Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Central Committee, Motor City Labor League

Political Report: From Something, Through Something, To Something

Issued: June 2, 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.


Marxism-Leninism first and foremost is a “guide to action.” “...Socialism, since at has become a science, demands that it be pursued as a science, i.e., that it be studied.” (Lenin, What Is To Be Done? P. 32, Peking) But our study is not to become academic scientists but to become precise revolutionaries. We therefore must seek to grasp the essence of our work, deepen our understanding of the scientific laws and principles in order to unite with the reality we face and then to apply the scientific method to the immediate tasks we face.

The whole art of politics lies in finding and gripping as strong as we can the link that is least likely to be torn out of our hands, the one that is most important at the given moment, the one that guarantees the possessor of a link the possession of the whole chain. (Lenin, Ibid, pp 201-02)

The general analysis that we must have is an understanding of what we have come from, what we must go through, and what are we going to. This is the outline of this paper. First, however, a brief discussion of the immediate past. We have carried on a process of consolidation and study. The essence of the work of the CC has been a search for the key to unlock the immediate future – the link in the chain on which to hold for the remaining twelve weeks. The key is the struggle against factionalism and the deepened understanding of the call for secession for the Negro Nation. These are the immediate questions which will repeatedly face cadre for the neat twelve weeks and thereafter.

Every cadre must understand the enormous historical responsibility that we, as communists, must assume in this period. Marxist-Leninists within the Motor City Labor League and the Communist League are an integral part of that core which, in the Congress to build the Party of a New Type, will struggle and defend Marxism-Leninism against the attacks of all forms of opportunism. This Congress is one of the most important events in the history of class struggle; it is a milestone in the struggle for socialism and the creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USNA. These facts are sobering and exciting. We clearly are functioning at the present time as the motive force of history in the USNA. We assume that burden because of the clarity we have achieved through the years of struggle, study, and tempering we have experienced. It hardens us; it demands discipline. The iron discipline of the Motor City Labor League must be grounded in our responsibility to the new Party, to the proletariat of the USNA, to the oppressed peoples of the Negro nation, to every other peoples oppressed by imperialism, and to the future generations who must carry on the fight for international communism.

The general is our responsibility to build the Party of a new type. The particular is our responsibility to be prepared to lead the fight for Marxism-Leninism and for a party that will unify the working class. The defense of Marxism-Leninism is always the responsibility of communists throughout the world, and in particular in the USNA that defense revolves around the Negro National Colonial question. It is this question that will be distorted and misinterpreted by the opportunists; watered down and “dignified” by the revisionists. Any resolution of the Negro National question that is not grounded in the science of Marxism-Leninism will be a resolution that will be a resolution that will betray the Party, disunite the class and make us prey to the attack of the bourgeoisie.

I. From something...

The political line of the Motor City Labor League discusses the historical revisionism of the CPUSA. The specific history of factionalism, which constitutes the basis for its revisionism, is discussed in the Dialectics of the Development of the Communist League, which must be studied by all cadre. The history of the “new” left is one where “leaders” gather around themselves a coterie of people and establish an “organization.” Nine times out of ten the rank and file is more progressive, more honest than the leadership. This means that in terms of what must be accomplished at the Congress, we must have a full Congress where the leadership and the rank and file can all come and assess for themselves the content of what is being said. Factionalism is the destructive quicksand of all parties. It must be ruthlessly defeated.

The base for factionalism is the petty bourgeois elements that enter the party – the individualism and egotism of this class was not combated within the CPUSA. The failure to destroy these factions, the failure to build a party of a new type inevitably led to revisionism in respect to political line. The most disastrous aspect of this revisionism concerned the Negro National colonial question. The Third International struggled hard to get the contending factions to even recognise the Negro Nation within the USNA. The CPUSA and the Third International stated that the Negro people faced national oppression but did not say that the Negro Nation was specifically an oppressed colony. Instead,

...as the question of an oppressed nation, which is in a peculiar and extraordinarily distressing situation of national oppression not only in view of the prominent racial distinction (marked difference in the color of skin, etc.) but above all, because of considerable social antagonism. (emphasis added) from the resolution reprinted in the Negro National Colonial Question, the Communist League, p, 108)

This failure to analyse the political economy of the oppression of the Negro nation led more easily to the turn toward the straight-up revisionist position of a “nation within a nation” which the CPUSA eventually adopted.

The CPUSA never developed a Bolshevik Party. Instead the CPUSA was a coalition of factions, that jockeyed and maneuvered for power at the expense of the working class.

...it should be noted that both parties... (the Proletarian Party and the Communist Party) ignored the Negro question and in the main only covered over their syndicalism by the demand now for the dictatorship of the proletariat. That was the extent of the program of Marxism in the USNA. “Dialectics of the Development of the Communist League” p. 7

The strategy of the CPUSA, then, was to fight for the power of the party, not to lead the working class to power. The history of the CPUSA became the history of the formation of Left-Center Coalitions in which the CPUSA allowed and encouraged the Center to be the leadership. Time and time again the Center united with the Right to isolate and discredit any real revolutionary movement of communists. The CPUSA used Leninist principles of organization to “direct and divert” the spontaneous activity and anger of the USNA working class but lacked a programme and strategy grounded in the theory of Marxism-Leninism. Thus the history of the CPUSA is a history of ignoring the Leninist principle that “...the only choice is either the bourgeoisie or the socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for humanity has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never by a non-class or above-class ideology). What Is To Be Done? P. 48.

When the bourgeoisie attacked the party under McCarthyism the party allowed its middle-level leadership to be discredited, failed to protect that leadership and instead spent over $60 million for legal defense of the top level prestigious leadership. Thus, the “repression” of the McCarthy era was not really repressions but the selective attack by the bourgeoisie on the most grounded and honest elements in the party leadership. Communists were not slaughtered or imprisoned by the thousands (that is repression!) Instead, the bourgeoisie altered the party to their liking and then maintained it as a reformist, revisionist protection against honest Marxist-Leninists. But the fundamental betrayal of the CPUSA must not blind us to the fact that nearly three quarters of a million people in the USNA have belonged or worked directly with the CPUSA; the CPUSA is deeply grounded in the working class.

The anti-Leninist national chauvinist positions of the “New Left” cannot be separated from the revisionism of the old CPUSA. Many of the leadership of the New Left groups now fighting most opportunistically to sabotage and defeat the new Party are the children of the CPUSA. As the polarity between the “New Left” and the “Old Left” is destroyed by the formation of the anti-revisionist multi-national communist party, New Left elements outside the new Party (RU, OL, etc.) will naturally seek the new polarity – and split between the new Party and the CPUSA. But our struggle is to understand not only the necessity to defeat the revisionism and opportunisms of the CPUSA and of the “New Left” but to defeat these historical tendencies which we, and others, will bring to the Congress.

II. Through something...

What, then, are the manifestations of our history in the current struggle? What must we accomplish in the next twelve weeks? We have four major and immediate tasks: 1) We must struggle at the highest level for the defeat of opportunism and factionalism within the continuations committee and within the Congress; 2) we must struggle to understand and be prepared to defend a scientific revolutionary programme in the Congress; 3) we must fight back the attacks of all forms of revisionism that attempt to discredit and destroy the continuations committees and the Congress; and 4} we must continuously raise our own level of study, discipline and work in the class in preparation for the congress.

1) The history of factionalism in the Left of the USNA is a material force. Groups not grounded in Marxism-Leninism but instead united around petty bourgeois egotistical leadership will not come prepared to struggle as Marxist-Leninists within the Congress. Their leadership will make every attempt to prevent such principled struggles. This opportunist leadership will seek to insure its own “place in the sun” within the party and will viciously attack (either overtly or covertly) the principled leadership exerted by the Communist League, the Motor City Labor League, and other Marxist-Leninists. The struggle in the Congress, then, will assume two major and divergent directions:

a) Principled Marxist-Leninists will lead a struggle for adherence to Marxism-Leninism. Theoretical debate and polemics that will be scientific and resolvable within the context of the science will be demanded. Such leadership will demand that the party be first and foremost grounded in the factories and will understand that neither the correct political line nor the grounding of the party in the factories can occur without a correct and scientific analysis of the Negro nation and national minorities within the USNA working class.

b) Opportunists will lead a struggle for “power blocs” and will attempt to resolve disputes, not be polemics based on the science, but on the basis of “democratic votes” in which they feel insured that they can manipulate votes. This leadership will argue for a party that represents a collage of “Left” forces, grounded in petty bourgeois intellectuals and professionals and led by elitist “heavies”. These opportunists will fight against a resolution of the Negro National question that will expose their national chauvinism and petty bourgeois privilege.

Within the local continuations committee the Motor city Labor League presented a principled position based on the analysis of the history and political line of “A Study Group” as essentially and inherently opportunist. The local continuations committee unanimously agreed to exclude “A Study Group” from the committee. But the level of theoretical development, study of the science, and practical struggle against opportunism in Detroit is at a higher level than in many other areas where it is not as clear as to who and what groups represent the poison of opportunism and eventual factionalism within the congress and she Party. We cannot arbitrarily exclude those who hold an incorrect line out of ignorance or lack of development; we cannot exclude opportunist leadership who bring with them honest elements which may be won to the Party. We must draw in from our environment, in order to grow, understanding that we must then excrete that which is not useful.

Because we will not be able to eliminate all opportunists, and factionalists from the Congress, we must clearly understand the nature of the struggle that must be waged. Stalin points out the class basis of opportunism in the party:

The proletariat is not an isolated class. It is constantly replenished by the influx of peasants, petty bourgeois and intellectuals proletarianised by the development of capitalism. At the same time, the upper stratum of the proletariat, principally trade union leaders and members of parliament who are fed by the bourgeoisie out of the super-profits extracted from the colonies is undergoing a process of decay... In one way or another, all these petty bourgeois groups penetrate into the party and introduce into it the spirit of hesitancy and opportunism, the spirit of demoralization and uncertainty. It is they, principally, that constitute the source of factionalism and disintegration, the source of disorganization and disruption of the Party from within. (Foundations of Leninism, p, 116, Peking)

Only a struggle based on the science; of Marxism-Leninism, only a Party with discipline and rules based on the principles of Leninism, only a party that correctly analyses male supremacy and national chauvinism – can defeat the factionalism that will seek to undermine it.

2) The Congress will be a full Congress. Strict security procedures will have to be applied and cadre should be conscious of specific discussions about the Congress with non-cadre. Although it is understood that a full Congress raises security risks, it is also understood that most cadre are already exposed, that the current period is one in which overt repression of the Left in the USNA has been minimal; and that the political benefits in terms of cadre growth and the struggle against factionalism will be maximized by a full Congress. Each and every cadre will have the responsibility to heighten the level of struggle at the Congress, to apply the science of Marxism-Leninism to every issue, to defend the Marxist-Leninist analysis of national chauvinism and the call for secession and to combat opportunism and factionalism rigorously and constantly – among ourselves and among others.

The Congress will approve the programme for the Party. The Communist League has submitted a draft programme to the continuations committee for beginning debate. The Motor City Labor League unites around the essential elements of that programme. But opportunists will move to attack the programme, not on the basis of scientific analysis of potential weaknesses but from their own petty bourgeois individualistic interests. Marx wrote:

The demands of the petty bourgeois democracy are not put forward by all of its factions at the same time and only a very few members of them consider that these demands constitute definite aims in their entirety. The further separate individuals or factions among them go, the more of these demands will they make their own, and those few who see their own programme in what has been outline above might believe that thereby they have put forward the utmost that can be demanded from the revolution. But these demands can in no wise suffice for the party of the proletariat. While the democratic petty bourgeoisie wish to bring the revolution to a conclusion as quickly as possible, and with the achievement, at most, of the above demands, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until all more or less possessing classes have been force out of their position… (address to the Communist League, p. 367, Marx-Engels Reader, ed. by Tucker)

3) While the struggle for building a Party continues, the CPUSA has begun to engage in a tactic it has historically used in periods of mass movement toward the left. The CPUSA is beginning to recant its “Right” errors; beats its breast and claims that its revisionism is due to a small number of individuals at the top who are then expelled. Then, since the party has been cleansed, all principled Marxist-Leninists should unite around the one true blue party! This strategy will not fool those communists who understand scientifically the history of the CPUSA but this strategy will attract honest elements within the class who see the CPUSA deep in the class and wish to be part of a rooted revolutionary movement. Only a ruthless exposure of the superficial character of the CPUSA “left” line and principled theoretical struggle and practice will move these elements.

4) The three struggle discussed above are absolutely dependent upon our continuing our own process of study, strengthening our discipline, exposing revisionism and opportunism and deepening our root in the class.

Study. As we deepen our understanding of the nature of the contradiction of national chauvinism in the USNA, we grow to understand that the study of that issue unites our study of the principles of Marxism-Leninism with their concrete application to our own most profound contradiction internal to the USNA working class. The organization will be moving into a period of the study of the national question. Cadre must study this question in light of the responsibility which they have to carry this critical struggle into the Congress, into the Party, and into the class.

Discipline. In the remaining twelve weeks, there is an enormous amount of work to be done. Only steady, paced, unfaltering discipline will accomplish what the organization must do. Cadre cannot on one hand feel the excitement and importance of the Congress and on the other hand neglect the specific tasks assigned to them by the organization. Individual cadre are assigned the particular work which, together comprises the general work of building the party. Sloppiness, procrastination, erratic work patterns, and self-indulgence will dangerously undermine the organization in this period. There is no basis for cadre to have to receive an assignment more than once. The need for the organizational secretary to have to “ride peoples’ asses” as an indication that cadre do not understand the seriousness of the work which we must do, do not understand the political line of this period, do not unite with the concept of iron discipline. We do not have the forces nor the energy to exercise “external” discipline on cadre: we will accomplish our tasks only if cadre exercise the internal discipline necessary. Our weaknesses, our errors, weaken the struggle of the working class and oppressed peoples. We must learn to combine “Russian Sweep” (revolutionary vision) with “American efficiency” (practical, hard work). (See Foundations of Leninism, pp. 118-121)

Exposing Revisionism and Opportunism. Cadre must understand the political struggles now occurring in the continuations committee – locally and nationally. Cadre should read the continuations committee newsletters, study the information on the continuations committee, and raise questions in their study groups. Two events will be happening that will aid cadre in this process. On June 19 Negro Nation day will be celebrated – the date of the emancipation proclamation. We will celebrate that event on June 22. This event will raise the struggle around the Negro nation, the call for secession and the roots of national chauvinism in this city. The intense struggle which must be waged on June 22 with other left elements and advanced workers on the position which will be put forward is a critical struggle for class unity in Detroit. The forum on the party (July __ ) will provide cadre with an opportunity to assess and struggle around positions of the continuations committee and groups within the committee. Cadre must begin to develop the capacity to give our line to the class – to develop “A & P.” At the same time, the class can teach us much as we struggle around the line. We must be willing to listen to the class and learn how to express our line in the language and reality of the class.

Deepening our roots in the class.. We must continue to develop the work committees, grow in our understanding of fractional work and begin to prepare to integrate our place of work activity with our party work. Our movement toward the factories is a correct movement, for it is the industrial proletariat which will spearhead the party.

III. To something...

We will build a multi-national anti-revisionist communist party!!!! That party must be united – not around the “line of CL” or the “Line of ”MCLL,” but united around Marxism-Leninism. The party must be deeply embedded within the industrial proletariat. Just as Stalin advocated the slogan of “All to the Front” for the Soviet Union during World War II, so we must advocate the slogan of “All to the Factory” for the period of building the party. We must go to the vanguard of the workers and move the vanguard to unite the class. We must provide the advanced workers with the analysis around national chauvinism and male supremacy which will be the ideological weapons to unite the class. All cadre, inside and outside factories, must be united around the line “all to the factories”. Support work in schools, communities, churches, service institutions must be consciously integrated into building the base of the party in the industrial proletariat. Our agitation and propaganda at the plants – RUM leaflets all over the country!! – will signal the bourgeoisie that the class is engaged in the beginning stages of the struggle. Those leaflets will also signal the class, and all vacillate reformists, and chauvinists, that the issues are joined.

The party must begin immediately to construct the bridge to the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USNA – the United Front Against Fascism.

The proletariat has also a number of other organizations, without which it cannot wage a successful struggle against capital: trade unions, cooperatives, factory organizations, parliamentary grouped non-party women’s associations, the press, cultural and educational organizations, youth leagues… All these organizations, under certain conditions, are absolutely necessary for the working class, for without them it would be impossible to consolidate the class positions of the proletariat in the diverse spheres of struggle. (Foundations of Leninism, p. 109, Peking)

The party works within these organizations, brings the advanced working class leadership of these organizations into the party, unites and consolidates these organizations as it diverts the defensive activity of the class against fascism and turns it into offensive activity. The united front against fascism is not a coalition of the anti-monopoly masses – that is the line of populism (in this period typified by the Kennedy, Wallace, Jackson coalition). The reformist and revisionist direction of populism leads back to fascism, for anti-monopoly perspective do not unite the class nor do they offer alternatives. The defeat of populism (a movement led by petty bourgeois forces) requires a massive socialist propaganda campaign. At the point of insurrection, the gathered momentum of the resistance against fascism becomes unity of action bringing together communist and non-communist forces. That process requires a powerful center of action – a party that has learned the art of revolution!

The art of revolution requires that a base is created and won to the line of the party and the cause of communism. The art of revolution is the capacity to engage in revolutionary (as opposed to conspiratorial) activity. The art of revolution is organizing a spearhead within the class, organizing the troops of the class. The art of revolution is cresting the conditions for illegal activity where “going underground” means submergence in the class. The art of revolution is the slow, difficult process of “digging in”.

Twenty years don’t make a day; then comes a day that makes twenty years.

All to the Factory!

Build the Party of a New Type!

Free the Negro Nation!

Oppressed peoples and workers of the world, unite!!!