First Published: Resistence, Vol. 7, No. 9, October 26, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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During the decade of the 1960’s, in the flow of the working class movement and of the national, student, anti-war and women’s movements, a number of advanced elements came to the fore. Some of these advanced elements, through contact with communists, and together with other communists, reaffirmed the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought, drawing clear lines of demarcation from the many other tendencies (anarchism, nationalism, reformism, etc.) which prevailed in the revolutionary movement of the masses. In the struggle against these tendencies alien to M-L-MTT genuine communists also separated themselves from the sham communists, who did not demarcate themselves from these tendencies.
Genuine communists recognized that our central task is the building of a genuine communist party in light of the betrayal of the CPUSA. Furthermore, we united in that revisionism represents the main danger to the communist movement. This was one of the fundamental questions on which the unity of communists was based and was also one of the major differences between genuine and sham communists.
At present, the lines of demarcation have been deepened, the law of dialectics, “one divides into two,” has been confirmed in practice: the communist movement divides into two. It is not enough to merely affirm that one is anti-revisionist; this line must be applied to the concrete conditions in the U. S. In actuality, the unity among genuine communists is based on the application of M-L-MTTT to the concrete conditions. Specifically, in regard to the struggle against revisionism, lines of demarcation are drawn between those who in reality wage struggle against revisionism and those who leave that struggle in abstract formulations.
Thus, the unity among genuine communists is forged and deepened in practice, based on how we struggle against revisionism, as we move forward in the building of the party. It is in this context – the struggle against the main danger – that we will analyze the line of Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO) – “Unite to Expose”. This line reflects in practice how it is that this organization does not uphold and practice M-L-MTTT and how it sees the struggle against revisionism. In fact, it is in practice that we verify who are the genuine and who the sham communists, who really uphold and practice M-L-MTTT and who distort and revise it. As Mao Tse Tung teaches us:
Only social practice can be the criterion of truth. Four Essays of Philosophy, p. 4
Mao also teaches us that the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge holds that “human knowledge can in no way be separated from practice” and repudiates “all erroneous theories which deny the importance of practice or separate knowledge from practice.” Ibid p. 4).
It is characteristic of opportunists to separate theory from practice, either by upholding one thing in theory and practicing another, or by reducing everything to theory, not carrying it out in practice, thus becoming philosophers who interpret the world, but make no attempt to change it.
W.V.O.’s opportunism is reflected in that they say one thing and do another. Instead of applying M-L-MTT to the concrete conditions in the U.S., they distort reality, adapt it to fit their own wishes and views. We maintain that their right opportunism is reflected ideologically in their empiricism, politically in their class collaboration and organizationally in their sectarianism. We will show these things concretely. In this article, we will deal with the political aspect of their deviations, as it is reflected in one of W. V.O.’s principal lines, “unite to expose,” a line which aptly describes its general practice. This line summarizes how W.V.O. sees the struggle against revisionism in practice.
According to WVO:
United front from above has certain elements of formal agreement among different groups and organizations, such as a set of principles of unity concrete plans of actions, and some organizational forms to carry these out. WVJ #4, p. 28
But under conditions when the united front from above tactics cannot be applied, (when there doesn’t exist any basis for unity, when the conditions for an independent work and initiative are not present; ed. LPR) communists can still, under appropriate conditions, use the “unite to expose” tactic. Ibid, page 29.
What are these “appropriate conditions” which would allow communists to unite to expose, even though there are no basis for principles of unity or conditions which will guarantee the independence and initiative of communists? WVO does not say. However, judging from their practice, these conditions always exist. WVO finds the theoretical justification for its line in the fact that reformism is especially entrenched in the working class movement in the U. S. They say:
The exposure of these labor misleaders and other liberal reformists, is more than 2/3 of the way to proletarian revolution in the U.S. WVJ #4, p. 25.
There is an element of truth in what WVO is saying: it is correct to aim the main blow at the social props in this period. However, we do not unite with those that are the target of our main blow! By doing this WVO is objectively liquidating the exposures of the social props. This would be further entrenching reformism into the working class movement, and making those “2/3 of the way” even longer with obstacles such as the right opportunists of WVO.
We will use the same quotes that W.V.O. uses out of context to justify their right opportunist line. They first quote Stalin:
Accordingly, such blocs (between the communists and reactionary leaders of the working class – ed. WVO) may be formed only on two basic conditions, viz., that we are ensured freedom to criticise the reformist leaders, and that the necessary conditions for severing the masses from the reactionary leaders are ensured. (Stalin, “On the Opposition.” p. 358, W.V. Journal #4, p. 24)
Stalin’s quote on blocs used by WVO must be placed in the context in which it was used in order to understand the type of ’blocs’ Stalin was talking about. Then we should compare these ’blocs’ with those of WVO to see if there is any similarity between them. Stalin is referring to a bloc between Soviet labor unions (unions in a country under the dictatorship of the proletariat) and the English labor unions. Does Stalin say that communists unite to expose? Of course not. He states clearly that there must exist two basic conditions, one being the “right to criticize”, However this is not the object for which one joins the bloc. Needless to say, WVO twists this quote substituting conditions with objectives for joining the bloc, arriving at the conclusion that according to Stalin it is correct “to unite to expose”! But we must not confuse conditions and objective. Stalin is very clear on this and WVO conveniently leaves out the part of the article which states that:
Hence, the Anglo-Russian Committee is a bloc of our trade unions with the reactionary trade unions of Britain, the object of which is, firstly, to strengthen the connections between our trade union movement of the West and to revolutionise the latter, and, secondly, to wage a struggle against imperialist wars in general, and intervention in particular. J. Stalin, Anglo-Russian Unity Committee, On Opposition page 356.
So they are doubly wrong: Stalin was not talking about the types of “blocs” WVO is always forming, secondly they make conditions equivalent to objective. No, comrades, Stalin was not proposing the bloc – unity – in order to expose the reactionary leadership of the working class movement in England, but in order to: “firstly, to strengthen the connections between our trade union movement of the West and to revolutionise the latter, and, secondly, to wage a struggle against imperialist wars in general, and intervention in particular.” Besides clearly establishing the objective of the “bloc” (which was not – we repeat, to expose the reformist leadership) Stalin also clearly establishes the conditions under which such a bloc could be established. They are: (l) those necessary to separate the masses from their reactionary leadership and (2) the right to criticize those leaders. Stalin is not talking about imaginary but of real conditions, with real results which have nothing to do with the wishful thinking of WVO. As a matter of fact, in his polemic with Trotsky, who alleged that the conditions for an Anglo-Russian bloc did not exist, Stalin said:
The question arises: Is the policy of our trade unions in conformity with the conditions Comrade Lenin speaks of? I think that it is in full conformity. In the first place, we have completely reserved for ourselves full freedom to criticize the reformist leaders of the British working class and have availed ourselves of that freedom to a degree unequalled by any other Communist Party in the world. In the second place, we are effectively severing, and have already severed, whole sections of the British working class from the reactionary leaders. I have in mind the rupture of the miners with the leaders of the General Council. (Ibid, p. 359, emphasis LPR)
Could the same thing be said of the type of blocs of WVO? Comrades, there are blocs, and there are blocs: blocs that serve the proletariat, like the one just described, and blocs which serve the bourgeoisie, like the ones in which WVO participates daily.
Even WVO’s formulation is completely wrong. The objective of communists’ participation in activities is not the exposure of revisionists and reformists. One becomes part of a coalition, front, etc., because one considers correct the objective of the particular activity in question. One unites because one considers the struggle a just one which merits our support. While we strive to give communist leadership to the particular struggle so that it achieve its goals, and – in the course of that struggle – we must also expose revisionists and reformists.
Communists work inside labor unions not with the purpose of “exposing” the labor aristocracy, but because unions are the basic organizations of the proletariat and we must turn them into units that fight for the rights of our class, The constant exposure of the labor aristocracy is one of the most important means that we use in order to free the workers from the control of the bourgeoisie, from the control of reformism and the reformists in the working class movement. However, we must never confuse the tactic – the exposure – with the strategy which is to separate the labor unions from the control of the bourgeoisie and place them under the leadership of the revolutionary proletariat and its party.
WVO distorts the Marxist-Leninist position on united fronts and political exposures, by absolutizing ONE of the forms of struggle within a united front. By absolutizing political exposures it is turned into the objective of the united fronts, thus liquidating the objectives for which communists form or join united fronts with other forces. But WVO needs theoretical justification for its narrow practice of unity with everybody under the guise of “to expose”, without a concrete analysis of the nature of the bloc or activity, the forces involved, the present conditions, the results, etc.
As a matter Of fact their slogan “unite to expose” has become the most important theoretical justification for their politics of class collaboration, which WVO has historically practised. We will give concrete examples of how WVO carries out “unite to expose” in practice. First, we will point out how WVO seeks theoretical justification for their right opportunism, especially in their “polemics” with PRRWO.
The ultra-“leftist” line of the opportunists of PRRWO is just what WVO needs. Setting it up as a strawman, WVO defends its line by implying that since PRRWO’s line is incorrect, theirs must be correct because this is supposedly a “two line struggle”.
PRRWO, quoting from the Comintern, accepts that the united front from above is correct if from a position of strength. WVO unites with this. But in practice both liquidate the correct position of the Comintern. For PRRWO communists are never in a position of strength to unite from above, and never do they work to create the conditions for developing that position of strength. For WVO the position of strength is always there and thus they find it permissible to unite from above at all times. Both collaborate with the revisionists as, on the one hand, the “left” opportunists (PRRWO) refuse to participate in the concrete struggle against revisionism, and think that it is enough to denounce them in their papers and closed meetings. On the other hand, the right opportunists (WVO), under the guise of “unite to expose”, liquidate the exposure by all the concessions they make to the revisionists, etc.
Comrades, the “struggle” between WVO and PRRWO is not a “two line struggle” as these opportunists would have us believe. And it is not “centrist” to oppose them both. Genuine communists are only bound to choose between the correct and the incorrect line, they must not allow themselves to be manipulated or threatened to choose between two deviations, or be labelled “centrist”. But actions speak louder than words, let us examine the examples.
Undoubtedly, WVO considers their participation in the event organized by the revisionist PSP and “CP”USA in Madison Square Garden on October 27, 1974 as a good example of what “unite to expose” means in practice. We couldn’t agree with them more. Their participation in this activity is a fine example to show how in practice what WVO does is make concessions, substitute real exposure for phrase-mongering and consistently unite with reformists and revisionists.
This activity was organized by the revisionists of PSP and “CP”USA under the slogan of “Bicentennial without colonies”. WVO became part and co-sponsored the activity whose main purpose was to promote PSP as the legitimate representative of the movement for the national liberation of Puerto Rico and to muster the forces and material resources of the “left” in the U. S. towards supporting their revisionist and reformist line.
WVO “behaved itself” for 5 months, peddled its national origin, and thus were given permission to speak for 3 minutes at the activity. So WVO limited their independent agitation and propaganda to a less than a 3 minute speech against Soviet social imperialism, in the middle of the booing organized by the revisionists, and with the microphone shut off.
In the first version of their participation (which we agree with) nothing was said about any agitation or propaganda being carried out by WVO before or after the activity. (WVJ vol. 2 #l). Further, WVO did not distribute any propaganda exposing the activity, its aim, its organizers, or its slogan, during the activity, neither inside nor outside. Not only did WVO ignore the real objective of the activity and substituted its with its own – “to expose” – but in the long run they didn’t even carry this out, and objectively ended up collaborating with the revisionists, giving them credibility among the masses by participating with them in their activity, mobilizing for it and giving up to them complete independence and initiative.
What was LPR’s participation? (then Resistencia Puertorriquena). We did not support the activity. Our position was based on the revisionist line being pushed and on the fact that in no way did this activity help to advance the struggle against colonialism, hegemonism, imperialism and social imperialism. Thus we widely propagandized against the activity and exposed the revisionists behind it.
The revisionists of PSP and “CP”USA announced their activity 5 months in advance. During that time PSP held a series of conferences throughout the city. We attended these activities and openly struggled with them there. WVO did not. We published a series of 3 articles before the activity (RESISTENCIA Vol. 5, Nos. 16, 17 and 18) where we put forth our position which was reprinted in pamphlet form and given out free to the attendants at the Madison Sq. Garden. Also our articles were reprinted in IRA POPULAR and distributed in Puerto Rico by the PSR-ML. We also held small activities that helped to consolidate advanced elements, and also some agitational street corner rallies in working class communities. All of this was previous to the activity where we explained that the independence struggle of Puerto Rico and PSP are not synonymous and we linked PSP’s revisionism and reformism with their slogan, their ties with the “C”PUSA, their “divided nation” theory, etc.
What did WVO do to expose PSP? NOTHING. What did they do to expose the “C”PUSA? Again, NOTHING.
Comrades, the question we should ask ourselves is: which of the two types of work described (of WVO and of LPR) advances the cause of the Puerto Rican liberation struggle? Sacrificing principles, accepting revisionist slogans, staying quiet for 5 months in order to speak for 3 minutes “before 17,000 persons and the TV cameras” or spreading propaganda and agitation as did LPR before, during and after the activity in order to separate honest elements from their revisionist leadership? WVO on the other hand with their unity, only helped to project PSP, consolidate their forces and broaden their influence in the U.S. The answer is obvious.
According to WVO, they denounced Soviet social-imperialism at the Garden and there ends all their responsibility to the Puerto Rican liberation struggle. In fact, WVO, since 1974, has not participated even in order to “unite to expose” in the other activities held by the Puerto Rican national movement or in support of the liberation struggle of Puerto Rico What better self-exposure than the fact that WVO has yet to determine what is their position on the Conference in “Solidarity” with the Independence of Puerto Rico held in Havana in September, 1975? This was the biggest event put together by international revisionism in Latin America, to date. Under the leader ship of the “C”PSU, it was also held to push PSP as the legitimate representative of the Puerto Rican national movement. (Note: Shortly before the Conference, another meeting of revisionist “parties” of Latin America took place in Cuba, in which China and Comrade Mao Tse-tung were condemned, Fidel Castro himself calling them traitors, fascists, etc.).
WVO remains tongue tied before the attacks on China. At the United Nations, Cuba’s representative (prime mouth piece for the USSR in Latin America) presented a resolution that, under the cover of backing Puerto Rican independence, proposed that PSP be granted permanent observer status at the UN as legitimate representative of the Puerto Rican national liberation movement. The Peoples’ Republic of China didn’t vote for the resolution, neither did it vote against it. They support the independence of Puerto Rico, but could not support the PSP revisionists as genuine representatives of the Puerto Rican people. The anti-China campaign was escalated in the U. S. around this issue. Throughout that period, WVO kept silent; they didn’t distribute a single piece of propaganda. At several forums, they were asked about their position to which they replied that they were still studying the question...
What kind of support does WVO concretely give to the Puerto Rican liberation movement? The case of the Havana Conference clearly betrays WVO. Give them 17,000 people anywhere and they will “unite to expose”, but if the revisionists don’t organize some thing for them to participate in, then they do nothing. It’s clear that the basis of this policy of WVO is their line on party building which is really “build the mass movement”. Their political line is that of dragging behind revisionists and reformists, taking part in the activities these organize, hiding behind the line of “units to expose” so they may worship in the cult of spontaneity and promote their right opportunism. The truth is clear – WVO wants to build the mass movement, not the party. To do it they depend on the revisionists and reformists to bring them the masses behind which they will crawl.
In their own words, in a article which nowhere mentions the party, they say:
The key thing in our fight to defend the standard of living is the building of the mass movement in a revolutionary way by mobilizing the masses to fight cutbacks and layoffs. By doing this, we can strike heavy blows at the monopoly capitalists and raise the fighting spirit of the masses. If we don’t, the masses will be increasingly demoralized and ground down by the attacks on them. Workers Viewpoint Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2 p. 62.
As far as the Havana Conference, we denounced it, pointing out that it was a colossal attempt by the Soviet social-imperialists to intervene and control the Puerto Rican national liberation movement, a logical sequence to the Garden activity. We analyze in detail the maneuvers of the revisionists before the conference and the opportunist line they followed. We defended China’s position on the issue, consolidating a great number of advanced elements around these ideas. This can be found in a propaganda piece – “Analysis of the Havana Conference” widely distributed throughout the U.S. before and after the Conference. The day the Conference opened in Havana, LPR held a forum on it at which WVO advanced the position that “as yet we have no position on the Conference but if the masses are there then communist too should be there. Otherwise, they should expose it”. But WVO neither participated in the Conference nor exposed it neither in Havana nor in the U. S. Rather, they dedicated themselves to attacking our position.
We want to emphasize that the exposure must be done concretely and consistently. It cannot be reduced to a one-shot-deal as in the case of WVO’s 3 minutes. For example: In March 1975, the Committee for the Defense of the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners was organized with the legitimate objective of struggling for the liberation of these prisioners. The Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, El Comite-MINP, a series of patriotic individuals as well as our organization were members of the Committee. Subsequently, PSP asked to become part of the committee and was accepted. We invited WVO to join (as well as PRRWO) and they never answered. Sponsored by the committer a series of conferences and demonstrations were held in New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. WVO was outstanding in its absence at all of them. The committee decided to organize for a mass demonstration on Nov. 1 in front of the United Nations. Our line was clearly laid out in the committee throughout. We waged struggle against PSP’s incorrect lines, such as the “divided nation” theory, the opportunist line of relying on politicians and the social props instead of the masses and concretely defeated proposals which called for the support of the MPLA in Angola, support for Trotskyite and revisionist sponsored activities in relation to Chile and several other issues which arose in the Committee. Our struggle against PSP was not limited to a 15 minutes exposure from the speakers’ platform (incidently PSP attempted to stop us by proposing that they would relinquish their opportunity to speak, if we did the same.) Having lost a series of struggles in the Committee, PSP resorted to their social-fascist practice of intimidation and provocation thus they destroyed a series of murals our organization had painted in different parts of the city. (See RESISTENCIA, Vol. 6, Nos. 16-17 where this was exposed.)
For the Nov. 1st demonstration, we organized a MLMTT contingent under the slogan of “Death to imperialism and social-imperialism” to which we invited a series of organizations whom at that time we considered were part of the communist movement. (Organizations such as PRRWO, LineaRoja, MPD, O.L., and others marched in the contingent.
WVO did not participate in the march nor the rally to which about 2,000 persons attended. At the activity, we clearly established our position in regards to Puerto Rico, we criticized the revisionist peaceful transition line, exposed the attempt by the Soviet Union to control the Puerto Rican national liberation movement, etc. Subsequently, PSP resigned from the committee, stating in its letter of resignation that they could no longer function in the committee as Resistencia had constantly used it as a tribune to voice its attacks on PSP and the Soviet Union.
Our exposures were concrete, a day to day, line by line struggle against the manifestations of PSP’s opportunism. We did not engage in the opportunist practice of WVO of “behaving ourselves for 5 months” in order to expose them for 3 or 15 minutes in the “ambush” fashion. As a matter of fact, no matter how justified the attacks may be, the masses will reject them (as well as advanced elements) as they view it for what it is: not genuine support, but a jumping in the bandwagon of the mass struggles.
It is significant that in their second version of their participation in the Madison Sq. Garden activity, WVO adds some things which were not included in its first article. They say in their second version:
Did we maintain our independence and initiative in this? Both before and after the rally, we helped sponsor forums where we and other Marxist-Leninists criticized the PSP’s line, especially their slogan for “Bicentennial Without Colonies”. This slogan was especially dangerous, as it raises the illusion that all colonies can be freed without smashing imperialism, and appeals to US patriotism to boot. Workers Viewpoint – Supplement to Vol. 1, No. 1, page 5. March 1976 (newspaper)
After the self-exposure which had characterized their participation in the Garden, WVO, instead of engaging in serious self-criticism, has seen fit to correct their mistakes through a “slight touch” of the typewriter keys and viola! – forums magically appear “before and after the activity.” We believe that WVO is shamelessly lying. We know of at least one instance, on July 28, 1975 (8 months after the Garden and after WVO supposedly exposed PSP’s revisionism) a forum was held in N.Y. co-sponsored by WVO, OL, CAP, El Comite-MINP and MSP around the issue of Puerto Rico and WVO for some very “strange reason” did not criticize PSP. As a matter of fact, when we (LPR) questioned WVO about the Havana Conference, they stated that they had no position, that they had yet to be invited...
The suspicion that WVO is making things up is further substantiated by their third version of their participation at the Garden:
Under clear communist leadership in different cities, we also organized and sponsored separate forums in support of Puerto Rican independence. WVJ #4, p. 27 May 1976.
Here they no longer “helped” to sponsor but now they “organized” these forums. Also not a word of the “other Marxist-Leninists” who sponsored the forums in the second version. And now a new thing is added – the question of forums in “different cities”. We ask, where and when, WVO? Where is the propaganda for these activities? Where are WVO’s lengthy diatribes a special supplement, a flyer, something? It is quite possible that WVO did hold an event outside of N.Y. There is nothing wrong with this. However, it is rather peculiar than one would unite with revisionists in one place and go to expose them somewhere else, without anybody knowing anything about it. Weak, WVO very weak. It seems that not only are they opportunist, they are also liars.
For International Working Women’s Day, WVO united with the “CP”USA, PSP, the Troskyites, Bella Abzurg, Gloria Steinman, lesbian collectives and even the Girl Scouts. According to them the masses would be at this activity. This was in March 1975. After the supposed forums in which WVO allegedly exposed PSP. As criticisms; for their opportunism pour, WVO sees fit to reconstruct the facts surrounding certain events. Let us see how.
The IWD Coalition had the full spectrum of left center and right forces within it. Over 40 organizations including PSP, El Comite, CLUW, District 1199, Coalition of Asian Women’s, the Third World Women’s Alliance, New York Women’s Union, Women’s Caucus of New York Taxi Rank and File, LEMPA and many other anti-imperialist and Marxist-Leninist organizations were in it... In the March 8th rally, anti-imperialist speakers directly attacked US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. Workers Viewpoint Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 page 24. (emphasis LPR)
If you will note, PSP is listed among organizations characterized as Marxist-Leninists or anti-imperialist. But didn’t WVO denounce PSP 5 months earlier for their revisionist and reformist line? March 8, 1975 happened after Oct. 27, 1974. There are 2 possible explanations: either WV0 is lying about the forums and exposure of PSP and really considers PSP Marxist-Leninists as anti-imperialist until March1975, or WVO opportunistically includes PSP among the Marxist-Leninists in order to justify their participation in said activity. Furthermore which of those organizations made all these exposures? Comrades, this is all pure fabrication. VVO is caught in their own lie. For example, how could PSP expose Soviet social-imperialism if they are one of its lackeys? How could El Comite denounce Soviet social imperialism when they don’t even believe it exists and even support the armed intervention of its armed Cuban mercenaries in Angola? In the same issue of their magazine they state:
First, instead of fighting for leadership of the broad coalition around the N. Y. Union Square Rally, which represented all the right and left positions within the women’s movement, the OL dismissed this coalition as “revisionist” and went off to have a pure “anti-imperialist” rally. It rejected the Leninist premise of going wherever the masses are to be found. It liquidated the Communist responsibility to provide and build proletarian leadership in the mass movement against women’s oppression. Ibid, page 24.
Notice how they limit the criticism to only OL as if the OL had demonstrated alone in this activity.
Second version: March 1976:
With more than 40 organizations participating and 4000 people at the March 8 demonstration, the IWD coalition was definitely a mass event. It had the full spectrum of left, center and right forces, many forces from the national and working class movements, anti-imperialist organizations and Marxist-Leninists, as well as the revisionist “C”P and their friends. Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 1, No. 1 Supplement – page 4. (newspaper)
Here we have a “slight” change. The list of anti-imperialist and Marxist-Leninist organizations does not appear. Why WVO? Come on, give us at least 2. They’re caught in their own lie. In criticising the 0L they said that many Marxist-Leninists took part in their coalition (they brought in PSP, El Comite, and a host of others). The task of really exposing these revisionists (PSP) and centrists (El Comite) has been carried out by organizations like ourselves. And WVO can’t hide behind their names now. They have to speak of “Marxist-Leninist organizations” without mentioning them. In the same paper they speak of all the exposures they supposedly carried out and how at the meeting many speakers publically attacked the Yankee imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. False WVO, false. We were there. Not “uniting to expose” but exposing without uniting.
Their article continues:
And what did the OL do? They refused to work in this and instead set up their own “pure” “anti-imperialist coalition, under their calls for a “break with revisionism”. What was this but a total failure to expose the revisionists in front of the masses and win the masses to our side? Ibid, page 4.
Once again WVO identifies only OL as part of the other coalition.
Third version (2 months later, May 1976):
In last year’s IWD event, PRRWO joined the opportunist OL forces and marched themselves down to the U. N. where they just agitated among themselves. They totally abandoned their duty as communists to provide and build proletarian leadership in the mass movement against women’s oppression. WVJ #4, p. 26 May 1976
My, my, how quiet they kept it...WVO waited exactly one year and 2 months to tell the communist movement that PRRWO had united with OL in the IWWD march which they’ve criticized so much in their paper and journal. What is this if not out and out opportunism? Let’s go back a little. From November, 1975 to March 1976, WVO and PRRWO were ’“comrades in the genuine wing”. At the time, WVO attacked OL over what OL had done in 1975 but said nothing of PRRWO uniting with OL at the time. No sooner do PRRWO-RWL throw WVO out of the “genuine wing”, than WVO reveals their secret. ”Friends in crime – when they fall out, one rats on the other. That proves once more the unprincipled unity which WVO promotes.
Comrades, both WVO with their unprincipled unity with revisionists, lesbians, trotskyites, etc. as well as PRRWO with their unity with the right opportunists of OL were wrong on this question. As we didn’t unite with either of the coalitions, then according to PRRWO and WVO, we are centrists. This stems from their incorrect idea that the struggle between PRRWO-RWL and WVO is a “two line struggle”. That is wrong. The three of them represent the same line, the bourgeois incorrect line.
In order to celebrate IWWD in 1976, WVO organized a coalition to which it invited precisely those forces which it allegedly had “exposed” in 1975 – revisionists, opportunists, Trotskyites, lesbians, etc. (Our sum-up and analysis of these events appeared in RESISTANCE, Vol. 7, Nos. 3 and 4). In that analysis we must point out, we wrongly made the generalization that opportunist organizations only attract elements of the lower strata. This was a “left” error which led us to conclude that organizations like OL were incapable of winning advanced and intermediate elements to their organizations – this was “wishful thinking” – contrary to objective reality, and an overestimation of the capacity of the advanced, as if they could always determine what is the correct line and never unite with right opportunists. We muddled the difference between the consolidated opportunist and bankrupt leaderships and the base of those organizations which do have honest elements in them. This is a serious error that comrades should learn from, since, by failing to divide one into two; by lumping together leadership and base, we can only achieve to isolate ourselves from honest elements and help to consolidate them around the opportunist line of those organizations.
The IWWD coalition is one more concrete example of WVO’s policy of class collaboration. It’s true that communists must find ways of speaking to the masses, not to be isolated from them. Lenin teaches us that to speak to the workers we often must pay a “price of admission” – and “bargain” (struggle for our line) to bring down the price as low as possible (make the least compromise possible). But Lenin doesn’t tell us to make donations!!! Let’s see what Lenin says:
Imagine that a communist has to enter premises in which agents of the bourgeoisie are carrying on their propaganda at a fairly large meeting of workers. Imagine also that the bourgeoisie demands from us a high price for admission to these premises. If the price has not been agreed to beforehand we must bargain, of course, in order not to impose too heavy a burden upon our Party funds. If we pay too much for admission to these premises we shall undoubtedly commit an error. But it is better to pay a high price – at all events until we have learned to bargain properly – than to reject an opportunity of speaking to workers who hitherto have been in the exclusive “possession”, so to speak, of the reformists, i. e., of the most loyal friends of the bourgeoisie. We Have Paid Too Much, Lenin, LCW Vol. 33 p. 330.)
It’s clear that the price to which Lenin refers is concessions, tactical compromises. To enter into an activity controlled by revisionists and reformists, some “payment” must be made, which if it is not previously determined may be too high, if we have not learned to bargain well. Note comrades that Lenin qualifies entry into a place on that (l) there be “a considerable number” of workers (2) we have the opportunity to speak to them”, (develop propaganda and agitation, ed. LPR). In addition, we should try to fix the price beforehand and bargain to pay the least possible. One thing that is plain for all Marxist-Leninists is that, in so far as compromises and concessions are concerned – the price to which Lenin refers – is that we can never make concessions of principles. That is a price we can never pay to enter any place.
WVO does the reverse of what Lenin points out. To start with, they don’t even make sure that there are workers in the places they enter with the revisionists and reformists. On the contrary, in most cases, what they do is unite with the opportunists first, then later on, in unity with them, they try to mobilize the masses. The Budget Cut Coalition, International Working Women’s Day of 1975 and 1976, are good examples of this fact. Secondly, WVO always pays the highest price demanded by the revisionists, and thirdly WVO, is willing to make donations.
This year, WVO was the principal organizer of the coalition. Why did they have to invite the revisionists? Our task is to struggle to reach those forces organized by the revisionists and separate them from them, not to organize the forces and then bring the revisionists into our premises. This is making donations! Further, that’s letting the revisionists in for free!
WVO’s policy of making donations to the revisionists is part of their tactical principle of “unite to expose” and in practice it translates itself, as we have seen into class collaboration. Because of the severe criticism WVO received on this opportunist policy in IWWD, they were compelled to print a self-criticism in their newspaper. (WVO Vol. l, No. 1 Page 2l). This self-criticism is a fine example of superficiality, opportunism and philistine methods.
Instead of identifying the root causes of their errors, they choose instead to blame certain comrades and in this manner avoid having to tie mistakes to their political line or leadership. However, it is an undeniable fact that this policy of class collaboration is intimately tied with their line on party building, their “build the mass movement” line, with the help of the “marsh” forces. (This style of self-criticism is characteristic of all opportunists. PRRWO-RWL do the same, blaming a line on a Menshevik and then purging.)
WVO’s line of “unite to expose” is totally incorrect, in its theoretical as well as practical aspects. As we have seen thru the 3 concrete examples of the practice of WVO, the following conclusions of WVO practice can be made:
(1) “Unite to expose” is an incorrect right opportunist line that substitutes objectives for conditions.
(2) WVO sacrifices all independence and initiative when it “unites to expose”. Political exposure is not necessarily tied to “unity”.
(3) Political exposure cannot be reduced to three minutes of rhetoric: Communists must expose revisionists and reformists in a concrete and consistent manner in our daily work among the masses.
(4) In order to separate the masses from its reactionary leadership it is sometimes necessary to make tactical compromises, but never on principles and one must never make donations which is WVO’s usual practice as manifested in their IWWD coalition this year.
(5) WVO has shown in practice that their support for the national liberation struggles is mere phrase mongering. In the specific case of Puerto Rico, all they have done is to speak for 3 minutes “in front of 17,000 people and the TV cameras”, so that later they can bolster their organization milking political mileage out of the supposed “exposure”.
(6) “Unite to expose” is simply an excuse to opportunistically collaborate with the revisionists and tail behind the masses. Their theoretical justifications, falsifying the facts, line mutations as on the international situation, advanced workers and the anti-revisionist premises, and finally their sham “self-criticisms” are manifestations of what is really lies behind all of this: their line to “build the mass movement” instead of building the vanguard party.
WVO distorts MLMTT in order to justify their practice of class collaboration clearly showing their right opportunism. This deviation has its ideological base precisely in their anti-revisionist premises, particularly the one that speaks about pragmatism, WVO states:
Empiricism is the theory of knowledge of pragmatism – “Whatever I experience is true.” This substitutes the absolute with the relative, the objective with the subjective This is substitution for Marxist-Leninist theory, which is the science of the whole of human experience of class struggle, with one’s own narrow experience.” WVJ, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 28.
This is precisely the basis of their error. Their premises – which according to their own words – “We derived these four specific struggles with the lines of the RU, OL and other communist organizations in the communist movement.” – are a product of their own limited experience, which WVO has elevated to theoretical principles.
In the same manner, politically, WVO has combined two correct methods (united fronts and political exposures) incorrectly, raising this combination to the level of a “tactical principle” which is always in operation for them.
Finally, their empiricism is also reflected in their organizational sectarianism which can be summarized as follows: “what is true for WVO is true for the rest of the communist movement”. Thus in a recent forum in New York, they stated that (1) since (according to them) WVO has the most correct political line, (2) all other organizations are either right or “left” opportunists or centrists and, (3) the fundamental problems in WVO are problems of organization then (according to them) the key link to party building for WVO and for the rest of the communist movement must be organization!
What is this but a vulgar General Motors logic of what’s good for WVO is good for the communist movement? Ironically, we are here dealing with an organization that claims to have discovered a vaccine against revisionism! However, WVO vaccine and all, are headed straight down the path of revisionism.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT ISSUE