Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Colorado Organization for Revolutionary Struggle (M-L-M)

Speech at the Denver Party Building Forum, March 1977

First Published: Party Building: The Overall Situation in the Communist Movement and How to Complete the Central Task, April 1977, by Colorado Organization for Revolutionary Struggle (M-L-M).
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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EROL Introduction: In March 1977 a closed forum was held in Denver, Colorado on “The Overall Situation In The Communist Movement and How to Complete the Central Task of Party Building”. The main forum speakers were the League for Proletarian Revolution (M-L), August Twenty-Ninth Movement (M-L) and the Colorado Organization of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L-M).

* * *

The Overall Situation

Right opportunism is the main danger in the world today to the forces of revolution. In the communist movement internationally it takes the form of revisionism, mainly the CPSU and in the working class movement, reformism. In the U.S. we see that this also holds true with the working class being mainly under the leadership of the trade union aristocracy on the one hand, and revisionism of the Communist Party USA and right opportunism in the rising communist movement itself, on the other. But imperialism and its tools are faced with a growing economic and political crisis throughout the third world, particularly due to the liberation struggles of the third world. The struggles of the Panamanian, Puerto Rican, Azanian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean peoples are steadily weakening those systems of imperialism and social imperialism, mainly the U.S. and Russia. The contention between these two main enemies of the world’s people daily increases the potential for war, imperialist world war, with Russia being the major source of war and the more dangerous enemy. Comrades, we uphold that in spite of the threat of war, we must face our conditions optimistically. Either imperialist world war will being about revolution or revolution will prevent that world war. Neither of these possibilities is reason for pessimism.

One of our reasons for optimism is the recent crushing of the gang of four counterrevolutionaries by the great and glorious Communist Party of China. Our position on the gang of four is that we start from the premise, the unity that the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as the Party of Labor of Albania (PLA) are the international leadership of the communist movement and that they have proved this in theory and in practice. We unite on the fact that the leadership of the CPC is overall correct and that their decision to oust and crush the gang of four was a correct decision. We are not upholding the CPC’s leadership or decisions blindly but will next: 1) study the specific line that the gang of four held and the exposures and criticisms of the gang of four; and, 2) we should likewise be continually studying and analyzing the line and practice of the CPC to insure that we unite with them in the future.

But comrades, even in the case that capitalist-roaders ever captured the leadership of the CPC, even if a temporary setback occurs, we have faith in the masses of the people of China, including the cadre of the CPC, that because of their over 50 years of revolutionary practical experience, because of their advanced theoretical grasp, because the masses of people of China under socialism are organized and armed, that therefore they could and would see to it that such capitalist-roaders were overthrown and Marxist-Leninist leadership put in their place.

The rise of a new M-L movement world wide is also a phenomena which we need to recognize as a strength and as one of the factors for revolution. Even the tactical differences between the Party of Labor of Albania and the Communist Party of China on the international situation are not reasons for pessimism, since we see them as fraternal differences to be handled in a comradely way. There is no reason for pessimism here either.

We mention pessimism so much because it may seem to many people that developments nationally in the past year are mainly negative ones. The petti bourgeois influences in us come out very easily during times of difficulty. The developments we are talking about nationally are the 1) degeneration of the PRRWO-RWL; 2) the break-up of the so-called revolutionary “wing”; and, 3) the race between WVO, the OL, and the Wing to see who can call themselves the party first this year.

When the PRRWO degenerated into an ultra “leftist” sect, many people in the movement could not understand it and many of us had looked to PRRWO as being one of the main, genuine leadership in the communist movement. How could an organization with such a rich history, with such a grasp of the theoretical questions, that had played such a leading role turn into a consolidated “left” opportunist group that is no longer a part of the communist movement. Too many people let the petti-bourgeois tendencies take hold, and grew demoralized, frustrated and vacillating.

Later on, we will raise more on the question of the lessons to be learned from the degeneration of PRRWO, but here we would like to cite Lenin regarding another split with “left” opportunism (from the Appendix to Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder):

. . .a split is better than confusion which impedes the ideological, theoretical and revolutionary growth and maturing of the party and its harmonious, really organized practical work which actually paves the way for the dictatorship of the proletariat. . .But every effort must be made to prevent the split with the “Lefts” from impeding, or to see that it impedes as little as possible, the necessary amalgamation into a single party–which is inevitable in the near future–of all those in the working-class movement who sincerely and conscientiously stand for Soviet government and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

This applies to our movement, comrades, in the sense that we have the duty to turn a bad thing (the degeneration of PRRWO), into a good thing (learning the lessons from this degeneration, uprooting that “left” opportunist line and moving on to higher unity, a better grasp of our tasks and the building of a new party). We cannot become demoralized, not sink into subjectivism, sectarianism, and defeatism. This is one of the twists and turns of our history that we must use to steel our ranks.

We think that the two documents (Degeneration of PRRWO and Our Disagreements with the PRRWO), and the articles by LPR and, to a certain extent, by ATM, have brought a lot of clarity to this confusion and that even if not completely, our movement has at least begun to overcome the setbacks which resulted from the degeneration of PRRWO-RWL. We have no reason for pessimism.

Prior to this, the break-up of WVO, ATM, PRRWO and RWL as the so-called revolutionary “wing” also caused some people to lose their bearings and encouraged some defeatism and sectarianism in the movement. Here at last, some of us thought, was that “core” that would fulfill the party building task. Here was a multi-national group of revolutionaries that would pave the way for the rest of us, to struggle with and join something that would eventually become the Party. Comrades, we never agreed with this “wing” idea. There were two wings within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), the Menshevik wing and the Bolshevik wing. This was that law of one dividing into two that strengthened the communist party. We don’t see within the communist movement in the U.S., that lines of demarcation have been sufficiently drawn between the genuine and the opportunist lines for us to say that it is even yet clear what line, what organizations constitute an M-L trend or revolutionary wing. We have identified certain out-right opportunist lines such as the Communist Labor Party (CLP), the October League (OL), PRRWO-RWL (Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization-Revolutionary Workers League), the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). But the M-L trend has not proven or asserted itself yet, such that the majority of the M-L (primarily) and advanced (secondarily) can unite into one trend that will lead to the party congress.

For RWL, PRRWO, ATM (August Twenty-Ninth Movement), WVO and the Revolutionary Bloc to have called themselves the wing or the trend was for them to opportunistically let their petti-bourgeois impatience take hold and further entrench the “core” group mentality in their ranks. Their subjective desire to rush ahead of the conditions (a “left” error) basically resulted in an attempt to build unity on a shallow basis (a right error), an attempt to unite with right opportunism (a right error of conciliation). It could not stand up to the wind of class struggle. But as long as we learn the lessons and do not repeat the errors, we have no reason for pessimism.

Each week we hear more and more about how WVO, the OL and the vestiges of the “wing” are that much closer to calling for the party. In the January Workers Viewpoint we see a pamphlet entitled, “The Formation of the Party is a Settled Question”. In case it’s not clear, we’re here because we know it is not a settled question. And we’re really not worried about the OL consolidating their right opportunist line into a new formation that they will call the party. What we are worried about is that we must settle the question and stop this trend from becoming the norm where everyone sees themselves as the party.

We recognize that our movement has many weaknesses including the fact that we lack a class analysis and a strategy and tactics for revolution in the U.S. Our level of fusion with the working class is not as deep as it must become if we are to complete the central task of party building. But on these three questions as well as on many others we have made progress, we are learning more about the objective conditions in the U.S., and we are consolidating ourselves more into the industrial proletariat. We are developing more from a perceptual to a rational, from a lower to a higher level of understanding on many questions. We are learning more about practical and theoretical problems and in some cases our training is developing well.

But of all questions, in the main it is on Party Building that we have developed the least theory, practice and experience, to the point that today there still remain many differences among us as to how to complete the central task. On the central task at times it seems that we aren’t really sure where we are going. How do we get to the first party congress? That is the hardest question of all that we immediately face.

At the Sixth Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania in 1971, comrade Hoxha pointed out, and we think this still holds true today:

The situation is such that the practical movement of the masses has advanced and continues to advance, while the subjective factor, consciousness, organization and their direction, in many countries has remained behind, and does not meet the tasks of the times. (Summary)

We are the subjective factor, comrades, and theory and political line is the subjective factor as well as strategy and tactics. We have not seemingly moved much closer to completing that one task that will move forward all the other tasks we are faced with; we have not done this because we have not in essence gotten a theoretical grasp of the question. Not only is the central task not completed today, but, objectively it does not even seem at times that we are moving in that direction. In order to understand better how we should move to complete that task, we must understand better what some of the errors have been and where we have fallen off the revolutionary course, where we have failed to use theory to guide our practice.


Today, even the “left” opportunists of PRRWO and the right opportunists of the OL say that party building is the central task. In practice and in theory though there is not sufficient, clear unity on an overall correct line. We are not all following the same theory, the same ideology on this question. For example, I Wor Kuen on the central task of party building says:

Our view that party building is fundamentally an ideological task means that the line to unite Marxist-Leninists must be judged by whether or not it proceeds from Marxist-Leninist dialectical and historical materialism, whether or not it proceeds from the basic interests of the proletarian revolution and the interests of the masses of oppressed and exploited peoples. (Getting Together, vol. VII, p. 9)

The C.O.R.S. position of party building as the central task is that of all our strategic tasks, it is party building that we must focus our other work around. All our work must facilitate party building for only so can we move forward all our work and fulfill our strategic aim of socialist revolution. To fail to take this as the central task effectively results in hampering all our other work. The key link at this stage is the development, struggle and unity on political line, as opposed to ideological or organizational line. Line on ideology and organization must simultaneously be developed along with the key link but to center on ideology rather than political line is a right error, and would objectively hold back the development of our movement. We must continue to deepen our ideological understanding in the context of developing political line. We can not take an anti-theoretical position regarding the importance of ideology and the classics and theory in general.

ATM also claims to uphold party building as the central task. But they are not theoretically clear on the relationship of the central task to other tasks:

This latter position (everything must be seen in the context of party building) is often interpreted to mean that all of our tasks must serve to build, develop and strengthen the party. (1) But when is this not true? (2) Won’t we be trying to build, strengthen and expand the party even under socialism? (3) It is not better to say that it is always the fundamental task of Communists to organize and lead the class struggle of the proletariat, in the course of which we must integrate Marxism-Leninism with our concrete conditions (program), develop the organization capable of such work, train the necessary cadres, unite with those Marxist serious about doing the work, isolate opportunism among the masses of the basis of our ability to lead, and win over the advanced workers by both our ideals and our example? In this way we build a REAL party, REAL fusion takes place. (Revolutionary Cause, p. 11, Vol. I, #10) (Our numbering – COReS).

To answer ATM’s first question, this position of everything-in-the-context-of-party-building will change, it is not “true”, when party building is no longer the central task. As Mao states, the relationship of the central task to the other tasks is a particular relationship.

all. . .work revolves around and serves the central task,. . .this should be the centre of gravity in all work. (Mao Tse Tung, Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the CPC, March 1949, pp. 7-8).

In other words, everything is focused on, is seen in the context of one task when that task is the central one. No other task can be the “centre of gravity” of all our work nor is it correct to imply that party building will always be the central task.

To answer their second question: the answer is yes, we will be building, strengthening and expanding the party even under socialism, and this is inherent in it being a strategic task, but not only a condition of it being the central task at this time or a secondary task at a later time.

To answer their third question, yes, the fundamental task of communists is to organize and lead the class struggle of the proletariat, etc. but this strategic analysis is not “better to say” as an answer to the tactical question: how do we make party building the central task today (at this period of the revolution, not at some other period when objective and subjective conditions are different).

This question of the relationship of the central task to the other tasks is a continual problem for ATM since their Second Congress when they consolidated this new line. Quoting from one of their internal documents they say:

The initial roots of our errors can be traced back to our Unity Congress (First ATM Congress – COReS), which failed to clearly define the tasks facing us – instead saying that all of our tasks must be put into the context of party building rather than saying that party building had to be put into the context of solving the questions put in front of the communists by the mass movement. This error was to lead later to more fundamental problems in regard to carrying out our tasks of uniting Marxist-Leninists and winning over the advanced, as well as in our approach to study, the struggle against opportunism, etc. (Revolutionary Cause, p. 5, Vol. I, #9, PRRWO-RWL Part II) (our emphasis – COReS).

We would repeat that Mao specifically explains the relationship as being that everything else revolves around the central task, that it is the centre of gravity. ATM’s new line is to reverse that relationship and make something else the focus – “solving the questions”. We agree that this task as well as others need to be taken up but we need to guide our work by an M-L theoretical understanding of the relationship of our different tasks to each other, not by a metaphysical understanding.

We can see from these theoretical confusions that ATM and others have not upheld party building as the central task in theory. And the same holds true in practice. This was ATM’s practice in the last mass conference held in Alamosa (1/77), in the Pueblo conference on anti-police repression work (2/77), in the march and rally in Santa Fe last year (7/76) and it was even evident at the Historic Alamosa Conference. What we and others saw in ATM’s practice was the near total liquidation of party building.

In nearly all cases, ATM did not have the time to meet with the M-L prior to these events to unify on what were our joint tasks as communists. This is the way we carry out party building as our central task in our daily work – by uniting M-L and winning the advanced. Even in cases where other M-L have taken the initiative to set up propaganda meetings for this purpose, ATM could not attend. Five minutes before the Historic Alamosa Conference began and also at this year’s conference, some of us are handed ATM’s worksheets. The M-L in Santa Fe last year were unable to get ATM to meet at all.

In practice what we’ve seen is the near total failure in the last year for ATM cadre, leadership and sympathizers to raise the question of the party in their mass work. There are correct and incorrect ways to raise the party in our mass work, but ATM’s rightist practice is to not raise it at all. Many of the Revolutionary Cause’ issues likewise reflect this practice. If ATM can prove to us how by failing to meet with the M-L and by failing to nearly ever raise the question of the party, if they can prove how they in fact, because we know in theory they don’t, uphold it, then we would definitely want to hear this.


We were originally going to present an analysis of an article by Plasari of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania. Our approach was incorrect and thus our conclusions were incorrect. Basically, we were agreeing with ATM’s subjective interpretation of comrade Plasari’s article that they use to liquidate the central task.

We recognize now out of struggle over this question with certain comrades that Plasari’s article is in unity with Chairman Mao’s formulation of central task, that Plasari’s article does deal with right opportunism and that ATM’s interpretation is an opportunist use of Marxism-Leninism to try to justify their right line.

Our self criticism and study on this Plasari error will be deepened but we want to say now that we failed to study this question in a systematic way and that together with our theoretical weaknesses, we drew an erroneous analysis. Most importantly though we see that a more serious error was to pit Mao against Plasari and in that our original analysis was incorrect. This could only serve to provide opportunists with material in their attack at this time upon the Party of Labor of Albania and the Communist Party of China.

Comrades, we agree that we must look not just at the words but also at deeds to judge what is correct and incorrect. We listened to ATM’s words (orally and written) and for the last 9 months we have had the tendency to say that this liquidation of party building was just errors. But now we understand better that ATM’s errors in this respect are not the exception but the rule; this is their line – party building as a secondary task (if even that).

Organizations who have the cadre and the time to organize the students, lead strikes, to call conferences and build for demonstrations, attend community meetings and yet have no time to meet with other Marxist-Leninists, to discuss strategy and tactics, to unite and agree on the application of our ideology and the tasks that M-L have to do for revolutionary work, such an organization as ATM is postponing and liquidating party building and that in fact is their line.


We are here today to struggle to reach higher levels of unity and greater clarity on an important question in the movement. We hope to struggle in a comradely manner and style and to develop what is good and correct for the overall movement. That struggle will be two line struggle, not in the PRRWO style, but to be done in the Leninist style. But even on the question of line struggle, we have different ideas about what theoretically constitutes two line struggle.

Again, the brothers and sisters of ATM have put forward a different theoretical notion about what kind of struggle should be done. They state that two line struggle in their organization is the exception and not the rule. And to justify this they cite Plasari:

The PLA has never allowed the viewpoints and activities of anti-Party groups and elements in its ranks to be turned into a line in opposition to the political line of the Party. (The Vanguard of the Revolution and Socialist Construction, Albania Today, p.7 & 8 (2) 1972)

In other words comrades, the PLA stopped the formation of a second line in their organization by engaging in two line struggle.

What we have here is not just a simple problem of definition. By equating two line struggle with two lines in an organization, struggle inside of ATM is liquidated. This is serious comrades. Objectively this creates the same conditions that led to opportunism becoming predominant in PRRWO. No two line struggle, so no struggle against opportunism. In ATM’s case, this is a right error internally of all unity and no struggle. We hope they won’t make the same error here today. We’ve already stated in the introduction what we mean by two line struggle.

There are two other problems which we think are pertinent insofar as they have held back the general theoretical and practical development of the movement. In order to struggle around line, in order to develop a correct line, we need to know what is the line of an organization. An organization cannot have one line in public or in print and another one in practice or internally on the same question. This is likewise a criticism of ATM in that there have been inconsistencies in what supposedly constitutes their line on certain questions.

Particularly ATM has put forward in ’Revolutionary Cause’ a position of supporting the idea of a police review board. In our talks with their leadership we were informed that they had repudiated that position. We have yet to see a repudiation in print. But in a conference last month in Pueblo, one ATM cadre in one workshop put forward that police review board idea and another in another workshop said they no longer supported this idea. Comrades, if there is some reason that you don’t think you need one position, we can struggle with you about that. But it is very difficult to struggle with your line on this question if you have at one and the same time, two different positions.

To the comrades of ATM we say, we don’t agree with your idea of two-line struggle in your organization being the exception. But we would agree a communist organization can only have one line. Obviously your two-line-struggle-is-the-exception idea has not prevented two lines from developing in your organization. This question of the police review board is one example.

Also, comrades, you must use your newspaper ’Revolutionary Cause’ to repudiate positions that you no longer support. Even if all of your own cadre and contacts are informed verbally or internally of a new position, what you must understand is that the movement is made up of more than the people around your organization. Other Marxist-Leninists, collectives, etc. may have contact with your line only through your newspaper and if you change a position but fail to make this known, then objectively you are saying that it won’t matter if these certain Marxist-Leninists continue to be guided by a line that you think is no longer correct. What you are objectively saying is that you have already united all the genuine M-L. They are the ones in direct contact with your organization.


Which brings us to the last point in this section. It has been convenient for the large organizations and others to transplant a description of ’narrow circle spirit’ from Russia to the U.S. and say that the main problem in our movement is this ’small group mentality’. This was true for Albania and it is a problem for our movement as well. The narrow circle spirit, the small group mentality prevents us from seeing ourselves as part of the larger movement, from getting into the mainstream of the communist struggle and keeps our contact with the movement largely confined to the local area.

But it is not the small collectives and organizations that have pulled hegemonistic actions on the large organizations, it is not the small collectives and organizations that have rushed into creating parties on a shallow basis of unity, or wings out of feathers. No, comrades, this has been more a manifestation of the larger, national organizations. We should more correctly define this narrow circle spirit as ’core group mentality’ that many organizations (mostly large ones) see the party being built around themselves. We recognize the problems that many small groups do in fact also have this small group mentality but we should make terms fit our conditions. It is core group mentality manifested primarily by large organizations that is the primary problem.


We must learn proletarian patience and rid ourselves of this petty bourgeois haste, this impatience that we are not strong enough to build the party on a firm basis. If a line does not work out in practice, we can not rush immediately into saying that the line is incorrect. We should realize that we are inexperienced as a whole, we lack ability in many areas, we need to develop more training in order to correctly carry out a line. And if after implementing methods to correctly carry out our line, we see that problems persist, then we can look to the line and see in fact if it is a problem of an erroneous line.

Again, to go to the ATM comrades they state in their newspaper:

What this line inevitably reduces itself to is this – in all of our work we must focus and pay attention only to uniting M-L and winning over the advanced. . . (p.11, RC, Vol.I,#10)

The line that they are talking about is our line and the line of LPR.

And it is the old dominant line of ATM prior to their second congress. That line is that party building is the central task, that uniting M-L is our primary tactical task, that winning over the advanced is one secondary tactical task, that grasping political line is the key link in this stage of party building and that propaganda is the chief form of activity.

Comrades, this did not happen to us. This line in our organization did not inevitably reduce itself to PRRWO’s line. We had problems, yes. We made ’left’ errors at times, and we also made right errors. But we are striving to learn patience and through a consistent check-up, through serious study, discussions, training, through better methods of work, we have slowly been able to see that in fact comrades you exchanged a basically correct line for an erroneous line.


This section is not complete. We don’t have the total answer, but what we will lay out is some of the lessons we see must be learned by our movement and some of the both large end small things which can and should be done in order to make it possible for us to lead the proletarian forces and its allies to the achievement of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Generally, we must continue to draw lines of demarcation between correct and incorrect lines and continue the two line struggle for clarity and correctness and against opportunism. We must heighten our study and investigation of the objective and subjective conditions in this country. We know far too little of what it is that affects the daily lives of the workers and the masses. We must reach some fundamental unity on the national question, the woman question, the trade union work, the international situation including recognizing the leadership of the CPC and the PLA. And we need unity on carrying out our mass work and on the use of criticism/self-criticism and communist norms or organization. We would hope that there is agreement at least here on the importance of these first points. We need to have unity on these questions not in some fully developed way but we at least need a guiding line on each of these questions and on the fundamental question of strategy and tactics for proletarian revolution in the U.S.

To turn a bad thing into a good thing we must benefit from the degeneration of PRRWO by taking the lessons and insuring through all possible means that the same conditions under which the “left” opportunists were able to predominate in PRRWO are not repeated again in any other organization for any other opportunists to gain hegemony. We are not saying that these are all the lessons to be learned nor that these are necessarily the only main ones:

1) Open party building plans. PRRWO leadership developed a party building plan that WVO and ATM united on. To this day comrades, the movement as a whole has not had the opportunity to see what the incorrect party building plan of the “wing” looks like. We have not had the opportunity to be part of that struggle because the organizations involved somehow saw fit to keep a bad thing from influencing the rest of us. It must have been a bad thing. If it was a good thing, if it was such a good basis of unity that those three organizations united on it, then it would also have been good for the rest of us. Unless there is some aspect of security involved here that we don’t understand, we see that the lesson from this is that in the future, any party building plans should be at least made available to the entire movement for their input and participation and most preferably, jointly hammered out by all genuine M-L organizations.

2) Regularly elected leadership. One of the positions used by the opportunists in PRRWO that enabled them to maintain their hegemony was that conditions in the U.S. called for security measures such that no party congress could be held. One thing that happens at such a congress is new leadership is elected and other replaced. This helps keep party organizations healthy. Unless severe conditions of repression exist, up to and including fascism, the lesson to be learned is that organizations must have periodic congresses or at least election of leadership as often as necessary.

3) Sum-up and rectification. Leadership and cadre of all organizations should study and implement methods of rectification, should understand what rectificaation campaigns are. This includes major sum-up being done of all organizational work on some consistent and systematic basis. We are not saying that sum-ups are an easy thing, but they are necessary. The lesson from PRRWO is that had the good leadership and cadre understood ’what sum-up and rectification were, they would have been better able to deal with opportunism that persisted and grew within their organization. Along these lines we would like to relate to the ex-PRRWO comrades who put together the “Degeneration of PRRWO” that we consider their document to be one of the best sum-ups we have ever seen in our movement and that it goes a long way in fulfilling their present responsibility to the movement and to themselves. We encourage other people to study this document not only for the lessons on PRRWO but also as an example of what constitutes a good, thorough sun-up. We have ret yet had time to study the document in detail, so we cannot lay out any specific disagreements and unities we may have with these comrades, but only that we have general unity with their analysis. The one thing we saw lacking in a systematic way was what we are presenting here, the lessons which we essentially synthesized out of their document. We take sole responsibility for any errors in this.

4) Developing political line. Political line in PRRWO was written by a handful of the leadership and handed down in written, final form, to the cadre to be memorized. The lessons to be learned from this is that line should not be handed down to the cadre but rather that cadre and for that matter contacts of organizations should also be involved in initiating and developing politica1 line of an organization. Cadre that are principledly and organizationally involved in this process will be better able to grasp political questions, be better consolidated on line and be better able to put the line forward, defend it and practice it. With this ability, the PPRWO cadre would have been better able to identify the incorrect line within the organization and struggle against the opportunism in that organization.

5) Cadre/leadership roles in party building. Cadre in PRRWO were discouraged at times from doing joint discussions and struggle with cadre of other organizations and the unity between PRRWO and other organizations was largely confined to the leadership-to-leadership level. Cadre of any organization have the duty to discuss and struggle jointly with cadre of other organizations on line and in practice in order to get an understanding of what kind of unity can exist. Paaty building only from above was one of the means, one of the conditions which enabled the PRRWO opportunists to maintain their hold over their cadre and keep the cadre from finding out the growing bankruptcy of the line. This is an important lesson.

6) Our responsibility to expose incorrect lines. Another aspect of this is that one of the conditions within PRRWO was the relative lack of information which any unit of the organization had about what was happening in the rest of the organization. The opportunists were thus able to keep the cadre from organizing against them. There was no internal basis for the good leadership and cadre to struggle as an opposition against the opportunist leadership. The only other possible basis for struggle, given the lack of room for struggle within PRRWO would have been for other organizations to have been putting forward the developing differences they had with the PRRWO line and leadership, in public through their newspapers. No one in the “wing” did this until it was too late. We small organizations and collectives could also have contributed to this and in the future we should not belittle or neglect our responsibility to the movement to expose an incorrect line when we see it developing and wait on the larger organizations to take care of the problem. We could have provided the good cadre in PRRWO with the political basis for them to struggle internally.

7) Cadre’s responsibility. The essential relationship between cadre and leadership in PRRWC was that between the blindly led and the elitist leadership. Rather than representing the cadre and summing up their experience as line, the leadership terrorized them and handed down line. As members of organizations that have taken up the task of leading the proletariat to socialist revolution, we have the critical responsibility to insure that we are members of organizations of democratic centralism, but also have the duty to struggle in a consistent way with our leadership and within our organization if we see opportunism or that a line is not working. This goes for our cadre and all other cadre, but most particularly at this time to the cadre of ATM. If the PRRWO cadre had done so, we might still have a genuine organization by that name in the movement and not have lost so much that resulted from the degeneration of PRRWO.

We say this particularly to the ATM cadre because of the good history these comrades have had. Their ties to the working class and the Chicano national movement are good things. But an erroneous line, a line that doesn’t work, that is not theoretically correct will eventually reduce itself to consolidated opportunism. We will struggle with you from the outside but we are an external factor to ATM. It is the ATM cadre which will determine the direction; and if they see contradictions, they must struggle against an erroneous line. To lose ATM to consolidated opportunism would be a major setback.

8) Two dangers, main and secondary. The program for study on opportunism of the PRRWO cadre as decided by the leadership was to concentrate almost exclusively on documents dealing with right opportunism. Comrades, we must demand and implement methods and materials for study that include both the question of “left” (secondary) and right (main danger). But more importantly, we should not accept any “reasons” for not always being on guard for both the “left” and right errors and opportunism in this movement and within our organizations. If the PRRWO cadre and some leadership had done this, again they would have had a more all-sided basis for struggling against the opportunist leadership.

Towards a Party Building Plan with Political Line as the Key Link

Comrades, the question of the primary tactical importance of uniting M-L in this period must be upheld and we must deepen our understanding of how this can be done in all our work if we are to have us a party in the shortest time possible and not a house of cards. We have seen consistently in this area as well as in others that these organization that fail to grasp this question or those that fail to uphold it as a primary tactical task in fact totally liquidate that question and party building. Again, this is a disagreement that we have with the newly dominant ATM line. Our criticisms of them over the past 10 months concerning this question have deepened to the point that we no longer see it as a question of errors. It is not a question of intention, either. The ATM cadre and leadership in spite of their “intentions” and attempts to uphold uniting M-L, have consistently failed to uphold it at all. And this goes for other comrades as well who either have united with the ATM line or failed to grasp the question, which amounts to the same thing.

Our organization has made errors in this respect, both “left” and right but we are repeatedly confronted with the contradiction in our work that this in practice has proven to be the key tactical task, the primary tactical task that moves forward all our other tactical tasks and effects the results of all our work. We expect to go more into this question within the discussion and we will deal greatly with what has resulted in practice. We uphold the theoretical M-L analysis that in fact there does exist a contradiction between this task and all other tactical tacks and that one in fact, in practice and in theory, must be primary. Our analysis of what are primary tactical tasks must correspond to objective reality.

We are saying we have no choice on this question. We are talking about an objective law of society and of the material world, in general. By failing to understand this, ATM in practice has not tried to change the two tactical tasks into one tactical task of win over the advanced and the M-L. Comrades, this will be the slogan of the party and in objectively practicing or trying to practice this line today, ATM will be more and more forced into a practice and a line where they see themselves as the party.

Under the present conditions and in the foreseeable future we don’t see that the party can be built around or out of one organization. To uphold M-L unite, any party building effort or plan must be based on a multi-lateral mutual basis of respect for all organizations involved. Everyone cannot be the party, comrades and we say this to those who are about to create their parties and those in the near future who are moving in that direction. You can’t all be right. There can only be one party of the proletariat.

Our Proposals

We want to make some definite proposals on furthering the work of completing the central task before we close. We need a party building plan that is based in concrete investigation. We need a tactical plan for getting to the first congress just as we need tactical plans for capturing the leadership of trade unions.
1) In order to design such a plan we must investigate our movement.
2) We must develop the ability and the willingness to maintain consistent and systematic communication and contact amongst ourselves.
3) We would also propose, based on our experiences, joint propaganda conferences at all levels in order to develop unity and clarity on political line.
4) We see that joint work around IWD, May Day, etc., could also serve us in building unity and developing one another.
5) We see there is the possibility of joint political commissions being formed between organizations on particular questions (such as the woman’s question, the Chicano National question, etc.). Also, we think that the idea of joint newspapers or journals should be explored as possibilities to see whether they would likewise serve our movement.
6) Our last definite proposal is joint forums, such as this one today.

Final Comments

Comrades, we must establish ties with the third world liberation struggles and in whatever way we can and to whatever extent we can, carry out our duty to those struggles, to support them as much as possible. We must become better at winning over the advanced workers that will help to proletarianize our ranks as well as fuse us to the working class. We need to develop unity on the question of a line on imperialist war that grows potentially closer each day, and an analysis of the danger of fascism. We need to be more aware or our unities and deepen those unities. We need to learn from PRRWO and look critically at our leadership to see what petti-bourgeoise and lumpen baggage they still carry as leftovers from the revolutionary struggles of the ’60s.

Comrades, we have to deal more and more with the specific, and get away from the abstract. We don’t mean do more agitation and less propaganda or more action and less political discussion. This is not the same thing. In this area around Denver you hear the criticism about “that’s in the realm of ideas”. It is supposed to be a criticism about ”leftism”. What it means really is that we should not discuss too much politically, do much propaganda because we must avoid abstractions and irrelevancy. Well, that’s exactly what this criticism is. There is realm of ideas and realm of actions. We do work in both. If we hear something in the realm of ideas, we ask, is it a good idea, or is it a bad idea. And if we hear a self-criticism about “we cut out three-fourths (3/4) of our mass work”, we ask, how much of that mass work was good and how much of it was bad. This is what we mean about dealing more with the specific and the particular.

Opportunism hides behind the abstract, the irrelevant, the vague. But in the specific it comes exposed. In this area, we have seen these two types of criticisms used in order to cover the main danger of right opportunism. We must definitely guard against “left” opportunism (the secondary danger), as well at this time. But the tendency has been to be weak, shallow and abstract on criticizing the “left”. ATM’s articles on PRRWO-RWL are examples of this. From such weak, shallow analysis we then get abstractions, slandering, rumor-mongering and vague charges that are done behind closed doors since they cannot be defended in the open.

It is the subjective factor in this area and in the overall movement that has been belittled. This is inherent in right opportunism being the main danger to the communist movement and describes the conditions as far as we know them. We need to be on guard against what may be developing as a real anti-theoretical trend in this movement. This would have us go “to the masses” and build the spontaneous struggle. This would have us take the building of the United Front Against Imperialism as the central task.

Those of us that are the small organizations and collectives and individuals should take another look at ourselves and recognize that all the other organizations that are larger are not in fact and necessarily because of size more correct or better leadership. We smaller organizations have largely played a backseat role in this question of party building and it is now practically up to us to develop more of ourselves and put ourselves out more into the movement and wait no longer for our “savior” organization. We could become the key to the party building effort.

To finish up, throughout this statement we have pointed out certain major disagreements that we have with the comrades of ATM. These are far from all the disagreements. We have indicated that we see we have a lot of unity with LPR, we are deepening our understanding of what that unity is and this forum is part of its development. We have tried to show how we see that ATM in their newly consolidated line has moved into a position that will eventually lead to consolidated right opportunism all along the line, if it is not uprooted. We consider both these two organizations, LPR and ATM, to be genuine, honest organizations at this time and we will struggle with that in mind without liquidating the two line struggle. We consider the differences between these two organizations to be significant to the entire movement and we are happy that we have had the opportunity in hosting this forum to be able to contribute to settling these questions.

Comrades, the differences between these two organizations are too great for us to not say that only one of these lines can be correct and the other is incorrect. And this includes the differences between us and ATM as well. We know we are basically correct and ATM seems to think that they are correct and we know that LPR knows they are correct. But one of the two lines is not. We will, our movement will, eventually determine which one is and in this we will guide our decision by theory based in sum-up of our practice. The ATM empiricism that seeks to liquidate theory by saying we will see who is correct in practice, in the course of struggle alone can not be followed by genuine Marxist-Leninists. In either case, we of the communist movement of the U.S. cannot afford another setback of the dimensions of the PRRWO degeneration. We are confident that the correct line will win out and that we can continue to develop greater clarity on all the questions facing us such that next year or the year after or even the next year, we will be concretely and consciously closer to calling for the first party congress of the new communist party of the United States.


We leave you with these words of the great Marxist-Leninist, Mao Tse-Tung and will work to apply these here as well as they have been applied elsewhere.