Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Committee for Scientific Socialism (M-L)

A Proposal Concerning the General Line on Party-Building for the Communist Movement in the U.S.

Concerning the General Line on Party-Building for the U.S. Communist Movement

The creation and advocacy of revolutionary theory plays the principal and decisive role in those times of which Lenin said, ’Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.’ When a task, no matter which, has to be performed, but there is as yet no guiding line, method, plan or policy, the principal and decisive thing is to decide on a guiding line, method, plan or policy. Mao Tse-tung, “On Contradiction.” Selected Readings, FLP, p. 116.

Comrades, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought demands that all practice be pursued scientifically – that theory be our guide. Yet, despite our unity that party-building is the central task of all U.S. Marxist-Leninists, we have consistently failed to develop theoretical foundations to guide our work in this regard. Thus, while in words we all demand an ideological break with modern revisionism and opportunism, we have not been able to grasp the essence of this task. Our movement, today, after three party-building failures and on the verge of a fourth, remains without bearings in its struggle to build a genuine communist party.

The development of the theory of the party is the pressing task of our movement at this time. We must sum up the experience of the international communist movement in party-building and elaborate a theory to guide our practice. It is upon this kind of scientific basis alone that we can expect to unite the efforts of all genuine communists and forge organizational unity.

Is there any doubt that our movement lacks theory in this regard? Here and there are snatches of theory, but nowhere is it fully developed. An examination of the lines in our movement reveals that even terms such as theory and ideology are used differently by different groups. In fact, strategy, tactics, politics, organization, line – all these terms are used differently and sometimes interchangably by different organizations. Nowhere is there a systematic explanation of the party in its process of development. Comrades, party-building, like everything else, is a question of science. It must be approached in a scientific manner.

The requirements of science vary with the particulars of the situation. In a country such as the United States where the bourgeoisie has ruled full and free for over 200 years bourgeois ideology pervades the social system, including the communist movement. Bourgeois ideology in the form of pragmatism and small group outlook (factionalism) have been dominating the leading lines on party-building in the U.S. communist movement for a substantial period of time. Pragmatism is the path of least resistance; whatever works, do it. Small group outlook is organizational individualism and chauvinism. They unite to produce the spontaneous line of “whichever organization can most fully establish ties with the masses and organize their motion, so shall it become the party.” It is precisely in conditions where spontaneity has been dominating that a firm and persistent struggle must be waged to raise theory to its proper level. In such periods, ideological struggle against erroneous lines is the primary form of class struggle. We must insist that theory guide all our practice in building a genuine communist party and in all other revolutionary activity. It is only in this manner that socialist revolution can gain the confidence of the masses and attain victory. It is only in this manner that the communist party can be the true leader of the socialist revolution and maintain its independence and initiative.

Below is a theoretical analysis of the party in its process of development. This is followed by a survey of our current movement and a statement of our tasks as communists in light of this theory. The theory has been developed from a careful summation of the party-building experience in Russia. We have relied heavily upon the works of Lenin and Stalin in this regard. We have paid particular attention to the relationship of the objective and subjective factors; the interconnectedness and particularity of theory and ideology, strategy and tactics, politics and organization, and consciousness and conscious activity; and to the stages of development of the party. It is crucial that our movement study these formulations, compare these to their own historical investigation, criticize, and develop more precise theory. It is only upon this kind of approach that we can hope to unite honest communists and build toward the party.