Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Congress of Afrikan People

CAP Summation of “Strategy ’76”


First Published: Unity and Struggle, Vol. V, No. 2, February 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

As we enter 1976, it becomes increasingly clear that the bourgeoisie will be making fewer concessions and reforms, and is moving towards out and out repression and fascism at home, and that war between the USA and USSR is inevitable. In light of this rightward movement, the Congress of Afrikan People advanced a basic tactic “Strategy ’76” aimed at building a mass movement around the upcoming ’76 presidential election, by raising a clear alternative to the rightward motion of the democrat-republican parties and the move by the far right wing of the bourgeoisie to mount growing support among the masses of people for fascism at home and imperialist war abroad. We called for a coalition of anti revisionist forces, in an effort to pull together a campaign, select candidates and most importantly a platform to unite all who could be pulled together, into a popular front that was anti-democrat, anti-republican, anti-depression and anti-repression in character. We tried to involve at the core of the coalition honest anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist forces whose ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought and “who understand that it is the masses of people led by the working class and its vanguard party that must through their own experience, come to understand that “capitalism is their enemy and revolution is their weapon to smash it forever,” What was needed was an anti-revisionist vanguard party or a strong core of anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist forces at the base of the coalition, uniting through struggle around the correct line and organizing to build a new mass movement and contributing to the eventual formation of a new revolutionary vanguard party. Such a front or coalition would struggle to gain ideological clarity in theoretical struggle and day to day practice, uniting in concrete practice over a long period of time and struggling against the social-democratic forces who only see the necessity for a “mass party”, a replacement for the bourgeois dem-republican parties. We would also be struggling to win the masses over from the old misleaders of the mass movement, who compromise the class struggle of the working class and oppressed nationalities for “peaceful coexistence” with the bourgeoisie and its lackies, and the continued exploitation and oppression of the masses by imperialism.

But now at the beginning of 1976, after over a year of struggle within the movement, we must abandon the “Strategy 76”, partially as a result of our inability to involve Marxist-Leninist forces in the building of the “Strategy ’76” coalition, though we still see the necessity for struggle in the electoral area. To quote Lenin extensively from his “Speech on Parliamentarinism”, The 2nd Congress of The Comintern, page 68 of Speeches, at the Congress of the Comintern, V.I. Lenin:

Parliament is a product of historical development, and we cannot eliminate it until we are strong enough to disperse the bourgeois parliament. It is only as a member of the bourgeois parliament that one can, in the given historical conditions, wage a struggle against bourgeois society and parliamentarianism.

You have said that the trade unions are also opportunist, that they, too, constitute danger. On the other hand however, you have said that an exception must be made in the case of trade unions, because they are workers’ organizations. But that is true only up to a certain point. There are very backward elements in the trade unions too: a section of the proletarianized petty bourgeoisie, the backward workers, and the small peasants. All these elements really think that their interests are represented in parliament. This idea must be combated by work within parliament and by citing the facts, so as to show the masses the truth. Theory will have no effect on the backward masses they need practical experience.

We are obliged to carry on a struggle within parliament for the destruction of parliament. You say that parliament is an instrument with the aid of which the bourgeoisie deceive the masses. But this argument should be turned against you, and it does turn against your theses. . .How will you expose the various parliamentary manoeuvres, or the positions of the various parties; if you are not in parliament, if you remain outside parliament. If you are Marxists, you must admit that, in capitalist society, there is a close link between the relations of classes and the relations of parties. How will you show all this if you are not members of parliament & if you renounce parliamentary action. The history of the Russian revolution has clearly shown that the masses of the working class, the peasantry, and the petty office employees could not have been convinced by any arguments, unless their own experience had convinced them.

It has been claimed here that it is a waste of time to participate in the parliamentary struggle. Can one conceive of any other institution in which all classes are as interested as they are in parliament? This cannot be created artificially. If all classes are drawn into the parliamentary struggle, it is because the class interests and conflicts are reflected in parliament. If it were possible everywhere and immediately to bring about, let us say, a decisive general strike so as to overthrow capitalism at a single stroke, the revolution would have already taken place in a number of countries. But we must reckon with the facts, and parliament is a scene of the class struggle. . .the repudiation of parliamentary action by a great many of the new Communist Parties stems from their weakness. . .the vast majority of the really revolutionary workers will follow us and speak up against your anti-parliamentary theses. (pg. 68, 69, 70, 71, Lenin)

CAP feels that the ideological struggle and discussions around electoral politics in 1975 were invaluable, but that the Congress of Afrikan People cannot do it alone, supporting candidates and in an active campaign, without the involvement of other Marxist-Leninist forces, in that coalition, not just social democrat types. Another factor contributing to this decision is the recent takeover of the National Black Assembly by the emerging Black petty bourgeois bureaucrat elite, a new comprador petty bourgeoisie of anti-poverty officials, black studies instructors, smaller bureaucrats and elected officials, who have taken over the NBA and destroyed its coalition character, through repression and fraud, liquidating all of the basic work and programs of the NBA and cutting all connections with the masses of Black people, and now despite an “anti-democrat platform” have raised Julian Bond as their presidential candidate, and negated the basic “Strategy ’76” program outlined by vote of the Assembly. Bond, who is a homing pigeon of the Democratic party will lead these compradors straight back into the democratic party where they long to belong, much like the Gary convention and trip to the Miami Democratic Convention in 1972. CAP had seen the NBA as one of the basic organizations for such an electoral tactic as the “Strategy ’76” was supposed to be, in order to make certain the thrust of this program had a strong base in the black community. The new compradors in the NBA stalled the “Strategy ’76” the better part of a year (it takes that long to get on the ballot in some states) until they had taken over the complete leadership of the NBA, and were then able to raise someone like Julian Bond before the people misleading the masses into thinking that Bond will represent something other than the democratic party.

It is our understanding that the central task of all communists in the USA at this time is the building of an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist revolutionary vanguard party, but it is also necessary to build a new mass movement led by the working class and oppressed nationalities, from which the party will emerge. We saw “Strategy ’76” as a non-sectarian vehicle of unity and struggle of anti-revisionist forces, who could bring together a broad popular front electoral campaign aiming a direct blow at all the misleaders of the mass movement (the petty bourgeois elected officials, labor aristocrats and revisionists), which must educate and organize the people against S-l, expose the bourgeois parties and politicians, at a time when they have been clearly exposed as bankrupt and working not in the interests of the masses of people. We still feel that many of the forces organized around “Strategy ’76” can at the least mobilize mass demonstrations around International Women’s Day, May Day, Afrikan Liberation Day, all speaking out against and exposing the bourgeois parties, and against the national conventions of the democrats at Madison Square Garden in NYC and republican party. Most important though is bringing Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought to the working class and oppressed nationalities, wrestling the leadership of the mass movement away from the intermediate lackey sector, raising the masses to understand their class interests i.e. the interests of the proletariat, and winning the finest elements of the mass movement, the advanced workers to M-L-M and the Party. The Party will not be built by proclamation! It will only come into being through uniting Marxist Leninists in struggle around the correct political line and by waging a tit for tat struggle against the misleaders of the mass movement, and winning the confidence and leadership of the working class and oppressed nationalities, building the mass movement capable of struggling against unjust wars and fascism, directing the main blow against the bourgeois state, in socialist revolution, establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Stalin pointed out in Foundations of Leninism, “The Party is the advanced detachment of the working class.” (p. 103) But that “The Party cannot only be the advanced detachment. It must at the same time be a detachment of the class, a part of the class, clearly bound with it by all the fibres of its being.” (p. 104) He goes on to point out that “The Party cannot lead the class if it is not connected with the non-Party masses, if these masses do not accept its leadership, if the Party enjoys no moral and political credit among the masses.” (p. 105) The vanguard must unite but it must win the advanced to Marxism- Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought and many of those advanced will come only from mass movement in struggle against imperialism, and the eminent danger of war and the new rise of fascism. In 1980, there might not be the opportunity to put out communism in a popular way, with S-l in the wings and the Nixon-Ford Supreme Court baring its poisoned fangs.