Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Report from the Secretariat [to the Second Plenary Session of the First Central Committee]


First Published: People’s Tribune, Vol. 2, No. 19, October 1, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Welcome to this second plenary session of the first Central Committee of our Communist Labor Party. We are rounding out a full year of struggle. We have undergone a tremendous consolidation over the past year. There is no question that our party has survived the organized attempts first to sabotage the Congress, and failing that, to split, demobilize and destroy the party. Comrades, we have not only survived as a Communist Party, but we are striking out–leading the mass struggle. Our Party is a Party of heroes, heroes who have played a decisive role in reasserting communism as the historic goal of the class, heroes in grappling with the most complicated political and theoretical problems and solving these problems in favor of the working class. Our Party, feared and hated by Nazis and lefts alike, is on the road in the mass struggle. We are on the road in creating something new, something Bolshevik, something revolutionary in our country.

Without spending a lot of time on accomplishments, because we Bolsheviks like problems better, I would like to outline the path of struggle that our party has hacked out in the past year. As all of you know, our Party played the role of spark-plug in the national miners’ strike. It was not accidental that we were on the scene at the Brookside and Highsplint mines where the long and bitter struggle started. If it had not been for our comrades’ superb tactical leadership on the picket line, Brookside would have been just another lost strike rather than becoming the cause celebre of all the miners and workers around the world. We were able to sharpen our teeth on the miners’ strike, and by the time the strike ended we were already deep into the struggle of the unemployed.

Again, it is not an accident that our party happened to be at the point of the struggle when the struggle broke out. Basically speaking, the unemployed upsurge began at the Dodge Main and Jefferson plants in Detroit. Our Party was strong there because our line is to fight it out where the workers have the least ties to capital, that is amongst the most exploited and oppressed. At any rate, it was our heroic comrades’ work in Dodge, Jefferson and Ford that forced the UAW leadership to accept unemployed work in the union. When we issued the call for an unemployed march on Washington, the government, Woodcock, et al. saw specters of the old CP’s activity of the 1930’s. Woodcock called himself outsmarting us by calling for such a march. That is like the story of the boy who chased the girl until she caught him. At any rate, the UAW march compelled the AFL-CIO to pull an even bigger, more militant demonstration.

We can be proud of this. Who was it that began, the fight to transform the struggle around busing from a question of education- into a political struggle for the emancipation of the Negro people? We admit that it was the Klan that first raised the issue, but it was our Party that accepted the challenge and took the issue to the masses. Today everyone accepts that busing is a question of equality in society and barely an issue of education.

As big business began the process of reconstructing the KKK and Nazi movement, it was our Party that was the first to take to the streets am challenge, them at every turn. Our struggle with the fascists has served to focus national attention, especially on Harlan County, where we are locked in a life and death struggle with the fascist elements.

The score sheet is not bad for such a small Party within such a hostile environment.


Beginning as we did, from several Marxist-Leninist groupings with various levels of development, we faced a host of organizational problems. A year ago, there was no structure to the party at all. Thanks to some of the more experienced comrades, especialy Comrade Kilpatrick, we adopted Peters’ Manual on Organization, and placed it in every comrade’s hands so that the entire party membership can assist in the continuing consolidation of the Party. However, the building of factory nuclei, the units in the neighborhoods, the delineation of duties of the various officers, all have taken time, and almost everything was done incorrectly first and had to be redone. Nonetheless, we do have a Party structure and are functioning as a Party. The differences that existed between the forming groups are fully done away with.

As most of you comrades know, before the Congress was adjourned, a conspiracy was hatched to split the Party. This conspiracy was principally formed by some leaders of the old League for Proletarian Revolution. Their front man, Al Thrasher, along with a few open henchmen, approached a number of delegates with the line that the program was not a Marxist program, the Congress was a sham, Nelson Peery is not a Marxist, and in order to form the real Communist Party they would have to split this one.

A large number of people were taken-in with such trash. However, due to education and confidence in the Party and its leadership that developed as a result of their struggles, one by one these conspirators began to squeal on one another. Some were sharply criticized and others were expelled from the Party. However, today our Party is united and any agent in our midst will have to work for the corruption of our line, because there is no possibility of a political split within the party at this time.


Since the main thrust of our program is building the united front, it is only natural that our most pressing problems should arise in this area. Unfortunately far too many of our lessons in this respect fall in the category of re-discovery of lessons of the 1930’s here and in Europe. First and foremost is the basic lesson that the united front cannot be built unless the party maintains an independent position within the united front and plays an independent role. First in this category is the question around the assignments to the individual comrades. There still persists the idea that there is “mass” and then there is “communist” work. All of our work is communist work, and all of our work should be a part of a plan of our unit and section. The proper division in our work should be open communist work and secret communist work.

We can project that there will not be a rapid development of a favorable situation in the USNA. We expect the slow development of reaction for quite some time. This means that we are going to have to master the form of secret communist work. Such work is not simply implementing the line. There are and will be friends of the Party who can do that restricted work. A communist, whether secret or open, must recruit, must build the formation of the Party. The vast majority of our people will be engaged in that work. Under extreme conditions it will not be possible for us to have any open party work except by the center. However, each and every comrade must gather a group of friends-political friends and supporters around him. They will know that he is a member of the party, they will be his base for recruiting and they will be his protection. Without this openness in secret work, we cannot build the Party. Because some of the comrades have not been dialectical in their approach, secret meant hidden from all. Our revolutionaries cannot succeed if they rely on logical categories.

Another problem we have faced and are only now beginning to solve is the question of grasping the central link and pulling the entire chain forward. In this instance, this central link is the campaign around unemployment. Unemployment is the social face of the economic and political crisis that is gripping this country.

This front, the struggle around unemployment, has a number of battles fought there. The struggle against the fascist gangs, the strike struggles, the struggle for peace, the fight for the rights of the national minorities, the fight for social equality and justice for women, the aged, the youth, etc., are all battles in the unemployment campaign. It is entirely wrong the way some of the leading comrades approach the shifting of forces in the various battles. They often adopt a fire brigade method of work-rushing from one front to the next without stopping to analyse and integrate the relationship between the various battles. Hence, the anti-Klan work is not tied to the economic crisis and the degeneration of the system. Anti-war work is not connected to the anti-fascist and unemployment struggles. Even yet, we have not been able to clearly explain to the local leaders that these struggles are all faces of the basic campaign. Until this is accomplished, there will continue to be diffusion and aimlessness in our work.


The rapid expansion of our work has not allowed us much maneuvering room as regards a cadre policy. In the main we have been forced to meet requirements for cadre in the best way available. Nevertheless, we have learned some valuable lessons as regards cadre expansion. Our first lesson is that cadre who perform well within a familiar environment do not always stand up well when expanded to new areas. Consequently, we have had to take other factors apart from subjective capabilities into consideration. First of all, proletarian cadre, used to difficult living are able to more than compensate for abilities that come from the intellectual disciplines of college. Secondly, comrades whose background includes moving easily among unfamiliar people, a characteristic that is gained by moving from factory to factory, is always helpful. We have found that those comrades who have these subjective factors on their side, very often are able to make the greater contribution.

In the old CP, there was a cadre policy known as “colonizing” and expanded cadre were quite properly referred to as colonizers. More often than hot the colonizer was a New York college radical who had read two books and was convinced that he was God’s gift to the revolution. He was sent to a proletarian area where he arrogantly utilized his mastery of the gift of gab to finally assume leadership of a unit or club, until he was removed or transferred, leaving the area in worse position than when he arrived. Of course, that cannot be cadre policy. Our cadre expansion policy is based upon the process of building the Party, quantitatively and qualitatively. We demand of our cadre that they go to an area to strengthen it, not to take it over. By and large we have been successful in strengthening areas by the temporary assignment of advance comrades to help in the understanding of the organizational and political line of the Party. However, one of the weaknesses of the Party is our inability to supply the new areas and the: areas that are growing very rapidly with the necessary developed cadre to guarantee their continued development. As with every young Party, there is a considerable contradiction between our organizational tasks which are summed up as win the vanguard of the proletariat to the cause of communism, and our organizational capabilities, which are restricted by the capabilities of 600 very loyal and fine communists. But it is clear that this contradiction between our capabilities and our tasks can only be resolved by recruiting. We have to admit that recruiting into the Party has not proceeded as it should have in relation to the growing radicalization of the working class nor to the political activity of the party.


At the end of the Congress, we issued a call to rapidly double the size of the Party. This call was not made apart from the understanding of the necessity of a qualitative growth, but rather from the point of view that there were several hundred very good people around the party that could be recruited, and given the existing relationship of forces, we could not create a real political impact with 600 comrades scattered across the country. As all of you know, we have not been able to achieve the level of quantitative growth that we needed. This was not based in the objective situation, but rather in the subjective attitudes of a large number of the comrades. One factor became very clear as the center pushed for recruiting. That factor was a current of anti-communism within the party itself. What I’m referring to is the concept, inherited from the bourgeois press and TV, that the working class hates the communist movement and communism. We very soon found out that it is impossible to recruit into the communist movement when our presence as a party isn’t felt. This anti-communism was also expressed in the use of the Paper, or I should say the lack of use of the PT, the TP and the Western Worker. As the ideological roots of this problem became clear, the center took steps to combat it. Those steps were the struggle for democratic centralism, and to inform the comrades of the successes of the Party and to build a fighting pride in the Party.

Some of the comrades did not and do not understand the difference in approach in the building of the Party and the building of the pre-party formations. Prior to the Congress, our recruiting target was the revolutionaries with a high level of theoretical understanding coupled with class consciousness. At that time we summed up our direction as to the most advanced of the advanced. But this projection was entirely a tactic of grouping the people capable of laying the theoretical, ideological and political foundations of our Party. That task that has taken us 17 years of struggle and learning has been accomplished.

It is a scientific law that every living thing must change with the environment or else it must die. Our political environment has basically changed in as much as we have completed the process of forming the Party and now our task is to build it. Instead of seeking out and organizing the “advanced of the advanced,” we are struggling to recruit the vanguard of the proletariat. That is to say, the practical leaders of the proletariat. Not necessarily the official leaders of the unions, but the real leaders, the leaders on the shop floor and proletarian neighborhoods. Here we necessarily will be dealing with workers on a lower ideological and political level than the recruits of a year ago. But we built this solid theoretical fortress so that we could take in the fighters who were backward. We have already insured that we can lower the theoretical and ideological level of the party and still have a strong organization. At any rate, we shall either conform to Engels’ formulation that all substance lives by taking in nourishment from the environment and excreting all that is used up and useless or we shall surely die as a political organism.

This question of building the party is so vitally important that we are” faced with the prospect of taking a long hard look at units that do not recruit. The pattern is a familiar one. Comrades carry out very well directed struggles; they gather a number of people around them or into the united front organizations through which they operate. At the tapering off of the struggle, no one has been recruited into the Party, in spite of a good campaign. Why? Again, because people do not know that it is the party that is the mobilizing moral force behind the struggle. In plant after plant, comrades at the factory gates sell hundreds of PT’s, while the comrades inside the plant declare that they cannot get any contacts because of the anti-communism. Comrades, we would be making a serious and bureaucratic error if we were to conclude that the resistance is subjective. No, in almost all cases, the resistance is objective. Our comrades are, in the main, quite young and quite inexperienced in this aspect of the class struggle. The resolution of this contradiction is a problem for the leadership. Stalin always pointed out that leaders were those who Solved problems. The solution of the problem does not lie in threatening, cajoling or bringing comrades up on charges. The solution lies in convincing the comrades of the correct path. And we have to know that path before we can convince them of it. An examination of the problem will show that it has an organizational basis as well as an ideological one. That organizational basis is the factory nuclei. A nucleus that in fact is a communist fraction of the trade union will never recruit into the Party. A nucleus that is the independent organization of the Party in the factory cannot help but recruit the workers that they educate in national and world affairs and whom they lead in the class struggle in the factory. However, everything indicates that we are on the way to making a breakthrough in this regard. As the independent work of the nuclei is established, some recruiting has been done. In this respect, certain units, especially in Detroit, have begun to recruit off the assembly line. You can be assured that as soon as our Party unit is accepted as their political spokesman on the floor, they will flood into the Party.

We also have to review our attitude toward the comrades we are recruiting. In the main, the motion is to absorb them into the Party without understanding that we must change the recruit, but we must also change the Party. Some very good workers who had been recruited in the course of the struggle have left the Party after their 18th meeting in 25 days. We cannot accomplish our tasks without recruiting family men and women. They are not prepared as we are, to submerge all our personal life into the political struggle. This is a process and if we attempt to start at the end of that process, we are going to make a serious mistake and drive away the people we are able to recruit. If we could paraphrase Lenin, our slogan should be, “Meet, but not to death!”

Another aspect of the consolidation and expansion of the Party is the role of the individuals within the Party. Our Party has recruited the very best of progressive humanity. Within our ranks are peoples of all sorts of talents, skills and arts. Yet there is legacy of the Lin Piao period that stifles the initiative of the various comrades. The concept of learning from the workers became transformed into a tactical thing that people of talent should learn from any worker. The result has been a hesitation on the part of trained and talented people to contribute or to criticize workers. Hence everything from grammatical to historical errors have appeared in our publications that could have bee avoided if those with the necessary skills and training had had the communist sense of responsibility to step forward and contribute.


The struggle to consolidate the Party has in the main been a struggle for democratic centralism. But here again we are dealing with a concept and not with a big set of unchanging rules. The only thing that remains unchanged is the law that lower bodies obey higher bodies and that in the Congress the minority submits to the majority. In the application of these rules we have to be flexible enough to let the Party grow. We must do away with the spectacle of the so-called leader putting the so-called rank and filer in his place from the position of democratic centralism.

Above all, democratic centralism guarantees the political equality within the Party as well as assures organizational responsibility. What is political equality? It is the guarantee that each and every comrade in the Party is responsible to see to it that the line of the Party is followed. No comrade can be compelled to violate the decisions of the Congress from the position of democratic centralism. Quite to the contrary, no one can hide behind democratic centralism in order to violate these decisions. On the other hand, our organizational structure places responsibility for the carrying out of decisions squarely in the hands of the constituted authority and it is impossible to diffuse or shift that responsibility. Democratic centralism is our main political weapon.


Our Party and every revolutionary movement before us had to take a position that the struggle for the unity of the working class was the struggle for the rights of the oppressed peoples and minorities. It has also been accepted that this struggle could not be fought out solely in the shops and plants. It has also been a social struggle, the struggle for civil and equal rights. It is clear that this struggle for the rights of the national minorities has been seriously hampered by the disorganized and disunited character of the struggle. An examination of the national composition of the vanguard of the proletariat will show that a large section of the unskilled workers are from the national minorities. In other words, we want to start dealing with both aspects of the national minority workers. On the one hand, we want to deal with them as subjectively what they are, the heart of the working class. On the other hand, we want to deal with them as what they are objectively, doubly oppressed and doubly exploitednational minorities.

In our factory nuclei we are striving to win over and unite these workers. Our struggles within the proletarian community, for unity with a national minority often excludes the struggle to unite the various national minorities. We must create an apparatus that is capable of serving as the basis of broad united front work, an apparatus that will fight for the rights of the minorities, and by doing so unite them, not only as national minorities, but more importantly, as a part of the vanguard of the proletariat. What is needed is an apparatus to bring under one umbrella the various organizations of the Mexican, Negro, Indian and Puerto Rican that we influence or that care to participate on a national level in the legal struggle for their rights. Both the old Communist Party and the POC formed equal rights and civil rights congresses. They were doomed to failure by sectarianism and by extreme right-wing policies. But even more fundamentally, they could not succeed because they were actually fronts or branchesof the parent organization and with very little membership apart from communists.

We are proposing a congress of organizations that are fighting USNA imperialist social policies in the broadest sense. We believe that we have built or have some influence in enough small but viable groupings across the country, to talk in terms of such a congress of these organizations and to establish a national organization. We would like to indicate that an adequate base for this motion already exists in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, as well as some other cities. We envision such an organization playing an important role in the legislative arenas as well as building the mass struggle against the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party.

Our increasingly violent struggle against especially the Nazi Party has again demonstrated to us how necessary it is to have reserves if we are going into a sustained struggle. Quite naturally, these fascist gangs are considerably stronger than we are and although their reserves are limited, they do have reserves.

On the other hand, our potential reserves are unlimited while our immediate reserves are negligible. We must immediately either solve this problem of strength or begin to withdraw from the struggle. Since it is impossible to withdraw, we must find ways and means to immediately increase our fighting capacity. In the course of the class struggle, every communist party is faced with this decision and in general the contradiction is resolved by the creation of “Red Guard” units. We envision these units to be pro-communist, non-communist, anti-fascist fighters. Such an organization could take advantage of the mass hatred of the KKK without being held back by the high level of discipline and ideology of the Party. Such legal organizations would have to be the multi-national complement of the party. Its task would principally be limited to physical struggle in the streets. With the proper ideological approach, we believe that thousands of young men and women who are not ready for the discipline of the party are prepared to eagerly enter into street fighting with the fascists. An example of this was the incident which took place in the middle of the Negro community at 71st and Damen in Chicago. There the Nazis actually marched into the Negro neighborhood, roughed up men and women and children, but due to confusion, lack of leadership, and lack of understanding of the Nazis, they marched out of the neighborhood scot free from any resistance by the people. The police arrested 25 of them, stating the Nazis were inherently violent. This incident shows the absolute necessity of a hard-hitting organization to militantly defend the minority neighborhoods. If we achieve clarity and unite around these goals, we should launch a national campaign to create the foundations of such organizations prior to the calling of our Congress.

Comrades, it is clear that the problems that we face are all problems of growth. Partly, these problems cannot be solved but with the development of experience. But generally speaking we would move ahead at a much more rapid pace if there were a greater unity of will among our leaders. We hope that the brevity of this report will allow for a very full discussion, exchange of experiences and debate on our organizational thrust.