First Published: Class Struggle, No. 3, Winter 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Mike Klonsky is the chairman of the October League. The following article is taken from a speech he gave to the OL’s national conference on The Call and newspaper work. The December issue of The Call carried a full report on the conference, which is available by sending 50 cents to The Call, Box 5597, Chicago, III. 60680.
There is a strong spirit of internationalism here today. It is reflected in the great response that our foreign comrades have received following their solidarity messages. It is a spirit which flies in the face of the narrow economism and great-nation chauvinism which characterizes many socialist newspapers today.
It is the news of the world-wide struggle against imperialism and the two superpowers which excites the people and it is largely from these struggles that they draw the revolutionary lessons for their own struggle here in the U.S. against the rule of monopoly capitalism.
It is also a good thing that comrades spoke earlier about the city of Chicago where this meeting is being held. During their free time, it would be good for people to travel around the city and visit some of the historical sites of the working class movement. From this visit, it is possible to gain a good understanding of the history of the working class.
You can go up to Blue Island Ave. and see where the first congress of the CPUSA was held in 1921. About four or five blocks from here is Haymarket Square where many martyrs laid down their lives and died in the fight against capitalism and for the eight-hour day.
The death of these martyrs rang in a whole new era in our history marked by the rise of imperialism and with it the qualitative development of the industrial working class as the leading class in society. With the rise of industrialism in the late 1880’s, the U.S. proletariat really began to develop into a class for itself, a class-conscious force moving rapidly towards revolutionary struggle. Massive strikes such as the Pullman Strike of 1894 were led by such great revolutionary leaders as Eugene V. Debs who was greeted by 100,000 people right here in Chicago upon his release from prison following that strike.
The thing we can learn from the lives of the hundreds of working class martyrs that have shed their blood in the cause of the class struggle is that without a revolutionary vanguard Marxist-Leninist party at their head, the working people struggle and die but are unable to succeed. They cannot carry the struggle through to the end.
For all these martyrs’ lives not to have been lost in vain, we must build such a party. This is the job that we have inherited. This is our historical task. This is the task that all the people represented here today have to unite on. Every group around the country which believes in socialism and believes in revolution has this responsibility.
It is not a task that can be carried out at our leisure. The urgency of it is dictated to us by the developing conditions in the world today. These are very difficult conditions. The world today is characterized by great turmoil and upheaval. The threat of a new world war is on the horizon. The two imperialist superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, are continuing to step up their contention with each other. This is one of the main features of imperialism which Lenin described as “the struggle of the Great Powers for the economic and political division of the world.”
It is the working people who become the cannon fodder in these great imperialist wars. In the Soviet Union, the once-proud birthplace of socialism, the Soviet people now live under a fascist dictatorship of the Hitler type. In many areas of military strength, the Soviet Union has already surpassed the U.S., which has been the dominant force in the world since the end of WWII. Millions of Soviet troops have been mobilized along the frontiers of Europe. They are not there to defend Soviet borders but on the contrary, they are fully preparing to mount an invasion of Europe.
Everywhere else around the world, the Soviet Union is preparing to step into the shoes of the declining U.S. imperialism. In Southeast Asia, for example, where the heroic struggles of the Indochinese peoples have dealt mighty blows to one superpower, the other one is trying to sneak in the back door to replace it. The U.S. imperialists are trying desperately to counter this new aggressiveness on the part of the Soviet Union. They are trying to consolidate their own ranks and to suppress the working people as much as possible in preparation for this tremendous war that lies ahead.
They’re mounting a massive ideological campaign aimed at us. One feature of it is called the “Bicentennial.” This campaign of demagogy and flag-waving is nothing but a fascist maneuver to win the American people to the cause of fighting a new war for them and to divert us from the class struggle here at home.
The ruling class in the U.S. cannot wage a war against Soviet social-imperialism without waging a war against the American people too. They’re locked in the midst of the greatest crisis they have ever faced.
Up until now we have been carrying out our work of building our newspaper and working towards a new party under fairly favorable conditions. The present crisis has thrown thousands and thousands of people into struggle with the ruling class and more have begun to turn towards Marxism-Leninism to find the answers to their problems. In some ways, the different groupings within the imperialist class have been so busy attacking each other, assassinating each other, and fighting each other that they have not consolidated enough to really strike a blow at us.
I believe that this favorable period is rapidly drawing to a close. I think that all of us have got to prepare to work under different conditions now. This is going to take tremendous organization on our part. It’s going to take a party that can weld together the many struggles and many movements and forces throughout the country into one powerful revolutionary force. Many great advances have already been made and I think they are reflected in the make-up of this meeting.
I’ve already talked to friends and comrades here from various cities where our organization doesn’t exist. They have come here because they too are seeking a way to bring this movement together. They too sense the urgency of this task. To be without organization and without unity in the period ahead will mean huge set-backs. In my opinion, the key to succeeding in our efforts to build the party, is the building of the Marxist-Leninist press.
There are some groups in this country that have put forth some interesting theories of party-building. In fact, in the past year, we have seen some new “Marxist-Leninist” parties built. Despite all their talk and their possible good intentions, we have seen that the formation of these parties has not changed the character of these forces. While taking on the name of a party, they have kept their backwards and primitive character just as when they considered themselves pre-party organizations.
Building the Marxist-Leninist newspaper is a tried and tested road to building the party. Building the Marxist-Leninist newspaper and the organization around that newspaper provides the structure and framework. Lenin described the Russian newspaper Iskra as “the scaffolding erected round a building under construction.” He said, “It marks the contours of the structure and facilitates communication between the builders, permitting them to distribute the work and to view the common results achieved by their organized labor.” (What Is to Be Done?)
It’s around this newspaper that thousands and thousands of revolutionary fighters can be trained and develop skills in agitation and propaganda, in organizational work–develop knowledge of secret and open work under very difficult conditions. It’s around the newspaper work that they can deepen their links with the masses. The newspaper serves as the voice of the party to the masses, even at times when the leading spokesmen of the party are unable to go out and speak openly to the people themselves.
It is with such a newspaper that the Marxist-Leninist party can successfully intervene in the spontaneous struggles of the people. The people will always struggle against oppression. This is only natural. Wherever there is oppression there is resistance. But class struggle is not enough. Lenin pointed out: “Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxists; they may be found to be still within the bounds of bourgeois thinking and bourgeois politics.” (State and Revolution) He said that confining Marxism to the theory of the class struggle means “curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something acceptable to the bourgeoisie.” A Marxist, said Lenin, “is solely someone who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (State and Revolution).
He showed that our struggle must be directed towards smashing the existing state apparatus and replacing it for the first time in history with a new kind of state, a state that consists of the workers themselves running the country and taking on the most important functions of government. Even this workers’ state is only a transition–a transition to a completely classless society called communism. This is our final goal. This is our open and often-stated objective. This is what our newspaper must clearly and proudly proclaim. When we proclaim these aims of ours, we strike a blow at the opportunists who try as best they can to cover up and bury the goals of Marxism. They spend endless hours and thousands of dollars to peddle reformist trash to the people–to further chain them to this system.
We don’t mind them peddling their trash so much, because with revolutionary leadership present, the people learn from their own experience that reformism is a dead end. The problem comes in when these opportunists and revisionists don’t rest with propagating their views but launch their vicious attacks against the Marxist-Leninist movement. These opportunists and their ideology are antagonistic to Marxism-Leninism. So they’ve got to attack us and I don’t mean they just attack us verbally.
Look around the world and see what role the revisionists are playing. Facts show that behind all their talk about “peaceful transition to socialism” lie the most violent and fascistic attacks against the working class.
I think there are some Indian comrades here today. Maybe they can tell people first-hand about the role of the Indian revisionist party which personally goes around to finger the genuine revolutionaries for Gandhi’s fascist police, under the present “State of Emergency” act.
I don’t think I have to remind people here about the tragic events in Chile where thousands of workers and militants fell victim to the revisionists’ program of disarming the working class in the face of fascism. Portugal is no different. Fascism and social-fascism are at work there, trying to crush the revolutionary movement of the people and sell that country and all of Europe to one or the other superpower.
So we must firmly grasp that the struggle to build a new party means a life-or-death struggle against revisionism. Our movement has made some great advances in this struggle. Even within our own ranks, the ranks of the various Marxist-Leninist groups, we have seen certain opportunists and conciliators come forth and act as a shield between us and the revisionists. These opportunists also have their own press which they use to cover up the crimes of revisionism. At the same time they have turned their main attacks on the Marxist-Leninists. These are the forces that we Call “centrists.” We use this name not because they are in the middle or “independent” as they claim to be, but simply because this is the pose they are striking at this particular time.
They are also trying to group themselves together around a newspaper like the Guardian. This is a paper that has been existence some 26 years, first in the hands of the Communist Party, for a while taking a good position, and presently running behind a centrist line. The circulation of their newspaper is 21,000. This month, The Call surpassed them in total circulation. We must remember of course that the Guardian comes out weekly while we are still a monthly. That means for every one of our issues they publish four or five, filled with slanders of Marxism-Leninism. This is one more reason why the Marxist-Leninists must establish a weekly press.
These centrists represent a growing danger to our party-building efforts. Of course the revisionist party is the main enemy within the ranks of the workers’ movement in this country and around the world. And sooner or later the showdown between the Marxist-Leninist party and the revisionist party is going to take place. Right now, in many ways, the revisionist party is stronger than us. They don’t need fundraising campaigns among the masses. Their paper is fully financed by the social-imperialists. 25,000 issues a day are flown to Moscow, and that can pay a full-time staff for a long time. But I doubt if they can even get that many papers out to workers here in the U.S. And the ones they do get out, I doubt are even read by their own membership. An example to back up that statement is that their theoretical organ, Political Affairs, has a circulation of 3,000. In other words, less than one out of four party members in the CPUSA even subscribes to their own journal. To me, this goes to show that there might still be some hope for some of their rank and file.
After only two issues, the circulation of the journal Class Struggle is already double that of Political Affairs. So this shows that the strengths in size and experience of the CPUSA also contain its weakness. They have alot of money and a long headstart. But their weakness lies in their bankrupt political line. If an alternative is presented before the masses, they will certainly reject the revisionist party. But like a boxer–before he can fight the champion in the decisive battle, some preliminary bouts must be held. In the same way, the Marxist-Leninist movement that is on the rise is growing strong and preparing for its decisive show-down with the revisionists in the struggle against the centrists and other opportunists that are guarding the doors of the CPUSA.
We have waged a very important struggle against some ultra-“leftist” groupings. Together with other Marxist-Leninists we have fought to expose these ultra-“leftists” and neo-Trotskyists who have gone on to form their so-called “parties” on the basis of their weakness and isolation.
When our new party is built sometime next spring, it will be testimony to the qualitative growth and strengthening of our movement, not to its weakness. And these advances will be measured concretely. They will be measured in the growing numbers of people in our movement. They will also be seen in the organizational strength of our movement, a movement which has developed from a very primitive level towards a real Bolshevik-type party. It will also be seen in our growing ties among the masses, and it must be remembered that the advances of the vanguard mean nothing without the advancement of the masses.
In his “Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyan Daily,” Mao Tse-tung said, “To be good at translating the Party’s policy into action of the masses, to be good at getting not only the leading cadres but also the broad masses to understand and master every movement and every struggle we launch–this is an art of Marxist-Leninist leadership.”
In this statement, Chairman Mao set the direction for good communist journalism work. His instructions are a blow against those dogmatists and sectarians whose newspapers are only directed at a few–the “advanced of the advanced–while forgetting that the communist press also has an important role in bringing revolutionary agitation to the broad masses.
What is the measure of this growing strength among the masses? Look at the popularity that Marxist-Leninist literature has gained in many, many factories and communities throughout the U.S. You can go to the major factory concentrations in most of the large industrial centers and you will find that at least a significant number of the most class-conscious workers have seen The Call or other communist papers that have become abundant over the past five years. Next month we hope that at least 1,000 workers will come to Chicago to unite around the National Fight-Back Conference. Let’s see what these centrists and petty-bourgeois radicals around the Guardian can do to oppose that.
Also we have seen in the past few months, the emergence of a brand new communist youth movement growing around the Communist Youth Organization. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the CYO will consolidate itself into one national organization. This is an organization made up primarily of working class and minority youth, based upon Marxist-Leninist principles.
These advances in the mass work and growing mass organizations are not isolated incidents. They coincide with the motion towards the formation of the party.
As I mentioned earlier, the efforts to build the party rest largely upon our organizational development. Here again the newspaper is key. Look at the various pre-party organizations and measure their level of organization.
This can be done by examining their press. How often does it come out? Is it regular? What level of mass ties and theoretical level does it reflect? The newspaper is a valid criterion by which to judge these things.
Many of these groups face grave danger because they have taken the road of least resistance. They have not estimated the struggle ahead correctly, nor have they prepared themselves for the work of communist leadership. Ancient China’s great military scientist Sun Wu Tsu once wrote, “Know the enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat.” All opportunists are guilty of either underestimating or overestimating the strength of the enemy. They either stand in awe of imperialism and the two superpowers or else underestimate its tactical strength and run too far ahead of the masses.
One of the signs of opportunism in this period is the inability of certain groups to develop a Marxist-Leninist newspaper and build organization around that paper among the working masses.
The Guardian shows its opportunist line on this point. After 26 years of publishing, it has built no organization among the masses and confines itself only to agitational and propagandist roles while neglecting the communist task of collective organization which the people need so badly. In effect, this leaves the organization of the masses to the revisionists or the labor aristocrats.
So the real task is not simply that of issuing a weekly newspaper, but of carrying out the work around it once it comes out. And that’s why this conference of Call Committee representatives is so important. It’s in the Call Committees that much of the day-to-day work of building our movement among the people must go on. It’s here that important ideological debate is carried out. The very work of writing for a Marxist-Leninist newspaper and distributing it requires that the events of the day have to be analyzed and discussed. It necessitates that in order to write and put forth one’s views, one must be open and above board about those views. In the spirit of unity, these views can be openly discussed and debated and the level of the whole movement can be raised.
In putting the paper out, methods of organization must be learned. To distribute thousands of papers inside the factories, not just at the gates, but inside the plants through a network of the workers themselves, and to develop worker correspondents in those factories, requires that a real organization be built around the communist factory nucleus. The newspaper must be fully integrated into the work of building these communist workers’ organizations in the factories. Around its distribution and production, thousands of workers can be trained as professional revolutionaries.
Another question discussed earlier was the need to unify the communist movement around the task of party building. How can this be done if communists don’t have a clear stand and a newspaper that reflects that stand, or if that paper comes out so infrequently that the communists are always running desperately to catch up with the masses, or if they are analyzing struggles months after they take place? How many times have we heard some groups say “we don’t have a position” on this or that question? These words have come most often, not from those who are brand new to the struggle or who have just begun to learn Marxism, but on the contrary, mostly from people who have been around the communist movement for years and even decades.
The reason they are unable to put forth a position is because they don’t have the organization to do it. They don’t practice democratic-centralism, so they don’t have a real method of unifying their organizations and consolidating around a political line. Every city you go to, you can speak to people in these groups and they will run down a different line to you. Sometimes we must inform them of the life of their own organization in different cities.
How can this situation exist? The fact is that it is due to an incorrect political line. It’s a line that is characterized by bowing to spontaneity. Lenin showed that this bowing to spontaneity wasn’t simply a question of inexperience. He said in What Is To Be Done? that, “all worship of the spontaneity of the working class movement, all belittling of the role of ’the conscious element,’ of the role of Social-Democracy”–which is what they called communism in those days–“means quite independently of whether he who belittles that role desires it or not, a strengthening of the influence of bourgeois ideology upon the workers.”
The building and reinforcing of these weak, primitive-type organizations is one form of this belittling of the role of communism. This is especially true in the face of the potential, at the present time, to forge a genuine communist party nationally and build a weekly press. These are tasks not just for the October League, but for all Marxist-Leninists. All must be judged on their willingness and ability to carry out these tasks.
Along with this organizational primitiveness which Lenin criticized came a certain political line which he described as economism. It is not enough to wish to give political leadership to the masses. It’s not enough to want to go out and lead various struggles. In order to do that, a correct political line is required as well as the organization built around that line. The economists attack the work we are trying to accomplish. From the right, they attack us saying that The Call should concentrate only on the simple “bread and butter issues.” They don’t want any propaganda articles in the paper or any polemics against the opportunists. They yell everytime The Call carries international news on the front page. They want headlines like “We Want More Money” on each and every issue. This reflects their underestimation of the people.
The so-called Revolutionary Communist Party is a good example of this economism. They go so far as to publish one newspaper for the working class and another one solely for the communists. In each city they put out a primitive, economist paper called the “Something Worker.” In their “worker” papers they confine themselves to the narrowest and most immediate questions exclusive of propaganda, while in their “communist” paper they neglect the tasks of agitation. By trying to base their efforts on so many local papers, they dissipate their strengths and produce papers that are unreadable and dull.
We believe that both agitation and propaganda articles must be combined in the communist newspaper. We also oppose the petty-bourgeois “leftists” who restrict their newspaper work to propaganda only. They argue against any popular agitation in the papers–agitation which can teach Marxism to the broad masses, based not primarily on the theoretical writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tsetung (as is our propaganda) but on the basis of their own experiences. Groups like the Communist Labor Party at one time raised to the level of a principle the absence of any pictures or graphics in the newspaper. The last thing they want is for the communist press to become “popular.” When they see a popular communist newspaper, they become angered.
Groups like Workers Viewpoint jump up and down and stomp their feet and get so angry when The Call comes out, that they charge us with being not only “revisionists” but the “number one revisionists.” But, like all groups who use the name “revisionist” to describe the Marxist-Leninists, the Workers Viewpoint group falls all over itself to line up every time the CPUSA revisionists call for “united action.”
This fight against right and “left” dangers can also be seen on the question of proletarian internationalism, which is the foundation stone for The Call and all genuine communist papers.
For example, these opportunists (“left” and right) refuse to build a truly bi-lingual newspaper. Twenty-six years of publication and the Guardian still cannot print even one page in Spanish. When asked about this, they reply, “None of our readership speaks Spanish.” How can they develop a readership among the Spanish-speaking workers, when they refuse to translate any of their articles? They have no answer, only a shrug of the shoulders. Even the Daily World (which dropped the name “Daily Worker” when the revisionists took over) only publishes an occasional page in Spanish under much pressure. Perhaps the “World” they envision is not a world run by the multinational working class, but rather only an anglicized world. This national chauvinism is a hallmark of the revisionists who place no faith at all in the oppressed peoples of the Third World and show the greatest reverence for the big powers and “great men” like Kissinger and Brezhnev.
Right here in this country, both the “left” and right opportunists refuse to take an internationalist stand in support of the right of self-determination for the Afro-American people; full democratic rights and regional autonomy for the Chicano people; independence–full and real independence for Puerto Rico; and full democratic rights for all the other oppressed nationalities. Not one of them will take this consistent stand. They spend a great deal of their meager theoretical work on the national question, trying to disprove the Marxist-Leninist view of this question. Even on the day-to-day questions, like the right of minority peoples to attend an integrated school, these brilliant theoreticians have come up with such an advanced theory that they end up marching with the segregationists because the struggle for school integration is not “pure” and “revolutionary” enough for them.
There can be no quick victories in this ideological struggle against revisionism and opportunism. It will be with us under socialism and as long as classes exist. There are those who say that we cannot build a party at this time because all of the ideological debates among the Marxist-Leninists have not yet been fully resolved. In fact we have not yet built the very mechanism that will serve as. the vehicle for carrying out this struggle on a higher level-the party. It is with one center and one organization practicing democratic-centralism that this ideological struggle can best be carried on. It cannot be carried out with 20 different centers, with papers coming out irregularly if at all, and with groups changing positions from week to week.
But already the main trends have been clarified enough to distinguish Marxist-Leninist trends from opportunist trends. I think this is why such a broad range of people can come together here to build The Call. They are here, not simply because The Call is put out by the October League, but because The Call represents right now, the most advanced development of a Marxist-Leninist newspaper in the country. Just as party-building is the task of all Marxist-Leninists in the U.S., so is the task of building the weekly Marxist-Leninist press.
What about the charges made by some independents, that putting out the weekly Call is just an attempt on the part of the O.L. to seek hegemony? They charge that every attempt to move forward, every attempt to get organized and raise the level of the movement is bad, because it will mean one or another group taking the initiative and gaining leadership. But we don’t have a state apparatus to enforce our views on any other group. Our movement is a movement based upon voluntary unity. No group can impose its will upon any other group. Democratic-centralism, which we call for, means that no individual can impose his will upon the majority. It presupposes a faith in the judgment of the masses of the people, that they have greater wisdom than individuals. Unity is reach through discussion and debate. It is tested through practice.
Some ask: “If we work on this paper, or if we unite to build this party, what will guarantee our freedom to criticize? How do we know our views will be represented in the paper?” They ask for a newspaper that will become open to “all points of view.” The element of truth in their views lies in the mass character of the newspaper, its democratic style in practicing the mass line. There must be discussion and debate in its pages. But most importantly, it must be an organ of Marxism-Leninism and not revisionism. It must be an organ of class struggle against revisionism, and this struggle must go on within the Call Committees as well as within all the units of the organization.
Research, investigation and scientific study must take place. Criticism of all incorrect and opportunist views must go on. We must practice broad democracy for the working class views, for the revolutionary views, for the people’s views, for Marxist-Leninist views. We must exercise dictatorship against revisionist views, against opportunist views in our newspaper. So entering into unity on the paper as well as in the party means a willingness to struggle for one’s views within the bounds of Marxist-Leninist principles, in a democratic style and for the purpose of raising the level of unity. It doesn’t mean any abstract “freedom to criticize.”
Another very important task of the Call Committees, which I hope will be discussed at this conference, is that of using the paper to educate the broad masses of the people about the character of this capitalist system and the need for socialism. We need comprehensive exposures, political exposures. No issue is “too small” for us to take up. As Lenin said:
The consciousness of the working masses cannot be genuine class-consciousness, unless the workers learn from concrete, and above all from topi cal, political facts and events to observe every other social class in all the manifestations of its intellectual, ethical, and political life; unless they learn to apply in practice the materialist analysis and the materialist estimate of all aspects of the life and activity of all classes, strata and groups of the population.” (What Is to Be Done?)
Here Lenin was striking another blow at the economists who wanted us to use the narrow economic news of the workers’ struggle as the only or main form of exposure. He was showing that the working class has great interest in how the system comes down on all classes and strata of the people. Lenin showed his belief in the working class as the liberator, not only of themselves, but of all humanity. He was also showing that an incident in this or that factory or community of police brutality or landlord injustice, which in one form or another was being repeated thousands of times across the country, could be used to show people the general character of oppression under the present system. He called for these exposures to be “concrete” and “topical” to arouse mass interest and in this way to prepare the working class for its future role as ruling class-as the leader of all the oppressed masses.
Down in Alamo, Georgia, two young Black women, Cheryl Todd and Dessie X Woods, face murder charges. Like Joan Little, they defended themselves against a racist rape attempt by a white businessman. If you dig deeply into this story and look at what this trial is all about, you can see a clear indictment of the entire capitalist system. These women were attacked on a visit to see Cheryl’s brother who was falsely incarcerated in Reidsville prison. They were hitch-hiking because they were poor and because there is no regular bus service from Atlanta to Reidsville. When they got there, they were beaten and jailed by authorities who then tipped off this sex pervert businessman about their whereabouts so that he could molest them.
When we write about this, we want to show why these young women were really attacked and to show how attacks like these are woven into the fabric of this system. We want to show that this is an attack on all working people, whose life and well-being are daily endangered. When we took up this defense case we did so not as civil libertarians but as revolutionaries with the understanding that incidents like this take place everywhere and all the time. If the Todd-Woods case were written about correctly, people who were outraged by a single aspect of the system or a single incident, could be made to see the character of the whole system. They could be won to see the need to overthrow capitalism and build a socialist system.
If this kind of work is to be done, our newspaper must speak the language of the people. By this I don’t mean that it should be written in English and Spanish. Yes, we’ve got to publish in Portuguese, in Chinese. Right here in Chicago, we’ve got the largest Polish-speaking community in the world outside of Warsaw. Probably in this room we’ve got people who speak seven or eight different languages. But when I say “speaking the language of the masses” this is not entirely what I’m talking about. I mean having a newspaper that is lively and militant in its style. One that is not filled from beginning to end with foreign stereotypes and endless quotations, but one that gets to the essence of Marxism in a lively style. One that uses the experiences of the people themselves to teach lessons. We want a paper that writes about every class and strata of society.
To sum up: I think this conference can accomplish some very important things this weekend. First, we can deepen our understanding of Marxism-Leninism and the tasks that lie ahead in this period. It’s important that we all grasp these tasks firmly. If we all grasp the task of party-building and gain an overview of our day-to-day work, we will not waver when twists and turns take place in the struggle.
Secondly, through the course of this conference, we’ve got to become better skilled in our work. We’ve got to become more professional in our Call Committee work. By professional, I don’t mean this in the bourgeois sense of being a “professional.” I don’t mean professional like the New York Times. I mean professional in the sense of becoming good at our revolutionary tasks. Like the song, “The Internationale,” the anthem of the communist movement, goes: “We workers must decide our duty; we must decide and do it well.”
This doesn’t mean that we just go out and recruit people to the Call Committees who have a degree in journalism from the university. Skills can be developed, and among the workers I think we will see that every type of skill imaginable exists already. I knew some people in the student movement who spent all their time reading technical books about different weapons and spent no time at all studying Lenin and revolutionary theory which would have given them a political understanding of the tasks. This was bourgeois professionalism coming out, which they learned in the university. What have these types contributed to our movement? Only the blowing-up of some toilets in a few government buildings.
We must become experts in our work. But most importantly we have to become red experts. I think through this conference we can all become redder and more expert.