Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

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

4. PRRWO’s “Hustlerism”: World Outlook and Methodology are Identical

To sum up PRRWO’s world outlook and methodology, we must first briefly define the Marxist terminology.


Chairman Mao teaches us to apply the stand, viewpoint, and method of Marxism, and not merely the letter of Marxism. What does this mean? He meant that first we have to understand the question of “for whom?”, which is the question of stand, the most fundamental question for all communists. Communists work for the interests of the vast majority. The proletariat is the last class and the most advanced class. The proletariat cannot emancipate itself, without emancipating all classes. The thorough-going selflessness represented by the proletarian objective historical mode is that the proletariat is the most modern class, the product of the most advanced mode of production, giving the proletariat this historical mission. The proletariat, stemming from this historical role, is the most far-sighted and most broadminded.

Viewpoint is the reflection of reality through our thoughts. A viewpoint, therefore, is not simply a direct representation of external reality. It is rather a product of a dynamic process of association, induction, etc., – a “judgment”, or “interpretation” of reality, one can call it, through pre-conceived concepts and ideas. For that reason, viewpoints are finished products of man’s thinking. Any viewpoint is already stamped with the brand of a definite class and serves the interests of a definite class. Viewpoints, of course, are not only limited to questions pertaining to political spheres: they also concern ethics, philosophy, law, culture, the military and organization and all conceivable areas of our thinking – conscious or unconscious. They all serve the interests of a definite class.

Method refers both to methods of knowing the world as well as methods of changing the world. The only correct method is dialectical materialism. It is the method of seeking truth from facts, thru repeated analysis, distinguishing the appearance from the essence, eliminating the dross from the genuine, proceeding from the one to the other, using class analysis to grasp the principal contradiction and its concrete relation to secondary contradictions, detecting trends and tendencies, etc., to evaluate a thing and to change it accordingly. Incorrect methods are varied in form and content, since metaphysical materialism takes an infinite variety of forms. Empiricism, which gives rise to pragmatism, for example, is only one incorrect font, of bourgeois method and world outlook.

While the question of for whom, the question of stand, is most fundamental, stand, viewpoint and method are all interrelated. At times, correctness or incorrectness of any one of them can become the principal contradiction and its development can influence and determine the development of the others.

For example, Wang Hung-wen said that even if one has a good stand, and dares to go against the tide selflessly, but cannot differentiate line, discern genuine Marxism from sham, then one can still make mistakes and cause damage. This shows that a good stand, though most fundamental and most necessary, is by itself not sufficient.

Marxism contends that methodology and world outlook are identical. One must have a proletarian outlook to grasp correct methodology, which in turn serves to develop a better world outlook. When PRRWO studies and applies Marxism, they don’t take its stand, viewpoint and method, which is universal to understanding different aspects of Marxism. They memorize fragments of it, its words and phrases, and grasp the mere appearance rather than its essence, its real concrete inner relations and the law governing its development–dialectical materialism. As Lenin describes those Otzovists, the ’left’ opportunists in Russia,

Instead of thinking politically, you pin your faith to a ’spectacular’ signboard and you find yourselves in the role of Simple Simons of the Party... you consider such activity to be particularly ’spectacular’, but you are incapable of thinking about the conditions for applying these forms of activity in practice (and not in words). You have memorized fragments of Bolshevik phrases and slogans but your understanding of them is precisely nil.

In what lies the fallacy of the anarchists’ argument? It lies in the fact that, owing to their radically incorrect ideas of the course of social development, they are unable to take into account these peculiarities of the concrete political (and economic) situation in different countries which determine the specific significance of one or another means of struggle for a given period of time...The otzovist windbags, taking their cue from the Bolsheviks, talk, for instance, of taking account of the experience of the revolution. But they do not understand what they are talking about....because it requires of people not a simple repetition of slogans learned by heart (beyond which Maximov and the otzovists are mentally bankrupt), but a certain amount of initiative, flexibility of mind, resourcefulness and independent work on a novel historical task. (“Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building”, LCW, Vol. 16. pp. 30-37. Emphasis original)

While our historical task is novel, ’left’ opportunism is not. Communists have long ago dealt with these anarchists. PRRWO’s dogmatism and ’left’ opportunism, like the Otzovists’, reflect their formalism. Their sophistry thru half-learned phrases and slogans, is a reflection of their rotten world outlook, like the Otzovists’. Their inability to comprehensively assimilate Marxism in any depth and all-rounded way shows a thoroughly non-proletarian stand, viewpoint and method in command.


To understand the social and class basis of PRRWO, we must go into their concrete history and the source of their hustlerism, how they became Marxist-Leninists and which retrograde aspects of the former Young Lords Party they brought to the communist movement with them.

Developing at the end of the Civil Rights movement and during the upsurge of the revolutionary national movements, taking the lead from the Black Panther Party, PRRWO developed from a street gang in Chicago in a spontaneous uprising against national oppression. Along with the gang, they united with some students, unemployed proletarian youth, students from the lower petty bourgeoisie, lumpen street youth and some – although these were in the minority – service workers.

The key, though, is in the line developed by the Black Panther Party: “lumpen is vanguard,” i.e. most oppressed is the most revolutionary. This led PRRWO to emulate certain ideological characteristics of the lumpen – commandism, hustling, adopting whatever gets over. The fast-talking, getting-over style is nothing but the means for some of their leadership to practice the worst kind of opportunism. This carried over to their attitude towards self-criticism: no clear repudiation of old lines, and their tendency towards mutation of lines, e.g. opportunist lines on the organizational question, promoting small circle spirit] (gang mentality), and objectively saying, “organization is key.”

The other aspect, the response to national oppression, which is mainly positive, has led to narrow nationalism (e.g. their initial position on the recent UFT strike in NYC) and lack of a firm stand with the U.S. multinational working class, as reflected in their position on the forced busing issue. As a response to repression from the bourgeois state, and due to their lack of theoretical development, PRRWO comrades sought an answer in theory by grabbing on to it in a very formalistic and dogmatic way, i.e., only as sheer instinct and religious fervor, This is what has prevented them from grasping things dialectically (witness their lines on united front and advanced worker) and has led to their stage theory-approach on almost every question.

In justifying their deviations in polemics, in trying to get by with their Menshevik organizational line, they further consolidate this bourgeois ideology into clear opportunism. That’s why Lenin in describing the anarcho-socialists said: “...these departures cannot be attributed’ to accident, or to the mistakes of individuals or groups, or even to the influence of national characteristics and traditions, and so forth. There must be deep-rooted causes in the economic system and in the character of the development of all capitalist countries which constantly give rise to these departures.” (“Differences in the European Labor Movement” LCW, Vol.16, p.347)

Later on, Lenin would conclude that

...petty-bourgeois revolutionism, which smacks of, or borrows something from, anarchism, and which falls short, in anything essential, of the conditions and requirements of a consistently proletarian class struggle ... the small owner, the small master (a social type that is represented in many European countries on a very side, a mass scale) who under capitalism always suffers oppression and, very often, an incredibly acute and rapid deterioration in his conditions, and ruin, easily goes to revolutionary extremes, but is incapable of perseverance, organization, discipline and steadfastness. The petty-bourgeois, ’driven to frenzy’ by the horrors of capitalism is a social phenomenon which, like anarchism, is characteristic of all capitalist countries. The instability of such revolutionism, its barrenness, its liability to become swiftly transformed into submission, apathy, fantasy, and even a ’frenzied’ infatuation with one or another bourgeois ’fad’ – all this is a matter of common knowledge. (“Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder, Peking ed., pp. 16-17.)

Is this not a perfect caricature of PRRWO, historically and now?!


We have shown comrades how PRRWO mechanically transplants the definition of advanced workers in St. Petersburg in 1899 to the United States in 1976 where the state of fusion is entirely different. We have shown also their undialectical conception of how to make propaganda our chief form of activity, and closely linked with this, how to consolidate advanced workers. We have exposed the undialectical conception of base and superstructure manifested in PRRWO’s anarcho-socialist, Trotskyite line on trade unions and united front from above and below. We have demonstrated how, despite various mutations, this line has not changed due to the lack of any thorough-going self-criticism by PRRWO of their line on the relation between base and superstructure. The same mechanical and metaphysical methodology is manifested in their positions on fascism and the international situation.

This all points to their mechanical materialism, i.e. metaphysical materialism. Mechanical materialism, though it “recognizes” that being determines consciousness, does not see the development of a thing as a dialectical process of unity of opposites, does not see the dialectical relations between the two aspects of a contradiction and the dialectical relation between one contradiction and another. It always absolutizes one aspect (usually the principal aspect) and sees the development of things mechanically. This is exactly why PRRWO’s line on the relations between doing propaganda and consolidating the advanced vs. leading mass struggle, between factory nuclei and trade union work, between united front from below and from above comes out as a rigid, undialectical two-stage theory, the epitome of mechanical materialism. This is also exactly why PRRWO can only see revisionism as a consolidated final and official product and point its finger at that, and not the process of development of revisionism, a deep grasp of which is vital to our ability to fight deviations within the ranks of communists every step of the way.

We have also shown comrades how PRRWO’s rectilinear, one-sided view of how being determines consciousness, economic base determines ideological superstructure is concretely manifested in their class determinism, and in their wooden, petrified conception of theory and ideology. We have shown how they liquidate the internal dynamics of ideology, thus equating theory with ideology. We have shown how they fail to understand the correct class content and the different nationally distinctive forms of ideological deviations and justify their own deviations by invoking the mere form and motion of “bowing to spontaneity” to rationalize their opportunism.

These all point to their vulgar materialism. Vulgar materialism distorts dialectical materialism with vulgar forms through ossifying the materialist principle of being determines consciousness. It absolutizes being and recognizes only the aspect of being acting back on consciousness and liquidates the dialectical relation between being and consciousness. It totally negates the reverse effect of consciousness upon being, and the relative independence of ideology. This is why PRRWO’s line on the social base of revisionism and the economic base of bourgeois ideology is like a sour formula: same social base, same opportunism; same economic base, same ideological superstructure – the epitome of vulgar materialism.[1]


Vulgar and mechanical materialism, which has such a fertile soil in the United States, has affected PRRWO, our self-proclaimed “proletarians”, deeper than they think. In preaching economic determinism, in claiming that bourgeois ideology is always conscious, that the development of opportunism and revisionism from the root of bourgeois ideology is always conscious, they fall unconsciously into idealism. Ironically, our “proletarian” PRRWO end up, independently of their own will, in the same bed with our petty bourgeois Students for a Democratic Society [SDS), who PRRWO said were “bound” to degenerate because of their class basis,

As we stated in our “Marxism-Leninism or American Pragmatism” article, WV Vol.1, no.2, p.29:

Lenin wrote the book, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, especially to refute those people seemingly materialist in words, but idealist and metaphysical in deeds. At the turn of the century when modern science flourished, mysticism and outright idealism lost its popularity and attraction. Materialism in the form of scientific experimental “experiences” and all forms of raw data substituted an idealist conception of the world, so much so that suddenly “experience” and raw data became reality itself. Due to the bankruptcy of the idealist system, materialism became the fad of the day. It is no wonder then that all professors and crooks started to talk about “experience” and practice.” Lenin wrote this book especially to refute those empirio-critics such as Ernest Mach, foremost physicist of the day, and Bogdanov, who used the weapon of “experience” and mechanical materialist tricks of all sorts to refute and slander dialectical materialism and Marxism.

This “good historical reason” affects PRRWO independently of their will.

But why is PRRWO idealist? Why are mechanical and vulgar materialism idealist in class and historical views? How can PRRWO be economic determinist and motive determinist at the same time, since the two seem to be incompatible with each other on the surface?

Let’s follow PRRWO’s path of folly from mechanical and vulgar materialism into idealism. PRRWO starts off with mechanical and vulgar materialism, shown in their one-sided economic determinism that all SDSers will degenerate, all petty bourgeois whites will turn opportunist, etc.

They one-sidedly hold that a definite social and class base must determine a definite ideology, and in fact negate all the particular processes related to how a certain social and class base gives rise to the development of a certain ideology. They negate the internal dynamics of ideology, (as we have repeatedly shown in Part II), and replace it with the hollow statement that a certain social being must give rise to a certain social consciousness.

Although they recognize such things as consciousness and motive, as Marx criticized Feuerbach for chopping up reality into two isolated poles of “object” and “contemplation”; ‥it happened that the active side, [i.e. consciousness] in opposition to materialism, was developed by idealism – but only abstractly, since, of course, idealism does not know real sensuous activity as such.” (Theses on Feuerbach)

Mechanical and vulgar materialists can never put the following question to themselves: “What divine forces in turn stand behind these motives? What are the historical causes which transform themselves into these motives in the brains of the actors? in the realm of history the old materialism becomes untrue to itself because it takes the ideal driving forces which operate there as ultimate causes, instead of investigation of these driving forces. The inconsistency does not lie in the fact that ideal driving forces are recognized, but in the investigation not being carried further back behind these into their motive causes.” (Engels, Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Marx and Engels Selected Works, Vol. 3, p.366.)

This is exactly what PRRWO is doing. When they cannot see concretely how certain petty bourgeois fellow-travelers turned revisionist in a concrete process of development, they chant that, due to their class and social basis, they must degenerate. Yet they have to recognize the elements of consciousness. But without understanding the dynamics of this aspect, except abstractly (as they profess “ideology is too abstract”), they, inevitably resort to reducing this to conscious motive (“they are very conscious”) Hence their idealist product of “motive determinism.”

Like Marx said of Feuerbach, “he does not conceive sensuousness as a practical, human-sensuous activity ... he regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude.” (lbid.) This aptly describes PRRWO’s claim that ideology is theory, and revisionism is revising the theory of MLMTTT and is a conscious ideology. Such a replica of the old materialism-turned-idealism!!

Marx further criticised Feuerbach for his materialism-turned-idealism:

But human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations. Feuerbach, who does not attempt the criticism of this real essence, is consequently compelled [our emph.]: 1. To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious sentiment as something for itself and to presuppose an abstract – isolated human individual. 2. The human essence, therefore, can with him be comprehended only as “genus” as a dumb internal generality which merely naturally unites the many individuals. (Ibid.)

Comrades, compare this with PRRWO whipping up their hollow “religious sentiments” with their equally hollow evangelist cry of “the party coming into being (!!)”, etc., etc. Compare this with their line of seeking conscious vicious motives as the “human essence” of all opportunism. Compare this with their line that the “human essence” is the “more oppressed” among the oppressed nationalities, the “lower” stratum among the petty bourgeoisie, the “genus” that “merely naturally united the many individuals” in their “revolutionary wing” together.

Enough!! We have seen how PRRWO’s economic determinism, their mechanical and vulgar materialism, falls into their motive determinism as idealism. Now, we have even found that in fact their economic determinism is idealist to start with!

As Lenin sharply pointed out:

Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness – voila! the epistemological roots of idealism. “On the Question of Dialectics,” LCW, Vol. 38, p.363.


PRRWO’s dogmatism is expressed in their mechanical transplantation of the definition of an advanced worker from 1899 Russia; in concocting their united line from ready-made formulas lacking concrete analysis of concrete conditions; in their taking out of context the slogan of “no united action with revisionism” from Comrade Hoxha’s article and applying it in a distorted manner; in their quoting out of context Stalin’s formulation of “the theory of bowing to spontaneity is the logical basis of all opportunism,” and applying it subjectively, etc., etc.

Comrades, as we have shown, such dogmatism is rampant throughout PRRWO’s lines on different questions. This is the methodology of PRRWO in regard to the theory of knowledge, the question of the relation between theory and practice, generalities and particularities.

Dogmatists, like PRRWO, start from book knowledge instead of concrete reality; they absolutise universality, the general truths of the theory of MLMTT, and negate particularity, the concrete, time, place and conditions. In practice, that means using MLMTTT as a dogma, imposing certain concepts, definitions, slogans and formulas on objective reality instead of grasping the stand, viewpoint and method of MLMTTT and applying it to concrete reality to come out with a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, which is the soul of Marxism. Despite the fact they always chant the general truths of MLMTT, they can never really understand the essence of it, which is the laws that govern the development of a thing. This is reflected in their vulgar and mechanical materialism. This is so because truth always resides in the concrete, not in’ abstract generalities.

While the revisionists chop up theory to fit their “palpable results,” their revisionist conception of “reality,” PRRWO commits the opposite deviation. Dogmatists like PRRWO generally only attempt to make new facts and phenomena fit pre-set schemes and artificial constructions. At best, they repeat general truths without linking them up with reality; most of the time, they do damage by chopping up reality and forcing it to fit their “wooden cabinet” of “theory.” And when they do this, they have to resort to empiricism to give it credibility. That is, they appeal to their “own experience,” their “we-have-been-through-that” line to give credibility to their formalistic “theory” of isolated words and phrases. The OL comes from the right and PRRWO from the “left” – they make opposite deviations, but the result is the same: they both do damage to proletarian revolution, and concretely at this point, the task of winning the advanced to communism, and uniting with Marxist-Leninists to build the party.

PRRWO also suffers from the complement of dogmatism, the deviation of empiricism, which absolutizes particularities and liquidates universalities.

It is manifested, for example, in their analysis of revisionism which revolves completely around their own experiences, i.e. they raise their own experience to the level of theory. In the absence of a profound understanding of the Leninist teaching on the process of degeneration and the maturation of revisionism in the Second International, and of modern revisionism in the ideological and political spheres, they substitute their own experience of struggling with RCP. In PRRWO’s eyes, RCP is consolidated revisionist, not because PRRWO understands the ideological basis of the opportunist lines of RCP, but because of their own “experience” with Ruin the National Liaison Committee (flowing from their Menshevik viewpoint on organization). This explains why PRRWO considers the OL inside the communist movement, while the RCP is outside and is consolidated revisionist, even though OL is the main right opportunist today. Blinded by their own subjectivity, PRRWO does not vehemently protest the blatant revisionist tendencies of the OL because they don’t have the “experience” of struggling with them!

PRRWO once considered WV part of the “revolutionary wing” but now WVO is “out.” This only exposes their instability of principles, of objective ML criteria and their Menshevik line on organization. And because PRRWO declares itself as having the longest history of experience “struggling with revisionism,” then any attempt by other communist organizations (who lack their “great history”) to formulate the ideological and political process of revisionist degeneration must be indulging in a priorism!! In essence, PRRWO charges that WVO suffers from a priorism because WVO is a late–comer, WVO lacks the concrete “experience” of struggling with RCP, and hence has no empirical basis for any formulation on revisionism! What a bankrupt methodology!

It’s PRRWO’s veteranism that’s really the “most correct line,” it’s PRRWO that’s really most qualified to be the “leading circle” – comrades, this, is the real hidden agenda which has PRRWO beating around the bush. This real hidden agenda is concretely manifested in their organizational sectarianism which is nothing but an extension of their “our-experience-said-so” line. Their blindness and refusal to check into the understanding of other communist organizations on different aspects of Marxism, their failure to take into consideration the lessons learned by other communists, all point to their sectarianism, their self-centered veteran attitude towards the communist movement. In essence, all these serve to cover up PRWWO’s lack of stable principles, lack of objective criteria concerning the development of revisionism, their real method of sophistry and worshipping their own experience. The appeal to formalism – to books, words, “heavy” MLMTTT – divorcing form from content, are all aspects of hustling-type opportunism, inherited from the worst aspects of the YLP days.

Comrades may ask: how can PRRWO be dogmatist and empiricist at the same time? Aren’t the two deviations diametrically opposed? Although for many organizations, deviations usually take on mainly one form (like RCP’s empiricism, WC’s dogmatism), it is not surprising that PRRWO is dogmatist here and empiricist there, because in essence both dogmatism and empiricism are subjectivism which is characterized by the separation of theory and practice, rational and perceptual knowledge, generality and particularity. So, PRRWO, in not understanding the dialectical relations of these different aspects of a contradiction, will flip-flop from absolutizing one to absolutizing the other.

But comrades, the heart of the matter is more than that. For PRRWO, dogmatism and empiricism are not only their deviations in methodology, they are also their means of polemics, their method of sophistry.

Why in the beginning (at the ATM forum) did PRRWO dogmatically exclaim that they will strictly stick to the 1899 Russian d definition of advanced workers as in “A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy,” which they said is absolute? Then, after their dogmatism was fully expo exposed, they flipped over to their empiricist arguments that “their experience” proves that advanced workers do indeed elaborate independent socialist theories!

Why did PRRWO change their line on trade unions without self-criticism? Why in the beginning did PRRWO empirically argue that united front from above, according to their experience, will lead to liquidation of factory nuclei and will lead to building up the misleaders? Then, after we proved to them the theoretical foundation of united front tactics and how in practice they can be applied correctly, they made a complete 180–degree– turn and started quoting the Comintern and PLA (of course in a distorted manner) to theorize their new formulations and justify their same old “no united front from above” line?!

Comrades, it is clear that PRRWO uses dogmatism to justify their empricism and uses empiricism to justify their dogmatism. This sophistry, pure and simple 1 Taken in its distinctive historical context, this is hustlerism, pure and simple! Whatever argument can hustle the line over, use it; when the argument gets exposed, change it! Comrades, how far are you going to go before your world outlook completely degenerates?


Reductionism is a methodology of reducing every question under analysis into generalities, principal aspect, principal contradiction, the base, the final product, its so-called “essence.” As we have shown throughout the article, this is precisely what PRRWO does on virtually every ideological and political question. This is a particular form that their vulgar and mechanical materialism takes, which is the epitome of the worst kind of one-sidedness and dead dogma.

For PRRWO, reductionism is not only a form of methodology that haunts their thinking, it is at the same time one of their methods of sophistry, a means to hustle their lines. Fed by their dogmatic, formalist appeal to half-learned phrases and slogans, exaggeration of style and appearance, this reductionist sophistry further corrupts their methodology and outlook.

Who dares to deny the general truths of MLMTTT? To deny the importance of the principal task? To denv that revisionism is the main danger? “To deny the principal aspect of propaganda, advanced worker, factory nuclei, united front from below? etc. etc. To deny the “essence”? Who dares to deny their “Quintessence,” the essence of their essence? Under the cover of such put-ons, PRRWO passes their “left”, opportunist lines and brushes aside all criticism.

Listen to this hollow sloganeering: “Stand on MLMTTT, and watch them call you reductionist dogmatists, ultra-leftists; like all right opportunism, what they are attacking is the quintessence of MLMTTT.” Comrades, how formidable! How formidable is their “quintessence”!

PRRWO incorrectly holds that proletarian ideology is the same as MLMTTT (in their “Party Building in the Heat of Class Struggle” pamphlet and in the March-April issue of Palante). The slogan: “MLMTTT is the theoretical basis guiding our thinking” is a concentrated expression of what we see as the relation between ideology and theory. To confuse the differences between theory and ideology and their relation to each other exactly leads to the inability to grasp our theoretical task and our ideological task to build the party on the ideological plane and grasp the key link of political line. (See the section of this article on periods and the key link to party building.)

MLMTTT is the only scientific theory of the outlook and methodology of the proletariat. Just as world outlook is the unity of stand, viewpoint and method, the theory of MLMTTT has the three aspects of proletarian stand, viewpoint and method. As developed up to this point by the class struggle of the proletariat and the masses of all oppressed classes in previous class society and scientifically summed up by our great teachers Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, has basically three major components: philosophy, political economy, and socialism.

Dialectical materialism is the Marxist philosophy, which is the scientific theory of general laws of the world outlook and methodology of the proletariat, and which applies to all realms of reality, nature, human society and man’s thought. Dialectical materialism as applied to society is historical materialism, which includes the other two components of MLMTTT, namely, political economy and socialism. Dialectical materialism as applied to nature is the dialectics of nature, which is now making giant strides forward in the fields of natural science under the dictatorship of the proletariat in the socialist countries.

But as Chairman Mao puts it, Marxism, as dialectical and historical materialism, “embraces but cannot replace realism in literary and artistic creation, as it embraces but cannot replace the atomic and electronic theories in physics.” (“Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art.” Our emphasis.)

That is to say, the general laws that govern the development of reality embrace but cannot replace the particularities, the concrete processes, the specific basis and conditions involved in the development of each individual thing or particular sphere of reality, whether it be nature, human society or thought.

As an example of the laws of dialectics, Engels said discussing the question of “the negation of the negation”:

And so, what is the negation of negation? An extremely general – and for this reason extremely far-reaching and important – law of development of nature, history, and thought.... It is obvious that I do not say anything concerning the particular process of development of [any particular thing]... When I say that all these processes are a negation of negation, I bring them all together under this one law of motion, and for this very reason I leave out of account the specific peculiarities of each individual process. Dialectics, however, is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society and thought. (Anti-Duhring, Part I, ch. 13.)

The whole power of this far-reaching and important general law, i.e. dialectical materialism, lies precisely in that it can be applied to all concrete particularities and only on conditions that and insofar as it is applied to concrete particularities,, because truth only exists in the concrete. And to do otherwise would be to replace reality and the life of class struggle itself with absolute concepts and logical categories existing independent of matter and being, like the Hegelian concepts of “absolute spirit,” “beauty,” “nobility,” etc.

Engels explained how dialectics should be applied to the concrete:

Negation in dialectics does not mean simply saying no, or declaring that something does not exist, or destroying it in any way one likes...

And further: the kind of negation is here determined, firstly, by the general and, secondly, by the particular nature of the process. I must therefore so arrange the first negation that the second remains or becomes possible. How? This depends on the particular nature of each individual case.... Every kind of thing therefore has a peculiar way of being negated in such a manner that it gives rise to a development, and it is just the same with every kind of conception or idea. (Ibid.)(Emphasis added.)

But PRRWO, our self-proclaimed “dialecticians,” are doing exactly the opposite. Their way of fighting revisionism is by simply saying “no” to the fully-consolidated official revisionism of the “C”PUSA and “C”PSU. Their way of fighting bourgeois ideology is by ”declaring that it does not exist” in our thinking. Their exposure of trade union misleaders is “they’re already exposed.” Their reductionism in merely repeating the generalities and liquidating the particularities, their reductionism in liquidating the different particular concrete factors in the basis and conditions of the development of different concrete forms of revisionism and bourgeois ideology is exactly liquidating the “particular nature of each individual case.” Their lines on how to develop advanced workers, propaganda, trade unions, factory nuclei, united front, etc., in just looking for a one-sided reality to fit into their rigid yet hollow “principles,” their stereotyped schemes, exactly liquidate the “particular way of being negated in such a manner that it gives rise to a development” of all these tasks.

In practice, this amounts to what Dimitrov vividly described as self-satisfied sectarianism towards the working class, “satisfied with its doctrinaire narrowness, its divorce from the real life of the masses, satisfied with its simplified methods of solving the most complex problems of the working class movement on the basis of stereotyped schemes.” (Dimitrov, “Unity of the Working Class Against Fascism”) (emphasis in original)

In theory, it amounts to what Engels called “pure charlatanism”: the “... strictly scientific conception of the world,” the “system-creating ideas,“ and all Herr Duhring’s other achievements, trumpeted forth to the world by Herr Duhring in high-sounding phrases, turned out, wherever we laid hold of them, to be pure charlatanism…. [it] proved to be an infinitely vulgarized duplicate of Hegelian logic, and in common with the latter shares the superstition that these “basic forms” or logical categories have led a mysterious existence somewhere before and outside of the world, to which they are “to be applied.” (Anti-Duhring, Part 1, ch. 14.)

When PRRWO reduces all forms of opportunism, revisionism and bourgeois ideology to their “essence – materialism and dialectics”; when they equate ideology with theory and claim that the first period is to reaffirm Marxist-Leninist theory and then to apply it as a whole, as a “key link” in the second period, they are indeed reducing materialist dialectics to some “vulgarized duplication of Hegelian logic,” they are indeed treating the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought and treating dialectical and historical materialism as some “basic forms” or logical categories [that] have led a mysterious existence somewhere before and outside of the world, to which they are ’to be applied’.” When PRRWO reduces all opportunism to mere “bowing to spontaneity” and reduces all ideological struggles to a mere question of “metaphysical idealism vs. dialectical materialism,” they are attempting to prove everything “by means of dialectics alone” – that is, by means of hollow and abstract dialectics. As Engels said in ruthlessly exposing Duhring’s vulgarization of dialectics.

Herr Duhring’s total lack of understanding of the nature of dialectics is shown by the very fact that he regards it as a mere proof-producing instrument, [“without applying it to concrete reality], as a limited mind might look upon formal logic or elementary mathematics. (Ibid., ch. 13.)

Talk about Hegelian dialectics!! PRRWO’s reductionism is precisely Hegelian dialectics!!!


Comrades, we have seen the entire picture of PRRWO’s integral ideology, the unity of their world outlook and methodology.

Their stand is not with the multinational working class, but with the de-classed petty bourgeoisie, manifested in their lumpen mentality, narrow nationalism, commandism, hustlerism, circle spirit/gang mentality, disdain for the working class masses, their anarchist rejection of authority, and not viewing freedom as the appreciation and transformation of necessity.

Their viewpoint, stamped with such stand, comes out in the main as a “left” system of politics and trend of thought, that is, anarcho-socialism, as shown in virtually every political and ideological question.

Their method of knowing the world is not one of seeking truths from facts, but is dogmatist here, empiricist there, and sophistry all over; it is not one of viewing reality all-sidedly, but only one sidedly, as shown in their reductionism. This is all bound together by their subjectivism.

Their method of changing the world is not dialectical, but a rectilinear two-stage theory; not one of “mustering forces to create great events,” but of rejecting “petty work” and “waiting for great days.”

This is their outlook which has unity with their mechanical and vulgar materialist methodology, which collapses into idealism and metaphysics in the final analysis.

As an ideological and political trend, this is a particular brand of hustlerism and anarcho-socialism!!

Comrades from PRRWO, call a halt to this hustlerism and anarcho-socialism, for otherwise you will degenerate deeper and deeper to the point of no return!!!

Comrades from RWL, call a halt to your “centrist opportunism – turned ’left’ opportunism,” for otherwise, you too will end up with your feet sunk in the same muddy marsh, deeper and deeper.

We will end this article with the following words of Lenin:

We have shown what the general staff of the new faction is like. Where can its army be recruited from? From the bourgeois-democratic elements who attached themselves to the workers’ party during the revolution. The proletariat everywhere is constantly being recruited from the petty bourgeoisie, is everywhere constantly connected with it through thousands of transitional stages, boundaries and gradations. When a workers’ party grows very quickly (as ours did in 1905-06) its penetration by a mass of elements imbued with a petty-bourgeois spirit is inevitable. And there is nothing bad about that. The historic task of the proletariat is to assimilate, re-school, re-educate all the elements of the old society that the latter bequeaths it in the shape of offshoots of the petty bourgeoisie. But the proletariat must re-educate these newcomers and influence them, not be influenced by them. Of the “Social-Democrats of the days of freedom”, who first became Social-Democrats in the days of enthusiasm and celebration, the days of clarion slogans, the days of proletarian victories which turned the heads of even purely bourgeois intellectuals, very many began to study in earnest (emphasis in original), to study Marxism and to learn persistent proletarian work – they will always remain Social-Democrats and Marxists. Others did not succeed in gaining, or were incapable of gaining, anything from the proletarian party but a few texts and “striking” slogans learned by heart, a few phrases about “boycottism,” “boyevism,” and so forth. When such elements thought to foist their “theories,” their world outlook, i.e., their short-sighted views, on the workers’ party, a split with them became inevitable.

The fate of the boycottists of the Third Duma is an obvious example that admirably shows the difference between the two elements.

The majority of the Bolsheviks, sincerely carried away by the desire for a direct and immediate fight against the heroes of June 3, were inclined to boycott the Third Duma, but were very soon able to cope with the new situation. They did not go repeating words learned by heart but attentively studied the hew historical conditions, pondered over the question why events had gone that way and not otherwise, worked with their heads, not merely with their tongues, carried out serious and persistent proletarian work, and they very quickly realised the utter stupidity, the utter paltriness of otzovism. Others clutched at words, began to concoct ”their own line” from half-digested phrases, to shout about “boycottism, otzovism, ultimatumism,” to substitute these cries for the proletarian revolutionary work which the given historical conditions dictated, and to collect a new faction from all sorts of immature elements in the ranks of Bolshevism. Good riddance to you, my friends’? .. .Now we declare the most ruthless and irreconcilable war on the liquidators, both of the Right and of the Left, who are corrupting the workers’ party by theoretical revisionism and petty-bourgeois methods of policy and tactics. (“The Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building, ” LCW, Vol.16, p.59-61)


[1] Mechanical materialism was developed around the 17-18th century by the rising bourgeoisie, in opposition to feudalism. The rise in the development of the natural sciences at that time was stimulated by the development of capitalism. But the development of the natural sciences during the 17-l8th centuries was limited to mechanics, and only solid body mechanics (e.g., Newton’s laws of physics). When this mechanics was borrowed to explain all realms of nature, it had to suffer from mechanical deviations, for it tried to use mechanical theories to explain qualitatively different realms of processes in nature, like chemistry and biology. It suffered from metaphysics, for the mechanical materialists used isolated, static, categorically one-sided viewpoints to look at the world. They didn’t understand the interconnections of nature, nor did they understand the process of the development of all things. Though at that time they knew that nature was in a state of constant motion, they only saw the external factors, and did not see qualitatively different kinds of internal contradictions which give rise to qualitative development, as well as quantitative changes in the development from lower to higher, from simple to complex, etc. They did not understand the interdependence of theory and practice, because they absolutized one aspect.

But most importantly, mechanical materialists have idealist historical views. Since mechanical materialism can only remain basically materialist in the realm of nature, once they get into the realm of class struggle – of class society – they can no longer remain materialist. As a result, they have to resort to idealist views of history and society.

On the other hand, vulgar materialism was developed in the mid-19th century by the reactionary bourgeoisie. At that time, the rising proletariat had already started mounting wave upon wave of class struggle and was for the first time in history armed with dialectical materialism as developed by Marx. In reaction to this, on the philosophical front the bourgeoisie launched a counter-attack by pushing vulgar materialism, as a disguised form of idealism, since out and out idealism had already been exposed.

Vulgar materialism tried to use different vulgar forms to distort dialectical materialism in the attempt to push materialism back to idealism. Its basic feature was to equate consciousness with being and to reduce ideas to matter itself. Like some old-day vulgar materialists claimed: consciousness is nothing more than motion in the nerve cells and the spinal cord. Others claimed that ideas are nothing but secretions from the human brain. In doing so, they liquidated the reverse effect of consciousness acting upon being, and liquidated the relative independence of ideology.

The next step was to apply this vulgar relation to the development of human society. Utilising certain weaknesses in Darwinism, some vulgar materialists – as reactionary sociologists – came up with social Darwinism, the theory that “survival of the fittest” is an iron law of human society, used to justify class exploitation and the aggression of the then-growing imperialism. Malthusianism was another form of vulgar materialism applied to human society, used for the same purposes.

Mechanical materialism and vulgar materialism are different from each other in the philosophical sense. In the final analysis, there are basically two fundamental philosophical questions. The first one is: What is the general law of motion and development of different things? On this question, mechanical materialism “recognizes” the two aspects of a contradiction but negates the dialectical relations existing between the two aspects of the contradiction.

The other fundamental philosophical question is: What is the objective world made up of, being or consciousness, and what is their relationship? On this question, vulgar materialism “recognizes” that being determines consciousness, but negates the reverse effect of consciousness acting upon being and the relative independence of consciousness.

Such are the basic differences between the features of mechanical and vulgar materialism.