Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

October League (M-L)

Anti-Marxist Line: Workers Viewpoint Attacks Busing

First Published: The Call, Vol. 4, No. 1, October 1975.
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.

Hicks and Kerrigan are not our enemy in the busing issue.–Workers Viewpoint, May 1975.

Standing firmly in the pathway of the movement for democratic rights of Black and other minority peoples, along with the racists of ROAR in Boston, is the organization called Workers Viewpoint (WV).

In the recent struggles in that city aimed at ending segregation and all other forms of national oppression, Workers Viewpoint, which claims to be a communist group, has come out with a line that is in essence the same as that of the segregationists. They have refused to join with the masses of the people in going against the racist tide. Instead, they have lent aid and comfort to the ROAR fascists with their anti-busing propaganda. Furthermore, while posing as Marxists, the Workers Viewpoint group has refused to come out in support of the Afro-American people’s right of self-determination and have abandoned the Marxist-Leninist view of the national question.

To fully grasp the present busing question, a scientific appraisal must be made of the general struggle for Afro-American rights. The present fight against segregation is an outgrowth of the historic freedom struggle that Black people have been waging for hundreds of years in this country. That struggle, against centuries of slavery and national oppression, has in the most recent period, been focused on the task of gaining political, social, and economic equality or what has been termed the movement for “civil rights.”

Despite the preachings of the reformist leaders who have stepped from the pulpit and the academic world to try to mislead this movement, it has increasingly been seen as a struggle against the entire system of capitalism itself, a struggle that is antagonistic to the very system that has bred this terrible legacy of oppression.


Workers Viewpoint, in the May 1975 issue of their journal, consciously distorts the history of the Afro-American people’s struggle in order to justify their racist anti-busing stand. In this journal, WV stands with well-known racists on the “left,” the Revolutionary Union (RU) and other assorted opportunists, in calling for the smashing of the pro-integration busing movement and calls for a separate-but-equal society. Says WV, “It is true that RU correctly sees the busing plan as a ruling class scheme to divide and rule.” (WV, May 1975, p. 46) According to these fools, there never was a struggle of Black people against segregation. Rather, the ruling class “conspired” to invent such a movement in order to “stir up trouble.”

If this sounds a little like George Wallace and company demagogically stirring up populist sentiment in order to maintain white supremacy, it is no accident. The lines between these opportunists and the die-hard segregationists merge when the democratic rights of minority people are concerned.

According to WV, the struggle in Boston is not a struggle for democratic rights. “Is this forced busing plan manipulated through legalistic procedures, really a rights issue for the nationally oppressed and in the interests of the multinational working class?” asks WV. “No, we don’t think.so.” (p. 47) Workers Viewpoint goes so far as to claim that Black people are not even interested in ending segregation. In one stroke of the pen they erase the glorious struggle that has taken place and the hundreds of martyrs that have laid down their lives in the cause of equality.

They blame the anti-segregationist movement itself for “whipping up race-hatred” rather than seeing that this race-hatred was born with the enslavement of the Afro-American people and out of the capitalist policies of white supremacy and hundreds of years of segregation.

Their view goes contrary to Marxism and the working class approach to the national question, which this group, through their pompous name, claims to represent.

Rather than viewing the national problem as a class question and seeing the unity of the working class in the struggle against capitalism as key, WV views the struggle as one of separate “communities” concerned only with maintaining their separate cultural identities and separate but “equal” schools. To them the turmoil in Boston and Louisville and other cities is a terrible thing and they long for the “good old days” when Black and white people supposedly got along in harmony.


Finally WV refuses to take the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary stand of upholding the right of nations to self-determination. Instead they put forth a reactionary view of society as a myriad of checker-board squares of different peoples, living separately in little cultural enclaves.

Self-determination means that an oppressed nation has the right to separate from the oppressor nation and establish its own independent state. This slogan of self-determination is not raised with the purpose of separating Black and white people, but on the contrary, in order to unite them on the basis of equality. Oppressed and oppressor nations can only be united within one state apparatus on a voluntary basis free from violent coercion.

Along with this principal slogan must come a consistent fight against all forms of national oppression and for democratic rights of the Afro-American and other minority peoples throughout the U.S. This includes the right to attend integrated schools because “separate-but-equal” has always meant less-than-equal for minority children.

By raising the slogans of self-determination and full democratic rights, and carrying out the struggle against all national oppression in practice, we lay the basis for a unified struggle against capitalism and for a socialist society based on equality of nations.

Workers Viewpoint opposes this type of working class approach to the national question and instead tails behind the most backward sentiments of the people which have been played on by racist segregationists such as Hicks and Kerrigan in Boston. “Black and white parents,” claims WV, “were not asking for integration as a solution to the problems of their schools, let alone forced busing. Both communities were demanding quality education in general and the right to learn their own language and culture for the minority communities.” (WV, p. 51)

But we would ask these defenders of “quality education” how can the learning of young students be of a high quality when they are segregated into Black, white, Latino and Asian schools?

While it is certainly necessary for us to demand bilingual education and to do everything possible under the present system to safeguard the national culture and identity of the oppressed nationalities, it has also been shown that this defense of democratic rights is not in contradiction to the struggle for school integration.

J.V. Stalin, one of the foremost theoreticians on the national question, long ago exposed this view of national separation, which was put forward by some pseudo-Marxists. Stalin called their attempt “to represent socialist society as a ’checkered picture of national union of and territorial corporations’” a “timid attempt to substitute for Marx’s conception of socialism a revised version of opportunism.” (Stalin, Marxism and the National Question)

Showing that segregation grew out of the survivals of slavery in the South, Lenin described the plight of Black people in America as: ”Segregated, hidebound, a stifling atmosphere, a sort of prison for the ’emancipated’ Negroes ...” (Lenin, SW, Vol. 12, p. 198) He added that: ”The proletariat cannot support any consecration of nationalism; on the contrary, it supports everything that helps to obliterate national distinctions and remove national barriers; it supports everything that makes the ties between nationalities closer and closer, or tends to merge nations.” (Ibid.)

Certainly the fight against segregated schools is a struggle against these national barriers despite the reaction by the most backward section of workers against it. These backward workers and middle-class elements have been used by Boston’s bankers and real estate owners as a battering ram against integration in order to reap tremendous profits for themselves. This is the role that their front men like Hicks and Kerrigan play in Boston as well as the fascist groups like the KKK who are fully basked by the rich, bankers and the police.

But WV. while directing their main blow at the NAACP and the “liberals” tell us not to worry about the fascist elements. “Hicks and Kerrigan,” they say, “are not our enemy in the busing issue.” (WV, p. 56) If Hicks and Kerrigan are not our enemy, then what are they?

WV admits that Hicks and Kerrigan are “the social props of the bourgeoisie and the misleaders of the people.” (p. 56) They admit that Hicks is a “fascist representative” (p. 55), yet they then try to redirect the hatred of the working class away from these racists and say that the real enemy of the people are those who stand for integration.

It was Lenin, speaking about the problems of education who said, “It would certainly be harmful to advocate division of schools according to nationality, to advocate, for example, special schools for Jewish children in St. Petersburg ...” (Lenin, Critical Remarks on the National Question) Lenin pointed out that education could not be viewed separately from the rest of the economic and political conditions in society. “To separate the sphere of education from this,” Lenin wrote, “is firstly, absurdly Utopian, because schools (like ’national culture’ in general) cannot be separated from economics and politics; secondly, it is the economic and political life of a capitalist country that necessitates at every step the smashing of the absurd and outmoded national barriers and prejudices, whereas separation of the school system and the like, would only perpetuate, intensify and strengthen ’pure’ clericalism and ’pure’ bourgeois chauvinism.” (Lenin, CW, Vol. 20, p. 36)

It is precisely this bourgeois chauvinism which WV and their counterparts in the RU are strengthening by their opposition to the integration movement and by their claim that the fascist leaders in ROAR are “not the enemies” of the working class.

Within the anti-segregation movement of course there is also a struggle to be waged against the liberal misleaders of the Democratic Party and the NAACP who preach that integration, “racial peace” and harmony are compatible with capitalism on the basis of meager reforms. These reformists also try to separate the schools question from the rest of society. There can be no integration of the schools in the real sense unless there is full equality in jobs, housing and all social and economic questions. This inequality is a bulwark of the capitalist profit system and goes hand-in-hand with capitalism.

But a prerequisite for waging this battle is that the revolutionary forces line up on the correct side of the present struggle against the segregationist anti-busing forces and not abandon the fight for Afro-American rights and self-determination to the leadership of these liberal reformers.

Groups like Workers Viewpoint and the Revolutionary Union have taken the wrong class stand from the very start of the struggle.