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



In retrospect, after this process of getting to know them and now going back to their past documents, we see that PRRWO has a long history of opportunism on the party building question. We struggled fiercely with them during their CL motion. That was never fully resolved. In Palante, Vol.6,No.3,p.11, they hit at our article on the RU by saying that “Instead of the process by which Marxist-Leninists went from a perceptual to a rational understanding of our tasks of party building, the WVO says we have a movement suffering from these ’hooks and punches’ that lead to unprincipled methods of party building like that NLC. This completely negates that the NLC was a crystallized example of how one movement divides into two; the NLC was initiated by genuine communists and degenerated through the opportunist maneuvering of the RU.” (pg. ll, our emphasis)

This view of the NLC “degenerating through maneuvering” not only shows that in fact the NLC was an unprincipled method of party building, not based on unity of ideological and political line, not based on open polemics; it also hints at some of PRRWO’s Menshevism and opportunism on the party building question. Let’s investigate further. In PRRWO’s “U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism” the Principles of Unity of the NLC (made up of the RU, PRRWO, BWC, and the IWK) are given: “anti-revisionism,” uphold MLMTTT, anti-Trotskyism and a vagueness about joint city strategy and tactics... There was also verbal agreement (though not in deed) that every one of the organizations was ’subordinate to what was coming into being’ (meaning the multi-national communist party). (Life proves today that the RU was not subordinate to what was coming into being. In fact, the RU thought that they were the party and wanted both the BWC and PRRWO to ’submerge’ ourselves into the RU.)” (“U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism”, Chpt. 4, p.7, our emphasis) And further, “the main programmatic thrust of the NLC was to be joint work on a city-wide basis where the organizations co-existed, mainly in NY, Philly, Detroit and Chicago. But the main work of the NLC turned out to be struggling for unity on the line.” (Ibid., p. 8, our emphasis.)

Now this proves that the NLC was based on the most minimal unity of line (line struggle turned out to be the main work) but even more important these concepts of “every organization being subordinate to what was coming into being” and this fear of being “submerged” despite the ideological and political unity that existed between PRRWO and the RU are the beginnings of the Menshevik jingle today that goes “all the organizations in the Revolutionary Wing are even” and there is ”no correct line with its representative, only organizations each with an aspect of the correct line.” This line defends autonomism and fears, under the cover of these seemingly innocent phrases of equality and anti-WVO “Hegemonism”, the slaughter of its own circle.

After the NLC helped the BWC consolidate around the RU position on the National Question the RU put forward a proposal for forming ’The Party’. The essence of the proposal was that it was necessary to organize workteams of the most developed cadre from each organization (flying squadrons as they were called) to go about the country organizing and recruiting various independent ’collectives’ who were just out there. In the meantime, the various secretariats of each organization would merge and form an interim committee that would be the basis for the Central Committee of the new party. All this would be topped off in about a year with a Congress where the party would be called into being with a programme and a permanent leading body elected.” (“U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism”, p.8)

At this point we would like to go directly to the source of this opportunism and quote the RU on its party building proposal. “The essence was to move to form the party within a year, on the basis of developing a draft Programme (or several draft programmes) which would be circulated among all the organizations and forces that we were trying to unite with to form the party. The key factor which the BWC paper leaves out completely, was that the resolution of the question, the adoption of the final Programme and the selection of the leadership of the party – would be accomplished ’from the bottom up’, (as opposed to ’the top down’), by involving and relying on all the members of these organizations and forces. This would take place at a founding Congress, where all these organizations and forces would be represented on a proportional basis (one delegate for so many members of the organization), upholding the principle that ’all communists are equal’. Of course at this Congress delegates would vote as individuals, not in ’blocs’, and the old democratic centralism of the former organizations would give way to the new democratic centralism of the party that was being founded.” (“Build the Leadership of the Proletariat and its Party,” RU, p.58) Doesn’t this proposal, with promises of “equality of Communists,” Congress in a year, temporary leading bodies and the smoothest, least painful transition from circles to the Party sound familiar! You might laugh today upon seeing this ideological ancestor of modern day Menshevism and then looking at the OL still in its baby clothes trying to build its own Menshevik party almost word for word like its predecessor, but, unfortunately for the proletarian struggle, the RU father of Menshevism – had more than one kid! This aspect of RU’s Menshevik line in party building was not grasped and not exposed by PRRWO)who in fact has inherited its essential features and is pushing the Menshevism, only under a “left” cover, within the revolutionary wing today!

The BWC and PRRWO put forward the line that said that a ’collective’ of this type would be mainly white and petty bourgeois and that we should concentrate our attention on the industrial proletariat ... In addition, we maintained we should strengthen the role and work of the BWC and PRRWO in the revolutionary national movements and as communist organizations as a first step towards party building.” (“U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism,” chpt. 4, p.8, our emphasis.)

The struggle wasn’t around the Menshevik character of RU’s party building proposal. For you, the “opportunist nature” as you later put it, and the maneuvering you describe today, stemmed from your fear of “submerging” yourself into the larger “white petty bourgeois” RU party organized by these flying squadrons despite the fact that you had unity with them on almost every line – lines like the central task being to build “the unity, consciousness, struggle” of the working class. Nation of a new type, United Front Against Imperialism, etc! It was only later that the struggle around this developed!

Despite your small circle wishes that all were “subordinate to what was coming into being” the RU’s pragmatic opportunist line dominated the NLC and it was the fear, despite the RU’s reassurances that it would be painless, of having to extend your ideological and political line agreement with them to organizational merger that shook you up and made you look at their lines more closely.

The inevitable breakup of this unprincipled unity (which in their party building journal PRRWO wants to take credit for initiating) began as the inevitable line struggle and squabble grew and broke out from behind the opportunist closed doors of the NLC into the open. Led by the BWC, exposure of this opportunism in the Marxist-Leninist movement, which had been held back by NLC, began.


Soon after, PRRWO joined (along with the BWC) the Trot CL’s party building motion – the National Continuations Committee – again uniting on the most minimal Principles of Unity: “1) Adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism, 2) Struggle against revisionism which is headed by the CPSU and the CPUSA, 3) the struggle to build a multi-national communist party to lead the working class to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism, 4) the resolutions which were approved by the May Conference and printed in Marxist-Leninists Unite!” (PRRWO, Ibid, p.13.)

So deeper they went, and their unprincipled unity became even clearer further on: “We agreed that we would carry on an investigation of the political lines of the different organizations on the Continuations Committee, most especially the line of the Communist League, as well as wage struggle on some resolutions passed, which either we were not completely clear on or disagreed with.” (Ibid, p.13, our emphasis)

Despite “unclarity” or disagreement with CL’s line, PRRWO continued towards the formation of the party with them: “At the same time, we agreed to work towards the Party Congress in September.” (Ibid, p.13) Soon they began to “discover” how bankrupt the CL’s line really was but continued within the NCC to “struggle”. CL began to tighten up its party building motion. In May of 1974 CL came out with their infamous May Day report where they clearly attacked the CPC and the line of the international anti-revisionist communist movement. Still PRRWO remained in the NCC and it was only when the Communist League moved to establish democratic centralism in the NCC that PRRWO finally left, and that was at least 2-3 months after the open Trotskyite line of the CL’s May Day international report.“We could not adhere to democratic centralism – the Continuations Committee was not the party – and we maintained that the relations of organizations must be democratic relations. On the basis of these political contradictions and due to the fact that the atmosphere (!) was not one of unity, struggle, unity to achieve higher levels of unity, but one of splittist actions by the CL, we, the PRRWO, resigned from the Continuations Committee.” (Ibid, p.14, our emphasis) PRRWO was willing to go to even “higher levels of unity” with this sham party building motion. How heartbreaking that the CL’s splittism ruined the atmosphere!

While PRRWO sums up their involvement with CL’s party building motion as incorrect (since CL’s Trot line had been around long enough not to warrant PRRWO’s investigation of it) the only thing they can come up with in self-criticism as the basis for entering the NCC is “left impetuosity”.

Comrades, this careerist, opportunist-Menshevik line on party building has quite a track record. PRRWO has inherited from the RU, carried with them through the CL, and deposited its petty bourgeois baggage of Menshevism right on the backs of the revolutionary wing!

And this “perceptual to rational” business you justify this opportunism with doesn’t cut any ice with us! From RU’s “build the party from below,” “equality of communists”, “everyone is subordinate” to “build the party from above” (which to you only means “all organizations are equal with aspects of correctness”), along with your shouts of “hegemonism” at the expense of line struggle and further development towards the party, what you have shown in practice is that the only perceptual to rational, the only lower to higher levels you’ve gone from is from “perceptual to rational” and “lower to higher” levels of careerism and Menshevism!!

In Palante in unison with the RWL Mensheviks, you ask your counterparts in the opportunist wing, the OL Mensheviks, “who is the OL appealing to but the non-proletarian elements, with its promise of full democracy’ and its lowest common denominator approach to party building?” We ask, who are PRRWO and RWL appealing to with their promises of “equality of organizations” and their “anti-hegemony” line of “no one organization has the correct line” approach? Isn’t this the same promise of democracy and lowest common denominator line on party building as the OL only being peddled by the revolutionary wing’s own “left” Mensheviks with an even more hypocritical, even more pretentious, “proletarian” and “staunch” facade?