Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

October League (M-L)

Revolutionary Union: Opportunism in a “Super-Revolutionary” Disguise

Selected Articles from The Call


A new, young communist movement is growing up in the contemporary world—a movement which will without a doubt, lead the world’s exploited and oppressed millions to their world-wide victory in the struggle for socialism and national liberation.

The birth of such a movement was made necessary when more than 100 formerly Marxist-Leninist parties throughout the world went over to revisionism following World War II. Given inspiration and impetus by the heroic stand of the Chinese and Albanian Parties, who stood firm and refused to follow the Soviet revisionists into the swamp of “peaceful transition to socialism” and» betrayal, dozens of new communist parties, organizations and circles emerged during the early 1960’s. Throughout Europe, Latin America and here in the U.S. came the first upshoots, breaking with modern revisionism and declaring themselves proudly as the standard-bearers of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and in opposition to the revisionism of Khrushchev, Tito and the Gus Hall clique.

This break was not brought about by “splittism” as the revisionists were charging at the time. It emerged as a result of the irreconcilable contradictions between modern revisionism and its representatives within the working-class movement on the one hand; and the forces of Marxism-Leninism and revolution, on the other. This process mirrored the history of the early 1900’s when Lenin and the Bolsheviks unhesitatingly broke from the opportunists of the Second International and their line of social-pacifism and great-nation chauvinism.

“One divides into two” as Mao Tsetung wrote, and everything develops as the result of the struggle between opposites. This law of dialectics applies to the young communist movement in its struggle for clarity, often time’s groping in its attempt to rediscover the basic tenets of scientific socialism after years of muddled confusion spread by the revisionists. The present period in the development of the U.S. communist movement is characterized by 1) the struggle against modern revisionism in the form of the CPUSA and 2) the fight against petty-bourgeois radicalism and ultra-“leftism” which has from the beginning been a growing threat within the anti-revisionist forces.

The organized break with the modern revisionists of the CPUSA in this country can be traced back to the late 1950’s and these forces that did break can be put into two distinct groups. One was the genuine Marxist—Leninists of which the October League is one and whose numbers are swelling daily. The second trend, a counter-current, is marked by ultra-“leftism” and sectarianism and has little in common with Leninism.

The first example of this counter-current within the anti-revisionist movement broke from the CPUSA in the late 50’s and was called the Provisional Organizing Committee (POC). This group never succeeded in building a new party and finally ended in splits and destruction. It was never able to consolidate its break with the revisionist party and soon degenerated into a little isolated clique of Trotskyists. Of course this group was heavily infiltrated with police agents, some of whom held leading positions. But the real reason for its failure was its rejection of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as its guiding line; its abandonment of a revolutionary and internationalist line on the United Front Against Imperialism and the National Question (i.e. the right of Afro-American Self-Determination), and its line of building a party in isolation from the struggles of the masses.

Through its sectarianism and isolation, it was soon susceptible to the influence of certain counter-revolutionaries who pushed an anti-Stalin and anti-China (read anti-Marxist) line and the POC rapidly collapsed, although some of its remnants are still influential today.

Another attempt at constructing a new party on an anti-Marxist basis ended in the same fashion. Progressive Labor Party (PLP) was formed in the early 1960’s as a split-off from the CPUSA, but it too degenerated into the swamp of revisionism. The reason we mention these two examples is so that we can learn from their errors. PLP, like POC, was characterized by a revisionist line dressed up in the cloak of “super-revolutionism.” They saw themselves as “more heroic than the Vietnamese,” “more brilliant than Chairman Mao,” and “more left than Lenin.”

Their methodology was marked by idealism, not materialist dialectics. In practice they attacked the united front against imperialism and pushed the line that the working class must “go it alone.” For them the unions were “too reactionary” to work in and they looked upon the progressive movements of the masses for peace and democratic rights with suspicion and cynicism.

The most recent attempt to form a new party on the basis of petty-bourgeois “leftism” by the Communist League, led to the founding of the Communist Labor Party (CLP) which is in many ways an off-shoot of the old POC. In their documents they have already launched unprincipled attacks against the Communist Party of China and the struggle of the Third World countries for independence and liberation while glorifying the Soviet revisionists as “truly socialist.” This is a further demonstration of how these “super-leftists” end up in the arms of the right revisionists.

Today, the Revolutionary Union (RU) is following in the footsteps of these petty-bourgeois “leftists.” The articles in this pamphlet are taken from THE CALL, the newspaper of the October League. Together, they form a general critique of this disease which Lenin called “left-wing communism” and which is actually rightism in essence, in that it plays into the hands of, and compliments revisionism.

Included in the pamphlet are three articles taken from a series of CALL articles which were written in response to a lengthy attack on the OL which appeared in the August issue of Revolution, the newspaper of the RU. This three-part series deals with the main questions raised in the Revolution article: 1) RU’s syndicalism and dual unionism towards the trade unions; 2) the national question and RU’s white chauvinist line which led to their stand in opposition to the desegregation efforts in Boston, and 3) their attacks on the United Front Against Imperialism and our views of the present favorable world situation. Of special importance here is the leading role of the third world countries in this united front.

Supplemental articles are also included to show the stand of these ultra-“leftists” in opposition to the women’s struggle for equality. An article is included which sums up some of our comrades’ experiences working with the RU in a factory strike at Dasco Co., an Oakland, California paper factory.

If a new party is to be built in the coming period, (and we feel confident it will) then both the revisionism of the CPUSA and the petty-bourgeois radicalism of the RU will have to be fought. Within the ranks of the young communist movement, ultra-“leftism” has become the most immediate danger and finds fertile soil among the many former students and intellectuals who make up the ranks of the many new organizations. The entrance into the movement of large numbers from the ranks of the proletariat, is sharpening the struggle against this form of opportunism. The ultra-“leftists” are growing more and more isolated daily.

In short, opportunism of all sorts is being confronted head-on by the genuine Marxist-Leninists who are strengthening their unity daily. The conditions for the building of a truly revolutionary communist party have never been better.

Central Committee,
October League, Marxist-Leninist
December, 1974