Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Maoist Fusion Fizzles

First Published: Young Spartacus, #27, December 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The recent, thorough fragmenting of the American Maoist movement, evidenced by the presently ongoing welter of acrid polemics and maneuvering among the various tendencies, is the result of the definitive failure of the long-rumored “imminent fusion” of the Revolutionary Union (RU) and October League (OL), combined with the break up of RU’s two-year courtship of the Black Workers Congress (BWC). At bottom, the shamble of the Maoist merger confirms again the inability of New Left Maoism to develop a consistent strategy for proletarian revolution in an advanced capitalist country.

“One Divides Into Two” ... 3, 4, 5

Until fairly recently, the RU and BWC were peacefully coexisting in their pre-party National Liaison Committee on the “principles” of anti-Trotskyism, “anti-revisionism” and poly-vanguardism. Now the RU has come out for “building the party NOW” and is hurling charges of “Bundism” and even black-careerist hustlerism at the BWC. In response, the BWC is accusing the RU of “white chauvinism” and “Progressive Labor Trotskyism.” After bouncing into, and two months later right out of, the “Trotskyite” Communist League’s Continuations Committee, the BWC now proclaims that it too is building its own “multinational” party... still called the Black Workers Congress. Turning on their former friendly debating partners, the RU now blasts the OL for nothing less than Communist Party “revisionism.” Jumping into this polemical gutter brawl, the OL tirades against the “sectarian” RU, charging them with “a polemical style which is not fundamentally different from the Trotskyists such as the Spartacist League” (The Call, September 1974).

It is admittedly difficult to locate the substantive political issues behind the kaleidoscopic polemics conducted in the obscurantist double-talk of Mao Thought. The amalgamation of Maoist forces in the past was possible primarily on the basis of congruent opportunist appetites and crude impressionism. In the attempt at a grand “Marxist-Leninist” merger, the ill-formulated theoretical and programmatic basis for unity always limped behind “concrete mass practice” as “summing up” and “self-criticism.” “Building the United Front Against Imperialism” was not only a strategy for Stalinist class collaboration, but also the framework for rotten blocs, unprincipled maneuvering and tailing among the various Maoist groups.

Nonetheless, there is a larger political logic and social pressure activating the Maoist feuding. Both the RU and OL developed out of a common hostility to the crude pro-working-class line of Progressive Labor in SDS and recruited their followers mainly on the appeal of vicarious Third-World nationalism. Maoism provided the New Left Third Worldists with militant rhetoric and a Simple ideological rationale for substituting various petty-bourgeois peoples-in-motion for the proletariat in carrying out social revolution.

With the decline of the New Left radical student movement and the tragic demise of the Black Panther Party as an ostensibly revolutionary organization, many New Left Maoists turned to the working class, which seemed at last to be stirring under the economic impact of the Vietnam war. But once in the factories, the Maoists were confronted with a politically backward and racially divided class still under the leadership of the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy. Despite mindless tailing of the present consciousness of the workers and excruciating attempts to apply the dictums of Mao-Thought, the Maoists slowly realized that the deepening crisis of American imperialism did not immediately insure waves of recruits and growth of influence. With working-class militancy effectively contained by the labor bureaucracy during the last several years, the Maoist panacea, “From the Masses, To the Masses,” could only lead to inevitable impatience and demoralization.

Faced with this situation, the RU has been forced to confess:

“ ... it must be stated frankly that at this point in the development of our movement, there is a certain amount of pessimism and demoralization. This seems to stem primarily from the fact that many of US have learned through experience that it is easier to read Marxism-Leninism than it is to apply it to developing the revolutionary movement: Reality is more complicated than a book, class struggle does not develop in a straight line or as quickly as we would like. Revolution, it turns out, will not be made in a day .... Have all of us made many mistakes, some of them pretty serious? We certainly have. Have we been plagued by a tremendous amount of sectarianism in our ranks that has made unity a hard thing to achieve? We certainly have. Have we also been plagued by opportunism of all stripes that has succeeded somewhat in confusing some people and also made unity hard to achieve? Yes, we have.” – Revolution, May 1974

Pious breast-beating “self-criticism” is an integral part of American Maoism precisely because Maoism, as a Stalinist ideology of peasant revolution, cannot furnish a strategy for the struggle of the industrial proletariat and consequently dooms the Maoist workerists to endless blind practice and blunders.

Furthermore, the Chinese bureaucracy in its nationalist insularity has not cared to enlighten their faithful, but bewildered, followers as to, the application of Mao-Thought. Dedicated to genuine proletarian internationalism, the Communist International under Lenin and Trotsky, when appropriate and necessary, intervened in and guided the work of the Communist Parties. While quite unctuous in addressing the fascistic Shah of Iran, the butcher Bandaranaike and assorted “patriotic princes” and tin-pot despots, the Maoist bureaucracy cannot be concerned with its loyal followers who merely are hurling quotations from the Chairman at one another.

The Maoists have thus become stalled in the rut of workerism, sometimes tailing spontaneous rank-and-file militancy, other times fawning before the “progressive” wing of the trade union bureaucracy. When the Maoists burrow deeper to embrace the rank and file of the “Great American Proletariat,” they are inevitably confronted with racial divisions, which their black nationalism, however, implicitly accepts. When the Maoists ineptly attempt to maneuver beneath bureaucratic forces in the labor movement, they get used by slick careerist fakers, or they bump into the more experienced Communist Party. The Maoists are often hard put to distinguish themselves from the CP, since the invective, “social imperialists,” has very little potency in the labor movement.

The single most important cause of the factional warfare in the Maoist movement has been the attempt on the part of the RU to resolve these demoralizing contradictions inherent in New Left Maoist workerism by retreating from any struggle against the labor bureaucracy and by liquidating the black “national” question. This recent turn has brought the RU into open conflict with both the right-opportunist OL and the community-oriented BWC.

RU and OL Fall Out

Prior to the recent opening of hostilities, the significant political differences between the RU and OL were largely unformed. While holding differing theoretical appraisals of the “national” character of black people, both organizations recognized the right of blacks to self-determination and converged in tailing petty-bourgeois black nationalism in practice. It seemed to many Maoists that only the personal ambitions and cliquism of the leaderships kept the OL and RU apart. At one of the joint RU-OL forums sponsored by the pro-unity, “independent” Guardian in 1972, the two organizations were called upon to explain what was the obstacle to their fusion. OL leader Mike Klonsky delivered a long-winded, double-talking lecture on the method of dialectical materialism; RU leader Don Wright followed by admitting, “I don’t know.”

Yet, from their origins the RU and OL have been differentiated not so much by clearly formulated programmatic disagreements as by differing political thrusts. As early as the joint Avakian-Klonsky anti-Progressive Labor bloc in SDS, there were definite nuances in their opposition. Klonsky played more upon petty-bourgeois race and class guilt, calling for a Revolutionary youth Movement based upon Third World-lumpen enthusing. Avakian, the leader of the Bay Area factory collectives which had formed the RU, was less shrill in his criticism of PL’s workerism, privately criticized the Panthers’ lumpen orientation and urged revolutionary youth to go to the proletariat. In the subsequent struggle with the lumpen-guerrilla forces in the RU led by Bruce Franklin, the RU consolidated around its point-of-production orientation.

Throughout the period before and after the well-attended Guardian sponsored forums, the Maoist milieu buzzed with rumors of a coming RU-OL fusion. The outstanding differences between the two organizations were by no means clearly drawn, and both generally kept their bickering out of their public work and press. It is only as a result of RU’s turn and corresponding polemical offensive that the gauntlets have been openly and finally flung down.

Despite its past erratic and short- lived left flurry, the OL generally occupies a niche in the right wing of the Maoist movement. The OL strives to be the most consistent, uncritical tailists of black and Third World nationalism and the most shamelessly forthright apologists for every twist and turn of the Peking bureaucracy. Most notably, the OL proudly reprinted in its press (The Call. September 1973) the official Hsinhua News Agency release praising the butcher Shah of Iran, which prompted even the slavish right-Maoist Guardian, usually sympathetic to the OL, to charge them with “flunkeyism” (Guardian, 28 August 1974). The OL scolded the RU for venturing some criticism of the “anti-imperialist” bourgeoisie in the Third World, because “it is not the RU’s job nor that of any U.S. group to call for this overthrow” of these regimes... The OL opposes the slogan, “No Arms to the Shah,” and contends that opposition to President Echeverria of Mexico objectively aids imperialism. Reminding the RU that “China is deeply indebted to” Iran and Pakistan, the RU’s criticism “is a direct attack on the international United Front Against Imperialism.” With smirking sarcasm, the OL concludes, “RU seems to be having trouble defending China’s stand” (The Call, October 1974).

The most concrete difference between the RU and OL that has emerged from the recent factional fusillades is on the question of trade-union strategy. The OL’s “mass line” trade-union work consists of unabashed support for the “progressives” in the union bureaucracy. The OL chided the RU for giving Arnold Miller, the Labor Department’s man in the United Mine Workers union, only critical support, when such a “progressive” as he clearly deserves full, unconditional support. The OL’s craven loyalty to bureaucratic fakers and sell-outs kept them in the rotten Brotherhood Caucus at Fremont GM and at the feet of Chavez even longer than the opportunist RU.

Under criticism from the RU, the OL continues firmly to uphold this strategy:

“To unite with the progressive section of the labor leadership against the reactionaries has always been the Marxist- Leninist approach and this is exactly the course we have taken in the past in such struggles as the defense of the United Farm Workers in their struggle against the scabs of the Teamsters’ leadership and in the struggle of the United Mine Workers Union leadership, where the more progressive and democratic sections headed by Arnold Miller waged a struggle for leadership against the reactionary Boyle leadership.” – The Call, September 1974

The RU, in response to the demoralization and casualties suffered in its unsuccessful bureaucratic maneuvering and toadying, has now warned that the “triple O’s” – “opportunists out of office” – can be “treacherous betrayers.” Thus, the RU denounces the OL for opportunist maneuvering and office-seeking like the “CP revisionists.” The RU has now come out with a strategy called “jamming the unions,” by which is meant everything from leading adventurist, abortive wildcat strikes (following the dictum, “Fight, Fail, Fight Again”) to pulling together syndicalist, programless caucuses to push “fight-back” militancy. “Jamming the unions” is a response to the fact that, after repeated overtures and betrayals, it is the RU which is the “opportunists out of office.” The RU has learned that they first need a base in the rank and file, and then they can “jam” the bureaucrats, “forcing certain trade union officials to unite with the rank and file” (Revolution, August 1974).

The respective interventions of the OL and the RU at the recent United Steel Workers convention in Atlantic City capture well the difference which has emerged between OL’s perspective of developing a base by riding the coattails of the “progressive” bureaucrats and RU’s “jamming the unions.” The OL went all out to build support for the District 31 Right to Strike Committee, which is supporting the out-bureaucrat Ed Sadlowski, the USW’s up-and-coming Arnold Miller. The OL has been uncritically supporting Sadlowski for some time, calling for “full support” (The Call, August 1973).

The RU created their own “Committee to Smash the No Strike Deal,” whose supporters marched outside the convention chanting such slogans as “Abel, Abel, Slick as Oil, You’ll Get Yours Like Tony Boyle.” With prideful seriousness, the RU recounts how the “Committee to Smash the No Strike Deal” “jammed the union”:

“All during the demonstration, people had carried with them an effigy of Abel, and when the moment was right, people tore it to shreds and took off its head. One of the demonstrators made a brief speech in which he said, ’Abel’s head isn’t the only head that’s going to roll,’ and tossed the effigy’s head into a group of about 50 pro-Abel delegates who were standing around heckling the demonstrators. Following the decapitation of the effigy, the demonstrators left, chanting – “The People United [!] Will Never Be Defeated!” – Revolution, October 1974

This truly bizarre ritual of catharsis – which simply adopts the Nixon effigy-torching, effigy-hanging, effigy-drowning Throw-the-Bum-Out antics of the Attica Brigade – is the RU’s alternative to fighting the bureaucrats, “triple O” or otherwise. The call to “jam the unions” is not an ultra-left turn. Rather, it is a retreat from political struggle and an implicit acceptance of reformism in the working class. Lacking a class-struggle program and perspective of defeating the bureaucracy, the RU can only push economism, which is, as Lenin asserted, simply militant reformism.

RU and Black Nationalism: Impaled on the Spearheads

The National Liaison Committee (NLC) was a lash-up of the RU, BWC, Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (ex-Young Lords) and (for a time) the I Wor Kuen, a collective of Asian-American Maoists. All of the partners in this bloc shared the conception that the main task was to build an “Anti-Imperialist United Front” based on the “five spearheads” (blacks, other Third World peoples, youth, women and workers). The NLC was to be the framework for a period of “joint practice” leading to theoretical clarification. At some point in the distant future, the spearheads could be forged into a party, or, as expressed in Mao-talk, the five fingers would be made into a fist.

In the NLC the RU was able to win the BWC to their American exceptionalist line (developed in Red papers 5) that blacks constituted a “nation of a new type” – proletarianized and dispersed throughout the imperialist mother country. The RU still emphasized that blacks were a nation, that they have the right to self-determination including secession, that nationalism of the oppressed was revolutionary and that each nationality had the right to its own autonomous communist organization (i.e., Bundism).

The black-nationalist BWC, which saw itself as the representative of the black worker in the black community, accepted National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution, in the U.S. (the title of RP 5) in exactly that order: first national liberation, then proletarian revolution.

The RU, the largest single component of the NLC, was desperately craving a black and Latin cadre and from the outset sought to bulldoze over political differences in order to hasten an early organizational merger. Thus, at one point the RU proposed an arch-Stalinist maneuver of establishing the NLC as a centralist body, hammering out the basis for unity within it, and then presenting the fait accompli to the ranks of the respective organizations.

Once the RU declared that agreement on the analysis of the black question constituted the basis for at last “building a party,” the NLC began to come apart. Apprehensive that they would be swamped by the larger RU and that merger in a “multinational” organization would undermine their black work, the BWC pulled back and adopted a temporizing attitude. The BWC was concerned that the RU’s workerism was leading to an accommodation to white racism in the working class. In Red Papers 5 the RU had already indicated the profile and level of consciousness which it considered befitting an “advanced worker”:

“To us, the advanced worker is one who has the respect of fellow workers, to whom they come when they are in trouble and need to discuss their problems, whom they rally around when they face a collective problem, and who provides leadership in struggle. And this is true even if the individual professes some anti-communism.”

For the RU, the “advanced worker” is simply any militant, who mayor may not display backwardness or white racism.

When the RU finally made a concrete tactical proposal for party-building, the NLC ruptured. The RU proposed that the NLC send “flying squadrons” on a national tour to search out and recruit independent Maoist collectives which, if left to their own guilelessness, would be lined up by the then-aggressive OL or the serious, cadre-conscious CL. The BWC and Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization balked and threw up a nationalist opposition. A BWC document explains:

“The BWC and PRRWO put forward the line that said that ’collectives’ of this type would be mainly white and petty bourgeois and that we should concentrate our attention in the industrial proletariat. In addition we maintained we should strengthen the role and work of the BWC and PRRWO in the revolutionary national movements and as Communist organizations as a first step towards party building. The RU disagreed with this view saying that the time was now to form the party before other ’opportunist elements’ (meaning the CL and OL) formed the party first.” – “Criticism of ’National Bulletin 13 and the Right Line in the RU,” reprinted in Red Papers 6

The BWC’s nationalist conception of black workers as an advanced sector of the proletariat to be consolidated prior to the formation of a “multi-national” party was clearly incompatible with RU’s “party building” and workerism which adapted to racism and backwardness in the working class.

Liquidationism “of a New Type”

As the NLC fell apart, the RU decided that the road to building the new party did not lie in already-frustrated tailing of black nationalism, which had generally become quiescent as any kind of mass political movement, but rather led straight to the “advanced worker.” Thus, the RU was forced to come to terms with its Third-Worldist baggage. In its polemics with the BWC, the RU has further developed its analysis of the “nation of a new type,” stripping it of its nationalist accoutrements and applying it to liquidate the “national” question insofar as it relates to the struggle against special oppression and white racism.

The theoretical underpinnings for RU’s turn on the black question is contained in “National Bulletin 13,” as follows:

“The heart of our analysis is that on the one hand Black people are an oppressed nation of a new type -overwhelmingly workers, dispersed throughout the U.S., but concentrated in urban industrial areas, with real, but deformed class structure. But on the other hand, Black workers, making up the majority of Black people, are part of the single U.S. working class.... suffering caste-like oppression within the class.” [original emphasis] – Red Papers 6

According to the RU, blacks are a nation insofar as they suffer “national” oppression. The fact that Leninist criteria of nationhood-territoriality and the objective basis for a common economic life-are lacking has never perturbed these revisionists. By this formulation, the RU does not foreclose on its option to tail black nationalist consciousness and struggles when dictated by its opportunist appetites. However, for the RU, insofar as blacks dispersed throughout the U.S. are workers – which the RU declares to be “overwhelmingly” the case – they do not suffer “national,” but rather “caste-like oppression.” Furthermore the RU maintains that “it is primarily in the class struggle that oppressed nationality workers will develop class consciousness” (original emphasis).

By this analysis, the RU reads the struggle against “national” oppression out of the class struggle and class strugg1e is read out of the struggle against “national” oppression. The RU does not have to risk alienating “advanced” white workers by fighting against the special oppression of blacks at the workplace, because blacks suffer only “caste-like” and not “national” oppression at the point of production. Likewise, the RU does not have to risk alienating the petty-bourgeois nationalists by raising class-struggle demands in the ghetto-based “national” struggles, because blacks can only come to class consciousness “primarily in the class struggle” at the point of production. Therefore, the “heart” Of RU’s analysis is the liquidation of any class struggle opposition to the special oppression of blacks.

In order not to fight the special oppression of blacks, the RU is compelled to deny the material basis for that oppression. The RU begins by asserting the objective existence of a tremendous material basis for black-white unity:

“The common exploitation and oppression that white and Third World workers face, especially in the large industrial plants, forms the material basis for building their unity in struggle against monopoly capitalism.” [original emphasis]

Confusing the social (i.e., objectively unifying) nature of modern production with the exploitation of capitalism (i.e., the basis for competition among workers), the RU considers social divisions to be merely the insidious work of the bourgeoisie, which must try to undermine this so-called basis for unity:

“In fact, the U.s. bourgeoisie, recognizing the strong material basis for unity, works overtime to foster, further and maintain discrimination and other forms of national oppression, to promote white national chauvinism ... and the petty privileges of whit e workers .... The bourgeoisie tries to further these divisions and antagonisms by granting the petty privileges to the workers of the oppressor nation-white workers. That is’ it gives them an advantage in competition, and conversely, forces Black, and other Third World workers, into some disadvantages.”

For the RU, the brutal special oppression of blacks in this racist society is passed off-almost unbelievably as no more than “some disadvantages” which blacks face as a result of the few “petty privileges” which whites enjoy. But even the “petty privileges” of whites “are nothing compared to the exploitation and oppression that the masses of white workers suffer.” So, both the “disadvantages” of blacks and the “petty privileges” of whites pale in significance before the tremendous, “overwhelming” basis for unity at the point of production: “the basis of unity of workers of different nationalities, including the workers of the oppressor nation and the workers of the oppressed nationalities, is and can only be class and not nationality” (original emphasis).

In order to present racial oppression as simply the product of the evil, Machiavellian machinations and propaganda of the bourgeoisie, the RU is consequently forced to obliterate the marginal employment, unemployment and lumpenization, which in fact comprise the material basis for black oppression as well as white racism.

Blacks are not a “proletarianized nation” or a “caste of the working class, ” but rather a race-color caste in society integrated into but forcibly segregated at the bottom of the political economy, constituting a disproportionate share of the reserve army of the unemployed. Blacks thus suffer special, trans-class oppression. The RU attempts to obliterate exactly the concentration of blacks in the industrial reserve army in order to protect their needed premise that blacks are “overwhelmingly workers”:

“The total number of ’Negro and Other Races’ which are not in the labor force’ is only [!] about 5.5 million, considerably [!] less than the 9 million employed Black (and ’other’) people .... Even if these official figures .are understated, it is obvious that the so-called ’lumpenproletariat’ does not constitute anything close to a majority of the Third World people.” – Red Papers 5

Black unemployment is considered insignificant until it affects the majority of the black population!

The conclusion which the RU draws from this “analysis” is precisely that the struggle against the special oppression of blacks is divisive and therefore must not be waged:

“Given these material conditions, what are our tasks as communists? We must ’divide one into two’ on the question of white workers. On the one hand, their privileges as members of the oppressor nation; on the other hand, their common exploitation and oppression, their common interests with the workers of the oppressed nationalities. We must build on the overwhelmingly principal aspect – their common exploitation and oppression and common interests – to overcome the non-principal aspect, their oppressor nation privileges.” [emphasis ours] – Red Papers 6

The RU has followed out this line of capitulation to the “non-principal” racism of the “advanced worker” both in the factories and in ghetto-based struggles.

At the point of production, the RU has dropped its former, nationalist slogan, “Black Workers Take the Lead,” thereby incurring the criticism of the BWC. The RU has abandoned this slogan, however, only because it has served to set them off from the great mass of backward white workers:

“There have been examples of white comrades saying that, in order to build unity with Black workers in a plant, they have to ’distinguish themselves from the white workers’ .... When questions come up in the plant, around national oppression, for example, and the Black workers move to fight back, the stand of communists, especially white communists, must not be to take a sectarian stance (’left’ in form error) of distinguishing – isolating – themselves from the white workers... ” – Red Papers 6

The RU will “jam” the unions just as long as that does not provoke the backward white workers. Leninists fight special oppression on the basis of a class-struggle program and, while never tailing nationalist sentiments or spontaneous militancy of black workers, must in fact “distinguish” themselves from racist white workers in the course of struggling for that program.

The RU has also reversed itself on the question of preferential hiring for blacks. The RU has now adopted the formally-correct demand for plant-wide seniority, equal hiring and firing, but as a concession to the racist white workers. This demand of the RU is, however, not connected to any program for jobs (after all, the percentage of unemployed is still less than the employed!). In fact, the RU considers that it is not even necessary to struggle for equal access to jobs, because:

“Long before this group [the black unemployed] (and especially the real lumpenproletariat – those who have given up on working and live by other, usually criminal, means) could ever become a majority, capitalism will be overthrown, and the previously ’permanently unemployed’ will be productively employed, building socialist society under the leadership of the working class and, especially, the industrial proletariat, the most concentrated, most socialized, most powerful class in history. ” – Red Papers 5

Communists must demand jobs for all and a sliding scale of wages and hours to overcome unemployment at the capitalists’ expense. We call for union hiring halls, hiring on a first-come-first- served basis and union-backed hiring drives of minorities. The Stalinist reformists of the RU, on the contrary preach harmless “jamming” for the unions today and relegate the solution of massive black unemployment to the socialist society of the future.

The RU has likewise “divided one into two” in the Boston busing crisis. Recognizing that busing inflamed the white racists, the RU opposes busing as divisive. In its analysis of the Boston situation (Revolution, October 1974), the RU points to the overwhelming “basis for unity between Black and white parents in their resistance to the busing plan” and argues that the imperialists are “the ones who are inciting whites against Blacks.” For the RU, the reaction of the whites of course has nothing to do with their racist fears of the ghetto, with its lumpens and crime, invading all-white South Boston. Oh, no. It simply is a matter of “some [!] white parents” being “influenced by the racist arguments of Hicks and other bourgeois politicians who were trying to promote disunity and discord between workers of different nationalities”! It is necessary to “stand with the people in defeating the ruling class’ attempt to divide them.” Boston was apparently a haven of racial harmony and brotherhood before the evil busing “scheme” of the bourgeoisie!

Since the struggle against the special oppression of blacks inflames the white racists, the RU calls for “the right to community control”: white schools for whites only, and blacks back to the ghetto rat-holes! Workerist populism, uniting with the “advanced workers,” means lining up with the most vicious racism and liquidating any fight against the special oppression of blacks. On the contrary, communists must support busing and call for its extension to middle- and upper-class suburbs – even though it is a partial, bourgeois measure – as an application of the basic democratic right of blacks to equality in education and a minimal step toward breaking down ghettoization.

The Maoists’ United Will Never be Repeated?

While in their polemical broadsides the Maoist antagonists manage often devastating point-scoring, the breakup of the Maoist-merger attempt represents no break with Stalinism and no leftward motion even within the Stalinist framework. The OL, strengthened by some modest local fusions recently, doggedly continues to bid for the Chinese franchise and to try to displace the Communist Party in the trade union bureaucracy. The BWC fled the National Liaison Committee and looked to the Black-Belt cartographers of the Communist League for theoretical protection from the attacks of the RU. Since being discarded by the sect-like CL, the BWC has stumbled along in total confusion, publishing articles in its press only to self-criticize and repudiate them in the very next issue. The BWC is completely bogged down attempting to deal with the black question within a national framework.

Masquerading as a hard, “left” proletarian stand, the RU has taken a turn to the right. Although the RU has been charged with being “Progressive Labor Party Reborn,” RU’s turn on the black question is only superficially similar to PL’s. In the period of its left motion, PL was forced to confront and break with nationalism, albeit in a crude and contradictory fashion. The RU has “confronted” black nationalism only in order to evade any struggle against the special oppression of black people. The RU is impelled not by a desire for a class solution to black oppression, but by the pressures of accommodation to backwardness in the working class. The black question is central to any strategy for proletarian revolution and thus to the forging of the vanguard party of the working class. On the black question, the Maoists have never broken from and transcended their nationalist framework, which can only offer obscurantism, empiricism and reformism.

Those Maoists who sincerely are committed to making the proletarian revolution in this country must reject counter-revolutionary Stalinism and turn to the program and practice of the Spartacist League/Spartacus Youth League.