Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

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

3.PRRWO’s & RWL’s Opportunist Menshevik Line on Organisation


PRRWO, on seeing that in our struggle against all forms of opportunism Marxist-Leninists must move forward, yells frenzied screams of WVO being “hegemonistic”, which are nothing but an indication of a real Menshevik line on organization which defends autonomism and tailism, glorifies circle spirit, and gives life to the worst retrograde trends with regard to organizational questions.

This Menshevik line of PRRWO and now RWL says that within the revolutionary wing there is no overall most correct line with its organizational representative; that, instead, all the organizations in the wing only have “aspects” of correctness.

Comrades, in line struggle, there is always a struggle between right and wrong. There’s always a representative of the most correct line and a representative of an incorrect line. Within the revolutionary wing, within each organization within the revolutionary wing, there’s always a representative, historically, presently and in the future, of a relatively correct and incorrect line.

Now, you have heard terms like “Bernsteinism”, “Kautskyism”, “Molotovism”, goulash communism, China’s Brezhnev, “Leninism”, or perhaps you are familiar with the term “Marxism”? All these “isms” with names attached to them mean precisely that there’s always a representative of a definite line in opposition to another line historically. Are line differences conceivable without representatives? No. Lines are not lines if they are not held by, promoted and developed by representatives.

On this basis, because we dare to say that we think we represent the relatively most correct line in the revolutionary wing, we are called “hegemonistic” and said to have a “sectarian stance towards the communist movement and especially the revolutionary wing.” (Palante, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 15) Now this might sound humble and innocent on PRRWO’s part but it’s really an appeal to the worst petty bourgeois instincts in the communist movement and a cover for some of the most sectarian diplomacy, demagogy, the worst careerism and opportunism, for intriques and conspiracies, and for organizational blocism. Comrades can see some of this methodology at work in the speech by PRRWO which we reprint in this journal.

First, let’s examine the theoretical justification for this Menshevism. It’s simple dialectics that in everything there is a struggle of opposites which is the cause of things moving forward. Within the communist movement the struggle between MLMTTT and opportunism has caused one to divide into two–the opportunist wing and the revolutionary wing. Thus, we have moved forward. The division of the revolutionary wing from the opportunist wing is absolute. For us, the line of demarcation of the revolutionary wing from the opportunist wing is grasping the stand, viewpoint and method of MLMTTT theory, applying it to concrete conditions, and ideologically, whether or not one has recognized and struggled against nationally specific forms of revisionism in the communist movement, and whether on not one has honestly repudiated one’s mistakes. through criticism-self-criticism and transformation. From this point of view, the differences between the two wings are absolute and the differences within the two wings are relative.

But when looking at the revolutionary wing, we cannot ignore the line struggle between MLMTTT and dogmatism, between right and wrong, that has historically taken place among the organizations within it, specifically around the question of the “left”-dogmatist tendencies exhibited by PRRWO.

“Left” dogmatism is the main danger in the revolutionary wing. The outstanding political differences that exist within the wing represent qualitative differences and are absolute. If they were only insignificant shades of differences then we could say that we have both ideological and political unity, and this would give rise to a qualitative change when this unity is consolidated around a common programme–the organizational unity of the comrades into a great whole, into the Party. But at this time, these are exactly the differences which prevent this qualitatively higher level of unity, and different positions on these questions represent aspects of a contradiction, each with its own quality, and therefore represent absolute differences. This is exactly why the internal struggle must take place – in order to resolve these contradictions.

When PRRWO and RWL look at the revolutionary wing itself and say that the differences within it are “relative” and unity is absolute, that political line differences are quantitative, not absolute, and that to talk about qualitative differences is objectively a splittist, hegemonic line, they are precisely combining two into one. Rather than attempting to sharpen the differences in order to resolve them, they attempt to muddle them, under the outcry of unity, which objectively holds back the party for which we are all striving. They attempt to drag back the revolutionary wing to the lowest common denominator of ideological and political unity.

Flowing from this is their contention that there is no overall correct line, only a revolutionary wing made up of organizations each having aspects of a correct line. It echoes the whole undialectical outlook of other certain comrades who say that “all organizations stand abreast.” It reflects the ultra-democratic autonomist circle spirit which is a product of seeing only unity and no differences within the revolutionary wing. It makes the revolutionary wing look like, a flat plain with no distinguishing features. It liquidates the contradictions which determine the development of the wing.

Comrades, struggle is absolute, unity is relative – not the other way around!

The current struggles make this quite clear and serve concretely to refute this undialectical, eclectic “all organizations are even and no one is correct” stuff – truth and also falsehood are both concrete!

This struggle has its real-life representatives. PRRWO and WVO have historically had differences on many questions and these differences between right and wrong are absolute. They must be resolved in order to move forward. Again, one must divide into two.

PRRWO’s frenzied attacks on us serve to confirm the depth of this struggle between MLMTT and dogmatism. They say that when WVO hits their dogmatism, what we are attacking is “the quintessence of MLMTTT”. (Palante, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 15) Now tell us, is it “hegemonistic” or “sectarian” that PRRWO feels they represent the “quintessence of MLMTTT”? These cries that WVO is “hegemonistic” because we think we represent a more correct line are simply ridiculous! Doesn’t PRRWO think they represent an overall more correct line? If not, then what is the basis for your existence as an organization?

If we feel that there exists another organization with a more correct or more developed line than ours, or at least with similar lines, then it is our duty to the proletarian cause to unite. As we clearly state in all our publications,

We view ourselves as a part of the general communist movement in the U.S. and look forward to uniting with other communist organizations on the basis of a common program, strategy, tactics and organizational principles. We view the present tasks of our movement as the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought and the linking up of the working class movement with the communist-movement to help build an anti-revisionist communist party in the United States.

Call this “hegmonistic” if you want!

The slander about WVO claiming to be the “leading circle” doesn’t work either! We have never claimed that! It’s another of those vulgar bourgeois politician’s tricks. Lie if you have to and put words in WVO’s mouth! We have stated publicly many times that we don’t think there is a leading circle today like Iskra. A leading circle has to be recognized, both for its revolutionary line consistency as well as its links with the masses and their concrete ability to implement the line. No such leading circle exists today. But we do think that at any time, there is a representative of the most correct line, which you like to distort as the “leading circle”.

What we do seek is hegemony of correct lines. Only the worst defenders of autonomism and circle spirit, only the worst Mensheviks, who cry out against “hegemonism” in regard to party building affairs can deny this. In our polemics with the RU (“RU: Marxism or American Pragmatism,” WV Journal Vol. 1, No. 2), we correctly put forth a line that demarcated us from OL-Guardian’s sham unity around cries of RU’s “hegemonism” against the RU’s line. We have exposed that the usage of the term hegemonism in party affairs is to raise the organizational question and the charges of “motivation” above the line question.

In the struggle for a proletarian Party of a new type, we uphold the principle that “ideological and political line decides everything..” We oppose the slander and vulgarization that many forces raise on the question of “hegemony.” To raise catchwords of that sort at a time when political lines and questions are still obscure, circle mentality still rampant, is to construct a barricade in front of the forward march of the new Party formation. As Lenin put it “before we can unite and in order that we may unite, we must draw firm lines of demarcation.” Then, and only then, should we be “prepared to sacrifice all their group aloofness and group independence for the sake of the great whole, which we were for the first time actually creating–the Party. But in politics, sacrifices are not obtained gratis, they have to be won in battle. The battle over the slaughter of organizations will necessarily prove terribly fierce.” Lenin went on, “The fresh breeze of free and open struggle blew into a gale, and... the furious gale will raise all the mud from the bottom of our party stream.” We are certain the Party program will not be “fleshed out” of narrow experiences. What will be fleshed out will be all the mud and “ghosts and demons” of all kinds, and from this process, the movement will be strengthened and a proletarian Party of a new type will be formed. (W.V., Vol. 1, No. 2, P. 30-31)

We ask you, PRRWO, aren’t you also striving for the hegemony of your dogmatic, opportunist line and aren’t you the main representative of that line?

We ask you, RWL, is it crystal clear to you now, within your clique, that you’re following PRRWO’s otzovist leadership? Haven’t you drifted hopelessly along this definitely otzovist stream despite your mitigations, reservations, additions, concealments, confusion and watered-down otzovist arguments on advanced worker, united front tactic, party building, propaganda and agitation, etc.? Would you still like to deny now that there is a definite representative to every trend? It is exactly now that all the “ghosts and demons” of all kinds are jumping out, but through this sorting out process, the movements will be strengthened and the Party formed.

Comrades, it is precisely this petty bourgeois reflex, this Menshevik cry against hegemony, which was raised by these opportunists in opposition to the further development of the Marxist-Leninist line within the communist movement. “How dare you say you have a more correct line than ours!” they shouted. “Everyone in the wing is equal,” “Don’t run ahead!” these Mensheviks argued. It was only after that, in a mad scramble to justify their Menshevism, that these opportunists searched for and created their present line differences with us. Overnight! This is naked opportunism. We say fine! Jump out! Opportunist attacks are always compliments to us! You expose no one but yourselves and accelerate the development of the correct line in the communist movement.

Chairman Mao says “... it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue, since it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.” (“On the Correct Handling of Contradiction Among the People”, Mao. Four Essays on Philosophy)


For organizations in the revolutionary trend, of course, this “no correct line” approach leads to organizational tailism and it naturally leads from there into the Menshevik line of “the form can only grow simultaneously with the content” and justifies the “keep in step, don’t run ahead” line that Lenin so ruthlessly exposed. These two diametrically opposed viewpoints on organization reflect two diametrically opposed world outlooks. The one builds unity, the other justifies autonomism. Either the proletarian view of pushing forward the communist and working class movements, or the bourgeois view of holding them back. That is how the question presents itself to us now. We think the answer is clear. We think that the opposite line is a question of tailism, pure and simple. As Lenin said in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Chap. Q): “Tailism m questions of organization is a natural and inevitable product of the mentality of the anarchist individualist when he starts to elevate his anarchis-tic deviations (which at the outset may have been accidental) to a system of views, to special differences of principle.” Cries about “hegemonism”, “no overall correct line”, are precisely such “a system of views to special differences of principle.” Marxism holds that viewpoint is the reflection of the external world through our thinking, our thought or ideology. A viewpoint is not simply a direct reflection of external reality. It is a product of a dynamic process of association, induction, judgment, etc. which involves prejudices, branded with the stamp of a definite class and which serve the interests of a definite class. This system of views is precisely the viewpoint of petty bourgeois careerist, anarchist intellectuals. Is it any wonder then Lenin hit the nail right on the head: “It is highly interesting to note that these fundamental characteristics of opportunism in matters of organization (autonomism, aristocratic or intellectualist anarchism, tailism and Girondism) are, mutatis mutandis (with appropriate modifications), to be observed in all the Social-Democratic parties in the world, wherever there is a division into a revolutionary and an opportunist wing (and where is there not?)”