The Workers' Advocate




April 20,1984

Volume 14, Number 5

[Front page:

The revisionists trail behind the Jesse Jackson campaign--What path for the black people's struggle?;

On the history of MAP-ML--Vanguard fighters from the midst of the Nicaraguan proletariat]


Students force war dog Kissinger to cancel appearance........ 2
Report on Central America Week in Boston.......................... 5
AFL-CIO hacks are strikebreakers for imperialism............... 8
On the National Labor Committee for Human Rights in El Salvador.................................................................................. 12
What's happening in Grenada?.............................................. 7
From the MLP 2nd Congress: The black liberation struggle and the role of the black bourgeoisie..................................... 35
Nicaragua: MAP-ML protests its exclusion from the state council.................................................................................... 57
Where do the various classes stand in Nicaragua today?...... 59
Against Maoist RCP's critique of the Party of Labor of Albania................................................................................... 61

The revisionists trail behind the Jesse Jackson campaign

What path for the black people's struggle?

On the history of MAP-ML

Vanguard fighters from the midst of the Nicaraguan proletariat

At Tufts University near Boston:

Students force war dog Kissinger to cancel appearance

Report on Central America Week in Boston

Strikebreakers for imperialism

AFL-CIO works hand in hand with Reagan around the world

On the National Labor Committee in Support of Human Rights and Democracy in El Salvador

False Friends of the Salvadoran Working People

What's happening in Grenada?

Introduction: For a resolute struggle against U.S. imperialism

Speech at the Second Congress of the MLP,USA

The Black Liberation Struggle and the Role of the Black Bourgeoisie

MAP-ML Protests Its Exclusion from the Nicaraguan State Council



Where do the various classes stand in Nicaragua today?

Against the Maoist critique of the PLA

How the Maoist RCP,USA defends the basic ideas of 'three worldism'

The revisionists trail behind the Jesse Jackson campaign

What path for the black people's struggle?

This year's presidential election race has thrown up sharply not only the question of how to fight Reaganite reaction in general, but also how to build the black people's movement against the racist offensive of the capitalists.

Reaganite reaction has spelled disaster for the black masses. The extreme unemployment and mass impoverishment; the renewed segregationist drive in education, housing and every other sphere of life; and the brutal police and racist gang terror have set the black community on edge. Here and there the pot has boiled over, such as in the fierce mass actions against the racist murders by policemen in Miami. Everywhere there is a profound ferment at work among the black masses.

There is no question that the black people's movement will once again stride forward. The only question is what direction should activists strive to give the movement? The debate around Jesse Jackson's bid for the Democratic Party nomination indicates two paths: either wage an all-out fight against Reaganite reaction and for the liberation of the long-suffering black masses, or preach faith in the capitalist rulers and turning the other cheek.

The current restive mood among the masses creates possibilities for the revolutionary activists, the class conscious workers, and the Marxist-Leninists to work to organize the black liberation struggle. The burning contempt for Reagan should be used to build up mass actions. The disenchantment with the Democrats should be used to inculcate in the masses the conviction that Reagan's racist offensive is the bipartisan policy of the entire capitalist class; it should be used to orient the anti-racist movement squarely against the capitalist rulers, both Democrat and Republican. The vast majority of the black people are workers. They have always been the backbone of the black liberation movement and play an important role in the class struggle of the proletariat as a whole. Therefore special attention must be given to organizing the workers, and around them the other downtrodden black masses, in order to consolidate the struggle against racism and carry it forward in a revolutionary direction.

These tasks are, of course, not easy. But the potential exists for this work, and it is the surest path for advancing the liberation struggle of the black masses.

But there is a whole section of black misleaders who are advocating another path, the path of Jesse Jackson. Jackson talks against Reagan, but then works to cool down every mass struggle against Reagan's racist drive. Jackson speaks of the dissatisfaction with the Democrats, but instead of leading the masses to break with them he sows the illusion that the Democratic Party can be reformed to become the "friend" of the black people. Jackson claims to be opposed to the corporations, but he represents the black bourgeoisie in their efforts to reach an accommodation with the big bourgeois corporations and thereby become bigger capitalists themselves. In short, Jackson stands not for the path of struggle, but of reconciling with the racist exploiters.

Among the broad and just awakening masses a vote for Jackson is often considered a vote against racism. The outpouring for Jackson at the polls has revealed not only the mass hatred for Reagan, but also the growing skepticism of the masses for the traditional stalwarts of the Democratic Party. Obviously the Jackson vote indicates a search for an alternative. But, at the same time, it reflects that there is still a naive trust in the black capitalist politicians. In the course of struggle this mislaid faith will, sooner or later, be broken.

As well, there are many activists who feel compelled to support Jack soil. Although uneasy about what he represents, some feel that support for Jackson is the only way to stay close to the masses to educate them for future struggles. The work of the MLP shows that such a stand is unnecessary. Our Party has stressed the fight against Reaganite reaction on the actual issues facing the masses. In so doing we have been able to stay close to the masses, to encourage the anti-racist struggle and, at the same time, to get the ear of the masses for a thorough exposure of the treachery of Jackson. This work has encouraged various activists and is helping to show the way for organizing the black people's movement.

But the revisionist and opportunist leaders never seem to learn. Their support for Jackson is not an honest mistake, but is part of a calculated effort to subordinate the masses to the black misleaders and to channel the anger of the masses into a voters' drive for the Democratic Party. The pro-Soviet, Maoist and other revisionist trends all claim that they are Marxist-Leninists, the most far-sighted and militant champions of the working class. But their support for Jackson reveals that they have turned their backs on the masses and are cuddling up with the entire reformist milieu around the Democratic Party. This revisionist trend is called liquidationism. The organization of the anti-racist movement requires not only the exposure of the blatant reformists, but also an exposure of the liquidators who are dressing up the reformists in "militant" and "Marxist-Leninist" clothing.

The purpose of this article is to assist the exposure of the liquidators. Of course the revisionist liquidators don't state their policy directly, but paint up Jackson as a "liberation fighter," an "independent" and so forth. As well, each revisionist group has adopted its own peculiar tactics in supporting the Jackson campaign. But underneath all of their subterfuges and tactical "differences," there are certain harmful concepts that are held, to this or that extent, by all the various groups. In this article, we will draw out and repudiate some of these treacherous revisionist prejudices.

Subordinating the Black People's Movement to the Black Bourgeoisie

The various revisionist groups all argue that Jackson must be supported because, they claim, he represents the black people's movement. To support this claim the revisionists, on the whole, are either silent about, or try to obscure, the class polarization that is taking place among the black people. And they conceal the fact that there are different political trends among the black people. Any serious study of the history of the movement and the present situation reveals that there is a trend of the black masses struggling for liberation and a trend of the handful of black bourgeois who are trying to join the oppressors of the black masses. Jackson represents the black bourgeoisie. In arguing for Jackson, the revisionists are actually arguing for subordinating the black people's movement to the sellout interests of the black bourgeoisie.

On the whole, the revisionists avoid the class question. They simply assert that Jackson represents the black liberation movement, as if telling a lie enough times makes it the truth. But there is one notable exception; an article by Manning Marable, entitled "Jackson Bid Divides Blacks on Class Lines," appeared in the November 2, 1983 issue of the ultra-opportunist newspaper the Guardian. Marable is a leading social-democratic theoretician on the black people's movement. He is a vice-president of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the head of DSA's minority commission. What is more, Marable is a darling of the revisionists who frequently reprint his articles in their newspapers. It is therefore of some value to spend a little time looking at Marable's analysis.

In one place Marable describes the growing class differentiation among the black people and notes, in part, the politics that flows from the class polarization:

"The vast majority of blacks are now trapped within either the low-paid blue collar work force or are part of the growing 'underclass' of poor. Their world is filled with crime, decaying housing, inadequate social services, and a constant fear of unemployment. The small black elite usually lives elsewhere in the residential neighborhoods of upper middle-class whites, while the ghetto contemplates police brutality and a lack of public medical care. This black elite forms part of the basis for the small trend toward political conservatism within minority communities. Simultaneously, by sheer force of circumstances, the black majority is forced to turn toward more radical socio-economic and political solutions to resolve its deep crisis. The elite still looks to the Democratic Party as part of the solution; the black majority increasingly views it as part of the problem."

Here Marable gives us some description of the class polarization among the black people and a hint of the political trends arising from this class division. But Marable does not want to dwell on the latter in any detail and it is necessary that we amplify on his observation.

What Marable calls "the small trend toward political conservatism" jumped out in all its ugliness with the 1980 elections as many black leaders turned to supporting Reagan. Southern Christian Leadership Conference leader Ralph Abernathy, Charles Evers, the brother of Medgar Evers, and others actually endorsed Reagan's election bid for the presidency. But this "small trend" of openly endorsing Reagan is part of a much larger trend among the black bourgeoisie which has attempted to reconcile with Reaganism. For example, shortly after Reagan came to office, the NAACP invited him to speak at their convention, Vernon Jordon of the National Urban League fawned on Reagan, and so forth. In fact, even Jesse Jackson, who postures as an anti- Reagan fighter, extends his hand of friendship to Jerry Falwell and his Reaganite "moral majority" as well as to a whole slew of racist Dixiecrats. (See "What's the Reality Behind the Media Hype on 'Peace' and 'Human Rights'?," The Workers' Advocate, February 10,1984)

This larger trend among the black bourgeoisie still "looks to the Democratic Party," as Marable points out. But, as with the entire Democratic Party, they tend to represent a policy of Reaganism without Reagan.

Marable, while revealing the class basis of black conservatism, actually wants to support the "good" bourgeois against the "bad" bourgeois. He therefore covers up the fact that Jackson, along with other representatives of the black bourgeoisie and those sections of the petty bourgeoisie who hope to become bourgeois, has been swept up in the "trend toward political conservatism." Marable claims that Jackson, despite all of his personal "weaknesses," represents "poor people, blue collar and low-to-middle income workers" while those black misleaders who are backing Mondale are tied in with the black "elite."

This assessment of Jackson is, of course, quite ridiculous. Jackson is tied by innumerable threads to the black bourgeoisie. It should be enough to mention, for example, that Jackson's finance committee is headed by George Johnson, the president of Johnson Products Co. of Chicago. Or, it could be pointed out that Jackson's campaign for "covenants" with monopoly corporations has been aimed at building up black-owned or operated businesses while leaving black workers in the streets. Indeed, in another article, Marable himself points to this fact and calls Jackson's program an "updated version of Booker T. Washington's 'Black Capitalism.'" (Changes, March-April, 1984) Or, it could be noted that Jackson has himself repeatedly emphasized that his election campaign aims principally at obtaining more "clout" in the Democratic Party; that is, more positions and power for some black bourgeois.

The debate between Jackson (and John Conyers, Ron Dellums, Richard Hatcher, and the other black politicians who support Jackson) and the black politicians who are supporting Mondale is not a debate between classes, but is an argument among the black bourgeoisie over how best to obtain more "clout" in the Democratic Party and more token positions for blacks on the corporate boards.

Marable tries to cover up this fact because he supports the same policy of tokenism. Of course, with Marable's social-democratic bent, he talks incessantly about how someday in the future there will be "a more advanced social program -- full employment, national health care, massive reductions in military spending, increases in public housing," and other good things for the masses. But these are just empty promises. He nowhere discusses actually organizing the workers and poor to wage the mass struggle that is necessary to defend their interests. Rather, the heart of his program is to obtain more state aid for the bourgeoisie and he calls on the black bourgeoisie to support Jackson for just this purpose.

This class view of Marable is revealed in another article entitled, "Black Capitalism: Profile in Poverty." In that article, Marable polemicizes against "neoconservative black pollyannas" who "argue that Reagan is actually helping black people by pulling the federal government's social service 'security blanket' out from under their feet. Blacks have sufficient resources to develop and sustain their own viable black capitalist economic program." Whereas, in opposition, Marable argues that state aid is essential for the health of black capitalism.

Thus Marable points to the weakness of the black bourgeoisie. He says that: "The number of executives who truly dominate the black corporate core within the Afro-American political economy amount to less than 200 individuals. They have earned the confidence of the white corporate hierarchy and the government by keeping alive the bogus illusion of black capitalism." (Workers Viewpoint, March 31-April 6 and April 7-13, 1982, emphasis as in original) In other words, the problem with black capitalism is not the exploitation of the workers; nor is the problem the black bourgeoisie's role of sabotaging the struggles of the black masses. Rather, Marable argues that the problem is that black capitalism is a "bogus illusion," that it is not "viable," because it is too small. And, therefore, what is needed is tax incentives and other government assistance to build up black capitalism. (See also Marable's economic program in "The Recession of 1982: Finding a Way Out," Workers Viewpoint, February 18-23,1982.)

In the article on the class basis of the Jackson campaign Marable hints at this same class perspective when he complains that "despite blacks' advances, there is still no viable black middle class [read bourgeoisie -- WA] -- only an elite of individuals with illusions about their wealth and the nature of the larger society." Of course, it is true that the black bourgeoisie is very small in comparison with the big monopoly bourgeoisie of this country. In fact, besides the black capitalists and executives, much of what else is known as the black bourgeoisie is really a section of the petty bourgeoisie -- who aspire to become bourgeois. Nevertheless, the class polarization in the black community has developed to the extent where this bourgeoisie sees its own class interests threatened by, and works to undermine, the mass movements of the black workers and poor. Although the black bourgeoisie is small, the black people's movement should not be subordinated to a program of building up the black bourgeoisie. But that is Marable's program. He is not really backing the black workers and downtrodden in contradiction with the black "elite," but wants to build up that "elite" into a "viable" black bourgeois class.

Marable has provided a glimpse of the class polarization among the black people and the skepticism of the black masses for the Democratic Party. But he is using these facts demagogically. In the final analysis he is arguing that the black bourgeoisie should follow Jackson's policy; a policy of making empty promises to improve the lot of the black workers and poor in order to get mass backing for the black bourgeoisie's quest for more "clout." He is arguing for the subordination of the black people's movement to the more reform- sounding representatives of the black bourgeoisie.

Petty-Bourgeois Nationalist Prejudices

The revisionist groups follow the same view as Marable.

One, the Maoist League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS), defends what they call the "progressive," although "petty bourgeois," Jackson from the Mondale supporters who "are still controlled by that sector of the U.S. bourgeoisie that gives philanthropies to black institutions." (Unity, February 8-21, 1984) But are we supposed to believe that Jackson does not court the favor of, and his Operation PUSH does not exist at the behest of, the capitalist philanthropists? Ridiculous.

Most of the revisionist groups simply dress up Jackson as being, at least "objectively," the representative of the oppressed black masses.

But all of the revisionists avoid making any class assessment of the black people's movement like Dracula avoids the cross. They prefer to paint a picture of a uniform national movement; a movement without class distinctions or differing political trends; a movement of all classes where the bourgeoisie, as much as the workers, stands for progress and deserves support.

One group, however, the rightist sect called the Bolshevik League (BL), has admitted that Jackson represents the black bourgeoisie. What is more, it has also stumbled into arguing directly that the black bourgeoisie should be supported.

In their February-March issue of the Workers' Tribune, the BL admits that "Jackson's quest for black capitalism as the solution to black oppression is mainly a struggle to organize the petty bourgeoisie and sections of the national bourgeoisie to capture the black market." It then later argues that the "MLP continues their national chauvinist liquidation of the Black Liberation Movement, equating reformists like Jesse Jackson to white finance capitalist politicians like Mondale or Reagan."

Now how can our Party's exposure that Jackson, as a representative of the black bourgeoisie, is sabotaging the anti-racist struggle be considered "liquidation of the Black Liberation Movement"? This can only be the case if one is completely imbued with the revisionist prejudice that there can be no movement against national oppression unless the bourgeoisie is part of it. And this, indeed, is BL's prejudice.

Our Party has shown concretely how Jackson acts as a saboteur of the struggles of the black masses and sells out the interests of the black workers and poor in order to get more crumbs for the black bourgeoisie. Why then should Jackson be supported? The BL argues, "Despite the reactionary and reformist ideological influence the Black bourgeoisie has over the Black masses, even the Black bourgeoisie does not enjoy equal rights with the white finance capitalists, nor will they."

But the fact that one bourgeoisie is oppressed by another does not automatically make the oppressed bourgeoisie progressive. The black bourgeoisie is insignificant in size and power compared to the monopoly bourgeoisie. Yet it has developed far enough to recognize its own class antagonism to the black working masses, and it makes no secret of its fear of the revolutionary liberation movement of the black masses, denouncing militancy in its speeches, lectures and publications and over and over again pledging its loyalty to monopoly capital. Subordinating the mass movement to the interests of the black bourgeoisie is a surefire formula for perpetuating the oppression of the black masses. Yet the campaign for the Jackson candidacy is precisely a campaign to subordinate the black liberation movement to the black bourgeoisie and to subordinate the whole revolutionary movement to one of the main monopoly capitalist parties, specifically, the Democratic Party. No matter how much BL crosses its heart to promise to remain "independent" while supporting this campaign, it cannot change the objective significance of the Jackson candidacy.

The BL, despite its claims to have repudiated "three worldism" and Maoism, is still locked into the "three worldist" schematism that if there is a national struggle then the bourgeoisie must be part of it; and the BL continues the Maoist quest for how to support this bourgeoisie. Of course there are situations in the world where in the struggle against national oppression the national bourgeoisie, or sections of it, may take on national revolutionary features. In such situations, the working class may be able to utilize a temporary alliance with the revolutionary wing of the bourgeoisie. But this does not mean that in the U.S. we should support Jackson, and the black bourgeoisie that he represents who are today in thrall to the racist Democratic Party and are flirting with Reaganite reaction.

Merging With Reformism

All of the various revisionist trends share the BL's prejudice in supporting the black bourgeoisie against the masses. But they do not admit this in their agitation for the Jackson campaign. However, most of the revisionist groups do admit that Jackson is a reformist. And like the BL, they argue that Jackson should be supported for this very reason.

The revisionists turn the Marxist-Leninist critique of reformism upside down. They forget that reformism means collaboration with the capitalists in suppressing the mass struggle and implementing the capitalist program. Instead they claim that the hollow promises of Jackson, and the other reformists like him, to improve the lot of the masses represents a fight against the capitalists. And, therefore, they claim that the reformists should not be opposed but, instead, united with.

Some of the revisionists, like the Maoist Communist Workers Party (CWP), imply that reformism may have been a problem at one time, but in today's conditions, with the severe capitalist crisis and the offensive of Reaganism, reformism has become progressive. (See "Opposing Reformism Is a Vital Part of Any Real Fight Against the Capitalist Offensive," The Workers' Advocate, February 10, 1984) The BL argues for this view in justifying their support for Jackson. For example, the BL claims that ''In the electoral arena the political crisis is not represented just in a 'Dump Reagan Movement,' but more in the fact that the capitalists cannot solve the crisis. They will not be able to buy off the masses, or share a greater portion of crumbs with, for example, the Black petty bourgeoisie or Black national bourgeoisie as in the Kennedy era." And later in the article the BL asserts again that ''The imperialist bourgeoisie is incapable of making the type of concessions it made in the past." (Workers' Tribune, February-March, 1984) Here the BL is suggesting that the monopoly capitalists are incapable of giving concessions and that, therefore, even Jackson's reformism has become progressive and will lead to a clash with the capitalists. But this assessment is wrong from every angle.

In the first place, faced with any really serious revolutionary struggle by the masses, the bourgeoisie may grant concessions in an effort to head off their overthrow. One only has to look at the experience of the Great Depression of the 1930's to see this. Then, confronted with the growing mass movements, the bourgeoisie gave up various concessions to the masses in an effort to divert them from revolutionary struggle and to subordinate them to the Rooseveltian coalition of the Democratic Party.

But even more to the point, reformism does not so much consist of an effort to obtain reforms for the masses, but in promising them, in creating the illusion that capitalism will some day meet the needs of the masses, as a means of stifling the mass struggle and disorganizing the revolutionary movement. Reforms are the by-product of the revolutionary struggle of the masses. But the reformists are opposed to revolutionary struggle. The more that reformism dominates the movement, the more the masses are disorganized and the less real reforms are actually won.

Jackson is the very epitome of reformism. Out of one side of his mouth he promises "peace," "jobs" and "democratic rights" for the masses; while out of the other side of his mouth he proclaims his loyalty to the monopoly capitalists. In his rallies before the masses, for example, Jackson is all platitudes about "peace" and hints at drastic cuts in military spending. But in his published concrete program he suggests only a "freeze" on a military budget that is already the biggest in history and which he justifies as being essential for the "defense of the vital interests" of U.S. imperialism. Jackson claims he will drive the racist Dixiecrats from office through his work for voting rights. But then he turns around and extends his hand of friendship to these selfsame Dixiecrats -- whether it be George Wallace or Orval Faubus or other notorious racists -- in his quest for more "clout" for black bourgeois in the Democratic Party. Jackson paints up adjustments in Democratic Party nomination procedures as a virtual revolution against Reaganite reaction. But when it comes to the actual mass struggles against racism, Jackson is Johnny-on-the-spot preaching "restraint" and working to "cool down" the masses. (For a more detailed expose of Jackson's program see Workers' Advocate, December 15,1983 and February 10,1984.)

Jackson shows what reformism is all about: vague pie-in-the-sky promises and real sabotage of the struggles of the masses. Nevertheless, the revisionists support him and call for merging with reformism in general.

The trotskyite Workers World Party (WWP) presents a typical expression of the revisionist attitude toward Jackson in particular and the reformists in general. In the February 9, 1984 issue of Workers World we find the following revealing statements:

"But isn't the Jackson program of a bourgeois reformist character? Of course it is." And they explain that the basic failing of "the Jackson program as well as that of other well meaning left liberal reform movements, groups and parties is that they do not go beyond the framework of the capitalist system, which is the source of the problem. They don't go beyond calling for reforms and improvements." In other words, the reformists are progressive, they stand for "improvements,' ' they just don't go far enough.

And then the article concludes, "In other words, we will support his candidacy critically, with all the reservations that a revolutionary party must have in respect to militant reformist leaders, Black or white, whom we are sometimes obliged to support, such as trade unionists." And they explain that this means that they "would not, however, portray our differences in such a way that would undermine or discredit the campaign...."

The WWP should be thanked for their frank confession of the revisionist love fest with the reformists. Sure the reformists aren't for socialism, they say, but what the hell, the reformists should not be "discredited" for that; after all the reformists "call for reforms and improvements." The prettification of reformism is the very heart of the current liquidationist fashion that has swept up all of the various revisionist currents. They are denigrating work to build the revolutionary movement in favor of merger with the reformists; they are in favor of subjecting the masses to the leadership of the Jesse Jacksons, the union bureaucrats, and the whole reformist marsh centered on the Democratic Party.

Hitching the Masses to the Democratic Party Bandwagon

The merger of the revisionists with reformism leads them directly into the arms of the Democratic Party. Their campaign for Jackson is, whether they admit it or not, a campaign to hitch the workers and oppressed masses to the Democratic Party bandwagon.

The Democrats are a ruling party of the monopoly capitalists. It shares with the Republicans a common program of hunger, racism and imperialist aggression and war preparations. But for decades the Democrats have played the special role as the main party for the deception of the workers. They dress themselves up as the "party of labor and the minorities" and portray each new capitalist attack on the masses as supposedly being a "reform" in the interests of the masses. The fact that the Reaganite capitalist offensive actually began with the Carter presidency and that the Democrats have acted as a rubber stamp for virtually every measure proposed by the Reagan administration has tarnished the Democrats' "pro-labor" and "pro- minorities" image. The real aim of the Jackson candidacy is to polish up this image and draw the dissatisfied masses back into the Democratic Party fold.

The revisionists usually attempt to portray the Jackson campaign as the building of an "independent movement" and as a "revolt against the Democratic Party." But when all is said and done, the role of the Jackson candidacy is not to break with the Democrats, but to hoodwink the masses into supporting them.

Jackson himself has repeatedly stressed this point. For example in his December 4, 1983 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" program Jackson emphasized: "I have no interest in running as a third party candidate. As a matter of fact, our reviving of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has lessened the likelihood of a third party." Later he pointed out, "My challenge to the party is a formula for victory." And then he underscored his aims, "Thus, I seek not to bolt the party, but to expand the party; not to divide the party, but to expand the party."

It is interesting to note here how Jackson has dealt with those prominent black officials who have opposed his candidacy and backed Mondale instead. For example, Detroit Mayor Coleman Young has loudly denounced Jackson for running in the primaries. But Jackson has always maintained a publicly cordial attitude toward Young. In fact, when some of Jackson's supporters charged that Young was harassing them, Jackson replied that he was not going to "get into gutter politics" and then emphasized that "We are not going to engage in that because we will all have to come together to beat Reagan." (Detroit News, January 10, 1984) This hardly sounds like a man leading a revolt against the Democratic Party.

It is important to understand that Jackson's candidacy not only falls far short of being a "revolt" against the Democratic Party, but in fact is part of the Democratic Party's electoral strategy. The Washington Post quotes Anne F. Lewis, political director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), stating that "A serious national campaign around the issues he's raising could have serious national impact -- especially among people who might otherwise not get involved." The Post then goes on to point out: "As a point man, Jackson could spur the registration of more than three million additional black voters -- enough to tilt many state and congressional elections to the Democrats and sweep hundreds of blacks into local office.

"That fits perfectly with the DNC's plan to reassert the party's power through an expanding electorate and a new coalition of old party interest groups." (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, November 14, 1983)

Thus, not only Jackson himself, but also the highest officials of the Democratic Party recognize that Jackson's candidacy is useful for bringing the disillusioned masses back under the influence of the Democratic Party.

The revisionists know this fact full well. Their claims that Jackson represents an "independent" stand is nothing more than an attempt to fool the masses and stifle any real movement toward political independence. It shows that the revisionists actually believe in their hearts that progress will come not through the struggle of the masses, not through an independent movement of the working class, but through the auspices of the capitalist liberals of the Democratic Party.

Revisionist "Dump Reagan Movement" Aims to Saddle the Masses With the Democratic Party

Some of the revisionist groups have essentially admitted that their support for Jackson is aimed at getting the Democrats elected in November.

The official pro-Soviet revisionists, the CPUS A, have all along stressed that for them the principal issue this year is to build a movement to elect the Democrats, which they euphemistically call the "Dump Reagan Movement." They have not only promoted Jackson's candidacy but have also heralded the AFL-CIO's and NOW's endorsement of Mondale as "a new level of political independence." Their youth group's convention even organized a campaign rally for the Democratic Party candidates, to which most sent spokesmen. And, notwithstanding the fact that they are also running their own candidate, they have repeatedly stressed that "We should pursue the broad tactics of electoral unity in the primary period, even when there is not an agreement on who the anti-Reagan candidate for president should be." In other words, all must unite behind the Democratic Party candidate once the primaries are over.

The very idea of electing the Democrats come November sent CP general secretary, Gus Hall, into ecstasy. He exclaimed, "The defeat of Reaganism will be more than a change in the Presidency, it can be a serious setback for the Reagan-corporate offensive. It will be a serious defeat for the policies of war and nuclear confrontation. It will be a serious setback for the forces of racism. And the defeat will bring with it important changes in the balance of political forces. It will bring to the fore new forces, new coalitions and a new sense of confidence in the people's movements." (All quotes above from For Peace, Jobs, Equality. Prevent "The Day After," Defeat Reaganism!, Gus Hall's Report to the 23rd Convention of the CPUS A, November 10-13, 1983) Can you imagine Carter's vice-president, Mondale, or the neo-liberal Hart, taking a "serious" stand against racism, or imperialist war, or giving "confidence" to the "people's movement"? Yet such is the revisionists' faith in the capitalist liberals of the Democratic Party.

More recently, other revisionist groups have taken up campaigning for Democrats with the same CP "dump Reagan" chorus. The CWP originally claimed that they were supporting Jackson because he "symbolizes a disbelief in Mondale and the Democratic Party" and that his campaign is "a demand for an independent movement and for unity, not under the control of the Democratic and Republican Parties." (Workers Viewpoint, November 30-December 6, 1983) But with the primaries drawing to a close, and with the expectation that Jackson will himself endorse Mondale for president, the CWP recently declared that "Defeating Reagan is a notable goal.... Of course we are for defeating Reagan." And they go on to echo the CP's view as to the significance of a Democratic Party victory: "Reagan's defeat would be a morale-lifting occasion for poor and oppressed people everywhere. The danger of war, the threat of hunger, or of deprivation, would not be as extreme." (Workers Viewpoint, March 8-14, 1984, emphasis as in original)

Similarly the Maoist League of Revolutionary Struggle has begun to trumpet the glories of a Democratic Party victory. In an editorial in the February 8-21, 1984 issue of Unity, the LRS declares that, "Reagan's defeat would be advantageous to the working class, oppressed nationalities, women and the people in general, and to the revolutionary movement. Even though the Democrats can be expected to continue to move to the right, a Reagan defeat could blunt the most aggressive and reactionary forces and temper the political atmosphere. This may give the people some advantages and more room for struggle."

The LRS goes on to stress that "The objective of the left must be to work concretely to defeat Reagan at the polls in November...." And they emphasize that continuing to promote Jesse Jackson is precisely what is needed to drag the masses behind the Democrats' coattails: "The Jackson campaign strengthens the anti- Reagan front by sharpening the debate and drawing in tens of thousands, and potentially millions, of anti- Reagan voters, especially among the oppressed nationalities, women and other historically disenfranchised groups."

So this is what all the sound and fury around the Jackson campaign comes down to. The revisionists have wasted tons of paper claiming that they are supporting Jackson because he "represents the Black liberation movement," because he has the most "progressive" program, because he is an "independent" who is leading a "revolt" against Mondale and the Democratic Party in general. But when all is said and done they admit that it is not a break with the Democrats that they are after but the election of the Democrats. The revisionists' campaign for Jackson turns out to be nothing more than an attempt to portray the concealed Reaganites of the Democratic Party as a genuine alternative to Reagan.

The fight against Reaganite reaction is not assisted by channeling the anger of the masses into a voters' drive for the Democrats. Nor is the black people's movement served by saddling it with the reformism of Jesse Jackson and the black bourgeoisie he represents. No, these are obstacles to the movement. They are the barricades blocking the road forward for the struggle of the long suffering masses.

Nevertheless, we will not be dismayed if, for a time, much of the movement falls under the sway of the Jackson illusion; if its sights are lowered and its "greatest" success is the election of a few more black capitalist politicians. Even in such a case the masses will gain experience. They will learn of the treachery of the black bourgeoisie. Indeed, even with Jackson's prestige, activists may become angry when he turns his back on his former promises in order to campaign for the election of Mondale or Hart. In any event, eventually the masses will become disgusted with the reformists and break free of illusions in them. But this is the slowest and most painful path of development.

Our Party believes that the work to expose Jackson and the treachery of the black bourgeoisie must be begun now. The sooner illusions are cast away, the stronger the fight will be against the racist outrages of Reagan and his Democratic Party partners in crime.

[Photos: A graphic example of liquidationist renegacy. On the left, the Communist Workers Party's newspaper Workers Viewpoint of October 15, 1979 denounces Jesse Jackson as an "imperialist agent." On the right, a typical recent Workers Viewpoint article hailing Jackson's recent trip to Syria as "an act of history unprecedented in the annals of American politics." What has changed in the last five years? Has Jesse Jackson? No. But the CWP has, with its longstanding Maoist opportunism giving rise to a headlong rush into the most shameless liquidationism.]

[Photo: Jesse Jackson warmly embraced the arch-racist George Wallace, May 1983.]

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On the history of MAP-ML

Vanguard fighters from the midst of the Nicaraguan proletariat

The "Report from Managua'' carried in our February 10 issue discussed in depth the contradictions gripping revolutionary Nicaragua. It reported on the determination of the Nicaraguan working class and toilers to defend the gains of the revolution and defeat the aggression of U.S. imperialism and its mercenary contra bands. The "Report'' showed how the people's victory over the U.S.-backed tyranny has brought the class struggle to the fore. And it analyzed the role of the three basic class forces at work within the Nicaraguan society:

a) The counterrevolutionary front of the big bourgeoisie and landlords, which stretches from the CIA-sponsored contras to the CIA-funded internal bourgeois opposition;

b) The petty-bourgeois Sandinista government, which follows a contradictory and vacillating policy as it attempts to balance between the U.S.-backed reaction and the revolutionary drive of the working class; and

c) The advanced elements of the proletariat and poor peasantry, which, represented by the party of the Nicaraguan workers, the Movement of Popular Action/ Marxist-Leninist (MAP-ML), are striving to deepen the revolution against imperialism and the big capitalists and landlords on the road of the proletarian revolution and socialism.

In this article we would like to go further into the history of MAP-ML and the important role that it has played in the revolutionary workers' movement in Nicaragua.

On no other question is the literature on the Nicaraguan revolution that is available to American readers so inadequate and so inaccurate as on the history and role of MAP-ML. Even the most unsympathetic authors have a hard time avoiding discussion of MAP or its trade union organization FO (Frente Obrero, or Workers Front) altogether. But in general, the accounts are very brief, in the main repeating in undigested form the absurd charges that the FSLN leadership has hurled against them, and sometimes adding the author's own distortions about what MAP-ML is and the role that it has played.

For instance, the book Nicaragua in Revolution, edited by Thomas W. Walker, contains a large collection of articles that are generally very sympathetic towards the Sandinistas. These articles make a number of references to FO, its daily newspaper El Pueblo, and the MILPAS which were the militias under the leadership of MAP during the liberation war.

Referring to the workers' strike wave in early 1980, one author writes: "The gravest incidents occurred at the Monterrosa and San Antonio sugar mills, the second being the largest in Central America and privately owned. The Workers Front (FO), a small, ultra-left organization, led the strikes.'' (p. 139, emphasis added)

Discussing the closing down of El Pueblo, a second author writes: "...the new government, for the most part, did not resort to censorship and other overt forms of repression characteristic of the Somoza regime. The most notable exception was the closing of El Pueblo, the daily newspaper of the Workers Front, a radical left organization...that, according to the government, was attempting to undermine the Sandinista economic reforms. The newspaper...never circulated more than a few thousand copies.... In January 1980, the paper was closed and the editors jailed on a combination of charges, including subversion and storing illegal arms." (p. 193)

And a third author in this same book writes about the disbanding of the MILPAS: "Other groups which had fought for the overthrow of the dictatorship, such as the MILPAS (Anti-Somoza Popular Militias, under the control of the trotskyist Workers Front), proved too extremist to be incorporated into the [Sandinista Army], and were therefore pressured (not always successfully) to disband." (p. 122) Then, after explaining how the MILPAS were pressured to disband, five pages later this same author goes into a flight of fantasy, attempting to claim that "the ultra-left MILPAS" were a "major source of armed aggression against the Sandinista regime." (p. 126)

These three passages represent the typical picture painted of the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists of MAP-ML. That they are allegedly "ultra-left" or "trotskyist" is taken as a given, without ever examining their actual policies. If they were examined it could be seen that its policies are proletarian revolutionary and Marxist- Leninist policies that have nothing in common with either "ultra-leftism" or "trotskyism."

That they are "small" is also taken as a given, as if this dismisses the Marxist-Leninists as an important trend. On the one hand it is said that they are "small"; and on the other hand they lead strikes at the biggest enterprises and are strong enough to allegedly pose a great danger to the Sandinista regime. It should be noted that when the author refers to El Pueblo only publishing a "few thousand copies" he is only demonstrating his own lack of knowledge of Nicaraguan conditions. A daily workers' newspaper of "a few thousand copies," which was in fact approximately ten thousand, represents a considerable organization and mobilization of the Nicaraguan workers. This is especially the case when one considers the size of readership of any paper in this small country. (There are only three other dailies in Nicaragua, with the largest one, the reactionary La Prensa, having a press run of only 50,000.)

As for the claim that the MILPAS represented a "major source of armed aggression," this seems to be this author's own exaggeration of the repeated and false charges that the MILPAS intended to carry out armed attempts against the FSLN. In fact, as we shall go into further later on, the MILPAS had declared themselves disbanded within a week after the overthrow of Somoza. Under the new conditions MAP-ML put to the fore the political and ideological tasks of the proletarian struggle.

It should be noted that there is better and worse coverage among the generally poor and distorted coverage of MAP-ML.

The worst is typified by the gutter journalism of the ultra-right opportunist Guardian. The February 27, 1980 issue carried an article under the title "FSLN puts down ultra-left forces" that gushes with enthusiasm for the government decree banning FO and El Pueblo. In the most lurid terms the Guardian repeats all the slanderous vilification's from the FSLN against the "counterrevolutionary" FO. It brands it as small and insignificant, while at the same time portraying it as the most dangerous evil imaginable. And, according to some very imaginative reporting, all of Nicaragua has allegedly been aroused against this evil under the banner "Death to ultra-leftism!"

According to the Guardian: "Frente Obrero (FO), is an ultra-'left' grouping said to include trotskyists, anarchists and 'Maoists' critical of the FSLN's revolutionary strategy. Virulently opposed to what it calls the participation of the bourgeoisie in the government...."

Why does the Guardian hurl such epithets at the FO? Is there anything in the large quantity of literature produced by FO in this period which shows any sympathy with trotskyism, anarchism or Maoism? Of course not. They call El Pueblo a "trotskyist-oriented newspaper" for one reason and one reason alone: it opposed the FSLN policy of allowing the participation of the bourgeoisie in the government. (The FSLN itself boasted loudly of the participation of the bourgeoisie in the government. Few defenders of FSLN policy stoop so low as the Guardian in trying to imply that this participation was only a slander of the "ultra-left.") From the Guardian's social-democratic and revisionist perspective, to criticize the petty-bourgeois policy of the FSLN and its attempts to form a pluralistic society in coalition with the bourgeoisie is a sure sign of "ultra-leftism," "trotskyism," and "anarchism." Nay more, to criticize the bourgeoisie is a "counterrevolutionary" crime that must be banned and punished with harsh prison sentences.

Meanwhile, it is the very same Guardian -- along with various of their political friends, such as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Workers World Party (WWP), the main trotskyite groups in the U.S. -- which lauds the FSLN government for providing financial assistance and freedom for the raving reactionary La Prensa newspaper and for the other tools of the U.S.- backed bourgeois counterrevolution. The Marxist-Leninist workers must have their newspapers closed and their militants thrown in prison; the capitalist reactionaries must be pampered with economic incentives and political incentives -- such is the acme of a "revolutionary" policy according to the Guardian.

A noteworthy example of somewhat more objective coverage of MAP-ML and FO can be found in the book Nicaragua: The Sandinista Revolution, written in French by the European author Henri Weber and published in English in London. The book is written from a quasi-Marxist, social-democratic standpoint, and Weber himself is strongly pro-Sandinista and attaches the obligatory "ultra-left" adjective to the FO. He writes "That FO is an ultra-left organization is hardly open to doubt. It characterized the FSLN policy of alliance with the anti-Somoza bourgeoisie as a betrayal of the revolution in keeping with the petty-bourgeois nature of Sandinism." Nevertheless, despite its ideological slant, the book happens to have some useful material on the FO, including an account of the arbitrary repression unleashed against FO by the FSLN government. (Some of this material we have appended on page 55.)

In this article we would like to sketch the most important outlines of the history of MAP-ML and the role that it has played in the revolutionary workers' movement in Nicaragua. This history provides insight into better understanding the Nicaraguan revolution. Moreover, the experience of the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists holds valuable lessons for the Marxist-Leninists and proletarian revolutionaries everywhere.

The article begins with the conditions facing the revolutionary movement in Nicaragua which gave rise to the formation of MAP in the heart of the working masses, and touches on the consolidation of MAP in the fires of the class struggle. It then discusses the role of the Marxist-Leninists in the insurrection against the dictatorship and in the events in its immediate aftermath.

The Search for an Alternative to Reformism and Focoism

For more than four decades the Nicaraguan people suffered under the jackboot of the Somoza dictatorship. For the working people this was a dictatorship of unbridled exploitation at the hands of the capitalists and landlords and the U.S. multinational corporations. The struggles of the workers and peasants against their desperate poverty and against political oppression were met with the bullets of Somoza's National Guard.

But it was not the terror of the hated National Guard alone that kept the masses from taking the road of revolutionary struggle and settling accounts with the tyrant. On the contrary. The anti-Somoza struggle was crippled by the political influence which the bourgeoisie exerted on the masses.

The big industrial, commercial, and financial capitalists, along with the big landholders, grew fat under the Somoza tyranny. They supported and approved of the dictatorship insofar as it ensured high profits by crushing the workers and peasants underfoot. This is why the bourgeoisie came into open agreement with Somoza against the prospect of revolution. And this is why the liberal bourgeois opposition to Somoza didn't have any higher objective than pressing for a more equitable agreement with the dictator -- an agreement allowing the big exploiters as a whole a greater share of the state power and the plunder of the masses that comes with it.

The influence of this liberal bourgeois opposition was a longstanding curse on the Nicaraguan people's struggle.

Thus, the decade of the 1960's found the Nicaraguan people pressing with growing determination against the dictatorship; but unfortunately their struggles remained in the orbit of the liberal opposition of the Conservative Party. (Despite its name, the Conservative Party was the standard-bearer of the bourgeois liberal opposition. Since the last century, the Conservatives and the Liberals were the two principal parties in the country, both of which took turns at holding power as well as turns at forming the opposition. As it so happened, during the era of the Somoza dynasty, the Conservatives became the party of the bourgeois liberal opposition, while the Liberals were the party of the arch-reactionary dictatorship.)

The bourgeois influence on the masses was facilitated by the treachery of the pro-Soviet revisionist Socialist Party (PSN). The PSN posed as the communist party of the working class and had considerable influence on the working class movement and progressive activists. But it followed a shamelessly reformist policy. It preached to the workers that since Nicaragua was still in the stage of a bourgeois democratic revolution, it was therefore supposedly necessary to support the bourgeoisie as the natural leader of the democratic struggle. Thus it hitched itself as a tail of the Conservative Party opposition. (In the late 60's the PSN split, which led to the formation of the Communist Party. The PCN is also revisionist and followed the same reformist course.)

Meanwhile, in 1961, inspired by the success of the Cuban revolution, the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) was formed. The FSLN emerged as an alternative to the reformism and tailism of the PSN --an alternative with guns. But from the outset the FSLN was hamstrung by the Castroite line of The FSLN leadership believed in the Castroite fallacy that a tiny band of armed revolutionaries (a guerrilla foco) could, without the active participation of the masses, overthrow the regime through their self-sacrificing efforts and thus bring salvation to the people. As a result they did not conceive of the revolution as the act of the working class and exploited masses themselves. This blinded them to the significance of organizing and mobilizing the workers and peasants in mass struggle. The Sandinistas rejected the Marxist-Leninist concepts of building up the organized forces of the revolution, and in particular the construction of the solid vanguard party of the working class. Thus, despite their dabbling with Marxist-Leninist terminology, and despite their displays of courage in the struggle, the FSLN remained a petty-bourgeois democratic organization.

The Sandinistas' repeated foco attempts produced repeated failures. The strategy of the isolated guerrilla band proved no more successful in Nicaragua than anywhere else in Latin America. By the mid-1960's the FSLN remained weak and isolated. As a way out of its impasse it went into a section of the bourgeois opposition movement.

In 1967 two important developments took place.

On January 22 of that year the bourgeois opposition called demonstrations to pressure Somoza to step down. This was the climax of the mobilization of the masses by the bourgeoisie. The National Guard responded with its typical brutality: it massacred the demonstrators with machine guns. In turn, the liberal bourgeois opposition responded to this atrocity with its typical cowardice; it got down on its knees and called off the struggle. This treachery was a great education for the masses. This was the start of a historic break with the bourgeoisie and the beginning of an upsurge in the independent movement of the masses. The working people started to organize struggles free of the tutelage of the liberals and to fight for their own class interests.

1967 was also the year of a heavy blow to the Sandinistas' foco attempts. In the hills of the Pancasan region the FSLN had once again tried to launch a guerrilla movement. But in the latter part of the year this attempt was brutally crushed by the National Guard, killing a number of the leaders of the FSLN. The defeat of Pancasan provoked a big discussion in the ranks of the FSLN on the fallacies of the f idea. The leadership made a show of self-criticism and supposedly overcame the errors of focoism, only to resort to the same tactics again later on.

The Formation of MAP

Thus, with the combined experience of the bourgeois liberal betrayal of January 22 and the defeat of focoism at Pancasan, the search was intensified within the revolutionary movement for an orientation that would be capable of leading the people's struggle to victory over the dictatorship.

In 1970 there was a big student mobilization. Within this upsurge an attempt was made to float the ideology of Herbert Marcuse as the newfangled answer to the problems of the people's struggle. But the "new leftism'' of Marcuse, which in reality is akin to old and senile social-democracy, was soon discredited in the movement.

Meanwhile, the PSN revisionists continued to give lip service to Marxism-Leninism, only to justify their own servility to the bourgeois liberals. For its part, the FSLN dangled the Marxist-Leninist label as an ornament, only to continue to pursue the futile Castroite strategy of focoism, as well as its own work within the bourgeois opposition. This compelled the Nicaraguan class conscious workers and revolutionaries to step up the search for the revolutionary concepts of Marxism.

A broad discussion broke out among the militants and supporters of the FSLN, among the workers in the PSN trade unions and the PSN youth, and among unaffiliated workers and activists. Fiery criticism was unleashed against the economist and reformist policy of the revisionists. The fallacies of focoism also came under fire. All the major problems of how to advance the revolutionary movement came under debate.

One of the burning issues of controversy was over how the development of capitalism in the country had affected the social and economic makeup.

In the previous two decades capitalist relations had taken a leap. Despite the tremendous poverty of the country, despite the dictatorship of the Somoza clan with its vast properties in industry and agriculture, and despite the lopsidedness and backwardness imposed on the country by its economic and financial dependence on imperialism, modern capitalist relations were rapidly taking hold of all spheres of the society. Even the landlordism in the countryside had given way to predominantly capitalist landlordism and to the creation of a large agricultural proletariat. These changes had increased the significance of the conflict between labor and capital, and they had brought to the fore the central role of the Nicaraguan proletariat in the revolution.

But the revisionists refused to see these changes; they kept to their dogma that Nicaragua was a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country where the proletariat was too backward to take anything but a back seat to the bourgeoisie. Even if the country remained as pre-capitalist as the revisionists portrayed it, they still would have been wrong to place the bourgeoisie at the head of the struggle and to deny the capacity and necessity of the proletariat to gain hegemony in the revolution. But, in fact, only those blinded by revisionist prejudices could not see that a broad capitalist evolution had taken place. This had strengthened the proletariat and its capacity to lead the toiling masses in overthrowing the tyranny and accomplishing the other democratic tasks facing the people on the road of carrying the revolutionary struggle forward to the proletarian revolution.

For their part, the leaders of the FSLN took note of the socio-economic changes, and some came close to an understanding of the significance of the working class in the struggle and the treachery of the national bourgeoisie. But the FSLN was unable to draw from these observations conclusions on which to base scientific revolutionary tactics. Thus, by default they inevitably lapsed back into their petty-bourgeois concepts that justified their dual tactics of immersing themselves within a section of the bourgeois opposition, combined with continued attempts to launch a guerrilla band in the mountains.

There were other burning questions of the debates of this period: How to mobilize and organize the working masses for the struggle? How to utilize the concrete struggles of the workers and peasants? How to organize the workers and peasants on an independent revolutionary basis?

Connected to all these issues was the debate over the conception of the revolutionary party, over whether or not it was necessary to build a vanguard party of the proletariat on Marxist-Leninist lines.

MAP emerged from the midst of these debates in 1971. It was formed by workers and revolutionaries from the FSLN, trade union militants and youth of the PSN, as well as working class militants and other activists previously unaffiliated with any political organization. At the beginning the concept was that MAP would be an organization of the mass struggle linked to the FSLN. However, the deep contradictions over political orientation soon made this impossible.

By 1972 MAP emerged as an independent political force. Starting in the urban centers of Managua and Leon it quickly spread to become a national organization. MAP militantly shouldered the task of building the Marxist-Leninist party of the Nicaraguan proletariat, the party of the revolutionary struggle of the working class and toilers for the overthrow of the dictatorship and the exploiting classes.

Tempered in the Heat of the Class Struggle

The early 1970's were marked by major class battles of the Nicaraguan proletariat and working people. MAP plunged into these battles where it became tempered as a vanguard fighter of the working class.

In January, 1972 big demonstrations took place in Managua against the high price of milk and other necessities. These actions brought out the forces of the workers, teachers and students, and provided valuable experience to the revolutionary activists, including the militants who were joining together to form MAP.

In 1973, twenty thousand construction workers went out on a national strike. It took place in response to Somoza's decree forcing a 60-hour week on the construction workers in the aftermath of the December, 1972 earthquake that had reduced most of Managua to rubble. The construction workers were historically one of the most militant and important sections of the Nicaraguan labor movement, and their general strike of 1972 had a profound national impact. The strike took on great political significance because of its size and power and because of the direct challenge that it posed to the dictator. It was also very important in the history of MAP because it was the first big action of the workers on a national scale that they had led. At the same time it provided a glaring exposure of the cowardly reformism of the revisionists who wanted the workers to accept a 52-hour week. The strikers, however, stood firm and after a month-long struggle won their demands.

In the midst of the mass actions of this period, the ideological and political struggle continued to rage. During these years, from 1971 to 1974, the FSLN had little activity. However, the revisionists, with their entrenched positions in the unions, were quite active in the workers' struggles. The comrades of MAP waged a fierce struggle against the revisionists' reformist policy and their servility to the bourgeoisie. This bitter struggle took place right among the masses of workers, in the workers' assemblies, strikes, and other mass struggles. From the outset MAP considered the struggle against their "own" domestic revisionists as part of the worldwide struggle of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism against Soviet revisionism.

In 1974-75, MAP formed their trade union organization, the Workers Front (Frente Obrero or FO). The FO was organized to lead and unite the workers' trade union struggles on a national scale. It fought for revolutionary politics in the workers' movement, combatting the reformist policy of the revisionists who tried to bar revolutionary politics from the unions.

The MAP comrades also unfolded work on various different fronts: among the youth and students; in the barrios; and on the cultural front. Between 1976 and 1977 it succeeded in establishing organizations to serve these various fronts -- student organizations, a cultural cooperative, etc.

As well, among extremely difficult conditions, MAP worked to build up the workers' press. It produced a number of newspapers including Clase Obrera, and later the FO's organ Nuevo Opinion. By 1977, Nuevo Opinion had become a weekly newspaper of the Nicaraguan workers.

By this time MAP had consolidated itself as the militant party of the Nicaraguan proletariat. It had emerged from and built itself up in the struggle against both revisionist reformism and petty-bourgeois focoism; it had steeled itself in the class battles; and it had built up its organization on Marxist-Leninist lines. But the formal declaration of the party in a founding congress was interrupted by a very happy event -- the onset of the revolutionary crisis of 1978-79.*

The Revolutionary Crisis

MAP had always opposed the revisionist fairy tales about the "electoral road" and "peaceful transition." At the same time they upheld the view that the armed struggle must be led by the working class and be the act of the working masses.

In January 1978, the leader of the bourgeois opposition, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, was murdered by Somoza. This marked the extreme aggravation of the conflicts within the exploiting classes and the onset of an all-sided revolutionary crisis. MAP threw itself into the work of preparing the popular armed uprising.

By September of 1978 this work led to the founding of the MILPAS (Popular Anti-Somoza Militias). The MILPAS carried out many armed actions to collect arms and funds to prepare for the insurrection. The MILPAS held schools to give the workers military training. They always put in the first place political and ideological training about the class nature of the struggle; they explained to the militants that the aim of the war was not just to eliminate the hated dictatorship, but also the rule of the capitalists and landlords who had grown fat under Somoza and who wanted to prevent at all cost the workers and peasants coming to power.

Along with the MILPAS, the Brigades of Revolutionary Youth (BJRs) were formed among the working and poor youth of the barrios. The BJRs played an important role. Their principal task was armed agitation. They organized political meetings among the people of the barrios. The BJRs also carried out armed actions to raise funds for the struggle, attacking houses of notorious Somocistas, as well as commercial transport, at times paralyzing commercial activity in Managua and other cities. The BJRs also carried out assassinations of Somocista spies.

One of the most important projects in preparation for the insurrection was the production of the daily working class newspaper El Pueblo. The purpose of El Pueblo was to break the bourgeois monopoly over the press and put forward the proletarian standpoint on the tasks of the revolution. El Pueblo was a great school in class consciousness, orienting the working masses towards class independence, and raising the perspective that the struggle against Somoza and U.S. imperialism had to be carried to successful triumph by transforming it into a struggle against the bourgeoisie and capitalism and for the realization of socialism.

Taking advantage of the crisis that the dictatorship faced, El Pueblo was launched in March of '79. Using a cultural society as a cover for its production, the paper avoided the forces of Somoza's repression, which at that time had been stretched quite thin. This first stage of El Pueblo's life was short but intense, with 57 issues printed in three months. El Pueblo put forward its own political orientation, and at the same time it opened its pages to all militant fighters against Somoza. Its production and distribution required a big political and organizational mobilization with a wide network of support among the working masses. Launched on the eve of the insurrection, El Pueblo took on the role, which it later shared with Radio Sandino, of being the voice of the people's struggle against the dictatorship.

The Insurrection

The general insurrection of the working masses broke out in full force in June and July. MAP, the FO and the MILPAS hurled themselves into the struggle with all their energy. The workers and poor peasants were the mainstay of the insurrection and it was among them that the Marxist-Leninists strove to push forward the revolutionary war. Several thousand workers, peasants and youth throughout the country fought in the ranks of the MILPAS, which played a particularly important role in the struggle for the liberation of Leon, Chinandega and other cities and towns of the heavily populated Occidente region. Then in Managua the MILPAS fought on the barricades put up in the working class barrios, taking part in the final destruction of the National Guard in its last stronghold.

From the ranks of the MILPAS, hundreds of militants gave their lives in the struggle. Among these martyrs were a number of the veteran leaders of MAP, including Comrade Hernaldo Herrera Tellez, who was also known as Nano. Nano was a member of the national leadership of MAP, the general secretary of FO, and commander of the regional staff of the MILPAS in the Occidente. He was captured by the National Guard and was assassinated by machine gun fire when he refused to give information about his comrades.

The MILPAS made up the second army of the revolutionary forces. They fought on the same barricades with the forces of the FSLN. The MILPAS and the FO joined the FSLN-led Patriotic National Front (FPN). At the same time, they maintained their separate military command and upheld their independent political orientation for the struggle.

The slogans of the FSLN were focused on a national alliance -- which included alliance with the big bourgeoisie -- to overthrow the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship and to realize democratic liberties without class distinction. The slogans of the Marxist-Leninist forces, on the other hand, brought the class distinctions to the fore. They combined the appeals for deepening the struggle against Somoza and U.S. imperialism with appeals against the capitalists and landlords, for the political independence of the working class, and for carrying the struggle over to socialism. They advanced the slogan "Workers and Peasants to Power!,'' which became one of the most popular slogans of the insurrection.

"Workers and Peasants to Power!'' was a slogan on the lips of the masses because they wanted not only to overthrow the hated dictator, but also to take power into their own hands and build a new society without exploiters and oppressors. But this powerful desire of the working masses was not in the plans of the FSLN leadership. While the people were demonstrating by their revolutionary war that they had the drive and capacity to take power into their hands, the FSLN representatives were busily negotiating with the big bourgeois chieftains the shares of power in post- Somoza Nicaragua. With U.S. State Department officials acting as mediators, an agreement was reached to form a coalition government to be made up of the FSLN along with many of the biggest and richest capitalists and landlords of Nicaragua. From the outset, MAP was opposed to such a "national unity" government with the so-called "patriotic bourgeoisie" and fought for the realization of the slogan "Workers and Peasants to Power!"

The overthrow of Somoza was accomplished through a classical insurrection of the proletariat and working masses. The exploited classes refused to live in the old way; they had come to the conclusion that there was no way out of the exploitation and oppression they suffered but to take up arms and overthrow the regime. So the workers and other toilers came out in the streets, built barricades, and fought the National Guard with whatever arms they could seize.

In this situation the largest forces of the insurrection were not organized by the MILPAS or the FSLN, but were made up of unaffiliated and spontaneous elements of the proletariat, peasantry and barrio poor. While the FSLN as an organization remained small right up to the day of victory, its influence grew rapidly and it succeeded in establishing its hegemony over these new and spontaneous forces of the masses, which in the end carried the FSLN to power.

In the Aftermath of the Insurrection

On July 19, Managua was liberated and the hard- fought liberation war of the Nicaraguan people had finally won victory over the dictatorship. The next day, July 20, El Pueblo resumed publication, saluting the glorious people's victory. At the same time El Pueblo posed the question: why were the representatives of the big bourgeoisie being brought into the country to participate in forming the new government?

Indeed, the triumph of the insurrection had immediately brought to the fore a complex class struggle. The armed people had swept aside the dictatorship, including the National Guard and the other principal instruments of the old state machine. The popular triumph had unleashed enormous enthusiasm and revolutionary energy among the masses. The gates had now been opened for the rapid advance of the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants.

At the same time, the big capitalists and landlords did not disappear, but kept their grip on their wealth and property. The notable exception to this were the extensive industrial, agricultural and other properties of Somoza and his clan which were confiscated. Nevertheless the great majority of industry, agriculture and commerce remained in the hands of the capitalists and landholders.

Moreover, the new government was made up of a coalition between the FSLN and the bourgeoisie. While the Sandinistas and their supporters had the upper hand in the government, the representatives of the so- called "patriotic bourgeoisie," including some of the biggest exploiters in the country, were given important posts, such as the ministries of defense, agrarian reform, and economic planning. Two representatives of the big bourgeoisie were also place on the five-man ruling government junta: Alfonso Robelo, head of the board of directors of the Bank of America of Nicaragua, a powerful member of the industrial, commercial and financial bourgeoisie and closely associated with the U.S. multinational corporations; and Violetta Chamorro, the widow of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, slain bourgeois opposition leader and wealthy owner of the capitalist newspaper La Prensa.

U.S. imperialist diplomacy did what it could to ensure that the bourgeoisie got as much as conditions would allow in this coalition. Carter's Undersecretary of State, William Bowdler, had participated in the negotiations between the FSLN and the bourgeoisie for the setting up of the new state. Bowdler also accompanied members of the new government to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, and he attended the swearing in ceremony for the new government in Managua on the day after its liberation. (New York Times, July 21, 1979)

Thus, the FSLN began its balancing act between the revolution and the counterrevolution. On the one hand it could not stay in power a minute without relying on the revolutionary drive of the working masses. On the other hand it was wholly committed to keeping this revolutionary drive in check in order to preserve its coalition with the big capitalists and landlords. This attempt to steer a middle course determined the vacillating and contradictory policy of the FSLN.

With the triumph over the dictatorship the bourgeoisie demanded that the FSLN give it protection from the revolutionary drive of the masses who were armed and aroused to carry the revolution through to the end against all their exploiters and oppressors. As well, from its own standpoint, the FSLN leaders saw the independent proletarian forces as the greatest threat to their plan for coalition with the bourgeoisie.

The FSLN therefore wasted no time in its efforts to disarm and disband those of the forces created in the insurrection that it didn't directly control. With this aim the FSLN attempted to provoke the Marxist-Leninists into an armed clash. But the Marxist-Leninists were not to be provoked. They judged that an armed clash at this time would set the victorious people fighting each other, and damage the organized forces of the proletariat. They also assessed that with the triumph of the revolution over the tyranny the working class forces had to concentrate their efforts at this time on the political and ideological struggle to deepen the revolution in the direction of proletarian socialism. The MILPAS declared themselves dissolved on the 25th of July. Besides the MILPAS, it should be noted that a large number of unaffiliated proletarian elements were also disarmed under the pressure of the FSLN and treated to similar repression.

The Revolutionary Upsurge of the Workers and Poor Peasants

With the overthrow of the tyranny the class struggle did not die out. On the contrary, it burst onto the stage in a more direct and powerful form than ever possible under the dictatorship. The FSLN appealed for "national unity" and for harmony between the toilers and the "patriotic" exploiters in building the new Nicaragua. But the class struggle between the toilers and the exploiters in the new Nicaragua proved inevitable.

The workers and peasants were not about to bow their heads again to the brutal exploitation in the factories and fields to fatten the profits of the wealthy parasites. They had risen arms in hand to liberate the country from the dark tyranny, and they quite naturally expected that they should become the new masters of the society.

The big factory owners and landholders dreaded the specter of the masses pushing them aside. They did not trust the promises or the ability of the Sandinistas to keep the workers and peasants in check. To combat the revolution, the capitalists unleashed a campaign of economic sabotage, decapitalizing enterprises (selling off machinery abroad, removing operating capital, etc.), hoarding, speculating, etc.

In this situation the workers launched a broad offensive against the capitalists. They fought for better conditions of employment and waged bitter struggles against the capitalists' economic sabotage. These struggles took on acute forms, with the workers seizing factories and establishing varying degrees of workers' control in many enterprises.

This movement engulfed not only the urban proletariat, but also agricultural workers, such as the cane cutters on the big sugar combines. As well, the land- poor peasants went into action, seizing lands from the big landholders, who still controlled the greatest part of the valuable lands, despite the promises made by the FSLN prior to the revolution.

The Sandinistas saw that this upsurge of the toilers represented a great threat to their coalition with the bourgeoisie and unleashed all the ideological and political resources at their disposal to restore "national unity." They absurdly attempted to blame the vast class-wide movement on the allegedly "ultra-left" and "adventurist" forces of MAP and FO. This same absurdity was broadcast by the Cuban revisionists on Radio Havana and was spread in the U.S. by the pro- Soviet revisionist and trotskyite groups.

Taking up the slanders issued by the FSLN, the mealy-mouthed opportunists of the Guardian gave a hand-wringing lecture against FO's "counterrevolutionary policy" of allegedly demanding extravagant wage increases that supposedly threatened to destroy economic reconstruction. (February 27,1980) In reality, wage increases were not the central issue in these strikes, as it has often been wrongly portrayed in the available literature. Many of these workers' struggles were waged against decapitalization and sabotage of production by the owners, and they frequently took on the aim of various types of workers' control. Many struggles were over non-economic issues, including some of the biggest;strikes which took place in protest of the repression against the FO and other leaders of the workers.

Moreover, as far as the economic demands themselves are concerned, the workers quite rightly held that improvements could take place in their desperately low wages (which were growing ever more desperate in the face of inflation), in the terrible safety conditions that they faced, and in other fronts -- at the expense of the profits of the capitalists. The Sandinistas, however, had other plans. They were banking on the profitability of the capitalists for their plans to rebuild a "mixed economy." Thus, the government fought hard to hold in check the workers' demands with one hand, and with the other hand it opened up the national treasury to underwrite the capitalists' profits through low interest guaranteed loans and other financial incentives. (Of course, this still has not convinced many "patriotic" bourgeois to invest in this "mixed economy" rather than stashing their profits in safe nest eggs in Miami or investing them in the cause of the contra bands.)

The Guardian also shook with anger at the FO for the alleged crime of supporting the peasant land seizures. "The FO has created frictions in the countryside," the Guardian accused, "by encouraging peasants to take over land -- despite the fact that the 40% of the country's arable land that formerly belonged to Somoza's family has been nationalized." (February 10, 1980)

For such convinced reformists it does not matter that the majority of the best land has remained in the hands

of the big coffee and cotton growers, cattle ranchers and other big landowners. (The confiscated land was actually less than half of the 40% figure given.) On the contrary, they argue, the land-poor peasants should be grateful for the land that was nationalized and leave the rest to their rightful big owners. Encouraging the poor peasants to take any more then this small fraction could only be criminal incitement on the part of the FO. Among other things, they want to hide the fact that a sweeping agrarian reform that confiscates the big owners was not only the FO's idea; it had always been part of the FSLN's program, but it backed away from the promises of a radical agrarian reform when coming to power because the bourgeoisie would not accept it.

The scope of the upsurge among the toiling masses greatly worried the leadership of the FSLN, which thought it saw the hand of the Marxist-Leninists everywhere, even in many spontaneous struggles which they had nothing to do with.

The truth of the matter is that the workers' and peasants' upsurge was an objective class phenomenon that no party or group could have created. MAP and FO took an active part in this upsurge, striving to give it a proletarian revolutionary orientation. At that time El Pueblo had a wide readership among the masses, and the FO had its greatest organizational strength, leading the unions in a number of the most important enterprises in the country. The movement, however, went far beyond the direct influence of any organization. Nevertheless, whatever action took place was invariably blamed on MAP and FO, and they bore the brunt of the government's repression.

The Repression Against MAP and FO

The FSLN mustered all its strength to turn back the revolutionary wave of workers' and peasants' struggles. At a number of enterprises where workers' control had been established, the army was sent in to take over in the name of safeguarding production. Similarly, peasants were pushed off the lands which they had seized, and the lands were eventually handed back to the big landlords in the name of restoring normalcy to the "mixed economy." Selective repression was organized against trade unions that refused to hold their workers in check. The trade union organization of the PCN revisionists, CAUS, suffered some repression along with a few others. But the spearhead of the repression was directed against MAP and FO.

In the fall of 1979, over 150 FO leaders were arbitrarily arrested and held without charges, and FO unions were stripped of their rights. In October, the army took over the offices of the FO. The next day the workers organized a demonstration and took the offices back. Construction workers and other toilers in the capital organized big protests to demand the release of the FO leaders. Some of the bitterest strikes of this period were waged to protest the arrest of the FO leaders and the repression against the workers' organizations. This included the strike of several thousand workers at the privately owned San Antonio sugar combine, which is the second largest sugar combine in Central America. FO militants and sympathizers were blacklisted from work places. If they weren't dismissed, attempts were made to intimidate them, suppress their literature and isolate them as alleged opponents of the revolution.

In January 1980, the workers' press was struck a heavy blow with the closing down of El Pueblo. The paper's offices were closed, large amounts of equipment was confiscated, and El Pueblo's directors were jailed. The charges against the directors were ludicrous. For example they were accused of denigrating the values of the people; the evidence was an article in El Pueblo which criticized the FSLN for strengthening religion among the people and pointed out that this was harmful to the cause of the masses.

The Guardian and other apologists for the arbitrary repression against El Pueblo try to claim that this was a just revolutionary act because the bourgeois opposition was supposed to have complained that the repression against El Pueblo was a violation of democracy. The Guardian makes this claim even though it is well known that even the most reactionary opposition will demagogically point to arbitrary measures taken against the masses to gain influence and discredit the party in power. The truth is that the bourgeoisie was very pleased with this repression against the Marxist-Leninists, which was the spearhead of the government's clampdown on the revolutionary upsurge of the working masses against the exploiters. The repression against the Marxist-Leninists was part of paving the way for measures against the toilers, measures that the capitalists could not hide their enthusiasm for, such as the emergency law imposing a three-year prison term for taking part in strikes, factory takeovers, or land seizures.

When the State Council was formed in the spring of 1980, the FSLN and the bourgeoisie came to an agreement that MAP and FO were to be excluded from participation. Practically speaking this stripped the Marxist-Leninists of many of the legal rights enjoyed by the other political parties and organizations in the country.*

To understand the significance of the arbitrary repression unleashed against MAP and FO, it must be remembered that there was no such repression against the forces of the bourgeois counterrevolution. Towards the capitalist reactionaries there was moderation, cordiality and toleration to the extreme. Declared anti-communist opponents of the revolution who made no secret of their links to U.S. imperialism were treated with kid gloves. The reactionary La Prensa funded by American, West German and other imperialist sources, was allowed to curse against the revolution and the FSLN. Not only was La Prensa not shut down, its owner, Violetta Chamorro, continued to sit on the five-member ruling junta of the government. Even towards the criminals of the Somocista National Guard, the watchword of FSLN Interior Minister Tomas Borge was that: "Our vengeance toward our enemies will be the pardon.'' However, in the "pluralist society'' of the FSLN-bourgeois coalition government, it seems that there was no room for toleration or leniency towards the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of MAP and FO.

The early months of 1980 saw a shift in class relations. The FSLN-bourgeois coalition began to unravel. The bourgeoisie was no longer willing to play second fiddle to the petty-bourgeois democrats and demanded political power to match their economic strength. They decided that they could fight the revolution better from outside the government. Alfonso Robelo and Violetta Chamorro began an open campaign to destabilize the FSLN regime; nevertheless, the Sandinistas still gave total protection to these reactionaries. In response MAP put out a leaflet protesting the fact that the bourgeois counterrevolutionaries were given free rein while the proletarian revolutionaries were in prison. (Later Robelo made his way to Costa Rica where this leader of the so-called "patriotic bourgeoisie'' became a leader of the CIA-backed contra bands.)

Eventually, as the pressure of the bourgeoisie and U.S. aggression grew stronger, the FSLN was compelled to turn to the masses and seek the support of the left. The MAP and FO militants were let out of prison and the repression against them was eased somewhat. The Marxist-Leninists have taken advantage of this opening to step up their work among the masses.

The Ongoing Struggle for the Ideological and Political Independence of the Working Class

On the day of the triumph of the liberation war, the independent forces of the proletariat were not only hit with a wave of repression; there was also a petty- bourgeois ideological wave that crashed down against them.

Coming to the top in the revolution immediately invested in the Sandinistas a degree of ideological authority which they could not have approached previously. The vacillating and reformist policies of the FSLN, no matter how absurd or contradictory, all of a sudden became the words of revolutionaries who had succeeded in taking power. While it did not say so in public, in private the FSLN told the workers and revolutionary militants that they were leading the society on the true road of socialism and Marxism-Leninism. Under these conditions, even some class conscious elements lost their bearings, elements who previously fully understood the petty-bourgeois class nature of the Sandinista policy.

The FSLN preaches continuously about the need for ideological and political "pluralism'' when it gives millions of dollars in hard currency to help the reactionary La Prensa purchase newsprint or bends over backwards to provide room for the right-wing reactionaries or the Catholic hierarchy. But when it comes to the revolutionary forces it is an entirely different story. Here there is no room for such ideological and political pluralism. The FSLN argues that, while the right wing and the bourgeoisie can have their various parties, trade unions, etc., among the revolutionaries there can only be one vanguard (the FSLN), one trade union center (the FSLN's center), etc. In this way they have exerted intense pressure on the proletarian forces to give up their independent positions and to merge with the petty-bourgeois forces of Sandinism.

The FSLN has waged a particularly dogged campaign to isolate their critics on the left. Because MAP-ML has opposed the FSLN's reformist policy and has put forward its own proletarian revolutionary policies, the Sandinistas have tried to tar them as a most dangerous type of counterrevolutionary.

In this difficult situation the comrades of MAP-ML have stuck fast to their proletarian orientation, playing an active and vital role in the class struggle unfolding within revolutionary Nicaragua today.

The Marxist-Leninists are working to rebuild the independent organization of the proletariat. The class conscious workers had suffered the loss of a number of experienced Marxist-Leninist cadre killed during the insurrection, and afterwards they suffered from the repression of the new government and from the acute ideological pressure from the petty bourgeoisie.

In the first place the Marxist-Leninists are strengthening MAP-ML as the vanguard of the proletariat and toiling masses. They are also building other organizations of the masses, including the committees of the FO among the rank and file in the factories and work places. As well, they are rebuilding the workers' press in order to break the ideological monopoly of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie and to present to the masses the proletarian alternative. They are striving to make use of every possible opening to make their Marxist-Leninist line known among the workers and peasants.

The Marxist-Leninist workers are in the midst of the struggle against the aggression of the contras and the Yankee imperialists. They are striving to organize the working class and toilers to place their own class stamp on the tasks of defense. It should be noted that even in the trenches of the war against the interventionists, the militants of MAP-ML and FO must work calmly and patiently among their fellow worker and peasant militia members and soldiers to break down the sectarian walls that the FSLN has tried to erect against the Marxist-Leninists.

MAP-ML is striving to organize and mobilize the masses along the orientation that the tasks of defense of the revolution are thoroughly intertwined with the class struggle. The workers and poor peasants are the motor of the revolution; deepening their revolutionary struggle against the local exploiters will unleash this motive force that can close the door to the U.S.-backed bourgeois counterrevolution. In the heat of battle against imperialism and the local reaction the Marxist-Leninists are striving to organize and mobilize the working class to accomplish its historic mission -- leading the revolutionary struggle of the toiling masses for the triumph of the proletarian revolution and socialism in Nicaragua.



Below we reprint a number of the passages on MAP-ML's Workers Front (Frente Obrero or FO) from Henri Weber's book Nicaragua: The Sandinista Revolution. It should be kept in mind that Weber is a strong enthusiast for the petty-bourgeois policies of the Sandinistas and the book is written with a distinct social-democratic slant. Nevertheless the following passages may help American readers penetrate through the wall of slanders and vilifications of MAP-ML and FO that has been created in most of the literature readily available in the U.S. In particular they shed light on the arbitrary nature of the repression against the Marxist-Leninist workers. Some of the facts presented in the book we have not been able to independently confirm.

"In 1978, [the Proletarian Tendency of the FSLN] began talks with Frente Obrero, another revolutionary splinter from the FSLN deeply involved in mass organizing work in the towns.'' (p. 54)

Referring to the FSLN's trade union policy after the revolution:

"Intimidation, sometimes involving violence, is employed against 'agitators' above all when they are organized representatives of an opposing strategy. In January 1980, for example, the leaders of Frente Obrero were arrested." The FO, one of the "half-a- dozen federations with a national structure," is described as "ultra-leftist, pro-Albanian." (pp. 107-8) "When someone opposes the FSLN, they are quickly denounced as a Somozist or CIA agent. Such labels are currently applied not only to the bourgeois opposition, but also to workers' organizations: the CNT (Christian- Social), the CAUS (Communist), the CUS, Frente Obrero, and the PCN. Yet the fact that these unions and parties -- with the exception of the pro-Albanian FO, the least suspicious of them all -- have retained their place on the Council of State, suggests that the FSLN does not believe such accusations." (p. 120)

"Attempts were also made [by the Sandinista trade union center CST] to gain control of trade unions in San Antonio, Monterosso, and Corinto.... According to an FO official, the CST secretary declared the founding meeting of the independent union [the Tipita Workers Union in the industrial town of Tipita] illegal, and actually had it prohibited by the authorities.... Such examples could be multiplied. In January 1980 a campaign of vilification and repression was launched against the FO...." (p. 123)

The following is a description of the repression unleashed against the Marxist-Leninists in late 1979, early 1980:

"But the repression of Frente Obrero is a rather more significant episode.... A pro-Tirana organization once close to Jaime Wheelock's 'proletarian tendency,' Frente Obrero played an active role in the struggle against the dictatorship at the head of an armed organization, the ' Anti-Somozist People's Militias' (MILPAS). In March 1979, taking advantage of the crisis of the dictatorship, it managed to launch a daily paper, El Pueblo, which was tolerated by the regime.

"That FO is an ultra-leftist organization is hardly open to doubt. It characterized the FSLN policy of alliance with the anti-Somozist bourgeoisie as a betrayal of the revolution in keeping with the petty-bourgeois nature of Sandinism, while its own 'class-against- class' strategy took no account of the country's geopolitical situation, the need for foreign aid, or the level of consciousness of the broad masses. Nevertheless, the Sandinistas regarded it as a dangerous force, since its policy of outbidding them on every conceivable question was calculated to attract the most radicalized sections of the proletariat.

"The Junta of National Reconstruction first banned FO on 23 July 1979 over a murky affair involving stolen machinery. The MILPAS were subsequently disarmed by Sandinist forces and the distribution of El Pueblo impeded. The repression eased in late August, when El Pueblo was again allowed to appear. Tomas Borge received the FO leaders and tried in vain to win them to the FSLN strategy. The second ban was imposed on 21 January 1980, following a wave of strikes in which FO, as well as the PCN, played a leading role.

"Whatever may be thought of the basic issue -- and few socialists will dispute that a revolutionary government has the right to protect itself, if necessary by coercion, against real ultra-left excesses -- the actual repression of FO involved a series of irregularities. Thus the FO leaders spent a fortnight in prison before their formal indictment in a magistrate's court, whereas the maximum period prescribed by law is twenty-four hours. After some equivocation, they were eventually charged under Article 4, Paragraph c of the Maintenance of Public Order Act, which refers to the publishing of 'declarations, libels or articles intended to damage the people's interests and destroy the gains achieved by the people....' Legally, this article covering press offenses allowed for prosecution of the journalists and publisher of El Pueblo. But it was also used against Isidoro Tellez, called 'Chilo,' a building worker and FO general secretary who did not belong to the paper's editorial board. The trial, held in early February, was chaotic to say the least. Defense witnesses were never called to the stand. The FO leaders were confined in Chipote prison, even though their sentence of two years of 'public works' did not explicitly refer to incarceration. And commutation of the sentence to a fine, although permitted by law, was denied them.

"By early May, the FSLN National Directorate, then locked in its first political trial of strength with the bourgeoisie, apparently decided that the lesson had been given. It unanimously voted the release of the FO prisoners, and Comandante Jaime Wheelock hastened to Chipote prison to convey the good news. The decision in itself was, of course, a sympathetic act -- no doubt inspired by a laudable resolve to avoid using imprisonment to settle differences among revolutionaries. But the fact remains that formally it was a flagrant violation of the Managua court's verdict. Hence the indignation of the Bench, which had been made to look ridiculous; hence too a provocative commentary in [the reactionary] La Prensa on 'the comandantes standing above the law.' The affair was eventually settled when the government hurried through an amnesty decree.'' (pp. 126-7)

*Throughout the 1972-1979 period, the comrades of MAP participated in common activities with the militants of the FSLN. At one point they had a certain association with Jaime Wheelock's "Proletarian Tendency." This was a faction of the FSLN formed in 1975 which for a time seemed serious about attempting to break with the traditional petty-bourgeois orientation of the FSLN. However, the "Tendency" eventually gave up these attempts and reunited with the other two main factions of the FSLN on the basis of the FSLN's petty-bourgeois platform of national unity with the bourgeoisie, political pluralism, mixed economy, etc. MAP always respected the determination of the Sandinistas in the struggle against the dictatorship, while it never reconciled with the FSLN's petty-bourgeois orientation and maintained its political independence.

*The FSLN's official program that was first published in 1969 states:

"II. The Agrarian Revolution

"The Sandinista people's revolution will work out an agrarian policy that achieves an authentic agrarian reform; a reform that will, in the immediate term, carry out massive distribution of the land, eliminating the land grabs by the large landlords in favor of the workers (small producers) who labor on the land.

"A. It will expropriate and eliminate the capitalist and feudal estates.

"B. It will turn over the land to the peasants, free of charge, in accordance with the principle that the landshould belong to those who work it.

''E. It will protect the patriotic landowners who collaborate with the guerrilla struggle, by paying them for their landholdings that exceed the limit established by the revolutionary government...." (The Nicaragua Reader, edited by P. Rossetand J. Vandermeer, 1983)

Today it is almost five years after the FSLN came to power. Apart from the properties of Somoza's clan, the expropriation of the big landholders has been indefinitely postponed. Instead of buying out the so-called 'patriotic landowners' in order to give the land to the peasants, the Sandinistas are paying financial incentives to the big growers and ranchers to help them make higher profits.

*The State Council was set up as a legislative body to function provisionally until elections for a constituent assembly were held. Participation in the State Council doesn't signify participation in the government; it only signifies government recognition as a legal party or organization. The bourgeoisie and the extreme right wing, from the major parties to miniscule groups, have their seats on the Council and their full legality. Only MAP-ML and FO suffer the consequences of having been refused their seats.

[Photo: This column of the Popular Anti-Somoza Militias (MILPAS) led by MAP-ML took an active part in the liberation of Managua in July 1979.]

[Photo: The seal of the Frente Obrero. it carries as its legend the words of Karl Marx: "The emancipation of the working class is the work of the working class itself."]


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At Tufts University near Boston:

Students force war dog Kissinger to cancel appearance

On April 2, Henry Kissinger, a major mouthpiece for Reagan's aggression in Central America, canceled a speaking engagement at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in the Boston metropolitan area. He took this decision because he was afraid of being confronted by angry students who had scheduled a protest demonstration against his appearance on April 6.

The students in Boston were encouraged by this victory and decided to go ahead with their planned demonstration, with the aim of condemning U.S. imperialism in Central America. In accordance with the decision of the organizing committee, taken after a spirited debate on the role of the Democratic Party, no Democratic Party politicians were allowed to speak from the platform of the demonstration. The rally was quite a success. Nearly two hundred students and activists participated in it, including a number of students who came by bus from Brown University in Providence, R.I.

The MLP mobilized for the rally and took a vigorous part in it. Comrades from the MLP spoke at the rally and carried out revolutionary cultural work.

Below we reprint a leaflet put out by the Boston Branch of the MLP on April 4 as part of its work for the demonstration at Tufts University.

Henry Kissinger has backed out of a speaking engagement at Tufts University, citing fear of a student demonstration against him. Kissinger is an infamous war criminal of the Viet Nam era and is now a major strategist of Reagan's war in Central America. The fact that Kissinger is afraid of the students and has canceled his appearance at Tufts is a victory for the movement against Reagan's war in Central America.

Over the past few months, the Reagan regime has attempted to send members of its administration and of the Kissinger Commission around the country to rally support for their new Viet Nam-style war of aggression in Central America. But these speaking tours have only served to arouse the masses further against the warmongers. Angry demonstrations have broken out to denounce these spokesmen for the imperialist billionaires everywhere they have gone. Kirkpatrick was shouted down in Berkeley, Haig in Ann Arbor, Weinberger at Harvard. Kissinger was denounced in Buffalo and Texas and backed out of speaking in Florida for fear of the demonstrations planned there. This tactic has gone so badly for these warmongers that recently John Silber, president of Boston University and member of the Kissinger Commission, tried to bar the public from a forum series where the Reaganites were spouting their lies about Central America.

It is not simply a matter of personal cowardice that has forced Kissinger to cancel at Tufts. The imperialist ruling class is worried sick that their new warmongering adventures will give rise to the revolutionary movement against them at home like what happened during the Viet Nam war. Kissinger has canceled for fear that his presence would spark the growth of the kind of militant anti-imperialist movement that the billionaires and their cohorts in military and diplomatic circles fear like the plague. But these gentlemen cannot escape so easily the wrath of the masses who remember the lessons of Viet Nam. The students at Tufts and MIT are going ahead with a demonstration and rally anyhow.

Now that Kissinger has canceled his appearance, he and Dean Eliot, head of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts where Kissinger was invited to speak, are whining that the demonstration against Kissinger is somehow a violation of "freedom of speech," "academic freedom" and "reasoned debate" and "dialogue." This is hypocrisy! Was Kissinger concerned about the freedom of speech of the people of Chile when he organized the coup there in 1973 for his friends in Anaconda Corporation and ITT? Was Kissinger concerned about the rights of the nearly one million people killed by the carpet bombing of Viet Nam? Is it dialogue the U.S. government is defending while it props-up the death squad regime of El Salvador? Was it dialogue the U.S. government invaded Grenada to defend? Was Kissinger interested in freedom of speech when he and Nixon launched Operation Counter Intelpro against the revolutionary activists in the U.S. in 1969-71? Was it for dialogue that hundreds of Marxist-Leninists and other activists were thrown into jail? And was it for dialogue that black militants and the students at Kent State were murdered? Is the Tufts University administration concerned about academic freedom when it fires left-leaning professors and sends the police to evict communist leafletters from campus?

No! These imperialist gentlemen do not care about freedom, academic or otherwise. What they are really concerned about is preparing for war and crushing the struggle of the oppressed masses around the world. When these gentlemen launch their next war, they will not have a dialogue with the young workers and students of this country. No, they will force them off to war under threat of five years in jail. The issue is not to be polite to the warmongers and have a chitchat with them. The issue is to fight them and to build the revolutionary mass struggle to block their aggressive schemes.

Kissinger did not come to Tufts for an "open dialogue." He was coming for a staged debate between Republican and Democratic strategists of imperialism. The topic? How best to defend and expand the world empire of the American multinational corporations and bankers and how best to fight with the equally aggressive Russian imperialists over who will get the right to rob the greatest part of the world. Anyone who opposes imperialism is banned from the meeting hall. The meeting is to be taped for broadcast to spread pro-imperialist propaganda. Far from being denied freedom of speech, Kissinger and other imperialist spokesmen have unlimited opportunity to spread their views in the capitalist media, while it is the anti-imperialist views which are in fact suppressed by the rich and powerful. The students and anti-imperialist activists have, by their preparations for the demonstration, disrupted this propaganda show of the imperialists. They have exposed the warmongers and proven they can not prepare for war unopposed. For this, the students and activists are to be congratulated.

The Tufts administration, the Globe and the Herald are particularly furious that the Marxist-Leninist Party has participated in the preparations for the demonstration. In his statement, Dean Eliot tried to implicate our Party as a supporter of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In fact, it is a matter of public record that the MLP is a staunch opponent of all imperialism, whether it wears a socialist mask like Moscow or a democratic mask like Washington. Our Party supports the Afghan people's struggle to Overthrow their oppressors, while Mr. Eliot's only peeve about Afghanistan is that it is the bourgeois bureaucrats of Moscow rather than the financial sharks of Wall Street that are profiting from the misery of the Afghan people.

The purpose of the slanders against the Marxist-Leninists is to try to isolate the staunchest and most militant section of the movement and thus to weaken divide the movement. Kissinger and Eliot are political tacticians. They are hoping that with their accusations about "freedom of speech" and with their slanders against the Marxist-Leninists, the non-Marxist-Leninist students will start apologizing for their own militancy and for the presence of the Marxist-Leninists. If this happens, if the students fell for their game, this would let the imperialists off the hook and leave the movement sapped of its militancy and spirit. But the militant students have refused to let this happen. Instead they are going ahead with their demonstration. Students from Tufts and MIT and revolutionary activists and workers from around the city are going to greet the pro-imperialist forum with a loud, united and militant demonstration anyway.

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Report on Central America Week in Boston

Today there is an ever deepening escalation of U.S. intervention in Central America. The Reaganite crimes are a major political issue of the day, agitating people across the country. But the demonstrations and mass protests against the U.S. government's policies in Central America are being liquidated. This spring there was no national mobilization on this issue and even local protests have been few and far between.

This is no accident. The blame for the liquidation of the mass demonstrations lies squarely with the liberals and social-democrats (and the revisionist and trotskyite liquidators who trail after them) who are very influential in the movement against U.S. intervention. This year the social-democrats are on a crusade to replace the mass demonstrations with events that have no militancy whatsoever, events that are aimed at promoting reliance on the Democratic Party's election campaign as the solution to Reagan's aggression. This social-democratic treachery is further discussed in the article "False Friends of the Salvadoran Working People'' elsewhere in this issue (p. 12).

But the efforts of the social-democrats to liquidate protest actions were not successful everywhere. The experience in Boston provides a number of valuable lessons for the activists on the importance of standing up against the social-democratic efforts to liquidate the mass movement.

In line with the national plans for Central America Week (March 18-25) put out this year by various social- democratic and liberal groups, in Boston too the social-democratic-influenced movement groups planned Central America Week without any mass demonstrations.

The Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, however, posed a different road before the activists in the mass movement. In early February, the branch decided that conditions were quite good in the city to organize a revolutionary campaign against U.S. imperialism in Central America. The branch planned to carry out widespread agitation in the factories, schools and communities. It also felt that it would help to enliven the political life of the city if a militant citywide demonstration could be organized against U.S. crimes in Central America. The branch thought that the weekend of the March 25 elections in El Salvador offered an excellent occasion for a demonstration. An action on this occasion would help to sharply cut through the fog of confusion generated by the imperialists and their lap dogs in the news media about the so-called "democratic'' character of the Salvadoran elections fraud.

The Boston Branch of the MLP appealed to the groups active in the anti-intervention movement city-wide for a united mass demonstration. The MLP knew that if these groups called an action they would give reformist slogans. But the MLP would be there to put forward the anti-imperialist perspective. A mass protest where the various groups threw in their resources for a wide mobilization would allow the activists and other progressive people in the city to make a strong statement against U.S. warmongering.

The MLP also decided that if a citywide appeal to the other groups for a united mass action was not successful then the Party would go ahead and organize on its own an anti-imperialist action. And it would seek out the cooperation of all interested activists in the city for such an action.

In February when the MLP put out its appeal to the other groups, they refused to call any mass action. So the Boston Branch went ahead and launched its appeals for a march against U.S. imperialism on March 24.

The comrades of the MLP went wide among the masses with posters, leaflets and newspapers denouncing the crimes of U.S. imperialism and calling for solidarity with the revolutionary struggles in Central America. In this work, the MLP found that there was indeed a good deal of enthusiasm among the activists for a militant demonstration. And many people expressed disgust with the Democratic Party for its repeated funding of Reagan's war plans in Congress.

The appeal of the MLP was also warmly received by the group of activists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who publish the newsletter Student. They put out a bulletin of this paper calling for support for the March 24 action.

However, just a week or so before the day of the action, a curious development took place. The very same groups which had refused to call a citywide united action earlier now came out with a call for a picket, scheduled for the same day as the MLP-called action, for just an hour earlier and at a location several miles away.

This was a clear attempt to set up a competing action. This was nothing but an effort to fragment the solidarity movement. This was another face of the disruptionist course of the social-democrats and others they closely influence.

The Boston Branch of the MLP decided to work hard against this disruptionist effort. It put out an open letter to all activists in the movement. In this letter the MLP called on the activists to attend both actions on March 24; and it criticized the disruptive efforts of the social- democrats against the movement and exposed the political reasons behind such efforts. For its own part, the branch pledged to carry forward its planned march and to attend the picket as well.

On March 24, a couple of hundred people turned out for the picket in downtown Boston called by the three groups. The MLP was there and worked to strengthen its oppositional character. Slogans such as No to imperialist war! U.S. out of El Salvador! were widely taken up by the protestors.

After attending this picket, the MLP proceeded to carry out its own action, which was a march from Black- stone Park in the South End of Boston to Central Square in Cambridge. It was a militant march attended by several dozen activists and well received by motorists and passers-by. Along the route, hundreds of copies of the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch, were passed out. The march culminated with a short rally in Central Square which was addressed by a representative of the MLP and an activist from the MIT newsletter The Student.

Below we reprint the open letter of the Boston Branch to the activists put out on March 19, 1984.


Many activists have been asking why, despite the current escalation, there have been no mass demonstrations called to protest U.S. imperialism in Central America. Now they are asking us why two demonstrations have been called in Boston and for the same day and time, one of which is called by MLP. The answer is as follows:

MLP (Boston) felt that it was important to have a serious, militant mass demonstration this spring to build sentiment against Reagan's offensive in Central America. To this end, we approached CASA [the local Central American solidarity group -- WA] at the Kissinger Commission Speak-out on February 16. We said it is important to build the mass movement and that there should be a demonstration this spring. If you call one, we said, we'll help mobilize for it and participate; if not, we'll have one and suggested March 24 at 1:00 pm at Blackstone Park. On February 18 we attended a public meeting of Workers World Party's All People's Congress and also announced this demonstration and invited everyone to participate at the same proposed time and place. We checked with both groups again and they still had no demonstration planned. Finally, on March 8, we initiated a campaign of extensive postering and leafleting calling for "U.S. Imperialism -- Get Out of Central America'' with the announcement for the proposed demonstration prominently displayed.

On March 16, we learned that some leaders of CASA, Mobilization for Survival and APC had decided at the last minute to call a demonstration for the same day at noon in a different location. They did not consult us. This kind of activity is extremely sectarian. It serves to split and to weaken the movement against imperialist war.

The first point is that we do not want this kind of pettiness and sectarianism to weaken the movement. Therefore, we urge all the activists to participate in CASA's noontime picket and make it as militant and oppositional as possible. Then we urge everyone to take the "T" at 1:00 and go from Washington Street station to Northampton station, assemble at Blackstone Park and from there have a vigorous march calling for U.S. imperialism to get out of Central America, lock, stock and barrel.

The second point deals with the issue of the main source of the current lethargy in the movement and the reason behind sectarian activity such as calling for competing demonstrations instead of united ones. The main source of the present problems in the movement is the policy of most of the people in the leading positions in the movement organizations. This is a policy of tailing the Democratic Party and tailoring the movement to what is acceptable to the Democrats. This policy is [being] justified as a means of broadening the movement. However, the experience of the last few years shows it has just the opposite effect. In fact it cuts out the soul of the movement. It sacrifices the stand of militant opposition to the imperialist warmongers. It simply turns the movement into a tail of the Democrats' fraudulent posturing against Reagan.

Last spring, for the first time in three years, a national demonstration was not called. What was the justification? The Democrats promised to cut off the aid to the Salvadoran junta and the Nicaraguan contras. Of course, as soon as the spring demonstration season was over, the Democratic-controlled Congress voted Reagan all the money he wanted. Since this is an election year, the Democrats' posturing is even greater. At the same time, great pressure is being put on the movement to liquidate any mass actions which could embarrass the Democrats. Instead, the activists are told to back Jesse Jackson or George McGovern or some other imperialist politician. To the extent this policy is followed, the U.S. imperialists will be given a free hand in their aggression in Central America.

This policy has also led to the narrow and anti-communist stand here in Boston of calling for a competing demonstration against MLP. This is in line with the policy of tailing and accommodating the Democrats while a united, mass and citywide demonstration would embarrass them.

Tailing the Democrats also means accommodating the movement to the aims of the imperialist billionaires. This is especially clear with the issue of the "political solution'' to the war in Central America. Time and again, we have been told that the aim of our movement is to pressure Reagan to agree to a political solution for Central America. But this is the solution of the liberal Democrats. It is a policy of pressuring the revolutionary masses in Central America to compromise with the oligarchies, the death squads and their imperialist U.S. backers. Implicit in this policy is the idea that the U.S. has the right to determine what goes on in Central America. It is a patently imperialist policy which seeks to maintain U.S. domination when military intervention alone will not work. It is even recognized as a valuable tactic by the Reaganites themselves who have endorsed it in their bipartisan Kissinger Commission. The toiling masses of Central America are fighting courageously for their freedom. Solidarity with them requires us to demand, not a "political solution,'' but that U.S. imperialism get out of Central America, lock, stock and barrel.

The real force against Reagan's war in Central America is not the imperialist politicians of the Democratic Party. The real force is the millions of workers, youth and students in this country who pay for these wars in blood. They are the ones who feel the weight of the same imperialist system that is slaughtering our class brothers and sisters in Central America. It is to them, not the Democrats, that the movement should make its appeals.

The U.S. government is rapidly escalating its war in Central America. The Boston Branch of the MLP calls on all activists to go all out: Isolate the influence of the Democratic Party in the movement; Organize militant mass actions to stay the hands of the Reaganite warmongers; Draw the largest numbers of workers, youth, students and all progressive people into these actions.

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Strikebreakers for imperialism

AFL-CIO works hand in hand with Reagan around the world

With Reagan in the White House, the AFL-CIO chieftains have been making a big show of "anti-Reaganism." This is just so much hot air.

For one thing, the labor chieftains have refused to lift a finger to organize any serious struggle of the workers against the Reaganite offensive. Instead, their "anti-Reaganism" has gone no further than campaigning for the Democratic Party, a party which has amply shown that it is merely the other face of Reaganism.

In the meantime, it is a curious fact that while the AFL-CIO leaders posture as critical of Reagan on certain domestic issues, they are themselves locked in an ardent embrace with the Reagan administration on foreign policy. From Reagan's gigantic military budgets and his saber rattling against the Russian social-imperialists, to the aggression against the peoples of Central America, the chief labor bureaucrats are firmly in support of Reagan's policies of imperialism and war.

One of the major instruments of this collaboration between the labor bureaucrats and the Reagan administration is the infamous American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), a counterrevolutionary organization funded by the U.S. government and jointly managed by the AFL-CIO hacks and corporate executives from imperialist multinationals with extensive holdings in Latin America. Alongside this institute, which is meant for subversion of the labor movement in Latin America and the Caribbean, the AFL-CIO also runs smaller outfits aimed at Asia and Africa, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute (AAFLI) and the African-American Labor Center (AALC).

Recently a number of new developments were revealed of the collaboration in international affairs between the AFL-CIO and the Reagan administration. They help to expose the hollowness of the "anti-Reagan" pose struck by Lane Kirkland and his cronies.

AIFLD Assists Reagan in Grenada

Recently it was revealed that the Reagan administration is calling on the AFL-CIO to assist in subjugating the people of Grenada. A report on Grenada by the U.S. government's Agency for International Development (U.S. AID), which provides 90% of the funding for AIFLD, recommends that AIFLD be called on to "restructure" the Grenadian labor movement.

This proposal comes at a time when the Reagan government is working hard to rig up a puppet government and to stamp out completely any sparks of resistance among the Grenadian working masses. Three hundred U.S. troops are still in Grenada, along with forces from nearby British Commonwealth islands, to police every aspect of life on the tiny island. All broadcasting in Grenada has been put under control of the U.S. Army Psychological Operations Battalion.

Capitalist employers in Grenada used the U.S. invasion as an opportunity to bust unions. Immediately after the invasion U.S. troops rounded up all trade union leaders and jailed them temporarily. During this period many trade union militants were fired from their jobs, and in many cases employers declared that the local union had been decertified. Now the AIFLD is being charged to reorganize unions which will be entirely subservient to U.S. imperialism and the local capitalists. This is the sort of "restructuring of the labor movement" that AIFLD is being called upon to assist.

Reagan Steps Up Support for AIFLD

Through AIFLD and the other institutes focusing on Asia and Africa, the AFL-CIO labor hacks and the U.S. government have long worked hand in hand to undermine the workers' movement in the dependent and oppressed countries. Today; with revolutionary upheavals engulfing one country after another, the Reagan administration is stepping up governmental support for the AFL-CIO activities to subvert foreign labor movements.

In a recent article entitled "The Reagan/AFL-CIO Alliance," the Washington Post National Weekly Edition revealed that U.S. AID has increased its funding from $16 million to $17 million for the AIFLD and the other institutes for Asia and Africa. As well, the government's international propaganda outfit, the U.S. Information Agency, awarded the AFL-CIO a $400,000 contract to take over a foreign visitors program to bring foreign trade union leaders to the U.S.

Moreover, the AFL-CIO's projects have received an added boost from Senator Orrin Hatch, ultra-reactionary chairman of the Senate Labor Committee. Hatch, who is a notorious enemy of trade union activity in the U.S., is closely working with the AFL-CIO's Irving Brown, Kirkland's aide for international operations. Hatch is leading a bipartisan push in Congress for $13.8 million in funds for a new AFL-CIO institute to administer the bulk of Reagan's new Endowment for Democracy program. This is a new Reaganite program to sell the "American way" abroad. The fact that Hatch, a notorious anti-labor Senator, endorses the AFL-CIO for administering one of Reagan's pet projects shows the deep affinity between the Reaganite reactionaries and the AFL-CIO leaders.

What can be expected of this Reagan/AFL-CIO alliance can be seen from taking a look at the history of AIFLD.

How AIFLD Got Started

Coming to the aid of U.S. imperialism is nothing new to the AFL-CIO leadership. In the post World War II period, the leaders of the AFL and CIO worked closely with the CIA to "restructure" the European trade union movement. They worked in one country after another to set up reactionary trade unions that would oppose the trade unions connected to the communist parties and support the U.S.-organized Marshall Plan. This was the "aid" program through which U.S. imperialism was striving to sink its tentacles into Europe and stabilize capitalist rule there.

In 1949 the AFL and the CIO, in conjunction with the British Trade Unions Congress, were instrumental in setting up the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, an international trade union center which is a rabid defender of capitalism and Western imperialism. The ICFTU also set up a regional organization for Latin America called Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers (ORIT) in 1951. ORIT's job was to organize pro-Western imperialist trade unions in South and Central America.

Throughout the 1950's ORIT tried to undermine the labor movement in Latin America but it failed again and again as Latin American workers increasingly turned towards various left-wing unions. So in 1961 the U.S. imperialists launched a new organization, AIFLD, which was closely tied to Kennedy's Alliance for Progress program for Latin America. AIFLD was funded 90% by U.S. AID, and received the rest of its funds from private and trade union sources. AIFLD emphasized the creation of a whole new stratum of "free" trade union leaders and opened up educational programs throughout Latin America, as well as a major training base outside Washington, D.C., where up-and- coming "free" union leaders were sent on scholarship.

An example of this stratum is Luis Monge, president of Costa Rica, who was showcased at the AFL-CIO convention last October as a model AIFLD graduate. Monge organized an AIFLD union center in Costa Rica and was made general secretary of ORIT. Today he is head of the social-democratic party in Costa Rica and presides over a regime of austerity directed against the toiling masses. Monge's government also provides a haven for CIA contras operating against Nicaragua.

On the board of directors of AIFLD the AFL-CIO chiefs sit with some of the big U.S. capitalists who have investments in Latin America. At its inception George Meany, the late president of the AFL-CIO, was made president of AIFLD; Joseph Beirne, then president of the Communications Workers of America, also had a seat; and J. Peter Grace, chairman of the multinational W.R. Grace and Co., was made chairman of the board of AIFLD.

The day-to-day work of AIFLD is directly under the control of the U.S. imperialist government. Serafina Romualdi, an agent for the CIA's International Operations Division, was the first executive director of AIFLD. He was later succeeded by William Doherty, another CIA agent specializing in labor operations, who still runs AIFLD today.

Some of the Crimes of AIFLD

Thus AIFLD was created as an imperialist spy agency to infiltrate and subvert the workers' movement throughout Latin America. AIFLD's task was to buy off a small section of trade union organizers, fund the establishment of trade union centers, newspapers, etc., and to build reactionary trade unions which could compete against the leftist unions for the allegiance of the working masses. In working for these goals AIFLD utilized the CIA arsenal of dirty tricks and covert action, and worked closely with the bourgeois regimes in Latin America, including the worst dictatorships.

In its rhetoric, the AIFLD programs use the slogan of "political neutrality" of "free trade unions." But this is a complete fraud. The "neutrality" is only directed against the left. While preaching rabid hatred for revolutionary politics, the AIFLD and its associated unions are closely connected with reactionary and pro-U.S. imperialist parties across Latin America.

Throughout Latin America the AIFLD performs a series of valuable services for the U.S. imperialists and the domestic capitalists. They work to prop up reactionary governments and try to disorganize any militant and revolutionary movement. In countries where there are governments not to the liking of U.S. imperialism, they work closely with the CIA in "destabilization" campaigns.

Thus, in El Salvador today, the AIFLD and its associated trade unions and peasant organizations work to restrain the workers from joining the liberation struggle. Every other union in that country has joined up with the liberation movement, but not the AIFLD unions. These unions, connected closely to Duarte's Christian Democratic Party, work to provide a "reform" mask over the bloodstained military dictatorship. Indeed, it was the AIFLD and its Salvadoran agents who were the main organizers of the fraudulent "land reform" program launched by the U.S. Embassy and the Duarte government.

Meanwhile in Chile today, the AIFLD works closely with Rodolfo Seguel, head of the copper miners union. Seguel is closely associated with the Christian Democratic Party-dominated bourgeois opposition which promotes a reformist line within the mass movement against the Pinochet dictatorship. Seguel works to tone down this movement, rob it of any militancy and limit its aim to achieving a compromise with the generals that would bring the bourgeois opposition parties to power. Seguel was recently expelled by Pinochet, but AIFLD helped work out a deal with Pinochet allowing him to return.

Meanwhile, whenever a government arises that U.S. imperialism does not like, AIFLD works with the CIA to undermine and destabilize that government. In Chile in the early 70's, the AIFLD truckers union helped destabilize the reformist Allende government and bring in the fascist military coup of General Pinochet. The AIFLD carried out similar work in Brazil before the military coup in that country in 1964. Today, the most prominent example of this sort of activity is in Nicaragua, where the AIFLD-connected unions echo Reagan's charges of "leftist totalitarianism" and work with the pro-imperialist bourgeois opposition to strangle the revolution and bring back a Somoza-style tyranny.

And as the example of Grenada shows, if the U.S. government is successful in toppling a regime it does not like, then the AIFLD stands ready to offer its services to "restructure" the trade union movement to the liking of U.S. imperialism.

This is the real content of the Reagan/AFL-CIO collaboration in Latin America: subversion of the workers' movement in favor 6f reaction, tyranny and U.S. imperialism.

[Photo: Former AFL-CIO chieftain George "I never walked a picket line" Meany and the capitalist billionaire Nelson Rockefeller at a graduation ceremony for AIFLD agents.]

[Photo: Lane Kirkland and war criminal Henry Kissinger jointly explain their warmongering recommendations at a Senate hearing on the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America.]

[Photo: Miners and other workers march in Santiago, Chile on May Day 1972. The workers denounced the fascist plots of U.S. imperialism and the Chilean bourgeoisie. The AIFLD played an active role in these dirty plots and in setting up the fascist Pinochet regime after the September 1973 military coup.]

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On the National Labor Committee in Support of Human Rights and Democracy in El Salvador

False Friends of the Salvadoran Working People

Lane Kirkland and the other top officials of the AFL-CIO are fervent supporters of Reagan's aggression in Central America. Just a few months ago, Kirkland took part in Reagan's Bipartisan Commission on Central America headed by Henry Kissinger; and he enthusiastically endorsed the commission's proposals for a Viet Nam-style escalation of U.S. intervention.

This is of course nothing new for the AFL-CIO leadership. They are longstanding diehard supporters of U.S. militarism and imperialist aggression. George Meany, the late president of the AFL-CIO, was notorious for his zealous support for the brutal U.S. war in Viet Nam.

The reactionary stand of the AFL-CIO chieftains disgusts workers and progressive people who are outraged at the U.S. government's murderous policies in Central America. This is especially so because these stalwarts of imperialism stand at the head of the trade unions and claim to speak in the name of the American working class.

Activists in the struggle against U.S. intervention in Central America do not believe that the stand of the AFL-CIO chieftains reflects the sentiments of the workers. They have a great deal of interest in mobilizing the workers into the fight against intervention and to see the workers stand up against the criminal policies of the

AFL-CIO. But how is this to be achieved? Here there are two roads before the mass movement.

One is advocated by various social-democratic, revisionist and trotskyite forces who are today influential in the coalitions that call activities in protest of U.S. policies in Central America. These forces work to tie the movement to the coattails of the labor bureaucrats and the Democratic Party generally, and even find ways to promote Kirkland. In particular, they seek out and promote certain "left"-looking labor bureaucrats as progressive voices of the labor movement. But invariably, these labor bureaucrats only pretend to have a different policy than the AFL-CIO leadership while in fact they continue to support U.S. imperialism.

The other road is advocated by the Marxist-Leninist Party. We believe that it is vital to do work to mobilize the working class to stand at the center of the anti-imperialist movement. But this requires distinguishing between the ordinary workers and the labor bureaucrats, who are traitors to the workers' cause because they are locked in class collaboration. In order to mobilize the working class, the revolutionary activists must not look to the labor bureaucrats but reach out directly to the rank-and-file workers. Our Party carries out such work through such things as taking anti-imperialist agitation to the factories, mobilizing workers into the demonstrations and protests, etc.

Today the question of the stand towards the labor bureaucrats comes up not only regarding Kirkland and co. but also with respect to the group called the National Labor Committee in Support of Democracy and Human Rights in El Salvador. This committee of top trade union officials claims to have a different policy than Kirkland. It claims to be critical of the Reaganite course in El Salvador. This committee is being promoted as a genuinely progressive labor group by such groups as the Democratic Socialists of America, the Socialist Workers Party, etc.

But workers and activists in the struggle against U.S. intervention cannot be satisfied with appearances. A close look should be taken at the actual policies and role of this committee. Once this is done then it becomes quite clear that this organization does not play a positive role in the struggle against intervention. Rather, it provides a progressive-looking screen for continued imperialist oppression of the working people of El Salvador. And it is directly involved in efforts to smother the mass movement in the U.S. against Reagan's war drive in Central America.

On the Committee's Report on El Salvador

The National Labor Committee in Support of Democracy and Human Rights in El Salvador was formed in 1981 and is composed of the top officials of thirteen national unions. Being a committee of trade union big shots, of course the group does not do very much. But it has carried out one thing which has received heavy promotion from the social-democratic and revisionist circles. Last summer it sent a fact-finding delegation to El Salvador and a report has been published based on this trip. The delegation included Jack Sheinkman, secretary-treasurer of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU); William Lucy, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and other officials from these two unions and from the National Education Association (NEA). Its report on El Salvador is called El Salvador: Labor, Terror, and Peace. This report helps to show what this committee stands for.

The bulk of the report presents the findings of the delegation regarding conditions in El Salvador, while a final page presents its recommendations. The amazing thing is that the recommendations' of the delegation fly in the face of its own findings! From the facts presented in the report, one can get a picture of the horrible social, economic and political conditions faced by the Salvadoran people. One can even get a glimpse of the savage exploitation of the workers by the U.S. corporations. From this sort of picture any honest person can only conclude that improving the lives of the masses requires a radical overthrow of the present social order. But does the National Labor Committee draw such a conclusion? Or does it condemn U.S. imperialism's crimes in El Salvador? Not on your life! Instead it merely rehashes the liberal Democratic maneuvers for a "political solution'' aimed at undermining the liberation struggle in El Salvador.

What Did the Labor Committee See in El Salvador?

The report acknowledges that in El Salvador the masses have no democratic rights. It admits that "trade unions cannot function freely''; that "repression against Salvadoran trade unionists is very much ongoing''; that "there is no sense of freedom in the Salvadoran political atmosphere''; that "the official use of torture continues''; that "to exercise democratic rights, to speak out in opposition to the Salvadoran government, remains the equivalent of signing your own death warrant.''

The report also admits that the Salvadoran workers and peasants are suffering in terrible poverty. It points out that unemployment "has risen upwards of 40%''; that "since 1980 wages have been frozen''; that the "workers have essentially no defense against their shrinking, inflation-fiddled paychecks''; and so forth. It even acknowledges that the burden on the workers "stands in stark contrast to the economic free ride handed Texas Instruments, Kimberly-Clark, Phelps- Dodge, and the other multinational corporations'' which operate in the country.

As well, the report admits that the pretensions of the Salvadoran government to be "democratic'' and "reformist'' are a complete sham. It notes that the "land reform'' program "is structured not to work.'' It also points out that the government's announcement last spring about releasing political prisoners "in no way represents a liberalization of the government's repressive policies." And it observes that the official Human Rights Commission is "at best, a public relations gesture and, at worst, a cruel charade."

What Does the Labor Committee Refuse to See?

From such a presentation, one may get the impression that these guys are really against the government in El Salvador which the U.S. imperialists prop up. But wait. There is a lot more that the report does not say. It avoids ever posing the question of why conditions are so deplorable in El Salvador. Thus it hides the fact that the problems in El Salvador have their roots in the country's social and economic structure and in U.S. imperialism's historic efforts to shape that system and guarantee its continuation.

The problems in El Salvador are not based simply on the existence of some crazy right-wing killers in the military; rather, they are caused by definite classes which are responsible for poverty and repression. In El Salvador an oligarchy of big capitalists and landowners rules and the deeply entrenched military dictatorship and right-wing death squads are based on this oligarchy. U.S. imperialism is dedicated to propping up this brutal tyranny because the regime defends the exploiting order and allows the U.S. monopolies free rein to plunder the labor and resources of El Salvador.

And What Does the Labor Committee Recommend?

But the National Labor Committee avoids these issues. That, in turn, allows the committee to make a series of recommendations which fly in the face of the realities in El Salvador.

Anyone who claims to support the workers of El Salvador and has direct knowledge of the conditions in El Salvador would conclude that there is no reformist solution to the problems faced by the people there. They would conclude that the thorough uprooting of the military dictatorship is the essential condition for providing any rights to the toilers. They would therefore lend their support to the revolutionary forces who are fighting with so much courage and self-sacrifice against the tyranny and its U.S. imperialist backers.

But the National Labor Committee does not draw these conclusions.

The National Labor Committee does not approach El Salvador from the standpoint of supporting the struggle of the workers and peasants but from the perspective of international social workers out to ameliorate some of the excesses of imperialism while maintaining its interests intact.

The committee tries to appear as if it is disassociating itself from the U.S.-backed war in El Salvador by calling for an end to military aid to the Salvadoran regime. But it does not condemn the war of the Salvadoran military. It does not call for ending all U.S. support for the Salvadoran dictatorship. It holds that economic aid should continue. The reality is that economic aid to the Salvadoran government is no humanitarian effort of the U.S. government; it is directly part of the war effort. The committee does not admit this, although it does note that economic aid has "not reached those most in need." It calls for aid to be distributed "under international auspices," but this is just pie-in-the-sky window dressing. In the real world, under the conditions of the civil war in El Salvador, the aid would invariably be under the control of the regime and help to strengthen the regime and its war effort.

The main focus of the National Labor Committee's recommendations is the call for the U.S. government to support efforts by "concerned Latin American and European nations" to carry out a series of reforms in El Salvador. These reforms include building a "judicial structure that can effectively prosecute the killers" and fostering a "dialogue" between the different political forces in the country.

This amounts to nothing but a cover for a more crafty policy of preserving the interests of the Salvadoran oligarchy and U.S. imperialism. Instead of carrying out the mission of U.S. imperialism through military methods, the National Labor Committee recommends doing it through proxies for the U.S., namely through imperialists from Europe and bourgeois regimes from Latin America. This is just a variant of the liberal Democratic call for a "political solution." Although the committee does not say it in so many words, its support for efforts by "concerned Latin American and European nations" essentially amounts to an endorsement of the maneuvers of the Contadora group. This group is made up of the bourgeois regimes of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, and it is strongly supported by the West European imperialists.

The call for reforms through this type of "political solution" is not only a ridiculous pie-in-the-sky proposal but especially a downright deceitful maneuver to undermine the Salvadoran liberation struggle. How can there be any expectation of a new judicial system when the military regime remains intact? How can there be anything expected from a dialogue between the "death- squad" regime which has murdered 50,000 people in recent years and those who have stood up against the tyranny? The call for dialogue is merely a trap to entice the left with illusions of reform while preparing to destroy them militarily. It is nothing but a move to politically and militarily disarm the liberation fighters.

The proposal for intervention through outside proxies also violates the elementary right of the Salvadoran people to self-determination. The Salvadoran people must be allowed to settle their own destiny free of imperialist dictate, whether it comes through U.S. military intervention or through pressure from the Contadora group.

The National Labor Committee has no fundamental difference with Reagan and Kirkland on Central American policy: they all oppose the revolutionary movement and seek to preserve imperialist interests. The only difference is that the National Labor Committee prefers a more subtle imperialist policy. In words they say that they seek to replace military methods with peaceful and diplomatic methods. But in practice their peaceful methods only end up supplementing the military methods; we shall see a glaring instance of this in the next section where we examine what happened at the last AFL-CIO convention.

What Else Can One Expect From the Labor Bureaucrats?

It is not at all surprising why the National Labor Committee comes up with such rotten proposals. After all, take a look at who this committee is made up of. It includes such figures as Douglas Fraser, former head of the United Auto Workers, William Winpisinger, head of the International Association of Machinists, Cesar Chavez, head of the United Farm Workers, and the leaders of 10 other major unions.

These labor big shots can hardly defend the interests of Salvadoran workers when they are notorious for selling out the interests of the workers in this country. Fraser, for example, headed up the drive to impose severe takebacks on the auto workers over the last five years; Winpisinger, whose union includes airline mechanics, refused to lift a finger to help the PATCO strikers when Reagan was crushing their strike and his union has itself accepted concessions in the airline industry; and Chavez is notorious for vicious chauvinist attacks on undocumented workers.

While pretending to have a different policy than Kirkland, the National Labor Committee does not wage any real fight against the Kirkland/AFL-CIO general policy of support for Reagan's aggression. The relationship between the forces of the National Labor Committee and the Kirkland leadership was demonstrated at the AFL-CIO convention last October. There Jack Sheinkman gave a speech about human rights abuses by the Salvadoran government and called for an end to military aid. The resolution he proposed was at first opposed by Kirkland. But then forces loyal to Kirkland proposed a compromise resolution: this would allow military aid to continue if progress on human rights was demonstrated (no doubt by some phony certification process like that which existed until six months ago).

This resolution made it crystal clear that the AFL- CIO bureaucrats have no serious opposition to the Salvadoran tyranny -- they were simply engaging in the kind of rhetoric favored by all Democratic Party politicians. And this resolution was supported by both Kirkland and Sheinkman. It has not meant any change in the AFL-CIO's support for U.S. imperialism in El Salvador.

Clearly, the stand of the National Labor Committee is not a stand in the interests of labor. U.S. workers cannot support trampling on the right to self-determination of the Salvadoran people. We cannot support deceitful plans to disarm the Salvadoran workers and peasants. Rather, our stand lies in calling for U.S. imperialism to get out of El Salvador, lock, stock and barrel. And we must extend our support to the liberation struggle.

Attempts to Smother the Movement Against U.S. Intervention

An important test of whether the National Labor Committee is really a serious fighter against Reagan's aggression is what stand the group takes towards the mass struggle. If these labor officials were really fighters against Reagan or if they were a real alternative to Kirkland, we would see them throwing their resources behind mass demonstrations and protests. We would see them calling the workers out to the protest actions. We would see them unleashing a major challenge against Kirkland. But none of this is the case.

By and large, the National Labor Committee, like any outfit of labor bureaucrats, is against mobilizing workers into political demonstrations which strike at the sore points of U.S. imperialism. They are afraid that even demonstrations held under liberal and reformist calls may give impetus to workers to move in the direction of independent political action. They are afraid of workers being brought into contact with and involved in discussion of different political trends, especially left currents.

And when they cannot prevent demonstrations altogether, the labor bureaucrats try their damnedest to tone them down, to strip them of all militancy, to remove any fighting character from them, and to suppress or rigidly control the left.

Today the National Labor Committee is actively involved in efforts by the "left''-wing Democrats to smother and liquidate the mass actions against the U.S. war in Central America.

This was revealed with respect to the national demonstrations against U.S. intervention last November 12. These actions were called by a coalition dominated by various social-democratic, revisionist and trotskyite groups. Now the call for this demonstration was hardly a radical one. It was not an anti-imperialist call: it did not target the imperialist system; it did not support victory for the liberation forces; and it did not condemn the Democratic Party's collaboration with Reagan. It was perfectly acceptable to certain "left''-wing Democrats; for example, Jesse Jackson was invited and he spoke from the platform. A number of other Democratic politicians who were invited refused to come. The National Labor Committee was also asked to come but it too refused. This was reportedly because they felt that the "complexion of the demonstration was too far left.'' (In These Times, Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 1983) In other words, the November 12 action was not tame enough for the labor bureaucrats.

We do not mind that the National Labor Committee did not speak at the November 12 demonstration. In fact, we think it does not help but it hinders the mass movement to promote the labor bureaucrats and Democratic Party politicians who pose as critics of Reagan but in fact simply advocate more crafty imperialist tactics. However the opposition of the National Labor Committee to the November 12 action provides a telling exposure of its attitude towards the mass movement.

Even more significantly, the refusal of the National Labor Committee is being used today by the "left"- wing Democrats to pressure the movement into eliminating any semblance of an oppositional character. It is being used to oppose mass demonstrations, to call for exclusion of the left, and to promote activities geared to the electoral ambitions of the Democratic Party.

A recent issue of Days of Decision, journal of the youth section of the Democratic Socialists of America, denounces the November 12 demonstration in harsh terms. It is described to be the very epitome of the wrong road for the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America. Among other things, the demonstration is denounced for having "no electoral or legislative component'' and for deciding to practice "non- exclusion,'' which DSA claims "led to a situation where the presence of far-left groups prevented a labor coalition from participating in the rally.'' In other words, the DSA tells us, the November 12 demonstration did not go far enough to accommodate the Democratic Party and labor bureaucrats; it should have directly endorsed "electoral and legislative'' moves of the Democrats, and it should have excluded the "far left.''

In contrast, the DSA youth section newspaper is wildly enthusiastic about the plans for Central America Week (March 18-25). In this case, they tell us, the campaign "reached out early to mainstream religious and labor groups, maintained a sharp limit on who would and would not be invited, and maintained a strict focus on non-intervention, concentrating almost exclusively on legislative and electoral work.'' They fail to add the obvious: Central America Week also liquidated virtually all mass demonstrations and eliminated all militancy from! the events called in their place. (All quotes from Days of Decision are from Issue #12, spring 1984, from an article "Beyond Solidarity" by Jeremy Karpatkin, National Youth Organizer of the DSA) Emptying the movement of all oppositional content and promoting activities to bolster the imperialism of the Democratic Party -- this is the path DSA urges the activists to follow.

This example speaks volumes about the so-called progressive nature of the National Labor Committee and the subservience of the social-democrats to it. It shows that advancing the movement against U.S. intervention requires a serious fight not only against Reagan and the Kirkland/AFL-CIO leadership but also against the "left"-sounding labor bureaucrats and their flunkeys.

[Photo: Only the liberation struggle of the workers and peasants can destroy the U.S.-backed military dictatorship in El Salvador.]

[Photo: Demonstration in solidarity with the Salvadoran liberation struggle: San Francisco, January 21, 1983.]

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What's happening in Grenada?

In the following pages, The Workers' Advocate reprints excerpts from an article published in the February25, 1984 special supplement of The West Indian Voice, newspaper of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group, New York.

Last October, the Reagan administration invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, overthrew the government of the New Jewel Movement, and imposed a repressive puppet regime. This regime continues to be propped up by the bayonets of U.S. troops and security forces from several neighboring bourgeois Caribbean regimes.

The Workers' Advocate stands firmly opposed to the trampling of Grenada by "our own" imperialist government. The Grenadian people must have the right to self-determination, the right to decide their own affairs free of U.S. dictate.

U.S. imperialism today crows about its victory over the Grenadian people. It thinks that it has done away with the fighting spirit of the Grenadian toilers and their aspirations for emancipation. But this is just a flight of fancy. As the article from The West Indian Voice shows, the repression and worsening economic and social conditions under the U.S. occupation today will inevitably lead to a resurgence of the struggle of the toiling masses.

A successful reorganization of the Grenadian toilers requires drawing the proper lessons from the recent experience in Grenada and the fiasco of the New Jewel Movement. The West Indian Voice makes a valuable contribution to this important task. It shows that the Grenadian experience exposes the bankruptcy of the reformist politics of the NJM and that the forward march of the Grenadian toilers against U.S. imperialism and the Grenadian bourgeoisie requires breaking with the reformist politics of the NJM leadership.

A correct summation of the Grenadian experience is especially important in view of widespread confusion about the events in Grenada. One of the factors causing this confusion is the power struggle and coup d'etat within the New Jewel Movement leadership which preceded the U.S. invasion. In this coup, an NJM faction around Bernard Coard and Hudson Austin overthrew the Maurice Bishop faction; in the resulting chaos Bishop and a number of his supporters were killed. The coup in the NJM was seized upon by the U.S. government to put into effect its longstanding plans to invade the island and subjugate the Grenadian toilers.

To add to the confusion, various political forces, led by the Cuban revisionists and including the remaining leaders of the New Jewel Movement, have launched a crusade to flog the strawman of "ultra-leftism" as allegedly the real cause of the problems in Grenada. This campaign is being echoed in the U.S. left too by revisionist and trotskyite groups like the Socialist Workers Party.

These forces claim that the lesson to be drawn from Grenada is that the U.S. invasion was brought on because the Coard-Austin faction of the NJM was "ultraleft," too revolutionary, etc. They say that the U.S. invasion vindicates the longstanding reformist policies of the New Jewel Movement of being conciliatory towards imperialism and the local exploiters. Indeed, the remaining top leaders of the NJM are now advocating conciliatory stands towards the U.S. occupation and preaching a new round of reformist illusions.

The West Indian Voice helps cut through this confusion. It shows that the real lesson of the Grenadian experience is the bankruptcy of the reformist politics which was common to both the Bishop and Coard-Austin factions of the NJM. No matter how much the NJM conciliated imperialism and the local bourgeoisie, this did not change imperialism's heart or the real nature of the Grenadian bourgeoisie. Imperialism all along continued to escalate its pressure and finally put into place its invasion plans. Meanwhile, the Grenadian bourgeoisie which the NJM had courted came out waving the flag for Reagan as soon as the invasion took place.

These lessons are vital today. Top leaders of the NJM are continuing to spread illusions that the U.S. dictate can be ended without struggle; a former minister of the old NJM government has even gone so far as to support the invasion! Even though the Grenadian bourgeoisie has shown its real colors, NJM leaders continue to speculate on appealing to these bourgeois traitors.

The West Indian Voice shows the necessity for a determined and consistent struggle for liberation from the U.S. occupation. It shows that in this struggle the Grenadian bourgeoisie is no friend but a target of the struggle. The struggle against imperialism is intertwined with the class struggle. The struggle for the liberation of Grenada has to be based on the shoulders of the toilers. To organize this struggle it is essential to organize the independent class organizations of the toilers, independent of both the Grenadian capitalists and the petty-bourgeois reformists of the NJM. Only revolutionary Marxism-Leninism can show the path forward for the Grenadian workers and peasants.

[Photo: November 12,1983: demonstrators in San Francisco condemn the U.S. invasion of Grenada.]

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Introduction: For a resolute struggle against U.S. imperialism

(The following article is excerpted from The West Indian Voice Special Supplement of February 25, 1984.)

By trampling on little Grenada, U.S. imperialism has shown for the hundredth time that it is no more than an over-glorified bandit, a murderous aggressor and hangman of the peoples of the Caribbean. Reagan invaded to teach Grenada a lesson in obedience to the almighty gods in Washington. Having crushed the government there, Reagan has placed Grenada under the open political and military jackboot of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon.

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Grenada are a hard blow for the people there and place great difficulties before the revolutionary movement in that country. For the masses, the brutality and destruction of the invasion has not given way to "business as usual." Rather, behind all the talk about calm and serenity, the jackboot of foreign troops is paving the way for occupational plunder by the U.S. corporate vultures. It means growing hardship and repression for the masses. The only "business as usual" in Grenada is the politics of plunder and oppression.

Conditions Under the U.S. Occupation

Social services for the masses have fallen to a deplorable state and unemployment has more than doubled. Public programs, which provided meager relief for some in the past, have either been dislocated or abandoned outright. Behind all the talk about "hugs and kisses" for the Marines there is a growing demand being voiced by the masses for relief.

But Reagan has turned his attention to other things. He has devised an "aid" package of over U.S. $30 million. The bulk of this consists of military hardware left behind by the invading forces and of military training and other backing for the puppets placed in office. The rest, funneled through USAID and Reagan's pet "Project Hope," is devoted to paving the way for plunder at gunpoint. Thus teams of U.S. corporate experts have been ferrying back and forth mapping out prospects for making Grenada U.S. imperialism's latest haven for the uninhibited exploitation of the masses. Behind a facade of handouts to the masses, Uncle Sam is getting down to the real business of robbery and plunder.

And the population is being tightly policed by the occupation troops. Anti-U.S. opposition is being rigidly banned. In fact political persecution, in the form of waves of mass firings, has been a major contributor to the doubling of unemployment. One of the key pillars of this repression is the 100-man strong unit of "psychological warfare experts" who learned their art during U.S. imperialism's "pacification" campaigns in Viet Nam. This unit is directing the suppression of opponents and doing big public relations work to put a "civilized" and even a "liberator" face on the military occupation of the country. While working hard to pacify the masses, these experts are spewing out every anticommunist slander conceivable, and they are seeking to bolster and shape the forces of domestic political reaction in Grenada. This is needed to ensure that Grenada is "restored" to the type of "democracy" that pleases Reagan, such as the type that has existed in Guatemala since the U.S. invasion there in 1954.

Together with this, the U.S. is coordinating various constitutional maneuvers (in league with the British and the pro-U.S. capitalist regimes in the West Indies) to rig up an "elected" puppet regime to succeed the present administration of the U.S. lackey, Sir Paul Scoon, sometime in the future. Various reactionary politicians of the Grenadian exploiters, including the likes of the formerly deposed corrupt dictator, Eric Gairy, are being lined up in the corridors of power. This will be a regime which operates under the blessings and protection of Washington.

With the ominous presence of foreign troops and with repressive campaigns on the one hand, and through constitutional maneuvering on the other, U.S. imperialism is simultaneously riding roughshod over the Grenadian people and seeking to placate them. By mounting as much pressure as possible U.S. imperialism is also seeking to either force or entice the revolutionary movement to capitulate to the occupation and to U.S. imperialism's designs for Grenada.

For a Determined Struggle Against Imperialism

But despite the great difficulties and obstacles created by the occupation, U.S. imperialism's designs will come to no good end. The Grenadian toilers, the class conscious workers and revolutionaries will overcome the shock and confusion. They must brave the difficult situation and organize themselves for struggle against the repression and witch hunts, against the U.S. military jackboot and the puppet regime of Paul Scoon. They must find the way to encourage and develop the resistance in the work places, among the youth, and in the fields among the downtrodden villagers.

The West Indian Voice advocates an active and determined stand against the occupation of Grenada by foreign troops. The WIV stands in defense of the Grenadian people's right to self-determination and in full favor of the development of a powerful revolutionary movement to liberate Grenada from the grips of U.S. imperialist tutelage and banditry. The development of the anti-imperialist struggle in Grenada also demands a fierce struggle against the Grenadian bourgeoisie which has solidly allied itself with the invasion and occupation.

Together with the invasion, the pre-invasion events have led to much discussion and concern about the path forward for the revolutionary struggle of the working masses in Grenada. To many serious activists, including active Grenadian elements, it is already becoming clear that the revolutionary movement in Grenada cannot get very far without an assessment of the grave weaknesses of the New Jewel Movement and its government. The weaknesses and grave errors of the NJM are an obstacle to the development of the much needed struggle against the imperialist occupation and domination of Grenada.

An active stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Grenadian toilers requires speaking to the tasks before the revolutionary movement, including the question of the stand that must be adopted towards the New Jewel Movement. Grenadian revolutionaries cannot model their activity on the bankrupt policies of the New Jewel Movement. They must organize on a new footing. This is required both in order to meet the difficulties of the present situation under which they must now operate and, in order to benefit from the lessons of the past several years....

[Photo: The brutal face of the U.S. occupation: the U.S. internment camp in Grenada. Many of the prisoners were forced into the wooden crates seen at the back.]

Imperialism and the Grenadian bourgeoisie

To liberate Grenada from the grips of imperialist tutelage and occupation, a most determined struggle must be waged against the treachery of the local Grenadian exploiters whose interests are inextricably bound up with those of the aggressors.

The Utter Treachery of the Bourgeoisie

Present-day Grenada is a brilliant telltale of the true nature of the Grenadian bourgeoisie. No sooner had the Marines landed on the beaches, then did the Grenadian bourgeoisie come out in force waving the American flag and singing "God Bless Reagan!" Linking itself in a common front with the imperialist aggression, the Grenadian exploiters provide the internal social basis, the mainstay for the criminal occupation of the country. The disgusting orgy of flag- waving for Reagan by the Grenadian bourgeoisie to the last man is rooted in their own class interests, in their own desire to share in the imperialist plunder and be accorded greater political power to reign over the toiling masses. Thus the fight against imperialism would be nothing but a sham without a ruthless struggle against the local Grenadian exploiters.

The Bourgeoisie Bares Its Fangs

Today the Grenadian Chamber of Commerce, the Employers Federation, the hotel and estate owners and their political representatives are screaming for witch hunts against progressive-minded people. They have come out as such raving enthusiasts for the invasion that, like Reagan, they have dubbed it "a rescue mission" and they are declaring Grenada to be the latest "liberated" zone in the whole world. Some have taken this to the ridiculous extent of demanding that Grenada promptly become the 51st U.S. state and are running petition campaigns to that effect. Taking their cue from the Pentagon and the U.S. embassy (the real seat of power) in St. George's, the capital, whole batches of these reactionaries and traitors are demanding that the foreign troops stay on indefinitely. They are insisting that there is no need to even bother about holding elections anyway. After all, for the bourgeoisie, what could be more democratic than the sight of 10,000 Marines voting with their guns as they storm little Grenada by force?

The Two Faces of the Grenadian Bourgeoisie in Eclipse

In the U.S. occupation, the businessmen and merchants, the hotel and estate owners, see better business opportunities and healthier profit margins for their class. They see a blank check to exploit the Grenadian toilers blue.

Despite being courted and having its interests assured by the previous government of the NJM, the Grenadian bourgeoisie has not changed its nature. The best representatives of the old, anti-Gairy bourgeois opposition, such as the likes of Allister Hughes, Herbert Blaize etc., have shown themselves to be nothing more than simple exploiters and reactionaries at heart. It turns out that the liberal Grenadian bourgeoisie, is nothing but a gang of liberal, closet Gairyites at heart. Today, together with the open Gairyites, the liberal bourgeoisie in Grenada has formed a cheering squad for the U.S. marines and troops of the Commonwealth.

The Occupation Carves a Role for the Bourgeoisie

With the occupation, U.S. imperialism has worked to strengthen the forces of domestic political reaction in Grenada. By fomenting the growth of internal bourgeois reaction, the mainstay of imperialist domination and occupation under the baton of Washington is being assured. And, as they become strengthened the local capitalist exploiters (directly and through their political representatives) will play an increased role in the administration of the country on their own behalf and on behalf of U.S. imperialism and under its protection.

Fighting the Local Bourgeoisie

In the face of this situation what is needed is not appeals or overtures to the local capitalist exploiters to be patriotic gentlemen so that they don't antagonize the suffering toilers. Rather the bourgeoisie must be branded for its crimes and the lessons of the true nature of these exploiters must occupy a permanent place in the consciousness of the toilers.

The situation means that together with imperialism, the Grenadian bourgeoisie forms a common target of the revolutionary struggle of the toilers. The class conscious toilers and revolutionaries must conduct a constant struggle to expose both the treachery of the Grenadian capitalists, their political representatives and their own exploiting aims and interests. The toilers must be trained in bitter class hatred for their exploiters. This holds true for the old and the newly emerging parties of the big exploiters and other propertied classes whether openly reactionary or donning a liberal mask; whether Gairyite or drawn from among the former anti-Gairy capitalist elements. The revolutionary movement of the toilers must seek to constantly distinguish the interests of the toilers from those of the local exploiters and refuse to be subordinated to the latter's influence on any questions. Only in this way can the movement advance and launch real blows against the imperialist aggressors.

The Deceptive Posturing of the Bourgeoisie

The importance of such a stand is underlined by the fact that while the bourgeoisie has sanctioned the repression and is rooting for the permanent stationing of foreign troops, some have also combined these stands with utterly hypocritical posturing about "forgetting our differences" and being for "fair play." The sole purpose of this lying hypocrisy is to entice the toilers to divide up their loyalties among the parties of the capitalists, and, in so doing, block the emergence of a revolutionary stand among the toilers for a struggle against imperialism, a struggle which threatens the Grenadian bourgeoisie.

Thus, to avoid falling subject to confusion before the hypocritical sermons and schemes of the capitalists and their representatives, a permanent stand must be taken for their continual exposure through revolutionary agitation. As well, revolutionary elements must actively take part and lead the toilers in the clashes and confrontations against the horrendous exploitation, the poverty and repression in the towns and villages, in the work places and in the fields.

The Toilers Need Their Independent Political Movement and Organization

What the bourgeoisie and imperialism fear the most is the power of the toilers coming out as an independent political force in their own right against the occupation. The toilers must look after their own interests.

To move forward, to answer the challenge thrown down by the criminal military occupation of Grenada, the toilers need their own independent political movement against imperialism and against the internal exploiters. They need organization of their own, real fighting organization of their class.

The propertied classes are engaged in an orgy of flag-waving for Reagan. They are betrothed to the occupiers.

The fight against imperialism is fundamentally a fight of the toilers. It falls, above all to the toilers to organize against the foreign troops and the repression, and the imperialist plans for the stepped-up plunder of Grenada....

Subordination of the Toilers to the Bourgeoisie Has Been the Curse of the Movement in Grenada

The toilers have always been the backbone of the mass movement in Grenada. Grenadian history over many decades is filled with the heroism and determination of the toilers in battle with the colonialists of old, and against the Grenadian National Party and Gairy regimes.

It is the revolutionary toilers who fought pitched street battles with the colonialists during 1950-51. And, from the demonstrations and the famous nurses' strike of 1970, to the mass upheavals of 1973-74; to the wiping out of Gairy's chief fascist, Belmar -- the toilers stood up to Gairyite tyranny and fought the Grenadian exploiters. That is why, though vastly outnumbered and outgunned by one of the most bloodthirsty imperialist powers in the world, and though disorganized and betrayed by phoney leaders -- the will of the Grenadian toilers and youth to fight the invading U.S. forces was written in the blood they shed last October. The toilers are the driving force of Grenadian history.

But the toiling masses have not reaped the fruits of their struggle and sacrifices. Lacking their independent class organizations, the toilers fell under the sway of the representatives of the exploiting classes. This has been the historical curse of the toilers' movement.

While the toilers shed their blood on the streets of Grenada in battle with the colonial garrisons, the Grenadian bourgeoisie (represented by the Grenadian National Party and the Grenadian United Labor Party) rode the backs of the mass movements, struck an alliance with the colonialists, stole to power and quickly turned on the masses with a vengeance. It was not long before the toilers returned to the streets and strike lines against alternating regimes of the Grenadian National Party and of Gairy's Grenadian United Labor Party. And it will not be long before the toiling masses take up the historic struggle against the present occupation and plunder by imperialism.

But everything depends on whether they forge their independent class organizations for the fight, or whether they come out under the baton of the political parties of the exploiting classes....

To advance it is necessary to break with the reformism of the New Jewel Movement

Finally, in order to advance, revolutionary and class conscious Grenadian elements should organize themselves separately from the New Jewel Movement leadership and work to break through the sabotage of the general revolutionary movement in Grenada caused by the policies of this leadership. The events around the criminal U.S. invasion and around the present occupation reveal the bankruptcy of the leadership of the NJM. This is the bankruptcy of the NJM leadership's national reformism.

NJM's National Reformism

Despite its "socialist" rhetoric, and there was plenty of that, the leadership of the NJM before and after coming to power remained essentially connected to the mainstream of the Grenadian bourgeoisie. While this leadership recognized the need to eliminate the corruption of the former fascist regime of Eric Gairy and the need to improve the appalling conditions of the toilers, the NJM leadership was severely limited by its service to the Grenadian bourgeoisie. Its ties to the local bourgeoisie led the NJM government to take a continually vacillating stand towards imperialism and to attempts to reconcile with it in the name of "realism" -- even in the midst of dastardly provocations and aggression. This "realism" was not the same as being farsighted and sober in the difficult struggle against imperialism. No. This "realism" is rooted in the conciliatory policies that have historically been the heart and soul of the politics of the leadership of the NJM.

Briefly on the Roots and Origins of NJM's Reformism

The NJM, formed in 1973, historically represented a strongly petty-bourgeois reformist tendency that arose in the midst of the anti-dictatorial struggle against the corrupt, fascist regime of Eric Gairy. The Gairy regime was a brutal pro-British, pro-U.S. regime ruling by arbitrary means. Apart from the very profound and earnest hatred of the toilers, a bourgeois opposition to Gairy also arose. This anti-Gairy capitalist opposition was represented chiefly by the Grenada National Party.

This opposition desired Gairy's removal and no more. It was the opposition of the mainstream of the Grenadian capitalists and estate owners and the towering champion of the status quo in Grenada.

The NJM arose as the representative of the intermediate strata between the toilers on the one hand and the biggest capitalists on the other. NJM represented the interests of the less well-to-do propertied classes, the upper middle class, the professionals and upper echelons of the civil service.

This is why throughout its history, even in the midst of the brutality of Gairy, the NJM tailored all its activity to suit an alliance with the anti-Gairy opposition of the big capitalists. While being fiercely opposed to Gairy, the NJM conducted decidedly non-revolutionary, legalist and pacifist agitation against Gairy's tyranny. Thus, the manifesto of the NJM even contemplated forming a government not only in alliance with the GNP but also with the "good" Gairyites.

The subordination of the anti-Gairy struggle to the anti-Gairy capitalists also found expression in the view that all that was needed was Gairy's removal or even just to force Gairy to heed the rights and views of the opposition. Such an orientation weakened the struggle against Gairy. It would often be said that the people of Grenada feared the slightest mention of overthrowing imperialism, of revolution and of socialism. But the truth of the matter is that such things had long been eliminated from the activity of the NJM in order to suit the needs of wheeling and dealing with the anti- Gairy capitalist opposition. The bourgeois opposition feared such an orientation for the struggle.

The NJM came out as a more youthful and energetic opposition to Gairy compared to the discredited capitalist opposition of the GNP, who were former repressive rulers themselves and who the masses knew well. The NJM gained the sympathy of the masses. Later, it organized a small conspiratorial force and -- assured by its connections in the upper echelons of the police, the army and civil service -- took power from Gairy from above and called the masses out onto the streets. The masses poured out to mop up any Gairyite resistance they saw.

While the events of 1979 have been promoted as a "model" of "bloodless" revolutionary tactics, these events cannot be taken as a model by the revolutionary movements either in the region or outside. For beneath the euphoria generated by the overthrow of the murderous dictator, Eric Gairy, these events bore many indications of the NJM leadership's skepticism towards the revolutionary dynamism and role of the masses. Moreover, the coming to power of the NJM did not signify a turn away from national reformism on its part.

NJM and Imperialism

On the basis of a nationalist stance the NJM government sought to assert itself against U.S. imperialist bullying, dictate and pressure and refused to allow itself to be crushed. It utilized quite a bit of "Marxist" and "revolutionary" posturing.

However, even here, despite all its anti-U.S. rhetoric, the NJM government made repeated offerings towards reconciliation and close relations with Washington. As is well known, the property and interests of the U.S. and other foreign imperialists remained protected and assured in Grenada. And towards the end the NJM government took measures to spur on foreign imperialist interests on the island through a new investment code.

The fact of the matter, all the fancy "realism" aside, is that under the NJM, Grenada became more entangled than ever in massive debt to the imperialists. Grenada was drawn more fully into the orbit of international finance capital. This was weighing down like a ton of bricks on the economy. Big convulsions in the economy including a severe fiscal crisis were slowly being unleashed. Just prior to the criminal U.S. invasion, the government had ended up signing up for the infamous medication of the IMF, which has brought so many countries to their knees.

Towards imperialism, NJM's policy amounted to one of resisting its outrages in order not to break but to come to terms with it. This was a characteristic feature of NJM's reformist attitude towards imperialism.

Today, not to break with the national reformism of the NJM means leaving the door wide open to illusions about imperialism and in its constitutional maneuvers in Grenada. It would lead to the idea, already being expressed by remaining NJM leaders, that self-determination can be achieved through the good graces of imperialism which the revolutionary movement ought not offend.

NJM and the Bourgeoisie

The NJM government was not at all the same as the tyranny of Gairy and, all told, it did not signify the direct rule of the big Grenadian exploiters. However, the NJM government ruled on the basis of a de facto alliance with the big exploiters, with their benevolent approval and in their service. Soon after Gairy's overthrow, a section of the liberal bourgeoisie went over to the side of imperialist provocation and aggression. At the same time, the mainstream of the bourgeoisie remained with the NJM government. The NJM protected and assured their interests and frequently boasted of the bourgeoisie's cooperation. The NJM leaders often made absurd distinctions between good capitalists who only exploit and bad ones who seek to profiteer and deny workers their elementary rights. In fact NJM's historical weakness is that it always stood for reconciliation with the capitalist exploiters and repeatedly subordinated the interests of the toilers to this policy.

The present disgusting spectacle of the Grenadian bourgeoisie waving the American flag and screaming their love for Mr. Reagan brings into stark revelation the bankruptcy of such a policy.

To not get rid of the baggage of such a policy would allow the revolutionary movement in Grenada to be swallowed into the deception and hypocrisy of the emerging bourgeois parties. It would eventually mean chasing after the bourgeoisie with appeals to be patriotic and to searching high and low for a "revolutionary" force among the corrupt bourgeois, while thinking nothing of the revolutionary potential of the masses.

NJM and the Masses

The NJM mobilized the masses against the ominous threat of U.S. imperialist aggression. Also it carried out a number of useful reforms for the masses considering the backwardness and ignorance which Gairyite tyranny bred. This gained it popularity among the masses. It called on the masses to sacrifice and work hard. And they did, showing the indomitable potential and perseverance they felt with the overthrow of the hated Gairy regime. But here too the NJM had grave limitations.

In the first place the reforms carried out by the NJM, while they brought the country out of the darkness of Gairyite tyranny, and though surrounded by lots of populist rhetoric, never went beyond elementary bourgeois democratic reforms. In net effect, barring the accompanying rhetoric, the NJM brought Grenada up to the level typical of various of the surrounding capitalist countries in the West Indies. Even that lifted a burden off the backs of the toilers, and they desired to go further.

But the NJM increasingly came into conflict with the revolutionary drive of the toilers. On the one hand, the NJM was interested in mobilizing the masses, realizing that this was the counterweight it needed to avoid being crushed under the aggression and pressure of U.S. imperialism and the counterrevolutionary plots of some sections of the local bourgeoisie. But on the other hand, the NJM sought to clamp down on the revolutionary drive of the masses. NJM feared that this would upset the conciliatory attitude it sought to maintain towards imperialism and the mainstream of the local bourgeoisie. As long as the masses stayed within the narrow confines of the reformist and "all-ah-we-is-one" parish councils and mass organizations dominated by the NJM -- then mobilization was fine. There you could mouth off as you please.

But when it came to the masses fighting for their own demands, it was a different story. When spontaneous demands arose for increased wages and greater relief, or for measures against the big estate owners and other local capitalists or against imperialist holdings -- the NJM leadership would skillfully seek to muffle the demands of the masses and try to pacify them. Even as it carried out reforms, the NJM government subordinated the masses, their demands and their mobilization to its alliance with the Grenadian bourgeoisie.

Thus for instance, faced with the strike demands of the Coca-Cola workers for the seizure of the company, the NJM leadership staged a temporary managerial takeover of the plant -- effectively breaking the workers' strike [After the strike was broken, the company was handed back to the capitalist owners -- WA] And faced with the wholly legitimate demands of the public sector workers and employees for increased wages, the NJM leadership inspired demonstrations under the curious slogan -- "If you sick-out, stay out! " And faced with the demands of unemployed and landless youth in the rural areas for the seizure of big estates, the government concocted a "movement" against "the marijuana bourgeoisie" and launched the slogan "NJM Says No To Land Seizure." In the latter two cases, as frequently occurred, the NJM leadership used the ploy of hiding its stifling of the legitimate demands of the masses behind the need to suppress the activities of what they called provocative and counterrevolutionary elements. The NJM did this out of fear of offending the capitalist exploiters. (In fact, Bernard Coard, Reagan's hard-line "Marxist," emerged as a champion of such skillful acrobatics "against ultra-leftism" and was a key architect of NJM's reformist policies on the whole.)

But it should be easy to see that if the leadership of the NJM government -- if either Bishop or Coard or Raddix -- were really interested in having any "movement" against "the bourgeoisie," then they would certainly not have had to look either very far or very hard to decide where to start. They would just have to look out the window in any direction. Moreover, right in the cabinet there were some wealthy businessmen and major landowners, appointed by the NJM as an expression of their "even-handedness" towards the bourgeoisie.

Today, to refuse to rupture with the reformism of the leadership of the NJM would mean to subject the toilers to the historical curse of being subordinated to the interests of the Grenadian bourgeoisie. It would mean not basing oneself on the revolutionary potential of the toilers, but merely seeking "to mobilize" in order to strike a deal, to reach accommodation with imperialism and the bourgeoisie.

The Bankruptcy of National Reformism

In the final analysis it should be noted that, firstly: The reformist policies of the NJM government continually proved to be neither an effective response or an obstacle to imperialist aggression. With every unnecessary compromise it was accorded, imperialism did not reciprocate as the NJM hoped. Imperialism reasoned that if it kept up the aggression, it could force the government to either totally capitulate or collapse. And if that did not work -- then have an invasion prepared anyway!

Secondly: Neither did NJM's reformist program safeguard it from the compelling forces of capitalist economic crisis or from the consequences of imperialist domination and the stranglehold of indebtedness. Likewise, this reformism did not put an end to the class struggle in Grenada. More and more, the toilers desired to go further. And with all the cooperation which the bourgeoisie accorded the NJM, once the marines landed it was all hugs and kisses.

And thirdly: The reformist nature of the NJM proved to be quite compatible with the existence of various factions all along. Unprincipled strife and squabble, which were raging for years but which were kept hidden behind a cloud of euphoria, engulfed the NJM leadership and resulted in the pre-invasion fiasco and bloodletting.

The continuation of this reformism in one way or the other is assured. This reformism finds a definite social basis in the interests of the petty bourgeoisie and other intermediate strata in Grenada. But true revolutionaries base themselves on the toilers and oppose the impotence and bankruptcy of reformist influence in their movement.


Today, breaking with the national reformism of the NJM leadership is imperative for the advance of the struggle of the toilers.

Yesterday the Coardites proved their bankruptcy in the face of the invasion. After engineering a blood bath, they placed the entire population under house arrest and locked up the guns with which the masses could have fought the invaders. And while screaming for the masses to "fight to the death," these dishonorable hypocrites themselves surrendered without firing a single shot and unarmed.

Today, the remaining Bishopites are proving their bankruptcy in the face of the occupation. While having some ability to do so -- are they preparing the masses to fight the occupation? No! In the main, like good gentlemen, they are saying that invasions are bad things, in principle! How nice of these lawyers to figure that out for us! They have concerned themselves with giving interviews, arguing on the merits or demerits of their particular faction in the NJM's leadership. Meanwhile, they fell flat on their faces when it comes to organizing against the invasion.

Indeed, today in Grenada, the pride of the remaining NJM leaders is their "Martyrs Foundation" for those killed before the invasion. We do not necessarily take issue with that in itself. But we ask -- what of those who fought and shed their blood fighting the criminal invaders? This activity of Raddix, Louison and others is really a backhanded way of declaring that the "state of belligerence" has "ceased," as the lawyer Raddix has put it.

Indeed, some are giving dark hints that they hope to be given consideration in whatever political arrangements come out of the occupation. In return, they have fallen rather silent on the difficult and serious tasks with which the revolutionary movement is faced.

Lyden Ramdhanny, for instance, has declared that "I recognize the majority of Grenadians are happy at being rescued....After the mass killings the people wanted any way out, so the invasion was quite acceptable to them. And I like to be guided by what the people feel." Such treacherous capitulation! Well, no wonder! Ramdhanny was a cabinet member of the NJM government. But this man is also a very prosperous businessman linked to a big estate-owning family and was at one time President of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as heading a bank and the Cocoa Board.

Clearly, the present bankruptcy of the NJM leaders is the bankruptcy of the very politics of the NJM.

In the present situation, where there is widespread concern among active Grenadian elements to know "what went wrong" and concern for the path forward -- the bankruptcy of the NJM leaders has contributed greatly to a considerable amount of disintegration and demoralization among active Grenadian circles at home and abroad. Thus making a radical rupture with the reformism of the NJM is also an immediate practical necessity to avoid utter paralysis and the loss of convictions among revolutionary-minded Grenadians.

The advanced and class conscious elements among the active Grenadians must step forward to take up the historic responsibility for carrying forward the struggle. This includes beginning a dispassionate criticism of the NJM's national reformism. Only in this way can the first steps be realized to establishing a core of activists capable of working steadfastly for the building of the independent class movement of the toilers. Only in this way would they invigorate the revolutionary movement and provide the necessary rallying point for all who are honest and revolutionary and lead the toilers in the historic struggle ahead. The active elements must come out as the most determined and consistent fighters against imperialism, the local exploiters and traitors. They must champion the perspective that the goal of the movement is the elimination of imperialism and the exploiting order through revolution.

[Photo: A March 1983 rally at a housing complex in Grenada protests threats by the Reagan administration against the island.]

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Speech at the Second Congress of the MLP,USA

The Black Liberation Struggle and the Role of the Black Bourgeoisie

The following is one of the speeches presented at the Second Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Party to provide background information to assist the deliberations of the Congress on the resolution entitled 'The Struggle Against Racism and National Oppression. It was designed to show the class interests that lie behind the different paths -- revolutionary struggle or reformism and capitulation -- that face the black liberation movement. As the resolution of the Second Congress stated: "... the recognition of the class divisions within the oppressed nationalities does not weaken, but strengthens, the overall struggle against national oppression. The Marxist-Leninist Party, as the party of the class conscious vanguard of the workers of all nationalities, holds that the class differentiation and class struggle within the oppressed nationalities should not be covered over but encouraged." The speech has been edited for publication.

This speech will not systematically cover the same grounds as the resolution of the Second Congress. Its purpose, rather, is to provide background to the resolution and to highlight certain issues which are important to our approach to the question.

I would like to begin in Tuskegee, Alabama. Tuskegee, of course, is the home of the Tuskegee Institute, founded over a century ago under the direction of Booker T. Washington and subsequently the seat of Washington's "Tuskegee movement.''* Tuskegee was also the setting for a small but well-publicized chapter in the history of the civil rights movement.

With the existence of the Tuskegee Institute, and with decades of economic development in the black belt, the city of Tuskegee developed a majority black population. The city government however, under Jim Crow, was solidly in the hands of the local white segregationist businessmen. In the late 1950's and 1960's the civil rights movement swept Tuskegee, undoubtedly causing Booker T. to roll over in his grave. Students at Tuskegee became active. Tuskegee contingents marched in Washington, in Selma and Jackson. In Tuskegee there was a boycott of segregationist businesses and there were voter registration drives. The city fathers in their great wisdom maneuvered. They gerrymandered the city lines so as to exile the majority black population. They tried every trick in the book. Tuskegee became a symbol of the fight on this front in the South.

In 1967, around; the height of the movement, Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton declared: "Tuskegee, Alabama could be the model of black power.'' Despite the resistance of the remnants of the bourbon class, despite the maneuvers of the Tuskegee city fathers, Jim Crow did fall to some extent. And the upshot of this was that, in 1972, Johnny Ford was elected mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama, and became one of the first black mayors in the United States. A black mayor in the black belt, a black mayor in Tuskegee: this was supposed to be a symbol of what the movement was achieving. This was supposed to be the fruit of making voting rights and voter registration the focal point of the movement. This was what black power was to really mean.

The election of Johnny Ford, however, is not the final chapter in this tale. Johnny Ford has remained mayor of Tuskegee to this day. As well, he is chairman of the National Conference of Black Mayors. In 1972, Johnny Ford came out in support of Richard Nixon. In 1974, Johnny Ford embraced arch-racist George Wallace. In 1980, Johnny Ford was one of the first to come out for Carter's reelection, a stand taken to head off support for Kennedy among black elected officials. The support for Carter notwithstanding, Ford was soon a visitor to the Reagan White House, seeking to establish "an open relationship." Meanwhile, back in Tuskegee, black voters were rewarded with a regressive sales tax in the 1970's and cuts in social services in the 1980's. In short order, the symbol of black power in the black belt proved itself to be bourgeois politics as usual, a mode of accommodation to reaction. And that, for now, is the final chapter of this tale.

The Significance of the Jesse Jackson Campaign

There is, however, a postscript. The 1984 campaign is now upon us, and once again Johnny Ford has a candidate. It will be no surprise to you to learn that his candidate is a man who, at the height of the European antiwar movement, toured the U.S. military bases in Western Europe, addressing the troops there and praising the U.S. military presence in Western Europe as a bulwark of freedom; a man whose Chicago organization recently tried to break the strike of the Chicago school teachers; a man outspoken in his opposition to abortion rights; a man who has blamed black unemployment on the alleged backwardness of black youth who drop out of high school. Having proven himself a master of accommodation to reaction, it is no surprise that Johnny Ford should be backing such a candidate today. What makes it a little bit more interesting is that the pro-Soviet revisionists of the Communist Party, USA have been smitten by love for the same candidate. That candidate, of course, is Jesse Jackson; and his campaign for the presidency is a foremost example of the activation of black misleaders which is presently taking place. So I'd like to devote about one minute to the Jackson campaign.

Jackson's political stands are those of a typical Democrat saturated with many reactionary features. Nevertheless, he is campaigning as if he were a veritable anti-Reagan warrior. Jesse Jackson toured Western Europe in order to prove to the big bourgeoisie, by doing them the good deed of trying to separate the U.S. troops from the anti-war movement there, that he is indeed a loyal servant of imperialism; but as a presidential candidate he will issue any number of statements posturing against U.S. intervention around the world. For years, Jesse Jackson has maintained a stand identical to that of Jerry Falwell on abortion rights; but as a candidate he will pose as a champion of the rights of women. And so forth and so on, down the line. The obvious reason for Jesse Jackson's duplicity is that he is trying to prove his loyalty to the big bourgeoisie, and, at the same time, he is attempting to appeal to the mass of black voters.

The CPUSA, the Communist Workers Party, and various other opportunist elements are simply beside themselves with anticipation about the Jackson candidacy. I'd like to point out a few features about this candidacy. Firstly, I believe its principal significance, in terms of its impact among the masses, is that it is an attempt to effect a mass return to the Democratic Party. Over 85% of the black voters who voted in 1980 voted for Carter; and it is clear that it was not because people thought too highly of Carter. It was a vote against Reagan, because there was a great deal of anxiety among the black masses as to what Reagan would bring. The hatred for Reagan is quite justifiable. But it is also the case that the Democrats have done simply nothing to oppose Reagan. Over the past number of years, the Democrats have again and again shamed themselves, and there has been a growth of mass discontent, of mass disgruntlement. A section of the masses has been turning away from the Democratic Party. While, in the absence of a strong mass movement, there has not been a sharp break with the Democratic Party, nonetheless this turning away by a section of the masses has been there to see. The role of the Jackson candidacy, in the first place, is to try to return this section of the masses to the folds of the Democratic Party.

The second issue is: on whose behalf is Jesse Jackson doing this? Obviously, yes, it's very good for the Democratic Party and, in general, it's very good for the monopoly capitalists. But, above all, Jackson is running for the sake of certain bourgeois classes and strata among the black people. It is on their behalf that Jesse Jackson is working.

Jackson has announced that the intention of his campaign is to "renegotiate our agreement'' with the Democratic Party. This cuts in two ways. Firstly, a basic element of black bourgeois politics is the question of the alliance with the Democratic Party. And Jackson is trying to make use of black bourgeois support for the Democratic Party as a bargaining chip to assure the black bourgeoisie certain things in terms of the number of seats in the Democratic National Committee, in terms of the Democratic Party sponsoring black candidates for elections at various levels, etc.

The flip side of this, of course, is that the reason why the Democratic Party is a central theme in the black bourgeois politics is that it serves, among other things, as the party of the black bourgeoisie. It is principally through (not because of) the Democratic Party that today there are 5,000 black elected officials in the United States. If large sections of the black electorate turn away from the Democratic Party this hurts the fortunes of these politicians and of the class interests they represent. So it is on behalf of these class interests that Jackson is entering into the election race.

Thirdly I would like to point out that Jackson's election bid is a matter of controversy within the black bourgeoisie itself. Jackson is, on the one hand, being supported by Johnny Ford and, on the other hand, by Dellums and Conyers, who are the "left'' figures of the Congressional Black Caucus. (Dellums is a member of the social-democratic DSA; Conyers is close to the CPUSA.) At the same time a large part of the mainstream is opposed to the Jackson campaign. Bradley pointedly endorsed Mondale prior to Jackson's announcement; Andrew Young is unhappy with the Jackson campaign; Coretta Scott King is unhappy with the Jackson campaign; Coleman Young denounces Jackson's election bid; and Harold Washington is in a bind because he is a Mondale man, but Jackson has put him in a difficult situation.

The issue at stake here is whether or not to rock the boat in an election year. Jackson is saying, in effect, we delivered 20% of the Democratic Party's vote in the last presidential elections; now is our chance to make something of this, to ensure and shore up our position. Others are saying no, you're endangering everything. Jackson is not calling people out into the streets, he's just trying to get them to vote in the primaries. But even this extremely limited measure, taken on behalf of of the black bourgeoisie itself, is meeting with opposition within the black bourgeoisie. This is how far the conservatism runs today.

What Is the Black Bourgeoisie After?

The Jackson candidacy is a foremost example of increasing activation of the black misleaders, and it raises an entire series of questions regarding the black politics, regarding the character and aims of the politics of the black misleaders, concerning its social basis, and concerning its implications for the coming struggles. I would like to take up?some of these questions.

I have already mentioned that today there are over 5,000 elected black officials in the United States, which is about 100 times as many as there were two decades ago. This is a very recent development. Black bourgeois politics are also highly organized. Besides the political role of the SCLC, the NAACP and so forth, there exists on a national level' the Congressional Black Caucus, which has 21 members of Congress, all of whom are Democrats. The CBC has a rotating chair. During the past term the chair has been Walter Fauntroy, who is also a leading member of the SCLC. There is the National Conference of Black Mayors whose head is Johnny Ford whom we have already mentioned. It has gone from some 20 odd members to 223, who represent cities with a population which now exceeds 20 million and includes four of the six largest cities in the United States. There is a National Caucus of Black State Legislators which is chaired by Clarence Mitchell III, whose father was for years the NAACP lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and whose uncle, Parren Mitchell, is one of the leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus. There have also been other attempts to develop political organization such as the Black Agenda Meetings which took place last year. In brief the politics of the black bourgeoisie are highly organized today, and this organization is essential to their being able to act as a force.

So what is the content, the political content of this? If we look at the Congressional Black Caucus, not just the individual members but the caucus as a whole, we will see that it is very active in taking stands on a whole series of questions. On quite a few international questions it takes liberal stands. In point of fact, on a whole series of issues the Congressional Black Caucus acts as the parliamentary group of the left wing, the more social- democratic wing, of the Democratic Party. If you read the publications of the DSA, Michael Harrington now and then whines about the shame of the Democrats and points to the Congressional Black Caucus as the Democratic Party's only saving grace. If you read the Daily World, the CP is less vocal about the shame of the Democratic Party, but no less vocal in its support of the Congressional Black Caucus. In fact, as a parliamentary group you can pretty well define the left wing of the Democratic Party by the 70 some odd Democrats in Congress who vote for the CBC's alternative budget. And this is because within the liberal-labor milieu there is a very close connection, a very close support, between the national reformism of the black bourgeoisie and social-democracy. When the Congressional Black Caucus gets together as an organized force, it reflects this close connection. This is one very important feature which should be brought out.

I'd like to pose the question of what underlies the politics of the CBC. Beneath George Crockett's filing of lawsuits to end U.S. aid to El Salvador, and beneath the annual resolutions to recognize Angola, and beneath the fight which took place last year on voting rights, what is going on? The answer is the representation of the class interests of certain of the black bourgeoisie and certain sections of the black petty bourgeoisie who want to become bourgeois. This takes place on an entire spectrum of political questions.

I'd like to turn to a front of the activities of the Congressional Black Caucus, and of black bourgeois politics in general, which best exemplifies this. The CBC, which holds an annual meeting of black leadership each year, publishes a yearbook. In it various corporations and groups take out ads as a form of financial support for the CBC. In the 1981 yearbook there is a half-page ad which reads as follows: "Best wishes to the Congressional Black Caucus and with great appreciation and love for a great American, Congressman Parren J. Mitchell." It is signed by "Your Alaskan friends,'' with a list of about seventy-five individuals and organizations, including the Anchorage Branch of the NAACP, and also including Cleveland Trucking, Harrison Construction, Grant's Welding and a number of other business organizations.

Parren J. Mitchell is the only black member of the House Committee on Banking, and he is an expert on financial affairs. In the mid-1970's Mitchell attached to a $4 billion public works bill an amendment which compelled state, county and municipal governments seeking federal assistance to set aside 10% of each grant to retain minority firms as contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers. This amendment has led to more than $600 million, 15% of those funds, going to minority contractors. Parren J. Mitchell also introduced legislation in 1978 which required, as part of the bidding for federal contracts, that contractors specify their plans for minority subcontracting.

This brings us to the question of how is it that there is an Anchorage Branch of the NAACP? It is because there are not many Aleut subcontractors and, in the mid-1970's, hundreds of black petty bourgeois packed up and went to Alaska to become subcontractors on the pipeline. This is a big part of the business of black bourgeois politics, and these are particularly striking examples.

It is generally true that it is through subcontracting quotas and other such means that a large amount of business is generated for the black bourgeoisie and for sections of the black petty bourgeoisie. There are also the loans to black business through the Small Business Administration. There is provision 8A under which the Small Business Administration itself bids for contracts (for instance for private janitorial services) and then subcontracts it to minority firms. There is a myriad of such provisions. Such is the business of black bourgeois politics.

Besides the black businesses per se, it is also the case that the black bourgeoisie includes managers for white-owned businesses and executives in the white corporations. But the fastest growing sector for the black bourgeoisie is in winning positions in the government. It is a striking fact, for instance, that cities with 8% of the population of the United States now have black mayors. There are various aspects of significance to this.

For one thing, it means that the black officials are in a position to throw business to the black enterprises. For example, take Atlanta, Georgia. Maynard Jackson became the first black mayor of Atlanta in 1973. At that time only 2% of the city's business went to black vendors. But by 1980 this figure grew to 14%. If you take that kind of difference for all of the major cities where blacks have become mayors then you begin to form a picture of what is at stake here.

But more than this, with the election of black officials comes an entire stratum of black government functionaries. The top government bureaucrats in the big cities make enormous salaries, they direct government policy, and they enjoy a host of privileges that come with the control of the government machine. Beneath this growing stratum of black bourgeois government officials is a much larger stratum of black petty-bourgeois government functionaries who are tied to the black bourgeoisie.

It is important to look at what are the markets for the black bourgeoisie. Their market, in the first place, is among the black masses. The largest part of black enterprise is engaged in retail in the black community. But this has its limitations including, in the first place, the impoverishment of the black masses. So the growth market for the black bourgeoisie is in politics, in becoming high-paid officials in the government, in throwing government business to black companies, and so forth.

This is not to say that there are no other issues in which black politicians are involved. There are many other issues in which they are involved. But they are involved in them from a certain class perspective. It is this -- the economic development of the black bourgeoisie -- which is the essential question which lies at the heart of the politics of the black bourgeoisie. It is from the standpoint of its own class development that such questions as national oppression are approached.

Accommodation to Reaganism

So what does this mean today? One of the striking features of black bourgeois politics today is accommodation to Reaganism. Johnny Ford is not an exception.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, for example, has had an embarrassing time controlling its

past and present officials, several of whom have come out for Reagan. In Philadelphia, Milton Street, a state legislator who won his prominence as something of a militant, as an advocate for example of the interests of black street vendors, switched his allegiance to the Republican Party. And you could find handfuls like this from across the country. They are not Clarence Pendletons.** They are figures from the mainstream of black bourgeois politics. I raise this because these are extreme examples of what is taking place on a much greater scale: accommodation toward Reaganism. In other words, not necessarily a break with the Democratic Party, but finding an accommodation with Reaganism nonetheless, just as the Democratic Party is doing.

In the first place we have the example of Jesse Jackson who came into national prominence, which he had dropped out of for some time, with the promotion of his Coca-Cola deal by, among others, Johnson Publications. The significance of Jackson's Coca-Cola deal is that at a time in which Reagan was cutting federal funding for the black bourgeoisie (and they were worried about their future, and at the same time wavering, vacillating, hesitant to go up against Reagan), Jackson came up with an alternative: let's go to the corporations. The NAACP, among others, embraced this program in a big way.

Another example of such accommodation is that the Urban League embraced the Reaganite plan for free enterprise zones, embraced the plan for super-exploitation of black labor.

Or we can look at the CBC itself again. In 1981 the big focus of the CBC was the black family plan, the theme of their convention. What is the black family plan? In January, every black family in the United States should give one dollar to the church of its choice. In February, every black family in the United States should give one dollar to the civil rights organization of its choice. In March, every black family in the United States should give one dollar to the candidate of its choice and so forth down through December. And in 1981, when Reagan was rolling out his economic program, this was what CBC was yelling about: not a fight against Reagan's cutbacks on the masses, but do-it- yourself financing to replace what black bourgeois institutions have lost to the cutbacks.

One of the foremost activities of the CBC each year is the introduction of its alternative budget. What took place with this past year's budget is very instructive. The CBC budget, among other things, called for Reagan's proposed military budget to be cut down to the level of the later years of the Carter presidency. Generally speaking, the CBC budgets amount to a call to return to budgets like those of Carter; and this is what they put forward against Reagan. This year the CBC dropped its alternative budget in midstream and took up the official Democratic Party alternative budget on the grounds that this time we've made so much headway, we have so much influence, the Democratic Party budget is almost the same as ours. Actually it wasn't almost the same on the military budget; the Democratic budget was just a slight amendment of Reagan's budget. The point here is that for the sake of unity within the Democratic Party the CBC accommodated itself to an outright Reaganite budget in place of their own Carterite budget.

So in general we see a tremendous bending before Reaganism, a searching out of ways in which to accommodate it and not go up against it. This is an important feature of what has taken place over the past several years in the black bourgeois politics.

Class Differentiation Among the Black People

To see the basis of this, we have to look at the development of class division and class differentiation among black people in recent decades.

Jim Crow signified a regime of misery and terror for the masses of black people, the great majority of whom were rural and urban toilers. Jim Crow was also an obstacle to the development of the black bourgeoisie. It denied them a proper market. It denied them a share in political power to advance their class interests (and, not incidentally, a share in the spoils of office). With the exception of just a handful of actual bourgeois, mainly in northern cities, the black bourgeoisie under Jim Crow was confined to being undertakers, preachers, etc. It was a bourgeoisie more in aspiration than in actuality.

To the extent that Jim Crow fell in the face of the mass storms of the 1950's and 1960's, wider opportunity was opened up for the development of the black bourgeoisie. This objective phenomenon was recognized and embraced by the big bourgeoisie proper, which saw the black bourgeoisie as a bulwark against the black masses. Hence, there was not only Nixon's slogan of "black capitalism," but also a major growth of black government bureaucrats and an expansion of government subsidies to the black bourgeoisie during both the Democratic and Republican administrations alike. This was true until Reagan's cuts went so far as to not only starve the masses but also to touch these precious subsidies to the black bourgeoisie.

We have already mentioned an explosive growth in the number of black elected officials. There has also been a rapid growth of black business. The scale of this should not be exaggerated. The black bourgeoisie exists on a much smaller scale than monopoly capital. Nonetheless, it exists on a much greater scale than the preacher and town undertaker of fifty years ago.

Today there are about 240,000 black businesses. But only about 40,000 of these have employees. In other words some 200,000 black businesses are not bourgeois at all. They are only self-employed blacks operating marginal enterprises such as selling newspapers and cigarettes.

As well, out of the 40,000 with employees, the largest number are extremely small, such as guys with a grocery store who have a kid working in the afternoon, that is, who are petty bourgeois.

Nonetheless, there is a small handful of black businesses with payrolls of up to 2,000 employees. The hundred largest black businesses in the U.S. now have gross revenues in the neighborhood of $2 billion. This is a far cry from the town undertaker. At the same time, it is still dwarfed by monopoly capital. The largest black bank in the U.S. is Freedom National, which has deposits of about $100 million. Now compare this to a Bank of America or a Citibank, each with deposits approaching $100 billion. Black business accounts for less than one- half of one percent of all business revenues in the U.S. So the scale is very small. Nonetheless it has gone far beyond what existed just twenty years ago.

As well as this, there are also vastly wider opportunities for an upper stratum of the petty bourgeoisie. For the masses of black workers, the downfall of Jim Crow has been followed by the continuation of subtler but systematic discrimination. Black family income remains in the neighborhood of 55% of that of white families. But for a small stratum of blacks who are government functionaries, management personnel in white corporations, engineers, architects, etc., this is not the case. Although they still face discrimination, their incomes, etc., are comparable to those of their white counterparts in similar positions, and are far removed from those of the proletarian masses, black and white.

Thus, while the masses of black worker's face discrimination and severe exploitation, the black bourgeoisie and an upper stratum of the petty bourgeoisie feel that they are on their way up. And as this has taken place, a conservative turn has developed. Increasingly, the black bourgeoisie identifies its interests with those of the big bourgeoisie proper. Increasingly, the black bourgeoisie is more afraid of the black masses than of being crushed down by monopoly capital. This is the social basis for the rightward turn in black bourgeois politics. It is not just that these classes and strata in general form the social basis for black bourgeois politics, but that, being on the way of achieving certain of their aspirations, there is an increasing turn toward conservatism.

What does this mean in terms of the coming struggles? A striking fact is that, at the present time, some of the most burning issues in the black community center around impoverishment. This is Hot to say there are not also other issues which are explosive. But among the issues in center stage are 35% unemployment, the cutbacks in food stamps and a host of other programs, continuing job discrimination, and so forth. These are issues which have a certain bent in class terms.

At the same time, to put it crudely, you have the black bourgeoisie holding conferences on whether they should merge and try to form conglomerates at this time. You have talk shows on black radio devoted to questions of how to get a piece of the African market. In other words, different classes looking in increasingly different directions.

So you have increasing class differentiation taking place on the attitude towards the issues and particularly on the question of the movement. You have the conditions being created for greater class differentiation among blacks than existed in the movement in the late 50's; a differentiation, by the way, which found certain expression in the rebellions in the mid-60's.

This differentiation does not mean that the black bourgeoisie is going to say "kiss off people, we have no use for you anymore," or that everybody is going to automatically say "down with the bourgeoisie." No, the black bourgeoisie is going to run Jesse Jackson for president; they're going to call demonstrations in Washington, D.C. every five years; and, if the movement knocks on the door, they will try to grab hold of it to tame it, use it for their own ends, and liquidate it. The black bourgeoisie and its political representatives will be there, will be trying to create illusions, will be trying to divert the movement and so forth. At the same time, the potential for developing the differentiation with them is much greater than in the past.


Build the Black Liberation Movement

To conclude, I would like to turn for a moment to simply review some basic points of our Party's orientation on this front. There are three essential points.

Firstly, the focal point of our work among the black workers is in the factories. We are working to train black proletarians as communists and to mobilize them to take up all the questions facing the class, whether it's the economic struggle, whether it's the question of national oppression, or whether it's a whole host of other political issues. This is the first point to the orientation of our work.

The second point is that on this basis, our Party takes an active part in the mass struggles which come up against racism and national oppression. As well as participating in those struggles, we bring those questions to the factories and work to turn out the workers from the factories to participate in the movement, to put their class stamp on it.

The third point is that within the movement we carry on a struggle against the opportunism which the black bourgeoisie engenders in the movement, against bourgeois nationalism, against reformism. This fight is, in the first place, a fight against the actual acts of betrayal, of vacillation, of narrowing down and toning down the movement which the black bourgeoisie engenders. So we don't simply go into the movement and say these guys are no good because they represent the bourgeoisie and they're not for socialism. The point is that representing bourgeois class interests means betraying the interests of the black masses, for the sake of the class interests of a privileged elite; and this is proven time and again in deeds.

The black liberation struggle continues to be a very important factor in the revolutionary movement in the U.S. The further development of the class differentiation among black people means a continued perspective for revolutionary developments on this front. On the one hand, today, even more than in the past, we will face the opposition, the sabotage and the wrecking from the political representatives of the black bourgeoisie. On the other hand, in the long term, this class differentiation will further serve revolutionary development. And therefore, we have great hopes for what will come out of the struggles which are now brewing against national oppression.

* Booker T. Washington and his "Tuskegee movement" represented a backwards capitulationist trend in the black people s movement around the turn of the century. Washington vehemently opposed the mass movement against Jim Crow segregation and racist lynchings. In his famous "Atlanta compromise'" speech, for example, he declared, 'The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly.' Instead of struggle, Washington advocated that black people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps through accommodating with the racist Southern industrialists and planters. In the same Atlanta speech, for example, Washington called on the white ruling class to hire blacks and promised the racistcapitalists that "While doing this you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, nursing your children, watching by the sickbeds of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one." Based on these belly-crawling views toward the racist rulers, Washington became the leading exponent of black capitalism.

**Clarence Pendleton is a black Republican. He did not come from the mainstream of black bourgeois politics, but was brought to prominence when Reagan appointed him to head the federal Civil Rights Commission.

[Photo: One face of the growing conservatism among the black bourgeoisie: Reagan is embraced by Margaret Bush Wilson, the former chairwoman of the NAACP, at the 1981 convention of the NAACP.]

[Photo: The black bourgeoisie is in cahoots with the monopoly capitalist rulers of the U.S. Here Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit, joins with President Carter, UAW head Fraser, and the capitalist lords of GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC at a 1980 press conference in Detroit. The auto corporations have destroyed the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of auto workers, including large numbers of black workers, but Coleman Young has been not on their side but on the side of the billionaires.]

[Photo: A scene from the 1980 rebellion of the black people of Miami against racist police terror, It is the black toiling masses who are the bulwark of the struggle against the oppression of the black people.]


The Documents of the Second Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA which are printed in the January 1, 1984 issue of The Workers' Advocate contain two errors.

On page 146, column two, paragraph two, the sentence stating, "Within a year, by 1945, Browder's most extreme liquidationist positions were criticized, the CP was reconstituted, and Browder was expelled" should be corrected to read: "Within a year, by 1945, Browder's most extreme liquidationist positions were criticized, the CP was reconstituted and Browder was removed from all leading positions. In February, 1946 Browder was expelled altogether."

On page 53, column one, paragraph three, the original states, "Although Browder was eventual- # ly expelled and the CP was reconstituted in 1945...." This should be corrected to read: "Although the CP was reconstituted in 1945 and Browder was removed from the leadership and soon expelled...."]

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MAP-ML Protests Its Exclusion from the Nicaraguan State Council

Today Nicaragua is gripped by a life and death struggle between the revolution and the counterrevolution. The capitalist reaction is backed to the hilt by U.S. imperialism, and it has unleashed its armed spearhead in the form of the CIA-backed contra bands. The working masses are standing up heroically against the contras and the U.S. aggression. They are militantly defending the gains of the revolution and are striving to push forward the revolutionary struggle against the local exploiters and imperialism. But the petty-bourgeois Sandinista government is trying to balance between the revolution and the counterrevolution. It is striving to escape the blows of the bourgeois reaction and to reach an agreement with the big capitalists and landlords by granting them financial incentives and political concessions. Among these concessions to the big bourgeoisie has been the arbitrary repression and discrimination against the Marxist-Leninist party of the Nicaraguan workers, the MAP-ML.

Below we reprint the press release from the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist (MAP-ML) and its trade union organization, Workers Front (FO), on the exclusion of MAP-ML from the Nicaragua State Council. According to the pluralist promises of the Sandinista government, the State Council is supposed to be made up of all the parties and organizations active in the political and social life of Nicaragua. But the notable exception to the realization of this promise has been the exclusion of the Marxist-Leninist workers of MAP-ML and FO.

In the days before the triumph of the revolution, it was the agreement of the Sandinista-led National Patriotic Front (FPN) that all its participants were to have representation on the State Council after victory. But in early 1980 the FO, which had been a member of the FPN during the struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, was stripped of its seat on the State Council.

Since that time, all the other parties and organizations of the country, including the openly reactionary and pro-U.S. imperialist parties that are working for the destruction of the revolution, have enjoyed their right to sit on the State Council. There were three exceptions to this: the working class revolutionaries of MAP-ML and FO; the pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party (PCN); and the Social-Democratic Party, which is a tiny right-wing group formed after the revolution, a party which despite its name is openly sympathetic with Reagan and the bourgeois counterrevolution.

In January, the Sandinista government junta issued a decree allowing the reformist PCN and the reactionary Social-Democrats into the State Council but continuing the exclusion of MAP-ML. It refused to even consider the reinclusion of the FO. MAP-ML and the FO are actively protesting this arbitrary decision.

Their demand to be included in the State Council is not a demand to become a junior partner in the government. The State Council is only a provisional legislative body. Its function is to deliberate on and ratify the laws proposed by the government junta, and in practice its role is marginal. But participants in the State Council are allowed a variety of legal rights and privileges, which now include access to the state-controlled media and ability to campaign in the upcoming elections. The MAP-ML and FO are protesting being stripped of the legal rights that have been granted to all the other parties and organizations in the country.

Presently the State Council is continuing its deliberations on the government's proposals for the establishment of an executive presidency and a constituent assembly. As well, it is discussing the rules that are to govern the elections for the president and the constituent assembly that are scheduled for this November. This is what is referred to as the process of "institutionalization."

MAP-ML criticizes the government's plans as representing an attempt to institutionalize the bourgeois forms of government copied from what the Sandinistas themselves laud as "western-style democracy." In the place of an executive president and a parliamentary assembly, MAP-ML proposes the establishment of a popular assembly with both executive and legislative powers. They propose that this popular assembly would represent a class democracy, stripping the big bourgeois and reactionary political forces of any share in power, and placing power in the hands of the elected representatives of the workers and peasants.

Nevertheless, while criticizing the "institutionalization" process proposed by the government, MAP-ML is protesting the arbitrary and hypocritical discrimination that it is being subject to within this process.

While the Sandinistas promise pluralist democracy that allows one and all to have their say in the new Nicaragua, even the most hostile U.S.-backed reactionaries, attempts are being made to silence the voice of the Marxist-Leninist proletariat.

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On the Exclusion of MAP-ML from the State Council

1. The Government Junta has issued a decree in which the Social-Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Nicaragua are included in the State Council, while the Marxist-Leninists of Nicaragua, our Party, the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist (MAP-ML) are left outside of the Council.

2. This decision joins those previously taken on the exclusion of the Workers Front from the State Council and the closure of the daily newspaper El Pueblo, which are still currently in force. This decision is in contradiction with the pluralist line that the Government of National Reconstruction says it follows. It excludes a revolutionary workers' party like MAP-ML but includes a party which is markedly pro-imperialist and ideologically tied to the armed Somocista bands as in the immediate case of the now legalized Social-Democratic Party, organized after the people's victory.

3. Founded in 1972, MAP-ML is: the founder in 1974 of the Workers Front, of the CLEUS and CLES [student organizations], and of the Revolutionary Youth Brigades in the struggle against the dictatorship; creator of its armed forces, the Popular Anti-Somocista Militias (MILPAS) in 1978, dissolved after the victory; creator of the daily newspaper El Pueblo founded in March of 1979 and of Prensa Proletaria founded in 1982; participant in the Symposium of Political Parties in 1982 and in the Trade Union Coordinator from its founding in 1981; participant in the military tasks of defense through its cadre and sympathizers in the Popular Sandinista Militias (MPS), the Revolutionary Vigilance, and the Reserve Battalions; organizer of the Workers Front Factory Committees; active in the mass actions against the bourgeoisie and imperialism in the struggle to defend the revolutionary process for its march to socialism, in the struggle to make the proletariat the social and political vanguard of the people, in a party which exists and works in Nicaragua.

This reality can not be ignored by any of the political parties and forces with which we have had unity of action in the common revolutionary tasks, nor by any of the parties which we have confronted in the class struggle in Nicaragua.

4. We claim our right as a sector of the conscious and organized proletariat of Nicaragua, to exist and function legally, making use of the institutional framework equally with the other parties in accordance with the policy which the Government of Reconstruction follows. Yet we reiterate once more that we fight and we will fight so that this institutionalized framework favors the hegemony of the workers over the bourgeoisie and imperialism and their political expressions.

5. Those who speak of democracy in general, can not make exceptions to their democracy, because then they will show that in reality they speak of a democracy in particular, in which the class which is considered the enemy is repressed.

We fight for a democracy which represses the bourgeoisie, imperialism, and reaction in favor of the working class and the people. This is our democracy in particular, the dictatorship of the working class over its class enemies.

6. We represent a class sector which, with its own ideological and political positions inspired by Marxism- Leninism, takes on this struggle for the construction of proletarian socialism on the road to communism. And as such, without losing our organizational, political, and ideological independence, we claim our right to be included in the State Council, as well as the reinclusion of the Workers Front. We appeal to the working and popular masses to support the defense of our democratic rights within the framework set up by the Government of National Reconstruction, rights which were won with blood in the anti-Somocista trenches.

We demand the inclusion of MAP-ML in the State Council!

We demand the reinclusion of the Workers Front!

For the democratic rights of the Marxist-Leninist proletariat in Nicaragua!

Against the bourgeoisie, the landlords, imperialism and revisionism -- mass struggle with the proletariat in the vanguard!

Facing the institutionalization: Consultation and popular mobilization, construction of worker-peasant power; with the dictatorship of the proletariat for socialism, toward communism!

For the popular assembly, organ of popular power of the workers and peasants!

Central Committee MAP-ML

Central Committee Workers Front

January 25,1984

(Translated by WA staff)

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Where do the various classes stand in Nicaragua today?

(The following is an excerpt from the December 3rd, 1983 Declaration of the Movement of Popular Action/ Marxist-Leninist and the Workers Front entitled: "Impress a Proletarian Character on the Defense of the Revolutionary Process and of the National Territory." It has been translated by the WA staff.)

Demarcate the Forces of Revolution and Counterrevolution

It is necessary to demarcate the revolutionary forces and the counterrevolutionary forces in Nicaragua.

In assessing the forces in the struggle between the revolution and the counterrevolution, which we are experiencing more and more violently in Nicaragua, the working class and people must know how to distinguish between the revolutionary forces, the forces to neutralize, and the counterrevolutionary forces which must be resolutely combated to the end. In order to ensure the proletarian character of the defense of the revolutionary process and of the national territory, it is necessary to demarcate in which camp of the conflict the various forces are participating. There is one thing that is clear: the enemy is not only abroad (as the Somocista bands are); and it is not only foreign (as in the case of U.S. imperialism and the Honduran army); but there are also counterrevolutionary enemies inside the country.

The Fundamental Enemy

The fundamental enemy of the working class and the Nicaraguan people is the bourgeoisie. It is equally the imperialist bourgeoisie and the local bourgeoisie, which is allied with imperialism economically, politically and ideologically. Therefore, the fundamental struggle of the working class and*people must be raised to an anti-imperialist and anti-bourgeois struggle.

Due to the inter-imperialist contradictions, to the division of markets, to the financial, technological and other dependence which dragged our country towards its domination, the principal enemy to fight is U.S. imperialism and its immediate internal allies: the landlords and the big agro-exporting, industrial and commercial bourgeoisie.

The political expression of these social forces (the Conservative Democratic Party, the Social Christian Party, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party, the Social Democratic Party, etc.) constitute the political forces which are the fundamental enemies of the people. We must include with these the pro-bourgeois and pro-imperialist ideological forces. These are expressed through the upper Catholic hierarchy and the daily newspaper La Prensa, as well as through the business organizations of the big bourgeoisie (COSEP -- Superior Council of Private Enterprise, UPANIC -- Union of Nicaraguan Agricultural Producers, CONAPRO -- National Confederation of Professional Associations, Burguesmente, etc.). The corrupt and mercenary leaderships of such organizations as the CUS (Council for Union Unity) and the CTN (Nicaraguan Workers Federation) are also fundamental enemies of the working class and people.

The starting point of any task for the defense and advance of the revolutionary process must be based on: open struggle on the economic, political and ideological fronts against these reactionary forces who are the fundamental enemies of the working class and people.

The Forces to Neutralize

The forces to neutralize are the forces of the small and middle capitalists, which are the byproduct left behind by the penetration of imperialist capital and the expansion of the local bourgeoisie. This sector is fundamentally composed of a large mass of urban and rural middle classes which may be neutralized, or even won over, through a resolute struggle against [the big capitalists and landlords -- WA] with whom they have contradictions. A good section of the student youth is part of this sector which may be won over to the revolution. This makes it necessary to increase the ideological influence of the proletariat in these strata to create the objective conditions that make possible their education and voluntary acceptance of collective methods.

A good part of the social base of many political parties is found in this sector. It constitutes a broad base for Sandinism and for those around the Sandinistas, the Popular Social-Christian Party, the Independent Liberal Party, etc. There are also important ideological forces, such as those of 'what is called the Popular Church, which objectively become part of the revolutionary ranks. But it is important to maintain a firm ideological struggle with them because they can degenerate towards clearly reactionary positions and because, through this struggle, elements can be won over to the ranks of the scientifically conscious proletariat.

The tasks for the defense of the revolutionary process requires that the approach to this sector include: a flexible line in order to make their progressive aspects, including their revolutionary aspects, stand out; and a line of firm struggle against their vacillating tendencies and their conservative aspects.

The Fundamental Forces of the Revolution

The fundamental forces of the revolution in Nicaragua are the proletariat and the urban and rural semi- proletariat. A firm ally of the proletariat and semi-proletariat is the poor peasantry because the class struggle in the countryside strikes at the enemies of these forces. These are the fundamental forces for the defense and the advance of the revolution towards socialism.

The political organizations which gather these forces together form the rest of the social base of Sandinism and the base of the Communist Party of Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan Socialist Party (These are the two pro- Soviet revisionist parties in Nicaragua -- WA).

The fundamental and principal class composition of our Party, the Movement of Popular Action Marxist-Leninist, is from the working class and poor peasantry. But the proletarian character of MAP-ML, and of the Workers Front, is not based only on its social composition. We work so that the working class, in alliance with the poor peasantry, places itself at the head of the revolutionary tasks; so that it stamps the revolutionary process with its proletarian character; so that it is guided by the scientific theory of the proletariat, Marxism- Leninism; and so that it struggles for the establishment of its own power, proletarian socialism.

The proletariat and the poor peasantry cannot solve these tasks as individuals. They require an efficient organizational weapon to guarantee the fulfillment of the revolutionary tasks. The working class and poor peasantry cannot accomplish the tasks of transformation, of struggle for proletarian socialism, unless they organize themselves not only independently of and against the bourgeoisie, but also independently of and in spite of the petty bourgeoisie. No serious revolutionary struggle is possible without a Marxist-Leninist party which is the political expression of the interests of the working class and the poor peasantry. MAP-ML and the Workers Front work for this Marxist-Leninist and workers party in Nicaragua which can succeed in placing itself at the vanguard of the proletariat and people in the struggle for proletarian socialism.

The necessity for the worker-peasant alliance, which is the fundamental alliance for the defense of the revolutionary process and its advance to socialism, demands the unity, or convergence of, and the revolutionary action of the forces of the proletariat and the poor peasantry. The construction of the WORKER-PEASANT ALLIANCE must start from unity of action and go from there to unity of principle. It must proceed from the base and search for higher levels of concentration of the fundamental revolutionary forces. This includes the struggle against the influence of bourgeois ideology which is promoted by parties and organizations that, although based among the workers, are dominated by opportunist and maneuvering leaderships. The tactics are: unity in action, starting from the common interests of the workers, for the revolutionary tasks of defense of the revolutionary process and its advance towards socialism; and firm struggle against the penetration of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology in the bosom of the proletariat and the poor peasantry.

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Against the Maoist critique of the PLA

How the Maoist RCP,USA defends the basic ideas of 'three worldism'

Albania today is the only genuinely socialist country in the world. The Albanian workers and peasants overthrew the brutal rule of the local and foreign exploiters, and today they persist in building socialism in defiance of the world bourgeoisie and the capitalist-revisionist encirclement. This is why the class conscious workers and revolutionary activists around the world hold Albania in high esteem and study the lessons of the revolutionary struggle of the Party of Labor of Albania and the Albanian toilers.

Our Party is linked with bonds of revolutionary solidarity with the PLA. As part of this, we have studied and learned much from the historic accomplishments and valuable views of the PLA: the great victory of the anti-fascist national liberation war, the socialist construction, the fight against the Yugoslav revisionists, the defiance of Khrushchov, Brezhnev and all the Soviet revisionists, the exposure of the "three worlds" theory and Maoism, etc.

In our view, proletarian internationalist solidarity includes not just assimilating what is correct in the stands of another party, but also criticizing what is weak or wrong. The Second Congress of our Party carefully assessed both the strengths of the PLA, and the weaknesses that have become apparent in its stands in the early 1980's on world events and the problems of the international Marxist-Leninist movement. Our views are presented in the issue of The Workers' Advocate of March 20, 1984, whose lead article is entitled "Our Differences With the Party of Labor of Albania."

At that time we also pointed out that the Maoists, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA of Bob Avakian, have their own critique of the PLA. We pointed out that the stand of the Maoist RCP, USA towards Albania is utterly shameless. It has no solidarity with the cause of socialism in Albania and the revolutionary struggle of the PLA and the Albanian working masses. It rabidly attacks the PLA because the PLA had the communist steadfastness to expose the opportunism of Mao Zedong Thought and its relation to "three worldism."

The RCP,USA is an example of the "left" wing of Maoism; this give more significance to its inability to deal with "three worldism" and its relation to Maoism. The RCP denounces the post-Mao leadership in China and presents itself as an opponent of Chinese revisionism. It denounces various of the right-wing Maoists in the U.S. who took up the blatant social-chauvinism of calling for the buildup of U.S. imperialism's military might against the Soviet social-imperialists. Yet, as soon as Comrade Enver Hoxha pointed to the Maoist foundation that gave rise to "three worldist" social- chauvinism, the RCP immediately began to repeat the very slanders and lies against Albania that were being trumpeted by the post-Mao Chinese leadership and the right-wing Maoists in the U.S. The RCP's criticism of Albania consisted of putting a revolutionary-sounding cover on the reactionary ravings of the right-wing Maoists.

Thus, the RCP's critique of Albania has been less than worthless. In form, it has consisted of mountains of lies and abuse and of one attempt after another to divert attention from the basic issues. Avakian's minions have proved capable of spewing piles of garbage, but not of principled discussion of the burning questions of revolutionary theory.

In content, the RCP did its best to defend various of the underlying ideas of the discredited "three worlds'' theory. It raved against the idea that the world is divided into two camps, the camp of labor and the camp of capital; against the applicability of the laws of the class struggle to dependent countries; against the Leninist ideas on party-building; and so forth. To this day, although the RCP pays lip service to the condemnation of "three worldism," it ardently embraces various basic ideas of "three worldism.'' It is only willing to condemn "three worldism'' when that is understood as referring simply to the formulations of certain factions in the Chinese leadership, and not to Mao's own "three worldism.'' Indeed, to this day the RCP even defends Mao's meeting with Nixon or the analysis that the Soviet Union was the main danger to China, and only opposes later developments in the U.S.-China alliance that it charges to other Chinese leaders. Meanwhile a central theme of RCP's critique of the PLA is that it put too much stress on the fight against "three worldism.''

In our view, the denunciation of "three worldism'' and Maoism is absolutely essential for the advance of the revolutionary movement. We regard it as the historic accomplishment of the PLA that it opened up first the period of the worldwide denunciation of the "three worlds" theory and then the period of the worldwide condemnation of Mao Zedong Thought. The PLA's weakness is that it has not carried these struggles through to the end. Hence, in order to learn from the experience of the PLA, it is necessary to utterly reject the opportunist blather of the RCP, which criticizes the PLA for attacking the basic ideas of "three worldism" and the revisionist essence of Maoism. The quandary of the RCP shows that a break with Maoism, even of refined and "left"-wing Maoism, is essential for all those who wish to fight against the "three worldist" filth.


The RCP's antagonism to the PLA stems back to the publication in early 1979 of Enver Hoxha's book Imperialism and the Revolution. In this work, Comrade Enver put forward his critique of Mao Zedong Thought.

The Albanian denunciation of Mao Zedong Thought was a serious issue that required careful study and evaluation. The counterrevolutionary theory of "three worlds" had done tremendous harm to the world revolution and to the struggle against revisionism. The Chinese Communist Party had step by step abandoned its support of world revolution when it began building the counterrevolutionary U.S.-China alliance, and it was at this time that it elaborated in full detail the theory of "three worlds." However, various basic features of "three worldism" had been upheld by the Chinese leadership for years before the U.S.-China rapprochement, and these "three worldist" positions had even then a corrosive and undermining effect. The question of finding the roots of the "three worlds" theory so as to thoroughly rectify the damage caused to the revolutionary movement and the anti-revisionist struggle was being widely discussed in the international Marxist-Leninist movement when Imperialism and the Revolution appeared.

Thus Imperialism and the Revolution played an important role in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. For example, for some time prior to the publication of this work our Party's predecessor, the COUSML, had already been looking into the question of the origins of the "three worlds" theory and reexamining the assessment of Mao and the history of the struggle against revisionism. Imperialism and the Revolution helped us crystallize the results of our study and understand the role of Mao's revisionism and opportunism.

But the RCP refused to pay serious attention to the question of "three worldism" and the responsibility of Mao. Nor did they have the attitude of carefully examining what the PLA, a party which they had claimed to support for years, was saying on the burning questions of revolutionary theory. Instead, they announced in an editorial in their journal Revolution ("Enver Hoxha Exposes Opportunism -- His Own," January 1979, p. 4) that they had condemned Imperialism and the Revolution before reading it, just as soon as they learned from the blurb in the Albanian Telegraphic Agency announcing its impending release that it attacked Mao's opportunism. Immediately Enver Hoxha became the devil incarnate for RCP. Immediately the RCP gave up the pretense of support for socialism in Albania, and it declared on the spot that a "counterrevolutionary line" had seemed "to have won out in the Albanian Party." (Ibid.) Immediately, for the RCP, the question was not to examine Comrade Enver's views, but how to throw as much mud as possible at the PLA. Avakian and company hoisted the banner: Mao, right or wrong, revolutionary or "three worlder," communist or revisionist, but Mao forever!

The basic RCP critique of the PLA is set forth in two articles: "Beat Back the Dogmato-Revisionist Attack on Mao Tsetung Thought: Comments on Enver Hoxha's Imperialism and the Revolution" in the May 1979 issue of The Communist, the former theoretical journal of the RCP, and "Enver Hoxha's Imperialism and the Revolution -- An 'Error' from Beginning to End'' in the September 1979 issue of Revolution, central organ of the RCP.

The basic method of these articles is to paint the PLA utterly black and to pile up as many insults, lies and distortions as possible. It didn't matter how ridiculous the charges, only that there be a lot of them. Thus Enver is accused of advocating Soviet revisionist views and of supporting Soviet social-imperialism as against U.S. imperialism; of following a "counterrevolutionary'' line; of being the champion of "a new revisionist tendency''; of being a Trotsky, a Kautsky, a Browder, a supporter of the views of Wang Ming, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, a follower of the Deborin school of philosophy; and so on and so forth.

Thus the RCP read Imperialism and the Revolution only to search for words and phrases to tear out of context. A typical example of its method was that its articles sought to prove that Enver really no longer condemned the two superpowers, but actually thought that U.S. imperialism was the main danger and the Soviet social-imperialists were simply a mere "tool'' or "agency'' of U.S. imperialism. The RCP turned incredible acrobatics. For example, statements that the U.S. imperialists were the leaders of the Western imperialist bloc were cited to prove that Enver was saying that they were the leaders of social-imperialism as well.

If the RCP would lie even about the simplest thing, which anyone can check without difficulty, such as when it denies that the PLA opposes both superpowers and regards them as the heads of rival imperialist blocs, then one can imagine how the RCP handles more difficult and subtle questions. This example gives one an idea of RCP's gutter method in all its ugliness and filth. It would take hundreds of pages to catalog each lie and distortion used by the RCP. It is clear that the RCP's critique of the PLA was just gutter politics.


Nevertheless, despite the mountains of diversions, slanders and lies in the RCP's articles on Imperialism and the Revolution, it is possible to extract their political content. This content is the RCP's diehard defense of various of the basic ideas of "three worldism.'' The RCP abandoned the term "three worlds theory'' and various of the most extreme social-chauvinist positions put forward in the last stage of degeneration of "three worldism,'' but it clung all the more strongly to the basic Maoist "three worldist" ideas.

We would like to remind the reader that our Party holds that even the best of the theoretical works from the PLA, such as Imperialism and the Revolution, show certain weaknesses. This was pointed out in The Workers' Advocate of March 20, 1984. But, despite these weaknesses, the PLA's best works were a tremendous step forward that had a liberating significance for the international Marxist-Leninist movement because they helped blow up various of the opportunist prejudices and anti-Marxist-Leninist dogmas inculcated by the Chinese revisionists. And, we shall see, when the RCP criticized the PLA, it did so from the standpoint of defending the outmoded "three worldist" ideas.

The RCP Repeats the Slanders From Beijing and the Right-Wing Maoists

First of all, the main slanders that the RCP threw at Imperialism and the Revolution were not the original inventions of Bob Avakian and company. They were the same ones that were preached by the Beijing post-Mao leadership and in the press of the rabid right-wing Maoists in the U.S. who advocated "striking the main blow at Soviet social-imperialism." Despite its attempts to present itself as the only real Opponents of the right-wing Maoists and the present-day Chinese leadership, its struggle in defense of Maoism led the RCP right back towards this swamp. The RCP's role was to give the mud-throwing campaign at Imperialism and the Revolution a more revolutionary-sounding cover and to elaborate each slander with more energy.

For example, one of the main themes of the Beijing leadership and the right-wing Maoists was that to criticize the "three worlds" theory or Mao was to go pro-Soviet. They tore phrases out of context and concocted lies to prove that the PLA had given up criticism of both superpowers. As we have seen, this was a main theme of RCP's criticism of the PLA as well.

The Beijing leadership and the right-wing Maoists also made a big fuss that to apply class analysis to the "third world" was trotskyite. The RCP too took up the same theme of smearing the PLA as "trotskyite."

The Beijing leadership and the right-wing Maoists wanted to obliterate Albania's role as a socialist country. The RCP obliged on this as well. As soon as the PLA criticized Mao, the RCP dropped support for socialism in Albania and denounced it for a "counterrevolutionary" line. What was important, for the RCP, was not the actual role a country plays in the world, but only its relation to Mao Zedong Thought.

The Question of Two Worlds Versus Three Worlds

One of the central points of the criticism of the "three worlds" theory was the declaration that the world is split into two parts, the camp of labor, comprising the world proletarian movement, the liberation struggle of the oppressed nations, and the socialist countries; and the camp of capital, comprising the imperialists (and social-imperialists), capitalism, revisionism and reaction. In contrast to the "three worlds" concept, that regarded the real essence of world politics as simply the maneuvers between the different types of exploiting regimes, the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists stressed the role of struggle between revolution and counterrevolution, the role of the class struggle in all its forms.

For its part, the RCP -- once again trailing helplessly behind the post-Mao leadership and the right-wing Maoists -- makes the attack on what it calls "Hoxha's 'Two Worlds' Thesis" a major part of its critique of the stands of the PL A. The RCP argues vehemently that the international situation must be described simply as the maneuvering between the various regimes. The RCP, however, is willing to replace the "three worlds" classification with a different classification: the lining up of the regimes into the different imperialist blocs that are preparing for war. It rules out the forces of revolution from world politics, and it ridicules the significance of the existence of socialist Albania.

This is an excellent example of how the RCP boils down the "three worlds" theory to its essentials, preserving its basic essence and removing all secondary and accidental features. The key idea of "three world- ism" is that it loses sight of the class forces in the face of the maneuvering between the regimes of the exploiters. There is no fundamental difference between dividing the world into "three," in the fashion of the more usual "three worldism," and dividing it into two big war blocs, as the RCP does. In both cases, the question of revolution and class struggle is cast aside. It is no wonder that the RCP also holds that the division of the world into "three" isn't so bad in itself, despite their alleged repudiation of "three worldism."

The Question of the Interlinking of the Democratic and Socialist Revolutions in the Dependent Countries

Another central point in the RCP's critique of the PLA is the RCP's all-out assault on the concept of the interlinking of the democratic and socialist revolutions. Just as the right-wing Maoists pontificated about how struggle against the local exploiters in the dependent countries would be "skipping stages," so the RCP paraphrased this by denouncing Comrade Enver for allegedly mushing together the democratic and socialist stages of the revolution into a single stage. The RCP admits that Enver talks about the different stages of revolution, but then all the more strongly insists that anyone who opposes the Maoist "three worldist" ideas is really obliterating the different stages of revolution. Under this banner, the RCP raises the following issues and more:


1) The RCP denigrates the fact that a number of dependent countries are already at the stage of socialist revolution and that in these countries the socialist revolution is the only way to fight imperialist domination. The RCP also defends the Maoist theses that put an iron wall between the bourgeois-democratic and socialist revolutions and deny the Leninist theses on uninterrupted revolution.

2) The RCP vehemently opposes the concrete issues on the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution in the dependent countries that Enver raises and denounces this as a denial of the role of the peasantry.

3) The RCP denies the applicability of the path of the October Revolution and the various laws of the class struggle to the dependent countries.

4) The RCP glorifies the national bourgeoisie of the dependent countries.

The RCP Denies the Applicability of the Marxist- Leninist Laws of die Class Struggle to the Dependent Countries

A key point of the denunciation of the "three worlds" theory by the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists was the putting forth of the basic principle that the internal exploiting classes in the dependent countries were the social basis of imperialist domination of these countries. This struck hard against the glorification of the "third world" regimes of the bourgeoisie and landlords as the "motive force" of world development. But the RCP denounced Enver up and down for talking of the struggle against the bourgeois exploiting forces in the dependent countries. It is striking to see the RCP back up its criticism of Enver for allegedly obliterating the difference between democratic and socialist revolution by giving a series of quotations that don't deal with the question of the stage of revolution but target the exploitation of the local bourgeoisie and landlords in the dependent countries. ("An 'Error' From Beginning to End," pp. 34-35)

In fact, the RCP holds that lessons from the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks and the basic Marxist- Leninist laws of the class struggle don't apply to the dependent countries. It has a stereotyped pattern of what it calls democratic, anti-imperialist revolution that it applies in general throughout these countries. Unlike the more right-wing "three worlders," it still talks of revolution in these countries and will admit struggle against the landlords and the comprador bourgeoisie. But it adheres all the more strongly to the old "three worldism" that could only understand revolution in the form of a national liberation struggle and perhaps a bourgeois-democratic agrarian revolution against feudalism or semi-feudalism, whether or not these suited the conditions of the countries involved.

The RCP's Glorification of the National Bourgeoisie of the Dependent Countries

The above question is connected to the RCP's glorification of the national bourgeoisie in the dependent countries. The RCP does not regard it as sufficient to admit the possibility that, under certain conditions, the national bourgeoisie or certain sections of it, may take on national-revolutionary features and may be a possible ally of the proletariat. The recognition of the struggle against bourgeois exploitation is itself a violation, in their eyes, of the correct attitude to the bourgeoisie.

In the stereotyped pattern of revolution they set up, the imperialists rule the dependent countries through an alliance with the landlords and perhaps the comprador bourgeoisie, an alliance that hits against the national bourgeoisie. It does not fit their rigid dogma that today, in most of the dependent countries, the local bourgeoisie has absorbed the big landlords and other reactionary dregs as additional factions of the bourgeoisie. (This does not require that all semi-feudal remnants and other precapitalist forms of exploitation are replaced by ordinary capitalist relations in the countryside.) It does not fit their rigid dogma that today, in most of the dependent countries, the local bourgeoisie (which now includes the big landlords) holds state power and itself has an alliance with imperialism against the exploiting masses.

This basic Maoist and "three worldist" prejudice in favor of the national bourgeoisie is why various parties that tried to carry forward the revolution but were under the influence of Maoism came up with the astounding conclusion that there was no national bourgeoisie in their countries. If they admitted the existence of the "national bourgeoisie," the Maoist dogmas would have forced them to surrender the struggle against it.

The RCP took the prettification of the national bourgeoisie so far in its critique of the PLA that it defended the Maoist concept of marching into socialism hand in hand with the national bourgeoisie, or major sections of it.

Denigration of the Role of Socialism

The RCP, in its critique of the PLA, denigrated the role of socialism in the world. On one hand, it denied the role of the socialist revolution in the dependent countries.

On the other hand, it also denied the importance of the support for socialism as part of the world situation. Its world view was that the world is divided into competing imperialist blocs, and it ridiculed the significance of the existence of socialist Albania for the world camp of labor.

The RCP in fact denied the socialist character of Albania. It has never been able to analyze the internal situation in Albania and deny its socialist character. Instead it used the method of saying that anything the PLA did was out of bourgeois national interests. The RCP said that the world's people shouldn't respect Albania's fight against both superpowers as opposed to the Chinese revisionist capitulation to imperialism: no, according to Avakian and company, it shows just as much bourgeois nationalist interest for Albania, in its conditions, to fight imperialism as for China, in its conditions, to join the imperialist dance of alliances. And similarly the RCP attributed the PLA's fight against Yugoslav revisionism, against Khrushchovite revisionism, against "three worldism" and so forth to "narrow nationalist and bourgeois-nationalist interests."

It is one thing to note that the present weaknesses of the PLA's policies involve speculating on the petty- bourgeois and bourgeois nationalism of various other countries or vacillating from Marxist-Leninist positions towards petty-bourgeois nationalist ideology on this or that question. But the RCP attributes the strengths of the PLA's positions to "bourgeois nationalist interests." This was not only absurd slander, but it was another repetition of the basic "three worldist" stand. If bourgeois nationalist interests could lead a regime with a "counterrevolutionary" line to take revolutionary stands against both superpowers, against revisionism, against the local bourgeoisie, and so forth, then the "third world" regimes would indeed provide many models of staunch revolutionary struggle, just as the most degenerate "three worldism" advocates.

Denigration of the Revolutionary Capacity of the Proletariat

One of the basic features of "three worldism" is its skepticism in the revolutionary drive of the proletariat. We have already remarked that the RCP opposed Comrade Enver for his stand in favor of the hegemony of the proletariat in the revolution in the dependent countries. It is also true that the RCP was skeptical of the proletariat in the advanced capitalist countries.

In RCP's early days, it expressed its skepticism in the revolutionary capacity.of the proletariat by the economist nature of its work in the factories and elsewhere. Later it changed over to semi-anarchist despair about the possibilities of work in the proletariat; in this mood, it now attacks the economic struggle in itself as essentially reformist and economist. This was the standpoint from which it made its critique of the PL A, attacking Enver for talking of work in the trade unions. It denounced talk of the importance of this work as economist, and it displayed utter incomprehension of how one could talk of using such work to fight the trade union bosses. ("An 'Error' From Beginning to End,'' pp. 37-8)

Prettification of Chinese Social-Imperialism

Another aspect to the RCP's critique of the PL A is. the RCP's prettification of Chinese social-imperialism. In this case, the RCP goes beyond prettifying Mao to prettify the post-Mao leadership as well. The RCP denounces the very idea that revisionist China could be social-imperialist because imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, but China is still relatively backward. Actually state monopoly capitalism exists in China, but even noting this is not necessary to see the complete absurdity of the RCP's sorry apologetics. According to the RCP's logic, Tsarist Russia undoubtedly wasn't imperialist in World War I, because Russia was incredibly backward economically, was bound to English and French capital, was still to have a bourgeois- democratic revolution in February 1917, and represented a sort of military-feudal imperialism.

The RCP also raves against Enver for the very idea that the Chinese leadership should be denounced as warmongering. According to the RCP, the very concept of warmongering shows an "extremely voluntarist'' view on the question of war.

The RCP is also very mild in criticizing the U.S.- China rapprochement. It defends various of Mao's actions and insists that even the conception of the U.S.- China alliance, although an "error,'' was not a counterrevolutionary line and did not involve subordinating the world revolution to this alliance. Oh no. All it involved was, in Mr. Avakian's own words in his article "Creeping Three Worldism'': "...a conception of the united front which was not merely for a year or two or for a very brief period but for a whole period of struggle envisioning the development of a world war [against Soviet social-imperialism -- WA] in which the alignment on a world scale would be China and the revolutionary forces of the world aligned with the Western bloc of imperialists headed by the U.S. and the countries and governments of the world that were under their domination or under the control of their bloc.'' (Revolutionary Worker, October 14, 1983, p. 15, col. 2) Mr. Avakian insists, however, that, despite some "obvious similarities,'' this cannot be regarded as the "fully worked out three worlds theory as a counterrevolutionary line....'' This was not counterrevolutionary or warmongering, oh no, but Imperialism and the Revolution is counterrevolutionary for criticizing Mao on this. Such is the depths of sick apologetics that Mr. Avakian and company descend to.


In The Workers' Advocate of March 20, 1984 we outline the weaknesses in the stands of the PLA in the early 1980's. How does the RCP's critique of the PLA fare in the light of the fact that weaknesses have appeared in the policies of the PLA? It turns out that not only was the RCP's critique worthless "three worldist'' trash back when the RCP first elaborated it, but time has further confirmed that it is utterly off base and worthless trash.

The RCP laid great stress on claiming that the PLA had given up opposition to both superpowers, had fallen into serving the purposes of Soviet revisionism and now regarded U.S. imperialism as the main enemy and Soviet social-imperialism as a mere U.S. imperialist agency. Nothing of the sort happened. The PLA has continued denouncing both superpowers right down to the present.

The RCP cried up and down that the PLA had allegedly obliterated the distinction between the democratic and socialist revolutions by attacking the exploitation of the local bourgeoisie in the dependent countries. All this has turned out to be off the mark. The weaknesses in the present stands of the PLA on the dependent countries and its errors with respect to Turkey, Iran and the war between Britain and Argentina over the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) point in exactly the opposite direction. The PLA took its best positions on the dependent countries at the height of its struggle against "three worldism,'' as it stressed the interlinking of the democratic and socialist revolutions and the class struggle in the dependent countries. Its present weaknesses involve ignoring the questions of the revolutionary class struggle and the nature of the present regimes.

Furthermore, one of the morals that the RCP draws from its critique of the PLA is that it is wrong to put too much emphasis on the struggle against "three worlds." This was another in their interminable sequence of arguments denigrating the struggle against "three worldism." Yes, the RCP says, we have to say a word or two against "three worldism" to satisfy appearances. But the "three worlds analysis" is not wrong, but only a part of the general line. (Revolution, July 1977) Well, the "three worlds" analysis is not wrong in itself, especially when Mao uses it, but it is a counterrevolutionary "three worlds strategy" when Deng Xiao-ping says it. (Revolution, November 1978) However, it is just the "international line" and so not much stress should be put on it. And to this day Mr. Avakian and company are saying that one must not "make the three world theory line the decisive issue" because otherwise one might fall into the mistakes of the PLA. (Revolutionary Worker, October 14, 1983)

The truth is the exact opposite. It is quite clear that the weaknesses in the present stands of the PLA stem, in part, from failing to carry the struggle against "three worldism" through to the end. Various of the errors in the present stands of the PLA bear a striking resemblance to the fallacies of the "three worlds" theory. The PLA does not use the specific Chinese revisionist formulations and it has reached these errors from another direction; future issues of The Workers' Advocate will deal with some of the roots for the errors of the PLA. But it is clear that the difficulties that the PLA has been having in the early 1980's show all the more vividly the utmost importance that the struggle against "three worldism" has. And this shows the worthless character of the RCP's critique, which denounces the PLA precisely from the standpoint of upholding various of the fundamental ideas of Maoist "three worldism" and trying to put the brakes on any struggle against "three worldism" and thus any real struggle against Chinese revisionism.

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