Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Black Workers Congress

CL is Leading the “National Continuations Committee to Call a Congress for a Multi-National Marxist-Leninist Communist Party” Down a Trotskyite Road of Lies and Distortions


First Published: In the pamphlet The Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism: Against the Communist League and the Revolutionary Union<, n.d. [1974].
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The main focus of our analysis will be on the National Continuations Committee (NCC), its history, its political and organizational line, the main political struggles which have occurred in its history and its present course and development. It is our contention that this is absolutely necessary because the Communist League has been the main and leading force in initiating and developing the work of this committee since at least May, 1973. At the same time, it has been the NCC which CL has offered, as the practical solution to the question of party building in principle. We intend to rely almost completely on the written documents of the NCC itself and from these accounts comrades can clearly see the counter-revolutionary double dealing tactics of the CL and their conciliationist friends.

As we have emphasized over and over again in this pamphlet and other documents a stubborn struggle against both right and ”left” opportunism is on the order of the day if the U.S. proletariat is to build a Leninist party of the Bolshevik type. Within our movement here in the U.S. we have stated that it is the RU which is the most consistent advocate of the line of the CPUSA within our midst, HAVING REACHED THE SOCIAL-FASCIST LEVEL RECENTLY OF SPREADING THE IMPERIALIST-RACIST LINE THAT THE BOURGEOIS NATIONALISM. OF THE OPPRESSED NATIONALITIES IS THE MAIN DANGER WITHIN THE U.S. COMMUNIST MOVEMENT TODAY. We have already pointed out how they (RU) was heading down the old PL road, and it is now clear that they intend to take this path with “gusto”. At the same time with the publishing of this pamphlet, we have laid bare the “left” opportunist line of the CL, and we hold that the CL is the most consistent advocate of the line of the Modern Revisionists with their head in Moscow from the so-called “left” or “super-revolutionary” angle, while at the same time coalescing with the modern day Trotskyites all down the line. Needless to say comrades, both these lines lead to the liquidation of the revolution.

One of the cardinal points around which there has been continual debate and struggle is the relationship between revolutionary theory and practice. Both the left and the right opportunists have absolutized either one or the other of these aspects. The RU with its hatred of all theory and its creation of “new theories” is the first example. In this same camp fall the people who can only exhort the proletariat to “organize and struggle” or who spend all the days trying to convince the masses on how “honest and sincere” they are. The CL with its “theory of cadres” and 18 month retreats to hold study groups with workers, its one sided view of past revolutionary history, its open flaunting of Hegelian dialectics, is the second example.

One of the most important problems of revolutionary theory and practice is the correct dialectical-materialist understanding and application of the role of the objective and subjective factors in the revolution and socialist construction.

This problem is very complex. It includes the relationship between matter and the ideal, between social being and social consciousness, the base and the superstructure, the economy and politics, theory and practice, the spontaneous movement and conscious and organized activity, etc.

Absoluting one or the other side, in theory, leads to vulgar materialism, to economism and the advocating of spontaneity or to idealism, subjectivism and voluntarism; while in politics it leads either to opportunism reformism and revisionism or to adventurism, dogmatism and sectarianism. Viewed from this angle, this is a cardinal problem of vital importance for the victory of the revolution and socialism, a demarcation line dividing the materialist from the idealists, the Marxist-Leninists from the opportunists of every hue.” (From the journal, Albania Today, “The Objective and Subjective Factors in the Revolution” by Foto Cami)

HISTORY OF NCC

The history of the National Continuations Committee is summarized in the very first newsletter (Vol. 1 No. 1) of the NCC as follows:

At the conclusion of the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists last May, eight organizations made up the NCC.

Politically the Committee was united around the following points: (1) That the primary task of Marxist-Leninist organizations and advanced workers is to build an honest Multi-National Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the United States – ’A Party of a New Type’ – to unite and lead the struggle of the U.S. working class in the seizure of state power and establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The Committee realized that this could be done only by strict adherence to and defense of the science of Marxism-Leninism, and by an all out assault against the CPUSA and all forms of revisionism and opportunism.

(2) That a Party Congress should be called in about a year to organize such a Party within the U.S.

(3) That the draft resolutions adopted at the Conference should be the minimum political line holding the Committee together and enabling it to carry out the necessary organizational work for the Party Congress. Finally, that any organization or individual which agreed with these points and the draft resolutions should be encouraged to join both local and the NCC.

The main work of the National Continuations Committee was to be organizational: getting the resolutions from the conference finalized and printed up; putting out a newsletter for political discussion and news in preparation for the Congress; coordinating work between the various organizations on the National Committee and on the local Continuations Committee; doing the other tasks necessary in organizing the Congress.”

Comrades must note that the tasks of the NCC, which is clearly distinguished from the local committees, is spelled out and they are mostly organizational. (Note: the NCC is located in Chicago and is composed today of MCLL and CL) The first Newsletter of the NCC appeared in Jan., 1974, some seven to eight months after the May, 1973, Conference of “North American” Marxist-Leninists was held, and some 4 to 5 months after the first local committees were established in Detroit, Sacramento and the S.F. Bay Area. (The Detroit “Majority” which was purged from the committee claims that Detroit was the first area to set up a committee) The first newsletter also explained the slowness of the work of the NCC in the following manner:

Since May, the work of the National Continuations Committee has developed slowly due to a number of problems, the two main problems being manpower and communications. Regarding manpower, the day to day work of the NCC has been carried out by a couple members of the CL. And even these CL members have not made up a stable committee – coming and going as the needs of their organization demanded. At one point it appeared that a member from one of the other organizations was coming to Chicago to work on the Committee but that fell through when the collective joined the CL. Two other Collectives that were originally on the NCC also joined the CL. The other organizations have not been able to send representatives to work on the Committee. So although there has not been a whole lot of work to do on the Committee, what work there has been has not been carried out in an organized, thorough, or consistent way. This was manifested in a number of ways: it took until October to get out the draft resolutions from the Conference in Marxist-Leninist Unites and the first issue of the Newsletter, proposed last October, is just now coming out.

Second, on communications problems came from both those working on the NCC and the local Continuations Committees. From our end, the problem was the failure to keep regular, consistent contact with member organizations of the Committee and local committees, not always answering letters, etc. From the member organizations and local committees, there has been almost no communication (except from one organization). Examples: when draft resolutions were sent out for comment, corrections and additions, we were not able to get responses. So hearing nothing we assumed there was political unity and printed them as they were. When the September meeting was called, the same thing happened. Although organizations indicated that they could not send people, only one organization sent a letter with points to be discussed. So once again, assuming that others were in agreement, decisions were made on the necessity to do so.

The present situation on the National Continuations Committee is that there are five member organizations. Members of the CL are still doing the day-to-day work – however, these people now make up a stable working team that will work until the Congress.

In order to advance the work of building for the Congress, the whole National Continuations Committee has to start functioning as a real committee, with each of the member organizations equal in both political decision making and practical work. So we appeal to you to make this happen by writing articles and carrying on political discussion for the newsletter; by calling for a national meeting if you feel it is necessary to discuss the history of the Committee’s work up to date, where we are at now and how we must move. If you feel such a meeting is necessary, suggest a date, some central location in the country, an agenda, topics to be discussed, etc., by calling regional Congress meetings that those of us in Chicago, might attend; by sending in reports on developments in your areas so we can keep the whole committee informed; by each organization and local committee taking initiative in getting out Marxist-Leninists Unite to advanced workers so we can spread the line and build support for the Congress.”

So Newsletter #1 (one) stated the four points of unity, offered an explanation for the delay in the work, emphasized that the tasks of the National Committee in Chicago was mainly organizational, and closed the first section of the newsletter by stressing that each member organization be equal in both political decision making and practical work. To help facilitate the latter a number of suggestions are offered such as meetings, locally and regionally, etc.

Newsletter #2 appeared as the Feb. and March issue of 1974 and contained a restatement or clarification as to the basis of unity of the NCC. This restatement was made after “comrades in at least one area raised questions about the basis of political unity around the Congress.” (Quote from Newsletter #2) Also contained in the same Newsletter is a Self-Criticism on the part of the NCC members in Chicago concerning certain assumptions made around printing up the Resolutions. We will reprint first the NCC’s restatement of the basic points of unity aid part of the Self-Criticism of the NCC members in Chicago.

After publication of the first newsletter, comrades in at least one area raised questions about the basis of political unity around the Congress. So to insure that there is clarity on this question we reprint the basic points of unity agreed upon by the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists and the National Continuations Committee. We are united around four main points: 1) adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism; 2) a struggle against revisionism which is headed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the CPUSA; 3) the struggle to build a Multi-National Marxist-Leninist Communist Party to lead the U.S. working class to overthrow capitalism and establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Scientific Socialism in the USNA; 4) the resolutions which were approved by the May Conference and printed in Marxist-Leninist Unite! (this includes the minority position on the National Question, dealing with the issue of ’racism’, which was accepted as a minority position on the National Question by the body as a whole). These four points are the basis for minimum political unity for all organizations on the NCC, for local committees, and for individual Marxist-Leninists who are interested in participating in the Congress. These points OF UNITY ALSO ACT AS THE ORGANIZATIONAL GUIDE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONS ON THE COMMITTEE AND OTHER MARXIST-LENINISTS. (Our caps)

While the resolutions are one of the points for unity (and should be distributed by all those interested in the Congress), they also serve as the basis FOR POLEMICS IN ORDER THAT WE CAN ACHIEVE THE MOST SCIENTIFIC MARXIST-LENINIST POSITION ON THE MAIN QUESTIONS FACING THE USNA PROLETARIAT. (Our caps)

Any Marxist-Leninist organization, or individuals, who wish to carry on polemics around the resolutions or on other questions of Party Building, should write up their position and send it into the NCC Newsletter so that it can be published and discussed by other groups.

The work of the Continuations Committee should be to organize as many other honest Marxist-Leninists as possible around the points of unity and encourage them to write up their points of unity and dissent. This will help us to reach more people and not get bogged down in polemics on the local committees, preventing the practical work from getting done.

Written statements of unity and polemics will also bring greater clarity and unity at the Congress where we will continue the struggle for unity on the correct line, politically and organizationally. When POLITICAL UNITY IS ACHIEVED THROUGH THE FORMATION OF A PARTY OF A NEW TYPE, THEN DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM WILL BE THE ORGANIZATIONAL BASIS OF RELATIONS.”

At this point the NCC has reaffirmed that the four points of unity are the basis for minimum political unity, and that they serve as the basis for democratic relations between organizations and other Marxist-Leninists, as well as the basis for polemics in order to achieve the most scientific Marxist-Leninist position on the burning questions facing the proletariat. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to write up their polemics and have them circulated through the national newsletter to prevent the local committees from getting bogged down in polemics at the narrowest level. And finally, it is stated that these written statements of unity and polemics should serve to bring greater clarity and unity at the upcoming Congress where the struggle will be continued and that with the achievement of political unity in the form of the Party then DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM will be the basis of relations.

The theme of democratic relations between the various organizations is taken up again by the NCC at the end of a long section entitled Self-Criticism. We will quote the last two paragraphs of this statement and refer comrades to the entire section in newsletter #2:

Finally, in the article on the ’History of the National Continuations Committee’, we made statements which were either incorrect or failed to respect the democratic make-up of the committee. We mentioned the work of one organization by name without mentioning others. Further the statement was made, when draft resolutions were sent out for comments, corrections, and additions, we were notable to get responses. So hearing nothing we assumed there was political unity and printed them as they were.” This statement is incorrect and implies that organizations did not carry out their responsibility to make corrections and state disagreements, so the resolutions were printed without unity. In fact, nothing was ’assumed’. There had already been agreement among organizations of the National Continuations Committee at the time of the conference that draft resolutions would be sent out for approval, and that differences should be sent in, within a given period of time. If there were none, resolutions would be printed as they were. Finally, the section which reads, “when the September meeting was called, the same thing happened. Although organizations indicated that they could not send people, only one sent a letter with points to be discussed. So once again, assuming that others were in agreement decisions were made based on the necessity to do so.” Although, this statement is an accurate reflection of what happened, it represents, an incorrect Communist method of work. Communist do not base decisions on assumptions but on concrete facts. The Continuations Committee members based in Chicago, at the time of the Conference had agreed to carry out the regular work of the committee, and therefore have responsibility to put forth every effort to get discussion on all political points raised by OTHER ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE DECISIONS ARE MADE. THE MAIN VEHICLE FOR SUCH DISCUSSION NOW IS THE NEWSLETTER. HOWEVER, MEETINGS, LETTERS, PHONE, ETC. ARE ALSO IN ORDER. ONLY IN THIS WAY IS THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT OF EACH OF THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS GUARANTEED.

Let us continue to struggle for greater political clarity and unity directing all our efforts towards making the upcoming Party Congress a success, a basis from which the proletariat of this country can wage a ferocious attack against imperialism and reaction in this country.”

At this point the NCC has clearly stated its four points for minimum political unity, and in both issues no. 1 and no. 2 stated that the four points serve as a basis for democratic relations between organizations on the committee and other Marxist-Leninists. It is also clearly stated that the resolutions “serve as the basis for polemics in order that we can achieve the most scientific Marxist-Leninist position on the main questions facing the USNA proletariat.” These points are underscored with the statement in issue #2 that “The main vehicle for such discussion now is the Newsletter. However, meetings, letters, phone, etc. are also in order. (And we emphasis in caps – BWC) ONLY IN THIS WAY IS THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT OF EACH OF THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS GUARANTEED.” It is openly stated in the same paragraph of newsletter #2 that every effort should be made by members of the National Committee to “get discussion on all political points raised by other organizations before decisions are made.” And finally, Newsletter #2 recognizes, or pays lip service to it, that unity on ideological and political line (unity of will) between the various organizations beyond and deeper than the minimum political unity of the four points must be developed through written statements of unity and polemics and practical work towards the Congress before organizational unity based on the principles of Democratic Centralism can be established. This final point is clearly stated in Newsletter #2:

Written statements of unity and polemics will also bring greater clarity and unity at the Congress where we will continue the struggle for unity for the correct line, politically and organizationally. When political unity is achieved through the formation of the Party of a New Type, THEN DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM WILL BE THE ORGANIZATIONAL BASIS OF RELATIONS.” (OUR CAPS – BWC)

And so we have it, the ideological, political and organizational basis of unity within the National Continuations Committee to Call a Congress for a Multi-National, Marxist-Leninist, Communist Party as stated through Newsletter #1 and #2. (These two newsletters are dated up to March, 1974)

MAJOR STRUGGLES WITHIN THE NCC, NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY

1. One of the first major disagreements occurred between CL and the ACWM, the American Communist Workers Movement, (now called Central Organization of Marxist-Leninists), prior to the convening of the May, 1973, Conference which approved and adopted the four points of unity, including the resolutions contained in the “newspaper”, Marxist-Leninist Unite! According to the People’s Tribune and the CL leadership, ACWM wanted to make the conference a mass undertaking, letting any and everyone attend the conference, while at the same time refusing to carry out practical work and demonstrating male-chauvinism and white chauvinism. As a result of these struggles, again according to CL, ACWM broke off and attacked the Conference and CL. Since that time ACWM has published a statement titled, “The Dialectics of Development of Nelson Perry’s Head”, which was advertised recently in the Guardian. ACWM puts forward that it was CL who stood outside the groups which originally called for a Conference to work towards a party, and that CL usurped the name of the original committee, and that they even changed the same and went on to hold a meeting in May, 1973, without any of the original groups which had prepared for the conference in the first place.

2. Shortly after the May Conference struggle ensued between CL and the New Voice over the question of democracy with the charge being that CL was manipulating the Committee. This struggle was resolved on the basis of consultations with CL agreeing that errors had been made growing out of the poor character of the organizational work in the earlier period as we have already mentioned, and not because of any conscious desire to manipulate the Committee.

3. The very first newsletter contains an announcement that ’A Sacramento Area Committee for a Communist Party Congress has been established.’ This announcement contained the following passage:

The Sacramento Congress Committee holds that the class analysis of imperialism is a vital issue in the program of the new Communist Party. Is U.S. imperialism the greatest exploiter of the U.S. working class or a benefactor? This is a question of principle and a root issue of class line that underlies the application of Marxism-Leninism to the United States. The anti-party opportunists of the RU and OL base a whole host of anti-working class ideas on their denial that most of the profits of U.S. imperialism are exploited out of U.S. workers. These ideas say that we must wait for the nearly complete success of the colonial and neo-colonial anti-imperialist struggles before revolution can occur in the United States, that the form of oppression is national and not class, that U.S. workers are by and large non-revolutionary, etc. These theories are based on the line that U.S. workers have class interests hand in hand with the interests of the monopoly capitalist class; this is a class collaborationist line. The Sacramento Congress Committee urges all comrades and friends to read the New Voice Pamphlet on Imperialism and the Working Class and to struggle for the Marxist-Leninist, line on this issue.” (The title of the pamphlet is called: Imperialism Today: An Economic Analysis)

The CL responded in the very same issue with the following opening paragraph:

The Communist League enthusiastically welcomes the support statement of the Sacramento Congress Committee for the upcoming Congress. We look forward in the coming months to continued discussion, work and struggle with the committee in building an honest Multi-National, Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the USNA. However, in an attempt to gain the greatest possible clarity and unity on all the points of Scientific Socialism as applied to the conditions within the USNA, with all the groups that are working towards the upcoming Congress, we must state our differences with what is implied in the Sacramento Congress Committee statement through the question, ”Is U.S. imperialism the greatest exploiter of the U.S. working class or a benefactor?”

CL then goes on to quote from Stalin, Lenin and A. Leontiev on imperialism, concluding with the following paragraphs:

Because of this relationship, it offers a bribe to certain strata of the working class in particular and the lower classes in general of the imperial nation and allows for opportunism within the class. Lenin in support of the literal non-Marxian Hobson’s position quotes him stating ’there is first the habit of economic parasitism by which the ruling state has used its provinces, colonies and dependences, in order to enrich its ruling class and to bribe its lower classes into acquiesence.’ (Lenin: Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism, section on Parasitism and Decay of Capitalism)

It is due to the colonial nature of the relationship that the imperialist tries to bribe his own working class with better education, health, higher wages, etc. as a direct result of the exploitation in the colonies.”

In order to appreciate what CL’s differences are with New Voice we have to know what CL thinks the Sacramento Committee’s implications are in their statement. Of course, the key to this lies in studying NV pamphlet, “Imperialism Today: An Economic Analysis”, where NV clearly puts forward the thesis that the exploitation and oppression of the colonies provide very little in the way of super-profits, if any at all, and that it is the U.S. workers who really are the most exploited ones. It was on the basis of this debate that New Voice was expelled from the Continuations Committee after a vote was taken with the majority voting for NV’s expulsion. CL presented a paper in the S.F. Bay area entitled Bribery. The main theme of this paper is that the Anglo-American working class is bribed in relationship to its counterpart in the rest of the world. CL speaker after speaker spoke at a local Continuations Committee forum on how the entire working class in the U.S. was bribed in relationship to the rest of the world. (We will carry a complete analysis of CL’s anti-Marxist theses that the entire working class is “bribed”.

This is the way the New Voice Struggle was presented in NCC Newsletter #5, June, 1974:

The National Continuations Committee wishes to inform you that New Voice is no longer on the NCC. This came about as a result of repeated and comradely struggles with them on the line of Marxism-Leninism. New Voice was persistent in stating that the USNA working class is the most exploited in relationship to the colonies. What does the line of Marxism-Leninism state? Lenin states: “Is the actual condition of the workers in the oppressing nations the same as that of the workers in the oppressed nations from the standpoint of the national problem? No, they are not the same. 1. Economically, the difference is that sections of the working class in the oppressing nations receive crumbs of the super-profits which the bourgeoisie of the oppressing nations obtain by the extra exploitation of the workers in the oppressed nations. Moreover, economic data shows that a larger percentage of the workers of the oppressing nations become “skilled workers” than the workers of the oppressed nations, i.e., a larger percentage rise to the position of the labor aristocracy. This is a fact. To a certain degree the workers of the oppressing nations occupy a privileged position in many spheres of political life compared with the workers of the oppressed nation.

3. In April 1974, another struggle began in Detroit between the Detroit collective, several individuals and the NCC. This struggle was over whether to accept the fourth point of unity (the resolutions) because it had not been a condition of unity at their initial joining of the NCC. We will quote extensively first from the NCC’s newsletter #4 and then from a document by the “Detroit Majority” (Harry Well’s group plus the individuals.)

The June, 1974 Newsletter #4 of the NCC presents the struggle between the Detroit Majority and the NCC in the following manner:

Recently, a split developed in the Detroit Local Continuations Committee over the Resolutions from the May Conference being the Fourth Point of Unity for the building of the Congress and the Party. The struggle was long, and errors were made by the Local and National Continuations Committees. These errors being the basis for the struggle and the split. These errors have been recognized by the Local and National committees through a self-criticism and a rectification of our style of work.

Brief History of Committee and Struggle

In September 1973, the Committee consisted of CL cadre and Capital Collective cadre. The organizing work of the committee began and soon one collective and five individuals were recruited on the Committee. The Committee studied What Is To Be Done? as its theoretical preparation for the Congress. Polemics ensued around What Is To Be Done, always around the basis of unity-struggle-unity. This unity was dissolved when the questions of organizing for the Congress around the resolutions was discussed in the Committee. The two lines that emerged in the Committee were 1) (Opposition) “We consider the interrelation between the organizations and groups that held the Conference last May to be connected with us by the Three General Principles. Therefore, we hold independence at this time on all practical and theoretical works, organizational as well as individual. We are not bound to the Resolutions that were developed out of the Congress, except to study them, add, subtract, endorse, or criticize them.” (Principal Motions for Minimal Unity–Opposition paper); 2) Capital Collective and CL line, “These draft resolutions that were published in the newspaper Marxist-Leninists Unite! are historical documents which are being presented to stimulate discussion for a Party Program at the upcoming Congress.” (CL Criticism of the above paper “Principal Motions for Minimal Unity”). At this point it should be noted, l)neither group viewed the Resolutions as a Fourth Point of unity to be on the Committee; 2) there were two different views as to the practical implementation of Marxist-Leninists Unite!

The Oppositions’ views of how the Committee should use Marxist-Leninist Unite! was: “We regard the Resolutions as historical documents, that should be studied and passed out to persons or organizations who join the Committee.” (What do we have – “Democracy or Centralism”?) The view of the CL and the Capital Collective was that the Resolutions should go out to all honest revolutionaries and Marxist-Leninists. When the two lines finally emerged and were clear, the Opposition took the position that all further organizing work should stop, until the Committee could get clarity and unity around the Resolutions. The Committee adopted this motion, but was in error in doing so.

Soon after the first Newsletter was published with the Resolutions being a fourth point of unity, the Opposition requested a meeting with the NCC. The NCC accepted the criticism of it being inconsistent and referred those who were criticizing, back to the “Newsletter.” On the point “of the Resolutions, the National Continuations Committee made an incorrect analysis of the Resolutions and the role of the Committee, and put out the line that the Committee operated under a broad democratic form, and that the Committee would have to decide in what way the Resolutions should be used. This lead the Local Committee to take a vote on the Resolutions being a Fourth Point of Unity, with the Opposition being a numerical majority on the Committee.

After a few meetings, the next “Newsletter” appeared, which clarified the point on the Resolutions. Another meeting was requested by the Opposition with the National, in which the Resolutions were again voted down. At this point, the National Committee declared the Detroit Local Committee was creating a faction within the Continuations Committees.

(The Statement of the Detroit Majority)

In uniting with the National Continuations Committee we agreed to three broad and general principles as a minimal basis of unity. These were (1) accepting Marxism-Leninism as the guiding ideology of the U.S. proletarian revolution; (2) resolutely opposing revisionism and all forms of opportunism; and (3) building the Marxist-Leninist Party as our primary task. We also agreed to full democracy on the committee in order that all views could be aired and all decisions would represent the majority of committee members. We consistently held for being open and above board and fully democratic in decision making and ideological struggle. At our initial meetings the CL representative, J.W., gave full assurances that the Continuations Committee was democratic and that greater unity could be achieved in the course of struggle for correct ideas based on the science of Marxism-Leninism. . .

In the February-March 1974 issue of the National Continuations Committee Newsletter, the basis of minimal unity was suddenly changed by the NCC. A fourth principle of unity was added to the original three, that being acceptance in general of the 9 practical Draft Resolutions of the Marxist-Leninists Unite Conference as a basis of unity struggle unity. At the first meeting of the Detroit Local Continuations Committee following our receipt, of the newsletter and its new condition of unity, a representative from the NCC was present to reiterate and clarify the NCC’s position on the Resolutions. (This National Rep. was, coincidentally, a CL member, as are most of the members of the NCC.) Debate on this new change in policy was particularly intense and many of us on the committee saw that this issue involved a matter of principle. This sudden change in policy also raised broader questions. Was the CL dominated NCC attempting to force the Detroit Local Continuations Committee to accept a form of centralism which had never been agreed to? Was the NCC forcing the Detroit Local Continuations Committee to accept the dominant political line of the Resolutions (which is the political line of the Communist League on all 9 Resolutions)? Is the NCC attempting to force organizational unity around the Resolutions when no ideological unity had been achieved short of the first three broad principles of unity? And finally, has the National Continuations Committee (in essence, the Communist League) been completely open and above board, honest and principled in its relationship with independent Communists on the Detroit Local Continuations Committee?

The major points made by the National Continuations Committee Representative are as follows: (1) The May (Marxist-Leninists Unite!) Conference marked a new historical period in the process of party building. The Conference was called on the basis of the three principles that have historically united Marxist-Leninists, but the Resolutions that came out of the Conference represent, in the new historical period, and an additional point of unity, or if you prefer, “the principal basis of unity and struggle on the ’Continuations Committees.” To unite and struggle with these Resolutions means to “for the most part agree with their content.” (2) The Local Continuations Committees are responsible to raise criticisms and engage in polemics (meaning here the individual organizations or independent Marxist-Leninists on the committee) through the vehicle of the National Newsletter, but they should clearly understand that the Resolutions are in addition the basis for bringing in new contacts, and the building of the local committee (in effect, building for the Congress in September) is actually the main task of the local committee. (3) It is not the task of the NCC to dictate other policies to the local committees, because people in different parts of the country have different histories and different needs. What should be clear is the necessity to read and discuss the resolutions and forward to the NCC any other resolutions that comrades feel are important in addition to criticisms of the present resolutions. (4) The other major task for the local committee is to deal with the questions we must face at the Congress, such as the adoption of a minimum and maximum political program, and party rules. The local committee should discuss the CL’s proposed program as well as other programs, and individuals are free to suggest programs of their own through the vehicle of the national newsletter. (This point raises the question of the two line struggle and how it is distinguished from mere debate. The question of on what basis a political line is developed was not even raised.)

Dispersed throughout this presentation were several important questions which were raised by non-CL comrades on the DLCC. We pointed out that the fourth point of unity (acceptance of the resolutions) is of a completely different character than the first three, and that it was incorrect to distinguish it from the three principles as merely a point of unity and struggle. Marxism-Leninism as a science is certainly no dogma, and there must always be struggle to correctly apply it to the concrete conditions facing revolutionaries. We unite with the struggle against revisionism and opportunism, but there is still struggle to reveal how revisionism and opportunism are manifested in contemporary political lines.

And clearly we unite with the need to build a party, but there can be no doubt that a fierce struggle must be waged in order to make the party of a new type a reality in this country. So, to say that the resolutions are distinguished as points of unity and struggle as opposed to points of unity is pure diversion. And to raise the resolutions as a unifying political line for all Continuations Committees, and to place them on an equal level with the fundamental principles of honest revolutionaries throughout the world is a clear maneuver that will only serve to exclude those forces who differ with that particular political line which the resolutions express.

A comrade pointed out that the principal contradiction underlying all the debate lies not within the Detroit Local Continuations Committee (over the question of our acceptance or rejection of the resolutions as a fourth principle of minimal unity) but within the National Continuations Committee and the May Conference itself. In, other words, what we should be discussing is not the particular question of the resolutions, but the general question of party building as seen by the NCC and its associates and by the independent Marxist-Leninists on the Continuations Committee. The directive put forth by the National Representative concerning acceptance of the resolutions as a fourth point of minimal unity and then moving on to solving questions of adding resolutions and criticisms of existing resolutions, bringing on more contacts, working out party programs and party rules, Is clearly premature. This directive is obviously an example of pushing organizational unity before any real ideological unity on the party building question has been achieved. And yet the National Continuations Committee pushes on, representing only a small fraction of the Communist movement in the U.S., assuming ideological unity is achieved (through the 9 Draft Resolutions) and the next steps are of an organizational nature – consolidating the continuations committees, convening the Congress, declaring the party – all in a matter of a few short months and comprising only a handful of Communist forces in the U.S. Such pat formulas and hurried methods of party organizing cannot but hinder the accomplishment of the complex tasks before us!

From both statements it can be readily seen that at least two questions are at stake: The first question is why wasn’t the fourth point of unity the basis of political unity in September when the Detroit Committee was established? The second question is why didn’t the “Detroit Majority” accept the fourth point of unity (the resolutions) if they had general unity with them? On the first question the NCC stated that they had made an error and that the fourth point was indeed a point of unity.

The Detroit committee was set up some 4 to 5 months before the national office of the NCC was functioning on a regular basis and the early period of organizational and administrative weaknesses, (which the NCC Newsletters #1 and 2 have already admitted), coupled with the clear political error of not making it absolutely clear that the fourth point was also a definite condition for membership on the committee, appears to be at the bottom of the NCC’s error in this case. For one thing, the NCC again appeared to have made an open straight forward self-criticism to this effect. (See Brief History of Committee and Struggle in this section of the pamphlet) So far so good. If the criticisms of the NCC are accepted as correct, why didn’t the Detroit Majority go forward? Was not the fourth point of unity both a point of unity and struggle? If the criticisms are incorrect as far as the Detroit Majority was concerned, then what is the correct criticism? Organizational errors and weaknesses are bound to lead to political errors, and obviously the other way around. Who among us can climb aboard some HIGH HORSE as if though they cannot understand this type of error? And of course this does not mean that we should justify such a state of affairs, nor cease striving to overcome them. In one sense this is one aspect of why we need a Bolshevik Party because such errors – no matter how efficient one particular group is – can only be qualitatively eliminated (THE OUTRIGHT PRIMITIVE AND AMATEURISH ONES, CERTAINLY NOT ERRORS IN GENERAL) through the building of genuine Communist Party. But the Detroit Majority says that something else is wrong, and there is, but lets hear again what they have to say about what are the errors of the NCC:

So, to say that the resolutions are distinguished as points of unity and struggle as opposed to points of unity is pure diversion. And to raise the resolutions as a unifying political line for all Continuations Committees, and to place them on an equal level with the fundamental principles of honest revolutionaries (how is it determined who is honest? - BWC) throughout the world is a clear maneuver that will only serve to exclude those forces who differ with that particular political line which the resolutions express.”

Well, well, well, we finally see whose line the Detroit Majority is defending. They are fighting sectarianism! How do the “Detroit Majority” intend to distinguish the science of Marxism-Leninism from Revisionism except through what various “honest” revolutionaries, and even fake ones, put forward, as their Concrete Analysis of today’s Burning Questions? In the abstract, all sorts of bankrupt forces can quote all day long the words of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but when they try to apply them to today’s world and problems they reveal that they aren’t anything but a bunch of revisionists. It reminds us of the period when we were a “national form” communist organization, and all the arguments we used to justify this state of affairs. We could discuss all day long the Leninist principles of the party and the organization of the proletariat, but when applying it to the U.S. we said “first, we need an all Black communist organization.” And there are such “so-called communists” today running around in the U.S. talking about building a party and organizing the proletariat, who wouldn’t even let Marx or Engels in their organization because of their nationality. So why is the Detroit Majority splitting the “fundamental principles of honest revolutionaries” from the practical application of the fundamental principles? That is CL’s game. Perhaps the Detroit Majority want to limit us to a discussion of the general principles which any, as we said bankrupt force, can repeat. (Of course, many of these people can’t even get the quotes straight) The real test comes when we look at what this or that person has to say about today’s concrete problems, and then, WHAT THEY ARE DOING ABOUT THEM! In this way we can determine who is really applying the “fundamental principles of honest revolutionaries” or falling into revisionism.

The RU leadership can discuss all day long the classical works of Marxism on the national question, and will regurgitate everything said by the great teachers of the working class on the subject, but when it comes down to applying it here in the U.S. they fall right into American Exceptionalism and revisionism. Suppose we were to simply listen to the Soviet Revisionists talk about Leninism and the great peace policy of Lenin over and over again without paying attention to their concrete analysis of today’s concrete world, and how they conduct themselves in practice? So, comrades of the Detroit Majority, we can see that there is no such thing as Marxism-Leninism in the abstract. No! Truth is always concrete!

We mentioned earlier that the Detroit Majority was defending the line of fighting sectarianism, which in general of course is correct, but coming from the Detroit Majority it sounds like so much bluster. First of all the so-called “Detroit Collective” is primarily made up of ex-BWC members including James Forman, and they did everything in their power in Detroit to slander the BWC. This group while still a member of the NCC, long before the BWC joined, tried to keep the BWC out and even went around the city in the name of the NCC slandering the BWC. The members of this group have even traveled all the way to China with the OL and requested special meetings with the Chinese to inform them of the BWC’s bankruptcy. So, we say some honesty and above-boardness for you, and some anti-sectarian stance. Declaring that one is in possession of such qualities as “honesty and sincerity” will not do through declaration alone. First and foremost these qualities are determined through one’s ideological and political line and the test of one’s practice. The NCC is certainly antidemocratic to say the least, but you cannot expose opportunism through subjective rantings or a label; this takes the science of Marxism-Leninism.

THE A.T.M.

ATM, The August Twenty-Ninth Movement, was the next major organization to be expelled and denied membership within the Continuations Committee. The NCC in Chicago explained the purge of ATM in the following manner: 1) ATM members had carried, out anti-CL policies of an anti-communist nature before joining the committee. 2) ATM members had spread rumors that a particular member of CL in the Southwest was a police agent. 3) That ATM members had joined the continuations committee while they were still members of other collectives and had not notified the NCC of the fact that they now belonged to ATM. 4) The different groups which founded ATM refused to invite the CL to their founding Congress while inviting other members of the Continuations Committee (BWC & PRRWO). This is the explanation the NCC gave to members of PRRWO and BWC verbally in Chicago. But before proceeding, let us briefly describe who ATM is since many persons living and working in the East, South and Midwest may have not heard of ATM.

ATM takes its name from the date on which tens of thousands of Chicanes were attacked by the L.A. Police Dept. during some of the most significant anti-war demonstrations ever staged in this country. These demonstrations as well as a general mass movement was launched in the early 1970s by the Chicano people in Los Angeles and other areas of the Southwest proper. The attack on August 29th resulted in the death of a prominent Chicano journalist and the beating and jailing of hundreds of Chicanos. In the course of this militant struggle many militant Chicano leaders emerged, some of whom began to adopt Marxism-Leninism. One of these groupings has evolved today into the Marxist-Leninist organization called the ATM. And while ATM is primarily Chicano, its ranks are completely open to workers, communists and genuine revolutionaries of all nationalities. The organization today clearly represents the most important trend in the western part of the U.S., and particularly within the Southwest; they have continued to strengthen their understanding of Marxism-Leninism, develop closer ties with the working class through struggle and the propagation of Marxism-Leninism, and they are working hard, to unite with other genuine Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers on the basis of line to form a new, genuine Communist Party.

And now to the slanders of CL and the NCC. On the first criticism of CL’s it is no secret that ATM has opposed the sectarian nature of CL’s work in several plants in California. This ploy of CL’s is just another example of our “advanced theoreticians” deciding that any criticism of their line is a departure from Marxism-Leninism. It reminds one of the CPUSA claiming that any criticism of the CPUSA is anti-communism, and as a matter of fact, almost everything about the CL – and the RU – reminds one of the CPUSA. Don’t forget comrades, it is CL who claims that only the CL represents the Communist movement and everyone else represents the “new left”. On the next two assertions – and thatís all they are – CL simply “decided” the matter along with their “meek” friends without any consultations whatsoever between all parties involved. And on the last question, again CL knows full well that the Congress of ATM was the affair of several organizations throughout the Southwest and a collective decision was made as to who should be invited and who should not be invited. The CL representative of the NCC was so arrogant as to say that the only way ATM could get back on the NCC would be to purge its ranks of certain persons in its leadership. This last event was unfolding on the eve of the issuance of NCC newsletter #5, towards the end of May, 1974, and the first of June, 1974. The BWC had already circulated to all its friends the essence of the criticism contained in this pamphlet, including CL verbally.

In summary, letís review what the policy of the BWC had been. The BWC had set itself the task of attempting to unite with the NCC in order to conduct ideological, political and practical struggle towards the party. Our activity was characterized by continued study and investigations of the lines of the major organizations within the NCC and the organizational and political line of the NCC itself. Like a red thread, or better still, a “yellow” thread, was a clear policy of splittism and bourgeois hegemonism extending from the very inception of the NCC. CL was clearly the initiator of such a policy, and it was clear that it emanated from the very foundations of their line. The NCC and CL had gotten itself hung on so many thorny contradictions that it is impossible for them to explain these contradictions except “internally” and to its friends who are burying their heads in the sand. As a matter of fact, it became clear to the BWC that the leadership of the CL was only interested in covering their tracks internally. But the last newsletter before the BWC was purged and PRRWO resigned, Newsletter #5, was the crowning point of CL’s opportunism in regards to the NCC. We will presently show the blatant contradictions between Newsletter #5 and Newsletters #1 and 2.

NCC NEWSLETTER #5

Newsletter #5 doesn’t waste any time in launching an attack on those forces who are attempting to “undermine and split the Marxist-Leninist forces from the inside.” The very first two paragraphs begin:

In the last few weeks, nearly every organization and individual on the “left,” whether they represent the liberal bourgeoisie line of the RU or OL, terrorism, or reactionary “Black nationalism,” has called for the building of some brand of Marxist party, or else has asked to join the Continuations Committee. Guiding the whole pack is the CPUSA who once again has begun speaking about Marxism-Leninism. The Marxist-Leninists on the Continuations Committees must not be fooled by such a trend, but rather, should understand this motion for what it is – an attempt to confuse the working class and honest Marxist-Leninists from the “left,” and to undermine and split the Marxist-Leninist forces from the inside.

As dialectics teaches us, under certain conditions all things into their opposites. Before the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists, the so called “left” tried to destroy the Marxist-Leninists by isolating us, but could not succeed. After the Conference they tried to destroy us by attacking us, calling us sectarians and Trotskyites, but again failed. Now they are trying to destroy us by asking to join the Continuations Committee in order that they can split us from the inside. Once again we will not allow this to happen.

With this welcoming statement the NCC smokes on into summing up and restating the political and organizational line of the Continuations Committee: 1. The Conference itself held in May, 1973, was “the highest level of theoretical and political discussion amongst the proletariat for over thirty years...” 2. The nine resolutions are listed by their titles. 3. And finally, in this section: “These resolutions were voted on by the body and adopted as majority resolutions of the Conference. In addition there was another resolution adopted by the body as a minority position, “The National Question or Racism.” At the conclusion of the Conference ‥A Call for a Congress” was adopted by the body and a National Continuations Committee was established. All of this explained what was the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists.

The next section goes on to explain what is the NCC and a political line of the NCC. In order to bring this section out in full we are going to quote in full:

The National Continuations Committee is that body established by the Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists from among those organizations represented at the Conference. It has only one purpose – to continue the work of the Conference in preparation for the Congress. Therefore, there is only one political line that unites the Committee and directs its work – this is the political line of the Conference as printed in Marxist-Leninists Unite! Support of the resolutions is not a question for debate; positions stated in the resolutions will be voted on finally by the Congress. Marxist-Leninist organizations and individuals who have studied and who support the resolutions can join the Continuations Committee. Once on the Committee all organizations and individuals must submit to the democratic-centralist discipline of the Committee. Politically, this means that they must further discuss and develop the Conference resolutions as the basis of the Party program, must organize other Marxist-Leninists onto the Committee around Marxist-Leninist Unite!, and must carry out the organizational tasks necessary to convene the Congress. Any position held by any organization or individual which is in opposition to the Conference resolutions must be written up and submitted for discussion to the collective bodies or organ of the Committee – this includes the meetings of the national and local committees and the National Newsletter. No group or individual can go outside the discipline of the collective and organize for their own political line.

The rest of this section Newsletter #5 supposedly restates the organizational line of the Committee as it had been stated in former issues of the “Newsletter and other communications.” And finally, we are told what is the Congress, and this is topped off with the statement that ”There will be no room at the Congress for any factional position. Only the line representing Marxism-Leninism will be allowed.” The rest of #5 is devoted to the New Voice.

In a wave of their pen or typewriter the NCC in Chicago has laid down a whole new set of principles. Newsletter #5 says that support of the resolutions is not a question for debate. Newsletter #2 says that “While the resolutions are one of the points of unity, they also serve as the basis for polemics, in order that we can achieve the most scientific, Marxist-Leninist position on the main questions facing the USNA proletariat.” Newsletter #5 states that “Any position held by any organization or individual which is in opposition to the Conference resolutions must be written up and submitted for discussion to the collective bodies or organ of the Committee - this includes the meetings of the National and local committees and the National Newsletter.” Is it that the NCC can only see opposition and not both unity and struggle? Either you agree one hundred percent or you are in opposition. Resolutions which are as general as those contained in Marxist-Leninist Unite!, do serve to disassociate one from certain political tendencies of the movement. However, to achieve deeper unity, further struggle and investigation, getting into the heart and guts of the questions these resolutions deal with, is required. Newsletter #5 acts as if it understands none of this, and proceeds with an ordinary old liberal view of all unity (under CL’s hegemony of course). Newsletter #5 contains a whole host of vague statements and new rules. Who made all these decisions and with what authority? The authority of the May Conference perhaps? Well, what about the “democratic” statement in Newsletter #2: “The Continuations Committee members based in Chicago, at the time of the Conference, had agreed to carry out the regular work of the Committee, and therefore have the responsibility to put forth every effort to get discussion on all political points raised by other organizations before decisions are made. The main vehicle for such discussion now is the Newsletter. However, meetings, letters, phone, etc., are also in order. ONLY IN THIS WAY IS THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT OF EACH OF THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS GUARANTEED.” This is what was to suppose to have expressed the responsibility of the Chicago office of the NCC to the May Conference. Was this a mistake?

But the most serious violation is the declaration in Newsletter #5 that, “Once on the committee, all organizations and individuals must submit to the democratic-centralist discipline of the Committee.” Just like that. This is the most insidious statement of all. It just so happens that this was the first time the term was ever used at all by the NCC. But all of a sudden it becomes the organizational line of the Committee. Do we need to remind the Committee what it said in an earlier Newsletter? In Newsletter #2, “When political unity is achieved through the formation of a Party of a New Type, then DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM WILL BE THE ORGANIZATIONAL BASIS OF RELATIONS.” What does it matter, there doesn’t appear to be an ounce of principles left on the NCC. But an even greater tragedy is that in some cities certain confused comrades are claiming, “Well, itís necessary to get the work done.” And they even go so far to say that it’s a kind of Democratic Centralism of a New Type, not quite the full deal. Sounds exactly like the RU in their great “NLC” party building proposal. Many of these comrades who have taken up this cry that itís necessary are clearly debasing themselves before CL’s opportunism, even though many of them have a history of revolutionary struggle in the “USNA”. In newsletter #2 a big point is made about how our “advanced theoreticians” don’t make “assumptions” but base themselves on facts. Well now certain persons are falling all over themselves again talking about how it is “assumed” or “implied” that democratic centralism applied all along. But let’s quote our “advanced theoreticians” themselves:

Communists do not base decisions on assumptions but on concrete facts. (Newsletter #2)

Some of these “advanced theoreticians” are acting like their is no difference between saying ”DEMOCRATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONS” and democratic centralism. Well, good luck brothers and sisters, because perhaps you will have time before September to determine the difference. We are certainly hoping so.

SELF-CRTTICISM OF THE BWC

In this section comrades we would like to make a criticism of the role of the BWC in the Continuations Committee. While our participation was only brief, only a couple of months, there have been several serious weaknesses that we would like to point out, and at the same time we would like to solicit from our fraternal comrades and all genuine Marxist-Leninists the necessary Bolshevik criticisms on our participation in the NCC, in order that we may go forward even more resolutely towards the Party.

First of all, let us point out comrades, these are stormy times in the U.S. and we stated in our pamphlet, THE BLACK WORKERS CONGRESS, THE BLACK LIBERATION MOVEMENT, AND PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION, during the whole period from the late 50s through the late 60s:

Black peoples struggles baptized a generation of white youth and progressive white Americans in wave after wave of mass struggle and ruling class violence, opening the eyes of Americans of every class and strata to the hypocrisy of ’American Democracy’, more so than any other mass movement with the possible exception of the mass peoples struggle against the war in Vietnam, and the Black peoples struggle played a key role in helping to launch the struggle against aggression in Vietnam. The Black peoples struggles were a huge inspiration to the Chicano and Puerto Rican peoples, whose struggles also shook U.S. society. The Black peoples– struggles exposed the good-for-nothing CPUSA and all their foul weeds....The Black peoples struggles for liberation shook American imperialism to its knees throughout the 1960s, giving birth to a host of anti-imperialists: Black, Brown Yellow and White, many who evolved into a small sector of conscious anti-revisionists Marxist-Leninists.”

Couple these developments, comrades, with the counter-revolutionary betrayal of the Modern Revisionists with their head in Moscow and the CPUSA their exponents here in the U.S., and the urgent necessity of building a genuine (Communist Party flowing from this betrayal, and you have the general political background against which many of us, especially those of us who have been communist for only the last five or six years or so, took up the struggle against U.S. imperialism and revisionism. But at the heart of the Black liberation struggle, and many of the other mass struggles, was the stirrings of the WORKING CLASS, and the last couple of years of the sixties and early seventies saw the working class, to quote Lenin in a similar situation, “.. .burst forth in a brilliant flash that dazzled the eyes of many, obscuring from their field of vision the tasks and aims, so clear and definite, of revolutionary Social-Democracy, and including an enthusiasm for a narrow trade-union struggle.” (Lenin, Announcement of the Formation Of An Organizing Committee, Vol. 6, p. 307, CW, Progress, 1964) We recommend that all comrades read this essay.

And although many of us have come today, just as in Russia, to Marxism-Leninism from the most diverse of paths we in the BWC and PRRWO hold that our unification into a single Communist Party based on a correct political line is the central question facing our movement. Therefore the BWC joined with the CL on the Continuations Committee but at the same time took up a serious examination of the lines of all the organizations on it, and particularly the CL. We saw this task as extremely important because the failure to consistently PLACE POLITICS IN COMMAND IS THE CHIEF SIN WE HAVE INHERITED FROM HTE PAST AND IT IS ONE WHICH IS DOGGING OUR HEELS TODAY, SO TO SPEAK. And this is the chief mistake we made in our participation on the Continuations Committee, the failure to put politics firmly in command and we don’t mean as some empty slogan but as a reality that guides our every action. In this respect we have tended to still display a lack of political, maturity in putting ideological and political line in the lead. At the same time, we do not see this task simply as the work of some college professor sitting down to his desk, but as an all-embracing part of class struggle – that this task is class struggle, the most important form of class struggle at that, and especially so in the present period; and yet we also know that we have persisted in ruthlessly exposing our errors before the whole movement and the masses while making giant strides towards the goal of proletarian revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism.

And before concluding we would like to speak to the various “professorial” approaches to “putting politics in command” and determining friends from enemies through “pure” research. This group of “false friends” are very fond of preaching the profound advice of “I told you so” while they themselves to this day are unable to put forward a single criticism of anything or anybody which is not subjective and one-sided, and if they are we have yet to see them. Many of these “false friends” of the proletariat like to posture as great builders of the mass movement and “practical men and women with dirt on their hands”, but the truth of the matter is that most of these “friends” are fresh from a life of absolutely no practical involvement in anything “mass”. The other side of this comedy is that they disdain learning anything from the untold sufferings and experience of the masses, as summed up by the great teachers of the working class – so what is it that they have to offer? Fakers at practice or mass struggle on the one hand, and backwards intellectuals on the other hand.

It is for these reasons that we would like to print for the “I told you so crowd” the following little quote from V.I. Lenin on a like bunch of ”false friends”. In this respect Lenin describes a man ascending a very high mountain which has never before been explored and at a certain point he is forced to turn back in order to find a better path up the mountain.

The voices from below ring with malicious joy. They do not conceal it; they chuckle gleefully and shout: ’He’ll fall in a minute! Serve him right, the lunatic!’ Others try to conceal their malicious glee and behave mostly like Judas Golovlyov. They moan and raise their eyes to heaven in sorrow, as if to say: ’It grieves us sorely to see our fears justified!’ But did not we, who have spent all our lives working out a judicious plan for scaling this mountain, demand that the ascent be postponed until our plan was complete? And if we so vehemently protested against taking this path, which this lunatic is now abandoning (’look, look, he has turned back! He is descending. A single step is taking him hours of preparation!’ And yet we were roundly abused when time and again we demanded moderation and caution!), if we so fervently censured this lunatic and warned everybody against imitating and helping him, we did so entirely because of our devotion to the great plan to scale this mountain, and in order to prevent this great plan from being generally discredited!”

Happily, in the circumstances we have described, our imaginary traveler cannot hear the voices of these people who are ’true friends’ of the idea of ascent; if he did, they would probably nauseate him. And nausea, it is said, does not help one to keep a clear head and a firm step, particularly at high altitudes. (LENIN, CW, VOL. 33, NOTES OF A PUBLICIST, P. 205)