Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Viewpoint

October League’s Organizing Committee Doomed from the Start

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, February 1977.
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 victory of the correct proletarian line of the WVO over right and “left” opportunism in the U.S. has laid the basis for the genuine communist party in this country and brought that party’s formation nearer than ever before. This is a tremendous event in the history of the U.S. working class. Yet the WVO’s victory and thorough exposure of all the opportunists is also forcing these same opportunists to cop to our line, to adopt superficial aspects of it and try to use it to delay their own total collapse.

Since 1974, the WVO has fought the Revolutionary Communist Party’s (RCP) belittling of the importance of Marxist theory. But after thoroughly disarming themselves of the weapon of theory, the RCP has found themselves totally beached and stagnant, completely unable to provide communist leadership to the working class. So it comes as no surprise that they have recently launched a “theoretical journal” and, in an article called “Theoretical Struggle Crucial Part Of Working Class Movement,” they claim to have discovered...the importance of Marxist theory! (RCP Discovers ’Theory In Its Own Right’ WVO newspaper, Vol. II, No 1, 1/77)

Since late 1974, the WVO has led the all-out fight against the October League’s (OL) Klonskyite revisionism. And since early 1975, the OL has buckled under to our exposure of their bankruptcy and steadily tried to adopt one aspect after another of our line. The same OL who, from 1972-1974, faithfully tailed the RCP’s belittling of theory and the principal task of party building, had the audacity to claim in late 1975 that they had always been “consistent and clear” in upholding these tasks! The same OL who unreservedly tailed after every liberal politician and militant union misleader, from Ted Kennedy in Watergate to Arnold Miller of the United Mine Workers, from Roy Wilkins of the NAACP to the revisionist Puerto Rican Socialist Party, now claims to be the great opponent of these same liberals and misleaders and even pretends to have discovered the strategic concept of aiming the direction of the main blow against the social props! The same OL who has always defended every variety of autonomism and looseness in organization and who carried this right into their Organizing Committee, now pretends to be the champion of Leninist centralism and discipline!

All the OL’s efforts to cover themselves are already collapsing quickly and will inevitably fall completely, but they again confirm by negative example, that genuine communists must maintain vigilance against these new and always slimier forms of revisionism. Since early 1976, the WVO has exposed all the OL’s new twists and turns, which we called their “left” feint, their new orthodox look.

Marxism will not serve revisionism. And by vainly trying to use the WVO’s line to serve their revisionist purposes, the OL is quickly discovering that dialectics is a two edged knife which very soon will slit their throats.


The present focus of the OL’s “left” feint is on questions on organization. Their OC is riddled with opportunist infighting and maneuvering from top to bottom, and now the OL is desperately trying to hold it together by advertising it as the successor to Lenin’s Organizing Committee of 1902, and by running a sham “study campaign” on Lenin’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, which he wrote in 1904.

A study campaign! After the WVO had completely exposed the OL’s bourgeois democratic illusions in the state in 1974-75, the OL started up a “study campaign” on Lenin’s The State And Revolution, precisely to try to cover those exposures and divert any new ones. And now that the WVO has totally discredited the OL’s original party building plan, they cough up the present campaign for the same purpose. Yet it was precisely on the basis of the principles Lenin laid out in One Step Forward... that we exposed the OL’s original party building plan and their OC!

A full year ago, the WVO exposed the petty bourgeois organizational looseness, autonomism and fear of discipline in the OL party building plan, which called for a party without a political program to unite it, with a “temporary leading body” instead of a unified Central Committee to lead it, and with a promise of “full democracy,” then the “fullest possible democracy” for all its members. Today the OL has copped to every one of these criticisms and now we see them whipping together their “draft party program” and freely quoting Lenin’s One Step Forward, where he fought petty bourgeois organizational looseness and fear of centralism!

Of course, the Menshevik character of the OL and its OC hasn’t changed in the least, for it is deep in their bones, built right into their entire conception of the role of the OC in building the party.


The First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in 1898 united the scattered communist circles formally, but not in reality, because no one had succeeded yet in building a genuine center that could really draw the circles together around the correct line. After the Congress, the Russian communists’ principal task was still the building of that genuine center that would be the basis of the party.

To answer this pressing need, Lenin created the Iskra (Spark) newspaper and organization in late 1900. Through tremendous efforts, under his leadership, by 1902 the Iskra had developed the correct line for a number of major questions of the Russian revolution, which it summed up in its draft program, and had succeeded in really uniting the majority of the communist circles and advanced workers in Russia. Built on the correct line, Iskra became the leading circle in the Russian communist movement, laying the basis for the RSDLP. In late 1902, Iskra initiated the Organizing Committee which included a number of separate circles. Under Iskra’s leadership, the OC made the preparations for the Second Congress of the RSDLP, which was held in 1903, and where the Bolshevik wing of the party first emerged.

What are the lessons? Lenin always held that Iskra, in its role as the leading circle, created the basis for the united RSDLP, while the OC was mainly a commission established to organize the Second Congress. Undergoing tremendous hardships between 1900 and 1902, Iskra developed the correct line, Iskra drew the lines of demarcation against the opportunists, Iskra developed the draft program, and Iskra united the many circles, most of whom liquidated themselves and joined Iskra before the OC was created. Through all this, Iskra achieved the hegemony of the correct line in Russia.

Lenin summed up:

...the real work of creating the organized unity for the party was done entirely by the Iskra organization [while the] organizing committee was mainly a commission set up to convene the Congress. (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, 1904, LCW, Vol. 7, p. 274)

Iskra became the Party and the Party became Iskra...(Letter To Alexandra Kalmykova, Sept. 1903, LCW, Vol. 34)

But, trying to sum up these same events on their own in their “study campaign,” the OL directly contradicts all this:

The preparations for the congress by the Organizing Committee provided the basis for this single center to be built. (The Call, Vol. 5, No. 28, Nov. 15, 1976)

This is the OL’s Menshevism defined! In its OC, the OL never dares to proclaim that the OL is the leading circle, that the OL’s line will be the party’s line, that those circles that agree with the OL should liquidate themselves and join the OL, that the OL is the party. No, nothing of the kind. If the OL ever made claim to any of this, they would immediately scare off all their Menshevik junior partners in the OC, who hate nothing more than being eaten alive by a big, “hegemonic” organization.

No, just as they admit, the OC (not the OL!) is laying the basis for their party. The OC writes its principles of unity, the OC is drafting the party program, the OC makes the public tours, the OC calls the circles to join itself, and not the OL. According to the OC’s own rules, every circle has a single vote to determine the line. Each circle will write a chapter of the party program!

In fact, how is the present OC different from the bankrupt “temporary leading body” scheme that the OL claims they dropped? The present OC is the “temporary leading body,” which, as the OL originally planned, would “survey the organizational forces represented in the parry, establish democratic centralism and prepare us for our first Party Congress, to be held within a year of our founding.” (The Call, Nov. 1975). That is exactly what the OC is doing today. The OL’s party already exists – the OC – “temporary leading body” is it! The OL’s slogan is: the OC became the party and the party became the OC!


As if this wasn’t enough already, the OLOC piles it on:

It is not, nor has it ever been, the position of the OC that the ten organizations and collectives currently represented on the OC are the only members of the unity trend within this country. The unity trend is broader than the ranks of the OC. There are many honest Marxist-Leninists currently studying the different lines and trends within the communist movement out of a genuine desire to build an anti-revisionist party based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

These people are also part of the unity trend. To equate the OC with the unity trend would be a sectarian error and would reflect an incorrect stand on the question of uniting with these Marxist-Leninists.

...the OC sees the importance of intensifying our efforts over the next period of time to increase the ranks of the unity trend and to unite all of the forces within the unity trend into the party-building efforts. (The Call, Vol. 5, No. 29, Nov. 22, 1976, p. 7)

Even the OLOC isn’t “broad” enough to include all the Mensheviks in the U.S.! For this, a “unity trend” is needed! And what is the line of demarcation of this “unity trend,” dividing it from revisionists, opportunists, social democrats, the marsh and plain liberals? There is no line of demarcation. To avoid “a sectarian error,” the OLOC recognizes all “honest Marxist-Leninists currently studying the different lines and trends” who say they want to build a communist party as part of the “unity trend” and bring them all into the OLOC party building motion. Anyone who is “studying the different lines and trends” and who claims to want to build a communist party is in the “unity trend”?: What is this but the old Menshevik attempt to bring “every professor and every Striker” into the communist party, which Lenin fought so fiercely in One Step Forward?

Chairman Mao stated the “three do’s and three don’ts” for communists:

Practice Marxism, and not revisionism; unite, and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, and don’t intrigue and conspire.

Of these, “practice Marxism and not revisionism” is the most fundamental, and it determines the other two. Communists must always base their unity on Marxism, on the correct ideological and political line.

But the OLOC has whipped themselves into such a Menshevik frenzy over their “unity trend” that one of their OC circles went completely overboard and actually made “unity” the standpoint for judging correct from incorrect, Marxism from revisionism:

Marxist-Leninists must be judged today by their stance on uniting. (The Call, Vol. 5, No. 26, 11/1/76, p. 7)

If this is Leninism, then what is Menshevism!


Built on such Menshevik mud, the OLOC was doomed from the beginning. It is riddled from head to foot with opportunist maneuvering and circle squabbling which, as “party time” draws closer and the small sharks get the taste of blood, reaches the point of a frenzy.

The most recent sign of this inner decay is the OL’s recent “purge” of the arch-revisionist Martin Nicholaus. Actually, Nicholaus is a most consistent representative of the OL’s line. Every one of the bankrupt lines that the OL now attributes solely to Nicholaus, and which they are “criticizing” in their paper, were the undisguised lines of the OL from 1972-75. From the view that liberal monopoly capitalists and militant misleaders are allies of the working class, to the line that agitation is the chief form of activity and ultra-“leftism” is the main danger in the communist movement (The Call, Vol. 5, No. 30, 11/29/76, and 12/13/76) – every one of these was the line of the OL ringleaders, the Klonsky renegade clique.

The substance of the “purge” is this: the arch-revisionist Nicholaus wanted to stick with the OL’s openly revisionist lines of 1972-75, while the renegade Klonsky saw the need for the OL’s “left” feint of 1975-76 to try to cover their revisionism and prevent further exposure. The immediate cause was this: in mid-1976 the Klonsky renegade clique copped to the line of The League for Marxist-Leninist Unity (“On Building The Party Among The Masses”, Class Struggle, Spring/Summer 1976, #4-5), which was a rotten and vain attempt to appropriate the line of the WVO and distort it to serve the OL’s revisionism.

In the Klonsky-Nicholaus revisionist infighting, each side used aspects of the WVO’s line to cut up the other. Klonsky got rid of Nicholaus, but not the contradiction that traps them both. The same unholy maneuvering continues in the OLOC now, and sooner or later the knife will slip from Klonsky’s hands and take his head off.

Marxism is invincible. Whichever way they twist and turn, the Klonsky renegade clique will continue their slide to defeat, while the correct line of the WVO will always grow stronger and more steeled.


The OL likes to pretend that theirs is the only concrete plan to build the party. No, besides their revisionist road, there is the Marxist road of the WVO, which begins by recognizing that the WVO is the leading circle in the U.S. today, the only organization with the correct line and the core of professional revolutionaries, the only organization that can serve as the “firm base of operations” to build the genuine communist party (Lenin, Preface To The Collection Twelve Years, 1907. Against Revisionism, p. 102)

In the conditions of the U.S. today, the setting up of an Organizing Committee is the incorrect approach to rally the party’s forces. The main conditions that made the OC necessary in Russia in 1902, and again in 1912, were the existence of numerous workers circles and committees with no common literature and contact between them and the conditions of illegality under Tsarist oppression which made common work among the circles a matter of survival, even if they had differences in line.

In the conditions of bourgeois democracy in the U.S., the communist movement was not forced to develop into one organization, but on the contrary, any swell-headed intellectual could start his own little circle and trend. The sorting out between Marxists and opportunists has taken place not inside a single party, but between different organizations. The major trends have definite organizational representatives, and there are not hundreds or thousands, but a few genuine ML collectives. The establishment of an OC in these conditions will not help fight circle spirit but will appeal to ultra-democratic and autonomist prejudices and will block the formation of the genuine communist party.

We therefore call on all genuine communists to rally to the correct line of the WVO and liquidate themselves, joining the WVO directly. And we are achieving this. As anyone can see from the series of “Two Roads” articles in the past issues of the WVO newspaper, the very best elements from the communist movement grasp the correctness of this approach and are following it.

We will make every effort to unite with all genuine Marxists on the basis of the correct line. But unlike the OL, we plainly state that party building does not hinge on any broad “unity trend” because the WVO is the center of gravity of the motion, and we certainly will not try to drag “every professor and striker” into the vanguard party.

The rallying of the best communists to form the genuine communist party is the single greatest step in the fusion with the working class. This great event in the history of the U.S. proletariat will reinforce our invincible ideological unity on the principles of Marxism with the material force of organization to overthrow the criminal rule of U.S. monopoly capitalism.