Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Resistencia Puertorriqueña

OL’s Sham Attempt at Party Building

First Published: Resistencia, Vol. 7, No. 4, n.d. [1976]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In the coming days, the October League (OL) will change its name, will start to publish weekly its paper, The Call, and will proclaim everywhere that the central task of communists in the U. S. is no longer to build the Party, because according to them they are the Party. But there are parties and parties. There are revolutionary parties and reformist parties, new type Bolshevik parties and old type social-democratic parties. And what the OL is doing is a social-democratic organization painted red, a menshevik party formed along the right line that tails behind the spontaneous struggles of the masses, liberal politicians and the national movement. But one can learn from the negative example. And definitely by understanding the way in which the OL is building its party will help Marxist-Leninists as well as advanced elements to learn ”how not to build a Communist Party”.


For Marxist-Leninists it is clear that the party is formed around a program voluntarily accepted by all members of the future Party and, that it is based on the unity on ideological and political line, that the first congress of the party is held to establish iron discipline based on democratic centralism and elect the leading bodies of the Party (Central Committee, Editorial Board of the Paper, etc, etc.). But the OL turns every thing upside down. They are going to hold the first congress, elect the central committee and editorial board of the paper, establish democratic centralism (?) and then, a year later they are going to meet to discuss and approve the program. There is no doubt that this method will allow the OL to create some kind of coalition where intermediate and backward elements will predominate, where instead of democratic centralism there will be anarchy on the one hand and blind discipline (obedience to the chairman’s orders) on the other. A “party” built in this way will reduce itself to a series of collectives (with very little ideological development) absorbed by the OL, which is the major organization in this sham party building attempt. Just like the rich kid who owns the bat, the ball and the glove, and wants to be the manager, the clean-up batter and the short stop, the OL (who owns the economist paper The Call, the mass organization Fight Back and possibly even the place where they will meet) intends to place everybody under the authority of Michael Klonsky and send them off to sell papers, call up the National Guard to protect the democratic rights of the masses (as they did in relation to Boston forced bussing) and to participate with as many revisionists and opportunists in different coalitions and fronts although always with the phoney slogan of ”no unity with revisionists” (see part on Federico Cintron Committee).

But it is not enough to criticize the OL for building a Menshevik Party instead of a Bolshevik Party, a Party built by bowing to spontaneity instead of through the bolshevik way based on the conscious element. It is important that we draw the correct conclusions from this sham attempt to prevent the creation of the Bolshevik Party that we need in the U.S.

We consider that the most important lesson is that on the immediate agenda of the Marxists-Leninists, is the development of the program of the future Party. The comrades of RWL pointed to this need in the polemics with OL in Boston:

Lenin was very clear on this question – the necessity to inject the program in the process of drawing lines of demarcation in the struggle for ideological unity, because it is only through political line, concentrated in the program, that differences reveal themselves the sharpest, and the genuine is separated from the sham, and a congress, as the highest body of the party can be held to establish the iron discipline of democratic centralism.

We are in unity with this position. It is imperative that true Marxist-Leninists join efforts, along with advanced elements, to develop this Program. Armed with dialectical and historical materialism, the world out look and method of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse Tung thought, we have to reach conclusions on the historical development of capitalism in the U. S. since its birth to its present stage of Imperialism in decline. We also have to make a scientific analysis of the material reality in which we find ourselves. We cannot forget that political economy is what allows us to understand the economic base of society. This economic base is precisely the foundation over which society is built, as it is matter that determines all consciousness. Without a class analysis, without the study of the economic base of our society our analysis will continue to be incomplete. Without it we will not be able to clearly determine which are our reserves and thus, which should be our strategy, since strategy implies the existence and utilization of such reserves.


Another important aspect of OL’s approach in party building is their emphasis on quantity over quality. Based on this, whoever has more “numbers” has the right, regardless of who is with then, whether workers or petty bourgeoisie, advanced intermediate or backward elements. This is reducing the concept of bolshevik to its purely semantic meaning (majority) stripping it of its political meaning: genuine communist. It is clear that bolsheviks do not represent the majority in what we call the communist movement (which includes many opportunists such as the OL which is practically out of it, and WVO, RWC, Comite-MINP, Guardian, etc). We cannot dream either of having more support among the masses than the mensheviks at this moment, such would be negating the fact that advanced workers – our fortress – are a minority in relation to the total working class, of which a great majority are backward due to the limited fusion of the communist movement with the working class movement. So we can’t be fooled by “numbers” in the OL, nor are we impressed by their weekly (economist) paper. If this were the measure for communists, then the revisionist “C”PUSA would win out, along with revisionist PSP who publish their Daily World and Claridad daily! (daily except on Good Friday and Christmas).

No way, OL. Numbers do not impress us. You recruit appealing to the more backward elements, catering to the most opportunist and backward sectors of the national movement, crawling behind liberal politicians, labor bureaucrats, reformists and poverty pimps (including Trotskyites from SWP) in issues as “bussing” and ERA. This is the quickest way to build a party, yes, a menshevik party.


Divorce between theory and practice is not permissible in communists. An incorrect ideological line can only lead to an incorrect political line and an incorrect political line necessarily translates into incorrect practice. This is plain fact that anybody can accept. What some will not accept is that correct ideological and political line do not guarantee the correctness of practice. That is why Lenin taught us not to base our positions on what people say of themselves but on what they do. Deeds speak louder than words. OL’s case is very similar to that of the parties of the Second International that were always throwing radical sounding slogans in order to cover for their reformist and revisionist positions. But no matter how hard they tried they failed because Lenin and the Bolsheviks made sure to dispose of these revisionists of the Second International, starting with the renegade Kautsky into the trash can of History.


OL started its own coalition under the slogan of “No unity with revisionists”. In that coalition also participated CAP and other organizations and fronts of both. (Although CAP has broken with OL since, at least organizationally as they have expressed in a series of forums recently held). After establishing their coalition OL and CAP joined the other coalition which had been formed by WVO (See Resistencia vol. 7 #’s 2 and 3) that included all kinds of opportunist forces and organizations as well as PRRWO, RWL and Resistencia Puertorriquena. In the coalition OL showed that it was willing to negotiate on principles. They would have us establish only those principles of unity that separate us from the trotskyites and the “C”PUSA, without drawing lines of demarcation with all the others opportunists as themselves.

Thus, instead of defending their position on party building, ERA, bussing, etc., OL would rather negotiate on those things so we could all march together to the UN. In the course of struggle, opposition to both superpowers as a principle of unity was approved (including OL and CAP). In previous issues we have discussed the development of this struggle but it is important here to show clearly how the OL divorces theory from practice as we pointed out. OL and CAP left the coalition and marched together to the U.N. as they had planned.

But in the principles of unity for that march, opposition to both superpowers was dropped and instead they used the general slogan of “opposition to imperialism”. In a forum on Angola sponsored by CAP with the participation of many opportunists besides the OL this point was debated where CAP held that it was incorrect for the OL to have dropped “opposition to both superpowers”. The OL claimed that: “By making opposition to both superpowers a principle of unity would have liquidated the work we were doing in Baltimore, where the people we were working with were not clear on this issue”. (Take note, comrades of Baltimore, on how backward the OL pictures you, and how well the OL is working that it cannot even advance its own slogans with the people they work. Any similarity with WVO is not pure coincidence, but menshevism).


The OL, CAP and el Comite-MINP created a so-called “anti-revisionist coalition against S-l Bill”. In a forum they held in Harlem, before the first presentation (made by the OL), the chair stated that after the presentations there would be time for questions but that declarations and polemics would not be allowed. It was clear that ideological struggle between the two lines was being squashed and the OL was tacitly approving this anti-Marxist stand.

In its presentation the OL spoke of the imminent danger of war and fascism and of the need to stop the S-l Bill through the creation of an anti-revisionist coalition in order to unite all who can be united. Although when speaking of war they mentioned soviet social imperialism in passing, they did not expand on this issue nor denounced soviet social imperialism as the main source of war in the world. Even though the forum was in February, 3 months after their call for the creation of the party, the representative of OL did not mention it even once in their presentation. During the short discussion that followed after all the presentations. OL consistently evaded defending its line. They claimed that in the face of the threat of fascism, they limit their analysis to the S-l Bill, that what has to be done is to form a united front and not to build a bolshevik party. In the course of the struggle, which consistently they tried to limit, we questioned OL when they said that the coalition was an anti-revisionist one when there were forces (El Comite-MINP) that denied the existence of soviet social imperialism and that supported its intervention and that of Cuban puppet troops in Angola. This question they answered clearly. They established that the OL always and everywhere opposes soviet social imperialism but that in the face of the danger of fascism (of the S-l Bill according to them) they have to unite whoever can be united and that the question of soviet social imperialism should not be a line of demarcation or a point of unity. That is to say, OL in its right opportunism has invented a new type of anti-revisionist coalition which does not have to take a stand on the soviet social imperialists who are the ideological leaders of international revisionism. At this moment the OL’s coalition against the S-l Bill does not exist as this was one of the many fronts OL created to try to strengthen its “Fight Back Committees” and therefore it’s menshevik party.

But its right opportunist line still exists. They continue screaming fascism is coming, fascism is coming, and they run around uniting with opportunists, revisionists of all hues, poverty pimps and liberal politicians while in the movement they paint themselves red – talking of “no united action with revisionists”.


Another good example of OL’s right opportunism is their participation in the Committee for the Defense of Federico Cintron Fiallo (CDFCF). While they raise their slogan of “No unity with revisionists”, in this committee they not only pushed unity with revisionists but with trotskyites as well. Throughout the two line struggle that developed in the CDFCF OL consistently took a centrist position, refusing to defend its line and remaining “neutral” supposedly for the sake of “unity”. The OL was proposing unity at the cost of principles, and it is this same unity what they are proposing for their new “party”. In the CDFCF struggle unfolded around three main questions, when principles of unity were being discussed: 1) who would be admitted into the committee, 2) soviet social imperialism, and 3) the national question. In all three questions we will see how the OL showed its right opportunism, allying with the most opportunist and backward elements in that committee.

MEMBERSHIP IN COMMITTEE. Refusing to take a position on this question, the OL objectively allied with El Comite-MINP who numerically dominated the committee and who were proposing that anyone claiming to be interested in working in the defense of Federico Cintron could enter. So when the question of Trotskyites was discussed they supported the claim of El Comite-MINP that “Trotskyism is not on trial here”. So for the OL the trots are bad only in words, but in practice they can unite with them and help them spread their counterrevolutionary poison among the masses. It was clear that not attacking the Trotskyites on the part of OL responded to their right opportunist line on party building and their attempts at seeking unity with El Comite-MINP who do not oppose the trotskyites, that is, to their “build the mass movement” line.

SOVIET SOCIAL IMPERIALISM. The two lines on Soviet Social Imperialism centered on whether or not it represents a danger for the national liberation struggle in Puerto Rico. Our position is that it is necessary to oppose both superpowers, U.S. imperialism and Soviet Social Imperialism, in order to really support that struggle. Soviet Social Imperialism is the most dangerous source of war in the world today, and it is making all kinds of preparations to wage imperialist war and gain hegemony over the world. Examples of their hegemonistic attempts and the danger they represent to liberation struggles is their recent armed intervention in Angola. Other examples of how politically they try to sneak in through the back door (which is being held open by revisionist PSP) are the Havana Conference and Cuba maneuvers at the U.N. aimed at placing the liberation struggle of Puerto Rico at the hands of PSP, and through them gain hegemony over this colony.

The OL knows this and has even denounced it in their paper, but in order to move into the national movement they are willing to make any compromises. Thus, in order to maintain relations with opportunists of El Comite-MINP and remain in the CDFCF they refuse to wage struggle, remain “neutral” and even try to concilliate the two line struggle with a “third” alternative. They claimed that to say “all imperialism”, or imperialism wherever it occurs” is enough since it includes Soviet Social Imperialism without having to mention it. How convenient! This attitude towards struggle only leads to building a “party” to fit all kinds of social scum, based on “principles” so vague and wide that they can mean anything and satisfy everybody (except genuine communists!) So the OL is one day screaming in frenzy “No unity with revisionists!” and “Down with both superpowers”, and yet the next day unites with them, “forgets” about one of the two superpowers, unites with El Comite-MINP who hold that U. S. imperialism is the principal and ONLY danger in Puerto Rico, and that Soviet Social Imperialism does not exist.

THE NATIONAL QUESTION. El Comite-MINP whipped up the revisionist theory of the “Divided Nation” claiming that the CDFCF should be under the complete leadership of the committee in Puerto Rico for the defense of Federico Cintron/that is, under MSP, their fraternal organization in P.R.) Again, the OL crawled behind this narrow nationalist line of El Comite-MINP, who threatened that the CDFCF in N.Y. would lose the “sponsorship” from Federico Cintron since neither him nor his committee in P.R. agreed with what we were proposing (opposition to trotskyites, revisionists and soviet social imperialism, etc.) Confronted by the threat of being “left out in the cold” the OL culminated its opportunism by accepting the complete proposal of El Comite-MINP, negating the struggle between two lines, glossing over the class questions being raised there. As a result, El Comite-MINP’s proposed principles of unity were approved; we and advanced elements in the committee abandoned it as a matter of principle, while the OL remained, restoring “harmony” and making of the committee a nestling ground for right opportunism.

(We recommend that comrades and friends read the articles “Right opportunism the Main Danger” (Revolutionary Cause #3); ”How not to Build a Communist Party” and “Historic Conference in Alamosa” (Revolutionary Cause #4) and “Defeat OL’s (Menshevik-Liberal) Call for the Party” (by RWL in Palante #3) to get a better understanding of why we must tenaciously oppose this menshevik hegemonic attempt to build a reformist party and not a revolutionary party).

The OL’s party cannot in any form stop our work towards the building of a genuine bolshevik party. This is – and continues to be despite OL’s menshevik attempt – our central task. Within our central task we must realize our two tactical tasks, unite Marxists Leninists (which is a primary tactical tasks) and win the advanced elements – particularly in the working class. These two tactical tasks are carried on simultaneously and political line (which is key in this process) is the bond that unites both tasks. To unite Marxists Leninists and win the advanced to communism we use propaganda as the chief form of activity. For us “agitation among workers is inseparably linked to propaganda” (Lenin, The tasks of the Russian Social Democrats, Complete Works, Vol. 2). We consider the right danger (revisionism, economism, right opportunism, etc.) the main danger in the communist movement, and in the working class, and the OL and WVO as the main proponents of this line. We point to the need to be on guard of a secondary danger, “left” dogmatism, which tends to develop in the heat of the struggle against the right.

The future is bright. Before us the task of smashing one of the two superpowers. To achieve this we need our party. Lenin’s ending words in ”The Tasks of Russian Social-Democrats” ring so true today:

And so, to work, comrades! Let us not lose precious time! Russian Social-Democrats have much to do to meet the requirements of the awakening proletariat, to organise the working-class movement, to strengthen the revolutionary groups and their mutual ties, to supply the workers with propaganda and agitational literature, and to unite the workers’ circles and Social-Democratic groups scattered all over Russia (Ed. U.S.) into a single Social Democratic Labour (Ed. Communist) Party!