Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Kansas City Revolutionary Workers Collective

Speech at the Denver Party Building Forum, March 1977

First Published: Party Building: The Overall Situation in the Communist Movement and How to Complete the Central Task, April 1977, by Colorado Organization for Revolutionary Struggle (M-L-M).
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Kansas City Revolutionary Workers Collective welcomes this opportunity to engage in struggle with other Marxist-Leninists around our central task–the creation of a genuine Bolshevik party based firmly on the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. The continuous economic and political repression brought to bear on workers has given rise to tremendous spontaneous uprisings by the working class. In Kansas City, and all across the country, workers are militantly resisting all of the favors bestowed on them by the capitalist class and the capitalist system–reductions in real wages, harsher working conditions, attacks on women, attacks on national minorities, and forced busing, to name just a few. Working class resistance is becoming more militant and more forceful, as the capitalists, who are becoming more desperate, attempt to ease their crisis at the expense of the workers. But as we know, militancy and forcefulness, which represent a state of consciousness that workers arrive at spontaneously, can not replace genuine proletarian consciousness–consciousness gained only through absorbing the world historical experience of the working class embodied in Marxism-Leninism. And, as Lenin has taught us, this consciousness must be brought to the working class from without–by those of us who study the teachings of Marxism and integrate with the working class movement. In order for Marxism-Leninism to be fused systematically and consistently with the working class movement and for the working class to struggle as a single, conscious whole, it must be led by a staunch Bolshevik party. Our party must be firmly rooted in the working class and must be capable of surviving an onslaught which will be both ideological and physical. In order for our party to survive, comrades must thoroughly grasp of Marxism-Leninism, and be able to apply those principles to the concrete historical conditions of the U.S. movement.

At present, our movement is without such a party. It is the responsibility of those of us here today, as well as hundreds of other comrades around the country, to build such a party. And in fighting for the creation of our party, we must wage sharp struggle for the highest level of unity, and unsparingly criticize any and all opportunism that should surface in our movement. All organizations have made errors–we’ve certainly made our share–but how we correct those errors and set ourselves on course will determine whether we move on to achieve greater successes, or find ourselves neck-deep in the marsh. This is the attitude that must be taken in our struggle for the party, and it is in this spirit that we would like to briefly state Our basic views on the state of the movement and our tasks.

To fulfill our central task, communists must be clear on the necessary tasks facing the movement at any particular time. What is the present state of the movement and what are our corresponding tasks? We believe that the present state of the movement is characterized by a lack of revolutionary theory and developed political line in major areas, lack of a leading center that has shown the ability to consistently and correctly apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the conditions of the U.S. revolution, insufficient development of the advanced workers in the leading industrial centers, and a low level of fusion of Marxism-Leninism with the working class movement.

What are our tasks corresponding to that characterization? We have developed basically four tasks that we see essential to building a party.


Because we are at a stage in our movement where there is no consistent revolutionary theory, theoretical work is primary over practical work. By theoretical work we mean studying Marxism on the burning questions facing the revolution, grasping the concrete historical conditions we face, and developing political line on the basis of our understanding of both theory and conditions. This must be done on all major questions–the struggle against revisionism, strategy and tactics and class analysis, the international situation and imperialist war, the national question, the woman question, and the student movement. By examining the positions put forward by our movement on these questions, it becomes clear that lack of a consistent line on any of them is the main thing holding back the movement’s development. There has not yet been a developed class analysis and corresponding strategy and tactics put forth. Lenin has said that without a “strictly exact and objectively verifiable analysis of the relations of classes”, there can be no scientific foundation to our policy (Letters on Tactics). On the international situation, our movement must examine closely the emerging differences between the CPC and PLA on the general line of the international communist movement. We believe that sharpening this struggle will inevitably shed light on the struggle inside the CPC. Only opportunists will stick their heads in the sand and refuse to participate in struggle on this subject. There have been several partial positions advanced on the Afro-American national question.

Still, there has not been a thorough, scientific, and well-documented expose put forward on this most important question. We must understand not only why there is or is not a Black nation, but also how, in a strategical and tactical sense, are we to approach the various classes and strata among Blacks in the struggle against national oppression. Similar questions remain unanswered on the woman question–that is, what is the strategic and tactical approach to bourgeois and petty bourgeois women in struggling against women’s oppression. Our movement has always assumed that the student movement is a revolutionary one. Many comrades have said that it is objectively a revolutionary struggle because it is a struggle against the monopoly capitalists. But the struggle of non-monopoly capitalists is against the monopoly capitalists, but is in no sense revolutionary. Although this may seem like an absurd analogy, this is the reasoning used by many comrades. What we must do is closely examine the class interests of all the demands put forward by students to determine if they strengthen the position of the working class or of a small privileged strata. Comrades, all these questions and more must be given precise and scientific answers if our movement is to advance beyond its present stage of development. Developing line on these questions is our key task at present.


In order to make the further development of political line more systematic, as well as systematizing all of our other work, communists must utilize methods of organization that ensure the co-ordination of work and study of all genuine communists. We feel that all genuine comrades should seek to unite around a leading center. At present our view is that such a center does not now exist. The role of the center will be similar to the role of Lenin’s Iskra organization. The Iskra group was the ideological, organizational, and practical center of the Russian Communist movement. It became the center precisely because of the ability of the Iskra-ists to correctly apply revolutionary Marxism and defeat all opportunism. Should such a group or trend emerge all comrades should defer to the center so that there will be a united movement of the genuine trend. The center in this trend will serve as the basis of the new party, and since the center will have shown its adeptness at giving correct leadership, it will have the support of all communists and of the working class.


Lenin has taught that the advanced workers determine the character of the working class movement, lay the foundation for the building of the party, and guide workers’ study circles and other communist activities (Retrograde Trend). From Lenin’s teachings on the tasks of the advanced workers and their role in party building, we know that we must train the advanced thoroughly in the science of Marxism. Many comrades see the advanced only as an objective of party building and this liquidates their role in the creation of revolutionary theory. Lenin says that they must take part in the creation of revolutionary theory. He adds though, that they take part “not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians.” They must be able to “acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge.” (What Is To Be Done). It is our responsibility to train workers so that they are able to carry out their historical tasks. Teaching the advanced how to lead strikes and walk-outs is important. But what is most important at this time is the theoretical training of the advanced.


Through our practical activities such as propaganda and agitation, we must continually fuse communism with the spontaneous working class movement. The spontaneous movement must have a conscious political character, and this can come about only when communists participate in the day to day struggles of the class.

This represents our basic present view on the state of the movement and our present tasks. KCRWC is now in the process of developing positions on some of the major questions of theory, and we will share them with comrades when they are completed.

We would like to comment briefly on how we see some other comrades carrying out our tasks–in particular the ATM and the WVO.


Our view is that the ATM’s party building line has taken a decided turn into the right opportunist marsh. From some of the comrades’ earlier line (Selected Speeches), we believe that they upheld the proper role of theory and the correct relationship between theory and practice at one time. However, without having fulfilled the enormous theoretical tasks of the movement, ATM now tells us that the most serious weakness within the Marxist-Leninist trend is “the lack of a real base in the working class movement.” (from RC 10 editorial)

No comrades. The most serious weakness in our movement is the lack of a firm grasp of the principles of Marxism-Leninism, and, consequently, the lack of developed political line on the major questions of theory. For instance, we may unite that propaganda is the chief form of activity. But if our propaganda is wrought with petty-bourgeois opportunist analyses, we can only be fusing opportunism with the working class movement, which we believe ATM is doing on a number of questions. ATM is really dragging out the old empiricist RU line of practice is primary. They imply that if groups have differences on line, then they should both put their line in practice to determine which is correct. Comrades, this is pure empiricism. We can and must determine if a line is basically correct by seeing if it conforms with the teachings of the already summed up world historical experience of the proletariat–Marxism-Leninism. This view places the emphasis where it belongs–on the study of Marxism-Leninism and the development of revolutionary theory. To raise practice is primary in a period where there is no revolutionary theory is to stand things on their head. This is what ATM has done and this leads them to make such statements as “the most important part of party building is the testing of the political line in practice. Comrades, when we put forward political line it should be at the level of rational knowledge. In the main we know it is correct because we have followed steadfastly the principles of Marxism-Leninism in developing it. Communists can and must unite on this basis and jointly implement the line to further develop and enrich it. To say that unity must be “tested in practice over a protracted period of time” is to deny the knowledge gained “over a protracted period of time” by the world historical communist and working class movements, which is summed up in Marxism-Leninism. We have many other important differences with the line of ATM on party building and other questions but they must be gone into at a different time.


While the ATM calls for us to “return to practice”, the WVO calls for the first party congress. They say that the party question is a settled one and it is now only a matter of uniting genuine comrades around the “leading circle.” First of all, we are not so sure where all of the questions of theory have been settled by WVO. For example, just last year WVO stated that our movement was still relatively primitive in understanding the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the woman question. WVO has not yet put forward a substantial position on the woman question but somehow it is now a “settled” question. In the same issue, WVO said that it had a “partial position on the Afro-American national question.” They have yet to put forward a thorough analysis of the question but we see that it also is “settled”. Again in the same issue, WVO promises a position on strategy and tactics in their next journal. We are still waiting, but in the meantime this question was “settled” also. On the international situation, WVO has written reams on the “two contending trends”, but not a word on the correct strategy and tactics of imperialist war. And, whereas in their new pamphlet they chastise the Guardian for “denying that a country’s foreign policy is the concentrated expression of its internal economy and politics,” they themselves go around and quietly tell everybody that the right is in power in the CPC, and in no way show how this is reflected in the line of the CPC on the international situation.

Not only have the WVO not given full theoretical exposes on these questions, many of the positions they do put forward have been incorrect. We have already spoken somewhat to some of their party building positions in a previous document, and will polemicize against other WVO positions in future documents.

Our investigation of the line of the LPR has only just begun. We do know that the comrades have not yet put forward substantial views on many of the burning questions. We intend to develop our relationship further with these comrades so that we can struggle out our views systematically in the future.

Comrades, although we cannot fully go into our views in this presentation, we will certainly be putting them forward to you in future documents. We hope that our presentation today has given you at least a basic understanding of how we see building the party. Our movement does not yet have all the answers, but when all genuine Marxist-Leninists seriously and scientifically take up the enormous theoretical tasks facing us, we Will move forward to create a granite Bolshevik party here in the United States.

We would like to add one final thing in relationship to the situation surrounding the Wichita comrades [The Wichita Communist Cell–editor]. In the original writing of this, we think that there were some references that reflected on rather the same train of thought that was put forward by the Wichita comrades. I don’t know how many people have seen the Wichita comrades’ documents, but what we would like to do so that there is clarity on this question is to reaffirm our view that the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania has been, that they are the leading organizations of the international communists and that our view of that has not changed, although we are thoroughly studying the struggle within the CPC. Also we want to make clear on the references to comrade Stalin, that we unite with the CPC view that although comrade Stalin made errors, that he was a genuine Marxist-Leninist. Also there was a question as to whether or not the restoration of capitalism [in Russia–editor] has been fully understood by the international communist movement. We felt that this was an attack on Chairman Mao’s line and we feel that Chairman Mao and Mao Tse-Tung thought is clear on the restoration of capitalism. Those are some things that we wanted to clarify because in the initial writing of this (and I think comrades probably have that version), we deal with things that could be implied that we have differences on those views. So we wanted to make that clear, so that there would be no misunderstanding here.