Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League for Proletarian Revolution (M-L)

On Party Building: Right Opportunism is the Main Danger

First Published: Resistencia, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The determination of what is the main danger in any process is a fundamental question that has to be correctly answered In order to develop correct strategy and tactics. Failure to identify the main danger can only bring harm and lead to defeat. In the U.S. communist movement, there has been a two line struggle going on for a long time around the question of whether It’s right opportunism, revisionism or “left” opportunism the main danger In our movement..

From the standpoint of theory, any one of the two, right or “left” opportunism, can be the main danger at any given time. And as any other thing in society, the main danger conforms to the laws of dialectics; and as such it can shift, change, transform itself into its opposite, etc. .

We understand that right opportunism is in fact the main danger In the communist movement. The rise to power of modern revisionism in the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism in that formerly socialist country, the revisionist degeneration of the formerly revolutionary Communist Party of the United States, the influence of the bribed sector of working class, the petty bourgeois-student base of our movement created the basis for the flourishing of right opportunism, reformism, revisionism in the U.S. communist movement. ( In the working class movement which we see as a distinctive movement from the communist movement, we consider that right opportunism, expressed as reformism is also the main danger.)(See Resistance, Vol. 8, No.6).

The main manifestations of right opportunism in the US communist movement are pragmatism and American exceptionalism in the ideological sphere, economism in the political sphere, and social democracy and sectarianism in matters of organization..

In addition, there is a very low theoretical development in the anti-revisionist communist movement as a whole, the existence of a strong social-chauvinist, trend that objectively calls for social alliance with their own bourgeoisie, the national chauvinism in relation to the oppressed nations and national minority and the strong narrow nationalist trend among the oppressed nationalities are also important factors to be considered in order to determine what is the main danger..

The determination of that main danger has to be logically accompanied with the determination of who represents that main danger, who are the main proponents of it. Right opportunism and revisionism do not spread all around by themselves. This is why in raising that right opportunism, revisionism is in fact the main danger in the US anti-revisionist communist movement, we point out international revisionism led by the Soviet renegades and the CPUSA as the main enemies outside of the anti-revisionist communist movement and the Communist Party of the October League as the main proponent within our ranks..

This means concretely that we have to concentrate our fire on the real danger posed by the OL-CP and its menshevik unity trend and not fall into the trap orchestrated by the revisionists (and which honest forces have fallen victim to) which is to say that “left” opportunism constitutes the main danger in the US..

The trend which considers “left” opportunism as the main danger in this country does not represent in any way a homogeneous force. This trend is made up of forces that are right opportunist such as the Guardian the Comite-MINP, Tucson Marxist-Leninist Collective and a series of other collectives that work to- gether basing their unity in that “left” opportunism is the main danger, Soviet Social-Imperialism does not exist, the Afro-American nation is a dogmatic creation of the “lefts”, etc., etc. Within this trend there are also consolidated right opportunists that point to the” “left” as a way to cover the right. For a long time, the October League has carried out this line..

Today ATM is the one pushing this line hardest. We would also like to point out that there are clear indications that RCL-MLM is moving towards the same incorrect line: (1) putting off criticism of the OL-CP to the extent that they’ve criticized themselves as sectarian against them in the past (2) saying that although in the movement as a whole right opportunism is the main danger, in the Party Building motion “left” opportunism is the main danger and (3) similarly, their so-called rectification campaign attributes all the evils of our movement to “following the gang of four” but they have failed to concretely lay down what these evils are and their connection to the counterrevolutionary clique of Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao..

Although these forces, are; different in character– some revisionist, some right opportunist, others honest but confused–one thing they all have in common that they uphold that the “left” Is the main danger and that “sectarianism”, splittism and phrase mongering are concrete manifestations of this danger. According to the main proponents of the CPUSA and many of the forces around the Guardian, the “Maoists” are the main danger (everybody in the anti-revisionist communist movement even Neo-Trotskyites such as PRRWO, MLOC, etc.) Although many forces talk a lot about the “left” danger but no one puts out who represents that danger..

The theoretical basis for defining “left” opportunism (that is, sectarianism, splittism, and phrase mongering) as the main danger is wrong. Sectarianism, splittism, and phrase mongering are in themselves “left” errors. Although “dogmatism” is a tendency generally associated with “left” opportunists. This however, does not deny that right opportunists can and do make dogmatic applications of Marxism-Leninism. This then being the question, it becomes necessary to examine in the concrete, right here and now, in the US today, the kind of sectarianism, phrase mongering, ’dogmatism’ which in fact exist to a great degree. Only an analysis of the concrete manifestations of that sectarianism, of that phrase mongering, of that splittism, of that ’dogmatism’ will allow us to determine its nature.

Who are the most sectarian in this country? PRRWO RWL who are in a closet and cause harm to an ever decreasing smaller and smaller group of people or the CPUSA, the OL-CP, the RCP, etc. who with their sectarianism cause harm to large sector of the communist and workers’ movement? PRRWO-RWL is sectarian, alright, because they consider themselves 100% bolshevik, however the self-proclaimed parties are even more sectarian because they consider themselves the party of the proletariat in this country. To PRRWO-RWL’s claims of super-bolshevism only a clique of opportunist continue to answer on the other hand the sectarianism of the OL-CP is being followed by many honest people who consider them the Party of the U.S. proletariat including genuine Marxist-Leninist forces internationally such as the CPC. Who is more sectarian in this country than the CPUSA that since the 50’s pursues a policy of red-baiting Marxist-Leninists, of branding Marxist-Leninists as opportunists and scoundrels, etc.? Who is more sectarian than the PSP that labels anyone who differs with them as CIA agents?

The same could be said about phrase-mongering. Yes, it is true that the “left” opportunists of PRRWO use ridiculous titles such as “acting central committee of the Leninist core of the genuine wing of the anti-revisionist communist movement of the U. S. Marxist-Leninists, bla, bla”. They will label anybody that struggles with them as Philistines and everything as sophistry, without knowing what that means, etc., but again what about the real dangerous phrase mongers, those that use concepts like “detente” “party of the whole people,” “the non-capitalist road of development,” etc. Are they phrase mongers also or not? The same thing could be said of splitting..

What determines if a particular sectarian policy, actions, act of splittism, phrase mongering, etc., is right or “left” Is Its content. When a group like the OL-CP claims that you can build a party without drawing firm lines of demarcation between sham and genuine Marxist-Leninists, they are spitting the communist movement from the right, pursuing a Martov-type of line that whoever agrees that Klonsky be the chairman can be part of the party. But on the same issue PRRWO-RWL, when it still had some credibility, put forward that a party can be built in isolation from the class struggle, splitting the movement but coming from the “left”. The Chinese comrades in summing up the activities of the Kruschov revisionists clique gives us a clear understanding of this question:

In brief, opportunism and revisionism are the political and ideological roots of splittism. And splittism is the organizational manifestation of opportunism and revisionism. It can also be said that opportunism and revisionism are splittism as well as sectarianism. The revisionists are the greatest and vilest splitters and sectarians in the communist movement. (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, page 316).

Obviously it is in the interest of right opportunists to point out the “left” is the main danger. This keeps the fire far from them, allowing for the further consolidation along the lines of right opportunism and revisionism. The warning of our Chinese comrades that “one tendency covers the other” has to be kept in mind. Thus the OL-CP screams and screams that the “left” opportunist are the main danger in order to cover their right opportunist line of building the mass movement. Comrades that all along have been following the incorrect line that the “left” Is the main danger have no other alternative but to conclude that the October League is “left” opportunist. ATM and groups like them also point out to the “left” as the main danger for the same reasons as the OL did. For them, it is left to carry out communist propaganda, raising to the workers the need for a party, socialism, etc. They learned very well from PRRWO-RWL that the best way to protect their incorrect line is to call for the struggle against the other tendency! PRRWO-RWL was in a closet but they guarded against the economist errors committed by non-existing cadres in factories. ATM in whatever places they still have cadres are committed to all practice, all agitation, all narrow nationalism, yet they are still fighting the “left” deviation in their organization. Although ATM has been holding this line for more than a year they have not been able to show one concrete example of how the “left” is the main danger within ATM or the movement as a whole.

The same can be said about dogmatism. The approach to Marxism as a dead dogma and not as a guide to action, the tendency to mechanically apply Marxism-Leninism without taking into account time, place and conditions can lead to both right and “left” opportunist line. The Second International with the renegade Kautsky at its head, is an example of dogmatism from the right. They said to Lenin: ’You have to wait until the proletariat is in majority in order to make proletarian revolution.’ And Lenin took the 2nd International and all its dogmatic applications of the teachings of Marx and Engels and put them into the garbage can of history! (See Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Chapter 2.)

The principal aspect of the problem in our country is not that some dogmatists want to build the party copying the same mold followed by Lenin in Russia, but right opportunists that pretend to build a party by self-proclamation, without clear lines of demarcation with all forms of opportunism, etc. The main danger is not presented by the dogmatist calling for the creations of Soviets at this moment but by the right opportunists calling for National Workers’ Organization (RCP) and Fightback Committees (OL-CP). The main problem is not a dogmatic approach to the question of communist propaganda and agitation but the lack of real communist propaganda and agitation and the flourishing of mere economic agitation. (OL-CP, RCP, ATM). The understanding that in fact right opportunism (revisionism) is the main danger is consistent with our call for more emphasis on theoretical work; with theory being primary over practice in this period, with propaganda being primary over agitation, with Marxist-Leninists, unite, being primary over winning the advanced to communism, etc. On the other hand, from the point of view that “left” opportunism is the main danger flows a completely different line: practice primary over theory, agitations over propaganda, win the advanced to communism, etc. Reaching unity that right opportunism/revisionism is the main danger and uniting in the struggle against that danger is the road towards building a genuine multinational Marxist-Leninist Party in the US. The view that says that “left” opportunism is the main danger leads directly into the hands of the OL-CP and their sham Unity trend.

We welcome criticism statements of unity and also struggle on this question from comrades and friends. In the next issue, we will continue to criticize this call for a Unity Trend Committee.