Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization



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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Today, the movement in the U.S. is in a similar position to that of the revolutionary movements in the capitalist countries following the sell-out of the Second International. Today, as then, opportunism has developed into social-imperialism and has joined the ranks of the imperialists. Today, as then, revolutionary Marxism is being ’revised’ to suit the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie. Today, as then, the corrupt trade union bureaucracy and labor aristocracy provides the main social basis of this revisionism in the workers movement. Then, the heroic Bolsheviks led the world revolutionary movement in struggle against these scoundrels under the guidance of the great Lenin. Today, the Chinese Communist Party and the Party of Labour of Albania lead the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists in struggle against their revisionist off-spring under the guidance of the great Mao Tse Tung and courageous Enver Hoxha. The Albanians say:

In our Party’s opinion, the urgent current problem of the day is not reconciliation and unity with the revisionist, but separation, a clean break from them.

Lenin said:

Unity is a great cause and a great slogan. But the workers cause needs the unity of Marxist not unity of Marxist with the opponents and distorters of Marxism. Unity with the opportunist and the revisionists is unity of the proletariat with the national bourgeoisie and splitting of the international proletariat, the unity of the lackeys and division of the revolutionaries.

In most countries of the world, new Marxist-Leninist parties are springing up to replace the worn-out revisionist ones. Genuine Marxist-Leninist have no reason whatsoever to feel pessimistic or isolated – in the international Communist movement there exist today an unbreakable unity of Marxist-Leninists the world over.[1]

In the U.S. today, the genuine Communist forces must take on the historical task of defeating all forms of opportunism which is trying to stop the creation of a genuine multi-national Communist Party.

We have on the one hand, left opportunist, Trotskyite. forces which try to swallow advanced, honest elements into an “elitist party” isolated from the masses; and on the other nana, we have the right opportunist, revisionist forces, which under the guise of “relying on the masses,” “build a party through the spontaneous struggles.

In order for the genuine Marxist-Leninist to create a Bolshevik Party, we must unite Marxist-Leninist and wage a resolute struggle against all forms of opportunism – in particular, right opportunism, for it being the main danger in the world today.

Lenin, as well as other great Marxist-Leninist, like Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Enver Hoxha, teach us that Marxism grows strong and develops in struggle with revisionism and opportunism.

One of the indispensable conditions In preparing the proletariat to win victory is the protracted, determined and merciless struggle against opportunism, reformism, social-chauvinism and all bourgeois influences and trends of this kind, which are inevitable as long as the proletariat is acting in the conditions of capitalism. Without this struggle, without a complete preliminary victory over opportunism in the labor movement, we cannot begin to talk about the dictatorship of the proletariat.[2]

And if comrades allow us again to quote Lenin prior to the convening of the 2nd Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.:

How to begin the building of a united party of the working class was a question on which opinions differed. Some thought that the building of the Party should be begun by summoning the Second Congress of the Party, which would unite the local organizations and create a Party. Lenin was oppose to this. He held that before convening a congress it was necessary to make the aims and objects of the Party clear, to ascertain what sort of a party was wanted, to effect an ideological demarcation from the ’Economist’ to tell the party honestly and frankly that there exist two different opinions regarding the aims and object of the Party – the opinion of the ’Economist’ and the opinion of the revolutionary Social-Democrats – to start a wide campaign In the press in favor of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy – just as the ’Economist’ were conducting a campaign in their own press in favor of their own views – and to give the local organizations the opportunity to make a deliberate choice between these two trends. Only after this indispensable preliminary work had been done could a Party Congress be summoned.[3]

Lenin put it plainly:


Comrades, let us proceed to analyze and begin to draw the lines of demarcation of the opportunists and revisionist forces present today in the revolutionary movement of the U.S.

* * *

The Revolutionary Union (RU), along with the October League (OL), and the Guardian represent the dangerous right opportunist tendency of economism and uphold the opportunist “theory of spontaneity.”

The theory of spontaneity is a theory of opportunism, a theory of worshipping the spontaneity of the labour movement, a theory which actually repudiates the leading role of the vanguard of the working class, of the party of the working class.[5]

The theory of worshipping the spontaneity of the mass movement raises to a principal the present ’narrowness’ and ’amateurishness’ of most of the Marxist-Leninist groups, it is the theory of the ’line of least resistance,’ of not seeing the importance of raising the masses’ political consciousness, of ’belittling the role of the conscious elements’, it is the theory of tailing behind backward elements of the class, it Is the ’ideology of trade unionism’ it is the ’logical basis of all opportunism.’ [6]

The RU with its new brief, temporary central task of party building is one of the finest opportunist holding tight to this theory. Comrades, to begin with let us quote the RU as to how they see party building.

The most important thing we want to emphasize is that this unified general staff can only be created through active participation in class struggle. It cannot be created, as the groups we referred to earlier think, by theoretical debate or, as some of these groups have done, by simply declaring themselves the Party or the sole basis of the Party.[7]

Or if you prefer to have it clearer:

We believe this Party can only be created by all of us working together to further build and consolidate the united front under proletarian leadership. The genuine revolutionary forces must begin to engage in common practice, side by side, and, on the basis of summing up that practice, engage in comradely and. constructive idelogical struggle to forge a united line, strategy, and tactics, to develop various kinds of workers organizations – national and multi-national forms, etc. That, we believe, is the correct, non-sectarian way to build a Party.[8]

To begin with, the RU has a tremendous fear of ideological struggle (theoretical debate) Yes, we agree that Party building must be done through active participation in class struggle, bringing Scientific Socialism to the working class, etc. but ideological struggle and drawing lines of demarcation is a pre-requisite in the building of the Party. The RU sees Party building only through the United Front Against Imperialism. So that when they speak of the dialectical relationship between strategy and tactics and Party building, they put forward a correct task of developing forms of workers organization. But the bankruptcy of their line comes when they negate to put forward that Party building is the central task and replace it by placing emphasis on building a united front, and in particular, developing workers organizations.

Lenin defined a workers’ organization as follows:

A Workers’ organization must in the first place be a trade organization; secondly, it must be as little clandestine as possible (here, and further on, of course, I have autocratic Russia in mind). On the other hand the organization of revolutionaries must consist first, foremost and mainly of people who make revolutionary activity their profession (that is why I speak of organizations of revolutionaries, meaning revolutionary Social-Democrats.[9]

But this isn’t all. Lenin goes on to say that:

A Social-Democrat must concern himself first and foremost with an organization of revolutionaries who are capable of guiding the whole proletarian struggle for emancipation.[10]

And this organization of professional revolutionaries is the Marxist-Leninist Party of a new type.

But the RU will bark like dogs and say that their workers’ organization was going to be composed of advance workers. RU’s conception of an advance worker is clearly defined in Red Papers 5 and reiterated in Red Papers 6 as follows:

To us, (RU) the advance worker is one who has the respect of his fellow workers, to whom they come when they are in trouble, and need to discuss their problems, whom they rally around when they face a collective problem and who provides leadership in struggle. And this is true even if the individual professes some anti-communism. His anti-communism is socially and media-conditioned and can be overcome through his work with communist precisely because of the devoted practice he has shown towards others. (our emphasis)[11]

It Is easy to see now why the RU makes “economist” and right errors generally with this essentially tailist conception of an advance worker. There are hundreds of trade union bureaucrats who fit the description. Their definition places emphasis on “respect” and “devoted practice”, rather than on political consciousness. It even allows room for the workers anti-commuism! It saids nothing of the need for ideological and political training which is an absolute necessity if anyone is to grasp the science of Marxism-Leninism. Clearly this leads to “bowing to spontaneity” of the lowest variety which must send the RU cadre running and looking for the most backward and reformist workers they can find (and we can document this!). This special disregard for theory and the worship of spontaneity is the root of all the RU’s opportunist errors and the basic reason for their drift to the right. What seemed then to be a drift to the right, what may have been a right deviation as early as Red Papers 1 has developed into a consolidated right opportunist line. So that to the RU, learning from the masses/their conception of consolidating the advance, undoubtedly means learning from and catering to the backward elements. Allow us again to quote Lenin:

The history of the working class movement in all countries shows that the better situated strata of the working class respond to the ideas of socialism more rapidly and more easily. From among these come, in the main, the advance workers that every working class movement brings to the fore, those who can win the confidence of the laboring masses, who devote themselves entirely to the education and organization of the proletariat, who accept socialism consciously. and who even elaborate independent socialist theories... who, despite their wretched living conditions, despite their stultifying penal servitude of factory labor, posses so much character and will-power that they study, study, study and turn themselves into conscious Social-Democrats – The working-class intelligensia. (our emphasis)[12]

And further on Lenin continues:

To reduce the entire movement to the interests of the moment means to speculate on the backward conditions of the workers, means to cater to their worst inclinations. It means artificially to break the link between the fully defined political strivings of the advance workers and the spontaneous manifestations of protest on the part of the masses.[13]

And to make it a bit more clearer, Lenin also says:

...firstly, Social-Democracy has everywhere and always been, and cannot but be the representative of the class conscious and not of non-class conscious workers, and that there cannot be anything more dangerous and more criminal than the demagogic speculation on the underdevelopment of the workers. (our emphasis)[14]

Today, when genuine Marxist-Leninists have clearly defined the central task of Party building, the RU changes their central task of building the “revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class” to “Party building ”.

The RU’s former central task of “building the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class, etc.” was a manifestation of their right line of spontaneity and a cover for delaying the party building motion. Even with them holding that former central task, they’ve failed to carry it out, for the RU did not bring Scientific Socialism to the working class, they did not disseminate Marxism-Leninism, they did not consolidate the advanced around Marxism-Leninism, but rather, they talked of giving “anti-imperialist consciousness” to the advanced. The RU caters to the backward, liquidated and failed to disseminate Scientific Socialism, belittled the role of the conscious elements, the communist.

Though it is true that communist must build the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class, we must make clear that the central task of communist in this period is building the organization of the working class, the Communist Party. The RU, when speaking of the organization of the working class, was not in words nor deeds, speaking of the organization of revolutionaries, the Party. Their workers organization were those such as rank and file, outlaws, etc... Developing workers caucuses, rank and file, etc. are correct task of communist, but again, we must be clear on what is the central task. Party building is done through building the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class; communist must get deeply rooted in the workers movement, disseminate Scientific Socialism, and give conscious leadership to the struggles of the working class. The RU’s former central task of “building the revolutionary unity, consciousness and organization of the working class” was a guise and justification of their line of spontaneity. The RU put forward that:

Several yrs. ago, and right up to this historical point, building the new Party was not the main task because the young Communist movement in this country had not accumulated enough practical experience in mass struggle, and also didn’t have enough experience in applying Marxist-Leninist theory to summing up this experience in order to advance the mass movement.[15]

But comrades, as was said before the RU is jumping on the band wagon because they don’t want to tail behind the communist movement, and have changed their former central task to the central task of Party building. How does the RU explain the change of central task? Do they repudiate (as we and other Marxist-Leninist organizations and groups have repudiated) their formal central task as being incorrect? No! On the contrary, the RU has further developed their right line, in the process of doing this, has gone as far as distorting and in essence, revising the fundamental truths of Marxism-Leninism. The RU explains their change of central task by saying that we have come to an “end of a period”; a period of spontaneous upsurges, of gaining experiences, etc. Lenin, in What Is To Be Done (conclusion), spoke of different periods in the communist movement of Russia.

Lenin defines the 1st period as covering the yrs. 1884-1894.

This was the period of the rise and consolidation of the theory and program of Social-Democracy.,, Social-Democracy existed without a working class movement; as a political party it was undergoing a process of fetal development.[16]

The second period; 1894-1898

In this period the Social-Democrats appeared as a social movement, as the “upsurge of the masses of the people. In this period the Social-Democrats went into the working class movement, trained in illegal work and armed with the theory of Marxism, which guided their practice. In this period, the R.S.D.L.P. was formed.[17]

The third period; 1897-1898

The third period was a period of disunity, dissolution and vacillation. A period where ’economism’ was a large trend. This period was characterized by amateurishness, worshipping the spontaneous struggles, legal Marxist, etc... Lenin, in asking “WHAT IS TO BE DONE?” responded to “liquidation of the third period.” He put forward that the fourth period would lead to the consolidation of militant Marxism and that Russian Social-Democracy was to become the vanguard of revolutionary proletariat.[18]

The RU’s explanation of “End of a Period”, was not and is not a scientific Marxist-Leninist explanation of the concrete conditions of the communist movement and the working class movement. RU opportunistically distorts the concept of periods and has declared an ”End of a Period” in order to justify their worshipping of spontaneity and to change their central task. RU’s “End of a Period” was a period where their cadres promoted spontaneous, economist struggles and failed to carry the real task of communists in the working class movement. In order that the RU will not come out and say that we are “dogmatically” applying Lenin’s explanation of periods in Russia to the conditions of the U.S., we make clear that the period in which we find ourselves in is the period of disseminating Scientific Socialism, building factory nuclei, merging the communist movement with the spontaneous struggles of the working class, uniting. Marxist-Leninist, drawing lines of demarcation against all forms of opportunism, and developing a programme and the U.S. multinational Communist Party which will lead the masses to proletarian revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, and on to communism.

How does the RU’s theory of “End of a Period” manifest itself? Well, first of all they call for the Nov. 4th Coalition to join with the revisionist and Trotskyite groups in Jan. 20th demonstration supporting the Vietnamese 9 Point Peace Plan. There RU cadres within the Attica Brigade, an anti-imperialist national student organization, led the Attica Brigade in spraying the pants at Macy’s, protesting the Farah strike. Is this not worshipping spontaneity of the worst type? Or how about the “heroic” take over of the Statue of Liberty to “Throw the Bum Out”!

Throw the Bum Out!!! Can you believe it?! Who’s the next “Bum” – Ford?? Is the RU going to throw each “Bum” out one by one until the bourgeoisie disintegrates? Then there’s the RU’s economic struggles of “Jobs or Income Now”, etc. This is not to say that communist do not participate in economic struggles, but we must not fall into economism. Communist do propaganda and agitation around all the spontaneous manifestations of the working class. We must raise the political consciousness of the proletariat (political consciousness meaning Marxism-Leninism and not “anti-imperialist” like the RU speaks of). Communist must conduct political exposures around all attacks of the working class in order to unite and further raise the level of consciousness of the U.S. proletariat.

The RU, in dealing with economic struggles, stirred up mass discontent around immediate issues of the proletariat, but did not conduct political exposures, propaganda and agitation around the economic struggles and link it up with the long range goals of proletariat.

The RU, just dealt with the momentary interests of the proletariat and didn’t educate the masses, especially the advanced, of the long range interest of the proletariat – proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. They sacrificed the ultimate aims and results for immediate reforms.

These are just a few of RU’s activities during their “End of a Period”. This is what they’re going to sum up to build their party to “lead the masses” into the marsh.

The “worshippers of spontaneity” in the U.S. distort the Marxist theory of knowledge and fling about the slogans: “to the masses”, “we must sum-up our own experience”, “oppose book worship”, etc. They fail to understand what “theory” really is so they inevitably fail in “practice”.

Stalin says:

Theory is the experience of the working class movement in all the countries taken in its general aspects. Of course theory becomes purposeless if it is not connected with revolutionary practice, just as practice gropes in the dark if its not illumined by revolutionary theory.[19]

But the RU says “No!” They ridicule Marxism-Leninism and continue to say that they didn’t worship spontaneity. They continue to insist that it was an “End of a period”. Is it an “end of a period” or is it the economist “Theory of Stages”? The RU’s concept of “End of a Period’ is very similar, if not the same to the Russian economist “Theory of Stages” which says that before going to political demands, revolutionaries must cater to the intermediate and backward workers and deal with the economic struggles of the workers, and that once the masses are experienced and ready, then the economic struggles will draw the masses into the political struggles. To give an example of how the RU does it, allow us to quote them:

One of the crucial and as yet unanswered questions raised by the Unemployed Workers Organizing Committee work and the recent UWOC meeting and generally by all our working class work – is how do we develop broad mass struggle primarily at this stage around economic demands, while at the same time building a solid leadership core of active and advanced workers who, through the course of this mass struggle and in close unity with communists, develop into consciously anti-imperialist revolutionary fighters who help to advance the political struggle and organization of the entire working class.[20]

Now the RU recognizes the creation of the Party as the central task. The RU says that Marxist-Leninists must unite all those that can be united to make a program and the party, but only for a brief period ahead.

The creation of the Party on this basis, then, has become the central task of U.S. communists for a brief period ahead. But this does not mean a retreat from mass struggle. To the contrary, it must be done by building on the advances that have been made, including the advances in linking up with and leading struggle of the class and the masses. And even while recognizing the key link as establishing the Party by summing up work, engaging in struggle on the basis of work, formulating the Programme, etc., we must not fall into a single-minded concentration on this task, or downgrade the importance of the other major tasks. (our emphasis)[21]

Well, there it is! The RU with its “temporary, brief, central task of Party building”. The central task after the Party has been built is the consolidation of the Party. (See Stalin, Collected Works, Vol. V. “The Party, Before and After,” p. 104). To put Party building in this form (RU), is to surrender the Party immediately to the bourgeoisie, for its destruction from without and from within. It seems as if there’s a race among the opportunists (OL, CL, etc.) to build a “Party”. In essence, these “worshippers” raise the Party so that they can divert the masses from making proletarian revolution.

First of all, the central task of Party building doesn’t last a few months or for a “brief period”. It took Lenin many years to finally construct a Bolshevik Party. It seems as if though the RU wants to become popular with the masses, build a party, so that they can calmly say that there’s a ’revolutionary party, “leading” the revolutionary masses.

Also, in talking about building a party, the RU makes no mention of ideological struggle and drawing firm and definite lines of demarcation. They just talk about uniting all to make a programme) and build a party. They even go to the extent of inviting “individual collectives” some of whom are “working in factories and doing political work there”, and others of whom “are doing ’serve the people’ community work.” Now comrades, there are many trade union leaders and economists who do political work – trade unionism. And as for “serve the people programs” – reformist programs – we find many social workers. If there are communists who are practicing trade unionism and community work, if this is where RU sees the advanced elements who just “wait to see the flow and direction of things”, if this is what the RU unites with to talk about their “own ideas and experiences” of bowing to spontaneity, and from this to build a party, then truly, RU’s party will be a Party of the masses, a Party that is derived from the spontaneous movement, a Party that tails behind the masses, a Menshevik Party.

And this talk of an “End of a Period” and a new “brief period of party building” is clear opportunism.

In the book, What the Friends of the People Are, Lenin outlines the main task of the Russian Marxists. In his opinion, the first duty of Russian Marxists was to weld the disunited Marxist circles into a united Socialist worker’s party.[22]

Frederich Engels in Selected Correspondence clearly puts forward;

The first great step of importance for every country newly entering into the movement is always the constitution of the workers as an independent political party, no matter how long it takes, so long as it is a distinct worker’s party.[23]

So it wasn’t just recently when “conditions are ripe”, when the “crossroads” are made, that the central task became party building. Party building has been the central task ever since the betrayal of the CP-USA. The history of the world communist movement shows that in countries where there is no Communist Party, the need for one is at all times primary.

The RU is also guilty of another very serious error. In Selected Red Papers 1,2,3, the RU mentions:

The Communist Party must be based on the most oppressed sectors of the working class, built among the most advanced, representing the advanced interests of the proletariat as a whole In this way the minority of labor aristocrats, who do actually benefit from imperialism by acquiring enough to own stock or a little real estate, can be neutralized and, parts of it, won over. (our emphasis)[24]

What exactly is the labor aristocracy? Are communists supposed to “neutralize” them or try and get “parts of it, won over”? This is what Comrade Lenin has to say on the labor aristocracy.

“This stratum of bourgeoisified workers, or the labour aristocracy,” says Lenin, “who are quite Philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their entire outlook, is the principal prop of the Second International, and, in our days, the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie. For they are real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class..., real channels of reformism and chauvinism.

... It is they principally, that constitute the source of factionalism and disintegration the source of disorganization and disruption of the Party from within... Therefore, ruthless struggle against such elements, their expulsion from the Party, is a prerequisite for the successful struggle against imperialism. (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, p. 115-116) (our emphasis)[25]

So we do not “neutralize” or try to win over sectors of the labour aristocracy. On the contrary, we wage a “ruthless struggle against such elements” for “their expulsion from the Party, is a prerequisite for the successful struggle against imperialism.” But then again the RU may want to put forward that we don’t have to follow Stalin’s criteria.

Comrades, the RU put forward “Principles of Unity” to unite all who can be united around creating such a programme and Party. On the principle of the National Question, they put forward the following:

– from the standpoint of achieving minimum unity to build the Party – it is not necessary to hold strictly to Black people being a nation in terms of the five criterias laid out by Stalin. (Red Papers 6, p.10) (our emphasis)[26]

Is it not outright revisionism to put forward that communist do not have to follow Marxist-Leninist principles on the national question as laid out by Stalin? Stalin, in explaining the five principals of a nation also put forward very clearly:

It is only when all these characteristics are present that we have a nation. (Marxism and the National Question – p.53 of Selected Works of Stalin, Cardinal Publishers)[27]

When the PRRWO and the BWC left the National Liaison Committee, the Guardian in an article explained this action as a “broken alliance.” In this article, the Guardian applauded and supported the erroneous lines of the RU which came out in the May 1974 issue of Revolution. The Guardian has been siding with the right opportunist analysis of the RU. In the Guardian issue of August 14, they again came’ out in support of the RU’s analysis of the communist movement.

One period – the period of pre-party formation is coming to an end. The next period – unifying the Marxist-Leninist forces and building a new communist party – is just beginning. (Guardian. Aug. 14, 1974, p.7) (our emphasis)[28]

So, they too say that the central task of Party Building has just emerged due to the development of the objective processes.

The Guardian, though, is a bit clearer with their right opportunist line, especially as seen in how they give credibility to the revisionist CPUSA.

At all times, it is absolutely essential to differentiate between those who have been tricked by revisionist ideology – not only among the working masses, but within the left generally and even within the ranks of the CPUSA – and the active ideologists and promulgators of this brand of counter-revolution. (Guardian, Aug. 14,1074, p.7) (our emphasis) [29]

The Guardian says that the struggle against opportunism and revisionism has “been pursued in a mechanistic fashion.” Thus, they leave room to say that ”even within the ranks of the CPUSA” we can win over the honest elements “tricked by revisionist ideology.” Is this not concilliation towards right opportunism? We believe it is.

The RU also conciliates to the ”CPUSA; on May Day 1974, they put out a leaflet (refer to our section on the Brief Sum-up of the History of our Organization).

The economism of the Guardian is also seen in the following:

The Marxist-Leninist will not develop their influence among the masses by standing aside from these struggles or by merely pooh-poohing them as meaningless reforms. At all times, the conditions of life of the working class are a prime question for the communist.” “It is the job of the communists not only to show that they are every bit as effective as the revisionists or other social reformers in fighting for the people’s needs– but that they are, in fact, better than them.[30]

Pure economism! Pure, pure economism!!! It is not the task of communists to “tactically” fight for palpable, immediate, economic results. Communists do not bow to spontaneity and more than that, we are not in competition with revisionists, opportunists or social-reformers in accomplishing the “needs” of the people. The needs of the masses will only come about with the overthrowal of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The only acts that communists do with revisionists and opportunists is to struggle against them, purge them from our ranks, and expose their hides. Also the revisionists and opportunists do not serve the “needs of the people”, but rather serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. As Communists, we struggle for immediate demands, but we don’t sacrifice the long range objective.

It truly is an unpardonable sin, on the part of the Guardian, for giving so much credibility to revisionism and opportunism.

The Guardian, like the RU and all other opportunist forces, uphold the theory of spontaneity, of belittling the role of the conscious element and belittling the role of theory. The following is a statement made by a Guardian speaker:

A party of revolutionary practice is ever wary of the dangers of ultra-left adventurism and sectarian dogmatism and understands that the struggle to develop and implement the mass line of the Party is the critical testing ground for revolutionary theory. (Guardian, April 4, 1973)[31]

The October League has gone from one form of opportunism, to the other form, from left to right, though in essence, the line was right opportunism all throughout.

The OL doesn’t outrightly speak of an “End of a Period” as the RU and the Guardian. They’ve held central task of party building for quite a while. But they’ve held it in words, and not in deeds. Why? They too have been carriers of the theory of spontaneity. They fail to disseminate scientific socialism in the working class movement; fail to establish factory nucleii and sees the party being built through the united Front. They too follow the economist “theory of Stages” by building the economic struggles and then “lending it a political character.” In explaining the role of communists in the working class movement, the OL says:

It is here that communist must be most active. It is here that the daily work of building the rank-and-file caucuses and intermediate or city wide organizations must be done, pushing forward, step by step, in accordance with the existing conditions, the political consciousness of the workers and the trade unions in general. (Party Building in the U.S. – OL(ML)[32]

The OL makes no mention of establishing factory nuclei, which is one of the first tasks of communists in consolidating the advance workers and in organizing the workers.

But even in the question of trade unions, the OL calls for uniting with one section of the labour bureaucracy against another section – the “progressive” sector as opposed to the “reactionary” sector. The RU, in criticizing the OL on this, puts forward the same opportunist line which says that the communist mobilize the rank-and -file, raise their political consciousness through struggle, and on this basis, win over and unite the trade union leaders to the side of revolution. Thus, we have the OL and the RU creating conditions for communist to unite with the trade union bureaucracy, or rather, the labour aristocracy. The OL also goes further on and says that a “division of labor” is needed in order to unify the working class.

Within the Party and the present communist organizations, there must be a type of “division of labour.”

The white communists must take on the main responsibility for work among the white workers and especially for combating chauvinism and in that way push the unity of the class forward.” “...their (the ’minority cadre’ – ed) special duty is while working among the class as a whole, to work among the minority workers and combat narrow nationalism which directs itself against the monopolies. (Party Building in the U.S., OL(ML)[33]

And when they explain the division of the working class, the OL places the blame on white workers.

The separateness in general can be attributed to the opportunism and history of white chauvinism which has plagued some sections of the movement and backward levels of large sections of the white workers.[34]

To begin with, communists take on the responsibility of dealing with advanced elements. It isn’t that white communist deal only with white workers, or Black communists deal only with Black workers, etc. Communists unite with the small number of relatively active and advanced workers and rely on them to raise the level of the intermediate elements and win over the backward elements. As for the division of the working class, Stalin, in Foundations of Leninism puts forward that it is the labour aristocracy who creates the divisions “for they are real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class real channels of reformism and chauvinism.” So it isn’t just that white workers are the cause for division of working class, but rather the labour aristocracy, trade union officials, and of course the opportunist forces, the same people who they (OL and RU) want to unite with.

In the struggle against the left, the OL puts forward that all the “ultra-lefts” want is to unite with a “handful of advanced workers.”

Comrades, we’re in agreement that the left opportunists forces isolate themselves from the masses, but one thing for sure, the task of communist is exactly to unite and win over advanced workers to the revolutionary struggle.

The OL, as well as all the other right opportunist forces place the main danger today on “dogmatism”, “sectarianism”, and “left opportunism.”

However, while modern revisionism, or right opportunism, is the main ideological enemy which confronts the world revolutionary movement, within the newly emerging communist movement here the main danger is “leftism” and “sectarianism”. Without a staunch struggle against sectarianism, dogmatism and ultra-leftism in general, all the cries for a new Party won’t mean a thing. (OL Party Building in the U.S. p.11)[35]

Let us listen to Mao on this topic:

At the same time as we criticize dogmatism, we must direct our attention to criticizing revisionism. Revisionism, or right opportunism, is a bourgeois trend of thought that is even more dangerous than dogmatism. The revisionists, the right opportunists, pay lip-service to Marxism; they too attack “dogmatism”. But what they are really attacking is quintessence of Marxism. (On Literature and Art – Peking Edition)[36]

In the revolutionary movement in the United States, we also have other right opportunist forces which also aid in dividing the multi-national working class. in particular, there’s the Puerto Rican Socialist Party which claims to be Marxist-Leninist, yet they revise and distort Marxism-Leninism completely.

To begin with, the PSP makes Marxism-Leninism look like eclecticism. In Appendix A (eleven programmatic principles) of ”Desde Las Entranas,” the PSP explains their theoretical framework as follows:

The teachings embodied in the revolutionary work of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bolivar, Marti. Betances, Hostos, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Fidel Castro, Camillo Torres, Fanon, Sandino and Albizu Campos are fused as the broad theoretical framework of Puerto Rican Socialism, in the context of historical materialism.[37]

Now isn’t this eclecticism of the finest type, PSP, a supposedly Marxist-Leninist “revolutionary party” has even bourgeois elements in their “broad theoretical framework” for their “Puerto Rican Socialism.”

The PSP also claims to be the “party”, the “sole representative” of the Puerto Rican workers in the United States as well as in Puerto Rico. Their conclusion comes from their logic (and not Marxist-Leninist) of saying that Puerto Ricans in the U.S. are part of the Puerto Rican nation. Thus, one party for one nation. They too, like the RU, say that we cannot apply Stalin’s five principles on the national question “mechanically” or “dogmatically”.

The PSP’s line is very similar to a dangerous right opportunist trend in Russia, during Lenin’s time known as the “Bund”.

The Bund laid claim to a special position within the Party. It demanded to he recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in Russia. To comply with this demand would have meant to divide the workers in the Party organization according to nationality, and to renounce common territorial class organization of the workers. (History of Communist Party of the Soviet Union – Calcutta p.38)[38]

But this isn’t only it. In reference to strategy and tactics in the U.S. they explain it as follows:

Its (PSP – ed) primary role in the United States is to unleash, in all its fury, that national liberation struggle in the very centers of the North American cities and to incorporate our people into the struggle for the revolutionary transformations of North American society. (Desde Las Entranas)[39]

What ever happen to proletarian revolution? Or who is the main blow directed against? Or how about all the other characteristics of a Marxist-Leninist strategy and tactics? The PSP does not mention none of this. They mention a few rhetorical works here and there, and “puff”, they think that the ”North American society” will have a “revolutionary transformation.”

On the question of workers struggle in the U.S. the PSP strives for more democracy in the unions and for more Puerto Rican in trade union leadership.

Consequently, the struggles of the Puerto Rican workers for better salaries and working conditions must be accompanied by the struggle for democracy within the unions, against their characteristic discrimination and racism. (Desde Las Entranas)[40]

And to make their aims clearer, in Claridad, July 21, 1974 a Member of the PSP Central Committee, said:

One of the problems is our exclusion from major decision making roles within the unions by the union bureaucracy.

There have been very few efforts to create cross-union mechanisms which could politically and programatically unite most Puerto Rican union leaders.[41]

The PSP, which talks of a disunited “left” and claims that it will aid the left by “injecting anti-imperialist content” in the revolutionary movement, is a party following the line of the Second International. The Second International in the time of Lenin fell into opportunism. Kautsky, one of the leading figures put forward the Productive Forces Theory which says that socialism will replace capitalism as the productive forces developed. It says that an armed overthrow of the bourgeois state is not necessary in order to gain socialism. It advocates the peaceful transition into socialism. The Second International was also characterized by its centrism, conciliation and class collaboration. They did not see the importance of ideological struggles and lines of demarcation against opportunism. To the Second International, everything can be justified. The Second International dealt with the immediate aims of the working class and solely advocated for reforms. To them the mass movement was everything, and the final aim, nothing.

The PSP does not engage in polemics internationally and nationally. They say that they don’t interfere in the ideological struggles of the American left. In reference to the international ideological struggles, the PSP says:

We will not take part in the power disputes within the socialist camp and the so-called Third World.[42]

Also, in their Appendix, the PSP talks of Puerto Rican style socialism. In reference to the dictatorship of the proletariat the PSP says the following:

The political power to be established in the Socialist Republic of Puerto Rico does not necessarily have to be a single party at the start. If in the course of our revolutionary struggle diverse political forces participate in the determination of victory, it is probable that a plural leadership will assume command in the building of socialism. In the last instance, what will determine the one-party or multi-party character of the socialist regime is whether, in the revolutionary situation proceeding the seizure of power, the vanguard is dispersed in several organizations or concentrated in only one. (Desde Las Entranas) Appendix A, #IV[43]

The PSP has declared that they “will not take part in power disputes within the socialist camp and the so-called Third World.” What power dispute and what socialist camp are they speaking of? Are they speaking of the disputes between the revisionists forces led by the USSR and the two great socialist countries, China and Albania? Or would they much rather see “detente” between revisionist forces and the Marxist-Leninist forces? Then they speak of the socialist camp. At the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly, Chairman of the Delegation of the People’s Republic of China, Teng Hsiao-Ping, brought forward China’s line on the International situation:

As a result of the emergence of social-imperialism, the socialist camp which existed for a time after World War II is no longer in existence.[44]

And what type of position has PSP taken in saying that they won’t participate in “power disputes”. Isn’t it the task of communists to make. Marxist-Leninist analysis of the world situation, of the forces that take part in the molding of the present situation and in that process, taking positions and exposing all the opportunist and revisionist forces. Yet, the PSP comes outright and vascillates and takes a centrist position.

But, comrades, we don’t think that the PSP vascillated. On the contrary, they have and are, in essence, aiding both Soviet social-imperialism and U.S. imperialism.

Being that PSP’s “socialism” has a “theoretical framework” of individuals such as “Betances, Fidel Castro, etc.” and being that their going to have a “Puerto Rican style of socialism”, they have come up with a Trotskyite view of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Stalin, in having polemics against Leon Trotsky, says:

What is this special form of alliance (the dictatorship of the proletariat – ed). What does it consist of? Does not this alliance with the toiling masses of other non-proletarian classes generally contradict the idea of the dictatorship of one class?

This special form of alliance lies in the leading force of this alliance, in the proletariat, that the leader in the state, the leader within the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat is a single party, the party of the proletariat. the party of the communists, which does not and cannot share power with other parties.[45]

In reference to the armed overthrow of the bourgeoisie in the proletarian revolution, the PSP liquidates it and talks of armed struggle only if it can “contribute” to the struggle of the Puerto Ricans or will use revolutionary violence only ”to the extent and with the conditions that the circumstances call for”. Whatever happened to the words of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto, which says:

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling class tremble at a communist revolution. The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a whole world to win.[46]

Comrades, it is obvious that PSP is not a Bolshevik Party, that it has “Bundist” tendencies and that the PSP has a revisionist line on many questions and unites with the CPUSA(R) as seen in the Oct. 27th slogan “Bicentenial Without Colonies”. The PSP with their petty-bourgeois nationalism, places nation above class throughout their analysis in “Desde Las Entranas”. They too fall in the Bernsteinian camp of the “movement is everything, the final aim is nothing.”

Comrades, in the revolutionary movement in the U.S., there also exists another dangerous tendency. This tendency is represented by the Communist League (CL). Sometimes the “right” likes to hide themselves under the mask of the “left”, and under “ultra” revolutionary estimates of the objective situation. This “left” danger is a product of and closely bound up with the whole state of the communist movement. “One tendency covers another.”

The CL too is one of the forces upholding the central task of Party building for over five years. But how is it that they see Party building?

The CL, with its chairman acting as if he were the “new Lenin” in the U.S., “has been raising the party just to smash the party”.

The CL under the guise of criticizing the openly right opportunist forces for bowing to spontaneity, has raised the task of Party-building. The only problem is that the CL wants to create a party in isolation from the masses. The CL in essence is calling for a trotskyite party, an elitist party of some ’purest’ intellectuals supposedly to be found within their organization. The CL views the Party building process by adopting the trotskyite ’theory of cadres’.

According to this “theory”, the communists should not act, should not approach the masses and organize them, but they should shut themselves up in their cells and engage only in theoretical education.[47]

The ’theory of cadres’ was particularly stigmatized as defeatist and opportunist, for it isolated the communists from the masses, kept them as a sect trailing behind the masses and would finally lead to the dissolution of the Party.[48]

The trotskyite and sectarian tendencies of the CI can especially be seen in their unprincipled, polemics among the communist movement and in particular, their splittest activities within the Continuations Committee.

The CL with their Continuations Committee only unites with those who conform to their wishes. With their “image” they try to co-opt honest advanced elements into their Party building process.

The CL through the Continuations Committee has tried to do a similar task to that of a trotskyite group in Albania which was led by Andrea Zisi.

Andrea Zisi had undertaken the task of merging the Albanian communist groups with his ’party’ and forcing them to accept his anti-Marxist line.[49]

Comrades, at this point it is clear that the CL will be creating a party of dogmatists, an elitist party, a trotskyite party. It is clear that the dialectics that they’re so fond of talking about in the “Dialectics of the Development of the Communist League” is nothing but pure Hegelian dialectics. (Refer to the BWC’s pamphlet “Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism...”)

The CL line is not some ’freak line’ as some like to characterize it. It is the twin brother of the RU line and fundamentally no different. Both seek to isolate the communist forces from the proletarian vanguard. The RU line by “tailing” the vanguard, and the CL line by coming nowhere near it.[50]

Allow us to quote Mao again:

At the same time as we criticize dogmatism, we must direct our attention to criticizing revisionism. Revisionism, or right opportunism, is a bourgeois trend of thought that is even more dangerous than dogmatism. The revisionists, the right opportunists, pay lip-service to Marxism; they too attack “dogmatism”. But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism.[51]


[1] BWC pamphlet Black Liberation Struggle, Black Workers Congress and Proletarian Revolution

[2] Enver Hoxha, Albania Today, Jan-Feb. issue, p,38-39

[3] Stalin, History of the C,P.S.U. (B), National Book Agency, Calcutta, p.27-28

[4] Ibid.

[5] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Foreign Languages Press, Peking (FLPP), pT?3 !

[6] BWC, Black Liberation Struggle, Black Workers Congress and Proletarian Revolution, p.37

[7] RU, Red Papers 5, p.7

[8] Ibid., p.8

[9] Lenin, What Is To Be Done, (FLPP), p.138

[10] Ibid., p.44

[11] RU, Red Papers 5. p.7-8

[12] Lenin, Retrograde Trend in Russian Social Democracry, p.281

[13] Ibid.

[14] Lenin, “Apropos of the Prefession De Foi”, Collected Works, Vol.4, p.291

[15] RU, Red Papers 6, p.6

[16] Lenin, What Is To Be Done, pp. 221-223

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, FLPP, p. 22

[20] RU, National Bulletin #10, RU document on UWOC work

[21] RU, Red Papers 6, p. 5

[22] Stalin, History of CPSU(B), p. 17

[23] Engels, Selected Correspondence

[24] RU, Red Papers 1,2,3, p. 45

[25] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism (FLPP), p. 115-116

[26] RU, Red Papers 6, p.10

[27] Stalin, Selected Works, Cardinal Publishers,“Marxism and the National Question”, p.53

[28] Guardian, Aug. 14,1974, p.7

[29] Ibid., p.7

[30] Ibid.

[31] Guardian, April 4,1973

[32] Party Building in the U.S., OL(ML)

[33] Ibid., p.16

[34] Ibid., p.16

[35] Ibid., p. 16

[36] Mao, On Literature and Art, Peking Edition.

[37]Desde Las Entranas”, Appendix A, (eleven programmatic principles)

[38] Stalin, History of the CPSU(B), Calcutta, p.38

[39]Desde Las Entranas

[40] Ibid.

[41] Claridad, July 21,1974

[42]Desde Las Entranas” Appendix A, principle # XI

[43] Ibid., Appendix A, # IV

[44] Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly, (Peking Ed.) Peking Review. # 16, 1974

[45] Stalin, Leninism, p.271

[46] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (FLPP), p.76

[47] History of Party of Labour of Albania, p.33

[48] Ibid., p.88

[49] Ibid., p.47

[50] BWC, Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism, p.4

[51] Mao, On Literature and Art, Peking Edition.