Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Viewpoint

The Boston Forced Busing Plan: The Dialectics of Bourgeois Formal Democracy and Fascism


First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, No. 1, May, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Boston busing plan has provided a living lesson for the working class on how the bourgeoisie use racism to maintain their rule. They have brought out the KKK and the American Nazi Party en mass in an attempt to revive and spread the lynch mob tradition of white supremacy. Through the busing plan, they have succeeded to whip up a racist hysteria throughout the country. The busing plan is like a ghost call which is able to lure out the most blatant chauvinism among the American white working class. The busing plan pushed by the liberal bourgeoisie like Garriety and Kennedy has revealed how bourgeois democracy ultimately unites with the lowest of reactionary ideas: national chauvinism, It has also brought out what the bourgeoisie can boast as its ’best’ weapon in their last ditch effort to split the working class–national prejudice and racism. The busing issue showed how racist ideology can be used to facilitate national oppression which have reaped billions and billions of super-profits for the bourgeoisie over the centuries. The profits of the Rockfellers, Kennedys and Morgans are the culmination of the sweat and blood of Black enslavement, the extermination of Native Americans, the brutal oppression of Asians, Latinos and scores of other nationalities over hundreds of years. At the time that US monopoly capitalism is heading for the worst economic and political crisis in history, and as the multinational working class is rising up and uniting as one, the bourgeoisie is forced to counter attack with national chauvinism to salvage their rule.

Over the brutalized bodies of black school children and the shattered windows of school buses–the Boston forced busing plan has also forced a most rapid deepening of the line struggle in the new communist movement over the question of bourgeois democracy and the fascization process in this country. What first appeared to be only shades of differences in the theoretical positions of various organizations have sharpened in the crucible of reality.

We see most clearly how the October League (OL) objectively allied itself with the “liberal” bourgeoisie and the state machine. We see how the OL is willing to sell out the interests of the working class, thinking that they are appeasing the minority community. They reduce the busing issue to a question of purely racism and formal democracy, pitting the interests of the blacks against the other oppressed nationalities, against the entire working class.

We also saw on the other extreme Revolutionary Union’s chauvinist tendency revealed in the October issue of Revolution. Most importantly, we saw how the belittling of theory has prevented both the OL and RU from grasping the dialectics between formal bourgeois democracy and fascism. It is true that RU correctly sees the busing plan as a ruling class scheme to divide and rule. But communists must be crystal clear on the question of how fascism is being ushered in while the crisis of imperialism intensifies. Muddling this question, as the OL and RU did, would eventually lead to the betrayal of the working class.

Characteristic of the RU and OL style of polemics, the busing issue has suddenly been dropped from the pages of the Call and Revolution, as if the bourgeoisie has quietly abandoned the busing plan. It is a crime for communists not to struggle for clarity on this issue, to carry the line struggle to a clear resolution. For the immediate struggle, the working class is looking for ideological and political leadership. The bourgeoisie is not going to rest after South Boston and Roxbury. More busing plans are underway for seven major cities in the state of New York. In Detroit, the NAACP has filed suits for metropolitan area busing, which, if approved, would mean the mass busing of 90,000 students. In Boston itself, the bourgeoisie has promised to spread busing throughout the entire city. With their initial success in Boston the ruling class will be eager to use the same tactic again next September when schools open.

This is why it is particularly important that a deeper analysis of the busing issue must be made. Communists must sharpen their theoretical weapons to lead the masses in the coming struggle. The busing issue must be seen in the broader context of the zigzag of bourgeois tactics. Reform and repression are the two methods of bourgeois rule. We maintain that the principal method in this period is still reformism. But communists must be able to see bourgeois tactics and vacillations with all-sidedness, they must go beyond appearances and grasp the essence of dialectics –how one form of rule is transformed into another under certain concrete conditions. This is the opposite of the outlook of revisionism and opportunism, which always jumps out as a one-sided response to a particular form of bourgeois rule. This is how the OL sees busing, as simply the concession of the ruling class, totally ignoring how the liberal politicians are feeding the growth of fascism in the name of desegregation and “equal education.”

For the task of building an anti-revisionist party, the polemics over the busing issue has a deeper significance. As Lenin pointed out in 1903:

When the party is only in the process of formation, its features are only just being outlined. (What appears at first sight to be an unimportant error may lead to the most deplorable consequences and only short-sighted people can consider factional disputes and a strict differentiation between shades of opinion inopportune or superfluous...the fate of the (communist movement) for many years to come may depend on strengthening of one or other ’shades.’

The new communist party can only be born out of a tit-for-tat struggle over all shades of revisionism and opportunism. The busing issue has served to sharpen the line of demarcation within the movement over the questions of bourgeois democracy, fascism, and the general question of communist strategy and tactics in this period. The OL has exposed itself as the social democratic trend within the new communist movement. This trend must be thoroughly smashed so that the movement can surge forward on a new footing. We call on all communists to study the issue closely, take a stand and join the struggle against the growing social democratic tendencies in the midst of our young communist movement.


The heart of the question: is the busing plan a genuine or false CONCESSION? Is it a democratic rights issue or a bourgeois tactic?

Many of the best representatives of the bourgeoisie, ranging from Ted Kennedy and the NAACP to Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations, all agree that the heart of the busing issue is the “democratic rights” of the minorities. It is under this “progressive” and “anti-racist” banner that they are unfolding their campaign to whip up national prejudices and racial hatred of whites against the oppressed national minorities and to divert the genuine democratic struggle of the Black people away from the state. We must look closely at this question. Is this forced busing plan, manipulated through legalistic procedures, really a democratic rights issue for the nationally oppressed and in the interests of the multi-national working class?

No, we don’t think so.

The ruling class is, in this case, simply shifting the whole burden and blame of inequality in education and of the deteriorating educational system onto the working class.

Do we consider the forced transfer of a Black student from a mostly Black slum to a mostly white slum school (as in the case of Roxbury and Boston High Schools) really a case of democratic rights for Black students? Can progressives, let alone communists, consider the shuffling of students back and forth between one bad and another worse school (typical of working class neighborhoods) a cause to be taken up by Blacks and other minorities while the whole educational system is being squeezed and under budgeted? Absolutely NO!

Consider another example. In the budget cut struggle, do we accept the cuts but demand that educational funds from white working class communities should be transferred to minority communities? NO! Our position is that we fight against all types of cuts from all levels of government. While we raise special demands in minority communities because of national oppression, our demand is always directed against the bourgeoisie as a whole and not sectors of our fellow workers.


Education is a class question. All schools in working class communities are dilapidated, overcrowded and underfunded. For decades, working class people all over the country have been fighting for more funding, improved curriculum, adequate staffing, parent’s rights, and above all, for a decent education for their children.

Communists never see democratic rights in a formalistic or legalistic manner, but as one component of the minimum program in the United Front Against Monopoly Capitalism. Integration is progressive as a democratic demand, but is treacherous as a revolutionary strategy. Communists go into democratic struggles to inject socialist consciousness, expose the misleaders, to seek out and consolidate advanced workers and to advance the multinational unity of the class. In this time of rising mass movements, spontaneous democratic rights struggles are spurring us to develop our theoretical work, to undertake complicated tasks and to struggle shoulder-to-shoulder with the masses and lead them forward. “Which side are you on?” This is the question used by Carl Davidson as his catch phrase at the N.Y. busing forum. For the Call, the Guardian and Davidson, it is indeed time for some self-criticalness. Which side are you on?

As communists, we must resolutely fight for the rights of the oppressed minorities, to go to the schools of their choice. This is necessary to fight racism and discrimination and to demand quality education for the oppressed minorities. We should fight against all budget cuts and for more fundings to improve the conditions in the schools, for better programs, better curriculum, better facilities, better staffing, etc., especially in the schools that serve the oppressed, minorities, which are particularly under budgeted, overcrowded and deteriorated. We must fight against all different forms of national oppression and racism imposed by the bourgeoisie on the education system, such as racist textbooks, the “tracking system”, discriminatory hiring policies. We must defend against racist attacks and instigations, the right to bilingual programs, multi-cultural programs and all other necessary programs, such as preparatory programs. We must also defend the general rights of the parents to have input in school decision-making that affect their children. In our struggle, we must staunchly expose and defeat the bourgeois tactics of whipping up the division of the class along national lines and the pitting of parents against teachers, as pushed by the misleaders and social props in the union and in the community, whom we must expose. We must lead the struggle to fight for our common demands spearheaded at our class enemy, the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus, the government. This is the genuine democratic rights for better education and against national oppression and racism that we must fight for. This is the correct way to build multinational unity–NOT through the bourgeois busing plan.


In the decade after the 1954 Brown vs. Board Supreme Court decision against de jure segregation in the South, little action was undertaken by the bourgeoisie to enforce integration in the schools. By 1964 only 1% of the schools in Mississippi were integrated. Forced busing was never pushed, nor was it legally possible under the so-called freedom of choice approach to school integration. Federal action against southern and border states increased after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, under which HEW authorized to withhold funds from schools charged with deliberate segregation. Under the same Act, the Attorney General was empowered to initiate federal desegregation suits. In 1968, HEW for the first time issued fund witholding guidelines that applied to northern states, and in April of the same year, filed the first desegregation suit in the North against a Chicago suburb. The Supreme Court, in 1968, rejected the “freedom of choice” approach to integration in Green vs. Kent County, opening the field wide for the onslaught of the bourgeoisie busing plan. A number of court cases since then have gradually increased the authority of the federal government in its implementation of forced integration measures (busing, redistricting, cutting off federal funds).

The Nixon Court had taken a consistently pro-busing stand until the Detroit case in July 1974, when the Court ruled against cross-district busing between Detroit and its suburbs. At present, the Detroit case is still being contested in the courts.

Along with the courts, the NAACP is the other arm of the bourgeoisie’s tactic. Since the mid-sixties, millions of funds have been poured into the NAACP from the ruling class, chiefly through the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. With this money NAACP has been able to file numerous suits against local officials and school boards at all levels demanding immediate integration of schools. Thurgood Marshall, who obediently carried out his duty to the “liberal” bourgeoisie as the Chief Attorney of NAACP during the 1954 desegregation legal offensive, was rewarded with a position on the austere nine-man Supreme Court (bastion of bourgeois legality and defender of its class rule).

While Congress was caught in the bind of appeasing their strongly anti-busing electorate, the senators and state representatives shifted their position on the busing question according to the climate of opinion and their need to court the votes of the constituency. For the Democrats whose political assets included a staunch liberal or conservative image, (Kennedy, Wallace), their position on the busing question was more consistent. A supposedly stringent anti-busing bill that was passed in the House, where less powerful corporate interest was represented, was finally killed when it reached the Senate floor, showing clearly where the unity of the bourgeoisie lay. While token busing plans in non-working class communities such as Evanston, Illinois (which has one of the best high schools in the country), Pasadena and Berkeley were implemented smoothly, bourgeois politicians, without exception, succeeded in provoking intense infights between Blacks and whites in working class communities, particularly communities with long histories of struggle over education and other democratic demands.

Why did the bourgeoisie suddenly become so dedicated to the cause of integration? Blinded by their opportunism, the OL and Guardian want us to believe that the busing plans are concessions from the bourgeoisie. This is extreme naïveté. As Lenin taught us,

bourgeois democracy is historically the best political shell for capitalism. Today reform is still the principal tactic of the bourgeoisie in maintaining their rule. As the crisis of capitalism deepens, the bourgeoisie is increasingly unable to afford concessions, and it is therefore forced to push false reforms and to combine them with repression more flexibly.

To understand bourgeois strategy and the busing plan as a false concession serving to disintegrate the people’s movement, it is necessary to put the issue in the context of the Blacks1 struggle, and the crisis that U.S. monopoly capitalism is facing. In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of the militant movement, and the urban uprisings of the ’60s, the ruling class responded with reform and repression. On the side of repression, virtually all the leaders of the militant black groups were assassinated, jailed or exiled...Panthers, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X. On the side of reform, a huge urban pacification program was launched: the Community Action agencies, Urban Development corporations, the Urban Coalition, Urban Task Forces, black capitalism, anti-poverty programs. In 1966, McGeorge Bundy, former special assistant to President Kennedy for National Security Affairs, and then Chairman of the Ford Foundation, in an address to the National Urban League Convention, pledged his Foundation to “play its full part in the cause of the Blacks” and announced that ”new projects would be launched in the fields of leadership, research, communications and the administration of justice.” Besides setting up their own organizations with front men, the bourgeoisie also found it expedient to co-opt an unprecedentedly large number of petty bourgeoisie and black civil rights organizations in the movement. Money was pumped through different channels into CORE, SCLC, the National Urban League, NAACP and NAACP Legal and Defense Fund. The NAACP, a staunch foe of black armed self-defense, and an organization that peddles legalism, integration and electoral politics, became the ready tool of the bourgeoisie.

At the same time, the Black liberation movement had outgrown the pacifist and integrationist form of struggle. It is under these historical circumstances that the bourgeoisie began to push its busing plans around 1968. While before 1970, state integration plans were directed principally at disintegrating the Black movement and pitting Blacks against whites, the main thrust of the plan today has shifted.

It is under these historical circumstances that the bourgeoisie began to push its busing plans around 1968. While before 1970 state integration plans were directed principally at disintegrating the Black movement and pitting Blacks against whites, the main thrust of the plan today has shifted.

With the deepening imperialist crisis, the bourgeoisie faces not only the Blacks, but also the rising battles of the entire working class. Inflation, recession and all the problems of the economy are hitting all classes, and most importantly$ the entire working class. The bourgeoisie is also finding itself increasingly unable to make concessions to pacify the working class. It is from these problems that the bourgeoisie must divert the masses attention. It is in the midst of this deep crisis of monopoly capitalism that the busing plan finds its current significance. Its main thrust now is to exploit and deepen the split among the working class, and to usher in fascism. To deepen our understanding of the nature of forced busing plans, let us examine more closely three other controversies.


Pontiac was one of the first experimental grounds of the forced busing plan. As most working class communities, Pontiac is heavily segregated and has a long history of racial tension, sit-ins, mass protests, mass arrests, fights and even some killings. As in Detroit and elsewhere, the demands of the parents were for better education for their children. Busing was never an issue. The busing suit was filed by the NAACP in Pontiac, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Detroit in 1969. 9,000 pupils were to be bused under the plan, making each school between 20-40% white at a cost of $1.4 million. A busing order was granted in 1971 and a later appeal by the white school board was defeated. The busing plan was to begin in Fall of 1971.

From late August through September 1971, the struggle sharply escalated. On August 31, ten school buses were bombed. The next day, the National Action Group, a white homeowners’ association, organised an anti-busing march of 5,000 people. One week later, busing began amidst the white parents’ pickets, resulting in 50% attendance . While there was no major violence, fights occurred between black and white students. On September 10, six KKK members were arrested and charged with the bus bombings. Charges revealed that an undercover agent had been involved for four years with the Pontiac Klan (the Michigan Klan is reputed to be the largest in the North.) On September 11, the NAACP and School Superintendant Whitner asked the Federal Court to order Federal Marshalls into Pontiac to protect the students, which was later refused. On September 15, 2,000 workers from the National Action Group, (NAG–a white parent group), picketed a General Motors Plant and five days later the National Youth Alliance, a white supremacist organization, held a rally which 100 attended. The KKK acquired a rapid increase in membership, While NAG, denying any connection with the Klan and denouncing the violence, began to organize freedom schools. Finally, on October 21, the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Court busing order. Thus, the first busing case in the North to reach the Supreme Court was settled in favor of the busing plan.

By 1972, busing had become the hottest election issue. Governor Milikan, who was running for re-election on the Republican ticket with an initially non-committal position, came out strongly anti-busing. Senator Griffith (Rep.), who was also running and had supported busing in the South as late as 1971, became Michigan’s anti-busing hero in 1972 by seeking a constitutional amendment against busing. The Democratic contender, Kelly, similarly flip-flopped from a pro-busing to anti-busing position within six months.


The San Francisco busing plan is another example of how the bourgeois state institutes busing as an obstacle to equal and better quality education. By focusing attention onto the busing issue–as affected by the NAACP, Federal Courts, and Board of Education – “public opinion” mobilizes around “busing” while diverting real attention away-from the problems of equal and better education.

The NAACP initiated the suit which resulted in a Federal District Court order to Integrate the district’s grade schools (April 29, 1971). The charge leveled against the S.F. Board of Education was that of the 29% Black student population, 80% were concentrated in 27 schools The Board of Education was ordered to devise an integration plan to be implemented by September of 1971. The Board adopted a plan originally Involving 24,000 students but within a month, the effects of the plan increased to involve 48,000.

The Board of Education and the Concerned Parents Association appealed for a one-year stay on the order. This was denied.

The forced busing plan met strong opposition from the Chinese community. A massive boycott of the Chinese students was carried on in Chinatown–at least 40% were absent to protest the forced busing plan. The question is why the Chinese parents and the community at large protested against the plan. Was the plan meeting the genuine needs and demands of the Chinese school children?

The Chinese historically have suffered some of the most brutal oppression and discrimination in this country: exclusion, slaughter, forced slave labor. Their children were not allowed to attend regular public schools because they “could not be assimilated.” The same children who were discriminated and excluded historically are today similarly denied the right not to be bused. Their democratic rights have always been denied and attacked, then through segregation laws, now through this forced buying plan.

Chinatown schools are under-budgeted, under-staffed, overcrowded. These deteriorating conditions are typical of the conditions in minority communities. They have every right to have a better education. Forced busing is not dealing with these needs. In addition, the particularity of those Chinese students of immigrant background were not considered at all and no special provisions were made to improve the quality of education for them, such as by providing bilingual programs, ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, etc. Instead, these problems would clearly be aggravated by the forced busing.

But the democratic rights demands of the Chinese, just like all the oppressed nationalities, go beyond the general demand for quality education. We must put to the forefront the fight against national oppression, defense of the democratic rights of the oppressed nationalities, the rights to learn their own history, culture and language and the right to go to schools of their choice. These are the genuine democratic rights demands that the Chinese are fighting for, and that is why they opposed forced busing.

As one Chinese parent put it: “We are not against integration, we’re against the busing plan.” But some reactionary community misleaders and racist politicians, such as Wallace, tried to use the school boycott of the Chinese parents to legitimize their own racism of segregated schools. Although the boycott gradually decreased and was at best accounted for not more than 2% of the absentee rate, it was publicized extensively by the mass media and the politicians, without any explanation of the real reasons of the boycott. It was used to whip up racist hysteria to reinforce and continue the segregation against the “racist” Chinese.

In May, 1974, the S.F. Board of Education broadened its plan for integration to secondary schools, despite widespread opposition from Third World and white communities, though from entirely different angles. The transfer of students is mainly among Blacks and Chinese.

In the struggle, the left forces supported the Chinese parents against the forced busing plan, but they failed to provide leadership to further elevate the consciousness of the masses and failed to consciously isolate the anti-busing misleaders who were promoting racism among minorities from the legitimate anti-busing demands.


What are the lessons that we must draw from San Francisco and Pontiac? Both have bankrupt school systems like Boston and the huge number of working class communities across the country. Black and white parents were not asking for integration as a solution to the problems of their schools, let alone forced busing. Both communities were demanding quality education in general and the right to learn their own language and culture for the minority communities. In both cases, the genuine democratic rights demands of the people were being distorted by the bourgeoisie and diverted into infights among the people. To some extent, the devious tactic did help to get the bourgeoisie off the hook from the people’s struggle. In Michigan, busing arose from a non-issue among the masses to the hottest election issue of 1972 and totally blurred the genuine democratic demands of the communities. Secondly, we see that this tactic has served to whip up hatred along racial lines, breed the growth of KKK and other racist organizations, and consolidate the racist and reactionary forces in the white community. By shifting Students from neighborhood to neighborhood, the liberal bourgeoisie incite the racial strife they have carefully cultivated since the beginning of capitalism. The liberal bourgeoisie provided the conditions the fascists to organize. Without the diversions and divisions created by the liberal bourgeoisie, the reactionaries and fascists would have a much tougher time of finding issues with which to ... inflame the white community. The liberal bourgeoisie with the help of groups like NAACP, objectively feeds the growth of fascism. Such is the dialectics between the “liberal” bourgeoisie and fascism that the OL and Guardian is totally ignorant of!

With some understanding of Pontiac and San Francisco, the Boston busing issue becomes all too fami1iar. In Boston, we find the same history of protracted community struggle for better education. In Boston, 1963, certain forces in the Black community put forward a set of demands that were backed up by a one-day school boycott by Black and white students. Their demands were: that the racist school committee recognize de facto segregation, that resources be equalized, open enrollment, human relations training and community participation in the choice of supervisors. In December, 1964, the Boston Globe reported that the reading score in 14 of the city’s 17 high schools were far below the national average.

What is the response of the bourgeoisie in the face of just demands of the people, Black and white? A Kiernan Commission was set up to study the source of the growing anger. Who are the celebrities on this commission? Trustee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Thomas Hennessey, Vice President of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Trustee of Charlestown Savings Bank, Carl J. Gilbert, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gillette (one of the most influential corporations in Boston), and Mrs. Bruce Benson, President of the League of Women Voters/Trustee of New England Utilities, and Director of the Dreyfus Third Century Fund. The Kiernan Commission included four university presidents and several ministers. Governor Peabody was instrumental in the formation of this committee. From such an elite circle , the bourgeois busing plan was born. These people recommended a two-way busing dispersion of Black children among whites as the solution to the poor conditions of schooling available to Blacks in Boston. In 1965, a Racial Imbalance Law was passed to provide for such dispersion. By the passage of this law, the bourgeois politicians distorted the original mass dissatisfaction with the quality of education and segregation and proposed the solution to be the busing of Black children out of their communities (the law provides that schools with over 50% Blacks to be in violation but not those which are 50% white).

On the history of busing in Boston, what the OL tells us is no different from what the ruling class wants us to believe, fin response to the demands of the Black community for an end to the hoax of separate but equal education’, the Massachusetts Legislature passed the Racial Imbalance Act of 1965. The Boston School Committee, led by Hicks and Kerrigan, deliberately ignored the Act. These demagogues began to organize the white communities into an anti-busing front, block by block.” (Call, 11/1974)

Did OL and the Guardian criticize the “liberal” bourgeoisie? Of course! They said that under the pressure of the fascists. The OL claimed that for themselves they would not buckle under the fascists, that they would carry it through to the end. “Indeed, to the point of laying down their lives If need be in defense of these rights.” (Call, 11/74) In other words, the OL would lay down their lives in defense of the “liberal” bourgeoisie. This clearly shows how these so-called “militants in the ranks of working class, disposed to opportunistic trends, are better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie themselves.” (Lenin)

When the bourgeoisie pushed its busing plan in those districts with deteriorating schools, a working class and nationally mixed population and a history of racial tensions and struggles, it invariably resulted in no change or worse school conditions and deeper division within the working class. During the crucial period, when multinational unity of the working class becomes critical, the entire bourgeoisie (both “liberal” and reactionary) is launching its plan against the entire class to split it and to inflame backward sentiments among the people, e.g. national chauvinism and racism. This is what the OL and Guardian completely fail to understand. Assuming that the bourgeoisie simply has no strategy, the OL and Guardian ignore the question of the role of the monopoly capitalist bourgeoisie as a class in the busing plan altogether. Neither group even attempts to analyze the bourgeoisie’s tactics in this struggle, let alone in this period. As mentioned earlier, without an analysis of the busing plan’s nationwide history and its concrete impact in Boston, there can be no understanding of the tactics.

Out of ignorance of the concrete situation, the OL states that “busing to achieve integration of the schools came to Boston as the result of a protracted struggle involving a broad spectrum of left and liberal forces, both Black and white.” (Call, 11/74) We can now inform the OL that the key “left and liberal forces, both Black and white” have always been the “Black” NAACP solidly backed by the “white” Ford and Rockefeller Foundation; (an extremely broad spectrum!) that the protracted struggle was not that of the masses in their workplaces, communities or schools, but that of the NAACP in its legal offices and the courts.

It certainly is a shame that we have to inform the OL and Guardian that corporate interests is deeply entrenched in the Boston school system and the current busing plan. At the very moment when OL and Guardian is still “speculating” on the wishes of different representatives of the bourgeoisie, plans are underway for permanent corporate involvement in the newly organized Boston schools via partnerships between the corporations and the high schools. South Boston High has already been placed in “partnership” with the Gillette Corporation and English High with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., two of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations among Boston monopolies. Corporate funds are flooding into both pro-busing and anti-busing forces under different “public service” guises; corporations are taking part in plans for the opening of the schools and are providing their expertise in drawing up flyers and producing T.V. spots. Such facts are totally ignored by the OL and Guardian. In its December 18th issue, the Guardian presented a totally distorted and misleading “history of busing” that applauded the courts and the co-opted liberal Blacks as the greatest friends of the Black people. A voluntary program that was set up in Boston in 1965 to send Black children to white suburban schools was hailed as part of the “progress” of the Black people’s movement without mentioning that the program, called METCO, was completely funded by the federal government and the Carnegie Foundation, and that METCO had since become one of the most prominent showcases of the “benevolent” and pro-integrationist state. Blinded by their anxiety to appease the black community and to gain a foothold there, the “C”P, SWP, and OL and Guardian never examine the concrete history of busing and similar “community control” issues. The principal basis of this is their belittling of theory. It is not because they lack the simple concrete analysis, or sum up of experience,–but mainly because they do not have a Marxist-Leninist understanding of bourgeois democracy. They are blinded by their petty bourgeois faith in bourgeois democracy. This where methodology and world outlook are identical.

They seem totally oblivious to backstage managers and reform specialists, such as Mc George Bundy (who masterminded the 1969 NYC school decentralization plan) and Bernard Gifford, former head of the infamous counter-insurgency agency– the NY Rand Corporation–and now the Deputy Chancellor of the NY Board of Education, to oversee the Bundy decentralization plan. In the school districts of New York, the liberal bourgeoisie is pushing “community control” plans (see WV #2), In District One which is on the Lower Eastside, a traditionally militant community, the bourgeoisie is trying to defuse the community struggle for better education into scrambles for school board seats and the extremely inadequate funds. The attack is on the multinational unity among the Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Jews & Chinese. District One is unquestionably one of the most ambitious attempts by the bourgeoisie to split the class.

Do the OL and Guardian understand the nature of community control? NO. This is why they put the demand for “community control” into the Fred Hampton Contingent they organized for the December 14 march in Boston. Instead of exposing the bourgeois “community control” plan, the OL and Guardian willingly became its henchmen!

The fact that a “reform”, such as the busing plan, follows a just struggle, of the black movement, guarantees nothing about the “reform”, for the bourgeoisie naturally fights for every inch, at every turn, even when appearing to “give in.” Every ruling class, especially our own most liberal and reform-minded U.S. bourgeoisie, daily and hourly throws such false concessions in the face of revolutionary struggles to split, divert and co-opt them. As the revolutionary vanguard, communists must be able to distinguish true concessions that reflect the genuine needs and demands of the people, from concessions that have been distorted by the bourgeoisie to weaken the revolutionary movement. It is this distinction between the revolutionary struggle and the false reform that has never even occurred to the October League and the Guardian. It is precisely such an ability to tell a real concession, which can be used to advance our struggle, from a false one, which is used to destroy the revolutionary movement, that made the Mensheviks revisionist, and the Bolsheviks the genuine communists. In 1905, under the weight of a massive Russian peoples1 movement, the Czar ”gave in” by calling a Constituent Assembly (Duma). Mensheviks wanted to participate in it since they thought it was a real concession. The Bolsheviks, under the correct leadership of Lenin, boycotted it, because they knew it was a false concession aimed at disintegrating the mass movement. With this historical example in mind, we wish to say: It may do the working class struggle some good If the OL and Guardian would do some study on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and learn to distinguish real reform from sham ones. This is the ABC’s of Marxism, which communists cannot do without. Otherwise, you will be continuously running around like chickens with their heads chopped off,–while being the willing servants of the bourgeoisie.


In what form will fascism come in the U.S.? For OL, fascism is the main trend and an immediate danger. “Stop the fascist tide” is the tireless chant. OL sees fascism as CIA buggings, the Nixon-Watergate corruption, killer cops and the KKK. Compared with these “fascists,” the Ted Kennedy’s, “liberal” politicians and the “liberal” bourgeoisie are the good guys. They are the lesser of two evils. The Guardian peddled the same line–Ford is reactionary, Congress is relatively better. In their obsession with fascists vs. liberals, they became blind to the reality of the fascisation process.

In the busing issue they see the Hicks and the Kerrigans as fascists: these “fascists” are so dangerous that the courts, the NAACP, Ted Kennedy and even the federal troops must become our immediate allies. Engels has a description of this way of looking at reality:

What these gentlemen all lack is dialectics. They never see anything but their cause and effect. That this is a hollow abstraction, that such metaphysical polar opposites only exist in the real world during crisis. While the whole vast process proceeds in the form of interaction.

Fascism does not arrive like storm-troopers in the night. The process of fascisation creeps in through the superstructure, the ideological sphere (see articles on OL, Culture and Fascism, in this issue), through the interaction between the modern day social democrats and the fascists and by stripping the working class and national minorities of our hard won political rights and standard of living. Historically, this is what happened in Western Europe In the first half of this century. German Social-Democracy played the role of disarming the working class movement from within as it faced increasing attacks. It bred illusions in the working class about reformism, trade-unionism and national chauvinism. Social Democracy paved the way for fascism by corrupting Marxism, through the preaching of social pacifism, and by tying the workers to the imperialist state.

“The development of fascism assume different forms In different countries, according to historical, social and economic conditions and to the national peculiarities and the international position of the given country” (Dimitrov). In this country, fascism would ride into power through the vehicle of racism. This is why the Boston busing issue represents more than simply racial ?strife. The history of slavery in the South, the Northern colonization of the South, industrialization after the Civil War, reconstruction, Jim Crow Laws, the Chinese Exclusion Law, the current attack on illegal aliens, the KKK and Wallace,–all point to the role of racism in pitting one sector of the working class against another and the special oppression of national minorities. Racism and national prejudice have been an integral part of the American national ideological superstructure. Every night pictures of white Irish working class people fighting the state police and Black children flashed across the screen of millions of television sets in the past few months. In this way, racism moves far beyond Boston to inflame racist sentiment in both the petty bourgeoisie and the working class who themselves are under attacks by inflation, layoffs and cutbacks. This reinforces the strong American populist traditions of anti-government, anti-“slick New England money people” and breeds the growth of more Wallaces and KKK’s. Georgi Dimitroff also wrote that “in contradiction with German fascism, which came under anti-constitutional slogans, American fascism tries to portray itself as the custodian of the constitution and American democracy.” In WV#2, the article on United Front Against Monopoly Capitalism points out that “fascism in the U.S. would be ushered in through the form of liberal measures ’necessary’ to preserve our democratic rights. Fascism would take on a perverted American form and creep in insidiously (no strike labor contracts, stop and search orders).” The Boston issue reaffirmed this basic line of our analysis.

In the busing Issue, the split of the working class signals a greater menace of fascism than the KKK, the Hicks and Kerrigans. It its support of the forced busing plan, the OL objectively becomes the collaborator with the “liberal” bourgeoisie. By not identifying the real enemy of the working class, which is the entire bourgeoisie, and by evading to take a stand on the ruling class tactic–the busing plan–the OL and Guardian are in fact actively promoting divisions among the working class. By saying that the enemy of the Black workers are the “white racist mobs”, the OL and Guardian are peddling the bankrupt line of the white blind spot theory which would only lead eventually to revisionism and class collaboration!

Presently, the revolutionary trend and the fascist trend are in fierce contention with each’ other. As U.S. Imperialism is sinking into its deepest crisis, the bourgeoisie will be forced to turn to war and fascism as last ditch efforts to lift themselves from the crisis. The heroic struggle of the Third World people and the economic crisis at home has forced the bourgeoisie to try to take away the small concessions it has made to the working class in the past decade. The bourgeoisie is forced to replace these concessions with sham reforms and more repressive acts against the working class. The bourgeoisie simply has no choice. At the same time, the working class is also rising up to take our destiny into our own hands. The youth and student-based anti-war movement has given way to growing militant struggles of the working class. There is a growing discontent among all sectors of the people with the two bourgeois parties and capitalism. The minds of working people are wide open. Working people have begun to throw away their illusions about the capitalist system. The masses are looking for alternatives and leadership.

The bourgeoisie, of course, understands this fully. This is why they have to build up and revive social props of all shades to divert, divide and pacify the working class movement. Even an old time reactionary like George Meany has put on the cloak of socialism.

We do not have a social democratic party in the U.S. as in Western Europe, during the 30’s. But we do have Social Democrats, such as Michael Harrington, liberal politicians, union misleaders, particularly those “militant”, “progressive ”, or “pro-labor” postures,–such as Bundy, the NAACP. Although their social basis and forms they take to deceive the working class are different, they are identical in their role as social props of the bourgeoisie.

At the time when the subjective forces–communist leadership and ideology is key in deciding when the revolutionary forces will finally be victorious over the fascist trend, the OL is a most dangerous trend within the communist movement. It plays the same treacherous role of the social props of the bourgeoisie as our liberal enemies. It represents the social democratic tendency that is serving the bourgeoisie by disarming the working class from within.

In this country, the fascisation process takes shape when liberal representatives of the capitalist class create solutions, such as busing which feed the growth of the fascist representatives^ such as Wallace, the KKK or Hicks. Watergate is another example. In the name of democracy and the constitution, the liberal champions succeeded in “throwing the bum out.” Nixon was dethroned for his “fascist measures” and his corruption. Yet In the aftermath, we find Mr. Monopoly, Nelson Rockefeller, parading into power. Again, house-cleaning operations at the CIA are carried out in the name of democracy, but the essence is a struggle for even more centralization of power within the ruling class. At the same time each of these “reforms” sows the illusion that “the system works.”

In the Ideological sphere, interaction of “liberal values” such as “freedom of speech” can help breed fascist culture such as pornography, racism, and perversity,–revealing the interaction and ideological unity between these two wings of the bourgeoisie. Who are the champions of anti-gun laws under the name of law and order? The “liberals.” Yet, we know that anti-gun laws only mean disarming the working class while state troops and fascist agents are armed to the teeth. A little understanding of the history of fascism in Europe in the first half of the century Would have prevented OL from making this deadly error. As Dimitrov pointed out:

Fascism was able to come to power primarily because the working class, owing to the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie pursued by the social democrats, proved to be split, politically and organizationally disarmed, in face of the onslaught of the bourgeoisie.

On the question of bourgeois democracy, the RU took a more correct position than the OL. They were able to point out the class nature of bourgeois democracy, and how the busing plan was used as a bourgeois tactic to divide and rule. However, the danger of fascism demonstrated in the busing issue totally escaped the RU. In their analysis of Boston busing, –the danger of fascism is nowhere to found, To the RU, bourgeois democracy is simply for the bourgeoisie. But what they have is a static picture of bourgeois democracy–not its dynamics in the development of capitalism. And this static view is reflected in their inability to grasp the dialectics between fascism and bourgeois democracy. Historically, bourgeois democracy was progressive in its struggle against feudalism and in the rise of capitalism. But in this stage of parasitic, decaying and moribund capital-Ism, bourgeois democracy has become the feeder with which the bourgeoisie is trying to straitjacket the working class movement to usher in fascism. For example, they view all fights against the government, the monopolies and cops as good, even if they are instigated by the “anti-monopoly” fascists–as in Boston. They don’t understand this “progressive aspect” is precisely the aspect that the fascist exploits. Blinded by their static, populist view of anti-government movement, this dialectics between fascism and anti-monopoly sentiments, they don’t understand!


Strategy is the determination of the direction of the main blow of the proletariat at a given stage of the revolution, the elaboration of a corresponding plan for the disposition of the revolutionary forces and (main and secondary reserves) the fight to carry out this plan throughout the given stage of the revolution. (Stalin, Foundation of Leninism)

Correct communist strategy must be derived from the application of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete situation of the U.S. It must be able to link up the minimum program and the maximum program of socialist revolution. Tactics must be derived from concrete analysis of the main characteristics, relations of class forces, flow and ebb of the movement in that particular period. Our strategy for the busing issue, just as all fronts of struggle, must start from the understanding that our enemy is the entire bourgeoisie, “liberal” and conservative alike. We cannot just see the reactionary bourgeoisie as the enemy and the “liberal” bourgeoisie merely conciliating to the reactionary sector and vacillating in between the fascists and the “progressives”, pin our hope in pressuring the “liberal” bourgeoisie to side with the people, as does the OL and Guardian, This is objectively following a revisionist strategy and becoming the appendage of the bourgeoisie. For that matter, the “liberal” bourgeoisie is even more dangerous since liberalism is a more crafty policy of the bourgeoisie, especially in this period of the fascisation process. We must thoroughly expose the forced busing plan as a sham reform and a devious bourgeois tactic. We must conduct the widest agitation and propaganda in both the Black and white communities. We must expose and isolate the misleaders in order to win the masses over to our side. The NAACP, Hicks and Kerrigan are the social props of the bourgeoisie in this period and must be totally smashed! The idea of the direction of the main blow is never clear to the OL and Guardian. They repeatedly interchange the use of the term for the main enemy of the revolution. Hicks and Kerrigan are not our enemy in the busing issue. They are the social props of the bourgeoisie and the misleaders of the people. They are the direction of the main blow in this period of preparation for the revolution –acting as a buffer between the bourgeoisie and the people. The social props must be thoroughly exposed and isolated so that communists can win the masses over to the side of socialism. However, the whole point of exposure is to make the masses understand who the real enemy of the people is. What OL does in the entire struggle is to further mislead the people into thinking that everything would be fine only if we “dump Hicks and Kerrigan.” (This is the first demand of the Fred Hampton Contingent organized by OL in the December 14 Boston march).

Confining our work to the exposure of the ruling class plan amounts to tailing after the turns and twists of bourgeois tactics and lose our initiative. We must turn a bad thing into a good thing and turn a defensive tactic into an offensive tactic. Struggle against the menace of fascism is only one component under the strategy of the United Front Against Monopoly Capitalism. The other fronts include the fight against the attack on our standard of living, the struggle for our democratic rights (which includes the rights of the nationalities and minorities, women’s rights and judicial rights), the struggle against wars of aggression and the support of oppressed countries around the world. Through the busing issue, the bourgeoisie is diverting the white and Black communities from struggle against capitalism into an in-fight among each other. Communists must direct the people’s struggles back onto the bourgeoisie as the common target, by fighting for the genuine democratic demands of the working class as a whole. These immediate demands must reflect and promote the revolutionary aspirations of the mass struggle –exposing the sham reforms of the bourgeoisie and the inherent class contradiction under capitalism. We must demand quality education for all especially for the national minorities. In the democratic rights struggle for better education, our strategic task is to build multinational unity of the working class, expose the misleaders and social props of the bourgeoisie, win over the masses and consciously inject socialism. The fight for the minimum program must be constantly linked up with the maximum program, which is the struggle for socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Lenin says, the democratic demands ”must be formulated not in a reformist way, but in a revolutionary way; not by keeping within the framework of bourgeois legality, but by breaking through it; not by confining oneself to parliamentary speeches and verbal protests, but by drawing the masses into real action, by widening and fomenting the struggle for every kind of democratic demand, right up to and including the direct onslaught of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, i.e., to the socialist revolution, which will expropriate the bourgeoisie.” Lenin, Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, Theses, 1920.

ON THE QUESTION OF TACTICS, the proletariat “will not tie its hands, it does not restrict its activities to some pro-conceived plan or methods of struggle; it recognizes all methods of struggle, provided they correspond to the forces at the disposal of the Party and facilitate the achievement of the best results possible under the given conditions.” This is the teaching of Lenin. Communists work wherever the masses are. We must combine both legal and illegal, national and multinational forms of work. Communists must go both into Roxbury and South Boston to conduct propaganda and agitation. We should go to both pro-busing and anti-busing forces to expose the social props of all sorts–racists, fascists, social democrats, and “liberal” misleaders. We must develop multinational forms of organizations to build class unity and weld together the fighting capacity of the minority and white communities together. On the other hand, we must develop national forms of organizations to capture and organize the revolutionary potential of the national minorities.

The proletariat must be armed. Minority communities, in particular, must be armed. We saw in Boston’s Columbia Point, Black housing projects were the first to be disarmed by state troopers. We must lead the masses to go beyond legalistic, peaceful forms of struggle which the bourgeoisie and their agents would like to confine us to. We don’t build mass movements to pressure the government and courts to pass legislation within the bourgeois superstructure, but to build the revolutionary force that will OVERTHROW the bourgeoisie and its superstructure!