Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statement by the East Wind organization on its unity with the League


First Published: Unity, Vol. 2, No. 7, April 6-19, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The East Wind organization, a Marxist-Leninist collective in Los Angeles, has decided to dissolve and unite with the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L). The League and East Wind have had discussions and worked jointly together for a relatively long time. Through this process our organizations reached unity on all major points of political line in a principled way.

A history of revolutionary struggle

East Wind traces its origins back to the great mass movements that shook the foundations of U.S. imperialism in the 1960’s and early 70’s. East Wind was formed in 1972 by revolutionaries from the Community Workers Collective, Gidra newspaper, the Japanese American Community Services-Asian Involvement (JACS-AI), and other groups active in the Asian national movement. The name East Wind represented the inspiration we drew from socialist China and the teachings of Chairman Mao, who said that in the world today “the East Wind (revolution) is prevailing over the West Wind.”

East Wind has a history of broad and extensive mass work. While our work was centered mainly in Los Angeles, it has had a relatively significant impact on the Asian movement and the Marxist-Leninist movement.

Our work ranged from the development of “serve the people” programs, to work with Asian youth, to the fight to get drugs out of the Asian communities, to fighting for the rights of poor, elderly and non-English speaking Asians.

East Wind fought for years in Little Tokyo against the forced destruction and dispersal of the Japanese American community in Los Angeles. This struggle has received support from throughout the U.S.

We also fought for expanded social services in the Asian communities, and against the tendency which promoted reformism while leeching off the struggle for personal benefit.

We also participated in Third World student struggles for ethnic studies and special admissions programs.

For three years, East Wind played an important role in the fight against cutbacks and layoffs and for improved patient services at the Resthaven Community Mental Health Center in Los Angeles. This struggle received wide support from the East L.A. communities. We also gained valuable experience in learning how to carry on communist work in a complex situation involving a number of different class forces as well as opportunist ones, like the Workers Viewpoint Organization.

East Wind helped build support for the historic 11-year struggle of the Japanese people to stop the construction of Narita airport at Sanrizuka, Japan.

We actively supported the 1973 struggle at Wounded Knee, and fostered material and political support for the Native Americans involved in the occupation.

We also helped build support for the Black liberation struggle by holding a number of educational events and mass actions in support of the Attica uprising, George Jackson, and to commemorate Malcolm X.

All in all, East Wind has a very rich history. We have gained much valuable experience which we believe can be of real benefit to the work of the League and to the U.S. revolution. We have worked in a broad way with workers, students, youth and other sectors of Asian peoples. We have had to fight a variety of opportunists, as well as overcome our own shortcomings. Both our strengths and weaknesses have to be seen in light of the concrete conditions which faced the communist movement during the past several years.

During the early days of the anti-revisionist movement there was an important two-line struggle on the national question, party building, and other questions. Groups like the Revolutionary Union (now called the Revolutionary Communist Party) said that “nationalism” was the main deviation among Marxist-Leninists on the national question. They were referring especially to communists who had come from the national movements. The RU dismissed all work among oppressed nationalities as narrow and of “secondary importance” unless it focused on “bread and butter” issues which could appeal to “all workers.” While we did not participate directly in the polemics with the RU, our correct stand was expressed clearly in our history of mass work, our consistent fight against national oppression and for the unity of all oppressed people in the fight against imperialism . This work stands as a blow to the RU and was a contribution to the development of a correct revolutionary line and building up the influence of Marxism-Leninism among many Asian working people, who saw, in our practice, that communists were the hardest and most consistent fighters against national oppression.

East Wind’s errors and shortcomings were, in part, also a reflection of the youth and inexperience of the Marxist-Leninist movement. In the early days, we did not clearly understand the question of party building. We viewed it as a question of each nationality building its own party and then forming a federated organization. In the course of struggle, study and discussion with other Marxist-Leninists, we came to see that this view was incorrect.

One error which we made in our early history was the tendency to overemphasize building actions that “disrupted” the system. This view developed partly as a reaction to reformist errors we had committed in our earlier community and service work. It was also a reaction to reformists who said Asians could end their oppression without greatly disturbing the capitalist system.

This incorrect view dovetailed with another incorrect line which said that youth and lumpen proletariat (which we understood at that time to be street people and ex-cons) would play the leading role in the revolution. Both the youth and the lumpen tended to promote the “disruption” line. After a process of struggle and summing up experience, we rejected these views for one that emphasized the necessity to base our work among the working people, and to patiently build a broad united front of all oppressed sectors, by fighting in the day to day struggles of the masses.

In 1972, with the rise in the Asian national struggles and in the midst of sharp struggles within the Asian movement, East Wind developed the “Asian nation” line. This line called for the building of a “nation,” or power base, of Asians throughout the U.S. It called for unity based on identity, culture, and through building “alternative institutions” to provide economic, cultural and social services to Asians. This deviation was based on an unscientific view of the development of nations, a weak understanding of the different class forces in the Asian movement, and unclarity on the connection between the national struggle and the class struggle for socialism. At the same time, this position also arose as a reaction to the bitter national oppression we suffered as Asian people in the U.S., and to the chauvinism of groups like the RU. Our position against national oppression and for the equality of nationalities reflected the revolutionary aspirations of the Asian peoples.

By 1975, we recognized the error in the Asian nation line and refuted the incorrect aspects of that position, while upholding the necessity to take up a persistent fight against all forms of national oppression, to organize and educate the people, and to patiently accumulate forces for the revolution.

Party building

In 1975, we began to take up the systematic study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. We also developed regular bilateral relations with other Marxist-Leninist organizations such as I Wor Kuen (IWK) and the August 29th Movement (ATM). In addition, we began to summarize our own experience. On the basis of all this, we were better able to understand the question of party building.

In 1976, East Wind publicly announced our views on party building as the central task of Marxist-Leninists. We also began to develop more fully our views on the international situation, the domestic situation, the labor question, the woman question and other important questions facing the Marxist-Leninist movement.

During this time, Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO) was going around trying to promote itself as a “super left” organization, heavy on “theory,” and light on practice. East Wind realized that WVO was trying to belittle the long experience we had in mass struggle, especially in the national movements, and we struggled against this. However, we were influenced to a certain degree by WVO, who at that time was trying to pressure many groups to lose their bearings and get sucked into accepting the line of WVO.

The influence of WVO did lead to a period in which we began to down-play our mass work. Because of sharp struggle internally, and based on discussions and struggles with ATM, IWK and Seize the Time (STT) collective, East Wind was able to pull itself out of this rut and “start up the machinery” again. We stepped up our work in the Little Tokyo struggle, the anti-Bakke movement, in building support for the Major Safe strike and in a number of other mass struggles.

In this past year, we went through the most serious line struggle of all. A few people within the collective began to promote views which would have led to East Wind remaining a small collective, separated from the party building motion. They raised serious doubts about our history being overall positive, and finally raised doubts and spread pessimism about the correctness of the whole communist movement.

These attacks took place during a time when we were struggling over the need to correct certain weaknesses in East Wind, such as our collective consolidation on various political questions, lack of timely guidance to mass work areas, and others. Initially, the leadership belittled the seriousness of these errors and the need to develop ways to change. The need for rectification became clearer and was finally acknowledged. But then the leadership was unable to start moving the organization towards rectification until several months later.

These weaknesses in the leadership were due in part to the limitations of being a small local collective with such a rich history of struggle to sum up.

But these few people accused the leadership of being opportunist and the rest of the organization of being conciliators. They counterposed rectification and summing up against continuing mass work and struggling for Marxist-Leninist unity. Objectively, this would have led us to withdrawing from practice and discontinuing serious discussion with other Marxist-Leninists until all problems were solved internally.

In the course of this two-line struggle, ATM, IWK and STT all correctly struggled with us not to get over-internalized, and to see that our own rectification could not be separated from the struggle to take up the tasks of the movement as a whole, to objectively sum up our history, to strive for unity with other Marxist-Leninists, and to provide revolutionary leadership to the masses.

The merger of ATM and IWK to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L) had a tremendous impact on East Wind and the entire communist movement. After a while, the few who said East Wind was opportunist left the collective, while the overwhelming majority of us emerged with a much clearer understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. We were more united than ever on the necessity to shoulder the responsibilities of party building. This led to a significant boost in our mass work and to a rapid development of the process of reaching unity with the League.

Forging unity with the League

East Wind has worked with the League, and previously ATM and IWK, for many years. We fought shoulder to shoulder in the Little Tokyo redevelopment struggle, in the struggle to build the Anti-Bakke Decision Coalition, in the Wabash-Fickett tenants struggle, in work places, in building support for the striking Stearns miners, and other areas. We learned a lot about the line and practice of the League. We have seen the League strive to integrate its line with the actual conditions of the struggle whether it be in building support for the struggles of the third world and exposing the superpowers; or in showing in practice why workers of all nationalities must unite in a common struggle; or in helping to expose opportunism in a living and mass way, through the course of struggle. We also saw and were impressed by the methodical and persevering style of day-to-day mass work that characterizes the League.

We have always united wholeheartedly with the League’s consistent stand in support of the theory of three worlds, and in supporting socialist China in its struggle against the “gang of four” and to realize the four modernizations.

At the same time, our experiences made us acutely aware of our limitations as a small collective, especially in developing a broader understanding of the important political questions facing Marxist-Leninists in the U.S.

Of course, we also had our differences, and at times struggle was sharp. But eventually, because we were able to keep the overall interests of the revolutionary movement in mind, we were able to clearly define our differences, assess our respective shortcomings and strengths in a sober way, and reach unity. The League was especially helpful in assisting us to objectively sum up our history, and to stand firmly on the contributions we have made.

Our joint work with the League was very rewarding, and at once, sobering and uplifting. We began to understand not only in our heads, but actually felt in our guts, what it really means to say “the road is full of twists and turns, but the future is bright.” We are proud of our history in the revolutionary mass movements and the communist movement. This pride becomes redoubled in our decision to dissolve and unite with the League. We are confident that as a single organization, we will be able to contribute more to the task of building a vanguard party to lead the people’s struggle to overthrow monopoly capitalism.