Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninists Unite!

Party of a New Type

One of the greatest problems faced by Lenin was the creation of a proletarian party which the bourgeoisie could not smash. The Bolshevik Party was a party of a new type and was the first party to successfully lead the proletariat to take state power from the bourgeoisie. Since that time the success of the proletariat has primarily depended upon the ability of the advanced elements to form such a party. Today the over-riding task of the revolutionary proletariat in the USNA is the formation of such a party.

Before Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, the proletariat was led by various reformist parties whose machinery was solely dedicated to parliamentary struggle. Today, however, is the dawn of a new period, a period in which the old parties of social reform cannot possibly lead the proletariat. Today, the party must educate the workers in the spirit of revolutionary struggle for power, of preparing and moving up the reserves, of establishing an alliance with the proletarians of neighboring countries, of establishing firm ties with the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries, etc. etc. (“The Party”, Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin)

What are the characteristics of such a party? 1) The party is the vanguard of the working class. This means that it must encompass the best elements of the working class, arm them with revolutionary theory and knowledge of the laws of movement and revolution. 2) The party must be an organized detachment of the working class. This means that the party must direct the struggle of the proletariat and must be regarded as the sum of its (the party’s) organizations requiring each member to belong to one of the organizations of the party, 3) The party is the highest form of class organization of the proletariat. While the overwhelming majority of the organizations of the working class are not party organizations, what is to determine that they do not work at cross purposes with each other? There is one central organization which aids and directs the entire struggle of the working class and its organizations, this general staff is the party. 4) The party is the instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The party is not only the highest form of class association of the proletariat, it is also the instrument of the proletariat for achieving and consolidating the proletarian dictatorship. 5) The party is the embodiment of unity of will, incompatible with the existence of factions. Unity of will, which is essential to the strength of the party, is impossible without iron discipline, yet “iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes conscious and voluntary submission, for only conscious discipline can be truly iron discipline.” (“The Party,” Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin). 6) The party is strengthened by purging itself of opportunist elements. During the development of the party, petty bourgeois groups enter it and introduce a spirit of hesitancy and opportunism, “To fight imperialism with such ’allies’ in one’s rear means to expose oneself to the danger of being caught between two fires, from the front and from the rear. Therefore, ruthless struggle against such elements, their expulsion from the party, is a prerequisite for the successful struggle against imperialism,” (“The Party”, Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin)

How is the Leninist Party of a new type constructed? The political principle of the party a new type is democratic centralism. Democracy is the guarantee that every comrade is able to make the maximum contribution to the organization unhampered by a lack of faith in leaders or fellow members. Democracy and collectivity are given full play on all questions of application of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of the class struggle. Centralism rests on and guides democracy. Centralism is not authority that rests in the hands of this or that leader. Centralism is the demand that the political and organizational line of the party is binding on all.

The conference represented a concrete move toward and endorsement of these organizational characteristics of the party. Further the conference discussed the following specific questions on party building: education, the press, and the battle against opportunism.

In this crucial period of party building, education is our main task. For decades the domination of opportunism in the leadership of the working class movement has prevented the class from learning Marxism-Leninism. The reason why the class cannot successfully wage struggle is because it has no philosophy and no organization. Once the working class has the science and organization of Marxism-Leninism it will be able to find solutions to many of the contradictions and problems in its struggle. As Karl Marx states, “Theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.” (“Critique of Hegelian Philosophy”) Historically, an ever-riding characteristic of the CPUSA on the question of education was its refusal to educate the entire membership in the Party. Instead it created many Jimmy Higgins, that is, thousands of arms and legs and no head. The CPUSA’s revisionist stand on education is a principle contribution to the low level of political understanding of the working class. It is incumbent on us to insure that all comrades, not only a few exclusive members, get a solid Marxist-Leninist education and that these comrades educate the class as thoroughly as possible.

Further, the conference discussed the real need for a revolutionary press. In the formation of a party, the press is indispensable. As Lenin stated in Where to Begin:

In our opinion, the starting point of all our activities, the first practical step towards creating the organization we desire, the thread that will guide us in unswervingly developing, deepening and expanding that organization is the establishment of an all-Russian political newspaper, A paper is what we need above all, without it we cannot systematically carry on that extensive and theoretically sound propaganda and agitation which is the principle and constant duty of the Social Democrats in general and the essential task of the present moment in particular, when interest in polities and questions of socialism has been aroused among the widest sections of population. (Lenin and Stalin on the Party, Communist League Publication, p. 23)

The press of the party must deal with both national and international questions, First, the press must be used as a collective organizer for the all-sided, comprehensive political exposure of the capitalist system in all its various forms. The paper should be the spearhead in raising the class consciousness of the proletariat. This is precisely the role of the newspaper for the class as a whole. Secondly, the press must speak to the international situation in such a manner as to aid the comrades in determining the practical work of organizing the proletariat, Lenin further pointed out in Where to Begin:

But the role of a paper is not confined solely to the spreading of ideas, to political education and to attracting political allies. A paper is not merely a collective propagandist and collective agitator; it is also a collective organizer. In this respect, it can be compared to the scaffolding erected around a building in construction; it marks the contours of the structure and facilitates communication between the builders, permitting them to distribute the work and to view the common results achieved by their organised labour. With the aid of, and around a paper, there will automatically develop an organization that will engage, not only in local activities, but also in regular, general work; it will teach its members carefully to watch political events, to estimate their importance and their influence on the various sections of the population, and to devise suitable methods of influencing these events through the revolutionary party. The mere technical problem of procuring a regular distribution will make it necessary to create a network of agents of a united party, who will be in close contact with each other, will be fulfilling the detailed functions of the national work, and who will test their strength in the organization of various kinds of revolutionary activities. This network of agents will form the skeleton of the organisation we needů (Lenin and Stalin on the Party, Communist League Publication, p, 25)

Finally the conference discussed the role and nature of revisionism and the struggle against it in party building.

Revisionism is a system of liberal bourgeois views injected into the working class by the bourgeoisie under the guise of Marxism. Its main thrust is to cloak class collaboration with Marxist phrases. Modem revisionism is concentrated against Leninism and particularly against the party off a new type and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The revisionists have even sunk so low as to brand Trotskyism as a legitimate trend in the working class. Lenin and Stalin made it clear that there can be no party of a new type without the ruthless struggle against opportunism. For us today, this means the constant exposure and struggle against the revisionists within the working class. In the trade unions, mass organizations, etc, the communists must oppose the collaborationist policies of the revisionists.

In summary, the conference felt that this meeting was the highest level of theoretical and political discussion amongst the proletariat for over thirty years. The conference itself marked clearly a firm base in the most exploited and oppressed sections of the Anglo-American proletariat and a strong representation from the oppressed nations and regions within the multi-national state.

The conference rejected the slander from the opportunists and revisionists that this meeting was sectarian. To them sectarian means isolation from the movement. However, no matter how much they try to change objective reality from the basis of their subjective opinions, they cannot change the facts that sectarian means isolation from the working class. Clearly this conference was not isolated from the working class; it was composed of trade unionists, unorganized workers, members of factory study circles, circles in the proletarian communities, representatives of young workers organizations, etc. This conference attests to the fact that the formation of a multinational communist party is inevitable. In summary, clarity on the Marxist-Leninist line in the three areas of education, the press and the struggle against revisionism is indispensable to the building of a communist party of a new type. Only through education of the working class to the science of Marxism-Leninism and the usage of a national newspaper for political exposure can we combat the revisionists.