Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

October League (M-L)

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

Selected Articles from The Call

A Turn Towards Social-Fascism

The Oct. 23 issue of the Guardian, an independent radical paper, published in New York, reported the following incident: ”A delegation of some 50 people – led by members of the Revolutionary Union (RU) and including members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade and other RU supporters – made an unannounced ’visit’ to the Guardian office on Friday, Oct. 11.”

The purpose of the “visit” according to the RUers was to “hold a discussion with the Guardian staff” concerning its editorial policies. When the Guardian staff refused to hold discussions under such circumstances, the “visitors” then set up a “picketline” in front of the office where they began a series of asinine chants attacking the Guardian as “deceivers of the people.” When several staff members tried to leave the building, they were, in the Guardian’s words, “harassed and briefly prevented from walking down the street.” One staff member in particular had to fight her way out of the clutches of the RU-led gang.

In a subsequent statement, the Guardian said: “These arrogant, strong-armed tactics have been unfortunate characteristics of the RU for some time, not only in relations to the Guardian, but other left and people’s organizations as well. Such tactics also provide fertile ground for police provocateurs. They are clearly intended to intimidate us, but the RU will find, as have others in the past, that the Guardian will go on advancing its political line and telling the truth as it sees fit, and will not be intimidated by this type of ’fraternal’ harassment. To the contrary, the RU will find that its present isolation from the rest of the new communist movement will only intensify.”

In the Aug. 1974 issue of the I.W.K. Journal, the political organ of I Wor Kuen (IWK), an organization of Asian-American communists, the following incident is reported during a meeting of the National Liaison Committee (NLC) which was set up between RU and various groups, ”...during one NLC meeting our representative was physically held in a city until our representative would state personal agreement with the line on the Black national question as stated in Red Papers 5.” In describing its relationship with the RU, the IWK Journal concludes, “The result was that instead of a relationship of equality, respect and principled struggle, the NLC meeting descended into bullying, slander and gangsterism.” (p.14)

We in the October League are not taken by surprise at the trend towards social-fascism and gangsterism developing within the leadership of the RU. For one thing, we ourselves have been the target of these gangster tactics on more than one occasion. For another, we view this behavior as a manifestation of RU’s growing isolation as a result of their opportunist line. It is a line characterized by sectarianism, and a disdain for the masses, combined with the worst features of white chauvinism. RU’s actions against groups with whom it has political differences, is also a sign of their petty-bourgeois infantilism and their opportunistic, get-rich-quick approach to organization-building. On many occasions this has led to RU trying to dominate and bully even its closest allies.

Some of our direct experiences with RU’s gangster tactics include: 1) a September public meeting at which RU leader Bob Avakian was going to speak, where an RU-led gang of 10 goons attacked three people selling THE CALL on the street. The sneak attack followed efforts by the RU to stop THE CALL from being distributed to the people. THE CALL carried an article criticizing the RU’s white chauvinist line on the national question as well as their dual-unionist approach to the labor movement.

2) In October, a gang of RU-led thugs tried in vain to stop a group of people from distributing copies of an article from the newspaper Struggle, called “White Reactionaries in Revolutionary Trimmings” which was an expose of groups like the RU who sided with the racist anti-busing movement in Boston.

There have been several other occasions where RU members and leaders have threatened violence against OL members and others who took a principled stand against RU’s rotten line. Because of these tactics they are becoming more and more associated with groups like the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) who in the past were notorious for their attacks on the progressive and revolutionary movement and whose activities RU in many ways justified. A case in point took place following an attack by NCLC goons on members of the revisionist CPUSA. The RU claimed that people shouldn’t oppose the assaults by NCLC on the revisionists and should instead “let the tigers fight.” They were soundly criticized by broad sections of the left from people who correctly saw the danger neo-fascist gangs like NCLC posed for the whole working class movement. RU also built undue sympathy for the revisionists who were able to rally some support from the middle forces around themselves.

The reason for RU’s stand towards NCLC is becoming clear. RU shares this same approach to the ideological struggle. In October, members of the RU reportedly assaulted a member of the revisionist party who was leafleting at a steel plant in Cleveland. Naturally the revisionists didn’t waste a moment in reporting the attack in the Daily World. The headline screamed, “Maoist Sect Attacks DW Sellers at Cleveland Plant.” The revisionists could not have been happier since they found another opportunity to spew their slanderous venom at the entire “Maoist movement.”

While launching these gangster attacks and playing right into the hands of the enemies of the struggle, inside as well as outside the movement, the RU hasn’t had the same kind of determination when it comes to exposing the line of the revisionists before the masses in the pages of their newspapers in order to show the people what is wrong with the CPUSA. Worse yet, they haven’t had the same kind of fighting spirit when it comes to opposing the Klan and the racists in Boston who are using violence and open terror against the Black community.

We say this as a warning to those die-hards in the RU leadership who are hoping to continue these desperate attacks against the people and who think they can be successful. The OL and scores of other revolutionary and progressive people will not tolerate gangsterism from you or from the bourgeoisie. We will support the efforts of all progressive groups to defend themselves from these and any other attacks. To those rank-and-file members of the RU who are being misled or lied to about the facts behind these incidents, we ask you to heighten your vigilance and struggle for a revolutionary line on the correct handling of contradictions among the people and with the enemy.

If the Guardian, IWK, October League and other communist and anti-imperialist forces are your enemy, who are your friends?

(First published in THE CALL, December, 1974)