Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

El Comité/MINP

Outgoing First Secretary Leaves. Says Goodbye To Organization

First Published: Obreros En Marcha, Vol. 3, No. 10, November-December 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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From the bottom of my heart, I thank each cadre, affiliate, sympathizer and the honored guests with us here today. This day, and this entire Assembly period, will forever be remembered. I hope that I never fail any of you and most important, that I never fail the ideas that you represent.

For me it is a very difficult moment in our all-embracing moments to build a society free of all forms of exploitation. I know that the intentions of the dedication are motivated by the confidence you have in me provided by knowledge and experience. But I also know that you have the understanding that no one individual is above the collective effort and that in essence, we, the individuals, are nothing but a reflection of the complexities that lie behind all human efforts. Nevertheless, even with this understanding I know I do not merit the attributes presented to me today.

In this respect, I understand that everything you said were my contribution to El Comité and to the revolutionary process in general are, in reality, contributions from all of you to me. In the process, you made of me a better person, you made of me a revolutionary. Furthermore, your efforts during these eight years not only had profound effects upon me, in the transformation of me the individual, but also upon my family. Through your work you have been able to transform many others as well. . .

At the end of the internal aspects of this First Assembly, the cadre of El Comité-M.I.N.P. placed upon me my last task as a member of the organization. I was to summarize those days of very heated debate, those days which were characterized by respect for differences and the drive of wanting to come out with one whole organization, capable of moving the struggle forward. As I began to think in terms of making the summary, I remembered that the laws of historical materialism have taught us that learning is a process in which the present conditions are determined by previous experiences, by social developments in the historical context. In this respect, it is crucial that we build upon those experiences, internalizing the lessons, the achievements and the errors. .. .

As we know, there is a current, a trend, a thought, a view among Marxist-Leninists that holds in different degrees that Marxism-Leninism is a science so complex and so profound that it can only be really internalized by the intellectual elite or by those with a highly developed cultural or intellectual background. To some of us, only engaged in the struggle for some two or three years or even for much longer periods of time, this view might seem an American monopoly, a view that only exists in this country. But it is not an American monopoly nor is it a question of recent development. It has been a question of long intense struggle among Marxists, among Marxist-Leninists, throughout an entire historical period, going as far back as the 19th century.

How does this present and historical struggle relate to our organization, relate to El Comité, to the individuals that make it up and the experiences we had? Understanding the crucial importance of studying our history, of building on our history, I remember many different things about El Comité and its people during its first eight years. . .How can I forget the grandfather within the organization, who came to El Comité in its first days and who today is recognized by the membership as one who exemplifies the firmness and integrity that defines a communist–a person who has received awards from revolutionaries and communists outside this country precisely for those characteristics as well as a willingness to work and a willingness to struggle in a principled manner. How can I forget the comrade also with us here today, who by the time he was 26 years old, had been in prison 32 times? How can I forget the boldness, the courage that this individual brought into the formation of El Comité”? Today he probably would not define himself, and I probably would not define him as a communist, but I would define him as a worker and a respected man in his community who knows what is happening. A man who because of those 32 times in jail barely learned to read basic words, yet today is struggling, and developing, and studying Marxism-Leninism. How can I forget his contribution to this organization?

How can I forget a 17-year old youngster, high school graduate from the South Bronx, a black Puerto Rican, who in her first day of college, and the very first time that we met, stressed to me that she wanted to be a doctor. How can I forget that today we find her in a school of medicine where she dedicates much of her time to the study of job and health conditions of workers at the plant? How can I forget the first experience of one of our leading members who went to a plant, was elected to be a representative on the negotiating committee for the striking workers, immediately let the bosses know he was a communist and was fired two days later. How can I forget the efforts of rectification of that individual?

How can I forget the efforts of an individual who, when we first came into contact with her, was a hippie on her way to becoming a yippie? How can I forget that today this individual is known as a communist by her fellow workers, is opposed by the bosses, is opposed by the shop’s backward union, and yet was unanimously elected as shop steward? How can I forget her? How can I forget an individual who was pushed out of school in the ninth grade and today leads discussion groups on the philosophical works of Konstantinov, Lenin, and Harnecker? How can I forget this individual in the formation of the organization and in the formation of all of us?

Are these the intellectual elites? Are these the people with highly developed cultural backgrounds? Is the experience and history of these people something separate from their development as revolutionaries, as communists? Weren’t these people the “advanced workers” that many today talk about in the abstract but have little understanding of what it means in the practice? Aren’t these people today known and respected as Marxist-Leninists? Yes, they are.

These experiences prove once again the validity of Marxism-Leninism as a science not outside the realm of understanding of workers, but in fact as a science which guides and is in the direct service of the working people, the working class.