First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 6, February 13, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The January issue of Revolution, the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), carried a hysterical diatribe against The Call’s recent editorial, “The Road to Communist Unity (Dec. 26, 1977). In this article, we called on communists in the U.S. to work more conscientiously for unity in a single party.
The RCP’s polemic, “Repudiate the Call for Menshevik Unity!” contained not one word of fact. Rather, it was a fantastic list of supposed “charges” against the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). It posed a “warning” to all those poor, naive communists who, the RCP claims, are falling for the CPML’s “time-tested opportunist technique” of playing on the “real desire of communists and advanced workers for unity.”
The hysteria continues with claims that the editorial, which called for building a Marxist-Leninist unity committee, constitutes a “confession” that our Party is “a bankruptcy and a fraud,” and further, that our “previous effort to ’unite all Marxist-Leninists’ was a failure.”
What is it that has got the RCP so upset and frantic about our editorial? Why such desperate efforts to turn the truth upside down? Why all the “warnings” to the “honest” forces against engaging in the unity efforts?
Unity of the working class, and especially the unity of Marxist-Leninists has always been something that throws fear into the hearts of the bosses and all the opportunists roaming around our movement. From the use of such FBI stunts as “Operation Cointelpro” to the activities of provocateurs and hidden opportunist agents, the bourgeoisie’s war against working class unity has, in recent years, become well-known.
What threw special fear into the ranks of the RCP leadership this past month, however, was the fact that our unity proposal coincided with the rebellion of half of their own rank and file against their traitorous line and especially against their recently revealed attacks on the People’s Republic of China.
The slanders against the Chinese leadership came out last December with the publication of an RCP central committee document written by their ringleader Bob Avakian called, “Revisionists are Revisionists and Must Not Be Supported, Revolutionaries Are Revolutionaries and Must Be Supported.” The paper, which was adopted by a majority of the RCP leadership, claimed without a shread of evidence that “a revisionist coup has taken place” in China.
The paper directs RCP members to hide the organization’s real views and pretend to be “investigating” or “concerned” with the events in socialist China. It calls on them to sabotage the work of groups like the U.S.-China People’s Friendship Association by preventing any education around the great events of last year–for example, the smashing of the fascist “gang of four” and the appointment of Chairman Hua Kuo-feng and Vice-Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping to their leading posts.
When the rank and file bolted from this bankrupt scheme and also rejected some aspects of RCP’s opportunism on the youth question, thugs were sent in to beat the opposition into submission. It was in this light that Avakian felt the need to lash out at the CPML and the trend of Marxist-Leninist unity.
But a look at the facts exposes his opportunist ravings for all who care to see. In the first place, the CPML, far from having “failed” in its efforts to build a party, scored important victories in uniting communists in the Organizing Committee which led up to last June’s Founding Party Congress.
On the other hand, our Party never said (despite Revolution’s silly claim to the contrary) that it had succeeded in uniting “all” the Marxist-Leninists. In fact, it made it clear that the task of party building and further uniting with communists outside of the Party must continue after the congress of the CPML.
The call for new efforts at Marxist-Leninist unity is a step forward in building on past successes to win even greater victories. Secondly, and much more to the heart of the matter, is the RCP’s claim that the call for unity “will obscure the question of ideological and political line.” Like a thief crying “stop thief,” it is the RCP who is doing the obscuring, while our efforts are now and have always been open and aboveboard.
Our Party was founded on a common program. All 11 organizations who joined together at the initiative of the October League united firmly on this program.
That type of unity is rock solid, a deterrent to the kind of splittism and careerism so prevalent in the RCP. It also is a total break from unprincipled blocs such as RCP’s own “National Liaison Committee,” which tried unsuccessfully to corral several other groups into a right-opportunist conglomerate with no principles to hold it together except opposition to the October League.
Now on the heels of these charges of “obscuring the ideological struggle” come the revelations that the RCP leaders suppressed debate inside their organization and instructed their members to lie to the masses about their anti-China views. They knew that openly airing their line on China would isolate them before the genuine revolutionaries and the class-conscious workers.
Even many of the RCP rank and file heard about the split in their organization second hand and still are in the dark about the issues of debate. Many have dropped out in demoralization as a result.
Not only were the RCP the real obscurers, but what they were obscuring gets right to the heart of why they attacked our unity editorial. The RCP opportunists know full well that these unity efforts are serving to draw the Marxist-Leninist forces together around a common line.
Essential and fundamental to this revolutionary line is support for China and the great victories over the “gang of four.” These are victories not only for the Chinese people and Party, but also for the entire international working class movement. They were defeats for the main proponents of revisionism and victories in defense of Marxism.
The RCP not only supported the “gang,” but also attacked Mao Tsetung’s brilliant thesis on the “three worlds,” which provides strategic guidance for the world’s peoples in dealing with the complex international situation as it stands today. Armed with this theory, the Marxist-Leninist unity trend that is forging ahead around the world is a forerunner to a new wave of revolutionary victories against imperialism and revisionism. That is why the opportunists around the world attack this trend so vehemently.
The RCP fears the call for Marxist-Leninist unity, not because this unity ’obscures political line,” but precisely for the content of that line–not only towards China and the international situation, but also towards the class struggle here in the U.S.
The RCP’s well-known white chauvnism and narrow trade unionist politics at home are not disconnected from its attack on socialism in China and on the liberation struggles in the third world. Its idealism and metaphysical thinking at home, e.g. “all nationalism is nationalism,” is not something apart from its idealism and metaphysics internationally, e.g. both superpowers are enemies to the same degree and same extent.”
And now the truth is being made known. The Trotskyite newspapers are singing with joy, for Avakian has “come over” and joined with them in their slanders on China, in their speculations about China’s “degeneracy.”
But the majority of the RCP rank and file have refused to peddle this smelly trash, despite beatings and intimidation. They cannot help but begin to question the other erroneous views which have kept them so separated from the main trend of growing communist unity, as well as from the land of socialism.
Again Revolution warns them: “Those who would like to embrace only one aspect of the CPML’s revisionism [meaning support for socialist China–ed.] will find that it comes in a package–if you take one bite you will be forced to swallow and choke on all of it [meaning the analysis of a world divided into three, self-determination for all oppressed nations, etc.–ed.]
This “warning” is designed to keep those rebels in the RCP confined to questioning only the China issue and away from a critical view of the entire revisionist program and line of Avakian and his gang.
The RCP attack on our call to unite and on the efforts to form a unity committee among Marxist-Leninists is a glaring self-exposure. Mao Tsetung left us with his inspiring direction: “Practice Marxism-Leninism and not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and above board and don’t intrigue and conspire.”
These words are pulling the international communist movement closer together, to forge new parties to lead the proletariat in its difficult struggle to socialism. Those who practice revisionism cannot but attack unity, practice splittism, intrigue and conspire against the working class.
The Revolution article was a last desperate attempt by a drowning opportunist to drag his own rank and file into the swamp with him as he goes down. But the genuine revolutionary fighters will rally to the cause of principled unity, building the Marxist-Leninist Party ever larger and ever stronger. This is an irreversible trend.