Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Charles Loren

The Struggle for the Party

Two Lines in the Movement


A year ago the formation of a communist party in the United States seemed about to happen. The necessity of this next step for the communist movement was universally admitted. While it was obvious that the character of the organization would depend on the outcome of a struggle between the genuine Marxist-Leninist forces and the opportunist trends within the movement, it appeared that this struggle would be masked and subtle. The author wrote newspaper articles and used other more informal channels, and joined in building one of the circles which comprise the communist movement in the United States today. Neither time nor the terms of discussion seemed to permit or require a longer work in book form.

However, the organization is still not visible, although everyone recognizes that it cannot be far below the other side of the horizon. The state of the inner-movement struggle has changed, too. Look, for example, at what happened to the slogan on the “pre-party formation.” Originally, this term as used by the Revolutionary Union and similar groups implied and looked forward to the party; it represented a claim by the RU to be a major part of the party when it would soon be born. To those who followed the ideological line of the RU and these other groups, the term was a promise; to those who opposed another line to that of the RU, it was a claim to hegemony which had to be tested. Gradually, however, talk about a “pre-party formation” has come to mean an opposite. It now serves to sum up all the reasons and excuses for not forming a communist party. We are still rooting ourselves in the working class and have a long way to go; we are still too young to take on the awesome responsibilities – we are still, these groups now say, a pre-party formation.

Yet it is quite clear that the material resources of the communist movement are sufficient to form a communist party. If that party has not been founded yet, there must be obstacles to unity and action. There is a problem of line. As always, problems of line require that clarity be achieved by polarization--there are two lines, and the question is which follows the actual needs of the world and which opposes the inevitable tendency of development.

More and more openly, therefore, the anti-party opportunists are delaying, refusing, and opposing the formation of a genuine communist party. The struggle is becoming sharper. This is a good thing. To form the party and so advance the class struggle in the United States, we must smash all the anti-revolutionary, anti-party theories and practices of these opportunists.

Of course, there may suddenly be a crystallization. The communist movement may find itself faced with an organization, which may be a genuine communist party or not, or possibly there may be more than one organization, all calling themselves the genuine communist party (there cannot be more than one in a single country). But what may appear suddenly is nevertheless the product of developing forces of long standing. A study of the situation will therefore be of value, whether there is a single organization, or several organizations, or no organization, by the time this work becomes available. Genuine parties know their history, while opportunists fear the purposeful study of history, because they know or sense that the truth is a weapon – and that in matters of principle our weapon is the truth and action based on it.

August 1973