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.

Ideological Line on the Communist Movement

Unity and Struggle

The communist movement in the U.S. is attempting to build a proletarian party of the New Type. At the present time, there is general theoretical and ideological unity on party-building as the central task of all genuine U.S. Marxist-Leninists.

Theoretical unity is reflected in broad acceptance of the universal truth that without a vanguard party guided by the most advanced theory, there can be no revolutionary movement. There is general agreement that until the most advanced class conscious elements are materially united in the most advanced form of political organization, all tasks other than party-building are secondary and subservient.

Ideological unity is manifested in the understanding that in the U.S. at this time we are without a genuine vanguard communist party. In particular, there is unity that the “C”PUSA is a thoroughly revisionist party, Marxist-Leninist in name alone. Within the workers movement it performs a reformist role and acts as a defender of the bourgeoisie.

There is also agreement that we have had at least three ruined attempts to build an anti-revisionist communist party since the “C”PUSA formally broke with Marxism-Leninism as part of the open split in international socialism on the general line of the world communist movement. While to one degree or another raising, in words, the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought, all these attempts have failed, in deeds, to uphold its revolutionary content.

The Progressive Labor Party (PLP), the Communist Labor Party (CLP) and, most recently, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP-USA) all have broken organizationally with the counter-revolutionary politics of the “C”PUSA. Nevertheless, all have failed to break with opportunism and, thus, all have consolidated revisionist ideological and political lines.

The negative examples of the PLP, CLP and RCP-USA have not been summed up, generalized and raised to the level of theory in order to guide our movement. The basis of our past party-building failures has not been exposed. Until this task is done, our movement will remain without clear lines to guide our efforts in building a genuine party opposed to counter-revolution.

The ideological disunity in our movement therefore manifests itself in different viewpoints and approaches on how to build a genuine anti-revisionist party in this period of the party-building process. This is the burning question.

By using the theory of party-building as a guide, we can scientifically demarcate the two lines in our movement as to how to build the party. We must begin by saying, however, that prior to 1975, to our knowledge, no organization in the U.S. displayed a grasp of party-building theory. Thus, prior to 1975 the struggle within our movement was entirely spontaneous. No line was a genuine Leninist line on party-building. Further, to our knowledge no organization has laid bare a complete analysis of the party-building process to this date, although some groups, now, apparently do grasp its essence.

The two-line struggle within the communist movement over party-building has been and continues to be over which period we are in and what is our strategic conception of the tasks of this period. In other words, the two-line struggle within the communist movement is over the theory of party-building and our grasp of the current practical movement.

In the U.S. we are still in the first step of the pre-party period. Herein, the principal contradiction is still the development of strategic line. We make this assertion because while the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought is an agreed-upon set of consistent principles of social development, as a guide to action it has not been firmly grasped in practice by our movement.

The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should regard it not as a dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying is not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases, but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of revolution. It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems. Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, FLP.

Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought applied in particular to our concrete tasks in the U.S. has not been deep or systematic enough to give the mass of communists a clear line against opportunism and revisionism. In respect to understanding the unfolding revolutionary process, our movement has not had the benefit of all-round development of conscious struggle to place our subjective in line with objective conditions.

This is because our movement has been dominated by subjectivism, or one-sidedness. On the one hand, there has been dogmatism, party-building by ready-made phrases from the classics without what Mao calls genuine theoretical work –

Marx undertook detailed investigations and studies of practical struggles, formed generalizations, and then verified his conclusions by testing them in practical struggles. This is what we call theoretical work. Mao Tse-tung, “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work,” FLP, p. 8.

Dogmatism in our movement has confined party-building to the mere restoration of the grand words of our great leaders of proletarian revolution without developing them further into a concrete U.S. revolutionary strategy.

We must go beyond the idealistic notion that merely assuming a Marxist cover can substitute for a real strategy. In other words, we need less phrasemongering and more scientific analysis of the classes in struggle.

On the other hand, there has been empiricism, or resting content with our own narrow experience without raising this partial perceptual knowledge to a complete rational theoretical level.

This subjectivist outlook has also liquidated the need to formulate a strategy in a concrete way because it fails to sum up revolutionary experience in general and rests content with accumulation of mere unsystematic detail.

Our theoretical work should be for the conscious purpose of developing a strategy such as defined by Stalin:

Strategy is the determination of the direction of the main blow of the proletariat a given stage of the revolution, the elaboration of a corresponding plan for the disposition of the revolutionary forces (main and secondary reserves), the fight to carry out this plan throughout the given stage of the revolution. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, FLP, p 84.

Comrades, nothing less will do.

Two Trends in the Communist Movement

The strategic line for revolution in/the U.S. has not been clearly drawn. There is a growing awareness by the honest forces in our movement that the unity of will among communists cannot be achieved without struggle to place a strategy for revolution in the U.S. on the firm foundations of theory. This revolutionary trend recognizes that without the deeper development of the consciousness of the movement there can be no significant development of its lines of conscious activity–the tactics, the unity of action necessary to unite the class and its allies and lead the masses to revolution.

The revolutionary trend sees right opportunism as the main danger to the development of the strategic line of the subjective factor. Right opportunism belittles theory and pragmatically pursues the line of least resistance in party-building by organizing on the basis of “quantity of experience.” By its nature right opportunism promotes further tail ism of the rapidly unfolding spontaneous conditions.

To defeat right opportunism within our ranks and to isolate opportunists, out-right revisionists, trotskyists and Utopians in the workers movement, our revolutionary trend must stress open polemics, in full view of all communists and advanced workers so that all shades of differences can be thrashed out. Ideological struggle to draw clear and firm lines of demarcation between genuine and sham is necessary for the consolidation of all the revolutionary communists into a cadre core which can then, in turn, win over the advanced, particularly those in the workers movements. Therefore, the revolutionary trend stresses increased cooperation within the trend to accelerated the consolidation of its ranks.

In sum, the emerging revolutionary trend stresses theoretical work and ideological struggle as the primary tasks in this period. It seeks to unite all the genuine Marxist-Leninists, establish the hegemony of this trend in the workers movement by winning over the advanced, and, thus, prepare for the final organizational consolidation of the party, the elaboration of a fully developed program, strategy and tactics and the beginning of the new period–the building of the revolutionary mass movement for the seizure of state power. Once in this new period, mass practice becomes the principal contradiction.

Some organizations in our movement, by word or by deed, place the development of the lines of conscious activity as the primary task in the development of the subjective factor, the contradiction we call party-building.

Objectively, these retrograde forces assert that we are now in the second step of the pre-party period or even on the verge of the new period, itself.

This camp, itself, divides into two aspects which, while appearing to be the opposite of each other, are in essence united in belittling our theoretical and ideological tasks. Both sets of forces make the key link to party-building unity on political and organizational line. Both build the mass movement in order to build their own organizations.

On the one hand, are those forces in our movement, like the Guardian and the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP), who correctly see that the strategic line for our movement has not been drawn. They incorrectly put forward, however, that the development of our theoretical and ideological lines can only occur with “more experience among the masses.” These forces say that our strategy for revolution in the U.S. can only be developed when we more fully develop tactics and organization within the working class.

This rearguard trend claims that since the party cannot be built until communists unite with the workers movement, communists do not need to develop a line on the central task other than “go among the workers.”

Comrades, these “independent Marxist-Leninists” cannot distinguish the masses from the vanguard. In this pre-party period our line should reflect our primary focus of theoretical work and ideological struggle aimed, first, at establishing communist unity around the genuine revolutionary line and, second, at winning over the advanced to that line. These steps are interconnected and overlapping, but the first is primary at this time.

Typically, these forces label all ideological struggle within the movement as sectarian. Comrades, we definitely have sectarianism in our ranks, but a whole lot of it is exemplified by the “no struggle” attitude of these forces who make unprincipled peace by avoiding open polemics to struggle for clarity.

We unite that the party cannot be a truly vanguard party until it is fused with the workers movement. What these “liquidators” fail to understand, however, is that we cannot win over the advanced of the class and the masses until we first unite the vanguard–the genuine communist movement. And we cannot unite the communist movement until we develop a strategy for revolution in the U.S. which draws clear lines of demarcation against revisionism and opportunism of all shades.

This task demands primary focus on theoretical work and ideological struggle in both steps of the pre-party period. First, unite the revolutionary trend and, second, win over the advanced workers.

Our secondary focus in this period is mass work along political and organizational lines. In the first step mass work is for initial identification of the advanced and developing a perceptual basis for elaboration of strategy and tactics. In the second step mass work is to test and further develop program, strategy and tactics, thereby beginning to establish communist leadership in the workers movement. It is backward in this period to stress mass work in the primary position. Those who do must think the party will emerge after enough experience.

Comrades, this is the classic “tactics-as-a-process” approach to party-building. This approach is clearly right opportunist in nature. Because this trend liquidates the vanguard party as the consciousness, leadership and organizer of the class, it must be exposed, isolated and defeated. We must win all honest forces from this bankrupt line to the correct Leninist line on the question.

These forces, if they further consolidate, will move out of the communist movement. This will objectively set the movement back and further divide our already-divided forces. The CSS call on these comrades to criticize themselves by developing a line on party-building to show that they recognize it as the burning issue of the communist movement.

On the other hand, are those like the October League (OL) who by word or deed assert that our movement has already developed a strategic line for revolution in the U.S. They claim that the theory of Marxism-Leninism has been firmly grasped and applied in particular to the concrete conditions of the U.S. and has yielded a clear line of action for all communists and advanced.

These forces claim that we are now prepared to leave the old pre-party period and enter into the new party period. They claim that this advance has occurred because our theoretical work and ideological struggle has produced sufficient unity among communists to enter the new period–the organizational and political consolidation of the party of the proletariat.

This camp is saying that our primary tasks have now been completed. We no longer need to consolidate the communist movement through theoretical work and ideological struggle. Our movement is already united!

They say what we need to do is develop our tactics to consolidate the advanced workers and “build the mass movement–the fight back” and other united front work.

They claim that clear lines of demarcation within the vanguard movement have been drawn against revisionism and opportunism, thus arming us sufficiently to struggle victoriously against all counter-revolutionary trends.

This analysis is a serious over estimation of the development of the subjective factor. It is clear that there has yet to be presented in full view of the communist movement a program or strategic line which can unite all genuine Marxist-Leninists against all brands of counter-revolution. Those claiming that such a line exists can only cause great harm to the revolutionary movement. Their so-called “polemics” have, in fact, been only political exposures with no ideological and theoretical foundation. These opportunists have tried to defeat organizations one at a time rather than seeking out and exposing the theoretical and ideological roots of opportunism within the movement. They are making their organization key to party-building. This is a clear example of right sectarianism which continues to plague our movement.

Without showing any manifestations of knowledge of the objective conditions, these forces ask us to accept their leading role on word rather than by deeds. They have not shown genuine leadership in the study and summation of history, theory and current events. They have not shown that they have grasped the scientific method of observing, studying, analyzing and solving problems. These forces present conclusions backed with nothing but blind assertions. They negate the leading role of the party by substituting their own narrow direct experience for advanced consciousness based on broad theoretical work. Or they negate the party as vanguard by mechanically applying theory without making a concrete analysis of the current unfolding process.

This trend will do anything that works to build its own organization–even at the expense of the communist movement. They are pragmatically building the party without consolidating anti-revisionist ideology on the basis of theory. This trend and line must be exposed in full view cf all honest forces who demand that the foundations of the genuine party be a thorough, concrete investigation of the development of the objective and subjective factors in the United States.

The retrograde trend is preparing for the founding of yet another party–sure to degenerate into revisionism. Comrades, the CSS and other honest forces are warning them not to do it; otherwise they must certainly be counted in the enemy camp.

The Current Movement

The following is a brief review of some major national pre-party communist organizations and their lines on party-building. We in the CSS see some of these as representatives of the two trends in our movement. Others, which we call intermediate, exhibit both revolutionary and retrograde tendencies.

This review of our movement is not a complete survey nor does it represent an in-depth “tit-for-tat” polemical work. We submit this analysis of these major organizations in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity, to give a preliminary view of how the theory of party-building should guide our party-building efforts.

Workers Viewpoint (WV), more than any ether group, represents the emerging revolutionary trend. Without developing the complete form, WV has correctly grasped the essence of how to build the party. They assert that we are still in the pre-party period; in spite of the fact that there has been recognition of the task for a number of years and several party-building attempts have been made,

The working class sorely needs its vanguard party. After years of an incorrect leading line on this question, the question now is still how to correctly build the party of the working class. Workers Viewpoint, May, 1975, p. 26.

They say that the dominant incorrect line has been the opportunist line of “practice, practice, practice” or the development of the tactics of the party before the development of the strategy or consciousness of the party.

Party-building must be linked with line. But. line is not simply political line, i.e. positions on trade unions, Black national question, busing, etc. It is ideological and political line. A shortcoming of the communist movement in the U.S. is that the need for ideological line is not fully understood. Not understanding this ideological question, an anti-revisionist party cannot be built. Ibid., p. 26.

Thus, WV correctly sees the primary task of this period as establishing the ideological foundation of the party and that this task places theoretical work at the forefront.

This is because the generality (of revisionism) exists in the particularity (of specific manifestations) and correct lines are developed in the process of combatting incorrect ones. But these different political positions have to be systematized and generalized into their roots and theoretical premises. Having a firmer and stronger grasp of these theoretical premises is the only safeguard against degeneration, the only guarantee to detect shades and forms of revisionism, defeat its particular manifestations and repudiate it as an integral whole. Ibid., p. 27.

As WV sees it, the strategy for party-building in this period is to develop the consciousness aspect of the party-building contradiction by theoretical work around revisionism in general and ideological struggle against revisionism and opportunism in the U.S. in particular. This is their “strategic conception of the task.”

WV’s primary practice is to seek out “nationally specific forms of revisionism” by summing up “the experiences and resolutions of the two-line struggle against revisionism throughout the international and American communist movements.” (Ibid., p. 30) So far, this has yielded a set of initial anti-revisionist theoretical premises for the communist movement to study and grasp in order to make a genuine rupture with revisionism. These theoretical foundations against revisionism are pragmatism, bourgeois democracy, centrism and chauvinism. WV says that they did this theoretical work not just by a study of revisionist political line and history, but “more importantly, the methodology by which they operated and arrived at their positions on various political questions” was studied. WV’s work in this regard has been a positive service to the communist movement.

WV sees the main task now as consolidating genuine communists through principled ideological struggle around the root of these revisionist deviations in our movement. WV is conscious that the main obstacle to this struggle is that outlook and methodology which belittles theoretical and ideological development and instead takes the spontaneous approach to party-building.

Our position is that the main problem so far is that the communist movement, due to pragmatism, has no such strategic conception of building an anti-revisionist party up to this point. What is needed is a vigorous struggle around this question to weed out revisionist tendencies within the communist movement, to draw lines of demarcation and, at the same time, to develop anti-revisionist premises. Ibid., p. 31.

WV points out that the most immediate task, owing to the lack of struggle within the communist movement, is to engage in “tit-for-tat” polemics and thus take a step toward ending this period.

The power of the theory of Marxism and polemics in the communist movement lies with their criticalness, their combative quality. Polemics based on MLMttT forces out to the light of day all primitiveness and opportunism. It serves the proletariat by pressuring the movement, by ruthlessly exposing all deviations, by analyzing its class content and vacillations, and by steering the movement back to a proper path. Theory and polemics should be used to push the movement forward. Ibid., p. 33.

WV has a correct view of the focus of this pre-party period. This includes a line that the secondary tasks of political and organizational mass work should identify the advanced and develop and test the strategic line.

Objectively the working class movement in the U.S. is surging forward. Underneath the M-L movement and propelling it forward is the intense spontaneous struggle of the working class. In this period communists must participate in these struggles to provide Marxist-Leninist leadership, to win over the advanced elements, sharpen the focus of our theory and submit our line to the test of class struggle. ... It is of particular import that communists should take part in the immediate struggle and transform the subjective world in the process of transforming the objective world. This is a strategic component of the Bolshevization of the pre-party formations and thus the future party itself. This is a prerequisite for anti-revisionist parties in advanced capitalist countries. In this country, there must be a greater integration between theory and practice although in this period, theory is principle. Ibid., p. 34.

The weakness, however, is that WV blurs the first and second steps of the pre-party period. While the CSS considers WV to be the best example to date of the emerging revolutionary trend in our movement, the CSS must struggle with the WV to develop a much clearer party building line, in particular to be conscious of the pre-party steps: first, unite the trend, and then, through united, concerted trend effort, possibly through a trend newspaper, unite the strategic communist line with the workers movement by winning over the advanced workers.

Thus, we unite with the essence of WV’s strategic conception of party building: the primary task of the pre-party period is to develop the subjective factor through theoretical work and ideological struggle within the communist movement, drawing clear and firm lines against revisionism and opportunism of all types and establishing a clear strategic line for revolution in the U.S.

We struggle with WV on two points. First, our view is that while the first step – uniting the trend, and the second step–winning over the workers, are overlapping steps, they are also distinct with the first clearly primary at this time. We think that the WV is basically in unity with this view although they must firmly and clearly state that they do. During the first step we must clearly and firmly demarcate Marxism-Leninism from all other “revolutionary” movements and clearly delineate the two trends within the communist movement. The second step calls for a further demarcation of Marxism-Leninism from all other “revolutionary” and reformist movements and the consolidation of the revolutionary trend within the communist movement in order to delineate genuine communism from sham and in order to prepare for the founding of a genuine Marxist-Leninist party in the United States.

The second point of struggle with WV is over the question of theory. WV exhibits a certain amount of theoretical muddleness. They fail to put their ideological line into a firm theoretical framework at times. For example, in the development of their five anti-revisionist theoretical premises, WV does not put these five things into the context of the contradiction between the economic base and the superstructure. Theory is one aspect of the emerging subjective factor and thus expresses the dialectical relationship between the emerging proletarian superstructure, proletarian consciousness, and the decaying bourgeois superstructure. Pragmatism and bourgeois democracy are two component parts of bourgeois ideology as are sexism, racism and nationalism. These last three are reflected in the economic base as chauvinism which further divides the proletarian forces. It is only through such concrete analysis of the concrete conditions of the United States that we can develop our strategic line on socialist revolution and become the vanguard of the proletarian revolution.

We in the CSS have unity with the WV on many-questions and on their general view of how to build a genuinely anti-revisionist party. We ask the WV to offer more conscious leadership to the communist movement and we ask the WV to be more explicit as to exactly what theoretical work they see needs to be done. We struggle with the WV to raise the level of unity in the communist movement by paying more attention in a systematic way to building the emerging revolutionary trend and the emerging genuine communist line.

An example of an intermediate force in our movement is the Marxist Leninist Organizing Committee (MLOC). Although they themselves have only presented very preliminary theoretical work to heighten the ideological struggle, MLOC calls for the establishment of an anti-revisionist party on ideological as well as political line. MLOC clearly advances that the development of the lines of “consciousness” within the subjective factor has not been completed. They say the ideological line of demarcation between revolution and reaction has net yet appeared and consequently the formation of a party on political line alone would lead to degeneration.

Though we have started, it is only a beginning. In the next year or two the revolutionary movement in the U.S. must recognize and break–as has never been done in the country to date–with all the baggage and rotten traditions of social democracy which enslave the workers struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Communist Line, Oct., 1975, No. 1; p. 25.

MLOC asserts that the ideological foundation of a genuine anti-revisionist party can be achieved only be a firm grasp of the role of revolutionary theory, history, as well as an understanding of the current situation.

Theoretical clarity, which comes out of scientific study of the objective processes in their development and decline, is the only basis upon which the aim of the movement can be defined, the general route and direction of the movement laid out, and the ways of concentrating forces on the side of the revolution in their correct fighting positions determined. Ibid., p. 1.

In viewing the development of consciousness as key-in the pre-party period, MLOC, more than any other group, stresses the importance of studying history in order to combat opportunism within our ranks.

What is genuine and what is sham Marxism today is not simply a question of this moment–of this of that particular line, but can only be understood scientifically in terms of the ’underlying historical connection. Ibid., p. 1.

Thus, the study of history plays a large role in MLOC’s strategic conception of party building, in bringing forward the conscious element as the only guarantee against opportunism and revisionism. In particular, MLOC presents their approach to studying history; principally resource material in the form of reprints and secondarily presentation of a first effort summation and preliminary analysis of the historical development of the communist movement in the U.S. in general and the “C”PUSA in particular. However, the MLOC does not apply the lessons learned from this work to the current situation in the communist movement. This is a major weakness in their research.

MLOC calls on all Marxist-Leninist forces to join with them in this task of historical research and “launch a nationwide campaign” against revisionism on the theoretical front. Thus, the MLOC sees “historical experience as a reliable guide to action and as an important guarantee against one-sidedness.

An important aspect in building a Marxist-Leninist theoretical force is to learn to sum up historical experience, to differentiate the genuine from the sham on the basis of understanding four basic points:
1) What was the nature of the objective conditions;
2) from this, the main problem facing the revolution;
3) the correct communist political line, i.e.: tasks facing communists to solve the problems of proletarian revolution;
4) the nature of the various opportunist petitions put forward to mis-lead the revolutionary struggle. Ibid., p. 1.

MLOC cautions the communist movement that ”unity must be concrete and material, not abstract or only, theoretical” and so they call on Marxist-Leninists, to found the party on the basis of scientific presentation of the objective and subjective factors in their current development and decline. They demand that all those who say we have completed the “consciousness” stage in our party building process to show that we have a sufficient grasp of the underlying historical connection between imperialism and opportunism to prevent a degeneration of the party into the revisionist swamp. Moreover, it seems clear that MLOC, like the CSS, is not convinced that those insisting that it is time to organizationally form the party have drawn their conclusions from a concrete analysis of the objective and the subjective factors in the current motion and historical development.

On the one hand, there is the camp of those who have concluded, based upon the last couple of years of direct experience, that there has been enough discussion and that the party must be built now, regardless of who it leaves behind; who admit to no mistakes of any significance and have been ’correct since the beginning;’ who believe that what’s lacking is one more ’mass movement’ and a little more tailing the spontaneous actions of the masses. Unite!, August, 1975, p. 3.

Here, MLOC describes the right opportunist and sectarian trend in our movement. MLOC further relates that it is this subjectivist (i.e., one-sided, not to be confused with the subjective factor which 1s consciousness, leadership and organization) outlook that historically has infected the U.S. communist movement with all sorts of revisionist diseases, one such disease being “American Exceptionalism.”

In relation to party building this revisionism manifests itself in the view that:

...while the world communist movement has required an advanced theory ... here in the U.S. we must go back to the masses, and the Party will be built out of the spontaneous struggles of the masses. Communist Line, op cit., p. 24.

The MLOC concludes that right opportunism is the main danger to our movement. They further state that to not recognize this fact itself is a manifestation of the right ideological deviation and must be vigorously purged from our ranks.

Modern revisionism today lays the foundation for fascism. That is why we must escalate our struggle against opportunism, particularly that form of opportunism which most thwarts our struggle to reconstitute a vanguard party–right opportunism.

Right opportunism in the era of proletarian revolution is ’national exceptionalism,’ economism, pragmatism and national chauvinism. Politically right-opportunism has taken its stand most sharply in the U.S. on 1) the need and nature of the party, 2) the Black National Question, and 3) the main deviation in our movement. Ibid., p. 2.

In summary, the CSS identifies the MLOC as a strong intermediate force, closer to the revolutionary trend than to the opportunist trend. At the same time we have unity with the MLOC, we also have significant criticism of their party building line.

While the CSS unites with the MLOC’s stress of theory, they give too little recognition to the development of the ideological aspect of the subjective factor. While the MLOC correctly emphasizes summing up theory in general, they fail to apply their summary of history concretely to the particularity of socialist revolution in the U.S. While they understand the necessity of a historical analysis, MLOC fails to link up this understanding concretely to the current practical movement. One example of this ideological weakness is MLOC’s view that the revolutionary trend “recognizes the existence of the Black Nation with the right of self-determination up to and including secession.” Now, this certainly indicates a misunderstanding of the unity of the subjective factor as it currently views the Black National Question, unless the MLOC defines the revolutionary trend as that trend which accepts the Black Nation. Further, the MLOC fails to place their analysis of this question into their overall understanding of the objective factor as it is currently unfolding. Thus, the MLOC first over-rates the unity of the communist movement and second the MLOC fails to concretely analyse the concrete conditions in the U.S. today as this specifically relates to their analysis of the Black National Question. This second failure in turn has two component parts. First, why is the Black National Question the primary question confronting the communist movement at this time and second how does the resolution of this question lead to the further development of the primary task at this time–party building.

Yet nowhere does the MLOC provide concrete evidence that there 1s unity of will on the Black National Question other than the 1930 Comintern Document on the question. MLOC points out that we must accept The Comintern as authority until otherwise proven to the contrary regardless of how many years have elapsed since it was written, regardless of changes in the concrete conditions. This is certainly a striking example of mechanical materialism in the present U.S. communist movement. A more dialectical approach would first pose the necessity for studying this problem, analyse this problem, and then put forward a solution to this problem. The MLOC, to the contrary, states that we should accept blindly all previous positions on particular questions until we can approach these questions independently. This is not a sound ideological line and the CSS must vigorously oppose such dogmatic approaches to Marxist-Leninist theory.

The MLOC consistently confuses ideological, theoretical, and political line and uses them interchangeably in their analysis and in the presentation of their analysis. This is evidenced in particular in their party building line. Therefore, we unite with the MLOC’s view that “comrades must place the party on a much more conscious, more determined level than it has been” in the past. We urge the MLOC to study the dialectical relationship between ideological, theoretical, political and organizational line and to consistently apply this to their work.

In particular MLOC fails to recognize the importance of a conscious step by step approach to uniting the trend. They too blur the two steps of first consolidating the Marxist-Leninists and then winning over the advanced elements to the side of genuine communism. Further, MLOC fails to stress the importance of open polemics in uniting the trend by ideological struggle to establish two clearly delineated trends within the communist movement and to demarcate scientific socialism from all other “brands” of revolution.

The CSS sees the MLOC as an intermediate force. As such the MLOC is certainly a potential member of the revolutionary trend and a potential force for uniting Marxist-Leninist forces into the genuine communist trend. We urge all comrades to pay close attention to their strong positive aspects while watching to see if they correct their shortcomings. Particularly, the MLOC needs to provide an analysis of the unfolding of the objective factor and an analysis of the current development of the subjective factor. This is a question of applying their current historical research to the burning issues of our day as well as to the over-all understanding of the objective factor as it is currently unfolding. We believe that the essence of the problem with respect to the MLOC lies in the question: Do communists study history in order to approach the current situation; or, Do we study history in light of our understanding of the current situation in order to more clearly understand current contradictions as they have historically developed and as they are currently unfolding? This is an important distinction to make. The essence of our answer to these questions reveals our ideological line on the relationship between revolutionary theory, knowledge of history, and our grasp of the objective factor as it is currently unfolding. History serves the present, on this we have unity. How history serves the present, on this we must struggle.

Workers Congress (WC), on the other hand, more than any other group we know, grasps the form of the steps the movement must take in order to end the pre-party period.

Party-building is the task of winning the advanced to communism. To do this it is necessary to win the hegemony of the Leninist trend. By hegemony of the Leninist trend we mean that all the advanced forces in the workers and communist movement rally behind a single banner and carry forward common activity with a common line and policy. This hegemony is gained by showing the concrete ability of the trend to correctly apply Marxism-Leninism to conditions in the U.S. The Workers Congress (M-L) believes that the essential weapon in this fight is an Iskra-type newspaper. As well, other organizational forms–such as an organizing committee–are necessary to serve the various organizations and circles and all comrades in making preparations, holding debates, electing delegates, etc. The Communist, Nov., 8, 1975, p. 11.

Excellent form: first step, consolidate the revolutionary trend, second step, win the advanced workers, and, then, end the pre-party period with an organizing committee to call the party congress on the basis of unity on the party program.

However, the WC seems to have only grasped the appearance of how to build a genuine communist party. On the necessity for theoretical work and ideological struggle to unite genuine communists and link the communist movement with the workers movement, WC never gets beyond posing the questions facing our movement. Their analysis consistently fails to get to the roots or the basis of the problems, and, therefore, their solutions never go beyond the bounds of form.

We hold that accomplishing this task requires a complete ideological and political victory over opportunism, revisionism, chauvinism, narrow nationalism and all other manifestations of bourgeois ideology...[This] is the primary obstacle to welding the core. The chief form of our activity must therefore be propaganda in order to win the vanguard to communism. The Communist, Sept.

However, what our movement needs in order to unite is a clear line on what constitutes the content of a “complete ideological and political victory.” Everyone is saying we need to break with opportunism–but what does this mean concretely? Communist organizations must assert leadership on this important aspect of the party-building task. What we need to know to complete our first step of the pre-party period is on what basis will the trend be united in order, then, to complete in an all-around fashion the second step of linking the communist movement to the workers movement.

WC correctly stresses that to end our pre-party period we must recognize right opportunism as the main danger and defeat it within our ranks. However, while citing that the material basis for right opportunism lies in the bourgeoisie’s weapons of bribery and reform, WC doesn’t back this up with an objective historical analysis which would theoretically arm our movement against nationally specific forms of right opportunism and revisionism. In this period, which calls for the development of the theory and ideology of the conscious element, the WC, and “no bragging” please, does not themselves draw clear theoretical and ideological lines to demarcate the genuine from sham. That they have studied history, theory and the current unfolding practical movement is not clear to us. That they recognize this work as an essential part of our party-building effort is equally uncertain.

All the WC offers to guide our work in correcting and overcoming errors which prevent us from uniting are the “Iskra principles:” “i) to unite on the science of Marxism-Leninism and put proletarian ideological and political line in command of everything we do; “ii) to work out and implement an independent communist policy on all our tasks; “iii) to consolidate ideological unity in the material unity of communist organization, strengthening the centralized leadership of the vanguard in everything; “iv) to provide communist leadership on every task by uniting with the advanced and relying on the advanced to win over the intermediate and the backward.

We hold these tenets should guide...struggle. ..[for the] essential ideological and political foundation we need to unite. The Communist, Sept., 8, 1975, p. 8.

These are important things to keep in mind if you already are clear about what is a “proletarian line,” and “independent communist policy,” and “communist leadership.” But what our movement requires “before we can unite and in order what we may unite” is leadership which draws out clearly in full view of all communists what the genuine and sham lines on these questions mean theoretically and ideologically as well as politically and organizationally. This problem, the WC consistently ignores.

The WC has devoted issue after issue, line after line, to the organizational and political aspects of the party-building contradiction. They have thus stressed the form of struggle and the method of organizing these forms rather that stressing the theoretical and ideological content.

The WC’s approach to party-building is mechanical materialism, seeing the form and not the essence. Typically, they assert that the means will lead to the end!

By unfolding work around such a newspaper we will learn to be always prepared, theoretically and practically... Ibid., p. 2.

Since when can theoretical preparation come from the mechanics of putting out an Iskra-type organ? Of course, it can’t; it can only come from summing up the experience of the international working class movement in its general aspects. But the WC never mentions this or otherwise shows they understand.

Objectively, the WC has made organization the key link to building the consciousness and leadership of the party. Until the ideological line is drawn, mapped out and accepted generally by all genuine communists, organization cannot be key except to build another retrograde tendency. Objectively, the WC represents a strong tendency toward right opportunism, placing practice before theory and spontaneity ahead of conscious leadership.

However, the WC has engaged in some struggle within the movement. They have taken up struggle around the national question, busing, the woman question and, lately, the RCP-USA, the OL and the Fight Back. But these polemics have been theoretically weak and have rarely gone beyond the bounds of political line into genuine ideological struggle. What they do show, however, is that the WC is at least formally concerned with building the movement’s consciousness.

Thus, the CSS points out that the WC displays conflicting tendencies and is generally strong in form and weak in content. The WC must grab firmly the ideological roots of their errors and correct themselves in deeds by joining the struggle for the ideological and strategic line as a pre-requisite for the common tactics and unity of action they call for in words. Otherwise, the WC is destined to tail the emerging revolutionary trend in the U.S.

The October League (OL) more than any other organization we know is preparing to formally remove itself from the communist movement. The OL has chosen the spring of 1976 to become a “party,” using the philosophic base of historical idealism to follow in the footsteps of the opportunistic PLP, CLP and RCP-USA.

Comrades, this is a serious charge. The genuine Marxist-Leninist method of approaching tasks is dialectical and historical materialism. The OL’s approach to defining the period we are in and our communist tasks is the classic “crystal ball” approach to reality - making blind assertions that the pre-party period of primarily theoretical work and ideological struggle is over.

First the OL clearly says, “...the present period calls for the actual organizational formation of the new party.” The Call, Dec. 1975. Then, if there is any doubt that the organizational task is now primary, the OL asserts that the theoretical and ideological tasks have successfully led to this development:

...ideological struggle...has served to raise the theoretical level of our movement qualitatively. . .[and] the ideological leap over the last three years is one of the main reasons we can confidently call for the formation of the party. Ibid.

What is the OL talking about? Where is this quality theoretical work which lays out clearly for all honest Marxist-Leninists an objective, scientific analysis of the unfolding revolutionary process in the world today? Is this work too important or, perhaps, too complex generally for cadre in the movement and, therefore, must remain within the OL central committee? Has the revolutionary process in the U.S. been grasped in its particularity? If the OL claims to have done this work why haven’t they published it for the whole movement? Their failure to do so means it either doesn’t exist or that the OL is showing a strong sectarian outlook. Both display an incorrect stand, viewpoint and method on how to unite our communist movement and build the party.

Also, why hasn’t the OL taken the opportunity to use some of its ex-“C”PUSA members to sum up their knowledge of the history of that degenerated party. This experience, if valid to the OL and shared with other communists, would be a great help in combatting opportunism and small circle spirit among us all.

Certainly the OL cannot show that the theoretical work and ideological struggle against revisionism and opportunism has been led by them. They have been saying for years that the main danger in our movement has been of the “left” nature, that is the subjective factor outstripping the objective conditions, communists substituting their own understanding for that of the masses and thus isolating themselves from the spontaneous movement.

Comrades, nowhere is our subjective understanding generally outstripping the spontaneous movement. And the reason precisely why right opportunism is the main danger is exactly because the ideological deviation which underemphasizes the development of the role of the conscious element furthers the split between the objective and the subjective factors since our subjective is already tailing behind the unfolding class struggle. Giving no theoretical or ideological explanation of why “left” errors are the main danger–except possibly their own experience–the OL has now retracted this position in favor of right errors “possibly” being the main danger (see, for example, The Call, November, 1975). What is important to bring out at this point is that right or “left” opportunism have their material basis in the life of society. Has the OL even hinted to the material conditions which lead to their ideological assertions that first “left” and now right opportunism is the main danger with the communist movement? As we have seen, the communist movement has been fooled by appearances before. Has the OL gone beyond their own experience to reveal to us the essence of this question? We think not. We ask the OL to reveal to us the material basis for these ideological assertions of theirs.

Perhaps, the ideological leap the OL is describing is their own jump from a right opportunist tendency to a revisionist trend. We think so.

Clearly the real basis to the OL’s call to end the period of subjective development and form the “party” lies in the following:

...The organizational! growth and increased ties to the masses is another indication of our ability to move into the stage of the organizational building of the party. Ibid.

Here, the OL reveals openly their right opportunist approach to building the party. The OL belittles the development of theory and ideology of the conscious element. Hypnotized by the growth of the spontaneous movement, the OL openly equates it with the development of the communist movement. The OL is no longer concerned with taking the necessary steps to unite the revolutionary trend and, by theoretical work and ideological struggle, win over the advanced workers and the rest of the communist movement. They must be saying that this has already been done.

Comrades, this in no way corresponds to objective reality. The OL is consolidating the opportunist, spontaneous element instead of the advanced, genuinely conscious elements.

Look at the OL’s “genuine” approach. Without clearly stating what kind of trends they are talking about (itself a sign of muddledness), the OL claims ”the main trends in our movement have already been demarcated.” (The Call, Nov., 1975) The test of this would be a clear, concise and theoretically based ideological line on who is in the U.S. anti-revisionist communist movement and who 1s not. Such an ideological line would serve as a basis for all. cadre in exposing, isolating and defeating all shades of revisionism and opportunism in their daily work of consolidating advanced elements. As such, this ideological line must be very specific as to the character and nature–the form and essence–of revisionism and opportunism. So we ask the OL very directly, who is in the communist movement and who is not and for what ideological reasons? If we don’t have this, then how can we tell if the OL, itself isn’t representing a “formal break with the rising Marxist-Leninist trend”? (The Call, Dec, 1975, p. 13)

Later they say the trend has demarcated itself in “theory and practice,” and they put forward some political lines which they claim “make a clear break ideologically from the modern revisionists.” (Ibid.) This is the same error which historically has held back the movement’s development. Political line does not demarcate revisionists. Only an ideological line can accomplish this task. “Political line is the decisive factor in party-building,” says the OL. True, but only after ideological lines have been drawn. The OL has yet to lay bare an ideological line describing the essence of revisionism in our movement, not do we think they can given their position that “left” errors have been the main danger up to this time.

The OL is only capable of breaking with open forms of revisionism such as the “C”PUSA. Their tactics of “no united action” are just a “left” cover for their lack of ability to make ideological distinctions based upon sound theoretical foundations. All the OL has been able to do is repeat the political and organizational line of demarcation which the RCP-USA, CLP and PLP all used to help themselves into the swamp.

Comrades, the OL is just faking it. Their brand of right opportunism covers itself with praise about how the struggle to unite the movement has been accomplished by their efforts against opportunism and revisionism, by the correctness of their theoretical and ideological line. The OL claims that the consciousness has already been consolidated and that the subjective is now in line with objective conditions. They claim we must unite behind their lead and move from the pre-party period into the tactical period where mass practice is key to organizing the class for socialist revolution. The OL claims it is time to form the party.

Politically and organizationally, the OL’s line shifts the primary focus from uniting all genuine Marxist-Leninists within the communist movement in forging the party, to winning over advance workers to their “party” organization. They fail to see the ideological basis for organizational unity, and call for consolidation around political line alone, thus, objectively calling for factionalism and an “open party.” This is clearly a most dangerous trend.

The OL, however, is not the direction of the main blow at this time. Lines have yet to be clearly drawn between the genuine movement and those who have withdrawn, “At this time the main blow is directed at the consolidated opportunists. Nevertheless, the CSS warn the OL not to form their “party” for if they do, they will be formally outside the movement.

The CSS cautions all honest Marxist-Leninists to resolutely struggle with the OL around this and for all honest OL cadre to take heed: the OL has a completely spontaneous and pragmatic approach to party-building. The only “lead” the OL is taking is “leading” out of the movement.

At this point we need to look at the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO) and the August Twenty-Ninth Movement (ATM). From Revolutionary Cause (Vol. I, No. 1) ATM reveals a complete confusion on ideological and political line definitions. ATM, when they speak of ideology, are actually describing theoretical line, for they assert that we have made a break, by and large, with revisionism and that ideology is no longer key. We have made a theoretical break to some degree with revisionism, but in no way have we combatted it to its ideological roots. Their slogan, “Political line is the key link,” seems actually to mean ideological and political line is key. The CSS believes that the ATM is an intermediate force in that they definitely see “organization is key” as incorrect yet confuse theoretical, ideological and political line.

The CSS views the PRRWO in much the same light since they are in unity with ATM as above. However, the PRRWO is clear on a very important point that shows their theoretical and ideological soundness. The PRRWO sees two well-defined trends in our movement and is firm on what basis these two trends are delineated. The CSS believes this to be an over-estimation of the development of the two-line struggle within our movement. As we have presented, the CSS sees the revolutionary trend as just beginning to consolidate its emergence, and thus we see a large middle force, not firmly and clearly within either trend. For PRRWO, the opportunist trend stresses polemics on political line alone. The other, rising revolutionary trend stresses exposing political line on the basis of theoretical and ideological errors. The CSS, therefore, in this initial review of PRRWO’s party-building line, sees a strong tendency to be among the revolutionary trend.

In summing up our movement we can see that the only genuine ideological line accepted in our movement is that party-building is the central task of all U.S. Marxist-Leninists. This unites OL, WC, WV, the Guardian, ATM, RWL, PRRWO, IWK, Resistencia, El Comite, MLOC, CAP, RWC and many small, local collectives like PWOC and the CSS as well.

Of course, with so low a level of ideological unity, it is not surprising that our movement is sharply divided. While we all agree that party-building is the central task, we have no unity on how to accomplish this task. Political lines abound, but nowhere is there a complete line based upon a thorough scientific summation of party-building experience.

But this bad situation is changing into its opposite–there is an emerging revolutionary trend which sees the necessity of science leading all our efforts to forge the party.

The revolutionary trend understands that we are just at the first step of ending the pre-party period. Our movement still requires a strategic line for revolution around which all honest communists can unite and by which all sham “revolutionaries” can be exposed, isolated and defeated.

Thus, this trend upholds the primary task as theoretical work and ideological struggle for strategic line. Key to this is polemics within the communist movement toward unity of will as the basis of establishing more unity of action. Our revolutionary trend sees the basis for unity lying in a thorough grasp of revolutionary theory, history and the current practical movement. The organizations of this trend are the advanced organizations of our movement.

The retrograde trend which has dominated our movement from the start stresses political and organizational work among the masses, ignores or opposes open polemics and is ignorant of the main danger.

This trend is divided into two wings but both unite in failing to grasp that the development of the line of consciousness is the principle task at this time. Their analysis seriously belittles theory and ideology. In place of bringing the conscious element to the fore to combat revisionism and opportunism within and without our ranks, this retrograde camp places primary focus on mass work and organizational struggle. The organizations of this trend are the backward communist organizations in our movement.

Many organizations in our movement are underdeveloped and cannot be clearly identified in either trend. The Revolutionary Workers League (RWL) is an example of one such organization which has not yet developed a line on the central task.

Other organizations in our movement manifest conflicting tendencies. These groups, and those without a line on the central task, constitute the intermediate communist organizations. Many of these honest forces will unite behind the emerging revolutionary trend and help bring theoretical and ideological tasks to the forefront.

On the basis of our theory of the party and our understanding of the current movement in the U.S., the CSS has taken up the task of developing strategy and tactics for uniting all genuine Marxist-Leninists.