Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Collective

Proletarian Revolution and the Split in the Working Class


It is particularly important for communists in the US to be clear on the nature of the split in the working class, because the multinational US proletariat is without a vanguard party. The building of such a party is the central task of all communists and advanced workers today. In order to forge the party, one point that we must grasp is that our proletariat is not entirely revolutionary. One section, as we have seen, is social-reformist, is bourgeoisified, and will attempt to win the rest of the class to its opportunism and reformism. The CPUSA and the labor aristocracy, by their abandonment and corruption of Marxism-Leninism, their national chauvinism and class collaboration, disorganize and weaken the working class movement from within, and as the history of Germany, Italy, and most recently, Chile, has shown, the role of revisionism and opportunism is essential in assisting the rise of fascism to state power. R. Palme Dutt wrote:

All this provides the ideological basis and groundwork of fascism, which represents the final stage of the policy of the complete absorption of the working class, bound hand and foot, into capitalism and the capitalist State. This whole propaganda and line of Social-Democracy confused, weakened and battered down the class-conscious socialist outlook of those workers who were under its influence, prevented the spread of revolutionary Marxist understanding, fostered semi-Fascist conceptions of nationalism, imperialism, and class-collaboration, and thus left the masses an easy prey to fascism.[1]

We must expose this upper stratum and break its influence on the masses of workers. This is why we must wage the struggle, Lenin was very clear on this:

The only Marxist line in the world labor movement is to explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by waging a relentless struggle against opportunism, to utilize the experience of the war to expose, not conceal the utter vileness of national liberal labor politics.[2]

What does this mean concretely for communists and advanced workers in the US today, when there is no vanguard party to lead in waging this relentless struggle? Theoretical work must be primary at a time when the movement is without a revolutionary theory consolidated in a party program. In what is primarily theoretical work, it means that we must expose the revisionist, social-chauvinist, reformist influence of the labor traitors, the CPUSA, and the upper stratum as a whole, in every aspect of the struggle to achieve political unity and to develop a party program. Every programmatic question facing the US proletariat today must be analyzed from the standpoint of the split in the working class and its effect on the question of proletarian internationalism, on the national question, on the woman question, on work in the trade unions and among the masses. As communists within the oppressor Anglo-American nation, we, in particular, must never forget that imperialism means the subjugation and enslavement of nations. We must put the question of the nations and peoples oppressed by US imperialism in the forefront of the struggle to build the party!

In our practical work, our emphasis must be on winning workers (at this time, primarily the most advanced) away from the revisionism and reformism of the bribed labor aristocracy and their spokesmen, and to the side of communism. This task is a priority in our work within the trade unions. Any temporary, tactical alliance with the labor traitors, especially in the absence of a party, must be done from a position of strength. Furthermore, we would support the labor bureaucrats like a “hanged man is supported by a rope”, exposing their role before, during and after every move they make. In short, we must completely discredit their opportunism and drive them out of the working class.

In order to carry out these tasks, it is clear that the party that is built must be based among those sections of the proletariat least affected by the temporary, relative privileges resulting from imperialist plunder. We must do as Lenin said, we must go deeper into the proletariat and unite with the most oppressed and exploited workers in large-scale industry:

And it is therefore our duty, if we wish to remain socialists, to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this is the whole meaning and the whole purport of the struggle against opportunism. By exposing the fact that the opportunists and social-chauvinists are in reality betraying and selling the interests of the masses, that they are defending the temporary privileges of a minority of the workers, that they are the vehicles of bourgeois ideas and influences, that they are really allies and agents of the bourgeoisie, we teach the masses to appreciate their true political interests, to fight for socialism and for the revolution through all the long and painful vicissitudes of imperialist wars and imperialist armistices.[3]



[1] R. Palme Dutt, Fascism and Social Revolution, Proletarian Publishers, San Francisco, 1874, p. 182.

[2] V. I. Lenin, “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” op. cit., p. 120.

[3] Ibid.