Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

M.T. staff and editors

Observing the RCP’s May Day

First Published: Modern Times, Vol. IV, Nos. 5-6, May-June 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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About 52 persons, mostly RCP cadre (i.e., members of the Revolutionary Communist Party), started and finished the RCP’s May 1st march. There was no rally either at Aala Park, where the march began late, or at the end of the march at Kapiolani Park, some 8 miles away.

According to HUS observers, the marchers received little, if any, favorable reaction during their trek through downtown Honolulu–fingers, expletives, and stink-eyes were common among bystanders. The HPD (police) acted a few times to divert a few groups of hecklers and harassers who apparently threw rocks or rotten eggs at the marchers or threatened to.

The RCP had told the local media that they expected about 500 people for the march. The Party had made May Day a year-long, intensive campaign, and scores of its activists were arrested (and one killed) in the process of promoting the campaign. Across the U.S. the RCP’s turn-out was sparse, though this did not prevent the RCP from claiming the event “an important leap forward”. It cited police repression and the bourgeoisie’s hostile reaction as the main reasons for the poor participation. The RCP had predicted that over 10,000 would march with them that day, but it appears that less than 2,000 were mobilized nationwide. The event was certainly well-publicized, with leaflets, posters and news media, so it was not that the people did not know about it.

The RCP’s thesis that it was because they represented a “threat” to the bourgeoisie they came under attack appears baseless. Often they provoked attacks with their adventurist actions. And when unprovoked attacks came, as at the May Day march in Los Angeles when the police waded into the marchers with clubs, there was little support for them.

The RCP has got itself out on a limb. In its fervor to promote itself, it has incorrectly and disastrously acted on wrong assessments of class forces ready for revolution. Its politics are isolated from reality, and its antics have severed it from the working class and the left and progressive community. It has withdrawn or been expelled from the major land and community struggles in Hawaii, and has little or no base in the trade unions.


Consequently, its chance of correcting its errors seems minimal. By deeming all of these mass struggles as “reformist” and not worthy of the attention of revolutionaries, the RCP has burned its own bridges. In fact, many leftists have come to regard the RCP as “counter-revolutionary” because it breeds so much anti-communism among the people and has undertaken to disrupt the meetings and events of other left political groups.

The RCP still has some good, honest activists, and there will no doubt be some growing discontent within the Party with the out-of-touch ravings of its chairman, Bob Avakian. More splits and departures of RCP members are likely in the aftermath of this past May Day. Since an honest assessment of May Day seems out of the picture, at least within the RCP, in its demise, the RCP may perform an unintended service to the revolutionary movement in the U.S. and Hawaii.