First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 31, December 6, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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As predicted, the Nov. 20 Conference on the International Situation, organized primarily by the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), turned out to be a circus of revisionists, Trotskyists and centrists who joined together in an anti-China and pro-social-imperialist chorus.
The RCP paraded the likes of international Trotskyite leader Ralph Shoenman, new leftist Eqbal Ahmad, the opportunist and pro-U.S. imperialist William Hinton as well as their own representatives to denounce the international communist movement and promote the line of reliance on one superpower to fight the other.
In well-orchestrated fashion, the RCP members, who were mobilized from all over the country, shouted down every attempt to put forth a Marxist-Leninist viewpoint but defended the rights of free speech for any Trotskyite or professional anti-communist. Such is the nature of RCP’s frantic slide to the right which has brought them into an uncomfortable alliance with centrism and all forms of opportunism.
Rather than being a “debate” between the so-called “four lines in our movement,” as it had been advertised, the conference was no “debate” at all. It revealed the unanimity of the sponsors on the essential questions of support for hegemonism, attacks on the third world liberation struggles, the People’s Republic of China and the new leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
Speaking for the RCP, Nick Unger put forth a view that covered up the danger of a new world war and, in particular, the role played by the Soviet social-imperialists.
While outlining some of the features of imperialism in general, Unger exposed himself most by what he left out. He totally ignored the role of the third world as well as that of the second world, revealing RCP’s long-standing opposition to these concepts and to the role of the third world as the main force pushing the anti-imperialist struggle forward.
In describing the main features of the world today, Unger conspicuously ignored even the slightest mention of modern revisionism as the prop of imperialism within the working-class movement. He also did not bring out the need for a new Marxist-Leninist Party to lead the struggle against imperialism.
The other so-called “lines” presented at the conference either echoed the RCP’s line of conciliation to revisionism and social-imperialism, as in the case of the centrists and Trotskyists, or represented the “flip-side” of RCP’s line, as in the case of William Hinton’s line of building an alliance with U.S. imperialism to oppose the Soviet Union.
All these opportunists aimed their attack at the position of the October League and the international communist movement. The October League, along with the organizations inside the Organizing Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party (OC), holds that, while the objective of the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. is aimed at the overthrow of U.S. imperialism internationally we must direct the main blow at the Soviet Union. Because it is the center of modern revisionism, the USSR is the main prop of imperialism internationally.
Since the USSR is a newcomer to the imperialist feast, while U.S. imperialism is on the decline, the Soviet Union is also the more dangerous and the main source of a new world war.
Representatives of a number of Marxist-Leninist organizations including several from the OC attended the conference to struggle against the RCP’s opportunist line.
To attack the Marxist-Leninist forces, the RCP even went so far as to join hands with international Trotskyites and centrists. A prime example of this was the panel of the Europe workshop.
Two out of the three “panelists” were representatives of the Party for Democratic Unity of the Proletariat (PDUP) and Il Manifesto, both well-known centrist and Trotskyite groups in Italy who united with the Italian revisionists in recent elections there. In fact, the very mention in the workshop of the genuine communist parties and organizations in Europe was met with scorn.
At the workshop on Europe, speakers from the October League and other organizations explained that Europe was the main focus of superpower contention. They showed how the movements for socialist revolution in many of the second world countries of Western Europe were being led by Marxist-Leninist parties.
These genuine parties, it was stressed, were growing and developing in the course of struggling against revisionism and were also leading the movements in Europe against the two superpowers as well as against their own bourgeoisies.
This provided the opportunity for RCP clown-prince Mickey Jarvis to put on a performance that revealed RCP’s unity with the mouthpieces for revisionism with whom they shared the speaker’s platform. Jarvis proceeded to launch a wild attack against Stalin, the Chinese Communist Party and Marxist-Leninists everywhere in the world.
“As for the second world,” said Jarvis, “if the Chinese want to call it that,” the only struggle there is to overthrow the European bourgeoisie, who are “independent partners of U.S. imperialism.” The struggle against social-imperialism in the European countries, said Jarvis, “is not very important,” since the revisionist parties “represent the bourgeoisie in their own countries.”
Jarvis then turned his attack on Stalin, “whose theory of aiming the main blow at the main social prop of imperialism,” he claimed “led to an incorrect line in the international communist movement from 1925 to 1936.”
This “new” theory articulated by RCP is really no new theory at all, but a rehash of the Trotskyite attacks on Stalin. It was Stalin who ruthlessly exposed the treachery of the reformists and social-democrats in disarming the working class, and setting them up for fascism. Today, the revisionist and reformist leaders within the workers’ movement are playing the same role.
In the workshop entitled “Fascism and Junior Partners of Imperialism,” a spokesman from the Indian Peoples Association of North America (IPANA) spoke out about how the title of the workshop itself precluded a correct analysis of the third world struggles.
The IPANA representative pointed out that the conference displayed a tendency to look at just one aspect of the third world struggles, the internal class struggle of each country, and in doing so, portrayed the third world countries exclusively as puppets and lackeys of imperialism.
“The most powerful trend in the third world,” stated the IPANA spokesman, “is the trend of third world unity against superpower hegemonism. Unless the conference takes care to clarify this issue,” he warned, “its implications will lead to undermining the most powerful force in the world, the third world countries, who are opposing the war preparations of the two superpowers.” An incorrect stand on this question, he added “lays ground for an attack on China, which is actively promoting the unity of the third world in opposition to superpower hegemonism.”
People who attended the China workshop were barraged from the speaker’s platform by a 40-minute tirade against China by Ralph Shoenman. Shoenman congratulated the RCP on the “breadth of the conference” and proceeded to repeat every imperialist slander against China from 1949 to the present.
When people in the audience began demanding that imperialist agents like Shoenman be removed from the platform, the RCP jumped to his defense with chants of “let him speak.” The Trotskyite was followed by RCP member Clark Kissinger and William Hinton, neither of whom opposed the Trotskyite’s slanders.
Instead they both proceeded to distort China’s foreign policy, again displaying their unity with the centrist Guardian. Both attacked the proletarian internationalist foundation of China’s socialist foreign policy. Hinton preached building a united front with U.S. imperialism against the Soviet Union. Kissinger slandered China’s foreign policy, saying it is based on a policy of “concessions to reactionary governments because of the need for state relations.”
These attacks were exposed by the October League and others from the floor of the workshop. The RCP’s unity with international revisionism and Trotskyism was denounced and illustrated by exposing RCP’s failure to support the current struggle in China against the “gang of four.”
Kissinger and Bob Avakian, RCP Chairman, heightened the chauvinist anti-China slanders from those made earlier by going so far as to charge that “if the Chinese elected a chimpanzee as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party,” the October League “would send a telegram of congratulations.” In this and many other comments, the RCP has shown its opposition to the Chinese Party and its Chairman Hua Kuo-feng.
By the conclusion of the conference, RCP had solidified its opportunist alliance. While the cheering section of mostly students, whipped up by RCP, showed that many people are still fooled by the RCP’s Marxist-Leninist cover, the events at the conference itself went a long way towards stripping the vestiges of this cover away. Several groups and sections of the audience left disgusted with the RCP’s reactionary display.
All over the world, however, Marxist-Leninists are carrying out the tasks of preparing the working class and its allies for revolutionary struggle in every country and for the outbreak of a new world war between the two superpowers. Here in the U.S. Marxist-Leninists as the primary step towards this preparation are preparing to forge a new and genuine communist party. The International Conference of the RCP has again illustrated the necessity of this task and the bankruptcy of RCP’s line and claim that it is the genuine Marxist-Leninist party in the United States.