First Published: Revolutionary Cause, Vol. 1, No. 2, January 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On Nov. 21 the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO) held a party building forum in San Francisco. Sponsored by ATM the forum attracted about 200 people, including advanced elements from the workers movement, Chicano and Asian national movements. ATM delivered a solidarity statement which pointed out the political unity of ATM and PRRWO. Both groups saw the forum and the subsequent forums held in Los Angeles and San Diego, as concretely advancing the slogan “Marxist-Leninists Unite!”
A speaker for the national secretariat delivered the main speech. She covered a wide range of topics, but stressed the importance in this period of seeing political line as the key link to party building. She traced the history of her organization from its early days as the Young Lords Party through the formation of PRRWO in 1972. At that time PRRWO and the Black Workers Congress (BWC) were working closely with the Revolutionary Union in hopes of forging a new communist party. Fundamental contradictions arose between the BWC, PRRWO, and the RU on party building, the national question, and many other questions. In the ideological and political line struggle against the RU PRRWO and BWC made a break with revisionism.
This last period was of great significance for the entire Marxist Leninist movement. Out of this and similar struggles, Marxist-Leninist ideological principles won over petit bourgeois, radical, and eclectic ideology. On the national question, genuine Marxist-Leninists uphold proletarian internationalism; uphold the right to self-determination of the Afro-American nation, not the American exceptionalism and chauvinism of the RU. On party building, genuine Marxist-Leninists uphold the Leninist party principles, not the pragmatic RU formulation that the “party will be built out of the mass movement.” The comrade from PRRWO said that by 1972 basic questions of ideological line had been resolved and that political line became the key link to moving forward the building of a party.
Today the task of genuine Marxist-Leninists is to apply the theory of the proletariat to the concrete questions facing the US communist movement thus further develop our tasks. Communists must develop a correct analysis of classes in the US, strategy and tactics for our movement, deepen our understanding of the national question and the international situation.
Based on their analysis that “political line is the key link”, PRRWO analysed the current communist movement. They see the revolutionary wing as the ATM, WVO, PRRWO and the Revolutionary Bloc (a N.Y. based group, formerly part of BWC). The opportunist wing is composed of Revolutionary Workers Congress, Workers Congress, I Wor Kuen, Guardian, and the October League. Some of the opportunist groups make the “left” error of holding that ”organization is key”. They will isolate themselves by moving to build their own organizations or “parties” based on broad principles without sufficient unity on political line. Other groups like the RWC hold the right opportunist position that ideology is key. This position underestimates the subjective factor, that the break from revisionism has in the main already occurred. Their positions thus objectively retards the movement.
A second PRRWO speaker spoke on revisionism within the national movement. His speech focused on the revisionism in theory and practice of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP). He pointed out that PSP considers the revisionist CPUSA to be a “fraternal party”. PSP believes that far from being an imperialist superpower, the USSR is part of the “socialist camp.” In practice this led them to support the Havana Conference, a sham conference set up in hopes of diverting the Puerto Rican independence movement into the camp of Soviet social-imperialism.
He pointed out that PSP upholds the “divided nation theory” – that Puerto Rico is a nation both on the island and in areas where large numbers of Puerto Ricans live within the US. This theory completely revises Lenin and Stalin on the national question because it negates the importance of common territory for a nation. In practice this leads PSP to narrow nationalism and bundism within the US. He cited examples where at Brooklyn College PSP refused to work in an anti-repression movement because the issue wasn’t directly related to Puerto Rican independence. Within the working class they only raise the issue of Puerto Rican independence and refuse to participate in multinational struggle for the liberation of US workers from capitalism.
Following his speech, this comrade, who is a member of the “Socialistics” sang. Unlike the commercial garbage we normally hear on records or the economism of RU groups like Prairie Fire, the Socialistics sing of revolution and party building. The whole San Francisco audience rose, to their feet in appreciation of the brothers’ songs.
ATM and PRRWO answered questions and comments from different Marxist-Leninist groups and advanced workers. Many people were able to clarify ideas – particularly around the slogan “Political line is the key link.” Both ATM and PRRWO summed-up the forum as a positive step in winning the advanced to Marxism-Leninism and building the unity of Marxist-Leninists based on political line.