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 way to the common goal–complete equality, the closest association and the eventual amalgamation of all nations–obviously runs along different routes in each concrete case, as, let us say, the way to a point in the centre of this page runs left from one edge and right, from the opposite edge.(Emphasis in original)

In the internationalist education of the workers of the oppressor countries, emphasis must necessarily be laid on their advocating freedom for the oppressed countries to secede and their fighting for it. Without this there can be no internationalism. It is our right and duty to treat every Social Democrat of an oppressor nation who fails to conduct such propaganda is a scoundrel and an imperialist. This is an absolute demand, even where the chance of secession being possible and “practicable” before the introduction of socialism is only one in a thousand. (Emphasis in original)

It is our duty to teach the workers to be “indifferent” to national distinctions. There is no doubt about that. But it must not be the indifference of the annexationists. A member of an oppressor nation must be “indifferent” to whether small nations belong to his state or to a neighboring state, or to themselves, according to where their sympathies lie; without such “indifference” he is not a Social-Democrat. To be an internationalist Social-Democrat one must not think only of one’s own nation, but place above it the interests of all nations, their common liberty and equality. Everyone accepts this in “theory” but displays an annexationist indifference in practice.(Emphasis in original)

On the other hand, a Social-Democrat from a small nation must emphasise in his agitation the second word of our general formula: “voluntary integration” of all nations. He may, without failing in his duties as an internationalist, be in favor of both the political independence of his nation and its integration with the neighboring state of X,Y,Z, etc. But in all cases he must fight against small-nation narrow-mindedness, seclusion and isolation, consider the whole and the general, subordinate the particular to the general interest. (Last emphasis added) (Lenin, “The Discussion of Self-Determination Summed Up” in Selections from Lenin and Stalin on National Colonial Question, p. 46)

As Lenin states in the above quote, it is the special duty of Communists to “teach the workers to be ’indifferent’ to national distinctions.” The role of all Communists is to struggle to unite the multinational working class, with white Communists having a special responsibility to combat white chauvinism and for Black comrades to struggle against bourgeois or narrow nationalism.

In the case of our organization, the lack of a scientific position on the Afro-American national question and the effects of bourgeois indoctrination on our members have caused us to make chauvinist errors in the past. The main form this has taken, as we discuss, is guilty white liberalism. We plan to be studying this question in the future and we will continue to struggle against all forms of chauvinism. But we have not let the lack of a clear view of the Afro-American national question stop us from polemicising against the RWL’s bourgeois nationalism. We hope the honest comrades inside the RWL will heed our call and struggle against their raggedy line and defeat the “left” opportunists who represent a clearly bankrupt trend in the communist movement. This struggle must take place if we are to uphold the interests of the proletariat and build its Party.