of CL’s Trotskyite line, see the section on the lines of different organizations on Party Building, Strategy and Tactics for Proletarian Revolution, the International Situation and Domestic Situation, and the National Question. We also suggest that the readers see the BWC pamphlet, titled, The Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism: Against the Communist League and the Revolutionary Union.)

After this, we fell into sharp contradiction with the CL, who seemed to have hegemony on the Continuations Committee, since anyone who disagreed with CL’s positions were soon purged, or resigned. We began to examine clearly their lines, and more and more saw that they are bankrupt. The CL then moved to establish democratic centralism in the Continuations Committee, saying that it had been agreed to all along, completely contradicting the newsletters. In Newsletter #2, this is what is said:

These points of unity also act as the organizational guide for the democratic relations between organizations on the committee and other Marxists-Leninists.[17]

This was something we, as Marxists-Leninists, could not hold to. The question of democratic centralism is a question of the party. When political unity is achieved through the formation of a party of a new type, then democratic centralism will be the organizational basis of relations. This was another attempt on CL’s part to stifle the ideological struggle that was coming to the fore on their political line, which was unmasking their Trotskyite plan of party building, a party totally isolated from the masses. The BWC openly began to struggle against the policies in the NCC and was purged from the NCC. Our position as an organization was that we supported wholeheartedly the BWC and we could not be a party of anything that was not in the interest of the proletariat; we could not adhere to democratic centralism – the Continuations Committee was not the party – and we maintained that the relations of organizations must be democratic relations. On the basis of these political contradictions and due to the fact that the atmosphere was not one of unity, struggle, unity to achieve higher levels of unities, but one of splittist actions by the CL, we, the PRRWO, resigned from the Continuations Committee.

Although we have not done a total sum-up of every event in the Continuations Committee, we have summed up that entering the NCC was incorrect, for to fully expose the treacherous line of the CL and their sham attempt to build the party, it “was not necessary for us to join the NCC. The CL has been out there for everyone to see for years. Their Trotskyite line has a historical development, and, as such, their journal, the People’s Tribune, has been stating their positions. Their most blatant and crude attack on the line of the international communist movement was not the first signal of their treachery as an organization. We criticize ourselves for having committed such an error. We recognize that our responsibility was to have studied the CL line thoroughly, engaged in polemics over the burning questions facing the communist movement and proletarian revolution. Most especially, we should have studied what period we were in, and the concrete road ahead towards party building. That we should have done this was of prime importance, in light of the fact that we had just broken off with the right opportunist line of the RU, which undoubtedly gave rise to left errors, for we do feel, as an organization, that it was left impetuosity that was the basis of our entering the NCC.

It is clear that both the National Liaison Committee and the National Continuations Committee have been sham attempts to build the party. The RU, through the National Liaison Committee, wanted to build a mass party, a party where every “striker” could proclaim himself a party member, a party not based on the advanced detachment of the class and, therefore, could not be directly linked with the masses; and CL’s attempt, through the National Continuations Committee, to build a party in isolation from the masses, a party based on a few “theoreticians.” Today, the RU claims that both the BWC and PRRWO must make criticisms for “following the CL,” as if we have ever been fearful to criticize ourselves for our errors and as if the RU has tried to struggle with us on the line of the CL. For the first one, we were not “following and mouthing” the CL line. For the second proclamation of the RU, the only thing you attacked of the CL line was that they upheld party building. In fact, over the political line, you never struggled. Should we remind you now how you refused to debate CL publically? In fact, both you and the CL have a lot in common; both of you do not want to build a truly genuine Bolshevik Party, but a party corroded with opportunism.

Today the RU is sending their number one flying squadron, Bob Avakian, to try to unite as many as possible to build a mass party, especially anyone who is against the PRRWO, the BWC and the ATM, and any other genuine communists.

To conclude and re-emphasize what has been re-emphasized throughout this pamphlet, the PRRWO upholds that we are in a period of Marxists-Leninists uniting for the formation of the party of the proletariat, the party of Lenin, the multi-national communist party of a new type. Ours has been the road of many twists and turns; we have made advances and have suffered setbacks, but in the course, we have gained the finest Bolsheviks, staunch cadres whose sole purpose in life is the emancipation of the working class. We recognize that the party can only be built in the ruthless and relentless struggle against all shades of opportunism. We believe our work must consist of bringing scientific socialism to the advanced, to lead the spontaneous revolutionary movement of the masses. The base of our work must be in the industrial proletariat. We must concentrate our work in the factories, on establishing factory nuclei.

Only by maintaining the closest contact with the masses of workers will the party be able to lead them into the battle at the necessary moment.[18]

Every factory must be our fortress.[19]



[1] On Contradiction, Mao Tse-Tung.

[2] No source provided in text.

[3] Resolutions of the Congress of the PRRWO, July 1972.

[4] “Ibid”.

[5] “Ibid”.

[6] Statement from the Central Committee of the PRRWO.

[7] “Criticism of National Bulletin 13 and the Right Line in the RU” Document written by the BWC and PRRWO.

[8] “Ibid”.

[9] “Ibid”.

[11] No source provided in text.

[12] Red Papers #6, p. 117, “Farah Strike Support Committee”

[13] “Ibid”.

[14] Foundations of Leninism, Stalin.

[15] Red Papers #6.

[16] No source provided in text.

[17] Newsletter #2 of the National Continuations Committee.

[18] “Letter to a Comrade”, Lenin.

[19] “Ibid”.