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.

Our Tasks–the Political Line

The Unity and Disunity in The Communist Movement, U.S.A.

Within the communist movement there exists general unity on theoretical, ideological, political and organizational lines. Unity around theoretical line can be summarized in its most general form: The working class movement must have its own political party which is independent of all other political parties of all other classes. This party, the vanguard of the proletariat, is guided by the most advanced theory, the foundation of which is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse tung thought. The proletarian revolution is developing independent of human will. By nature this is the antagonistic struggle between two classes. These classes are the bourgeoisie– the owners of the means of production–and the proletariat–the most advanced class in capitalist society. The party must serve as the vanguard of the proletarian revolution leading the armed struggle against the bureaucratic-military machine of the bourgeois state. The proletariat and its allies, under the leadership of the party, fights to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to defeat counter-revolution, promote socialist construction, and prepare for its own withering away. The ultimate aim of the party is classless society-communism. However, history proceeds in stages and the dictatorship of the proletariat must exercise proletarian political power during the epoch of socialism. This is the stage in the development of human society between capitalism and communism, between class society in its highest form and classless society. To accomplish these aims the party must purge its ranks of opportunism and must ruthlessly struggle against revisionism. Such a vanguard party and the people under its leadership have the duty to strengthen, further, and serve the international proletarian revolution. Such a vanguard party and the people under its leadership have the duty to further, strengthen, and serve the masses in fomenting revolution within the United States.

The ideological unity of the communist movement is that party building is our central task and our political unity is that the “C”PUSA revisionist line must be struggled against as well as opportunism within our own ranks. The organizational unity of our movement is that the party should be organized according to the principles of Lenin as stated in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back and as summed up by Stalin in his Foundations of Leninism. There is agreement that the structure and composition of the party should consist of a close circle of professional leading party workers and a broad network of local party organizations to which all party members must belong and which serve as the main link between the party and the class and its allies. Such is the unity of the communist movement.

The disunity within the communist movement is over how the party is to be built. This has been addressed throughout much of this pamphlet and indicates a general lack of theoretical and ideological work on the national specific forms of opportunism and revisionism, on the situation in the U.S. today including its historical development, and on the current world situation and its historical development. This indicates that the communist movement is still spontaneous, tailing behind the objective factor. Without ideological unity there is no basis for the party.

As regards the international situation there must be acceptance of the CPC and PLA leadership. Specifically this means acceptance of the General Line of the International Communist Movement and support of the political lines of the CPC and PLA as they apply to the specific conditions of the U.S. in our struggle against our own bourgeoisie. To be very precise about what this means let us examine the question of Angola. The principle contradiction in the world today is between the two superpowers and the oppressed nations. Countries want independence is the principle aspect with respect to this question. As this applies to our own bourgeoisie, and consistent with the General Line, it is our duty as communists to demand both superpowers out of Angola, to demand complete sovereignty for the people of Angola. To deepen this, we must not only look to form but also to content. Our demands can in no way conflict with the aspirations of nations wanting liberation and people making revolution. In other words, the demands of the U.S. communist movement must be fully consistent with the revolutionary demands of our own socialist revolution as well as the minimum demands of the international proletarian revolution.

This is all quite straightforward. However, if we examine the Guardian Forum held in Washington, D.C. this past month we can see how complex the question is for the communist movement. The Guardian stated that to demand both superpowers out of Angola is exactly the demand of the U.S. State Department which objectively aligns our demand with that of our own bourgeoisie. Furthermore, one of the superpowers is the Soviet Union which is supporting the new government of Angola in its fight against the two CIA and South African-backed factions. The OL stated that the demand of both superpowers out is the correct position and left it at that. What is necessary to bring out in our ideological work is the difference between our demand and that of the State Department. The State Department makes U.S. withdrawal contingent upon the withdrawal of the Soviet Union while resorting to covert activity to maintain hegemony. The difference is that the communist movement demand in the U.S. calls for the withdrawal of the U.S.–both overt and covert–irrespective of whether the Soviet social-imperialists leave or not. Further, our demand is for the complete sovereignty of Angola in which we support the initial coalition government. Failing to reestablish this coalition government we support the war for national liberation while still maintaining our demand for Angola’s sovereignty and independence. Of course, we will do everything within our power to have both superpowers withdraw, but we certainly won’t make U.S. withdrawal contingent on the withdrawal of the other superpower. This is proletarian internationalism. And, comrades, we must accept the leadership of our comrades in China and Albania.

This is a minimum if we are truly an anti-revisionist communist movement.

What is Holding the Communist Movement Back?

The revolutionary trend which is emerging within the communist movement views the general character of this pre-party period as consciousness, as theoretical work and ideological struggle with practice conforming to the testing of theory and acting as the basis for further developing the party program, strategy and tactics. What is currently holding back the further development of the entire movement is the trend which has incorrect knowledge of the objective conditions of the communist movement. This is manifested in small circle mentality which places allegiance to “our” organization above the interests of the entire movement, which objectively is what needs to be united. This unity is forged through real struggle against real enemies. As unity around theoretical, ideological, and political line emerges so does leadership and democratic-centralism. Organization emerges in the struggle for unity of will–unity on theoretical and ideological lines–and unity on the appropriate forms of struggle–unity on political line. This is a process which cannot be confined to a single organization. Rather, struggle around the correct theoretical, ideological and political lines is a question for the entire communist movement.

Though once a progressive force, organizational allegiance is now holding the movement back. In the late 19601s and early 70’s, when communists were highly disorganized and under the hegemony of the PLP and the “C”PUSA, this allegiance was required in order to; 1) organize the anti-revisionist forces, 2) begin to struggle against these forces in an organized manner, and 3) struggle over the correct characterization of the period facing the communist movement. These were struggles of a theoretical and ideological nature as manifested in the emergence of national organizations from the spontaneous movements. However, these early organizational forms cannot be confused with the party. To do so is pragmatic, similar to confusing the constituting of the party with the end of party building. In order to advance the movement, develop all-round knowledge, and defeat revisionism and opportunism, the pre-party organizations–both large and small–must be seen as part of the entire movement and as equals within the movement. Our movement is not just a few national organizations but includes these forces along with many smaller organizations and many “independent” communists and advanced elements. There are many fields of specialization. To not see this, to put one’s organization at the head without being recognized as leadership, is to fly in the face of reality.

During the entire pre-party period we must develop and consolidate the subjective factor. This is done by theoretical work and ideological struggle from which leadership and organization follow. In the pre-party period when the subjective factor has yet to be consolidated as materially manifested in the party, discipline must be affirmed through the principle: the ideological development and consolidation of all genuine communists is primary. Whoever violates this principle disrupts the unity of the whole movement in its struggle to constitute an anti-revisionist party and objectively holds back the entire revolutionary movement. Through struggle, not through organizational fiat, leadership and organization emerge. What is primary at this time is consciousness. Small Circle mentality accomplishes just the opposite. It objectively places conscious activity before consciousness. This is individualism manifested organizationally.

External Conditions for Change and Strategy and Tactics of Party Building

The struggle in this period is characterized by two contending trends, contending for leadership and organization of the party. The emerging trend views consciousness as primary and the declining trend sees conscious activity as primary. Favorable conditions are that the working class movement and the movements of the oppressed peoples are on the rise; that the bourgeoisie, although currently consolidating, is in fierce contention for power; the other “revolutionary” movements are unorganized and caught up in their own spontaneity; and the petty bourgeoisie is unaware while shaken in their “faith” of the bourgeois government. Unfavorable conditions are the rising tide of war and fascism. Bourgeois ideology is further dividing the working class through racism, sexism, and bourgeois nationalism and its “idealization” of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The bourgeois state has increased its program of militarization. The bourgeoisie is highly organized both ideologically and politically while facing many enemies internally, in the U.S., and internationally. The working class and oppressed people are divided and led by the social props of the bourgeoisie while their tremendous force and potential is awakening.

Within the communist movement our forces are fragmented and scattered yet struggling firmly for unity. The spontaneous movement is moving forward and the subjective factor is emerging more rapidly. Unfavorable at the present time is the OL’s probable consolidation of their opportunism which will further deplete our forces. Facing these obstacles we must seize the time–trading space for time–while clearly and firmly grasping our tasks. Because of the acceleration of both internal and external developments of the objective situation, internal and external to the United States that is, we must quickly develop and consolidate the subjective factor. To trade space for time means that we must work primarily with our already existing forces while winning people over through the ideological struggle. Since the proletariat in the United States is highly class conscious, the highest form of which is trade union consciousness, our main work in the future will be to expose the trade union mis-leaders, bring socialist consciousness from without, and establish the independence and initiative of the proletarian party and its leadership of the socialist revolution. For this period new forces will be won over by demarcating Marxism-Leninism from other ”revolutionary” movements and by delineating genuine communism from sham.

Our strategic task is party building–constituting the anti-revisionist communist party. In essence this means consolidating all genuine communists on the basis of ideological and political line, organizationally united under emerging democratic-centralism. Such a party must have one leading center, common organs, and party organizations. The direction of the main blow is isolation of the opportunists, revisionists, and other “revolutionary” movements. It is only in this manner that we can consolidate our ranks and provide ideological and political leadership to the working class movement and their allies. The main forces in the strategic period are the advanced communists. By advanced communists we mean those organized communist forces which are clearly and firmly within the revolutionary trend. The immediate reserves include the intermediate communists–organized communist forces which are not clearly and firmly in the opportunist trend; honest communists–those who, although they belong to an organization of the opportunist trend, are being won over to genuine communism through ideological struggle; and advanced elements–independent communists and workers and other oppressed people who are open to communism and joining the organized forces.

These are our forces. The plan for the disposition of these forces is to unite the national organizations, scattered groups, and unaffiliated individuals within the trend along with our allies around organized ideological struggle and other political work. Organizations should seek higher forms of organizational unity where ideological and political unity exists. The principle that all organizations are equal and that the entire revolutionary movement must be advanced should be observed at all times. This is our strategic conception of party building in the United States.

As far as the steps the communist movement must pass through to end the pre-party period we see two distinct steps in our growth and development at this time. The first, the present step, is characterized by bringing forth the conscious element and elevating theory to its proper level. The nature of the present step is theoretical work and ideological struggle. The trend must unite in order to carry out this task while consolidating through struggle the intermediate, waivering, and honest communists. In this first step mass work will primarily consist of observing and studying the spontaneous movement. As theory develops so will the ideological line against opportunism. It is within this first step that firm lines of demarcation between communism and all other “revolutionary” trends will be drawn. It is within this first step that two trends within the communist movement will be clearly delineated.

In the second step of the pre-party period of party building consciousness will still be primary. This step is also characterized by bringing forth the conscious element. Delineated from the sham, the genuine communist trend will further consolidate its forces while further demarcating communism from other “revolutionary” trends, principally the revisionism of the “C”PUSA. Theoretical work and ideological struggle will focus on the party program, strategy and tactics for socialist revolution in the United States. It will be during this step that mass work will assume a more active role and where communists will be engaged in propaganda, agitation, and full development of the party program and organizing the founding congress. It will be at this time that consolidating emerging proletarian ideology in the working class movement and the movement of all the oppressed peoples will come to the fore. In this second step mass work will change to primarily analysing conditions and putting forth solutions. During this entire period advanced elements should be identified and consolidated as rapidly as objective conditions allow.

And what does this mean for the present tactical step? Keeping firmly in mind the strategy which has been presented for this period we can now discuss it in its particularity. The objective of this step is to work toward ideological unity and to clarify differences on political line. The main force at this time is the emerging trend with whom we have unity on theoretical line and general unity on ideological and political lines. However, we must go from the general to the particular and struggle for greater ideological and political unity. The immediate reserves are the middle, waivering and honest communists with whom we share general unity over questions of theoretical and ideological line. We must struggle for greater unity on theoretical, ideological and political line. Also a part of the immediate reserves are advanced elements and organized forces open to communism. The struggle with these forces will be conducted along ideological line. Backward communists–those firmly and clearly within the opportunist trend–have general unity with us around theoretical line. We must struggle for unity on this line as well as around ideological line.

The direction of the main blow for this tactical step is principally the consolidated opportunists (the RCP) and the Trotskyists (the CLP) along with the “C”PUSA. Whether the OL joins their ranks has yet to be determined; however, if the persist in their present efforts, struggle against them we will, harder than perhaps they think we can. One thing is clear, the communist movement has not been fooled by their diversionary tactics. To be more precise, the direction of the main blow must draw a firm and definite line between the Marxist-Leninist movement and all other “revolutionary” trends. We must clearly distinguish scientific socialism from all other “brands” of socialism–reform, reactionary, or utopian–in order to consolidate our ranks and in order to advance the development of consciousness of the advanced elements emerging from the spontaneous movement. Specifically this means demarcation of the present communist movement from the RCP, the CLP and other Trotskyist groups, and, if they continue headlong into the tail of the spontaneous movement, the OL.

Comrades, the “C”PUSA and other “revolutionary” trends are riding high because genuine communists have not yet defeated the hegemony of opportunism within their own ranks. This means that the content of our task is to study and analyse in a critical and in a self-critical manner. For this task the various organizations within the movement must act as a whole, accepting leadership as it emerges, and exposing and isolating the Trotskyists and opportunists. For communists in this period ideological struggle is the primary form of class struggle. We must bolshevize ourselves theoretically and ideologically by testing ourselves in struggle–class struggle. Again we suggest that the OL not pursue their policy of constituting their organization as the party and we warn all honest communist comrades not to follow them if they do.

The forms of struggle are two-fold corresponding to the external conditions for change and the internal basis for change. The internal forms of struggle, the general character of work within the movement, should be one of uniting to struggle. This means uniting on the highest level of unity around specifically defined tasks to struggle over acknowledged points of disunity in order to raise the over-all level of unity. Our objective is to wage a fierce struggle against revisionism and opportunism as they are currently emerging. For this period theoretical and ideological work are primary. The task is a complete analysis of the current national and international situation and their historical development and trends. We must thoroughly study the history of revisionism and opportunism, particularly current revisionism and opportunism starting with Soviet revisionism and including the “C”PUSA. We must completely break from these manifestations of the class struggle. This is necessary in order to build a bolshevized party, merge communism with the working class movement, win over our allies, and move forward as quickly as possible.

The external forms of struggle, the disposition of forces outside the communist movement, include dividing our forces to arouse the masses–cadre work in their mass activity–and concentrating our forces to deal with the enemy–organized struggle at meetings, open forums, propaganda work, etc. United action is the method of cooperation between organizations.

For this tactical step mass work should be investigation of the over-all situation, identification of advanced elements and their ideological consolidation, and ideological struggle against sham socialism, particularly the RCP and the CLP. Mutual assistance and cooperation among organizations where appropriate will further the over-all growth and development of the communist movement. The objective is a firm basis for putting forth a complete and concise class analysis and investigation of the situation in the U.S. in particular. This means cadre should obtain specific information regarding all class struggles, the issues raised by the masses, the consciousness of the masses, and solutions being put forward by non-communist forces. Trends hostile to Marxism but posing as “revolutionary” should be exposed and isolated. Cadre should identify and work with the advanced.

This step should reflect growing unity along theoretical and ideological lines and higher forms of struggle. Exposing and isolating revisionism and opportunism can be best accomplished through concerted effort. The organization of these forms of struggle should proceed along the lines of greater inter-organizational cooperation and assistance. Larger organizations should pay attention to the needs and limitations of the smaller organizations. In this, autonomy and interdependence are in contradiction to one another. Particular attention should be paid to observing, studying, analysing and putting forward solutions to problems. Organize mutual work, sum-up mutual work, and publish mutual work stating clearly points of unity and the unfolding of the two line struggle. The dialectic between independence and initiative on the one hand and cooperation and acceptance of leadership must be attentatively looked after. The over-all requirements of the entire movement must be constantly looked to. The end of this step should be marked by the emergence of higher organizational forms of unity. At this present time there are many “Iskra’s” within our movement. A higher form of organization of this vital task is the establishment of a trend newspaper which would be national in form and which would reflect the growing theoretical, ideological and political unity of the trend in content. Such a trend newspaper would serve to further consolidate the trend, win over intermediate, honest and waivering forces, and link the communist movement with the workers movement by developing and consolidating advanced elements.

The objective of the second step in this period is to work toward ideological and political unity as concretized in unity over the principle aim of the party–the party program–and unity over strategy and tactics for socialist revolution in the United States. It will be during this step that the lines of demarcation between genuine communism and revisionism will be widened. The direction of the main blow will be Trotskyism and the “C”PUSA. The two trends in the communist movement will be further delineated and the genuine will be consolidated as the Party. The rapidity with which we can enter the workers movement will in large part be determined by how quickly and effectively we consolidate our trend, struggle against our principle enemies, and win over the intermediate, honest and waivering communists and the advanced elements.

To do this, theory must be raised to its proper level. Work should be directed by proper observation, study, analysis, and putting forward solutions by engaging in ideological struggle to test theory. The masses in motion and open to socialism can be won over to scientific socialism by exposing, isolating, and defeating idealist socialism, reform socialism, and opportunist socialism. Expose the sources of error, dispel illusions, fully arouse the people, make adequate preparation, unite with all that can be united, and wage a tit-for-tat struggle.