Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Detroit Local Continuations Committee

Reply to the Anti-Party Bloc

First Issued: n.d. [1974].
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Detroit Local Continuations Committee has the duty to respond to the lies, distortions and opportunistic positions presently being put forward by the petty bourgeois bloc. The Anti-Party Bloc includes the legitimate trends in the working class, i.e., CPUSA, OL, RU, BWC, the Guardian, James Forman, and those who are not legitimate trends, but outright counter revolutionary movements in the working class, the Trotkyists. Subjectively, the CP and CO claim their difference from the Trotskyists, while objectively they unite to hold back the building of a party that will lead the class to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Numerous attacks have occurred on the call for a Congress to form a multi-national Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of a new type; these attacks have included a general attack on the Communist League, one of the organizations which has provided important leadership in the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists out of which the National Continuations Committee was formed. This paper is written to outline the political source of these hysterical attacks.

The October League in its December issue of the Call carried an article entitled “The Call for a Sham Congress”; the Revolutionary Union in the May issue of Revolution called the organizations within the Continuations Committees Trotskyists; likewise, Irwin Silber called the Communist League Trotskyists and all associated organizations within the Continuations Committees nothing but fronts for the Communist League. Carl Davidson, somewhat more subdued, accused the Marxist-Leninists organizations and individuals around the Continuation Committees of being sectarian and dogmatic.

These and other attacks (e.g. by James Foreman) necessitate this response–if only to clarify positions and draw lines for those honest Marxist-Leninists who have not come into contact with the Continuations Committees (or any of the groups adhering to them) , and have only been exposed to all of these scurrilous, opportunist; attacks. It is no accident that these hysterical attacks occurred at this time; historically, the Guardian in particular and the “left” in general have attempted to isolate and ignore the Communist League and the other organizations presently uniting with the continuations committees. This attempt has failed. The line between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism is being precisely drawn as this anti-party building bloc continues its economist tailing of the spontaneous working class movement and at the same time launches these hysterical attacks upon honest Marxist-Leninists. The differences are sharply clarified. As Lenin has pointed out the first task of Marxist-Leninists is to clarify the lines of differences:

. . .first, by the fact that our party is only in the process of formation, its features are only just becoming defined, and it has yet far from settled account with the other trends of revolutionary thought that threaten to divert the movement from the correct path. . .under these circumstances, what at first appears to be ’unimportant’ error may lead to most deplorable consequences, and only short-sighted people can consider factional disputes and a strict differentiation between shades of opinion inopportune or superfluous. The fate of Russian Social Democracy for many years to come may depend on the strengthening of one or the other 1 shade’. Lenin, What Is To Be Done, Peking Ed. p. 25-26.

The fundamental difference is between those who demand first the building of a revolutionary party and adherence to Marxism-Leninism as a science and those who belittle the science of revolution and demand working within the “worker’s movement”. One manifestation of this difference is the charge that we are “ultra-leftist intellectuals”.

We on the DLCC reject the charge (shamelessly made by many elements who actually know different) that we are library revolutionaries. Most of the comrades united with the Continuations Committees have had years (and, some, decades) of experience struggling in the working class movement in this country. It is, in fact, this experience that has led us to the unshakeable conclusion that without the leadership of a unified, disciplines revolutionary Communist Party armed with the most advanced theory, work in the mass movement is doomed to failure–betraying the honest workers attracted to it.

Why do we need a new communist party? Because the CPUSA is not a revolutionary party of a new type. The CPUSA is a revisionist, tailist organization which is entrenched in the working class. It hides the science of Marxism-Leninism. RU, OL, the Guardian, etc., whatever their posturing of being anti-revisionist, function as lackeys for the CPUSA.

The primary manifestation of this is the belittling of theoretical work and scoffing at Marxist-Leninist education. Let us look at the concrete results of this political position.

Over the last couple of years one of the main slogans of RU and OL (and other similar grouplets) has been: “Build the United Front Against Imperialism”. How has this United Front strategy worked in the absence of a unified, disciplined and theoretically advanced Communist Party? Irwin Silber of the Guardian–himself one of the frogs in this Marsh– lays it out in the May 22nd issue of the Guardian.

First, Silber comments on the fact that the Black Workers Congress (BWC) and the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO) had left this so-called united front. Silber then goes on to say:

Differences in line also led to factional clashes, not only among these groups but with other organizations as well. Sharpest of all have been the differences between the RU and the October League (OL) leading to situations where achieving unity within coalitions even on the simplest tactical matters seemed to be virtually impossible. (Emphasis added)

This is the kind of United Front that leaves the bourgeoisie laughing (or worse) rather than trembling!

As the Science teaches us, any United Front, without the leadership of the Proletarian Party will inevitably succumb to the leadership of bourgeois ideology and petty bourgeois elements.

The Revolutionary Union has recently stated that “for a brief period ahead” it is time to create a new communist party. The RU says they can now form a party because of their work in the mass movement over the past several years. Thus, they are not criticizing their tailism and economism but instead raising it to new heights. For them, the party comes out of the spontaneous mass movement and not the unification of honest Marxist-Leninists and bringing the science of Marxism-Leninism to honest proletarian fighters (i.e., Marxist-Leninist education).

Marxism-Leninism is a science. Which means laws, principles and method. They refuse to apply the method of Marxist-Leninist analysis to their own work. As Lenin said:

But in order to profit from the experience of that movement (1895-1898), and to draw practical lessons from it, we must thoroughly understand the causes and significance of this or that shortcoming. . .Revolutionary experience and organizational skill are things that- can be acquired provided the desire is there to acquire them, provided the shortcomings are recognized–which in revolutionary activity is more than halfway towards removing them. But what was not a great misfortune became a real misfortune when this consciousness began to grow dim. . .when people–and even Social-Democratic organs–appeared who were prepared to regard shortcomings as virtues, who even tried to invent a theoretical basis for slavish cringing before spontaneity. (What Is To Be Done, p. 40–Emphasis added)

This is exactly what RU has done. First, they “dive into the fray”, that is tail the spontaneous movement, scoff at Marxist Leninist education, and even hide the science from their own cadre. Then when the bankruptcy of their past position becomes clear, they call for the “creation of a party”. They refuse to apply Marxist-Leninist analysis to their own practice. They failed to “create a workers movement” so now they will “create a party”. The “foundation” of their “party” is not Marxism-Leninism, but their “roots in the mass struggle”. Thus, spontaneity is raised to a higher level.

These groups act to hide the CPUSA which is what we should be fighting because it has a base in the class; these groups don’t have such a base. It is exactly in the interests of the CPUSA that Marxist-Leninists become embroiled in disputes that can only take them away from the workers and into the petty bourgeois.

Of course, these attacks serve to confuse honest Marxist-Leninists so they must be answered. But we cannot be, nor will we be diverted from our primary task: first the formation of a communist party of a new type and then the bringing the science of Marxist-Leninism to the working class.

For the benefit of those comrades and friends who have received a distorted view of the Continuations Committees and the party building social motion, we will present a brief summary. In May of 1973, Marxist-Leninists united around three basic principles which brought them to the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists in Chicago. The three principles were:

1. adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism;
2. struggle against revisionism headed by the CPSU and the CPUSA;
3. unite to build a Multi-national Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.

This Conference was the fruit of extended conversations and polemics among Marxist-Leninists who hold that building a Multi-national Communist Party of a New Type is the present primary task of Marxist-Leninist forces.

The Conference unanimously decided to move immediately to build that Party and formed a National Continuations Committee which “...has the task of organizing a Congress in which all serious Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries will come together to form a Proletarian Party of a New Type in the U.S.” The Conference also passed a series of resolutions to stimulate discussion for a Party program and serve as the basis of unity for the period between the Conference and the Congress. Published in Marxist-Leninists Unite; these resolutions are:

1. the Party of A New Type;
2. The National Question or Racism–minority resolution (the “New Voice”);
3. Negro National Colonial Question;
4. Puerto Rico;
5. the Philippines;
6. the Southwest;
7. Native Americans;
8. Women;
9. Youth; and
10. the Trade Unions.

In the period since the Conference, Local Continuations Committees have been formed in many cities in the USNA, and hundreds of Marxist-Leninists and honest revolutionaries have united with these committees. We urge all serious revolutionaries and Marxist-Leninists who unite with the three principles and the Conference resolutions (and who have not yet done so) to join the Continuations Committees.