Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization

Party Building, the Central Task of Communists in Uncompromising Struggle Against Opportunism

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First Published: In In the U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism: The Struggle for Proletarian Revolution Moves Ahead. The Political Positions of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, November 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This section of our pamphlet will try to express the views of the PRRWO on what today is the most important of struggles taking place within the Communist movement in the U.S.A. The Central Task of Communists, Party Building. Today everyone is “agreed” that Party Building is the central task. But when we get down, roll up our sleeves and start digging into how concretely we’re going to bring the party into being, this is where, along with many other questions, the Genuine and the Sham depart and on questions of principle, we see clearly we’re not all “agreed”.

In the interest of uniting with all that is honest and revolutionary, we present the following analysis of how we see the development of the question of Party Building for the U.S.A., historically and what we believe should be the road ahead.

Included in this section, we will discuss in detail the lines of the major national communist organizations on this question – RU, OL, the Guardian, PSP, and the CL. As well as show throughout our pamphlet why we’re in unity with our close comrades of the BWC and all other comrades to build the Party and make revolution.

At the close of this section we will present an analysis of the development of our organization – our strengths and shortcomings, to be examined closely by all our comrades, for unity and Bolshevik criticism.


By the end of the 1950’s, it had become clear that the “CP” USA, retreating to the traditions of the Second International betrayed the U.S. proletariat and oppressed masses here and throughout the world, becoming a Party of peace and not of war.

Totally unfit to carry the worthy name of Communist Party, it began to fight for social reforms and not social revolution. A revisionist leadership had usurped the party, collaboration with the ruling class, putting forward the treacherous policy of peaceful transformation. In every despicable form you can think of the productive forces theory had raised its ugly head.

Many honest cadres fought, fought hard, to keep the CPUSA from degenerating, after almost 30 years of trying to lead the working class and oppressed masses against the ruling class. It stands out, most especially in the history of the party in the role it played in organizing the masses during the depression years in the 1930’s.

We cannot go into all the reasons that the Party went revisionist, here, that is a task that our new party will undertake. One thing is certain, the betrayal of the “CP”USA caused tremendous setbacks for the struggle of the international proletariat against the bourgeoisie, for without the party we can’t even speak of overthrowing imperialism, the system which exploits and oppressed the majority of the world’s people.

Hence, for approximately the past 24 years, the U.S. proletariat has been confronted with the task of organizing its Party along a revolutionary political line. An independent workers party, educating the workers and oppressed masses in the spirit of revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie for the seizure of state power – to establish on a firm foundation the dictatorship of the proletariat. This party must be the party of Leninism, a party of a new type.

Attempts to reconstitute the Party have taken place since the latter 1950’s.

Some committed Communists, along with some hidden political swindlers made such an attempt through the formation of a P.O.C. Unfortunately this attempt failed as the P.O.C. degenerated into a sectarian sect, not to complete the task it had set out to do.

In the early 60’s another attempt was the formation of the Progressive Labor Party, which constituted itself as the Workers Party.

The PLP, soon after its constitution also degenerated into the marsh of opportunism, revising Marxism-Leninism under the cover of a left dogmatic mask; the ugly face of Trotskyism which was to plaque the U.S., another betrayal to the mighty cause of the working class.

These enemies, which did take under its wings honest revolutionaries attacked and denounced the world wide struggle against imperialism being waged by the heroic peoples in the national liberation struggles, the weak links of imperialism. Classically like all Trotskyites, the PLP claimed that the world revolution was a one step sweep, and therefore, the national struggles for liberation were reactionary – not proletarian, that all nationalism was reactionary.

Under this counter-revolutionary policy, the PLP denounced the heroic struggles of the people of Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, Cambodia and attacked the leading socialist countries in the world, the People’s Republic of China and Albania.

In the U.S., they attacked the revolutionary struggles of Black people and all other oppressed national minorities. They demogogued about the working class when in actuality by the end of the 1960’s, it was clear that PLP was a renegade organization serving in all their words and deeds, the interest of the bourgeoisie. (See “Road to Revolution III”, PLP, published 1969).

Today the PLP, the “CP”USA and all other Trot and revisionist organizations stand as a direct obstacle in the path of the proletariat and its goal, and as agents of the bourgeoisie, they must be smashed and swept aside forever.


It would be idealism, however, clear and simple, to fool oneself into believing that due to the fact that PLP, “CP”USA and other organizations have been proven bankrupt; the lines, trends, and tendencies which they represent are not to be found within the ranks of the proletariat and the revolutionary movement in general, just as it is idealist and totally metaphysical to think, as some try to sell us today (e.g., CL) that no Marxist-Leninist existed in this whole period.

The fact is that in the struggle against opportunism and directly from the ranks of the proletariat many communists have developed.

However, the fact also remains that the reason we don’t have a Party today, the fact that the class is divided and unorganized (the political leadership of the masses is directly related to the opportunist theories that have deviated and set back the revolutionary motion in our country). Lenin put it this way:

The unity of the proletariat in the epoch of social revolution can be achieved only (our emphasis) by the extreme revolutionary party of Marxism and only by a relentless struggle against all other parties.[1]

No blame can be placed on the masses of people. Some political swindlers insist that all these years they have been waiting for the objective conditions – they mean, for the party to come out of the mass movement.

The fact is that the masses have continued to wage struggle. It is a universal law that where there is oppression, there is resistance.

Conditions for the masses of people have worsened. U.S. imperialism has been on the steady decline. Capitalism has gone to its highest development; its doom is inevitable. That is why the great Lenin said, “Imperialism is the eve of social revolution.”

Our Chinese comrades have analyzed correctly that revolution is the main trend in the world today. Throughout the world, the U.S. imperialists and the U.S.S.R. social imperialists are suffering defeat. The U.S. ruling class has steadily stepped up its exploitation and oppression of the U.S. proletariat and oppressed masses.

The people have fought back, in the form of strikes, union-led as well as wildcat strikes, as the union bureaucrats showed their treacherous true colors. Many spontaneous struggles have developed against the attacks on the living standards of the class, struggles for better housing, schools, against unemployment, etc.

From the struggles of the oppressed nationalities, Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, Asian and others, we have learned and gained valuable experience.

The struggle of women, youth, the anti-war movement, especially among the petty-bourgeoisie, have aided and given support to the people of the world against a common oppressor. The disintegration of the regime, naturally the bourgeois parties riddled with corruption, is a reflection of a decaying, dying class – e.g., the Kennedy assassinations, Watergate.


All these things confirm the Marxist-Leninist teachings, and, as Stalin elaborates on the question of strategy and tactics, there are two aspects of the working class movement, the objective and subjective sides:

The objective side of the movement, or the spontaneous element, is the group of processes that take place independently of the consciousness and regulating will of the proletariat.[2]

Stalin continues to say:

Strategy has nothing to do with those processes, for it can neither stop nor alter them; it can only take them into account and proceed from them.[3]

Out of the many struggles of the masses, many people gravitated first as anti-imperialists, further developing into consciously taking the processes of struggle into account, understanding these from the point of view of the Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse Tung theory, dialectical and historical materialism, the only theory which can explain not only why things happen, but how to proceed to change the world we live in today. This has been the developing, conscious side of the movement. Stalin goes on to say:

But the movement has also a subjective, conscious side. The subjective side is the reflection in the minds of the workers of the spontaneous processes of the movement; it is the conscious and systematic movement of the proletariat towards a definite goal. It is this side of the movement that interests us, because unlike the objective side, it is entirely subject to the directing influence of strategy and tactics.[4]

The left opportunists within our movement divorce the subjective side from the objective processes that are taking place, e.g., CL, with its insistence that the world must go through a one-stage revolution, when objectively conditions in some countries make it imperative that they go through two stages; such was the case of New Democracy in China, which removed obstacles in the way so that today a mighty socialist country exists. Basing everything on subjective desire, the left opportunists break the idea, the dialectical relationship between objective and subjective factors, proving themselves as metaphysicians and hurting the cause of the class. (More on CL later)

But the most dangerous of trends in the world today is the right opportunist trend, reflected in the policies of the leading revisionists in the world, the U.S.S.R. social-imperialists, and in the country by the “CP”USA. Within the communist movement in the U.S. today, right opportunism is manifested in lines which we will document.

The right opportunists insist that revolutionary theory comes from within the spontaneous movement of the masses; they do this to keep the class-conscious proletarians from leading the class forward. They oppose the building of the vanguard of the class; they deny the leading role of the party, and have a disdain for Marxist-Leninist theory.

They claim they are “learning from the masses,” “creatively applying” that they are ”one with the masses,” when in actuality they are tailing behind the most backward sectors, worshipping every spontaneous struggle that develops, and creating theories to cover their criminal attempt to delay the proletariat’s onslaught on the bourgeoisie.

Such, for example, is the line that the central task has been to build the “revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class,” developed and pushed by the RU. The European revisionists agree with this implicitly; They,

Under the pretext of establishing the unity of the working class, the revisionists have not only given up exposing the right-wing leaders of social democracy, who are the principal splitters of the class, but they (our emphasis) are getting closer to and gradually fusing in with social democratic parties; they are doing their utmost to strike up an alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie, with the Christian democrats and all other reactionaries.[5]

Under the guise of the central task – “Build the revolutionary – unity, consciousness and organization of the class” – the RU has helped retard, and with this line opposed, the building of the party.

Today they “agree” the central task is party building. They try to cover themselves by saying that they were “slow” and didn’t “emphasize enough party building.” (See Red Papers 6, RU publication)

We ask you honestly, RU, how could you put correct emphasis on party building, when in deed, not always in what you say but in deed, you have revived Bernstein’s catchwords: The movement for you has been everything, the final aim nothing.

You have been very happy to build yourselves up on paper organizations – like UWOC, the many “anti-imperialist” newspapers you build in the country; under the guise of anti-imperialist politics, you covered your economism straight up. Your workers’ committees to “throw the bum out” were frauds like every “support” group you’ve formed to worship this or that struggle. Many honest people, eager to move the struggle ahead, joined in these efforts. The more advanced saw through your opportunism and realized that you were not so eager to build the only organization that could lead the proletariat and all its organizations and allies and through its program, map out the strategy and tactical questions we face in the American revolution. You were “slow” and “didn’t emphasize enough” building the party.

You criticized OL for left sectarianism, when they put forward party building as the central task, when behind closed quarters you were trying to merge with the OL because on line you both basically represented a right line and you have more agreements than not. (More on the OL later on)

In fact, you struggled to push the OL more to the right, and get the rest of us, whom you saw as your practical workers, to support you in this. We repudiated this, and quickly you have turned around and accused us of dogmatism, left sectarianism, etc. You were seeking hegemony of this right line.

In our July, 1972 Congress of the PRRWO, we put forward the principal task of communists as the formation of a multinational communist party. Bob Avakian, of the National Central Committee of the RU, speaking at this same Congress, stated:

During the course of this assembly, we have talked about the question of how to forge a proletarian line, and we’ve come to unity around the fact that we have to begin laying the base for the eventual formation of the multi-national party based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought.[6]

Further on, he continues:

At the same time, we feel that, at the present time, the basis has not been laid to form a multi-national communist party, much as many of us may like to see it formed as soon as possible. We believe that in this pre-party period, it is necessary to have both multi-national and national Marxist-Leninist organizations (and here it is placing party building on an objective fact – Ed.) because of the uneven development of the national struggles and the overall class struggles, and the fact that their merger has just begun.[7]

Not because of our unpreparedness, our amateurishness and belittling of theory, not because of the opportunism which has caused the divisions of the class. None of these reasons was given and so we united PRRWO-BWC-RU to “build the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the class,” and for another year, our work was set back, as we worshipped the spontaneous movement and tailed, rather than interjected scientific socialism into the spontaneous movement by preparing the advanced, class-conscious proletarians and revolutionary intellectuals to truly lead the mass movement forward, concentrating our efforts on building a Bolshevik Party as the central task in close relationship to the other two tasks.

At the Second Congress of the Communist International, 1920, Lenin presented the following:

The present stage in the development of the international communist movement is marked by the fact that in the vast majority of capitalist countries, the proletariat’s preparedness to effect its dictatorship has not been completed, in many cases, has not even been systematically begun. From this, it does not, however, follow that the proletarian revolution is impossible in the immediate future; it is perfectly possible, since the entire economic and political situation is most inflammable and abounds in cases of sudden flare-up; the other condition for revolution, apart from the Proletariat’s preparedness, viz., a general state of crisis in all the ruling and in all the bourgeois parties, also exists. However, it does follow that the communist parties’ current task consists in accelerating the revolution, in intensifying the preparation of the proletariat. On the other hand, the facts cited above from the history of many socialist parties makes it incumbent on us to see that “recognition” of the dictatorship of the proletariat shall not remain a matter of words. Hence, from the point of view of the international proletarian movement, it is the communist,parties1 principal task at the present moment to unite the scattered party in every country (or to reinforce or renovate the existing party) in order to increase tenfold the work of preparing the dictatorship of the proletariat. The ordinary socialist work conducted “by groups and parties which recognize the dictatorship of the proletariat has by no means undergone that fundamental revolution, which is essential before this work can be considered communist work and adequate to the tasks to be accomplished on the eve of proletarian dictatorship.[8]

It was under this type of leadership that the Comintern helped the Communists of most countries to build their parties in close connection with the struggles of the masses of the people.

But was it, as the RU tries to peddle, that the objective conditions were not ripe? Abolutely not. It was the betrayal of the revisionists within the parties, especially in the capitalist countries, and with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, which set the struggle back.

Today, as Lenin analyzed then, the general crisis of imperialism has, in fact, accelerated. He said, and it’s been confirmed by objective reality, the other conditions for revolution, apart from the preparedness of the proletariat, exist.


Have we, the PRRWO and the BWC, been divorcing theory from practice; has our history been one of book-worshipping; have we been armchair revolutionaries? The RU says that we are dogmatists, that we want to build the party in isolation from the masses. They say we have contempt for the masses; all we want to do is study.

This outright lie and slander, along with many other distortions of BWC-ATM-PRRWO which they’ve been spreading all over the country, is further proof of the RU’s unwillingness to change or make self-criticism; instead, they blame others for their own incapabilities in training even a handful of proletarians in the science of making revolution.

No, we have not blamed the people or our practice among the people for our errors. The fact is, and we emphasize this point, the PRRWO, in unity and struggle with our close comrades of the BWC, examined closely our errors.

In examining our history, we were able to understand Lenin’s teachings that worshipping spontaneity is the ideological root of all opportunism. What did this mean concretely? As we were running around “behind every struggle, our leading bodies were almost totally untrained in the science of Marxism-Leninism and, therefore, we were not effectively training the cadres of our organizations in revolutionary stands, viewpoint or method of giving conscious leadership to the spontaneous movement. Most of our leaflets and propaganda materials were not an example of political agitation and propaganda reflecting a scientific understanding of the problems in the world, in the U.S. today, or how to begin to resolve them. At best, we had an embryonic understanding of our problems and how to answer the questions of the day in theoretical or practical terms.

Without a grasp of the science, our struggle against opportunism within our own organizations (and no one can deny that we have struggle against opportunism within our organizations – e.g., James Forman’s expulsion from BWC, Felipe Luciano’s from the YLP), many times were superficial and not thorough, so that the very same lines would come up in new and stronger form. But this is not to deny that truth was developing in a forward motion against falsehood.

But without a grasp of the science, formulating our political positions was like building a house with paper and glue. We were always running the risk that our political positions would just be nominal, being left to the interpretations and distortions of opportunists inside and outside the organizations, as well as being influenced by those who called themselves our friends, peddling to us positions like “Nation of a New Type” on the Black national question, or, as we’ve already explained, the supposed central task of communists, “Build the revolutionary unity, consciousness, etc.” We make clear that we understand fully that the basis for our errors has been our own internal weaknesses, just as our strengths are to be found in the majority of our cadre, who honestly learn from our mistakes, criticize them and move forward in an unswerving devotion to the cause of the class.

We have learned from our experiences. The RU teaches nothing when they phrase-monger about “learn from the masses.”

From the summed-up experience of the international proletariat, in the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought and its concrete application, we’ve learned that communists must not be the rearguard, but must build a vanguard party as the advanced detachment of the invincible force of the proletariat for its emancipation.

The RU, through its theory of stages, “end of one period into a crossroads,” and all this other foolish nonsense, and their proposal of party building for a brief period (Red Papers 6) is similar to the economists of Russia, whom Lenin fought so hard. Thus, the RU glorifies the unpreparedness and amateurishness which have plagued us for all these years. They act as if we have to build a big trade union, and therefore, it was all right that for all these years the task of building the party has been sabotaged by opportunists of all shades – themselves and other right forces on the one hand; on the other, the dogmatists of the CL in their elitist, isolated party, and their sham congress in September of this year.

The party of Leninism is neither a big trade union nor is it a circle of “advanced theoreticians” who make themselves the motive force of history, and not the masses. The party of Leninism, says Stalin:

1. The party is the vanguard of the working class.

The role of vanguard can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by revolutionary theory.[9]

2. The party is the organized detachment of the working class.

Under the capitalist system, the party’s tasks are huge and varied. The party must lead the struggle of the proletariat under the exceptionally difficult circumstances of inner as well as outer development; it must lead the proletariat in its attack; it must withdraw the proletariat from the blows of a powerful opponent when the situation calls for retreat; it must imbue the millions of unorganized nonparty workers with the spirit of discipline and system in fighting with the spirit of organization and perseverance.[10]

3. The party is the highest form of class organization of the proletariat.

The party is the highest form of proletarian class association whose political leadership must extend to every other form of organization of the proletariat.[11]

4. The party as the weapon of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The proletariat needs its party, first of all, as its general staff, which it must have for the successful seizure of power. But the proletariat needs the party, not only to achieve the dictatorship, it needs it still more to maintain, consolidate and extend its dictatorship in order to attain complete victory of socialism.[12]

5. The party is the expression of unity of will, which is incompatible with the existence of factions.

6. The party is strengthened by purging itself of opportunist elements.

The theory of ’overcoming’ opportunist elements by ideological struggle within the party; the theory of ’living down’ these elements within the confines of a single party are rotten and dangerous theories that threaten to condemn the party to paralysis and chronic infirmity, that threaten to abandon the party to opportunism, that threaten to deprive the proletariat of its main weapon in the fight against imperialism.[13]

Surely this is not the kind of party that is built in a “brief period” or that comes out of worshipping and tailing behind the mass movement.


In the U.S., pregnant with revisionism, it’s no wonder all opportunists are frightened stiff of the coming into being of the mighty party of the proletariat. For all the forces who say (most especially RU), “The only thing PRRWO and BWC offer is to build the party,” we make our stand clear: It is not a matter of an offer; it is a matter of conscious planning and preparation, our duty as communists in keeping with the responsibility to our class. Furthermore, you can accuse us of being dogmatists all you want; we will continue to polemicize against your bankrupt line and bring scientific socialism to the advanced workers and revolutionary intellectuals who demonstrate in word and deed their unbounded devotion to the cause of the class.

You don’t consider this practice! Well, you get tiresome; your advice will reach fewer and fewer receptive ears as you continue to worship spontaneity. We believe that a good percentage of your cadres will join the struggle to prove you bankrupt and dump you into the garbage can of history. We call on them to take note of your vacillating nature in how you “suggest” (Red Papers 6) that the party be based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought.

All communists know we must fight for and insist that the party be based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought. No one can build a genuine party by going against the interests of the class; you won’t be an exception.

The PRRWO unites firmly on line with BWC-ATM and all true communists in the communist movement of the U.S.A. to build our party firmly rooted in the proletariat. Every factory shall be a fortress. The working class will be trained in political exposure through propaganda and agitation in a fight that shakes the foundations of capitalism at its very heart, internally, until the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus are crushed and replaced by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Making revolution in the U.S. is our international responsibility and the U.S. multi-national working class will not abandon its duty. Instead, it will wave high the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought, and in deed, carry out resolutely and without delay, the American Revolution for socialism and finally on to communism.



[1] Collected Works of Lenin. Russian Edition, Vol. 26, p. 50.

[2] Collected Works of Stalin. “On the Question of Strategy and Tactics”, Vol. 5, p. 163.

[3] “Ibid”, p. 163.

[4] “Ibid”, pp. 163-164.

[5] The Party of Labor of Albania in Battle with Modern Revisionism. “Europe Pregnant with Revisionism”.

[6] “Resolutions of the Congress of the PRRWO”, 1972.

[7] “Ibid”.

[8] Collected Works of Lenin. Vol. 31, “Theses on the Comintern’s Fundamental Task”, pp. 188-189.

[9] Foundations of Leninism. “The Party”

[10] “Ibid”.

[11] “Ibid”.

[12] “Ibid”.

[13] “Ibid”.