Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Collective

Proposal for Forums

First Published: Workers’ Press, Vol. 2, No. 12, December 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The central task of Marxist-Leninists in this present period is to build a new vanguard communist party. This task must be the focus of all our work. Since communist forums are one aspect of our work, they too must serve the central task. Specifically, forums must be used to help formulate political line and develop unity on the major questions by providing an opportunity for organizations to present their positions, on various questions, to allow for open, comradely polemics, to encourage questions and clarify misunderstandings. Forums should be used to show the strength and discipline of Marxism-Leninism in contrast to revisionism and other bourgeois ideologies.

Over the past years, forums have been held: by a number of communist organizations. The initiative and effort is commendable. It is a step in the direction of, building the party. We think, however, that in the main, the structure and nature of many of the forums have not sufficiently served the central task. They have not succeeded in building genuine and lasting unity. They have, not sufficiently clarified political questions. And they have not allowed for comradely criticism and honest questioning. Our purpose here is to offer some ideas on how forums can be improved, to help build increased unity of Marxist-Leninists, to more effectively win over advanced elements, and push forward the task of building the vanguard party.

First we propose that each forum be centered around a single programmatic question (e.g. party-building, national, international situation, woman, trade union) with several communist organizations participating. This would allow for a number of groups to present their positions and give all organizations a chance to conduct open, comradely polemics around the important issues facing the communist movement. As Lenin said:

...it is absolutely essential that the question of the programme be introduced into the polemic. The polemic will be of benefit only if it makes clear in what the differences actually consist, how profound they are, whether they are differences of substance or differences on partial questions, whether or not these differences interfere with common work in. the ranks of one and the same party. Only the introduction of the programme question into the polemic, only a definite statement by the two polemicising parties or their programmatic views, can provide an answer to all these questions... . (Collected Works, Vol. 4, p 231)

The forum would be open to any Marxist-Leninist organization that wishes to participate and unites with certain basic principles of unity which would guide the forums. Representatives of various organizations interested in participating would decide these principles of unity, draw lines of demarcation, suggest topics for discussion, and settle all other organizational matters concerning the forums.

Preparations for the forum, would include the distribution by each organization of a bibliography including references to published statements on the particular questions to be discussed. Comrades attending the forum would then have had time to read material beforehand. In addition, it is suggested that each organization make available at the forum a reprint of their speech in Spanish and English.

The forum itself would include relatively short statements (15-20 minutes) by each participant on the particular question. At the conclusion of the speeches, an intermission would be held, during which time written questions would be submitted from the audience to the speakers. The panel would screen the questions for duplications and be certain they were related to the, topic, and assign them to the appropriate speakers. After the break, these questions would be addressed; the questioner would have the opportunity to speak after the question is answered. An open question period would be reserved, at the end to cover questions not discussed or to clarify others.

Concerning questions of security, forum procedures and other organizational questions, participating organizations would decide. We wish to stress the problem of security in light of past forums and the bourgeoisie's desire to smash the communist movement.

It is our hope that communists who agree that building the party is our central task will also agree that the plan for conducting forums will facilitate this task. Much of the current polemics amongst communist organizations do not serve our central task of uniting Marxist-Leninists into the party. In, many instances, tactical differences appear to be the main focus rather than questions of principle. The unity of communists around the development of forums would provide an opportunity for principled ideological struggle, clarify differences that may exist, and facilitate the development of unity around political line.. This will lay the basis for the formulation of a party programme Organizations interested in participating, should contact us.