First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 1, No. 5, August 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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NOTE: This letter which represents open polemics with the RWL was written by members of the Bolshevik Organizing Collective, all of whom were once members of the RWL but split off (though RWL declares we were purged.) This open letter (except for two inserted paragraphs) was passed to the RWL cadre in Durham and Greensboro.
The comrades from the local RWL refused to accent this document, under the guise of not having formal liaison relations with us. We informed the comrades that in our opinion they were clinging to organizational unity over political unity and shutting themselves off from struggle for the correct line. We are publishing this document so that honest elements inside the RWL may use these concretes to continue to wage the struggle which we are sure must be going on in Opposition to the bankrupt left line now dominating the organization.
* * *
This letter and the enclosures are forwarded to you in the interest of deepening the class struggle which is now raging in the communist movement and the RWL.
As you know, the central task of all genuine communists is party building. Building the party on an ideological plane while grasping the key link of political line and struggling to formulate the program, strategy, and tactics of the party, implementing the two tactics of winning the advanced to communism and uniting the Marxist-Leninists; these are the important questions the communist movement is confronted with today. These are the areas of the fierce struggle, promoting the forward motion toward the Bolshevik Party while distinguishing the genuine from the sham. In the course of struggle, opportunism on matters of organization and politics is inevitably exposed. Comrades, we seek to struggle with you around the opportunism which is now dominant in the RWL leadership and the opportunism we have observed in our contact with a district. The enclosed document and the documents you have already received should have exposed the sham revisionist Mensheviks in this district.
June 16, 1976
We, the members of the Bolshevik Organizing Committee, extend revolutionary greetings to you. In addition to this letter, you should find the following documents:
(1) “The U.S. Labor Party and the Revolutionary Class Struggle”
(2) “BOC Self-Criticism”
(3) “Community Organizing Collective Criticism to the Political Bureau Draft”
This letter and the enclosures are forwarded to you in the interest of deepening the class struggle which is now raging in the communist movement and the RWL.
Before we get into a discussion of the RWL, we want to make some general points. We are a small circle. But we are struggling against small circle spirit. We do not intend to remain an isolated small group; we will struggle to unite with a definite trend on the basis of unity of line. We have been studying carefully the line in the Workers Viewpoint Journal #4 and comparing it with the Bolshevik (the lines contained in it), Party Building in the Heat of Class Struggle, and Palante. We have achieved basic “unity with the WVO line although there are areas of the line and of the practice we still have questions about. In comparison to the line of PRRWO and the RWL we are united with the view that WVO has the most overall correct line. We, in the course of struggle, look forward to deepening our grasp and usage of MLMTTT in the forward motion toward the party.
Comrades, all of the basic contradictions in the world today are intensifying. The contradiction between the proletariat and the Bourgeoisie within capitalist countries, between capitalist countries (occurring within the ranks of competing capitalist countries including the USSR), between the socialist countries and imperialism, between capitalist countries and colonial and dependent countries are intensifying. This intensification of class struggle internationally is reflected within the communist movement. The splits, realignments, purges, etc., within the communist movement is a direct result of the increased contention between proletarian and bourgeois interest. The forces within the RWL played a progressive role in the class struggle and particularly within the Black Liberation Movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The petty bourgeois class outlook (which was submerged in the overall petty bourgeois character of the BLM) of many of the leading comrades in the RWL has been expressing itself within the RWL since its formation in the form of left and right deviations (principally right). With the intensification of class struggle and the exposure of deviations and the ideological basis, some comrades have struggled to transform themselves and are adopting the stand, viewpoint, and method of the proletariat. Other RWL cadre fronting as staunch M-L adherents are covering-up and disguising their petty bourgeois class outlook; they have resorted to lying, distorting, revising, conspiring; when trapped, they engage in false repudiation often disclaiming it later in words and deeds. We think this characterizes the Mensheviks in this district. Still other comrades in the RWL are being swept along to the swamp under the discipline of organizational line, failing to go deeply into the political and ideological essence of matters.
Our perceptual view is that comrades in a district are following this course. While these two tendencies exist, we know there is genuine class struggle going on within the RWL and within your district. We seek to promote that struggle by sharing our view and experience and to raise up sharply criticisms of the opportunistic line organizationally and politically being peddled by the RWL.
The RWL has been in the throes of class struggle since the Second National Conference. Current members of the BOC have stated that we viewed the struggle as positive. Open clashes of contending views representing different class interests was vigorously pushed for by BOC members when we were with the RWL. The RWL Mensheviks obstructed honest line struggle, maneuvered to block the struggle, turned the line struggle into a witch-hunt, deprecating MLMTTT while twisting and revising history to conform to their petty bourgeois line. We think the documents (and discussion) we have shared with you clearly show this. We were a part of the RWL historically and while we broke with the revisionist line of this district, it is our proletarian duty to push the line struggle forward and expose the opportunist line which is consolidated in this district and dominant within the national leadership.
Comrades, waging the class struggle within the RWL on a principled basis, exposing sham revisionist lines, and opportunists of all shades is the absolute necessity and urgent task for us, especially during this period of party building. Hard-hitting, open and honest polemics is in the interest of proletarian revolution; the proletariat has nothing to gain from dishonesty.
I believe we should do things honestly, for without an honest attitude, it is absolutely impossible to accomplish anything in this world. Which are the honest people? Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin are honest, men of science are honest. Which are the dishonest people? Trotsky, Bukharin Chen Tu-hsiu, and Chang Kuo-tao are extremely dishonest; and those who assert ’independence’ out of personal or sectional interest are dishonest, too. All sly people, all those who do not have a scientific attitude in their work, fancy themselves resourceful and clever, but, in fact, they are most stupid and will come to no good. Mao Tse-tung, “Rectify the Part Style of Work,” Selected Readings, pp.220-221.
Sophistry, Black Liberation Movement feel-good styling, distortions, incomplete quotations, extraction out of context, lying and similar ”get over” tactics are the weapons employed by the class enemy. The interest of the proletariat is represented by bold, forthright, honest struggle. We are emphasizing these points precisely because we know the RWL is practising these petty bourgeois ”get over” techniques. We have seen it develop and lead to the complete degeneration of RWL cadre in this district; we saw it practiced by the representative from the National Leadership in polemics with WVO; we are seeing it being practiced by Comrade “U” in your district. We will lay out points on this question in detail later in the letter.
The central task of building a genuine communist party, a Bolshevik party, imparts on us a most serious and difficult undertaking. The struggle against petty bourgeois prejudices, against opportunism, will be difficult in this country – the citadel of capitalist technological and ideological development, but such a struggle is an absolute necessity if we are to build a genuine communist party.
One of the necessary conditions for preparing the proletariat for its victory is a long, stubborn, and ruthless struggle against opportunism, reformism, social-chauvinism, and similar bourgeois influences and trends, which are inevitable, since the proletariat is operating in a capitalist environment. If there is no struggle, if opportunism in the working class movement is not utterly defeated beforehand, there can be no dictatorship of the proletariat. (Lenin, On the Struggle Against Revisionism, p.78.)
We in the BOC have grasped even more deeply the profound truth of Lenin’s declaration. We have especially come to see more clearly the need to in fact build the party on an ideological plane as we grasp the key link of political line. In particular, we see the need to pay special attention to grasping fundamentally and applying dialectical materialism to each and every question, identifying the principal contradiction, the position of the aspects of the contradiction, the direction of the motion, the relationship with other contradictions, etc. We see the need to struggle for the orientation and ability to go concretely into the particularity of questions, going thoroughly into its essence and not accepting superficial, incomplete, one-sided explanations. A thoroughgoing, all-sided orientation toward investigation – this is what Mao meant by a “honest” scientific attitude. Comrade Hill points out the main reason for the degeneration of the communist party of Australia as being a weakness in materialist dialectics:
The most important feature in our weakness was our failure sufficiently to study and apply materialist dialectics and to make materialist dialectics a main question. It is not difficult at all to make materialist dialectics a main question. But it is vitally important. ’The laws of contradiction, that is, the laws of the unity of opposites is the basic law of materialist dialectics.’ (Mao Tse-tung, On Contradiction.) We must keep that firmly in mind in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the past, in seeing things in their movement and their development by resolution of contradictions.
So, comrades, we agree with Comrade Hill that materialist dialectics is “vitally important.” We have seen dogmatism (and if you seriously examine the documents we have sent you, you will see it, too) run wild in this district. Mao points out in “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” that “dogmatists can easily assume a Marxist guise to bluff, capture, and make servitors of cadre of working class and peasant origin who cannot easily see through them. They can also bluff and ensnare the naive youth.”
We must be able to make a thorough analysis and not fall victim to phrase-mongering. Let us share with you one example that typifies how the Menshevik clique “captures and makes servitors of cadre” in this district. In January, S wrote a Menshevik document called “Some Points on Problems in the District.” This document abandoned Marxist-Leninist analyses and employed dogmatism, sophistry, distortion, and lies (you should have a copy and a response which a BOC member wrote). In the muted struggle on the District Committee, a District Committee member T stated that she did not understand the theoretical points made in the document but she united with it. When later asked why she united with it if she did not grasp the theoretical points in the document, she stated that she united principally on the basis of her friendship and trust in S!!! This is a District Committee member. We used this example because we think T is one of the more honest elements left in RWL here and could verify the point if need be; there are many other examples. A clique of friends, pals, who have abandoned MLMTTT, that is what the marsh force is here. But, let us move on to the question of the RWL National Leadership.
We view the RWL national leadership as thoroughly opportunist. Our view is based on a summation of our struggle and practice with the national leadership, our study of the line contained in Bolshevik, and the exhibition put on by the National Leadership Cadre at the WVO-RWL forum (specifically the lines drawn out at the forum). We repudiate the view we put forward in our letter of disassociation from the RWL which upheld the RWL line as basically correct and the view that a small minority was opportunistically blocking the information we were sending to the national leadership. We are developing a document which sums up the basis for the incorrect view we held of the RWL; we will share it with you when it is completed. In this section of the letter, we want to present the reasons (obviously not completely) for our view of the RWL.
The RWL lays out its criteria in Bolshevik for how to determine who is in the “revolutionary wing” (p. 10). Essentially the RWL lists upholding theory as the leading factor in all our work, correct attitude toward criticism, self-criticism, repudiation and transformation, and M-L line on how and what kind of party we are trying to build. We think that if the RWL really applied its own criteria, it should “purge” itself from the “revolutionary wing.”
In our struggle in this district, we have documented the role of the Menshevik S in obstructing the effort of comrades in this district to get the theoretical and organizational documents coming out of the Second National Conference. We summed up our criticism of the PB in the enclosed document: “COC Criticism to the PB-Draft.” We have never gotten a response. Comrades should look at what the enclosed document says; there are serious charges made of the PB. How could they be ignored?
In April we sent a package of documents to the national leadership, growing out of the struggle here. In the cover letter we charged the RWL national leadership with operating through a clique of friends and wives; we called on them to state clearly their position on the vulgar mechanical materialist proletarianization line, which PB representatives in the district openly upheld. We criticized the role of the national leadership in upholding and helping to consolidate the line of the Menshevik clique in this district. We called on the RWL leadership to step forward and make bolshevik self-criticism. To all of this the RWL national leadership never responded.
We tried to reach the RWL national leadership by phone; after extreme difficulty we finally made contact and arranged for a phone conversation. The RWL left us waiting and never returned the call. We have received not one word of explanation or self-criticism!
Comrades, we know that all the rhetoric in Bolshevik about self-criticism is false Chairman Mao teaches us that “...social practice alone is the criterion of truth..” No amount of phrase-mongering about Bolshevik self-criticism changes the truth of the slimy practice of the RWL national leadership on this question. In phrasemongering about self-criticism, the RWL states:
What we had to do is to go deeper into how it was that Alkalimat even got into the organization. How our liberalism, bowing to spontaneity, remnants of bourgeois nationalism fed into his opportunist schemes. Bolshevik, p.8.
Well, how did your bourgeois ideology feed “into his opportunist schemes”? Not only should you answer how Alkalimat even got into the organization, you should also look into how he ever got into the organization and became the leading individual on the leading body all on the same day. The RWL promised a campaign to expose the particularity of the line of Alkalimat, how it merged with and was promoted by the dominant bourgeois line of the organization. Has the RWL done this? It certainly has not. There is more in Bolshevik (which is actually very little) than has been said before. Why don’t you stop phrasemongering, RWL?
In the Bolshevik the character of all the criticisms is very superficial. It does not go into anything in depth. What we get are packaged generalities: bowing to spontaneity, bourgeois nationalism, conciliation to some outside forces, etc. These general truisms avoid getting to a concrete analysis of the particularity of deviations, grasping deeply the internal and external factors, and laying out a comprehensive plan of rectification. The essence of this is false repudiation and glossing over of errors. For example, it glosses over the proletarianization line which the RWL says was vulgar mechanical materialist and was “the dominant line over the first two years.” But even in the little self-criticism it does, the RWL essentially upholds external factors as the cause of its right line.
Listen to this. On the vulgar mechanical materialist line the RWL says: “But in struggle with the petty bourgeois forces in the Black Liberation Movement, we came to overemphasize the objective conditions of the working class and belittled the role of the conscious element.” (Bolshevik, p. 62) Doesn’t this sound like Nixon saying a few of “our zealous” White House staffers made some mistakes while fighting Vietnam War protestors? It sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because they are both loaded with bourgeois evasion. Nixon blames the war protestors, the RWL blames petty bourgeois elements in the Black Liberation Movement generally (not within RWL). Let’s continue. RWL says it adopted the incorrect line on the international situation (it now upholds a trotskyite line on the international situation) as “part of the general error that we made in regard to WVO. We conciliated with opportunism.” Now it explains this line on the basis of the WVO. In both cases the RWL presents itself as basically correct, but is overcome by the external forces and adopts an incorrect line. The RWL does not boldly start with the petty bourgeois social base which makes up its leadership and the dominance of bourgeois ideology internal to the RWL.
The RWL in polemicizing against the OL line on self-criticism states that there was “no mention of class basis for this line, no searching for ideological roots, no open repudiation of this incorrect line. Instead, we get partial repudiation, gutless and empty word magic...” Well, RWL what do you call this sham criticism in the Bolshevik? The local RWL Mensheviks have learned well from their leaders; in some cases they might be able to offer a lesson in the art of bourgeois deception and maneuvering under the cover of MLMTTT.
The RWL mouths about the leading role of theory and the correct line on party building. When we studied the Bolshevik initially we saw a lot of errors, but it was only after we intensified our study and particularly our study of the WVO Journal #4 that we could see not only the misrepresentation of the WVO line, but the utter shallowness of Bolshevik and its endless generalities and downright incorrect lines. The Bolshevik does not uphold the leading role of theory. In fact, it is more of an eclectic hodgepodge using fancy style and generalizations.
For example, in the discussion of fusion the RWL after stringing together several pages of quotes from the classics, has only one paragraph on the question of fusion in the U.S. today. That paragraph says nothing of significance. We quote:
In the U.S. anti-revisionist communist movement, this struggle has proceeded against the opportunist line of the leading role of theory, criticism and self-criticism, party building, national question, trade union question, the woman question, and strategy and tactics. In the course of this struggle the movement divided into two wings, the revolutionary wing and the opportunist wing. As a result, the contemporary level of the science was raised and the fusion of MLMTTT developed. [what??!! – BOC] Some of the forces in the opportunist wing were a part of the genuine forces in the old period and made some contributions to the development of fusion, bringing some aspects of MLMTTT to the working class movement. Bolshevik, p.28.
What kind of a statement is this? It tells us nothing useful about fusion in the U.S. It is not even clear whether the RWL is saying that the communist movement and the workers’ movement has fused. There is nothing about the development of the workers movement and the communist movement historically in the U.S.: nothing about the influence and role of the “CPUSA; the McCarthy period; the anti-theoretical orientation of U.S. society, which Engels, Marx and Lenin spoke of; very little is said about the character of the current communist movement. Indeed, nothing really about fusion as it relates to the U.S. in particular is put forth. This is a complete failure to use theory to analyze a concrete situation, a failure to unite the general with the particular.
In the very next section, the Bolshevik fails to connect its discussion of fusion to its discussion of advanced workers except on a very superficial basis. All it really says is that opportunists “fail to understand that there has been fusion between the two great movements of socialism and the working class, that these two movements strive towards one another, and the advanced workers are the key connectors between the two.” (Bolshevik, p.30.) Surely RWL you don’t mean fusion in the same sense as Lenin did in Russia in the 1890’s. What is the relationship of your advanced worker definition to the level of fusion (whatever you conceive it to be)? Comrades, what kind of theoretical guidance is this you are offering?
Bolshevik reflects no understanding of what it means to build the party on the ideological plane. After stating its usual truisms, it proceeds to reduce the whole matter to hunting for conscious bourgeois agents:
...during the period up to the seizure of power, and during the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, we will have to constantly fight the bourgeoisie’s agents within the party, who use the signboard of Marxism as a cover for their class collaborationist lines. Bolshevik, P. 4l.
There it is! But, the RWL further exposes the profundity of its ignorance on this question by demonstrating its lack of understanding of the slogan: “study Marxism, criticize revisionism.” The RWL in polemicizing against the WVO says, ”...it [ideology – BOC] results in diverting the struggle for Party, by belittling the struggle over political line, the key link, and substituting for it the task of studying bourgeois ideology, like reading books on pragmatism by Dewey; reading Thomas Jefferson ’Bourgeois Democracy,’ in order to ’deepen the premises.’ (Bolshevik. P 43.)
Doesn’t RWL realize that revisionism is bourgeois ideology; doesn’t the RWL understand the relationship between grasping and practicing Marxism and the criticism of revisionism in its particularly concrete form as it shows itself in our struggle? What nonsense the RWL puts forth. The RWL goes on thinking that build the party on an ideological plane means running down bourgeois agents. Comrades it is clear that the representatives of the bourgeoisie within the party must be identified and expelled, but is this the essence of building the party on an ideological plane? We think not. It is clear that the RWL has not grasped what building the party on an ideological plane really means. Can the RWL approach of “agent-hunting” explain fundamentally why the Chinese have developed the campaign to study and root out Confucianism? Does the RWL view this as “diverting the struggle”?
The RWL in putting forth the line on build the party on an ideological plane actually absolutizes political line as key and liquidates the task of building the party on an ideological plane. The RWL absolutizes generality. The RWL does not recognize that generality is a product of the particularity and that truth is reflected in the general only because it exists in the particular. We know for sure that the local Mensheviks are given to generalizing about everything, but cannot get down to the particulars of anything. (The most they do is make a laundry list.) They do not grasp that the general is useful only to the degree it is united with and further develops our understanding of these general truths down on reality and completely fails to grasp the stand, viewpoint, and method of the proletariat. There is no thoroughgoing analysis of concrete conditions.
In this district the Mensheviks have adopted and faithfully adhered to the national mode. If these general truths do not fit the situation, they change the facts, revise history, piecemeal it together, for it to fit. Is this not what S’s paper does? Is this not the essence of W’s lengthy paper in defense of the vulgar, mechanical proletarianization line? Is this not the stand, method and viewpoint of the bourgeoisie?
We got a good view of how the national RWL defends its line at the WVO forum. The cadre from the leading body put on a screaming act of Black Liberation Movement styling, while avoiding all the sharp questions raised. The comrade read straight from Bolshevik, screaming between every other sentence, “check it out.” The comrade actually got into pretending she was going to respond to some specific questions, talking about “point for point,” “line by line,” “aspect by aspect.” After this bit of theatrics, the local comrade U, who is well respected by the masses, opportunistically got up and attempted to score some points by reading from another document from the FFM. It was quickly revealed that the comrade had no idea what he was talking about. Sophistry, deception, stagecraft, opportunism to the max.
To be more specific, the WVO drew out and polemicized against concrete specific points and challenged the RWL to respond. When the WVO asked the RWL to respond specifically to whether there was unconscious as well as conscious opportunism, the RWL national rep started to shout that the “C”PUSA, “C”PSU, etc. were conscious revisionists. And so they are; but this does not answer the question. WVO charged that PRRWO held that the majority of workers were backward. The RWL national rep said that U would read a passage from Lenin to prove PRRWO was correct. WO said that the quote the RWL would read would use ..the term masses and that RWL would employ sophistry to try to convince everyone that in the context of Lenin’s quote masses meant majority; RWL never read the quote, nor did they further argue the point. The WVO challenged the RWL to state clearly whether in the discussion of the international situation whether “factors” and “trends” as used by the Chinese were identical; the RWL never gave a clear response, but went on babbling its generalities. It was clear to all open-minded people at the forum that the RWL was failing miserably to make good its declaration of “tit-for-tat,” “line-by-line,” “aspect-by-aspect.” It is clear to us that the RWL is degenerating rapidly.
The comrade from the RWL national leadership kept shouting, “check it out, check it out.” Well, we checked out many of the references we found in the Bolshevik. On the international situation, all of the references stand in opposition to the trotskyite line of the RWL that equates the inevitability of proletarian revolution with revolution is the main trend throughout the epoch of imperialism. The RWL in pushing the line that revolution is the main trend throughout the epoch of imperialism quoted part of a sentence from the article “Great Benefits Derive From A Good Analysis” in the booklet Study Philosophy.
The RWL states:
In looking at main trends we must look to see if the tide of the people’s revolution is the main trend, or whether the counter-revolutionary adverse current is dominant. (Study Philosophy, p.36.) To say that revolution is no longer the main trend in the world is to elevate the counter-revolutionary adverse current to the same or higher level that revolution. It is to equate world war with counter-revolution as though the development of motion toward war retards the motion toward revolution as opposed to intensifying and accelerating that motion. Bolshevik, p. 90.
The complete sentence which the RWL quoted from Study Philosophy reads:
In analyzing the international situation, too, one must make clear whether the tide of the people’s revolution is the main trend, at present [BOC emphasis], or whether the counterrevolutionary adverse trend is dominant. (p.36.)
Comrades, notice that the two words “at present” are left out of the middle of the sentence RWL quoted from; there is no indication of omission by the RWL! Comrades, the “at present” leaves no doubt that the Chinese are not talking about the entire epoch of imperialism. What is this except distortion, dishonesty, get-over techniques? Moreover, the article itself is about the absolute necessity for M-L analysis based on the concrete; yet these comrades are content with gross generalizations which negate the concrete.
A correct analysis of the international situation is vitally important because of the implications on strategy and tactical questions. But the RWL in order to “win the day” leads us down the incorrect road. We have here another example of the methodology of the RWL; comrades, one’s methodology and world outlook are identical. The RWL national leadership has shown itself to be thoroughly opportunist in both matters of organization and politics.
Our view of a district is perceptual and suffers from a lack of close contact over the last two years. However, given the limited contact we did have over the past period, combined with some historical knowledge of many of the comrades, we do have basis for a view. Perceptually, we see a district as having a solid class stand. We have seen the comrades take this stand in fighting against the class enemy. We have seen the comrades do bold self-criticism and we (this is based on historical knowledge) know many of the comrades have demonstrated in practice the orientation and strength to go against the tide. Although we see a strong class stand, we do not think that there has been a fundamental transformation of the viewpoint and method though progress has undoubtedly been made. The last point is based principally on our limited recent contact with district members (principally leadership). We will draw this point out further later. We also see the deviations of male chauvinism and bourgeois nationalism in the district. Comrades from Communist Workers Collective have expressed this and we have observed this in the development of our past liaison work. In addition, we view the district to still be under the dominance of the right line, though it has the potential of quickly uniting with the left line of the national leadership. We want to emphasize, comrades, that a strong class stand is necessary, but we must also work resolutely to develop the viewpoint and method of the proletariat:
Wang Hung-wen said that even if one has a good stand and dares go against the tide, but cannot differentiate lines, discern genuine Marxism from sham, then one can still make mistakes and cause damage. This shows that a good stand, though most fundamental and most necessary, is by itself insufficient. WW Journal, #4, p.113-14.
Comrades, We want to raise some criticisms of a district around two occasions. First, the meeting BOC members had with U and secondly your role in the recent WVO forum.
We have summed up that U placed organizational unity over political and ideological unity and belittled the struggle for political unity. When BOC members met with U, before our discussion began, U raised the point that he viewed the break with RWL as an error. This was, as U stated, based on the most scanty and general view about the character of the struggle, the lines, the conditions in our district. We stated to U that this must be a “perceptual view,” as he did not have the basis to establish such a firm view. Our point is that U’s position reflected a static view of organizational unity, divorced from the concrete particularities of ideological and political line. We gave U seven documents on the struggle that went down here and made approximately an hour’s presentation. At the conclusion of our presentation, we asked U if he had any questions. He said he did not but he might have some after he read the documents. He then proceeded to explain to BOC comrades his situation, being a member of a democratic centralist organization, and how he would organizationally handle the matter. He explained that he would call the national office and inform them that a meeting had gone down and secondly he would share our report with this district. He expressed shock and general concern that one BOC comrade with whom he had worked relatively closely for the past ten years was no longer a member of RWL. Comrades, we united with U’s view on how he would organizationally handle the matter. Our criticism is that not one political question or point of substance was raised. No struggle took place. We view this as incorrect; it belittles the task to get into the essence of matters and, in this case, we think because of incorrect view of organizational line which places organizational unity over political and ideological unity. This is true whether the comrade was sharply aware of his actions or not.
We have summed up a district’s participation in the WVO forum as being principally opportunistic. The specific forms were sophistry, belittlement of the struggle for political and ideological clarity, and a high degree of organizational “patriotism.” We think U played the leading role but was complemented by other RWL cadre in the form particularly of the response to the “get over” style exhibitions in the presentation of the cadre from the RWL center. The following are specific points in U’s presentation in which opportunism reflected itself:
The representative of the FFM charged that PRRWO and the RWL were expelling or causing to be expelled from the FFM and ALSC all comrades who did not adopt the line of PRRWO and RWL on party building. The FFM comrade generalized and stated that the RWL and PRRWO were requiring as a condition to be a member of mass organizations unity with this line. U forcefully charged that the FFM comrade was incorrect because the mass organizations he worked with (the local trade union of which he is the leading local bureaucrat) did not make such a requirement.
Comrades what kind of evasive maneuver is this? The question quite clearly is whether the PRRWO and RWL is enforcing such a policy on the FFM and ALSC, two specific mass organizations mentioned by name at the forum. To this question U gave no response nor did anyone else from the RWL. With this kind of opportunism and maneuvering, the Bolshevik continues to prate about criticism and self-criticism. Is it not clear beyond a doubt that U’s response was evasive opportunism?
The WVO charged the RWL in Journal #4 and in the polemic at the forum of taking an opportunistic centrist position on the question of advanced worker. WVO struggled for a distinction between the definition of advanced worker as we find them and what advanced workers would do under communist leadership. We quote from WVO Journal #4, p.5:
Now the RWL is taking a centrist opportunist position. We see them slipping and sliding on the definition, saying that ’under the guidance of communists, advanced workers will study, study, study...’ Now we think that under the guidance and training of communists advanced workers will do much more than that! Under communist leadership, they will overthrow the bourgeoisie!
Comrade U read the last part of the above quotation and seized on the fact that the WVO did not mention the party. Comrades, we think that was very opportunistic. What this sophistry amounts to is the RWL did not speak to the specific criticism. If U in fact held the position that the WVO belittled the role of the party, he should have drawn the point out in relationship to the overall line of the WVO (both in the Journal and in the polemic). But even then, the RWL had and still has the responsibility to speak to the criticism of centrist opportunism, U engaged in sophistry, stagecraft, and evasion.
U publicly criticized the comrade from FFM Boston for sending him a letter laying out his view of the developments in the RWL national leadership. U’s criticism was based on the fact that he (U) is in a democratic centralist organization. Comrades, it appears that U liquidates everything but the organizational question. What about the conditions, the ideological and political line? We think it was correct for the comrade to wage political and ideological struggle in forms available to him (as we are doing), we disunite that organizational unity should be upheld to the exclusion of all other considerations. In our case, we don’t think you would get this letter if we went through the RWL national leadership. We should do a concrete analysis of concrete conditions. To unconditionally put forth that the comrade should not have sent you a letter based on you being in the RWL and under democratic centralism is opportunist. It continues to isolate and uphold organizational unity over the consideration of specific conditions, including ideological and organizational line.
U charges the FFM comrade with lying because he essentially stated that the RWL was not engaged in mass work. U used the activity in his district and the FFM comrades knowledge of these activities on which to base his charge. We think there was a correct aspect, the pointing out the example of activity in your particular area. We think however, that to in effect generalize your own experience and to represent it as the experience of the RWL as a whole distorts the question and is in fact opportunism. The question, comrades, is whether the RWL line on spontaniety and propaganda in practice leads to a withdrawal from mass work. This is a good struggle question and an important one! It must be struggled out and answered. [By the way we think your district is somewhat of an exception in the character of its ties to the national leadership; you seem to have had very little and operated quite autonomously in the past. There was also a more conscious selection process involved in the makeup of the cadre there. U has played a special role there historically and in this area; also U’s stature nationally and the opportunistic use the RWL national leadership has and continues to put him to. We think you should be very careful in generalizing your district as typical of the RWL. Your district has in fact been more autonomous than most.]
Comrades, why was U, who has not been a college student for years and who is in a district where there is no FFM chapter, reading the statement? We think it was because the RWL was trying to exploit both U’s oratorical ability and the respect he has amongst the masses. It was evident that U did not know what he was talking about and could not and did not engage in struggle when comrades from FFM and the BOC in Greensboro laid out a different view. We think the role U played in being used was opportunistic.
On the question of WVO, we felt the WVO was incorrect for attempting to block U from speaking at the time he was approaching the speakers podium. In a subsequent meeting with WVO, we raised that criticism and others. The WVO united with the criticism and went on to explain that the conditions at the forum were related to previous experiences in which the RWL used up all the time generalizing and avoiding responses to the particular questions.
Comrades, we have presented our view on the RWL national leadership and raised some criticism of your district. We call on the genuine Marxist-Leninists within RWL to push the struggle forward. Bring to a halt the conciliation with opportunism. Recently the comrade who historically and most resolutely pushed the correct line in the RWL on party-building, Comrade V, has been purged because he ”upheld ideology as the key link.” Comrade V has written a lengthy document which the RWL is withholding from the base of the RWL and the communist movement. Comrades, it is your duty to raise the struggle sharply around the V question, secure the document, study it, go to the essence of the questions.
Chairman Mao teaches us that ”the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” It is important to grasp, to work hard at grasping fundamentally what this profound statement means. We ask the comrades of a district to assess this statement in relationship to overemphasizing organizational line.
We call on the comrades in a district to take the scientific attitude down to the specific concrete questions. Dare to struggle; dare to investigate; dare to win. Again Chairman Mao teaches us that we should study specific actual conditions:
We should proceed from the actual conditions inside and outside the country, the province, county, or district, and derive from them, as our guide to action, laws which are inherent in them and not imaginary, that is, we should find the internal relations of the events occuring around us [BOC emphasis] and in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination, not on momentary enthusiasm, not on lifeless books, but on facts that exist objectively; [BOC emphasis] we must appropriate the materials in detail and, guided by the general principles of Marxism-Leninism, draw correct conclusions from it. Mao Tse-tung, ”Reform Our Study,” Selected Works.
Comrades, can it be put any clearer? We must study the concrete conditions. In studying Bolshevik and other journals in the communist movement of today, it is not enough to look at quotes thrown together but to grasp the method and depth of investigation of actual conditions and to correctly unite the theories of MLMTTT with concrete practice. We have attempted to do this in our study of the main questions in the communist movement today. Comrades, grasp and compare how Bolshevik approaches important questions such as:
–party-building on an ideological plane
–political line is the key link
–organizational line, etc.
Our struggle is not to save or protect the opportunist leadership of the RWL; that is not the stand of the proletariat. It is the working class and the masses of people we seek to serve. It is the stand of the proletariat which causes serious communists to break with retrograde trends, opportunist organizations, etc. Chairman Mao teaches us that:
When confronted with issues that concern the line and the overall situation, a true communist must act without any selfish consideration and dare to go against the tide, fearing neither removal from his post, expulsion from the party, imprisonment, divorce nor guillotine. [BOC emphasis] (Documents of the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, 1973, p A8.)
Going against the tide is a hallmark of genuine communists! We take the teachings of Mao seriously; we are prepared and fully intend to go against the tide, to thoroughly expose the Menshevik clique in this district and the opportunist RWL national leadership. We call on the local Mensheviks here to make good their declaration in the statement of our so-called purge to ”Expose and Isolate all Opportunists.” We call on the Menshevik comrades, with the aid of the screaming opportunist national leadership to plan a public polemic, present their line to the advanced and the masses and other Marxist-Leninists. We are going to go head-to-head, and to borrow your misused phrases tit for tat, line by line, aspect by aspect, to expose the opportunist line of the RWL.
GENUINE COMMUNISTS IN THE RWL DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
We welcome your response to this letter.
STUDY MARXISM, CRITICIZE REVISIONISM. UNITS MARXIST-LENINISTS, WIN THE ADVANCED TO COMMUNISM.
EXPOSE AND ISOLATE ALL OPPORTUNISTS. BUILD THE PARTY ON THE IDEOLOGICAL PLANE, GRASP THE KEY, LINK OF POLITICAL LINE.
The Bolshevik Organizing Committee