Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Central Committee, Black Workers Congress

Public Letter on Don Williams

First Issued: May 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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EROL Note: Don Williams was a leader of the group in the Black Workers Congress that went on to become the Workers Congress (Marxist-Leninist).

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May 6, 1975

To: All Friends and Comrades
From: Central Committee, Black Workers Congress

Dear Friends and Comrades,

Over the last five months the BWC has been engaged in an intense debate over what has been the main danger within the organization since the adoption of party building as the Central Task in February 1974. During the course of this debate many papers have been written, arguments hoarded, and positions aired. Many errors have bean made on the part of the entire central committee of the BWC (both before and during the course of the struggle) in regards to correctly implementing democratic centralism. One example of such an error is that from the very beginning, the entire Secretariat of BWC (i.e. the standing committee which functions between CC meetings and of which both Don Williams and Mike Hamlin were members) voted unanimously to unfold the two line struggle that was taking place within the secretariat to the entire organization rather than to unfold the struggle upward to the organization’s highest body, the Central Committee(the collective to which all the secretariat members belonged). There was never even a hint by the secretariat members to the CC members that this struggle was taking place. This error help to lay the basis for the anarchistic way in which the struggle was unfolded and for many of the subsequent errors. During the last five months the I.C. (i.e. the new standing committee that replaced the old secretariat whose members were suspended from the CC for factionalizing) has attempted to correctly institute democratic centralism and thus insure that the-line struggle could unfold in a principle manner. Given our inexperience and the fact that this was the first time the majority of the CC members and the rank and file cadre had ever participated in developing and consolidating line within the organization, mistakes were made. One of our errors was that we attempted to unfold a majority-minority resolution to the organization as the line of the organization while at the same time saying that the old line (i.e. right opportunism was the main danger) would remain in force. In effect we had two lines guiding the work of the organization which essentially meant that we had no line that all cadre were bound to stand on. This majority-minority resolution line while voted for by a majority of CC members (including some members of the “revolutionary bloc” and all the members of the “left faction”) was clearly in opposition to the fundamental Leninist principles of organization. Another example of an error on the part of the I.C. was that we should have been more resolute in fighting the factional activities of both the “revolutionary bloc” and the “ultra-left” camp. The question here was not what line they held (the line of either camp may or may not have been more correct then the line of the CC at any given point and time) but rather whether they were willing to breakup their factions and abide by democratic centralism so that the whole organization could gain clarity on the complex questions confronting us.

At the present time democratic centralism has been restored in our organization on a correct basis (this in no way implies that we are completely free from error on this question). CC members and rank and file cadre are struggling to deepen our understanding of both the “left” line that has dominated our ranks and the errors in regards to democratic centralism that have been made. As our understanding on these questions deepens it will be shared with you through the pages of our newspaper.

While striving to gain greater clarity on the above mentioned, there is one question on which we have gained sterling clarity. That is the question of Don Williams and his renegade clique. As cadre dig deeper to gain greater clarity on questions of line, Don William stoops lower and lower with his anti-organizational activities. Because of his efforts to wreck, split, and provoke both within the BWC and within the anti-revisionist communist movement as a whole, we feel it necessary to address a special letter to you concerning this matter. Further because our organization has allowed Don Williams to exist within our ranks and masquerade as a genuine Marxist-Lenin, we feel a special responsibility to take the lead in exposing-his bankruptcy. Lastly with the almost daily exposure of police agents within the ranks of the anti-revisionist movement we feel it is necessary to alert the masses and the people within the anti-revisionist movement to the motion of Don Williams so that you may judge for yourself whether Don Williams is simply stupid, insane, or a paid police agent. No matter which of the three categories one might pick it is an undeniable fact that he is a CONSOLIDATED OPPORTUNIST who OBJECTIVELY serves the interest of the bourgeoisie.

As those of you know who have read the April/May issue of our newspaper “The Communist”, Don Williams was SUSPENDED from the BWC for his anti-organizational activities. Here we must reemphasize the word SUSPENDED. In Don Williams’ writings as well as in his conversations he has tried to make it appear as if he voluntarily left BWC in a dispute over ideological questions. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. He did not voluntarily leave, nor was he suspended for his ideological point of view. Though we disagreed with his point of view he was entitled to hold it and fight for it so Ions as he abided by democratic centralism. Don Williams was suspended from BWC because he refuse to abide by democratic centralism. He refused to put an end to his anti-organizational activities. It should be further noted that he was suspended not expelled from the organization. Hence up until his most recent antics which has made his suspension irrevocable and his expulsion imminent, he had the right to appeal to the CC before final action would be taken. We must further state that 98% of those persons belonging to his camp were also suspended from the organization. The other 2% resigned. Upon his suspension from the organization Don Williams openly stated to the Interim Committee (I.C.) that he had been maintaining a faction within the organization and that the members of “his camp” were going to remain inside the BWC. In other words he was going to maintain a “fifth column” inside the ranks of the organization. What more evidence is needed to show his anti-Marxist orientation. As you well know the development and maintenance of factions is completely antithetical to Leninist principle of organization. Those persons who were members of his “camp” were asked to renounce the trotskyite principle of factions, to renounce their own factional activity, and to renounce their factional leader. When they refused to do so, they were immediately suspended. All told the membership of this “left” camp represents LESS THAN ONE-SEVENTH of the membership of BWC. Combined both the Don Williams faction and the “revolutionary bloc” represent less than ONE-FOURTH of the membership of the entire organization. As some of you already know and others of you will find out Don Williams is very good at playing with figures, distorting facts and exaggerating situations. His statement in “his newspaper” that he represents over half the cadre of the organization is an out and out LIE. This statement is made to sow confusion within the movement and to discredit BWC by making it appear that the organization is falling apart. Having dispelled the myth in regards to the quantitative aspect of his camp, let us now examine the QUALITATIVE aspect of this camp (something Don Williams refuses to do). At least 60% of “his people” were newly recruited into the organization (i.e. three to four months prior to the outbreak of the two-line struggle in November). Most have never formally move beyond the stage of candidate members. In fact we have yet to see the membership application of a large number of these people. Of this 60% over two-third are completely new to struggle, for the most part from petty bourgeois backgrounds, and have no previous history of struggle. Add to this the fact that Don Williams personally placed two of these new untested people in one of the organization’s key institutions – the newspaper collective. These two persons along with the wife of Don Williams compose the ideological “leadership” of his camp. To all of this let us further add the fact that one of the “units” that joined Don Williams’ camp is in a district which was solely created by him in conjunction with the old secretariat without the knowledge of the Central Committee. The entire leadership of this unit was hand picked by Don Williams. When we sum up all of these facts then the real picture we get of the camp of Don Williams is one of a small group of people, basically new to struggle, who are in one way or another tied or beholden to him, whose understanding of the history of BWC is extremely limited, and whose political acumen and ability are yet to be tested. One quality which seems to run like a thread through all these people is unbridled arrogance. With the huge egos and “know-it-all” attitude that prevails in this camp, we see their unity as extremely temporary. Like the two superpowers that collude and contend with each other, we predict that these forces will ultimately wind up fighting and splitting from each other as they contend for leadership of the group.

In this section comrades we should take a look at some of the concrete actions of Don Williams and assess whether they constitute a Marxist class outlook and mode of behavior or a Bourgeois class outlook and mode of behavior. Let us look briefly but closely at some of his actions:

A. He has stolen some of the membership application of the cadre of the organization. While some records were also taken by the “revolutionary bloc”, we know for a fact that certain applications and pictures were personally given to Don Williams which have never been turned over to the organization. Furthermore he never turned over all the organization’s files to the I.C.
B. On the day before the November Central Committee meeting at which the two-line struggle broke out, he attempted to get the signatures on the bank account changed. He left written instructions with his wife that she should put her name on the bank account while he was at the CC meeting. This action almost led to a shoot-out within the organization. Don Williams took this action unilaterally without informing the other member of the secretariat who was then jointly running the organization with him.
C. He made unauthorized trips to various districts in an effort to consolidate his forces. He also attempted to set up a second center within the organization by mailing out documents and making phone calls through his own “private means” as opposed to utilizing the national center which is the established communications channel for all cadre. Furthermore he has engaged in the worst kind of gossip and rumour mongering both over the phone and in person in order to sow discord within the organization.
D. He gave internal documents of the organization to persons and groups outside of the organization without the authorization of the CC. He even lied to one organization telling them that he had been expelled from BWC, when this has never been the case.
E. In an effort to create mistrust and suspicion within the organization he started to rumour monger to various cadre that one of the members of the CC was a police agent. He never presented this question to the CC nor has he ever produce one piece of evidence to substantiate this charge. When caught using this deceitful tactic which is employed by the FBI and CIA in order to induce fratricide within a organization he lied and began to slander all the other members of the CC. Comrades Don Williams has been in the movement for four years. He is no naive child. He knows how these tactics were used by the state to wreck the Black Panther Party and many other progressive organization. This kind of action can not be lightly dismissed or grossed over as simply a “mistake”. Don William was brought on to the Central Committee by Jim Forman. He had just been released on parole from prison. During his early life as a petty criminal he has had many direct experiences with the police. Hence he knows their methods well. Armed with all this direct and indirect experience with the State, why then would he engage in the above mentioned kind of behavior??
F. Upon suspension from the organization he attempted to break in the Post Office Box. When he found that the combination on the P.O. Box had been changed months beforehand in anticipation of action just such as his, he called the I.C. to inform us that he was going to get the Postal Authorities to shut down our box.
G. Upon suspension from the organization he went to one comrade’s house and ranted and raved that he would kill any person from the “revolutionary bloc” who attempted to stop him from coming in their house to get some books..... that belong to BWC but that he was going to confiscate. ..
H. Don Williams and some of his lackeys directly threatened to kill one of our Central Committee members at a meeting in which the CC member was attempting to raise principle ideological struggle.
I. Don Williams and the members of his camp broke into an office of the BWC and stole our newspaper equipment. He along with members of his camp then proceeded to usurp the organizations name and to print a newspaper entitled the “Communist”. The only purpose of this totally un-principle act is to sow confusion in the movement.

Comrades, we could go on and on. The list of Don Williams and Co. provocative activity is damn near endless. The BWC has attempted to remain principled throughout this entire period in regards to this struggle. Fundamentally we view the struggle within BWC and the struggles within the anti-revisionist communist movement as being non-antagonistic. We have attempted to resolve contradiction within the organization and within the movement by the method of education, persuasion, and discussion. Having acted in a sectarian manner in the past we have been very vigilant about arriving at hasty conclusions and labeling people opportunist. Even within the pages of our latest newspaper we made a distinction between Don Williams and the rest of the members of his camp. We viewed the members of his camp as basically honest people who were being deceived. Hence we attempted to leave the door open to them for further struggle. Now, however, with the openly provocative act on the part of this group of stealing our newspaper equipment, using the organization’s name, and threatening one of our CC members, our assessment has change. Though these people may be deceived and duped by Don Williams, they must assume responsibility and accept the consequences for their actions.

Being ignorant and confused can no longer serve as a shield to hide their real face – THE FACE OF OPEN, CONSOLIDATED OPPORTUNISM. To engage in intense ideological struggle is one thing. This we don’t mind. This we feel must go on within the anti-revisionist communist movement. However, to steal, lie, distort, and posture is quite another thing. The question of how one conducts struggle within our movement is not simply a question of tactics, IT IS A QUESTION OF PRINCIPLE. Those persons who attempt to raise lying, stealing, and posturing to the level of a principle are not pursuing LENINISM, but rather are pursuing TROTSKYISM. The contradiction between the BWC and the renegade “ultra-leftist” clique led by Don Williams has become an antagonistic one. We view these people as a “fifth column” within the anti-revisionist communist movement. They are professional wrecking agents who will use any means at their disposal (i.e. lying, distorting, playing humble, etc.) in an effort to create havoc within the anti-revisionist movement. Within our own organization we have seen how Don Williams has CRIED, YES CRIED and attempted to appear remorseful one minute and spit out filth and venom from his mouth the next minute. He is very good at playing possum. Another favorite tactic of Don Williams and his camp is that of DIVERSON. They attempt to confuse people as to what the struggle in BWC is really about. In their papers and various other documents they act as if BWC has no history. They attempt to make people think that the history of BWC started with the current I.C. rather than with the old secretariat (which has been running the organization for the past two years.). This diversionary tactic will not work.

The two-line struggle in BWC was and is being conducted on the question of “WHAT HAS BEEN THE MAIN DANGER IN THE ORGANIZATION SINCE THE ADOPTION OF PARTY BUILDING AS THE CENTRAL TASK”. The period in question is the period from February 1974 to November 1974. During this eight month period approximately 15 internal documents came out that speak to the line of the organization. Three pamphlets and four newspaper’s were also produced during this entire period. Most importantly their is the concrete practice and work of the units of BWC. This is the reference material that must be examine. Don Williams and his camp are attempting to get people to look only at the present and dismiss the past. He only wants to criticize the new leadership while never looking at the old leadership. Much of what he says in his “newspaper” and in other documents represents a “hodge-podge” of “new ideas” put forth in order to cover his tracks. He knows full well that much of what is contained within the 15 internal documents, three pamphlets, and four newspapers from Feb. 1974 to Nov. 1974 was written by him. He, more then any other individual, was responsible for guiding the organizations’ practice during the last period. Within the pages of our newspaper we will publish portions of the organizations’ internal documents which will clearly show what Don Williams’ line has been as well as what his line still is.

In Conclusion comrades, we are calling on all individuals and organizations within the anti-revisionist communist movement to take a resolute stand against the unprincipled action of Don Williams and members of his camp. The danger of “fifth column” activities has profound ramification for all of us. There should be no place within the anti-revisionist movement for Don Williams and his camp or for that matter anyone else who conducts themselves in a totally, unprincipled and degenerate fashion. While refusing to fight the CPUSA or the SWP, these renegades want to wreck havoc in the growing anti-revisionist movement. To this we say NO. We will fight them at every turn and thoroughly expose their bankrupt line and practice. We urge you to do likewise.

Central Committee, Black Workers Congress