Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Workers Collective

Organize to Defeat the Right


First Issued: February 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The right is on the rise . . . and we’re not ready.

This statement constitutes an accurate summary of the development of the objective situation in the United States today. Within the last year we have seen the following:

The Attack

– An open and aggressive nationwide recruiting drive by the Ku Klux Klan. KKK demonstrations have been held in major cities from California to Alabama;
– A dramatic increase in picketings, bombings, attacks on birth control centers and abortion clinics called “right-to-1ife” forces;
– Attacks on Iranians and other foreign-born people in an effort to whip up American chauvinism and win support for increased militarization and -the possibility of war;
– Continued cutbacks in college and university Third World Studies and recruitment programs won as a result of the struggles against national oppression and racism;
– The widespread development of “professional” union-busting operations, attacks on the trade union movement, and an effort to extend right-to-work laws to additional states; – A marked increase in police murders of blacks and other minority people in Oakland and other cities;
– A concerted, overtly political attack on the Revolutionary Communist Party. The U.S. Department of Justice seized upon the RCP-led demonstrations against Teng Hsiao-ping to launch a massive and dangerous legal attack on the RCP and its chairman, threatening scores of years of imprisonment for what at most were minor crimes ordinarily punished with small fines and short periods of probation.
– And finally, on November 3, 1979 KKK and Nazi gunmen murdered five active members of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, North Carolina, in what promises to be the opening salvo of fascist attacks on revolutionary and progressive activists throughout the country.

Sectarianism Equals Isolation

This type of sectarianism and organizational chauvinism cannot be separated from the overall amateurishness and isolation of revolutionary forces in the U.S. today. Anyone with even the barest trace of working class consciousness or experiences in the mass movements of the 1960’s understands the impotence of self-proclaimed revolutionaries who claim the most profound commitment to the struggle for revolutionary socialism but who refuse to unite with all those who can be united to fight against the Klan, war preparations, or the employers’ offensive on the job. Millions of people will be won to risk their lives for socialism only when they can trust the leaders of that struggle to put the overall aims of the movement above petty personal or organizational advantage.

The greatest revolutionary of our time, Lenin, put it this way:

Working class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to ALL cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter WHAT CLASS is affected – unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other. (What is to be Done?)

It is in this sense that the RWC has taken up the struggle against the attacks upon the RCP and the CWP. With each organization we have both unities and disunities on questions of line strategy, and tactics. We insist, however, that these unities and disunities are irrelevant to the question of defense of both organizations from fascist terror and state repression.

Defeat Reaction!

The task before us today is clear yet difficult. That task is to build in the United States a mass organization of people from every walk of life who are committed to the struggle against all forms of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse that the reactionaries in this country have and will dream up. In particular, this organization must target:

1. KKK, Nazi, and other reactionary attacks on the civil rights and liberties of minority people in this country, whether the attacks are in the form of fascist violence, police oppression, or cutbacks in funds for education, housing and other social services.
2. The “right-to-work” movement, union-busting, takeaway contracts, runaway shops, and other attacks on the workers’ movement.
3. War preparations, including draft registration and especially efforts to whip up national chauvinism against Iranians and other foreign-born people; and also the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.
4. Attacks on the women’s movement, especially those launched by the “right-to-life’ers” and those attempting to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment.
5. Attacks on the progressive movement, communists, and other revolutionary-minded people attempting to lead mass struggle.


This organization should be based in the working class and the broad masses of people generally. Nonetheless, we should recruit and encourage participation by people from all strata who are willing to commit themselves to the principles of unity and organizational program. We cannot fail to realize that many religious leaders, long-term community and union activists, and even some politicians have long histories of struggle against different forms of oppression. Likewise, many teachers, journalists, doctors, and lawyers have played progressive roles in the past and can do so again in the future. Many of these people-possess valuable skills and resources, as well as bases of support among people who can and must be united in this effort.

The organization should be willing to utilize a wide range of effective tactics, including mass demonstrations of every kind, broad written and verbal agitation, and resort to the electoral arena and to the courts.

Finally, the organization should be democratic. Members should have full freedom to circulate and struggle for their positions, subject only to the limitation that decisions once made must be carried out and that internal debate must not be allowed to split or paralyse the organization.

Within an organization of this kind, communist and other revolutionary organizations must be allowed full freedom to pursue their goals. Concretely, this means the freedom to circulate propaganda and agitation, to recruit members and sympathizers, and to put forward their views on every question. But at the same time, organizations must exercise self-restraint, leadership must come as a result of the correctness of people’s ideas tested in practice and commitment to the common effort, not as a result of scheming and manipulation. Every participating organization must realize that any attempt that it makes to dominate the organization will result only in weakening its core of active members and its base as well. The virtue of organizational self-restraint was recognized by Mao Tse-tung in his many writings on new democracy where he cautioned Communist Party cadre to share power with other forces in order to unite the greatest number against the common enemy.

The 1980’s will be both an important and a dangerous period for progressive people in this country. The rise of the organized right and the threat of war are twin dangers whose defeat are possible if we can successfully maximize out political and organizational resources in ful1 awareness of the historic task which confronts, us. The consequences of remaining mired in organizational sectarianism and opportunism are awesome. But the possibilities that flow from overcoming out historic weaknesses are inspiring enough to make the effort both worthwhile – and necessary.

Revolutionary Workers Collective
P.O. Box 2546
Oakland, CA 94614

February 1980