Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Viewpoint Organization

African Liberation Support Committee Holds Successful National Conference

First Published: Workers Viewpoint newspaper, Vol. 2, No. 7, August 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On the weekend of July 30-31 in Harlem, New York, over 300 workers, students, youth, community activists and communists held a successful African Liberation Support Committee annual national conference. Since the re-building of the Support Committee last September, this lively and fruitful conference was one of the most important steps to further breath revolutionary fighting spirit into the ALSC to carry out our concrete support work for the liberation fighters in Africa.

To deepen ALSC’s solidarity with the peoples of Africa on the cultural front, the May Day Singers led the conference, in a booming chorus of “All Africa’s Standing Up!”

Summing up past year

The spirited and serious tone for the conference was set by a major opening presentation given by the National Steering Committee (NSC) in summing up this year’s African Liberation Day:

The African Liberation Support Committee has once again carried out concrete support work to the liberation fighters in southern Africa. This was done by a successful 6th annual African Liberation Day held this past May in Oakland, California and in Washington D.C. Over 6000 people marched with ALSC from coast to coast. What is the significance of this successful ALD ’77 led by ALSC? To answer this question, we must grasp the historical development of ALSC since last year. In the period leading up to the September ’76 conference, the reactionary line of the “Revolutionary” Workers League in the ALSC temporarily destroyed the organization nationally. (See “Build ALSC into a Fighting Mass Organization”, WV Sept.- Oct, ’76) The remaining progressive forces in the Support Committee stood firm in our purpose of doing support work, defeated this incorrect leadership and held a national conference last September to once again rekindle the revolutionary torch of the ALSC.

Between September and this past April the “Revolutionary” Workers, Congress (who was at the September conference and said they united with the principles of unity) attempted to split the Support Committee by sending out false principles of unity to all chapters and also attempted to pull the Committee into the arms of the “Revolutionary Communist” Party. During this period, despite these types of twists and turns, progressive forces within the ALSC worked hard to reestablish chapters throughout the U.S. (See “ALSC: “R”WC Paves Way for “RC”,P Takeover” WVWV

Brothers and sisters, this ALD ’77 was an important victory and significant test for the ALSC. Why did over 6000 people on both the east and west coasts’ demonstrations follow ALSC? The answer is clear. We have carried out our tasks of mobilizing the broad masses of the U.S. people, particularly the Afro-American masses, to give concrete support to the liberation fighters in Africa.

ALD ’77 symbolizes our successful campaign this year to rebuild, to lay a firm foundation to further deepen and broaden the scope of our work. It was such a success because we organized under the correct principles of unity. Further, it displayed our strength and our forces who were rebuilding a network of ALSC chapters all across the country to carry our political view and leadership into the, workplaces and communities as we continue to build the revolutionary tradition of the Support Committee. African Liberation Day 1977 was a great beginning!!

The national conference accomplished all the major tasks it set out to complete. To raise the political consciousness of the ALSC membership and aid us in carrying out the work of the committee the Revolutionary Communist League and the Workers Viewpoint Organization made presentations on the international situation. The RCL maintained that revolution is the main trend in the world today. The WVO held that, at present, the factors for both war and revolution are on the rise and either world war will give rise to revolution or revolution will prevent world war; in any case the situation is excellent for the people of the world as long as we are prepared.

The political discussions that followed the presentations helped the masses attending the conference to understand many important questions concerning the international situation today. Questions of: whether there is such a thing as “equally dangerous” imperialists; which is the most likely situation in the coming years – whether revolution will prevent world war or world war will give rise to revolution. There was also a fruitful discussion over the Workers Viewpoint Organization proposal to insert the phrase “the main duty of the U.S. people is to fight U.S. imperialism” in the 2nd principle of unity.

Equally dangerous?

The first discussion on the question of equally dangerous imperialists was initiated by the WVO’s presentation that compared the U.S. imperialists to the wolf and the Soviet Social-imperialists to the fox in a life-and-death struggle with a man. They were described as the two main enemies of that man. But the WVO also qualified that there are enemies and there are enemies. There are different characters to the enemies. The wolf may be stronger at this point but is old and on the decline, while the fox is more deceptive with sheep’s clothing. Also it is young and leaner. It is in this context that the conclusion was drawn that there is no such thing as “equally dangerous enemies, to the same extent and to the same degree”, even though they are both main enemies!

The WVO’s presentation laid out how the Dutch and the Belgians were replaced by the Spanish and the English colonialists due to their merchant-marine superiority and how later on, the U.S. imperialists replaced the Spanish and English colonialists due to its industrial superiority. Through this historical materialist illustration of the uneven development of capitalism, it was concluded that there cannot be two imperialist countries that are equally dangerous. The most valuable aspect of the discussion was centered on the character of the enemies the main occupier of the Third World today, US imperialism, versus the main danger today, the Soviet social-imperialism.

Main duty of US people

This discussion must be viewed in light of the resolution that WVO presented as qualification to the 2nd principle of unity – that “the main duty of the US people is to fight US Imperialism”. This is added to the original text that read, “Oppose the two superpowers, U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, the two main enemies of the peoples of the world. Expose Soviet social-imperialism as the main danger to the independence of the Third World peoples and the peoples of the world and as the main source of war in the world today.” The WVO pointed out that the context of the original principle of unity was for “the people of the world”. That is to say both superpowers are the main enemies to the people of the world. However, US imperialism is the main enemy to the people in the US, and many places where the US imperialists are still directly occupying, such as southern Korea, Puerto Rico, etc.

The Soviet social-imperialists, through their sham international “aid” and through various shades of opportunist and revisionist cliques in those countries which fly the banner of “socialism”, is the main danger because they are more centralized internally, on the relative rise and are more deceptive. U.S. imperialism, after its intensified self-exposure in the last two decades around the world is less dangerous than Soviet social-imperialism because of its openly aggressive foreign policy that is met with strong resistance from the peoples of the world.

Soviet social-imperialism is the main enemy to the working class and the masses in the Soviet Union as well as to the people of Eastern Europe where the Soviet Social-imperialist troops are directly occupying. It is also the main enemy to its neighboring countries such as Mongolia and China since it is still directly occupying the Mongolian and Chinese territories and poses a direct military threat to them. This is obviously not the situation with the people in the US and other places where the US imperialists are directly occupying. A qualification is therefore necessary.

The addition of “Soviet social-imperialism is the main danger” occurred during the struggle against forces such as the “Revolutionary Communist” Party who dumped the slogan “Against both Superpowers” for nearly ten months due to their lack of principles. This under-standing is crucial in taking a correct proletarian internationalist position towards Angola. This qualification was made to bring out the different characters of main enemies. One is the US imperialists, the direct oppressors, whom the US people is mainly responsible to overthrow. The other is the danger of the Soviet social-imperialist, posed to the people of the world through their deceptive appearance and, through revisionist parties in many countries that objectively aid Soviet social-imperial- ism whether they are officially allied with it or not.

This qualification becomes necessary especially in the face of those opportunists who not only lack any principles, but who also distort the line. They claim that to say Soviet social-imperialism is the main danger is the same as saying Soviet social-imperialism is the main enemy! This kind of demagogy intended to fool the masses must be exposed by communists in the context of putting forward our clear and scientifically formulated resolutions in carrying out our proletarian internationalist tasks .

2 lines on war and revolution

The last of the 3 questions discussed was the question centering on the slogan “revolution is the main trend in the world today”. The Revolutionary Communist League opportunistically butchered Chairman Mao’s May 20, 1970 statement made under conditions different from today when the situation was clearly one such that the danger, of world war was small and the possibility of revolution preventing a third world war was great. In reference to the danger of world war 3, Chairman Mao in the same statement pointed out that the danger of world war still existed, meaning that it was relatively small. Like the opportunists such as the Central Organization of US Marxist-Leninists today, and Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, Revolutionary Workers League and October League yesterday, the RCL clung on to half of Chairman Mao’s quote to develop their own special trend. RCL intentionally mixes up the general motion of history (that is, it develops in the direction favorable to the people of the world) with the specific gauge of political situation ahead, particularly over the question of which is more likely: “either world war will give rise to revolution or revolution will prevent world war:”.

The WVO has historically stated clearly that even though we cannot predict the exact path that history will take, but that given the state of the subjective factor in the US and USSR, the path of proletarian revolution to destroy the superpowers and thereby destroy the root cause of world war, is less likely as compared to the danger of inter-imperialist world war, in the same span of time in the coming period, so that the likelihood of world war giving rise to revolution is greater. Even though the RCL chants the slogan “Revolution is the main trend! Revolution is the main trend!” like a religious fanatic, and accuses the WVO of “being pessimistic”, they cannot even take a position on which path is more likely in the coming period. This is a mutation from RCL’s position of a couple of months ago when the same speaker in a NY ALSC forum said that revolution will prevent world war. We told them that chanting the self-comforting slogan “revolution is the main trend” without linking up the dialectical relation between revolution and world war is departing from the Leninist presentation of the question. To merely repeat generalities without a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions of the present day situation is nothing but egg-headed intellectualism. The RCL’s squabbling is a self-preservation tactic – squabbling to demarcate itself from the WVO’s correct line.

A sense of injury

We have heard of the RCL’s Menshevik cry of “hegemonism” before – borrowing from the notorious Guardian and October League marsh. After the WVO has raised to them the question of Partyism in relation to party affairs and in relation to the question of leadership of mass organizations such as the ALSC, we have seen them quietly drop the term “hegemonism”! But a nagging sense of injury still exists and in fact is stronger than ever before. It surfaces at this conference. The lingering on of this anti -party, anti-working class and anti- communist line on the question of communist leadership of mass organizations took the form of charging WVO’s “pulling strings“ in ALSC.

The National Steering Committee, including the RCL members who were present at the NSC meeting had forgotten that suggestion to raise to the general body the main duty of the US people is to fight US imperialism during the discussion around the second principle of unity.

When the Chair and others on the platform were reminded of this suggestion after the 5th principle of unity was passed, it was immediately blocked. The RCL blocked it not for its substance, but supposedly for the way “WVO pulled the string from the floor”. There was at least an hour-long attempt to block the discussion on the substance of the addition and turned it into an accusation of how the “head honcho” was pulling strings to undermine the integrity of the ALSC. They charged that it was an outsider interfering! The important insertion to the 2nd principle of unity was even described by the RCL as a “spontaneous” line!

Instantly this unprincipled parliamentary maneuvering of the RCL was seen through by the masses at the conference. Despite that, RCL still argued frantically about how this question was a block to the scheduled proceedings of the ALSC conference, while in fact, it was they who had blocked the proceedings by suspecting on this and that – why WVO wanted the 1st principle of unity to focus on Africa and not on Africa and the Third World as a whole. The WVO compromised on this point, feeling that this principle of unity can be qualified by ALSC chapters in their struggles and agreed to move on without changing the 1st principle of unity. That clearly shows the desire to unite and to move on to other more important items on the agenda.

In the spirit of continuing the past and present work of building ALSC into a fighting mass organization that raises the political awareness of the majority of American people around concrete support work for the liberation fighters in Africa the National Steering Committee of the ALSC put forth a resolution against those backward groups that have tried to kill the ALSC. The resolution correctly clarified the difference between honest people who come into the Support Committee and backward groups that do not uphold the principles of unity and carry out the program of work. In fact these groups’ attitude and practice is not one of unity-struggle-unity towards ALSC but split and destroy ALSC. The resolution read:

’Revolutionary’ Workers Congress, ’Revolutionary Communist’ Party, August Twenty-Ninth Movement and ’Marxist-Leninist’ Organizing Committee are condemned as backward forces who have tried to split ALSC and they are excluded from joining ALSC or participating in ALSC’s internal functions like this weekend’s conference.

Chapters across the country united with the resolution and gave concrete examples of how these backward groups had attacked ALSC. The resolution was passed unanimously.

ALSC National Program of work passed

Another important accomplishment voted on by the conference was a national program of work for ALSC from now until next African Liberation Day. The program reflects the Support Committee’s proletarian internationalist duty to support the liberation groups in Africa. It reflects the direct link between the fight in the US with our brothers and sisters struggling in Africa. The national program of work for ALSC:

1. November 12 – demonstration in support of the Zimbabwean people’s national liberation struggle
2. January 15 – Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Southern Africa
3. March 8 – Celebration of International Working Women’s Day
4. March 21 – Commemoration of Sharpeville
5. May 1 – May Day
6. May 19 – Commemoration of Malcolm X
7. May 27 – African Liberation Day

Some chapters have already begun collecting clothes to send to the liberation groups and proposed that the entire ALSC take up this task. Other chapters suggested that all chapters step up their involvement in domestic struggles as a concrete link between our fight against imperialism in the U.S. with the national liberation movements in Africa. The conference united that the national program is a fighting weapon against the two super-powers, class exploitation and national oppression. It allows for both national coordination of the ALSC’s program as well as initiative from the different chapters to also take up other forms of support for the peoples of Africa.

With the election of the new National Steering Committee members, the torch of leadership is passed on. The conference has successfully completed another year of victory in African liberation support work and has carefully charted the road ahead. A firm foundation has been laid. All chapters have been strengthened. Once again the revolutionary banner of the ALSC is unfolding throughout the U.S.! In the midst of thunderous applause, the conference ended in shouts of “ALSC – Fight On To Victory!”.