Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Viewpoint Organization

To the Forefront of Struggle: Crucial Tasks of Communists in the Economic Crisis

ACC Cover

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, No. 1, May, 1975.
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.

Massive unemployment, bucket cuts, galloping inflation – the whole economic crisis is a direct attack on the working class and national minorities. As communists, we must give leadership to the spontaneous resistance of the working class and turn it into a counter-attack on the government and the monopoly capitalist class. In defending the democratic rights and the standard of living of the multi-national working class, we must build a broad front against monopoly capitalism. It is especially important now for communists to build unity within our multi-national working class in this period when the ruling class’s “divide and rule” tactics are being implemented rapidly throughout the country. In Boston, forced busing is being used to pit the Black and white working class communities against each other (see Boston busing article in this issue). In the Lower East Side of New York City, the struggle in School District 1 has turned into antagonisms between the Third World and Jewish communities (see WV, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 64, “Community Control: Tailing the Bourgeoisie or Building the Revolutionary Movement?”). Neither “community control” nor forced busing has solved the problem of quality education for Third World or white communities. Both are tactics used to divide the working class along racial lines so that we are prevented from seeing our real fight against the real enemy – the monopoly capitalists.

Economic Ping-Pong? .. .Ford-Style

The U.S. economy, along with the entire worldwide capitalist economy, has entered a new period. The latest series of economic crises, born from a tide of world revolution spearheaded by the victorious struggles of Third World countries against U.S. imperialism, has forced capitalist countries to sharply alter their domestic economic policies. As the further expansion of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, is stopped on all fronts from the peoples of Indochina to the oil-producing nations, the inherent problem of capitalism becomes less easy to shift around. This is why the U.S. is facing “stagflation,” a high rate of inflation combined with a stagnation of the economy and rising unemployment. This is also why the economic policies of the ruling class bounce back and forth with both anti-inflation and anti-recession measures being instituted at the same time: The last few years we have watched the desperate moves by the monopoly capitalists to expand and cut in tune with the endless swings between recession and inflation.

It is becoming increasingly hopeless to apply traditionally “reliable” Keynesian economics with its inflationary policies and deficit-financing,[1] to postpone the total collapse of capitalism. The ruling class can no longer simply press a button and offset inflation with “planned recession,” increased unemployment or a slowdown of production by taking money out of the economy. The monopoly capitalists can no longer continue to export inflation abroad or transfer their debts onto future generations. They are now forced to shift the burden of this intensifying capitalist crisis directly onto the backs of the American working class through their tool – the state.[2]

Ford’s latest proposal is to put more money into the economy through tax rebates – an “anti-recession plan” financed by a new tax on oil. What does this mean to working people? A family earning $6000 a year will receive $246 in tax benefits in 1975. But, after subtracting higher fuel costs estimated at $250 for the same family, we are already at a loss. What’s more, a rise in oil prices will push all prices up, continuing the actual decrease in res earnings – despite wage increases – And now Ford is freezing new government programs, while putting 5% ceilings on federal employees’ wage increases, and funds for social security, food stamps and other programs serving the poor. In a period of more than 14% inflation, we are suffering from a CUT in income.

The ruthless monopoly capitalists, urged by the slumping auto industry, pump a few more bucks into the economy, thinking to “stimulate” the buying appetite just to squeeze more out of the working class. Ford moves one foot to combat inflation by layoffs and cuts in our vital services, while putting his other foot into recession, with a growing army of reserve labor, piles of unbought goods and idle factories. Either way, whichever step he makes, it brings the country closer to the inevitable collapse of imperialism!

The largest single budget item is national defense. Nearly 2/3 of the budget, or $95 billion is spent on past and future wars to protect the profits and political interests of the monopoly capitalists around the world. Ford claims that he has cut defense spending, but the actual cut means nothing – $381 million as compared to the H.E.W. cut of $4.6 billion. Defense spending actually rose 7% from 1974, while the working poor, elderly, and minorities suffer drastic cuts in social security, Medicaid, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, food stamps and low-cost housing.

Federal cuts are extended into state and local governments, strangling the already troubled city and state budgets. Large cities find themselves at the end of this chain reaction - and getting hit the hardest. Programs started by the federal government to cool down the problems in inner city ghettos have gradually been turned over for state and local financing. Of the Revenue Sharing Program so highly praised by Mayor Bradley of Los Angeles, 75% has been spent on the police force in past years. Ever since the Depression, there has been a growing dependence of state and local governments on federal monies, which becomes even more critical when the federal government eases its own responsibilities onto them. In places like New York City, city resources are further burdened by the growing welfare lines. More than one out of every ten residents are welfare recipients, and it is expected to be 15% of the City’s population by next year.

Hit with inflated costs and cuts in basic income sources such as federal/state aid, the cities are forced to borrow more and more from the private sector – the banks. This leads to higher interest rates, greater debts, and more borrowing. 16% of the 1975 New York City budget will be going to past and current debts. Who is profiting from this crisis? Banks like Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan and First National, which are the two largest holders of NYC municipal bonds. The working class is being squeezed for every last drop of blood by the monopoly capitalists, who keep growing fatter.

The only other ways to balance the budget are through new taxes or budget cuts. But as higher taxes encourage businesses and industries to run for lower tax areas and cheaper labor in the South (or outside the US. altogether), most cities resort to cutting services and workers, and/or instituting “regressive” taxes. It always amounts to the heaviest burden being thrust on working people rather than on corporations.

The number of unemployed is closely approaching the 17 million mark of the 1930s. ONE OUT OF EVERY SIX PEOPLE IS OUT OF A JOB! This includes the “officially” unemployed and those who have given up looking for jobs and are no longer counted on the unemployment lists, including all those hired by the armed forces who are not engaged in production or socially necessary labor (and the armed forces are much larger today than in the ’30s). AND THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING! Meanwhile, the GNP (the value of all good s and services produced), fell in the last quarter of 1974 at an annual rate of 9.1% and is predicted to fall 10% for the first quarter of this year. Inflation speeds along at the rate of 14% and more. The real income of the average American worker decreased by 6% in 1974.

Mayor Beame is faithfully carrying out the bourgeoisie’s policy of cutting the working class in New York City. Daring the last half year, nearly 12,000 municipal workers were laid off. Another 12,000 positions were eliminated through attrition, and a freeze on hiring. Another 10,000 are on the way for layoffs. City services are survival necessities for poor and working people, and it is the Dept. of Social Services that has lost the most workers. In some areas, the city’s poor start lining up in the middle of the night to collect their welfare checks. And it is the City’s worst ghettoes–South Bronx, Harlem and Brownsville, with their ancient, crumbling, fire-hazard tenements–that fire stations have been forced to close! Eight city hospitals are lined up to be eliminated or converted for other purposes, and others are already turning away sick people through so-called “non-emergencies”, if they cannot prove they can pay. Schools and daycare centers are getting cut by all levels of government.

Not only are minority and working class communities losing vital services, but most of the workers who are being cut are Third World peoples and women, –and already the lowest paid: custodians, dietary workers, teacher’s aides, social work aides, clerks. Unemployment for non-whites is two times greater than for white workers,–or nearly 15%. Hospitals being one of the hardest hit areas by budget cuts has 80% Black, Latin and Asian workers. Cuts have been coming down on teachers, sanitation men and other civil service workers, as well as doctors, nurses, social workers, engineers and planners.

Few of these budget cuts in New York City have taken place without struggle against them by working and community people. Ever since Beame started trimming the budget, city newspapers have been constantly reporting protests and demonstrations in different parts of the city. City Hall is constantly being picketed–and Beame hides away in his office, getting ready for his next round of cuts. As the grass roots militancy of the movement against the economic crisis grows, communists are becoming increasingly involved in the issue. But communists’ participation has not taken the forefront of the struggle. Our tasks must be clearly in view so that the movement can push forward. Through persistent communist work in these struggles, we must provide analysis and direction to educate the working class in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism. Through the advanced workers, we must lead the class to build an independent rank and file workers movement, which will lead the broad united front against monopoly capitalism.

We must educate the working class through this struggle as to the real nature of capitalist society, we must raise working class consciousness to a higher level of struggle, to build a united front against monopoly capitalism and set up the conditions for advanced workers to gain leadership in this movement.

How Reformism Helps Fascism – EXPOSE All Misleadership in The Working Class Movement!

This tremendous crisis is pushing us into a crucial period. More and more clearly, there are two contending trends: revolution and fascism. All forms of attack on the working class and resistance by it are on the rise, and it is up to us to seize the initiative and carry these struggles forward to revolution.

And in these times of both rising revolution and fascism, anything that holds our struggles back helps fascism. And this is just what reformism does. Today, the disorganizing and counter-revolutionary role of reformism and union misleadership comes out more sharply than ever.

In all the imperialist countries, reformism and the labor aristocracy are the main ideological and social props of the bourgeoisie. Reformism, not repression, is still the main tool of the bourgeoisie to strangle the working class’ revolutionary struggle, by disrupting it from within. Of course, violent repression never stops; the ruling class is always bringing government troops and goons against striking workers, using cops against the resistance of oppressed minorities, etc. But much more valuable to the bourgeoisie are the “soft” reformism and misleadership that disorganize militant struggles from within before they can break out, and stifle those that it can’t prevent. Every step of the way, the union misleaders contain working class anger and divert it into dead ends. They try to confuse us, disarm us, suppress us, split us, and set us up for even fiercer attacks. All this is true in normal, “peaceful” times and even clearer as we move into the crisis. The exposure of these misleaders through struggle in front of the masses is a big part of the class struggle, for as Lenin said, they are “better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie itself.”

The imperialist bourgeoisie creates its labor aristocracy by buying off a minority within the working class through higher wages and other small privileges. It “pays” for these privileges through its superprofits from the exploitation of the colonies and the workers in lesser imperialist countries. And in the U.S., which has been the biggest and most stable imperialist in the world since World War I, reformism and the labor aristocracy are especially entrenched.

For these reasons, the exposure of these labor misleaders and other liberal reformists, is more than 2/3 of the way to proletarian revolution in the U.S. With the cover blown off their misleaders, the monopoly capitalists won’t have a chance against the revolutionary proletariat. The plain truth is that we will have to spend more time exposing and fighting the misleaders in this country than we will spend on the bourgeoisie itself!

This is always an important task and with the rise of both revolution and fascism in this crisis, it is more urgent than ever. We must take up the fight to defend our rights and standard of living, as oppressed minorities, as women and as workers, in a revolutionary way. As Lenin put it: “...it is necessary to formulate and put forward all these demands, not in a reformist, but in a revolutionary way; not by keeping within the framework of bourgeois legality, but by breaking through it; not by confining oneself to parliamentary speeches and verbal protests, but by drawing the masses into real action, by widening and fomenting the struggle for every kind of fundamental democratic demand, right up to and including the direct onslaught of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, i.e., to the socialist revolution, which will expropriate the bourgeoisie.”

Explaining “How Social Democracy (read: reformist misleadership) Assists Fascism to Power,” R. Palme Dutt writes:

First, Social Democracy disorganizes the proletariat and the proletarian struggle. The Social Democratic and trade union leadership act as an agency of the employers and of the ruling class within the working class ranks, preaching defeatism and opposition to struggle, and, where the outbreak of working class struggle becomes inevitable, directly disrupting the struggle from within.

This is the principal way in which Social Democracy assists the advance of Fascism to power–by disorganizing the working class front, by breaking strikes, by denunciation of the class struggle, by preaching legalism and trust in capitalism, by expulsion of all militant elements and splitting of the trade unions and working class organizations.

The war on Communism is placed in the forefront by Social Democracy. (Fascism & Social Revolution, pgs. 183, 185)

This is just the role of our union “leaders” today. “Preaching legalism and trust in capitalism,” the hacks of District Council 37 have always told us to pin our hopes on the political machinery and registering voters. Vote in Kennedy, vote in Humphrey, they said, and they would win us a fairer share of the pie.

Nowadays, everyone from liberal democrats like Michael Harrington to the Communist Party USA are calling for a “mass party” to “vote the monopolies out of government.” They say that in 1976 we can have a “clean” government without the Nixons and Agnews, without ITT and the dairy industry. Sure, Nixon is already gone. But one thing Watergate showed us all is that the faces may change from Nixon to Ford to Rockefeller, but behind the new costumes, the same big corporations and banks, are still calling the shots. The call to “vote socialism into power” is another lie of those reformist misleaders to hold our struggle down in “safe”, legal chains.

Preaching defeatism and opposition to struggle,” they uphold collaboration, telling us to share the burden and tighten up our belts to pull America out of the crisis. They tell us to compromise, to sit down and arbitrate under collective bargaining, and meanwhile they throw away our right to strike. This is exactly how I.W. Abel of the United Steel Workers bargained away that right with his Experimental Negotiating Agreement (ENA), without even a vote of the rank and file.

They say that in this crisis we have no choice but to settle for the lesser of two evils, and under this cover they accept tricks that cost the bourgeoisie nothing, like cutting into our welfare funds, or attrition, speed-ups and “productivity plans.” In January ’75, NYC’s municipal union “leaders”, Gotbaum, DeLury and Feinstein met with Mayor Beame to reopen the contracts. And what did they do? They gave away any gains they made while splitting up the rank and file! They threw away the provisional workers to “save” the permanent employees, they forced the elderly to give up their jobs to the young, and women to give up their jobs to the men.

They help the bourgeoisie to whip up hatred among U.S. workers against “illegal” aliens and foreign workers. For years now, the ILGWU has told us to “Buy American,” while the Amalgamated Garment Workers tell us that “Foreign Workers Take Away Jobs.”

But with the increasing oppression of the working class, rank and file movements to strike back start popping. And what do these “leaders” do? They call a demonstration or two to divert the anger, just to let off steam and demoralize the rank and file. Forced to call some action, they make sure its “peaceful,” “orderly”, and costs the bourgeoisie nothing. The recent “March on Washington” on April 26 showed this perfectly. Held on Saturday, and purposely disorganized from start to finish by the union leaders, it was only meant to drain the rank and file militancy in a passive and tiring event. This was organized by the “progressive” union heads, like Gotbaum of DC 37 and Leon Davis of 1199. But George Meany, who refused to endorse even this national demonstration, would rather confine everything to state and city levels: “Its a very affluent city... and it affects the demonstrators adversely. Washington is not America, I’m sorry to say. We are not going to man the barricades as yet.” (New York Times, 4/21, pg. 18)

In all these ways, reformist leadership helps to disorganize the working class struggle. But even more, it advances programs that actually help capitalism to meet the crisis, often under “big reform” or even “socialist” labels!

With the further development of the post-war period Social Democracy helps forward the advance towards Fascism more and more positively by assisting the strengthening of the capitalist mechanism and of the capitalist dictatorship. Social Democracy assists to carry through the economic measures for the strengthening of capitalist monopoly (rationalization, etc.); it supports all the Bruning and Roosevelt-types of intensified capitalist dictatorship, and itself helps to introduce and operate measures of intensified dictatorship.” (Fascism & Social Revolution, p. 185.)

Today all our labor leaders and politicians are pushing “reforms” like Roosevelt’s New Deal. But just how good a deal was that for the working class?

The New Deal of the 30’s handed out finances to the big businesses helping them to eat up the small. Before World War II, New Deals like the National Recovery Act (NRA) under Roosevelt’s Emergency Regime, wiped out what remained of the old anti-trust laws. So with the government’s help, bigger monopolies grew out of the depression.

The same NRA also drove down wages, by fixing below-starvation minimum wages that only helped to pull down the maximum wage. It boosted inflation with its big military spending, creating jobs without producing anything useful. Its “guaranteed right to organize” turned the independent unions into company unions. And under the Wagner Bill, also palmed off as guaranteeing workers’ rights, it established binding arbitration and wiped out the right to strike. Under Roosevelt’s policy, striking workers were shot in W. Pennsylvania and many unions were busted.

Today we have to think twice when we hear so many “progressive”-sounding solutions! Every union head seems to have his own “deal”. Take Leonard Woodcock’s economic program or “action plan.” The AFL-CIO proposes immediate reduction of interest rates, supported by the government; creation of public service jobs in health, housing, recreation, transportation and education; more aid to the unemployed through the reform of the Unemployment Insurance Benefits program; an immediate tax cut, favoring poor people to stimulate the economy through additional purchasing power; and a new national energy policy to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. And what would these plans do? In the long run they would only adjust and fit themselves to the crisis and the government’s jive schemes. They never challenge the government’s policies, but actually help the bosses to “rationalize” and streamline the economy. Like the New Deal of the 30’s, this “progressive” deal of the 70’s would only help the government to centralize and concentrate its strength, setting all workers up for even tougher attacks in the future.

Summarizing the connection between reformism and fascism, Dutt wrote:

Both are instruments of the rule of monopoly capital. Both fight the working class revolution. Both weaken and disrupt the class organizations of the workers. But their methods differ.

Fascism operates primarily by coercion alongside of deception.

Social Democracy operates primarily by deception, alongside coercion. And quoting Stalin’s definition from 1924:

“Social Democracy objectively represents the moderate wing of Fascism.” (Fascism & Social Revolution, pgs. 175, 176).

Our claim that communists in this country will have to spend more time on exposing and fighting the labor misleaders than we will spend on the bourgeoisie, will come as a big surprise to the October League. Judging from their line and practice in the workers’ movement, the OL has never heard of the idea.

Take the recent elections in the United Mine Workers, with Tony Boyle and Arnold Miller. Under Boyle’s “leadership”, the UMW was one of the most corrupt unions in the country, with open collaboration between the “leaders” and the mineowners and suppression of all union democracy. Against all this, a big rank and file movement came up to throw Boyle out and establish union democracy. This was a real movement from below, expressing the deepest demands of the mineworkers for their basic rights. And it was this rank and file movement that brought Arnold Miller to the front.

Miller is one of the reformist misleaders who rides in on a mass movement. Every reformist promises to fulfill all or some of the masses’ demands, but in the long run he can fulfill none of them–for he will never go beyond bourgeois legality. Communists must grasp this contradiction and fully expose it and all the demagogy, showing the masses at every moment the vast difference between promises and the reality. Only through this long process of consistent exposure, in every twist and turn of the struggle, can we win the masses from these misleaders.

Take the exposure of a trade union bureaucrat, such as Victor Gotbaum, for example. Can we sit back, and let him expose himself by his own actions, –such as pitting workers against each other–minorities vs. white, civil service vs. provisional workers, younger workers vs. older workers (by the proposed forced retirement age of 63 instead of 65), or by the numerous other divisions he would create? We cannot leave him to expose himself. As Communists, we have to push this process along. We have to tell all the workers he doesn’t represent their interests. The provisional workers know by fact that he has refused to protect their jobs. But other workers, such as many Civil Service workers, (those with permanent jobs), see that he has and is protecting their jobs; they think he had no choice but to do what he did because there was a deficit in the city budget. But what will these civil service workers say when all the provisional workers are laid off and they, the civil service workers, will be forced to carry the extra workload? Where will their union leadership stand then? The older civil service workers are seeing much clearer now that Gotbaum does not represent their interests by forcing them to retire at age 63. As Lenin said, “the masses must have their own political experience. Such is the fundamental law of all great revolutions.” The workers will learn from their own experience, but it is up to us as communists to patiently explain and show them before, during and after each and every struggle where their misleaders are leading them.

But the reformist promises partially reflect the masses’ real, honest demands, and the masses still believe in the misleader. They have not yet seen through him. In this case, communists must unite with the misleader around certain specific issues to expose him, or as Lenin put it, “support him like a rope supports a hanged man” (Left-Wing Communism). Communists must (this is obligatory) support misleaders like Miller, working in elections and all other forms of struggle to gain the broadest possible access to the workers. We must support and really lead the fight for the workers’ just demands for union democracy, etc. But we must warn the masses long in advance, before he messes up, that this misleader can never fulfill his promises and we must expose him afterward, at each moment that he does mess up, and we must sum up each instance for the masses. This has to be done over and over again.

Communists must be clear on both points: first, that we support him; second, that we support him with a noose. We ourselves must have no illusions about the misleader’s nature; as communists, we must see through him long beforehand. We support him only for the education of the masses, because the masses do not have Marxist-Leninist theory but learn mainly through their own experience in politics. We do not support him for our own education!

But this is just what the OL did. For the OL, Miller’s, and other similar misleadership, role was an open question, something not yet settled. And since they themselves did not know the answers, how could they educate and lead the masses? So in the meantime, as long as the question was still open(l), they demanded that all communists give full, unconditional support for Miller.

In doing this, the OL exposed the fact that they have not learned the most basic Marxist lesson on bourgeois reformism and bourgeois democracy, a lesson that must be the root of communist policy. In failing to expose the gap between Miller’s reformist promises and reformist practice, the OL committed the old error of Kautsky and all revisionism:

Kautsky is persuing a typically petty-bourgeois, Philistine policy by pretending ... that putting forward a slogan alters the position. The entire history of bourgeois democracy refutes this illusion; the bourgeois democrats have always advanced and still advance all sorts of ’slogans’ in order to deceive the people. The point is to test their sincerity, to compare their words with their deeds, not to be satisfied with idealistic or charlatan phrases, but to get down to class reality. (emphasis in original) (The Proletarian Revolution and The Renegade Kautsky. Lenin.)

Just shortly after his successful election, Miller sold out the rank and file with a lousy contract. Through this the mineworkers learned a valuable lesson, but with no help from the OL! And now that the question is ’closed’, now that Miller himself has provided the answer, the OL is hoping that everyone will quietly forget this lesson on the need to expose all misleaders in the labour movement. Thus, OL represents a clear cut right line.

Party Building & Mass Work

At this time, party-building is the principal task for Communists and mass work is a secondary task. For the building of our vanguard party will most decisively influence and determine mass work in the future. This does NOT mean we build a party in isolation from the spontaneous mass struggles. It is the role of Communists to give leadership to these struggles, EXPOSE the misleaders hip of the mass movements – in order to win over and consolidate advanced elements and win over the majority of the masses to the side of proletarian revolution.

Exposure plays a very important part in our ability to link party-building with mass work. Through our participation in the day to day struggles of the working class, Communists must struggle against the incorrect lines of the opportunists and reformists who are attempting to lead the masses of workers away from proletarian revolution. Piatnitsky said in his Comintern document, “The Communist Parties, the red trade unions and all the mass revolutionary organizations must tirelessly expose Social-Democracy and the reformists, for unless the workers are freed from their influence the Communist Parties cannot win the majority of the working class, without which it will be impossible to fight against the bourgeoisie.”

We cannot just call them union hacks, reformists or opportunists without consistently and patiently explaining WHY, day-in and day-out. We have to show people with facts, just exactly when, where and how these “misleaders” sold us out.

We have to go through joint actions together with workers to expose misleaders. We have to apply “support (the misleaders) like a rope supports a hanged man” to the day-to-day struggles in order to arm the workers with concrete understanding of HOW the labor aristocracy is bribed strata of the working class, and HOW they sell us out. We have to arm the working class with its own political experience. This is an indispensable part of training the working class to shoulder proletarian revolution.

Only through our participation in these struggles can advanced elements emerge, develop and be consolidated into Marxist-Leninist ideology. One of our principle tasks in the mass struggle as a component part of party-building, is to seek out and consolidate these advanced workers. Through the struggle, advanced workers will be recognized for the stands they take, by their consistent work even when faced with setbacks, the respect they receive from others and their openness to the ideas we will raise to them as communists. They must demonstrate their class stand in the course of mass struggles.

The left error some comrades, committed by the P.R.R.W.O., have on the relation of party-building to mass work is their overestimation of the consciousness of workers. These comrades feel that all misleaders are already sufficiently exposed, – substituting their own understanding as Communists for that of the masses of workers. Therefore, by simply denouncing and hurling abuses at misleaders, these comrades do not provide the kind of communist propaganda and agitation that allows workers to learn through their own experience.

The same role of exposure applies to local agency and hospital administrators. Some of these local misleaders are viewed, not as enemies of the people, but as people who have done “some” good for the community. Yet PRRWO comrades would believe that these people have already sufficiently exposed themselves through their past practices. But do people really see how community misleaders opportunistically side with different poverty pimps in various national minority communities, play favors with them to consolidate their own base so they can protect their jobs? Can people really see their true nature when some of these misleaders still have objective contradictions with monopoly capital? (such as some forces in Health & Hospitals Corp. in NYC) and are threatened with replacement by direct agents of monopoly capital? In order to support a community misleader like a rope supports a hanged man, we must use his contradiction with monopoly capital as an INDIRECT RESERVE, use the facts to show that this person has actually sided with the interests of monopoly capital, and has implemented actions directly aiding the monopoly capitalists such as implementing budget cuts by starting the process of attrition, preventing meetings of workers being held in the hospital, pretending no knowledge of cuts, and when workers and community demonstrate against such cuts, spreading rumors to undermine the demonstration. Only through communist participation, making sure that the demands to be fought for be put forth in the most revolutionary manner, can we expose what his real interests are.

It is necessary to wage a ruthless struggle against these agents and representatives of the bourgeoisie. This is most important in the trade unions – in order to win the working class to proletarian revolution, these agents have to be “completely discredited and driven out of the trade unions.” At the same time, we must educate the Workers as to the importance of trade unions, –that they represent “a transition from the disunity and helplessness of the workers to the rudiments of class organization.” (Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder, Lenin). “By drawing larger and larger masses of the proletariat into the organized struggle, the workers’ organizations, and first and foremost the trade unions, make the workers resistance more planned and systematic” (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol.20, pg. 209-212). Dual unionism– the pulling out of workers into “more progressive organizations” i.e. intermediate workers’ organizations, anti-imperialist workers’ organizations, –is to deny the training of the proletariat taking back the unions and taking the leadership away from the social props of the bourgeoisie. Supporting the spontaneous reactions, of workers to refuse paying their union dues is not the same as fighting for greater union democracy, throwing out the misleaders, and making the unions serve the working class as a tool to fight for our interests. Lenin said in “Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks” that “the main strength of the movement lies in the organization of the workers at the large factories, for the large factories (and mills) contain not only the predominant part of the working class, as regards numbers, but even more, as regards influence, development and fighting capacity. Every factory must be our fortress.”

Another left deviation, committed by comrades in PRRWO and BWC, sees the importance of factory work as the principle task. AT THE NEGLECT of participating in mass struggle. In elevating factory nuclei as the “key to party building”, PRRWO even went so far as to say united front cannot be built until factory nuclei are formed. PRRWO comrades have viewed the mass struggle and united front work against the economic crisis as a deviation from the principal task. Of course, all true Marxist-Leninists, would agree that work in the factories must be central, and Lenin himself saw factory nuclei as a key organizational form when discussing the structure of the party. But to reduce party-building tasks to “factory nuclei”, especially in a period of mass upsurge against the economic crisis, is actually to liquidate the task of participating in mass struggle – which involves advanced, middle and backward workers. In practice, this line also means to identify advanced workers on the basis of ideology alone, and not also on the class stand they s how in mass struggle.

The feature of our principle task of party-building is the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and its application to what’s nationally and locally specific so we can develop a correct line for proletarian revolution in the U.S. The political line – program, strategy, tactics and organizational principles– are the key to party building. It is through the correct line that all honest Marxist-Leninists will be united: it is through the correct line in practice that the advanced workers will be won to proletarian revolution and socialism, and it is through the correct political line that we will be able to advance proletarian revolution in the U.S. However, in the development of the correct line, it cannot be isolated from the day-to-day struggles. We have to understand the fundamental principles of MLMttT and apply them to the concrete situation in the US today. It is necessary to constantly APPLY our theoretical understanding to our work whether it is to discuss current political issues, respond to “all cases, without exception, of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse, no matter what class is affected,” (Lenin, What is to be Done? emphasis in original), or to provide ideological and tactical leadership for the spontaneous struggle and to consolidate the advanced elements in the proletariat. This alone gives the proper focus to our theory, and links the objective with the subjective. This is also the only correct context to Bolshevize our cadres and communist organizations, which is a necessity for our staunch anti-revisionist party.


[1] The inflationary crisis has been created by the following factors; a) a large outflow of capital is required to keep troops abroad and to support puppet governments for expansion into and exploitation of third world countries, b) The massive amount spent on arms is wasted money and raises the value of other goods because less money is spent on profit-making consumer goods, c) Deficit spending to finance this means spending/printing money without goods/gold to back it up. Therefore, wages of the working class have declined with inflation and consumption of goods has decreased.

[2] See WV, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 59, “Strike Back at the Budget Cuts – Defend Our Standard of Living.”