To All Participants of the November 8, 1980 Forum in New York
Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Kansas City Marxist-Leninist Cell and Kansas City Revolutionary Workers’ Collective

To All Participants of the November 8, 1980 Forum in New York:

First Published: International Correspondence, No. 3, Spring 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

EROL Introduction: On November 8th, 1980 a forum to celebrate the anniversary of the Russian Revolution was held in New York City. It had been organized by the Bolshevik League of the United States and the Bolshevik Union of Canada. A variety of other groups were invited to participate. The forum sought to organize support for an “Appeal to All Revolutionary Communists” and a future conference on the struggle against imperialist war and the tasks of communists being promoted by a number of participating organizations.

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We thank the Bolshevik League for the invitation to attend the forum on November 8, 1980 in New York. Unfortunately, we cannot attend the forum, but we do wish to convey our views to all participants of the forum. We thus request that this statement be read and passed out at the forum. We also wish to receive the forum program, speeches, statements and summation.

First, a word of explanation as to our absence. We see that the forum is an important step in the convening of the conference against imperialist war, and we regret being unable to come to the forum. Our inability to participate directly stems from our goals in participating in the conference. These goals, which we will speak to more concretely below, are to clear up historical questions involving imperialist war, and deepen the analysis of current conditions, so as to provide more clarity to the analysis of the upcoming imperialist war and the tasks of turning imperialist war into civil war and national liberation. We have not reached these goals yet, thus our presence at the forum would not be contributory, but at the most the forum would provide some additional information for us to look at. We feel that receiving the speeches, statements and summation will give us some information. We would also encourage direct correspondence with us.

The main point we want to make at this time is the same one we made in our support of the “Appeal to All Revolutionary Communists”: that is, are we going to have a conference which tackles head on the question of imperialist war in its current and historical situation and develops a firm, concrete, Marxist-Leninist line based on Marxist-Leninist principles, or are we going to have a conference which bypasses a study of history and current conditions and develops a general line which can be easily destroyed in the complexity and vicissitudes of the development of imperialist war?

This is no sterile question. From the experience of World War I we can see the difficulty in maintaining the existence and developing an internationalist trend; that only with a clear Marxist-Leninist line based on a firm grasp of political economy, history and an analysis of the current situation, can the proletarian interests be identified and carried out during imperialist war. Our views on the upcoming imperialist war require this dialectical materialist, historical method in order to be Marxist-Leninist views. The current situation must be analyzed, and the history of imperialist wars must be grasped. Now, from any superficial understanding of history, it is obvious that different tasks were laid out and carried in the two world wars as being in the proletarian interests. In general, instead of the tasks being to turn imperialist war into civil war and national liberation as in World War I, the task in World War II was uniting with any “progressive,” “peace loving” element of any class to fight fascism and to defend the Soviet Union. Was World War II an imperialist war? If it was, how could these tactics be used? What was the significance of fascism, of the Soviet Union in defining the tasks of the proletariat in World War II? Will fascism become a big threat? If fascism is to become a big threat again, are we to follow the World War II example? How is the imperialist crisis developing and what forms will it take? What does the split in the working class mean to the proletarian movement? Where should the main blow be directed? To us, these are very pertinent questions of the history of imperialist war and analysis of current conditions.

Even if the conference were only able to accomplish the development of a general line of turning the impending imperialist war into civil war and national liberation, that would not be so bad if the participants’ attitudes were ones of recognizing the severe deficiency and proceeding to develop the line and struggle for a more concrete Marxist-Leninist line internationally, if the participants realized that this line was so general as to be inadequate in providing clarity in all the twists and turns of an imperialist war. We await the views of others, but this is not the attitude we get from the Bolshevik League and the Bolshevik Union. To them, the World War II period is a settled question; it is “freedom of criticism” to raise it up. The importance for today of examining the line of fascism and the struggle against it in the World War II period is downplayed.

To put forward “freedom of criticism” as the main danger at this time among those who are breaking with Mao Zedong Thought and the Party of Labour of Albania centrism is dangerous. It prevents the thorough cleansing of our ranks and condemns us to, once again, unite with views and practice on an unprincipled basis. Our movement is just emerging from the dark ages of opportunism and revisionism. To hush up questions of communist line and practice at this time, among those who are beginning a break with the dark ages, is equivalent to unleashing the Inquisition on newly emerging science. To minimize the danger of fascism for our times, and connected to this upcoming imperialist war, is to make a great mistake.

BL and BU have tolerated our questions and have discussed these issues with us, giving us information on what to study. However, with this attitude of wanting to stifle criticism, it is questionable how long we will be permitted to openly state our views, especially if what we discover is in opposition to what, in their eyes, has been settled.

We urge all who are at the forum and all who plan to attend the conference to struggle to open up the conference for discussion on historical questions around imperialist war, specifically World War II, and on current conditions, so that either a big step is taken in solving these questions at the conference and this is reflected in the Manifesto, or the Manifesto reflects the knowledge of the need to solve these questions. Concretely, we urge all to keep open our invitation to the conference and to prepare for discussion on these questions. We would like to see our statement discussed at the forum and a report of the discussion sent to us.

Marxist-Leninist greetings to all forum participants!

Kansas City Marxist-Leninist Cell Kansas City Revolutionary Workers’ Collective
October 31, 1980