Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

El Comité/MINP

Message from the Central Committee

First Published: Obreros En Marcha, Vol. 3, No. 10, November-December 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Companeros and companeras,

In this next period, we will continue our efforts to advance the process of forming a revolutionary party of the proletariat in this country. All our work will take place within this context. For our organization, this will mean deepening our roots within the working class, consolidating our presence within the democratic struggles of the oppressed Puerto Rican National Minority and uniting, within the context of social and political unity, with other Marxist-Leninists.

We take up these tasks from the premise that our work must be guided by the need to unite the working class of this country, for we understand that this is an indispensable condition for the eradication of capitalist exploitation.

In the United States the voluntary unity of the working class assumes particular characteristics and importance due to the historical development of the U.S. as the world’s foremost imperialist power. Within this context and as a cornerstone of the strategy of imperialism, the division of workers and peoples of the world insures the continuous dominance of U.S. imperialism. Within the U.S. itself, racism and national chauvinism–pervasive aspects of bourgeois ideology–promote rivalry and foster divisions within the working class and present obstacles in the struggle to build the necessary unity of workers and oppressed sectors of U.S. society.

The effects of racism and national chauvinism pervade the ranks of the masses and of its most progressive and leading sectors. From a historical perspective, these aspects have influenced the social practice of North-american radicals and communists to the extent that open manifestations of racism and national chauvinism, or its counterpart paternalism, are all too often present within the ranks of those who are otherwise defenders of the rights and interests of workers and oppressed peoples. As a consequence, communists and progressive elements from the oppressed nationalities have too often rejected participation in formations composed predominantly of white north american communists. The advanced elements of the oppressed nationalities have for the most part resorted to organizing themselves in their own particular forms of national and racial formations to develop their political work. To transform this situation in which racism and national chauvinism are the principal conditioning elements in the contradiction between national and multinational forms of organization, it is essential that, within the context of social practice, we develop the organizational forms and political activities that will contribute to overcoming this present limitation. These organizational forms and political activities will provide the mechanisms for integrating the oppressed minorities into the class struggle as well as furthering the process toward the building of the revolutionary party of the proletariat.

If strides are to be made in the revolutionary process in this country, then the strategical significance of the national minorities must be internalized by the progressive and revolutionary forces as well as an understanding of the grip that racism and national chauvinism have over the hearts and minds of a significant sector of North american white workers.

The divisions that exist among U.S. workers along racial and national lines constitute the most debilitating and self-destructive divisions within the class. These divisions are created, nurtured and maintained by the consciously-institutionalized aspects of bourgeois ideology in North American society. Failure to understand in the social practice the divisive role that racism and national chauvinism play within the working class and the impact they have on the lives of the oppressed nationalities has led communist and progressive forces to foster paternalism or white skin privilege positions among white workers, and to promote narrow nationalism and inflated racial or national pride among the oppressed nationalities. Communists cannot combat the question of racism and national chauvinism with moralism but rather have the responsibility to address the question of unity by confronting the divisions and particularities that exist among the class. Consequently, in order to set the basis for the voluntary unity of the working class, communists must address the particularities among the national minorities–their particular histories, problems and concerns.

Our organization, El Comité-M.I.N.P., has to be viewed within this context. El Comité arose as a response and a product of the spontaneous struggles of the Puerto Rican and Latin communities in New York City to confront their oppressive conditions. Throughout the eight years of its existence, our organization has attempted to grapple with the questions and conditions facing Puerto Ricans in their daily social existence in this country. In the process of our development, and as a direct result of our experience and the study of Marxism-Leninism, we have come to understand that the presence of nearly two million Puerto Ricans in the U.S. is a direct result and manifestation of decades of imperialist exploitation of Puerto Rico which today continues to be one of the few remaining colonies in the world.

Puerto Ricans were forced to abandon their land of origin and migrate to this country as a result of imperialist exploitation. Once here they have developed under the socio-economic structures of this country with its particular social, political and economic dynamics. For the Puerto Ricans who have lived in this country for years, with the passage of time, there has been a transformation of their social consciousness. They have incorporated as part of their wav of being the proletarian and dominant cultural elements of U.S society and have redefined their nationality within a new social reality. Predominantly working class, the Puerto Rican community in this country is confronted by conditions of social oppression (high levels of unemployment, inadequate housing, health and educational services etc.) and the pervasive effects of racism and national chauvinism. This has led to the strengthening of the sense of nationality, national identity, and national solidarity as Puerto Ricans. These factors cannot be negated if we are to understand and address the relationship between this sense of nationality and the reality under which Puerto Ricans must live and survive in this country. Most Puerto Ricans in this country are workers but they are Puerto Rican workers with particular concerns and problems. This is important to understand not only with respect to Puerto Ricans, but also with respect to other oppressed nationalities in this country if the voluntary unity of the working class is to be achieved.

Companeros/as: If we can speak of one major accomplishment which our organization can claim to have achieved in the process of our First Assembly, it has been that our organization has been able to grapple with and reach clarity and agreement on the implications of our theoretical formulations on the Puerto Rican national question. This achievement marks for us an important ideological and political victory, and surely an organizational victory for our movement. Moreover, it manifests, on the one hand, that we have been able to overcome and understand the incorrect formulations put forward by those forces who, from a narrow nationalist perspective, have viewed the Puerto Ricans in this country only from the perspective of Puerto Rico. These forces have overemphasized national differences, fanned chauvinism and raised nationality over and above the class struggle. On the other hand, our victory manifests that we understand that we have to translate into social practice the need to develop organizational forms and types of political activity which will facilitate and, allow the effective incorporation of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. to the proletarian struggle in this country. As we discussed in our dedication of the Assembly, this view combats those who negate the particularities of the Puerto Rican national minority under the umbrella of viewing everything from the perspective of the class question. In the practice, what these forces do is blatantly liquidate the relationship between the struggles of the oppressed nationalities for their democratic rights and the struggles of the working class. As a result, these forces are always addressing the question of uniting the working class from an abstract perspective and not by confronting the objective divisions that divide the class.

In the next period, our organization will concentrate on the further articulation and deepening of our understanding of the correct relationship between the legitimate demands of the oppressed Puerto Rican National Minority for their democratic rights and the overall class struggle. More fundamentally, we will direct our efforts toward the translation of these theoretical premises into our social/political practice.

As defined by our First Assembly in its approved objectives for the coming period, we will continue our organizational efforts at the point of production and overall trade union work, and the further development of our organization’s presence within the Puerto Rican and Latin communities. In addition, our work in the communities will for the first time take up the question of organizing among and addressing the questions and problems confronting youth. In all our work, we will attempt to overcome the false and incorrect dichotomy between the struggles of the oppressed national minorities and the working class as a whole. Concretely establishing this interrelationship will be the basic premise which will guide our social practice. ...