Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

PRRWO: Anarcho-Socialism U.S.A. Expose PRRWO’S Hustlerism!


The principal tactical differences in the present-day labour movement of Europe and America reduce themselves to a struggle against two big trends that are departing from Marxism, which has in fact become the dominant theory in this movement. These two trends are revisionism (opportunism, reformism) and anarchism (anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-socialism). Both these departures from the Marxist theory and Marxist tactics that are dominant in the labour movement were to be observed in various forms and in various shades in all civilized countries during the more than half-century of history of the mass labour movement. (“Differences in the European Labour Movement”, Lenin, Against Revisionism, p. 124)

Comrades, this aptly describes the situation in the U.S. communist movement today.

We have the right opportunist lines of the OL and the RCP. They preach their bourgeois socialism, corrupting socialism with the spirit of “short-term palpable results” downgrading workers’ consciousness in thinking that they can understand only through their stomachs, and taking the path of right opportunism, which is forced ’on them by the strength of the “old world”, and which expressed itself in their slogans, “go to the masses” to do “practice, practice, practice”.

This ideological trend is further characterized by their numbers approach to party building. The OL and RCP both blur the distinction between the vanguard and the rearguard, and between the advanced elements and the middle and backward elements. They lack any strategic outlook and consequently always tail miserably behind the social props of the bourgeoisie.

This bourgeois socialism has a fertile material basis in the era of imperialism and the eve of proletarian revolution. It is and will continue to be the main danger in the international communist movement, as well as here in the U.S. communist movement.

On the other hand we have revisionism’s natural complement, varieties of anarcho-socialism represented by forces like PRRWO. Backed by the fertile material basis of the de-classed petty bourgeoisie and anarchist intellectuals this trend is constantly being replenished by the wreckage of capitalist decay.

This stratum of semi-anarchist “left” opportunists rides the path of least resistance from the “left”, particularly in the hustlerism of PRRWO. With their half-learned phrases, their reckless sloganeering and meaningless generalities, they capitalize on the revolutionary zeal of the masses. “So far ahead” of everybody else, they “skip” the necessary task of exposures and the task of providing real communist propaganda and leadership in the day to day class struggle.

These opportunists, both right and “left”, and all colors and shades, are jumping out today in a most rapid and significant way. And they are jumping not by accident or the stupidity of individuals. This is inevitable, as Lenin once put it, because these opportunists are all products of the entire superstructure of the mass movements immediately preceding us, a superstructure that is inseparable from its class basis.

This is also prompted by the rapidly changing international and national situations. The class struggle today both in the U.S. and throughout the world, is surging forward irreversibly.

On a world scale, the immediate period is characterized by the two contending trends of world war and revolution. Either revolution will prevent world war, or the war will lead to revolution.

In the U.S. the fire at the treetops has finally burned down to the tree trunks, as the oppressed nationality, student and other spontaneous movements of the 60’s have given way to the present fresh waves of the multinational working class struggle.

The thorough-going motion of the working class struggle, along with the zigzag, capitalist dual tactics, have helped greatly to “sort out” the worst retrograde trends in the communist movement, and demarcate the sham and the genuine. For the first time in several years, an organization that used to be in the communist movement, the Guardian, has openly hoisted a separate revisionist flag. Prompted by the relative rise of Soviet social imperialism, the Guardian has shown themselves to be willing servants of the New Tsars. This is a glaring example of how revisionism in disguise turns into outright open revisionism. This is a very good thing for our struqqle! There are many more opportunists jumping out in a much less spectacular way, but nevertheless real, and in most cases a great deal more significant than the Guardian’s “leap”.

Some of these ghosts and demons springing up in the last couple of months are organizations with a “left” facade, like PRRWO. And following the same ideological trend, the RWL, which has historically been plagued by right lines, has now flipped to the “left” and into PRRWO’s arms (despite their objection to saying it that way).

The right trend of the RCP and OL spring off to form their “Parties”. The “left” opportunists also jump to form their cliques.

Under the pressure of the intense demands of the working class struggle they all reveal their true nature so much sooner and more clearly.

Our rightists today have characteristics similar to the Russian Mensheviks and Liquidators. Our “left” opportunists have ideological tendencies resembling the Russian Otzovists or boycottists.

We have been fighting the dangerous right opportunism of the OL and the RCP. Now we must take up the fight against the “left” opportunism of PRRWO and RWL. We must wage this open fight on two fronts.

The Otzovists were a bunch of turncoat Bolsheviks who betrayed the revolution after the defeat of the revolutionary movement in 1907. These renegades took on a “left” facade, and were for boycotting the Duma, or Russian tsarist parliament, under all conditions. Using “revolutionary” phrasemongering as a camouflage they would have robbed the Party of the chance of using legal struggle, would have isolated the Party from the masses and made it a target for reaction. Lenin exposed those Otzovists as “Liquidators of a new type” and “Mensheviks inside-out”.

That Otzovism is Menshevism inside-out, that it also leads inevitably to liquidationism, only of a slightly different kind, there can be no doubt. It is not, of course, a matter of personalities or particular groups, but an objective general tendency – to the extent that Otzovism ceases to be a mere state of mind and seeks to evolve into a separate trend. (“The Liquidation of Liquidationism”, Lenin, 1909, LCW, Vol. 15, Against Liquidationism, p. 41)

In their current struggle against the Right deviationist wind, the Chinese comrades analyzed their own bourgeois democrats:

When the revolution advanced from the stage of the new-democratic revolution to that of socialist revolution, their ideology failed to keep pace with the revolutionary advance. On the contrary, although they had physically entered socialist society, ideologically they were still in the stage of the democratic revolution. This determined their inevitable conflict with and even opposition to the socialist revolution. The bourgeois democratic stand and world outlook represent the bourgeoisie and are the class and ideological origins of the Right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts... From Bernstein and Kautsky to Trotsky and Bukharin, and from Khrushchov and Brezhnev to Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, all acted in this way. This is true also of the capitalist-roader who has refused to mend his ways. (“From Bourgeois Democrats to Capitalist-Roaders”, Peking Review, No. 13, March 26, 1976, p. 6 and 7)

This instructive lesson of dialectics also applies to us. But our opportunists are not bourgeois democrats. They are petty bourgeois democrats who first came into the movement on their genuine petty bourgeois indignation against capitalism. And during that period, they played the role of “shock troops.” PRRWO, which grew out of the Young Lords Party, was such a group. The YLP developed during a period of mass movements, the late 60s.

Mass movements bring forward the best class fighters. And they also bring forward people,

who were attracted chiefly by the vehemence, revolutionary spirit and ’vividness’ of our slogans, but, who, though militant enough to fight on revolutionary holidays, lacked the stamina for workaday struggle under the reign of counter-revolution. Some of these elements were gradually drawn into proletarian activities and assimilated the Marxist world-outlook. The others only memorised a few slogans without grasping their meaning, could only repeat old phrases and were unable to adapt the old principles of revolutionary Social-Democratic tactics to the changed conditions. (“The Liquidation Of Liquidationsm,” V. Lenin)

Those who were attracted chiefly by the vehemence and spirit of the struggle lacked the discipline, perseverance and commitment to the multinational U. S. working class. Among them, some of us have taken a humble attitude and have tried to assimilate the world outlook of MLMTTT. But there are others, blocked by their petty bourgeois outlook, who can only memorize a few slogans, repeat old phrases and play with them* without grasping their meaning.

Those, who have nothing to hold on to but their past “glories” from past movements, can only degenerate into sects. PRRWO is one of these outdated sects.

Marx and Engels summed up the role of sects in the workers’ struggle:

The first phase of the proletariat’s struggle against the bourgeoisie is marked by a sectarian movement. That is logical at a time when the proletariat has not yet developed sufficiently to act as a class. ... The sects formed by these initiators are abstentionist by their very nature, i.e., alien to all real action, politics, strikes, coalitions9 or, in a word, to any united movement. The mass of the proletariat always remains indifferent or even hostile to their propaganda. ... These sects act as levers of the movement in the beginning, but become an obstruction as soon as the movement outgrows them; after which they become reactionary. (“Fictitious Splits In The International,” Marx & Engels. 1872, Anarchism And Anarcho-Syndicalism, p. 72)

Lenin pointed out that wherever the spirit of Otzovism prevailed, the workers’ movement was wrecked and disorganized. That’s their nature. And that’s why sects can serve as shock troops or levers of the movement in the beginning, but eventually block it and become reactionary.

For the communist movement to win over the advanced, the vanguard of the working class, to build a party and prepare the basis to lead the whole class, we have to defeat these sects and expose them for what they are.

To build the proletarian party of the new type, to build the party on the proletarian ideological plane and grasp the key link of political line, we must fight on two fronts. We have to fight both the right and “left” opportunists, who both draw their strength from the “old world” and serve it.

Revisionism remains the main danger. The “left” sects are too insignificant to be any threat to the communist movement in the long run. But we must thoroughly expose them theoretically. For they are the revisionists inside out. We must tear the mask off them and reveal their true nature, show the advanced who they really are and throw them in the garbage heap of history!!