Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Committee (M-L)

RWL: Building the Party on Bourgeois Ideology

A call to struggle against ’left’ opportunism



The question of building the Party on the ideological plane is a question of the character of the Party, a question of what kind of Party we are building. As WVO points out, we have to ask the “fundamental question ’why has there not been a proletarian revolution in any advanced capitalist country, and the relation of this question to party building.” Workers Viewpoint Journal #4, p.52) Communist Parties throughout advanced capitalist countries have degenerated into consolidated revisionist parties in the last 15 to 50 years. This degeneration took place at a time in which the peoples of the world and the international proletariat were rapidly smashing the world imperialist system. This degeneration signified a major betrayal and setback for world revolution. While, this degeneration took place, however, genuine Marxists-Leninists stepped forward, upholding the banner of scientific socialism and proletarian revolution and further enriched the science on the basis of the struggle against revisionism and the further revolutionary experiences of the world’s proletariat. As the genuine Marxists-Leninist forces moved forward in the U.S., it is imperative that we grapple with this degeneration of communist parties in advanced capitalist countries. In speaking of this betrayal by the Communist Party in his country, Comrade Hill of the Communist Party of Australia writes:

Step by step, the Communist Party (M-L) in Australia understood that it was not merely the cruder political aspects of revisionism that had to be combatted, but that the struggle to build the Party was far deeper than this. The betrayal of Communism was no mere partial betrayal expressed in a few political aberrations such as the peaceful transition to socialism, but it was a betrayal that went to the root of Marxism-Leninism. It embraced everything. It repudiated, while pretending to adhere to the world outlook of Communism materialist-dialectics, the very basis of Communism. ...Moreover, it revealed the weakness in ideology in the history of the Communist Party of Australia. (Australia’s Revolution, p. 119)

Not only has the “Communist” Party U.S.A. degenerated into a revisionist Party but the movement to once again establish a revolutionary Communist Party of the U.S. proletariat has seen three attempts that have ended in failure (and is about to see a fourth). Why is this? In the same pamphlet cited above, comrade Hill further writes:

In countries such as Australia, conditions of bourgeois democracy prevail. Seeming freedom of the press, of organization, of speech, of assembly, parliamentary election, trade unions, equality “before law”, all continue to bemuse and deceive people that they have democracy, have real power, whereas all these things do is to conceal the reality that Australia is a dictatorship of the bourgeois (an imperialist dependency). In such conditions, the problems of building a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary Party have their own peculiarities. Much of the previous experience has been negative. It cannot be said that the problems had been adequately solved anywhere. There were no guide posts. Moreover, the main leaders of communist parties, in almost all so-called bourgeois democracies, had succumbed to revisionism. The question of party building had not been put sufficiently on the ideological plane. Therefore, the Marxists in Australia were compelled to face the question in a new way, what sort of Party, how to build the Party, how to put party building on the ideological plane. (Australia’s Revolution, p.118-119)

These are significant questions for all genuine Marxists-Leninists to pose, and to strive to grasp correctly. In doing so, we must seek out the most advanced thought in the international communist movement on the question of building the Party on the ideological plane.

The RWL, in its journal The Bolshevik, fails to pose these, questions, and subsequently, fails to lay out how building the Party on the ideological plane is a question of the character of the’ Party. It fails to lay out how, in fact, the question we are asking comes down to whether or not a staunch revolutionary Communist Party, firmly based on MLMTT, will be build. We will show that it is not only a question of RWL not understanding why this is such a significant question, but also, that they fail to grasp how to go about building the Party on the ideological plane. The CWC views this question as one of the lines of demarcation between genuine revolutionaries who are building a revolutionary proletarian Party, from “sham Marxist-Leninists who are failing to break with the dominance of bourgeois ideology.


Through our study of MLMTT, and particularly our study of the documents from the 10th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China, we have come to understand five aspects the struggle to build the Party on the ideological plane:
1. “Study Marxism, criticize revisionism”.
2. Work for the interests of the vast majority of the masses, and of the proletariat of the U.S. and the world.
3. The “style of integrating theory with practice.”
4. Practicing Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism.
5. “The Party becomes strong by purging itself of opportunist elements.” (Stalin)

On the basis of the above, we have concluded that RWL has little or no grasp of what it means to build the Party on the ideological plane. The reason for this is not that they don’t lay out all the aspects that we do. No, this is no basis from which to conclude that they fail to grasp this essential question. It is clear from the Bolshevik and from practice we are familiar with, as we will show below, that the RWL does not understand and completely liquidates in practice building the Party on the ideological plane.

While we will deal with all aspects listed above, we will focus on the first in that RWL does mention this and its different particularities.


There are several important points we need to start with in order to fully grasp the various aspects of this task. WVO writes, “This strategic concept...embodies the very idea that truth–Marxism, and falsehood–bourgeois ideology, coexist in our thinking. When we strive to learn Marxism, to use Marxism to formulate line and policy in accordance with concrete conditions in the U.S., o to implement line in practice, we at times will deviate from it.” (WV #4, p. 39) This is in sharp contrast to the view that the Bolshevik puts forth (which we will demonstrate throughout this paper) that “there are “pure proletarian kernels” who “consistently” take the correct stand, and when they go wrong, it is because they only had a “perceptual grasp”, or because they fell prey to opportunists, or a number of other external reasons. This view is completely out of line with Marxism-Leninism. Lenin put forth that “to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree, means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.” (What is to be Done?, p. 48 FLP) Why? “for the simple reason that the bourgeois ideology is far older in origin than the socialist ideology; because it is more fully developed and because it possesses immeasurably more opportunities for being spread.” (WITBD?, p. 50, FLP) Proletarian ideology is consciously and scientifically developed and systematized, and any belittling of this conscious activity and struggle for proletarian ideology, any bowing to spontaneity, inevitably leads to falling into bourgeois ideology, even if someone happens to be one of these “proletarian kernels.” Thus, we need to grasp how the struggle for proletarian ideology, and any bowing to spontaneity, inevitably leads to falling into bourgeois ideology. Thus, we need to grasp how the struggle between these two world outlooks reflects itself throughout the history of the Party in the Party itself, and how it reflects itself within every member of the Party. Thus our long-term task is “studying Marxism, criticizing revisionism.”

Moreover, there are non-proletarian classes and sectors of the population which, while they are in contradiction to the bourgeoisie, are strongholds of bourgeois ideology and world outlook. The forms this bourgeois ideology takes among these strata acts to serve the interests of the non-proletarian strata. These social strata, particularly the petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy, are connected to the proletariat by a thousand threads and so they are a constant source and basis of revisionism and opportunism in the workers’ and communist movements.

Finally, another point we need to emphasize here, is that the bourgeois ideological superstructure takes on particular forms in particular societies for numerous objective reasons (like the uneven development of capitalism, particular historical differences, and numerous other national particularities). So while bourgeois ideology in its general aspect dominates capitalist societies, we must grasp it in its particular manifestation. This is the meaning of MLMTT, as clearly laid out by Mao in “On Contradiction”, “Reform Our Study”, and “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work.”

These three points are essential to grasp in order that we may carry out the task of combatting bourgeois ideology, revisionism and opportunism, and firmly base ourselves and the Party on MLMTT.

We will lay out more clearly what these mean in the process of combatting bourgeois ideology on these questions, i.e. by criticizing the incorrect view on these put forth by the Bolshevik.

Sophistry instead of the study of Marxism, and attacking “agents” instead of criticizing revisionism.

In their discussion of the task of “studying Marxism, criticizing Revisionism”, in their tracing and grasping the ideological and class roots of revisionism and opportunism in the communist and workers’ movement, and in their attempts to analyze the particular forms that bourgeois ideology takes in the U.S., the RWL shows that it does not grasp what party building on the ideological plane means. In fact, its view of these are rooted in bourgeois ideology, especially in that it liquidates the particular, which in affect renders the general meaningless and just so much talk.

On pages 40 and 41 pf the Bolshevik this question is discussed. We have all these general statements about the historical struggle in China against revisionism and a quote by Marx. Then, we see how RWL understands what all this means to us. RWL writes, “Therefore, 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 line.” So there we have it, comrades; RWL’s view of what our long-term task of studying Marxism and criticizing Revisionism means! While this is an aspect of the task, it is not its essence. This fails to grasp how Marxism develops in opposition to bourgeois ideology. It is not just a matter of bourgeois agents, but a matter of constantly struggling against bourgeois ideology at every level of the Party and in every cadre. It means always deepening line differences, errors, deviations, to their ideological and social roots (which we sill discuss below) and constantly deepening and strengthening MLMTT in the on-going struggle against bourgeois ideology in the Party and in ourselves.

The preceding paragraph had already been written when we received the latest (June 6th) Palante (Vol. 6, No. 6) (political newspaper of the PRRWO), which illustrated our point “above and beyond a shadow of a doubt.” Listen to the beginning lines of PRRWO’s editorial, with which we assume RWL is in complete unity. PRRWO writes, “In this article the PRRWO will share with all genuine Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers our sum-up to date on the revealing facts which prove without the shadow of a doubt that the enemies of the working class the Mensheviks have long ago sold out the interests of the Proletariat by aiding the state in their operations within the movement – who are preparing an attempt to repress the rising trend of Bolshevism in our country...” Comrades, how this line has completely degenerated!! This is starting to sound like the real agents of the bourgeoisie, like the NCLC! And what is this “proof without a shadow of a doubt” that PRRWO is putting forth and RWL is uniting with? This proof, comrades, is first some flimsy theoretical points about how the organizational opportunism of organizations like the OL set the conditions for infiltrations, AND – secondly, the fact that they (PRRWO and RWL) are being polemicized against and being exposed for the “Left” opportunist wreckers that they are! PRRWO goes on to tell us how the intelligence community (“the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, Army & Navy intelligence, etc.”) are being “objectively” aided by their “Objective” “front organizations”, PRRWO writes:

Like yesterday, front organizations exist today, some may not be aware of it but because of their loose knit nature, their Menshevik line reflected in their recruitment policy, their social democratic and social pacifist traditions, their disdain of Marxist-Leninist theory, and their total lack of Democratic Centralism and Criticism and Self-Criticism, are and have been objectively prime potential for fronting of the secret police operations in the movement. This coupled with their attacks on the Proletariat reflected in their anti-Party activities of worshipping the spontaneous mass movement which they claim to be building, through “fighting back the imperialist crisis,” putting out economist agitational rag sheets, slandering the Revolutionary Wing, attacking all the fundamental principles of Bolshevism, by saying it’s leftism and dogmatism, anarchism and ’hustlerism’ to insist that Party Building is the central and only task in this period. (Palante, June 6, p.2)

There you have it comrades! Now the WVO is supposed to be an agent of the bourgeoisie because they are daring to polemcize against the thoroughly” opportunist line of PRRWO and RWL!

All this is tied in to RWL’s complete lack of understanding of ideology in general, and of the conscious and unconscious character of bourgeois ideology and the struggle we need to wage in order to strengthen our ranks and break from bourgeois ideology. Comrades, this is essential! Look at the total degeneration of the PRRWO and RWL because of their failure to wage this necessary ideological struggle in their ranks.

The view RWL has on this question that all opportunism is conscious opportunism, goes completely against the Marxist-Leninist view. Lenin writes, “all belittling of the role of ’the conscious element’, of the role of Social-Democracy (read Communism), means, quite irrespective of whether the belittler wants to or not, strengthening the influence of the bourgeois ideology.” (WITBD?, p. 46, FLP, emphasis in original) Did you read that RWL? “Irrespective of whether the belittler wants to or not!” In discussing what there is in common between terrorism and economism, i.e. their belittling of theory and worshipping of spontaneity, Lenin further writes, “Political activity has its logic quite apart from the consciousness of those who, with the best intentions, call either for terror or for lending the economic struggle itself a political character. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and, in this case, good intentions cannot save one from being spontaneously drawn “along the line of least resistance,” along the line of the purely bourgeois...program.” (WITBD?, p. 93-4) FLP, emphasis added) And in another part in the same pamphlet, Lenin writes, “Both the Union and the Bund fall into the error (partly, perhaps unconsciously, under the influence of tradition) of giving an economic, trade-unionist interpretation to politics.”(p.74) This is in clear opposition to the view put forward by the RWL on this question.

What does all this come to signify? Building a Party firmly grounded on proletarian ideology is a conscious and difficult task. It is about remoulding the world outlook of all cadre. While the advanced which step forward from the ranks of the proletariat have an easier time of remoulding because their conditions of existence have been in sharper contradiction to bourgeois ideology, they nonetheless have to struggle to break with the bourgeois ideology that is ingrained in all of our habits of thought and action. There are careerists, paid agents, and consciously conniving snakes that do find their way into the ranks of the proletariat vanguard, and these elements must be exposed and isolated. But, as the WVO writes, “the majority of comrades in the communist “movement do not engage in...opportunist acts of splitting and maneuvering, as opportunist ’leaders’ do. Their bourgeois ideology, most often the unconscious aspect inherited from the past, must be ferreted out and repudiated. The “Left” opportunist line on this question cops out of real ideological struggle by accusing everybody of being cops and ’agents.’” (WV #4, p.62)

RWL, then, after showing us how they don’t know what to “study Marxism, criticize Revisionism” is all about, go on to criticize WVO on this question. They go on to tell us how WV is cooking up “new theories” because MLMTT is not enough, so they pull stuff out of the “dung heap of the Rockefellers and Brezhnevs.” Comrades, this attack is not surprising, because if you are dominated by bourgeois ideology and have no notion of how to build the Party on the ideological plane, it only follows that you attack those who are building the Party on the ideological plane, are grasping the essence (and not just the form or just-so-many loose disconnected phrase) of our task of “studying Marxism, criticizing Revisionism.” It only follows that you would attack those who are doing the difficult work of actively seeking the stand, method, and viewpoint in the writings of our great teachers (as opposed to phrases torn out of context to help us win arguments), and those who are doing the difficult work of analyzing the concrete conditions on the basis of MLMTT. In our studying the writings of the. WVO comrades we have come to a view that they in fact do have the firmest grasp of our task of building the Party on the ideological plane. Their article, “Anti-Revisionist Premises,” in our view does make errors. But we have to view it as a whole, in its essence, and at this level, it constitutes an important contribution to the anti-revisionist communist movement. In the near future we hope to lay out criticisms we have of some of the points and formulations made by WVO. But for now, we would like to expose the thoroughly sophist and pragmatic manner in which RWL goes on to attack WVO.

RWL raises the question of what does WVO’s “system lead to, if taken to its logical conclusion?” (Bolshevik, p.43) Let’s do look at this question:

(1) The first point RWL makes is that WVO’s “system” “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.’” Lets look at the FACTS, comrades! First of all, this is clearly false if we use reality, concrete facts5 as a test for this statement. All of WVO’s polemics against the Guardian, RU, OL, IWK, PRRWO. and RWL are on the basis of political line, point by point, which is then deepened to its ideological roots. Also we have the concrete reality of the development of WV’s political line in their newspaper and their journal (which we would encourage comrades to get), This is out there, fact! Compare the WVO’s newspaper to Palante. Another example of the RWL’s distortion of WVO’s line occurred in the open polemic organized in Durham in May, 1976 by WVO and the Boston FFM. WV laid out a detailed polemic against RWL/PRRWO on the basis of political line – including party building, united front work, propaganda and agitation, the international situation. The RWL (National leadership) representative who responded with a counter presentation did not deal directly with one single aspect of the political line struggle laid out by WV, and they still had the brass to charge WVO with not holding political line as key and not dealing with political line at all! Either RWL doesn’t know political line when they’re slapped in the face with it or they have degenerated into complete and obvious sophistry and distortion. This use of sophistry is characterized by a “getting it over style”, that appeals to the most retrograde instincts of the masses, an emphasis on style rather than substance, on “cleverness” over correctness. The above is a clear example of substituting sophistry for open and principled struggle.

Clearly which line (the WVO’s or PRRWO/RWL) is ’diverting’ or ’belittling’ the. struggle over political line? What does this distortion of reality seem to point to? It points to how RWL does not know what is means to build the Party on the ideological plane, to “deepen line differences to their ideological roots.” They view the development of the movement in a rigid mechanical, metaphysical, manner in which everything is reduced to mutually exclusive stages. When you deepen a line struggle to its ideological basis in the period when political line is key, RWL argues that you hold that “ideology is key”.

For example, in district #35 of RWL there was a split in which genuine Marxist-Leninists left the organization., Philistine opportunist elements remained inside the RWL in that district and tried to run the line that the group leaving held “ideology as key”. When the opportunists were asked bow they figured this, they responded by saying that it was “clear” in the way those who left characterized the differences that led to the split. The people leaving held that underlying the struggles in the district was the contradiction between the vulgar, mechanical materialism of the vulgar proletarianization line, versus the rising dialectical materialism of the Marxist-Leninists. But even from the outside, we were able to identify eighteen political line struggles that had come down in the. district in the last three months, most of which had their ideological roots in the contradiction stated above. The people who left identified over 30 line struggles and deepened them to the roots of vulgar and mechanical materialism, So, what was in fact happening was that the genuine Marxist-Leninists were upholding party building on the ideological plane. This was the real basis of the criticism and the split.

(2) Second point: RWL writes, the WVO’s system “further belittles the struggle over political line, since upholders of the premises will be seeking out whether or not someone is affected by chauvinist thinking, whether their thinking is pragmatic or whether their ideas are (mutating) centrist. In short it leads to fixating on motives, and not actually struggling around concrete political lines.” (emphasis added) Again, this does not correspond to FACTS! In fact, WO has waged struggle against incorrect political lines (like RWL’s Trotskyite view of the international situation, to name one of many); and as a matter of fact; it is our view that their line is the most developed of all the groups that constituted the Revolutionary Wing. Secondly, again we see RWL not understanding the character of the ideological struggle we need to wage; they don’t see that, except for PRRWO and RWL, no one is presenting the question in terms of “motives”, but rather, it is a question of seeing what forms bourgeois ideology most often and most subtly takes, and not just struggling against bourgeois ideology “a line at a time”, but deepening errors to their ideological plane so that we make it more difficult for the same manifestations of bourgeois ideology to “rear their ugly heads” . . .Again, this indicates how RWL does not grasp how political line errors and deviations are deepened to their ideological roots, It also reflect their seeing bourgeois ideology as always conscious, and again belittles the constant struggle against bourgeois ideology we need to wage. It is not a question of motives, but a question of how. bourgeois ideology manifests itself in our social practice when we belittle theory and bow to spontaneity. Also, when it is RWL who is going around looking for “agents” in the movement and in their organization, it seems to us that it is the RWL who is “fixating on motives”.

(3) The third point is probably the most sophist of all. RWL lists all sorts of other forms of bourgeois: ideology that WVO does not list and so concludes that the list of anti-revisionist, premises could grow indefinitely. This is missing the whole point about coming to grasp what is particular in the U.S. The point is not to list all conceivable forms of bourgeois ideology, as the sophistry of the Bolshevik would have us believe that WVO is arguing for. The point is to investigate concrete conditions, the .. concrete history and development of the U.S. and of the Communist movement. The point is not just to know the general aspects of bourgeois ideology, but more significantly, to grasp what is particular to our concrete conditions, for example, the pragmatism ..... which characterizes the RWL’s sophistry and which has deep roots in the U.S. (we will discuss the question of nationally specific form of bourgeois ideology further below.) There is one point we would like to add here which has to do with the methodology RWL uses in polemics. In studying Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao we have learned some very important features or characteristics of the Marxist stand, method, and viewpoint in waging polemical struggle against incorrect lines. Throughout and consistently, these great leaders of the international communist movement defeated all the different brands of revisionism and opportunism against which they struggled on the basis of thoroughly defeating their opponents’ bests most developed arguments. They were able to decisively smash opportunists and revisionists of all kinds by always seeking truth and not just how to win a polemic; by defeating what was incorrect and not by twisting their opponent’s words, around to make them sound like they were saying something else. Comrades, this is in sharp contrast to the bankrupt sophistry the RWL has put forth as “polemics.” This is a fact that we will continue to point to and draw out during this whole paper.

In this section attacking the WVO, the RWL sums up writing, “Workers Viewpoint, this is madness. You’re the ones who do not understand ideology, who divorce it from political lines and through your consistent resistance to criticism and philistine attitude toward struggle, the only new ground you broke with the premises was the tunnel out of the revolutionary wing and dead into the swamp!” Very profound! We have already been pointing out that, in fact, it is RWL who does not know what they are talking about when they talk of ideology or of linking it to political line. The last two charges are just as ridiculous, Comrades locally have seen how WVO was willing to go right into areas where RWL was strongest, knowing that people who had not been directly involved in the polemic and had had contact only with RWL may be disfavourably inclined towards the WVO. Yet they came out after the RWL and their bankrupt line. RWL, we ask you, what are you talking about!???!

It is clear in the Bolshevik that RWL does not know what it is talking about. This fact becomes clearer when we look at their practice on this question. From our conversations with comrades from the Bolshevik Organizing Committee (M-L), former members of RWL. it is clear that the task of “studying Marxism, criticize Revisionism” does not characterize the internal line struggles in the organization, particularly during RWL’s degeneration in the last 3-4 months. In recent months, we understand, comrades have been purged, comrades with principled differences who in the past had shown themselves to be consistent and staunch communists putting forth lines which have moved the RWL forward. (For examples a comrade called “Slim”). Principled line differences are not tolerated. This particular comrade has written a long paper dealing with the important questions on which RWL has flipped-flopped into a clearly “Left” opportunist line. His materials have not been circulated in the organization and this comrade was just purged, This stifling of line struggle comes down in many other instances. The method is, put a label on someone (say someone is a “renegade” or is “holding ideology as key”), then polemicize against the label (against “renegades” in general, or against the line of “ideology is key”, in general) and not deal with how, if at all, the person is holding this line! Is this MLMTT?!!!? No. This is nothing but pragmatic debate, sophistry and demagogery, Now this trash is coming down in terms of their being “steeled in struggle” and their not being willing to “overcome opportunism from within.” Then they go on to describe their “non-repenting agents” and what the line of demarcation is. So we hear how these “Mensheviks” are characterized by:

Denial of vanguard role of the proletariat in the revolution.
–Denial of the Universal truths of M-L...
–a disdain for M-L theory and
–A belittlement of the role of the conscious element, trying to divert at every turn the central task, party building.
–....(Palante, June 6)

Every single charge here is a general platitude with no evidence that it is in any way connected to reality. This is all the same Trotskyite method of absolutizing generalities and liquidating the particular, liquidating actual life! In the struggle between the CWC and District #35 of the RWL over their recent split, elements in RWL Clearly put forth the line that they would only talk about the general, with a few exceptions. They (RWL #35) were only willing to talk about the specifics in a document “put out by the national leadership” which had nothing but general platitudes about “reformists” and about “failing to uphold the leading role of the proletariat.”. Comrades, the truth lies in the particular! Without the particular, the general is meaningless.

The Ideological and Social basis of revisionism and opportunism

In the second part under “Build the Party on the Ideological Plane,” RWL in the Bolshevik fails to grasp the class basis of opportunism and revisionism, and it puts forth an incorrect view on the ideological basis of revisionism and opportunism.

In speaking to the class, basis of revisionism, again the Bolshevik starts out with a general presentation of the question. It correctly goes on to point out that the “identification of these class roots is an essential component of fighting revisionism. It forces us to look at what the actual implications of the policies and programs flowing from revisionist lines are, and what must be the proletarian line, its policies and program.”(Bolshevik, p. 46) Then, it proceeds to give the example of Lin Piao and presents this in a way that makes it clear that the Bolshevik does not understand what it means to trace incorrect lines to their class basis. RWL contrasts the pamphlet on Lin Piao with WVO’s treatment of OL’s opportunism, RWL writes, “This pamphlet does not speak of Lin Piao as an exception, does not see Lin Piao’s revisionist line as a “reflex, as something that just ’jumped out’ that the problem was Lin Piao’s methodology. This is the way WVO described the OL’s Menshevik line on Party building and reforms.” (Bolshevik, p,46). Is the WVO talking about “reflexes” or these lines jumping out without any basis? Absolutely NOT! In the introduction on the WVO polemic against OL, the WVO writes:

In the following we shall illustrate now this liberal and petty bourgeois outlook is being imposed on the mass movement by the OL in concrete individual cases and relate their deviations to what is generally and historically called revisionism,” (The October League: a most dangerous revisionist trend in the U.S. communist movement”, in WV v. 2 #1, p.2) The rest of the polemic on the OL goes on to show how on every question the OL’s response is rooted in their class outlook. WVO correctly grasps and shows how the incorrectness, the revisionist character of OL’s line becomes clear when we trace it to the class basis of these views, of these lines. But wait! RWL says that WO does not mention these class roots, that we don’t get “one word, not even a good hint.” The entire article continually deals with these class roots to OL’s revisionism. The same is the case in the polemics WO has put forth against the line of the GL, the RU, and most recently, against the PRRWO and the RWL, But, RWL says that there’s “not one word, not a hint.” What’s going on? Maybe the reason for RWL’s claim is the same formalism that keeps reappearing. Maybe RWL’s claim is based on the fact that WO didn’t have a special subsection to their polemic entitled “Social Basis”? Maybe RWL just hasn’t read these articles. Or maybe RWL is an example of these “conscious” opportunists that they keep warning us about, and they were hoping that no one would go and “Check it out!”?

Everyone in the communist movement agrees that the petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy are the class basis of revisionism. But, as WVO writes, “once we go beyond the phrase to the actual content of what it means, and what the implications of this particular class basis of opportunism are in the struggle against bourgeois ideology in our ranks, the differences jump out. (WV #4, p. 42)

It is true, as RWL says, that seeking the class roots of lines “forces us to look at what the actual implications of the policies and program flowing from revisionist lines are, and what must be the proletarian lines its policies and programs.” It is true because we come to understand the material basis for errors, deviations, and opportunism within our ranks and thus are better equipped to combat them. But, comrades, “half-learned phrases”; using the name for something is no substitute for understanding it! When RWL in the Bolshevik got down to connecting their “half-learned phrases” to the real world in speaking about Lin Piao and in criticizing the WVO, it was clear that the phrases were, in fact, only half-learned. On page 45, they talk about the “new theories” of the petty bourgeoisie, but failed to prove how these are connected to petty bourgeois class roots other than by saying so. It showed this in the discussion of the article “Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique,” contrasting it to WVO’s understanding. The basis of this last error is absolutizing one aspect of the article (the aspect of Lin Piao being a conscious, treacherous agent of the bourgeoisie, which he most definitely was), and thus missing the essence, which is the class character of Lin Piao’s line. Again, this is connected to RWL’s objective view that revisionism, bourgeois ideology, is conscious, and again, not grasping what is meant by understanding; the class basis of line.

The same incorrectness and muddledness characterizes the Bolshevik on the question of the ideological roots of opportunism. The RWL fails to grasp what it means to say that “bowing to spontaneity is the ideological roots of opportunism,” and because of this, it moves further away from building the Party on the ideological plane. We will only hit on the main points here, but we would strongly recommend that comrades study the Workers’ Viewpoint Journal #4, particularly on this question, covered on pages 84-87.

Lenin constantly pointed out how much more pervasive and developed bourgeois ideology is due to the fact that the bourgeoisie is the ruling class and has immeasurably more channels through which to constantly promote its world outlook. All of us in the working class and in the Communist movement, are imbued, at the start, with this world outlook. “Lenin’s teachings,” on this question, WVO writes, “illustrates the “unconscious” reflex character of bourgeois ideology, versus the non-automatic, “conscious” character of socialist ideology in our thinking and the upstream struggle to acquire and apply it to build the political movement. We must take this universal teaching broadly”. It applies to all phases of our activity and hot merely to not tailing after the spontaneous movement, as PRRWO would have us believe.”(WV #4, p.85) Because of this, Stalin points out how “bowing to spontaneity” is the logical basis of all opportunism, because when we fail to move on the basis of conscious proletarian ideology, on the conscious level, we spontaneously fall into bourgeois ideology. Thus, in struggling against bourgeois ideology and its influence in our movement and in ourselves, we must grasp not only how we belittled the conscious element when we erred, how we bowed to spontaneity, but more significantly, we need to grasp the form that bourgeois ideology most likely takes in particular comrades, in particular organizations, in our movement as a whole. This is essential so that our process of remoulding is not only aimed at belittling theory and bowing to spontaneity in general, but rather aimed at being vigilant of those forms of bourgeois ideology we are most prone to.

The above is completely missed by the RWL. They write, “It is to this ideological root of bowing to spontaneity that we must take all struggles against opportunism. When we do this we heighten our grasp of strategy and tactics, of minimum and maximum program. Going to the “bowing to spontaneity in the struggle against revisionism is an integral part of our development of the key link, political line.” (Bolshevik, p.48) Comrades, this is meaningless, empty rhetoric. What do they mean “take all struggles to the bowing to spontaneity”? This is a truism. “You made an error so you must have bowed to spontaneity.” How much further along are you? RWL’s babbling about “bowing to spontaneity.” serves as a cover, a way of avoiding going deeply into their opportunism and their errors. It is a way of keeping from having to wage an all out struggle to break with the bourgeois nationalism and the pragmatism that has characterized RWL throughout its history.

After all this general babbling about “bowing to spontaneity” the Bolshevik goes on to criticize WVO for not mentioning the phrase “bowing to spontaneity.” This is again RWL’s pragmatic formalisms judging the correctness or incorrectness of a line by what phrases were included or not included. In fact, WVO clearly demonstrates that they grasp this profound truth about the spontaneous character of all bourgeois ideology. That is why they have pushed the movement and genuine communists to uphold unswervingly the task of building the Party on the ideological plane. That is why they have pushed that the Communist movement needs to come to have a deep understanding of those forms of bourgeois ideology which we are most imbued with and hence have the least resistance to and are most likely to become dominated by.

Again, we have RWL liquidating building the Party on the ideological plane, and substituting MLMTT with their vulgar formalism.

The opportunists in RWL district #35 have clearly demonstrated this line at work. It was on the basis of not “bowing to spontaneity” that they planned a long period of study in preparation to respond to attacks on the organization and its members by the agents of the state (NCLC). Throughout, we have heard them confuse responding to a situation quickly with “bowing to spontaneity.” It hasn’t been until recently that we have come to see how this opportunism they were running was not a break on their part with the line of RWL, but in fact, that this was the RWL’s raggedy line.

Nationally specific ideological superstructure and RWL’s “contribution” to our understanding of it.

Again, and particularly on this question, RWL shows its failure to grasp MLMTT in its spirit and essence and not just its form, and thus, again fails to apply the science to the concrete conditions. In this section in their Party-building article in the Bolshevik, they list various quotes from Lenin showing what we need to do. Their general, and actually even in its general aspect, not very good presentation of the task then is followed by the questionable claim: “We believe that the forces in the Revolutionary Wing have, proceeding from a lower to a higher, carried out this task, especially around the revisionists, opportunists lines on party building. We think that our criticism of OL’s strategy and tactics in the March ’76 Palante, is a contribution to this,” (Bolshevik, p.5) Comrades, we don’t think this is what Lenin had in mind.

We have to recognize what are the universal aspects of bourgeois ideology, and what are its particular aspects. MLMTT, in general, and materialist dialectics, in particular, demand that we take such an approach. Lenin writes:

The whole point now is that the Communists of every country should quite consciously take into account both the main fundamental tasks of the struggle against opportunism and “Left” doctrinairism and the specific features which this struggle assumes and inevitably must assume in each separate country in conformity with the peculiar features of its economics, politics, culture, national composition: its colonies, religious divisions, and so on and so forth.... We must clearly realize that...[a leading center that would be able to direct international tactics], cannot under any circumstances be built up on stereotyped, mechanically equalized and identical tactical rules of struggles. As long as national and state differences exist among peoples and countries – and these differences will continue to exist for a very long time even after the dictatorship of the proletariat has been established on a world scale – the unity of international tactics of the Communist working-class movement of all countries demands, not the elimination of variety, not the abolition of national differences (that is a foolish dream at the present moment), but such an application of the fundamental principles of Communism, as will correctly modify these principles in certain particulars, correctly adapt and apply them to national and national-state differences. Investigate, study, seek, divine, grasp that which is peculiarly national, specifically national in the concrete manner in which each country approaches the fulfillment of the single international task, in which it approaches the victory over opportunism and ’Left’ doctrinairism within the working-class movement... (“Left”-Wing Communism; An Infantile Disorder, pp. 95-6, FLP. emphasis in original)

What are the universal, fundamental aspects of bourgeois ideology? The most fundamental aspect is the question of which class it serves and which class’s world outlook it reflects. Also universal to bourgeois ideology is that it seeks to obscure the objective development of society and of the world, and thus its viewpoint and method are not dialectical and historical materialism in that this philosophy is the only philosophy which can discern the laws determining the path of social development and of history. The bourgeoisie seeks to negate and obscure the inevitability of its doom as a class. The stand, method and viewpoint of the bourgeoisie, however, can take numerous forms which all share the same universal aspects, but differ in many other ways. It is important to grasp the universal character of bourgeois ideology in order to build the Party on the ideological plane and wage struggle against bourgeois ideology in our ranks. However, this task is relatively easy, especially since the universal character of the bourgeois world outlook have been layed bare by the great founders and leaders of international communism. The more difficult task which demarcates dogmatists (which Mao repeatedly called “lazy-bones” for precisely this reason) from genuine Marxist-Leninists is the task of actively “investigating, studying, seeking, divining, grasping that which is peculiarly national, specifically national in the concrete manner.”

Comrades, not only has RWL not understood this, not only have they failed to contribute to this, aside from their claim to having done so, but they attack an organization that, in fact, has contributed, has done significant work in developing this difficult task, RWL attacks these contributions without offering anything, to replace them. Again, we refer comrades to study WV #4 on this question (pp. 68-83). In summing up the main points in “the material basis for the development of a nationally distinctive superstructure”, WVO writes:

the most important early historical roots shaping this ideological superstructure were the U.S.’s long history of the most full-blown, “classic” bourgeois democracy, built through the 1800’s on the fastest and deepest growth of capitalism in the world. This superstructure was further shaped by the uneven development of capitalism in the U.S. from east to west, with the land speculation and homesteading in the west, and the open system of immigration that drew oppressed nationalities from all over the world to build U.S. capitalism.

We have struggled against and summed up five major ideological deviations in the U.S. Communist movement. They are down-grading of theory, pragmatism, bourgeois democratic illusions, centrism, and chauvinism.

We think that these deviations in our communist movement reflect some important if not the most important, features of the U.S.’s ideological superstructure. They are the bourgeois trends of thought that run especially deep in the U.S., throwing off course and corrupting both the communist and the mass movements. These dangerous currents are major ideological sources of degeneration in the U.S. (WV, #4, p.68)

The WVO then proceeds to draw out the particular material development and how this relates to the ideological superstructure of U.S. society. It is the CWC’s view that the WVO comrades have made significant contributions in grasping the character of the work needed to build the Party on the ideological plane, in grasping the method we must employ, and in actually starting to do this work. The comrades have made errors, like for example, some to the formulations they put forth in the article “Anti-Revisionist Premises.” We are doing further study of this article in order to draw out what criticism needs to be made of it (although, we unite with the essence, with the thrust of their article). It is also our view that the WVO made a significant error in not seeing Southern slavery as a main feature of the material basis for the development of the ideological superstructure in the U.S. This, in our view represents a weakness the WVO comrades have shown regarding the Afro-American national question in general. This is an area we hope to struggle over with the comrades. But, in the main and as a whole, they have clearly provided leadership in the communist movement in the task of building the Party on the ideological plane.

In summing up this first aspect of building the Party on the ideological plane, i.e. “study Marxism, criticize revisionism”, it is clear that the RWL does not go beyond a collection of “half-learned phrases” which they can’t connect to the real world, and instead, have to rely on vulgar and mechanical materialism, sophistry and formalism with which they wield their self-serving pragmatism. This is the philosophical basis of their unprincipled polemics.


The second aspect of placing party building on the ideological plane is upholding proletarian internationalism on all questions. This is a question of class stand, of standing for the interests of the whole proletariat and against the bourgeoisie on all questions. It is a question of conscious struggle against all the baggage of bourgeois ideology we bring with us to the revolutionary movement, a struggle that can only be waged with humility. The CWC takes this question of developing a proletarian class stand as key to grasping proletarian ideology. We recognize our largely petty bourgeois class origins, how they resulted in our involvement with petty bourgeois socialism of the NAM type, and how they have continued to promote deviations in our organization, We recognize the thorough and painstaking task of consciously struggling against this baggage in order to turn ourselves into Marxist-Leninists, part of the vanguard of the proletariat.

What is the RWL’s approach to developing a proletarian class stand? The RWL states, in criticizing right opportunism of Alkalimat:

The point we’re trying to make comrades is that if we were satisfied that Alkalimat is gone, or satisfied that the class composition of our organization is relatively good, being mostly working people from the oppressed nationalities or that comrades in our organization have organized demonstrations all over North America in support of African liberation, then of 100,000 people we’d still be dominated by a right line. What we had to do, and must continue to do is to go deeper into how it was that Alkalimat even got into the organization. How our own liberalism, bowing to spontaneity, remnants of bourgeois nationalism, fed into his opportunist study of MLMTT that we can do this. To fail to do so leads to the swamp, as it has with the OL and the WVO. (p.18, emphasis in original).

The essence of this statement is that RWL thinks that it does have a “relatively good class composition,” although it is not satisfied since it recognizes that this alone would not prevent them from being dominated by a right line. But we think RWL is too satisfied.

We don’t think the composition of RWL is “relatively good.” The vanguard of the U.S. proletariat must be multinational. As far as we know RWL is entirely Black. Yet they make no statements that their national composition is relatively bad, that they are not yet multinational. But RWL does not grasp this as a problem, precisely because they see their “class composition ..(as)... relatively good.” This is an example of how vulgar materialism is used to cover over errors in the ideological sphere. In this case, the vulgar proletarianization line covering bourgeois nationalism.

How can, for example, the Bolshevik asks how “Alkalimat even got into the organization. The Bolshevik says later that at the beginning the organization was plagued by open bourgeois nationalism, that “our identification of the key line was determined in relation to moving the BLM forward and not the communist movement and party building.” (p.63) By April of 1974 it had a “build the workers movement” line (in other words, doing reformist work a la OL and RCP). With such principles in command, how can the current leadership of the RWL ask how Alkalimat could even get into the organization? A better question would be what would have kept him out? It was not a question of “how our own liberalism, bowing to spontaneity, remnants of bourgeois nationalism fed into his opportunist schemes. It was not a question of RWL’s “proletarian kernel” being taken by the petty bourgeois swindler, but rather that there was a basis of unity that allowed Alkalimat in.

The view that petty bourgeois swindlers are responsible for deviations in the organization results in witch-hunt’s not principled criticism and self-criticism. It is far easier to see Alkalimat as guilty of and responsible for all the organization’s sins than to do painstaking criticism and self-criticism.

The organization has more than “remnants” of bourgeois nationalism. The organization is still, as far as we can tell, made up entirely of Black cadre. But there is no plan for changing this or any rectification movement underway to get to the roots of the error. This, in spite of the call for “ruthless self-criticism and consistent study.” Comrades, nothing reactionary falls unless it is hit.

This is important if we examine the class stand of the demonstrations about which the RWL could be “satisfied” weren’t so principled. These demonstrations of 100,000 people were demonstrations around a frankly nationalist line – white people weren’t even allowed to come to most of them! What the RWL views as a basis of satisfaction should only cause them to redouble their efforts to uphold proletarian internationalism and break with bourgeois nationalism.

The RWL does not recognize that it, like all communist organizations, must humbly struggle to develop a proletarian stand, to struggle against all forms of bourgeois ideology, recognizing and focusing on those forms that present the biggest barriers to working in the interests of the vast majority. Instead the RWL puts forth that they have a “strong proletarian kernel”.

The RWL has succeeded in the main, in breaking through these ideological political and organizational errors, although they cannot be overcome in a single stroke. Our ability to make the break and prevent our plunging head first into the home of swamp creatures like the OL, the WO, the RU, etc., has its basis in the strong proletarian kernel which has always existed within the RWL. While the manner of our formation and our perceptual grasp of burning questions enabled worshippers of the petty and big bourgeoisie to make temporary headway, there have been elements who have taken a consistent proletarian stand in the struggle against opportunism and adopted a correct attitude toward MLMTT and criticism, self-criticism. (p. 58)

Several pages later the RWL states “the proletarian kernel showed itself as the struggle against this line and our grasp of MLMTT moved from lower to higher levels.”(p.60)

What is the “proletarian kernel”? Objectively, it is a rationalization for the RWL’s correctness. It is a metaphysical thing which prevents the RWL from struggling for a proletarian class stand. It negates MLMTT as a science which we must grasp consciously. It is true that the working class has a more favorable basis on which to grasp the science, but all of us must struggle against bourgeois ideology in ourselves. A working class background is not any guarantee of a pure proletarian stand. What the WVO states concerning the PRRWO can be also applied to the RWL:

Those who pimp off their working class background, sell their skin color and display it as proof of a correct line, are sure to degenerate. They automatically liquidate meticulous ideological work – which is a must for every comrade from any class background. As Chairman Mao put it, a place where the broom doesn’t regularly sweep will automatically accumulate dust. This especially applied to the question of ideological remoulding in bourgeois society. Chairman Mao teaches us to be prudent, prevent rashness and be modest...(WV #4, p.47)


WVO writes, “Linking theory and practice is another characteristic of a genuine communist organization. All forms of opportunism are characterized by a separation between the objective and the subjective and the gap between theory and practice. They substitute sophistry, eclecticism, rumors, bourgeois trends of thought, and slogans for dialectics. Both dogmatists and empiricists divorce theory from practice.” (WV #4, p.37) Linking theory and practice is another essential aspect of building the Party on the ideological plane.

As communists we must constantly seek to grasp the stand, method and viewpoint of MLMTT in the concrete conditions of making revolution in the U.S. As communists, we must always struggle resolutely against those who would have us separate theory and practice, who would have us absolutize one or the other. Concretely, in this period of forming the party, it is essential that communists uphold building the Party in the heat of the class struggle, and not in isolation from it. We must not allow comrades to pit Party building against the class struggle, (we will draw this out in the next part of the polemic).

This is an area in which the RWL has made a clear definite stride away from MLMTT. As we have shown, and as we will continue to show, the method consistently employed by RWL in the Bolshevik is one of separating the general and the particular; is one of failing to connect theory and practice in any other than a mechanical way. It is a method which relies on putting forth general platitudes (like, “The Mensheviks which were purged did not uphold the vanguard role of the proletariat”) and then fails to substantiate anything. To the extent that the RWL has tried to connect these general platitudes to the concrete world, it has been on the basis of sophistry.

Comrades, this is the exact same stuff that Mao waged a sharp struggle against in the Communist Party of China throughout its history. In particular, in his essay, “On Contradiction,” he struggled against the dogmatists in the CPC who had been influenced by the Deborin school in Russia, a philosophical trend which argued for the separation of theory from practice, and of philosophy from politics. We are going to quote extensively below from this classical essay because Mao makes the necessary points about our own dogmatists in the RWL. The question in which the RUL dogmatists make the clearest break with MLMTT is on the question of the relationship of the universal to the particular. Mao writes,

...I shall deal first with the universality of contradiction and then proceed to the particularity of contradiction. The reason is that the universality of contradiction can be explained more briefly, for it has been widely recognized ever since the materialist-dialectical world outlook was discovered.... whereas the particularity of contradiction is still not clearly understood by many comrades, and especially by the dogmatists. they do not understand that it is precisely in the particularity of contradiction that the universality of contradiction resides. nor do they understand how important is the study of the particularity of contradiction in the concrete things confronting us for guiding the course of revolutionary practice. (“Four Essays On Philosophy”, p.30)

There are two processes of cognition: one, from the particular to the general, and the other, from the general to the particular...Where our dogmatists err on this question is that, on the one hand, they do not understand that we have to study the particularity of contradiction and know the particular essence of individual things before we can adequately know the universality of contradiction and the common essence of things, and that, on the other hand, they do not understand that after knowing the common essence of things, we must go further and study the concrete things that have not yet been thoroughly studied or have only emerged. Our dogmatists are lazy-bones. They refuse to undertake any painstaking study of concrete things, they regard general truths as emerging out of the void, they turn them into purely abstract unfathomable formulas, and thereby completely deny and reverse the normal sequence by which man comes to know truth. (Ibid, p.38)

When we speak of understanding each aspect of a contradiction, we mean understanding what specific position each aspect occupies, what concrete forms it assumes in its interdependence and in its contradiction with its opposite, and what concrete methods are employed in the struggle with its opposite, when the two are both interdependent and in contradiction, and also after the interdependence breaks down. It is of great importance to study these problems. Lenin meant just this when he said that the most essential thing in Marxism, the living soul of Marxism, is the concrete analysis of the concrete conditions. Our dogmatists have violated Lenin’s teachings; they never use their brains to analyze anything concretely, and in their writings and speeches they always use stereotypes devoid of content, thereby creating a very bad style of work in our Party. (ibid., p.40)

Comrades, it is clear that Mao is talking about the same kind of dogmatists that wrote-up the Bolshevik. By this time our dogmatists have taken out their little set of formulas and pegged us revisionists because “Right dangers are the main danger” and here we have spent all this time speaking about “Left” opportunism. These are just the kinds of dead “formulas” that leading cadre in the RWL have been running around the country with. We ask comrades to carefully study Mao’s words above (and his entire essay), and on that basis go through the Bolshevik again and ask yourselves if this journal reflects a grasp of MLMTT? Our answer is that it does not!!


Comrade Hill, from the Communist Party (M-L) of Australia, in summing up the lessons embodied in MLMTT and from the experiences of the Communist movement in Australia, in speaking of the unity of the Party, writes:

While unity is conditional, struggle for that unity is absolute. It is a struggle for Marxist-Leninist ideology. This absolute struggle (if it ended, so too would the Party) is carried through by the method of criticism self-criticism. Contradictions within the Party are resolved by this method of criticism and self-criticism and in the process of unity-struggle-unity. (Hill, Australia’s Revolution, p.4l)

Criticism and self-criticism is the method through which we resolve ideological struggles in the Party. It is also the method through which we wage a constant struggle against bourgeois ideology in the party and among its cadre and imbue it with proletariat ideology in order to move the revolution forward. “Whether one practices it or not – or whether one practices it boldly or not – constitutes a line of demarcation between sham and genuine, staunch and vacillating communists today.” (WV #4, p.38) In struggling to differentiate sham from genuine, it is not just a question of seeing who in form practices criticism and self-criticism. Criticism and self-criticism is a tool to be used with a view to unite, and not split, the movement on the basis of MLMTT ideology and politics and on the basis of a resolute struggle against bourgeois ideology as it manifests itself in our movement, our organizations, and in ourselves. The question is to expose those who use criticism and self-criticism in a pragmatic, tactical manner, like we have all seen RU do, in order to gain ground in their attempts to spread their revisionism. It is a question of modesty and not using criticism and self-criticism to give ourselves back-handed compliments, rather than ruthlessly, boldly, and honestly disclosing our shortcomings and demonstrate our determination to wage a sharp struggle against bourgeois ideology. Criticism and self-criticism is not just a question of pointing at other’s errors nor just “confessing” and “admitting” our own. It is also a question of digging deep, to the class and ideological basis of our errors, and struggling to repudiate our errors at this deeper levels. Finally, criticism and self-criticism is not the end of a process. Rather it is the beginning, the repudiation of certain problems and coming to understand their deeper underlying basis. It is on this basis that we carry on the struggle against bourgeois ideology, vigilance over our error and deviation, and the struggle to thoroughly transform our practice. Only in this way can we eliminate the encumbrances of bourgeois ideology to move the revolution forward.

Objectively, RWL uses criticism and self-criticism as a tactic, as a self-serving pragmatic maneuver through which to gain ground. It is our view that they fail to uphold Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism.

RWL’s method of raising criticisms of others is the following: RWL levels a criticism often with little basis or not tied in to facts, to concrete reality. The person or group criticized either rejects the criticism or does not immediately unite with it. RWL then tags them as Mensheviks. RWL proceeds on the basis of using criticism as a tactic by which to identify others as “Mensheviks,” rather than primarily as the method through which we conduct struggle against bourgeois ideology amongst our ranks, through the process of unity-struggle-unity. This is also what we have seen and heard about in terms of the internal ideological struggle in the RWL. Comrades aren’t able to raise principled line differences without risking being labelled “agents of the bourgeoisie”. An example of this method of criticizing is the way that the RWL has raised criticism of WVO. We have shown above, and will continue to show that the criticism RWL has raised of the WO have had little and often no substance. While WVO has united with some of the criticism, they have had principled differences with other criticisms. RWL sees this as clear “Menshevism” rather than seeing that they need to struggle to come to see if the criticism is correct or not. RWL writes in the Bolshevik, “In essence, they (WVO) rejected the criticism of PRROW and RWL. We ask all genuine communists and advanced elements – is this an example of Bolshevik self-criticism? We say no!!” (Bolshevik, p.14) Now, what is this supposed to mean?!?

Does it mean that if someone fails to unite with a criticism they automatically fail to uphold Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism? The Bolshevik never lays out clearly what were these criticism they raised of WVO. Secondly, they fail to lay out clearly what WVO’s response was and-the reasons they gave for not uniting with the criticism. And third, RWL does not show how the reasons that WVO gave were unacceptable, and all this on the firm grounding of MLMTT. Instead, RWL “falls prey” to sophistry and demogoguery. To the question by the RWL, “was that Bolshevik criticism?”, we say we can’t tell from what you say because throughout you have acted in a way as to obscure the polemic and the struggle, and so “genuine communists and advanced elements” don’t have any basis from what you tell us to come to a principled view that it wasn’t Bolshevik criticism.

RWL’s self-criticism is no better. On the whole, it is self-congratulatory about how they have been moving from “perceptual to rational,” instead of correctly seeing the movement from incorrectness (domination by bourgeois ideology) to relative correctness (proletarian ideology becoming main aspect but bourgeois ideology still having influence). Of course, part of this is that they have been moving from incorrectness to new forms of incorrectness! This “perceptual to rational” line is tied in to RWL, in general, not grasping the significance of proletarian ideology and its meaning. This is tied in to their failure to grasp the character of the ideological struggle which is our “long term strategic task.” A glaring example of RWL’s opportunist use of self-criticism is their attack on WVO’s anti-revisionist Premises with no discussion, criticism, or repudiation of the fact that the RWL upheld the “Premises” for months as the “last word on party building.” Advanced elements in our area and members of our organization were even given copies in October ’75 and urged to read it. If RWL is so critical of the Premises where is their self-criticism? What is the ideological and class basis of their upholding such “blatantly incorrect” formulations for so long? Was it that they were “bowing to spontaneity” and “fell prey” to “petty bourgeois swindles?”

Part of this incorrect presentation of RWL’s use of self-criticism is actively distorting facts and reality, claiming that there has been all this sharp and merciless struggle through which the RWL has supposedly been “steeled.” We know for a fact that two of the main deviations that the organization has recognized itself, bourgeois nationalism and the proletarianization line, were only identified as such and that, in fact, a struggle to break with these, a rectification movement, has not come down. As we have pointed out, bourgeois nationalism was at the focus of two of the five major line struggles RWL talks about in its journal. One of these got complete side-tracked into a struggle against bureaucratism, and the other was superficial. Comrades, the basis for bourgeois nationalism, for Bundist deviations is deep, and any superficial look at RWL’s history points to the fact that from the start the RWL was riddled with bourgeois nationalism. Yet RWL has all these illusions about their ”good composition” and how they have corrected deviations by just identifying them: i.e. to state an error is to repudiate it. With the proletarianization line, an incorrect line which dominated the organization for two years, again RWL fails to deeply dig at this thing to its class basis and ideological roots. What is the effect of this? The effect is that these deviations and their deeper underlying bases are not thoroughly repudiated and their practice not transformed. This is obvious to us on these two questions. The necessary struggle against bourgeois nationalism has never come down in the RWL, and so the problem is still there. It is our view that it is precisely this bourgeois nationalism that is making comrades who, in the main, we view as staunch and genuine communists, vacillate and keep from quickly grasping the bankrupt “left” opportunism that is emanating from the RWL. It is precisely another higher form of the vulgar proletarianization line that is the basis of illusions RWL has about how it is bound to be correct because of its “relatively good class composition,” and that it is just a matter of going from “lower to higher” with them.

The view RWL has of itself, that it goes “from lower to higher” or from “perceptual to rational” in its development is a way of saying that it has always been correct. It is a way of negating self-criticism for past errors, portraying their history as a straight line of development to the correct line. This is, of course, self-centered nonsense. All of us are affected by bourgeois ideology, and the struggle against it involves repudiating past errors, negating our mistakes. This is connected to RWL’s two main deviations. The vulgar proletarianization line and bourgeois nationalism both share the underlying vulgar materialist view that our consciousness is determined by material being. People in RWL “struggled hard to defeat the vulgar and blatant line... ’Black people naturally do what’s right.’”(Bolshevik, p.60). But instead of rooting out this problem it became mutated to RWL being correct because these comrades have a “proletarian kernel” that insures “correctness”, and all those who deviate from the “correct” line can only be agents. This view makes principled struggle virtually impossible.

This distortion of facts and reality can be seen in the recent purges, From reading the June issue of Palante, you would think that the RWL was leading this glorious crusade against all these bourgeois agents with the ranks of the advanced closely following and further pushing this struggle forward. Comrades, we are intimately familiar with one of the examples RWL gives and this, for a fact, is a thorough, complete distortion of what’s coming down, starting with the whole question of whether it was a split or a purge! While the RWL babbles about how these “agents” have been mercilessly purged, the truth is that these comrades split from the organization. While there’s all this talk, about the advanced pushing for these purges, the fact is that the opportunists remaining inside this particular district have done little or no work with the advanced, and that, in fact, it is the genuine communists who left that have a base among advanced workers, and students. While there’s all this talk about the comrades who supposedly were “purged” now being isolated, the fact is that it is precisely those opportunists remaining in the district whose ranks are steadily disintegrating and who are being isolated. The whole RWL article in Palante was one immense distortion of what in fact is going on!!!

It is our view that the local RWL comrades in district 34, many of whom we view as genuine, have also failed to uphold Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism consistently. First of all, we have watched RWL’s line develop in the last two years and at no point has there been Bolshevik self-criticism with us or with the masses, laying out what the basis of the development has been, what were previous errors, why, etc. Secondly, the local comrades have infrequently been self-critical about local work except in superficial ways or about superficial matters. And when they have been criticized, the method has not been to “seek to find that which is correct and deepen it through the course of principled struggle” (Bolshevik, p.73). Although the Bolshevik claims that RWL seeks out criticisms, in our joint work, criticisms have often been deflected, or avoided, sometimes beaten back, sometimes repudiated but not transformed.

The opportunists remaining in district 35 have used criticism and self-criticism as a maneuver to keep from struggling and to keep from being criticized (like having long self-criticisms about not being prepared for meetings or about not being able to lay out their line, or admitting to errors with no real repudiation and transformation). There are criticisms we have raised in writing of these opportunists that have never been responded to.

In the main, it has been those comrades who now compose the Bolshevik Organizing Committee (BOC) (formerly in RWL) which have upheld Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism in all their dealings with us, before and after the split. This is one of many ways in which these comrades are in striking contrast to those elements they broke with. This fact has been a n important one in our having come to view that they, in fact, are staunch and genuine communists.


The summed-up lessons of the international communist movement clearly show us that the General Staff of the proletariat, its revolutionary vanguard Party, has no room for opportunists and revisionists, and for vacillating elements which fail to stand firm and unwaveringly with the proletariat. This is another important aspect to building an ideologically strong proletarian Party that is able to achieve a high and steeled unity of will and action.

Again on this question, the RWL comes forward with their bourgeois world outlook. Our metaphysicians in RWL, not grasping dialectics, not grasping Party building on the ideological plane, and not having decisively broken with bourgeois ideology, end up making a complete flip-flop on this question.. For a long time RWL would not purge anyone, would patiently struggle and try to remould the most unrepentant opportunists who were unquestionably, clear degenerate bourgeois elements. This “patient persuasion” and philistine toleration of these elements within their organization was based on bourgeois nationalism. But, then, our metaphysicians at RWL, just like they have done on almost every other question, made a complete flip-flop by dropping the aspect of the contradiction which they, previously absolutized (patient persuasion in remoulding opportunists), and by then jumping to the other aspect (purging) and absolutizing that one. It is precisely this kind of instability and vacillation which Lenin exposed as characteristic of the petty bourgeoisie. The RWL jumped from a complete toleration of all opportunists in their ranks to “purging” anyone and everyone which vacillated” and was unclear about the correct line. What does RWL mean by “vacillating”? They mean that comrades did not go along with the raggedy line RWL started running; that they raised principled arguments against it and that they struggled for Marxism-Leninism.

In summary, RWL completely fails to grasp, and in practice liquidates, the essential task confronting communists in the U.S. of building a staunch and genuine communist Party firmly on the ideological plane. Because of this, they bring with themselves the old world outlook, the world outlook of the bourgeoisie, and do not even begin to wage the necessary struggle to remould this world outlook. As we will show below, the non-proletarian outlook of the RWL clearly shows itself in their view on how we need to move forward to build the Party.