Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

What is the October League?


First Published: The Call, Vol. I, No. 3, December 1972.
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.

In October, 1917, the working people of Russia took up arms and rid their country of the oppressive rule of the capitalists and tsars who had kept them in misery for hundreds of years. The October Revolution marked the first successful socialist revolution in history–the first time power was ripped out of the hands of a small handful of exploiters and placed into the hands of the majority of toiling masses, the workers and peasants. Instead of a dictatorship of the rich over the poor, for the first time there was a dictatorship of the working class (the proletariat) over the exploiters.

This revolution showed the way to the millions of oppressed people all over the world. It was the forerunner to the revolutionary movements in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Albania and scores of national democratic and socialist revolutions around the world. October, 1917, became the most important date in history and marked the beginning of a new era, the era in which the system of imperialism is heading for its doom and socialism is on the rise around the world.


Again in October, this time 32 years later in 1949, the people of China, after driving the Japanese aggressors from their homeland and ending the oppressive rule of the tyrant Chiang Kai-shek, stood up and established the People’s Republic of China. Following in the path of the October Revolution in Russia, the Chinese people established the dictatorship of the proletariat and began the long, difficult journey towards socialist construction. This meant expropriating (taking away the property of) the rich landlords and capitalists, and gradually putting the means of production – the factories, mines and farms – into the hands of the people themselves.

The October League (Marxist-Leninist) takes its name from the date of these two earth-shaking events. This is to show that we are part of the great revolutionary tradition established around the world by these two socialist revolutions. To us, October is more than a month, but a symbol of revolutionary struggle and the victory of the world’s working people.

The Russian and Chinese revolutions were different in many ways. It is impossible to mechanically take the revolutionary experience of one country and transfer it to another. Those who try and copy blindly the Chinese or Russian experience will end up spouting empty slogans and will lose their bearings in the course of the complex struggle here in the United States.

The task of the workers in the U.S. is to study the experience of other countries, drawing general lessons that can be used in accordance with the concrete conditions here. This means a careful study of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tsetung, combined with careful investigation of the conditions which the U.S. working people live under as well as an analysis of the various classes within the U.S. today and their relationship to one another.

One of the lessons that we can draw from these two great October revolutions is that in order to make a successful revolution, the workers must have a communist party to lead them forward. Without such a party, guided by the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, our struggles will be confined to reformism, that is, trying to reform capitalism instead of getting at the cause of our problems, the capitalist system itself.

Such a party must be made up of the most active, devoted fighters for the people, fearless and self-sacrificing in every way. For many years the workers had just such a party at their head, the Communist Party U.S.A. Under the leadership of the CPUSA, the working class won many great victories, built its trade unions and pushed forward the fight for the rights of the Afro-American and other minority peoples.


In the difficult course of the struggle however, revisionist elements took over the party and turned it into a degenerate gang of reformers. “Revisionism” means that they revised the basic teachings of Marxism and robbed them of their revolutionary guts. Instead of representing workers, the CPUSA now is a party of middle-class professionals and labor bureaucrats who stand in the way of the workers’ fight. These revisionists, who act as the capitalists agents within the workers’ movement also made a comeback in the Soviet Union under Khruschev and his gang, and have temporarily restored capitalism there.

It is in response to these traitors that a new communist movement is growing and developing around the world, including here in the U.S. The aims of this movement include the building of a new communist party and the victory of the daily battles between the oppressed people of the U.S. and the small handful of monopolists who run this country. The October League is a part of this great new movement while its name reflects our ties with the great tradition of revolutionary socialism.