Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Collective

In Struggle Against Left Sectarianism: Some Experiences with L.P.R.-M.L.


The purpose of this document is primarily to sum-up and aid in the repudiation of a left- sectarian line that we have upheld for many years as part of a general trend in the communist movement. We believe this trend is a serious danger to the unity of the communist movement and is presently holding back the achievement of the central strategic task of building a vanguard party in the United States. We will also sum-up some particular areas of work that we as independent Marxist-Leninists (having previously broken with organizations such as the Revolutionary Workers League – RWL, the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization – PRRWO, and the Workers Viewpoint Organization – WVO), participated in under the leadership of the League for Proletarian Revolution-ML – LPR-ML.

The particular areas of work we will sum-up are: a coalition to celebrate International Working Women’s Lay (IWWD), two study groups, one on the international situation and the other on political economy, and lastly the work of the National Liberation Struggles Support Committee. On the basis of a summation of these areas we will analyze what we feel is a left-sectarian line that we united with and that permeates the communist movement in general and LPR in particular. Many comrades think it is unwise to spend time and effort on summing up organizations like the LPR. We disagree. If the LPR is to be viewed as an entity in itself it would be clearly insignificant. But viewed from the overall situation in the communist movement, the LPR becomes important in that it is a particular example of a general state of affairs. Thus, we will attempt to show concretely how this left-sectarian line has been manifested, a line we feel is a more refined form of the crude ultra-leftism and neo-Trotskyism of the “revolutionary wing”. This disguised form allowed the LPR to seemingly emerge intact with what appeared to be a basically correct line and orientation after the split in the “revolutionary wing”. Thus the LPR was in a good position to win over the many Marxist-Leninists who were in the process of repudiating the more blatant form of left-sectarianism of the “wing”. In this summation we attempt to put forth some initial views on how left-sectarianism, as manifested in the particular example of LPR holds back the building of the vanguard party in the U.S. and how we must struggle against it.

We came to the LPR as independent Marxist-Leninists who were, to varying degrees, in the process of summing up our breaks with the “wing” (PRRWO, RWL and WVO). At the time we were isolated from each other, from Marxist-Leninists across the country, and hardly had any ties among the masses. Through various paths, we all eventually arrived at the decision to unite with the LPR as the organization we believed most clearly represented the correct Marxist-Leninist tendency in the communist movement. As we saw it, the LPR was advancing along the correct revolutionary path which had been abandoned by the “revolutionary wing”. (In retrospect, we had not really broken with the line of PRRWO, RWL, and WVO even though we broke with them organizationally). We looked to the LPR to give us Marxist-Leninist leadership in the struggle to build the new communist party and in particular, in our places or areas of work. But as we came under the increasing ideological, political and organizational influence of the LPR, contradictions among us (LPR contacts) and the LPR also developed and became more clearly manifested. Struggling for unity, we strove to resolve these contradictions, but the way in which we tried to resolve them reflected an anarchistic approach to all our tasks including party-building. On the one hand, we saw and criticized errors as particular deviations from the generally “correct line” of the LPR and on the other, we in practice approached problems and the resolution of contradictions in the narrow context of the particular tasks. Not only was the way in which we took up different tasks anarchistic, our general line and orientation was itself rooted in a semi-anarchistic ideological outlook. The semi-anarchist ideological outlook can be broadly characterized as the negation of objective reality by absolutizing the conscious element, promotion of the thoroughly individualistic outlook of making revolution by a handful of “pure” revolutionaries and disdain for proletarian discipline, unity or even necessary alliances, coalition work or compromises, rejection of day to day work among the masses as reformist and the consequent creation of “pure-revolutionary” mass organizations that are divorced from the masses in order to “give revolutionary leadership to the masses.” All this was done, consciously or unconsciously, under the signboard of engaging in revolutionary practice in order to build the vanguard party of the U.S. proletariat.

Our unities with the LPR-ML were based on the study of its political organ Resistance and other literature in the communist movement, our understanding of the various organizations in the communist movement, and discussion and struggle over these, particularly with the LPR-ML. Objectively, our unities with the LPR-ML were initially based on more or less abstract lines and party-building formulations. Generally speaking our initial contradictions with the LPR-ML revolved around our own understanding of these unities (i.e., our understanding of the LPR-ML’s line as put forth in Resistance and by its leading cadre) and LPR-ML’s practice. For example, we received no leadership in our factory work or other places of work despite repeated requests to the LPR-ML for leadership: this seemed to be in direct opposition to LPR’s line of focusing on the proletariat and winning the advanced workers. It is such contradictions between the line as theoretically formulated and the actual practical work that forced us to pose many important questions and brought contacts close to each other (in search for answers to similar problems). The basic problem, however, was that our overall orientation (as was LPR’s) was “left” and anarchistic. Consequently, there being no overall fundamental differences between us and LPR-ML, as various contradictions cropped up and intensified we continued to struggle in a spontaneous and anarchistic manner on the narrow practical issues and lines or aspects of lines that we felt were incorrect. As LPR-ML set up different areas of work in which they could give us “leadership,” contradictions developed. As we will try to show below, the particular struggles and stands that we took on specific questions were in the main correct, but during practically our whole relationship with LPR-ML (working under LPR’s leadership), we failed to see or struggle against the principal problem – the left-sectarian party building line, the anarchism in our strategic orientation, and the spontaneous tactics as process method – because we were part of it. In our opinion, the basic difference between us and LPR-ML at that time was that despite our shortcomings we earnestly strove to practice Marxism, achieve principled unity and discard the old baggage whereas LPR-ML was not convinced of the need to do any fundamental repudiation.

Our individual weaknesses was another basic obstacle that hampered our ability to look at the overall situation, such as our subjectivism and bourgeois views and methods of practicing Marxism and handling differences distracted from the main issues – that is to say we personalized struggle by pursuing our own particular “pet peeves” (just dealing with the narrow particulars that individuals had differences with, such as the international situation, security, etc. instead of being critical of the overall orientation.) We did and we continue to struggle against these incorrect views and methods – though not in such a thorough going way as we should. It is a sad fact, however, that LPR-ML, instead of working to help us struggle against our weaknesses and promote unity as was apparently their approach when they initially won us over, utilized these contradictions and even invented rumors in order to set one contact against the other, stifle opposition, and squash the developing line struggle. It was these slanders and LPR-ML’s use of them, these basic questions of principle (honesty, being open and above board) that really jolted us and forced us to start re-examining the LPR-ML, our orientation and line, and finally the communist movement as a whole.

We encourage comrades to seriously study this document, not simply because we have serious differences with LPR-ML, but because the importance of open discussions over the tasks facing Marxist-Leninists has been totally belittled and even eliminated by the sectarian small circle spirit which is prevalent in the present day communist movement. We present this document in the interest of promoting such open discussion among the entire communist movement.

Last, but not least, we thank the comrades of the Proletarian Unity League for their very valuable book, 2, 3, many parties of a new type? and urge all the U.S. revolutionaries to study this book.

Please mail responses, suggestions, criticisms, etc., etc. to:

P.O. Box 148
New York, NY 10009