Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Central Committee, Motor City Labor League (Marxist-Leninist)

Where We’re At; Where We’re Going

Issued: n.d. [1974].
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The purpose of this paper is to address three specific dynamics that we see developing in the MCLL. First, the fact that we have made a major expansion can lead to some confusion as to the principles of party building. We absolutely accept the principle that in party building quality is the leading factor–the size of the party is not nearly as important as the protection of the line of Marxism-Leninism. Second, our organization manifests an undefined tendency of “idealism” in the style of our work; that is the best description that we have. To be more precise, we face a contradiction between increasing the discipline we bring to our work but avoiding the tendency to put unreasonable and unrealistic demands on ourselves which leads to demoralization. Third, the central committee in particular must bring more thought to the developing strategy for party building given the change in circumstances that we now face; specifically, we have to examine more critically to whom and why we send out our paper [The Political Line of the Motor City Labor League (M-L) – EROL]. What energy should we put into the paper and the relationship with other left groups? In fact, we must continue to put a priority on expanding and deepening our ability to bring strong proletarian people towards us and not sacrifice that work because of our struggle with other left groups.


The convention represented the highest level of political discussion and struggle that we have been able to achieve in the Motor City Labor League. The convention and the political line that it developed resulted in a major qualitative leap for MCLL. “The Political Line of the MCLL (M-L)” represents the highest level of Marxist-Leninist understanding that we have achieved. It provides the base for the highest level of unity that we have ever achieved in the organization.

In addition, we have now made a major quantitative change in our organization–that is, since the convention we have almost doubled our size. In order to understand how we can move forward, we must analyze the qualitative and quantitative changes that we have experienced and the dialectical relationship between the two. The quality and quantity of a thing cannot be separated; one of the big mistakes of the “left” is to make separated, unconnected assessments of the quality and quantify of a thing, event or organization.

Lenin specifically stated and Stalin further implemented the principle that in relation to the Party, quality must always take precedence over quantity. We must adhere to that principle. We all understood that in the expansion we took definite risks; both ”old” and “new” cadre risked, the stability of the then existing situation in order to reach a new and higher level. This part of the paper explains the parameters of the analysis that we must use to protect the one fundamental principle: that quality is the first priority in party building.

In order to properly analyze the quality of a thing we must understand the quantitative changes that preceded it. The qualitative change in our organization can be analyzed as follows: we turned to and deepened our understanding of Marxism-Leninism, the science of revolution by making Marxism-Leninism our guide to action, we gave up many of the bourgeois aspects of our work. This is” why we use the phrase that we must develop a “new style of work”. At the same time, the correctness and sharpness of our line led to the exodus of the most petty bourgeois revisionist elements that had existed in the organization.

The quantitative preparation for the qualitative change is our history. We cannot chronicle the detail of the quantitative change but we can sketch the outlines of it. By means of the September 1972 split, we eliminated the dishonest elements who were directly tied to and functioning for the bourgeois (New Detroit, etc.). Thereafter, we haltingly but surely moved to proletarianize our work and our base. Many of our cadre began to ground themselves more fully in the proletariat, and we carried on an intensive struggle with anarcho-syndicalist elements who temporarily threatened to pull us from our march towards Marxism-Leninism. But the struggle strengthened our resolve to ground ourselves more fully in the science of Marxism-Leninism.

As a result of years of work in the industrial proletariat, generally in a service capacity, we took a major role in the strikes last summer. This brought us in contact with the Communist League, an organization which is proletarian in base and line. From that point on, the inevitability of the exodus of the petty bourgeois elements was sealed. We were immediately propelled into an intense struggle, the first step of which was the intensification of study by individuals and the organization as a whole. This development by itself was a qualitative change in the organization; that qualitative change then becomes one of the quantitative increases that resulted in the qualitative change after the convention, and enabled us to have the successful convention that we did have.

A word needs to be spoken of the Communist League. It is very important to understand that CL’s qualitative base is Marxism-Leninism, historically evolved through the old Party and a rupture with the old Party. Thus its initiators had an important M-L history on which to rely when they began their theoretical work; that is, they had a very important qualitative base on which to begin their work. With this base (the historically evolved theory), it was natural (even inevitable) that they would develop a strong proletarian base. Their most important contribution is the high theoretical understanding that they developed in this proletarian base. In a word, they correctly applied Leninism to the USNA. This can be contrasted to the history, line and practice of groups like RU and OL. These groups historically developed from a different qualitative base–namely by reason of a split iron the liberal bourgeoisie (SDS, etc). 0L in particular is a direct descendent of SDS. Because OL and RU were moving off a different qualitative base and attempting to reform themselves from within, they faced an insurmountable contradiction. These groups clearly will not be able to hold honest Marxist-Leninists; we are already seeing the disintegration of RU and OL will soon follow. Starting with more money and people they will end up with neither.

This principle can be better illustrated by our own history. Marxism-Leninism comes from without the working class. MOLL could not have taken the qualitative leap of the convention without the M-L material, discussion that was provided by the CL (i.e. from without by an organization with a long history in the revolutionary movement). We did not have the M-L base. Honest M-Ls in OL and RU will also move in the same direction.

The question then follows: if we had achieved that qualitative leap, then why a quantitative increase in our organization? Why does not this large quantitative increase necessarily violate the fundamental principle that quality is the leading factor in party building? Simply stated, we did not have a quantitative increase. Many of the so-called “new” cadre represent a qualitative increase in our organization. Many have participated in all aspects of our organizational activity over a long period of time. Many “new” cadre had already made major political contributions to our development. In addition, we were embarking on a new study program designed to make us revolutionary scientists and not simply workers. But we must unite «with reality because differences do exist. The convention process itself was such an important political process that it cannot be recreated for the “new” cadre. We correctly decided that the risk to our newly acquired qualitative base (i.e. Marxism-Leninism) was much higher if we failed to expand decisively, and now all of us, “new” and “old” must boldly work to protect our base. Mao gives us some guidance in this regard.

If our Party does not have great many new cadres working in unity and co-operation’ with the old cadres, our cause will come to a stop. All old cadres, therefore, should welcome the new ones with the utmost enthusiasm and show them the warmest solicitude Cadres, new and old, should respect each other, learn from each other and overcome their own shortcomings by learning from each other’s strong points, so as to unite as one in the common cause... (p. 47)

A comrade with a short record of struggle may shirk responsibility on this account, while a veteran may become opinionated because of his long record of struggle. Worker and peasant comrades, because of pride in their class origin, may look down upon intellectuals while “intellectuals, because they have a certain amount of knowledge, may look down upon workers and peasants. . . Even one’s age may become ground for conceit. The young, because they are bright and capable, may look down upon the old; and the old, because they are rich in experience, may look down upon the young. All such things become encumbrances or baggage if there is no critical awareness.” (p. 173) Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. 3, Peking 1967.

While the above provides guidance, it in no way solves the problems which we face in the organization. We have made a qualitative leap but inevitably new contradictions emerge. We face the enormous task of quantitatively preparing ourselves for another extremely important qualitative change–that is, the formation of the Party. To be clear, each small increase in any cadre’s understanding of M-L strengthens the qualitative base of our organization and ultimately the Party. That is why we “fight for education” and any activity that undermines our educational effort is a direct attack on the organization. Education must be seen in the whole– it is not only the increase of understanding by individuals but also the collective increase of understanding by all cadre. Therefore, cadre who do not fight to increase their understanding and that of others are not fulfilling their revolutionary responsibility.

We must strive to increase our understanding of the science so that we can stamp out any revisionist and individualistic tendencies which our past brings to us... We will be preparing ourselves to take leadership in the class for the purposes of revolutionary struggle leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat–no small task. Therefore, all social chauvinism, male supremacy, petty bourgeois individualism or authoritarianism must be combated. That is accomplished only with a deepened understanding of Marxism-Leninism. What is required of us is also outlined by Mao:

The criteria for such a leading group should be the four which Dimitrov enumerated in his discussion of cadres policy–absolute devotion to the cause, contact with the masses, ability independently to find one’s bearings and observance of discipline. (emphasis added) Selected Works Vol. 3 p. 119

The above discussion is the general discussion of the problems that we face. But there is a particular aspect of that struggle. We must struggle against petty bourgeois idealism in our work. We must not look at the enormity of the task and conclude that we individually will be forced, to accomplish all tasks at once. We must take the time to move very systematically and carefully to build on the solid base that we now have established; the whole must be in charge of the part at all times. Any other style of work will tear us apart because we, in fact, have a very short period of time before the formation of the Party. Our work therefore must be disciplined, steady, and unfaltering.

We must understand that when the Party is formed it will be an organization at a level never before existing in this country; never has this country seen an organization with workers at the theoretical and political level as we will see in the multi-national communist party of a new type that we are now building. The women cadre, the national minority cadre, the anglo-american cadre, all will bring a high level of theoretical understanding to their work.

As MCLL develops new struggle must emerge. It will be expressed by cadre who are willing to make the leap to e Party and those who won’t. It will be expressed by an unwillingness, even resistance to the increasing proletarianization of our work.

The nature of the proletarian class struggle teaches us that it is impossible for leaders to carry out their role in the class struggle without theoretical clarity. It is from this point of view that we issue this paper. We must make the growth of MCLL mean the growth of Marxism-Leninism. We must continue to demand that quality over quantity and we cannot be liberal in our demands on ourselves.

Why such an uncompromising stand? Or in general why the uncompromising position of Marxists? Simply because a qualitatively different quantitative addition, detracts from and disorients a political organization. Therefore, we must vigilantly examine our work and resolutely prepare for the building of a multi-national anti-revisionist communist party.


Our preparation must take place with a view of the whole process of party building. The question of the dialectical relationship between quality and quantity is a universal principle to be applied in all sciences. (Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism, Int’1 Publishers, pp. 8,9). Certainly, these principles must be applied to Party building, because the formation of the party will represent the most important qualitative change that we will ever have experienced. The Party will be a great historic event for the revolutionary proletariat and the toiling masses of the whole world, signaling a qualitatively new stage in the world struggle of the working class to emancipate itself from the brutal rule of the USNA ruling class. For the USNA working class, it will be the first time in history that it will be armed with the political weapon it needs to organize and lead the battle against the sharpening fascist offensive and by defeating that attack, pass over to the offensive, the seizure of state power and the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. All of this does not depend on the size of the party, but on the base and political line of the party.

For the MCLL, it will mark the end of the old style of work–of incessant internal class struggle to develop Bolshevik cadre with the conviction of proletarian ideology trained in the discipline of democratic-centralism. it will end our isolation as an all anglo-american organization; we will qualitatively be more capable of proletarianizing our work while deepening our understanding and commitment to the science of Marxism-Leninism.

But as with every such important change, severe growing pains must occur. The capitalist class will not allow preparation for or formation of the party to proceed smoothly. They will use every trick possible to prevent the Congress from being held or the Party being built. The bourgeois will attack even from inside to push revisionism, chauvinism, male supremacy and on and on and on. Their agents, the CPUSA, the UAW and others will attack us. Others will join the continuations committee simply to destroy it. And of course the Trots will probably be the first line of defense in the attack on us.

We therefore must increase our level of security. On the phone we must assume that we are talking to the cops; this does not present political discussion but general organizational discussion must be avoided. Generally, we do not glibly run out our membership or where we work or anything else unless it serves a specific political purpose. We do not tell people the exact size of the organization; we must be absolutely careful with the minutes–probably the central committee will be asking for destruction of the minutes within the next few weeks. Dues absolutely must be paid but not by check in the name of the organization (checks to cash or to __ [initials ommitted – EROL] are adequate).

With a war between the imperialists in sight, with a fascist offensive on our door step, with the spontaneous awakening of the working class, and with the breakup of the “left”, the time is ripe for the formation of the party, but that divides into two–the most fundamental mistake we could make is lose sight of the fact that the size of the party is not so important as compared to the line and base of the party.

Since quality must be the top priority we have certain clear priorities now:

1) Education of our cadre is absolutely the top requirement: fight relentlessly for education.
2) Deepening our understanding and struggling for the correct party line takes on rising importance as we get nearer to the Congress.
3) We must struggle with other groups to bring them into the continuations committee. Training and bringing the science to the advanced of the advanced within the proletariat and particularly the industrial proletariat remains an extremely important responsibility.

We would not be dialecticians if we thought for a moment that these priorities can ever be simply applied. We do not have “either-or” choices. For instance, the PWOC [Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee – EROL] represents an extremely important circle with which some considerable time must be spent. There is always good and bad, positives and negatives in what you are supposed to do and what you are not supposed to do. What we strive to do is to take the good out of what is correct and incorrect and leave the bad in both.

As we draw closer to the Party we will see more groups flock to its banner as the only stable coherent organizational plan to move forward. Some will honestly see the necessity to build a party; others will come for more nefarious reasons, including straight up agentry. We must make every effort to ferret out the honest elements, and isolate the dishonest.

With quality as the top priority, we will raise continuously the demands on ourselves and others to weed out the vacillators, fence sitters, and wagon jumpers, thereby retaining the honest elements. We must be careful, examine the whole and build the strongest most theoretically developed fighters that is possible at this time.