Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

I Wor Kuen

On “The National Liason Committee” of the RU, BWC, PRRWO and IWK

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First Published: IWK Journal, No. 1, August 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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During the past year, there have been numerous rumors regarding the now defunct national Liason Committee. (NLC) composed, of representatives of the Revolutionary Union (RU), the Black Workers Congress (BWC), the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO), and, for a time, I Wor Kuen (IWK). Because our organization was a part of this and our role distorted by some parties, this brief explanation has been written to clarify the basis upon which we entered and then left the National Laison Committee.

We recognise that a thorough summation of the NLC cannot take place outside of an analysis and position on party building. As stated earlier in the Introduction [to IWK Journal #1 – EROL], our organization is preparing a paper on our position on party building and a thorough evaluation of the NLC will be contained in that paper.

In this paper we hope to briefly clarify the initial formation and purpose we joined the NLC and the principled political basis upon which we left the NLC.

Formation of the NLC

The NLC was proposed by the PRRWO at the 1972 Congress of the Young Lords Party (where they officially became the PRRWO). The PRRWO proposed that the RU, the BWC, IWK and PRRWO form a National Liason Committee which would undertake the following tasks:

A. Begin to work out joint city strategies;
B. Establish joint city-wide labor schools; and
C. Conduct research together.

The RU then proposed, stating that we should “shoot for the moon,”

A. Summarizations of practice and theory to each central committee on a periodic basis;
B. Joint propaganda towards students, workers and communities;
C. Joint work teams, and
D. Liason persons between organizations to work out contradictions, exchange experiences, etc.

The NLC was then set up on the basis of the combination of suggestions proposed by the PRRWO and the RU[1] and under the general principle that all of our organizations would subordinate our organizations to the overall cause of what was coming into; being – the “new party.”

On What Basis Did We Join the NLC?

By January, 1972, we had established a position on the need for the developmental of a multi-national communist party. Although we had severe criticisms of RU’s practice in the Chinese community in San Francisco...our ideological development at that time was not high enough for us to he able to state our criticisms in a clear ideological fashion. Furthermore, we felt that perhaps the differences could be worked out especially because when we raised our criticisms of the RU in the Bay Area Asian movement; we were given the rationale by one of the RU’s top leadership that the RU’s practice in the Bay Area Asian community “had never been consolidated and therefore were not really reflections of the overall RU line but rather the work of individuals.” Although we did not completely accept this rationale, it was on the basis that there was to be hard struggle around ideological and political line and because of our firm commitment to building unity as steps towards building a genuine multi-national communist party that we joined the NLC.

Why did we Leave the NLC?

The primary reason for our withdrawal from the NLC was the RU’s unprincipled line and practice. The RU showed they ware not sincere in wanting to engage in a clear principled political struggle, We raised, many questions and differences, with the RU (as our July 11, 1973 letter shows); however, they consistently refused to respond to our political points.

At the same time, that the so-called “comrade” organizations were meeting, the RU also tried to split our organisation and slander it throughout the country. We have recently learned from former leading members of the RU that the RU had adopted a conscious policy to either “smash or absorb” us into their organization. One of their principle instruments in this strategy was to use an Asian organization that was close to the RU – the tactic of using “Asians to fight Asians.”

The result was that instead of a relationship of equality, respect and principled struggle, the NLC descended into bullying, slander and gangsterism. For example, during one NLC meeting our representative was physically held in a city until our representative would state personal agreement with the line on the Black national question as stated in Red Papers 5. Furthermore, ideological struggle was not engaged in openly and honestly. The RU only demanded blind, mechanical following of their organization and when we raised questions of their political line and practice, we met only hostility and derision. To this day the RU has not answered any of our major political questions.

As these contradictions became sharper, we wrote the July letter to the central committees of the other organisations based upon our understanding of their position at that time. These differences revolved around the national question and party building. We did not receive a reply and therefore submitted the August 16, 1973 letter. After there was no response to our second letter, organizational discussions were terminated.


In rereading our letter of July, 1973 from which the following quotes are taken, it is clear that while much of our formulation was not clear or very precise, and in some cases not entirely correct, we feel that, on the whole, it represented a correct and honest response to the RU’s opportunistic line and attempted machinations.

It has been agreed by all parties involved in the NLC that our Organization was the first to raise struggle with the RU, and the first to raise serious and fundamental questions about their political line. It is also true that the PRRWO and BWC for a time accepted the RU line. It is further true that they participated together with the RU in their attempts to split and smash our organization.

In meetings with PRRWO and BWC after they left the NLC, we raised criticisms of their practice in the NLC. They accepted the criticism that they did not attempt to raise principled political struggle with the RU while we were in the NLC, and that they were manipulated by the RU into believing many fabricated lies from the RU leadership about our organisation. (For example, the RU spread the rumor that we had a secret member of the Venceremos organization in our central committee and that we were very close to the Communist League.) It has been agreed upon by the PRRWO, BWC and IWK that principled struggle was made impossible by the RU who used every opportunity to sow distrust and subjectivism among the three organizations.

The BWC and the PRRWO have also withdrawn their criticisms of our organization (made in their “Rebuttal to the RU’s; National Bulletin #13) that they “felt that IWK manifested tendencies towards Bundism (isolation from the American workers’ movement while pushing all Asian concepts)”; and “resisted basing its work on the industrial proletariat and workplace while ...favoring to work more in the community.” The two organizations recognize this criticism was based on no investigation and a misreading of the actual struggle that took place.[2] The BWC and PRRWO have also made self-criticism that their attitude towards our organization was sectarian and incorrect.

In summary, we feel that our organisation joined the NLCC in a spirit of unity, open to working-out differences and trying to build unity in a principled fashion, towards building the new party. While in the NLC we raised many concrete questions and disagreements with the RU but did not struggle hard enough to raise our questions and disagreements to a general and theoretical level. When it became very clear that principled struggle was not possible within the NLC and that from the very beginning the RU had no intention of allowing principled struggle to take place, we left the NLC.


[1]The NLC was set up on that basis although, to our knowledge, almost none of the plans were ever carried out.

[2]At that time our disagreement was over our strategy of building a United Front within the Chinese national minority as an important component of our overall work. ’Community work’ was an important aspect of that united front work. RU, PRRWO and BWC felt that we should concentrate on the workplace whereas we felt that while that was extremely important, to neglect the development of a united front within the oppressed nationalities would be a serious error. But this was not a struggle of a ’working class line’ vs. a ’bundist line,’ but reflected, rather, differences on the national question.