Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Committee for Scientific Socialism (M-L)

Smash Scholasticism and Bolshevize Our Ranks! Expose the Petty-Bourgeois Careerism of MLOC!

2. Organization Is a Realm of Ideology

On questions of organization two fundamentally opposed lines now divide the communist movement. One line, that of the WVO, views organization as something objective, the development of which is a historical and concrete phenomenon corresponding to the development of unity on ideological and political line. It is for this reason that each successive phase in the movement’s development is characterized by higher lines of demarcation than previous, and also by higher forms of organization. In the eclectic period we had ultra-democratic and bi-lateral liaisons, in the second period democratic-centralist circles and multiple liaisons, and in the third period, with the emergence of a trend demarcated by building the party on the proletarian ideological plane, we have objectively-emerging democratic-centralism based on the leading line and center of the WVO.

Conditions in the U.S. are not those of Czarist Russia in the 1900’s where conditions of the autocracy dictated that organization lag far behind the content of revolutionary work. Organization in the U.S., under conditions of bourgeois democracy, is all too “easy” and thanks mainly to pragmatism, it has always been used by swindlers as a substitute for ideological struggle (hence the long history of factionalism and splits).

In the long autumn of American Bourgeois Democracy, every shading of political and ideological line in the various sham-revolutionary (RCP-anarcho-economism, OL–left social democracy and PRRWO/RWL/fruit flies –anarcho-socialism) and genuine-revolutionary movements is organizationally represented. It is a law of political work that unity get organized and that disunity split up. It is in such conditions that we must try to put a value on the organizational currency of the MLOC and similar scheme-se1lers of our movement who act as though organization is well-nigh impossible, but they have a secret formula which just might help us out. All these plans (including also WC’s “Iskra” plan and the OL’s “OC”) depend, in the last analysis, upon the conviction that adequate lines of demarcation for the party have existed for a long time but no one was smart enough to organize it.

We must state unequivocably that this idea is wrong, is blatantly wrong in the face of four major party-building failures, all of which bought the above assumption and paid the price of political putrification. We should not assume from this, however, that other circle swindlers from the revolutionary intelligentsia will not constantly come forward to repeat the error. They are. The MLOC is the latest version of it, and their “unity now” swindle on the organizational question must be exposed now before it causes further harm and confusion in our movement.


Given the MLOC’s failure to grasp the two-line struggle on political and ideological questions, a failure we have documented in the first section of this polemic, it is not surprising that they cannot grasp organizational questions either. From their get-go in August, 1975, they have been repeating past errors, pushing one form or another of inevitably loose, liaison-type organizational relations as the solution to disunity in the communist movement. With a perfectly straight face they warn that,

As the crisis and decay of monopoly capitalism deepens, the bourgeoisie will intensify its efforts to split and divide the communist movement through both underhanded subversion and open suppression. For these and other reasons [which are not important enough to mention] comrades must place the struggle for the party on a much more conscious, more determined level than it has been. (Unite!, Vol. I, No. 1, p. 23).

The MLOC scheme has almost as many formulations as there are issues of Unite!, but the original “plan” expresses their lines as well as any of the subsequent mutations. Their bold initiative to awaken the sleeping, “passive” forces of genuine Marxist-Leninists from their “less conscious, less determined” state consisted of:

A. Develop and persevere in a Bolshevik policy for building unity among Marxist-Leninists.
B. Promote joint actions among Marxist-Leninists in regard to particular struggles, propaganda work, theoretical work, agitation, etc.
C. Move toward a regular, even weekly or daily, communist press.
D. Greatly extend propaganda on the theoretical front. (Ibid., p. 24).

That’s it, comrades. On to the party!

According to this, PRRWO, RWL, WVO, IWK, ATM, OL, MLOC and the Guardian – all of them in August, 1975, could have formed the party. There is not the slightest hint of any higher line of demarcation.

On the contrary, what is stressed by the MLOC is that “the material basis for unity is greater than the subjective basis for disunity.” (Ibid, p. 4)

What is important to grasp about the MLOC’s particular scheme – which explodes its “theoretical image and reveals the essence – is the dialectics of ultra-democracy and careerism. Having no ideological and political leadership to offer, the MLOC still wants to bring everyone together as soon as possible. How? Liaison with the MLOC. To do what? Joint theoretical work under MLOC’s plan mainly. And polemics? Well,

In the context of joint theoretical and political work, polemics serve to “clarify the depth of existing differences in order to afford discussion of disputed questions from all angles in order to combat the extremes into which representatives of various views, various localities, or various specialities of the revolutionary movement inevitably fall. (MLOC quoting Lenin from Draft Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya, in Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 3).

Here MLOC counterfeits Lenin by placing him in the completely erroneous context of “joint theoretical and political work.” This mis-use of Lenin illustrates the ultra-democratic facade which the MLOC builds up around their scheme, representing yet another appeal to the petty-bourgeois anti-centralist habits and instincts without which no swindler can attract a sufficient crowd of unconsolidated or weakly-consolidated followers. This appeal is obligatory, and the MLOC has become more strident in issuing it as the struggle has intensified in the real polemics of the theory trend. More recently, this has been adamantly proclaimed as the “principle of equality.”

Equality among Marxist-Leninists is a fundamental principle guiding correct relations. Regardless of size, previous achievements or past records, Marxist-Leninists sit down as equals. No one waves a baton over the others. (Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 2, p. 4).

The careerist essence which this, and all the rest of the MLOC’s elaborate “norms,” are intended to conceal is inherent in all schemes and “plans” which deny they are leadership. The MLOC proclaims themselves a haven for all and sundry Marxist-Leninists who are oppressed under “hegemonism” to come and breathe the free air of “joint theoretical and political work.” Come to the land where “no organization or group of organizations, including the MLOC, has proven itself...to offer genuine leadership to the movement as a whole.” (Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 2, p. 4). In reality, however, the MLOC since August 1975, has been trying to “lead” us in forming a single communist party. Under the guise of ultra-democracy, the MLOC is setting itself up to be the leadership of the party.

Comrades, the MLOC appeal drips of careerism, blocism and organization-is-key-ism from front to back.

The MLOC represents no leading line ideologically or politically – just a scheme, and a primitive liaison type scheme at that. In all that they do the MLOC is trying to make formal and mechanical “norms” perform the function of the line struggle. Meanwhile, real polemics have developed in parallel to the MLOC, going from lower to higher in drawing concrete lines of demarcation between genuine and sham, and paving the way for democratic-centralist organization to emerge. The MLOC has things turned on their heads. They should pay attention to Lenin’s real teachings on polemics, struggle and organization:

As long as we had no unity on the fundamental questions of program and tactics, we bluntly admitted that we were living in a period of disunity and separate circles, we bluntly declared that before we could unite, lines of demarcation must be drawn; we did not even talk of forms of a joint organization, but exclusively discussed the new (at that time they were really new) problems of fighting opportunism on program and tactics. (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Progress Publishers, p. 183).


Comrades, the correct view of the relationship between political-programmatic unity on the one hand and organizational unity on the other, was settled by Lenin in What Is To Be Done?

Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.

The MLOC is familiar with this quote and repeats it in their newspaper. Its purpose was and is to differentiate between Marxism and opportunism at all times and in all conditions and to place this at the very heart of all struggle to unite into a party of the new type. Therefore, all those who take the destruction of opportunism as the heart and soul of the struggle to unite, and who lead revolutionary criticism of the nationally-specific forms which history ordains it to take, are Marxists and followers of the Leninist principle.

All those, on the other hand, who are content to start campaigns in the press, proclaiming the joys and benefits of organizational unity, but without concretely demarcating genuine from sham; who in fact openly state that “no organization...has demonstrated genuine leadership;” but who nevertheless sing sweet songs of “the first and foremost duty is unity,” of “unity not tomorrow or at some distant date,” of “now is the time for ’Unity, Unity, broad Unity, Success, Success, great Success’” – in short, all those who substitute show for substance and lump words together to build a career are organizational pragmatists and swindlers. MLOC is among these!


Prior to our study of the WVO line on periods and key link, the CSS had an extremely shallow grasp of the nature of this question. In our initial publication (GL, Feb., 1976) we confused the concept “period” with the stages of development of the party. Thus, we attempted to demonstrate the “objective laws” of the process of party development. Later, in Forward! we attempted to superimpose our “theory of the party” and its objective law of development on the particularity of the development of the U.S. communist movement and came up with a view of periods which runs first eclecticism, then ideological line is key, then political line, etc. All this was a jumble.

Actually, periods are phases of struggle between genuine Marxism-Leninism and particular shades of bourgeois ideology which are holding back development of proletarian revolution by preventing the emergence and development of the most overall correct view of the objective motion of class struggle. This was first brought forward by Lenin in his examination of the periods of party development in Russia – first the defeat of Narodnik views, then legal Marxism and finally economism. As WVO says,

Every phase of its (the communist movement’s) development is characterized by a principal contradiction. Class struggle in society must be reflected in the communist movement, concretely manifested and concentrated in the two-line struggle between genuine M-L and different shades and forms of opportunism. Each phase, therefore, is characterized by a line struggle with a dominant line whether correct or incorrect. Resolution of the two-line struggle, resolution of the principal contradiction that characterizes the movement as a whole, enables the communist movement to “liquidate the old period” and surge forward. (WVO Journal #4, p. 93).

Our inability to grasp the nature of periods and the leaps in development resulting from the division of one into two and the resolution of the struggle at a higher level, prevented us from grasping the qualitative differences within what we called the communist movement (all organizations which upheld MLMTTT and party-building). This led to complete confusion as to what forces were revolutionary, opportunists, revisionist, “consolidated opportunist”, “intermediate,” etc., and helped lay the basis for our policy on party-building.

The CSS upheld that ideological line is the key link – that being our view of the whole unfolding motion of proletarian revolution in all realms, using the science of MLMTTT as our guide. We upheld that this had been the key link roughly since the emergence from the eclectic period. This is only slightly different from PRRWO/RWL’s view that since the break-up of the NLC (1972), political line (application of principles of MLMTTT to concrete conditions in the U.S.) has been the key link.

This particular trend in analysis is incorrect on two counts. Most importantly, it liquidates the entire second and third periods of struggle to uphold party-building, the decisive role of theory, Bolshevik criticism/self-criticism and repudiation, the Marxist-Leninist line on periods and key link, organizational line, character of the party and the rich lessons which have been drawn in the struggles. Also, it fails to properly reflect the reality that in the current period, it is not the application of MLMTTT to concrete conditions in the U.S. generally but rather the specific struggle for correct lines on those questions most directly linked to the question of state power which brings forth a new division of one into two, a new cycle of ideological struggle, consolidation of Marxist-Leninists at a qualitatively higher level of unity, and paves the road for the organizational consolidation of the party.

Our line on organization flowed directly from our views on the character of the party and the nature of differences in the communist movement. Thinly disguised as dialectics, our line was essentially a metaphysical, two-steps approach to party-building. First bring forth theory, then practice. First unite M-Ls, then win the advanced. First observe and study the mass movements, the provide communist leadership. First demarcate our movement, then demarcate opportunism within it. Despite numerous mutations of the line in the face of objective reality, the underlying view expressed in this line could not be rectified short of a complete break from and repudiation of this line. This line, best summarized in “Our Policy: United Marxist-Leninist Front,” (Forward!, June, 1976), we now repudiate.

Organizationally, we called for joint theoretical work among communist organizations and united action in mass work. We imagined that through closer, more direct contact and struggle on these fronts, genuine M-L unity could be more readily forged. This is nothing more than the scheme approach to party-building, putting organization ahead of ideological and political unity. Flowing in part from our own relative isolation, we presumed that isolation was the movement’s problem rather than opportunism. This view, of course, was bound to lead to conciliation with opportunism, and it did.

Subsequent practice and mutation of our line showed that it was not only our isolation but mainly our own bourgeois ideology which had produced our organizational line. All the wishing and hoping in the world could not make the communist movement develop according to the fine idea we had come up with. Our careerist desires blinded us from the objective reality of developing organization.

We now recognize that organization, too, is a realm of ideology. We see clearly that the emergence of democratic-centralism is an objective process independent of human will which develops as part and parcel of the struggle for correct ideological and political lines % Organizations which have unity on the basis of ideological and political line (such as once did WVO and RWL) are objectively in a democratic-centralist relationship to each other. The task of communists is to correctly grasp this reality and develop concrete organizational policies which correspond (such as merger).

Having united ideologically and politically with the leading line of the WVO, the CSS warmly embraces its objective democratic-centralist relationship to this leading organization. We view our task as carrying forward the leading line and communicating, consistently, the results of our work to the center. In this way we are actively struggling to merge our organization with the WVO and concretely build the vanguard party.