Published: Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 1, February 15-April 15, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Since 1917, each passing year has seen tremendous changes occur in the world. Even with setbacks, the progress of the proletariat towards its world historic, mission has been steady, and the decline and decay of the old world has been constant. 1975 was a year in which the national liberation struggles scored historic victories against United States Imperialism and Soviet Social Imperialism– in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and in Africa.
In numerous Third World countries, the struggle against United State Imperialism Soviet Social Imperialism and hegemonism has won constant victories, particularly with the formation of new economic and political formations in Latin America (the 25 member Latin American Economic Community resulting in the “Panama Agreement”), in Africa (the MAGHREB Market in North Africa, as well as similar organizations in East, Central and West Africa), designed to safeguard economic independence and counter the hegemonic aims of the two superpowers. Over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have nationalized foreign enterprises after abolishing the right of foreign concessions and permanent exploitation. These and other important steps have occurred since the emergence of OPEC in the early 1970’s.
In a very brief period of time, the old economic order of superpower hegemonism has begun to crumble; an entirely new stage of world economic relations is emerging, a genuine new economic order. These and other events are reflected in the progressive role assumed by the United Nations, particularly through the 7th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly. At the heart of these great changes in the world is the Third World, the revolutionary force in the world propelling history forward.
Since 1917, and especially since World War II, the sharpening of all the basic contradictions in the world has been escalating. Lenin noted that “modern war is born of Imperialism.” But with the dissolution of the socialist camp and the restoration of capitalism,
The Soviet Union is under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, a dictatorship of the Hitler type. We must recognize that certain characteristics of the new system of Soviet Social Imperialism have made it the most dangerous source of war today. Locked in fierce battle for the redivision of the world, the two superpowers are bound to go to war some day”.
Since World War II, the capitalist world has been experiencing the second stage of the general crisis of capitalism – a crisis over the economic redivision of the world, born out of the absolute shrinking of -the Imperialist market. This is no longer a crisis like that of the first stage of the general crisis, when imperialism was relatively stable, and still able to expand its economic influence. It is, rather, a crisis of the absolute decline of imperialism, an all round crisis, economic, political, ideological, cultural, etc., a crisis from which there will be no genuine recovery.
War is the forced resolution of the general crisis for the bourgeoisie. Historically Europe has been the main battleground for world war. Today it is once again the main scene of contention between United States Imperialism and Soviet Social Imperialism. The Soviet Social Imperialists, deploying three quarters of their troops in Europe, are the main source of a new world war. In Africa, as well, Soviet Social Imperialism is seeking unbridled hegemony.
If a new imperialist war breaks out, war will give way to revolution. The exploited and oppressed masses of the USSR and the United States must then turn the Imperialist war into revolutionary war. It is the masses who will win the war, not the imperialists.
The struggle of the working masses everywhere has advanced in the last year on all fronts; economically, politically, and theoretically. Economically, the struggle against hegemonism has advanced. In the Third World, oil producing countries have persisted in using the oil weapon and have achieved new victories; many have persisted in the struggle to achieve and maintain sovereignty over various natural resources, and helped to forge a genuine new world economic order.
A further development in the rising of a new economic order is the growing readjustment of the economic relations between the Second World and Third World. “With the growth and development of the Third World, more and more Second World countries, motivated by considerations of their own economic interests and their need to counter the two hegemonic powers, are for ’dialogue’ with the Third World countries and are actively developing relations with them.” (PEKING REVIEW, 12/19/75, #51, p.11).
Politically, the various Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in the world have grown stronger ideologically, and organizationally; socialist construction in China, Albania, North Korea, North Vietnam and Romania has proceeded at a great pace. In numerous countries the working masses have achieved independence. In numerous capitalist and revisionist countries, the bourgeois state apparatus is twisting and turning in the wake of political struggles. At the same time, we are now in a period in which the dictatorship of the proletariat exists in several countries, is consolidated and stands as a mighty fortress for the working class of the world. Great socialist China, and mighty Albania, in persistently strengthening and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat are reliable beacons for the struggle of all oppressed and exploited everywhere.
At the same time, the ideological crisis of imperialism is clearly expressed in the struggle on the theoretical front. Class struggle on this front has increasingly exposed the old bourgeois Keynesian economics as completely bankrupt, and outlived even for use by the bourgeoisie. The bourgeois ploys of Soviet Social Imperialism of an “international division of labor” or “peace through detente” are being consistently exposed.
The masses of the world have taken great strides against Imperialist reaction, striking blows which have weakened imperialism more than at any other time since the end of World War II. In particular, the rise of the working class in the capitalist countries is reaching new levels of political activity which demands the conscious leadership of Marxist-Leninists.
In the United States, we have left the second, and last, century of bourgeois rule. This next period ahead is the era in which the working and exploited masses of the United States will rise up and smash the rule of the bourgeoisie, and establish a proletarian dictatorship. This will be the century of the proletariat. The depth of the crisis of bourgeois rule runs very deep in the United States, reflecting the fundamental and insoluble contradictions of the capitalist mode of production.
Raw steel production ran at about 19% less than the 1974 figure; the number of housing units built in the United States was the lowest in 29 years and all indications point towards that number dropping even further. Unemployment soared to 8 million workers– even by official records. In the words of Business Week, “For the past year industry has been operating at its lowest level since World War II.”
The overall drastic decline in production meshes with skyrocketing inflation revealing the profound contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. The economic onslaught of the bourgeoisie against the workers is coupled with the political attacks against the working class as a whole, and particularly against the oppressed nation in the Black Belt South, and the various national minorities in this country.
The revolutionary class struggle and the revolutionary national struggles call out for conscious leadership – leadership that only a vanguard communist party can provide. The forging of this vanguard communist party is undeniably the central task, the key link in this period of the revolutionary struggle.
The communist party is the biggest step in the fusion of communism with the workers movement. However, this process is constant up through the seizure of state power, after the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, up until the elimination of classes, and the emergence of communist society.
At this time, the main form this fusion takes is the winning of the advanced elements of the working class. The formation of the party will constitute a most important qualitative advance in this regard, but It will not In and of itself complete this fusion– that will be achieved only in the course of a protracted and intense class struggle which will extend over a long historical period.
As the most advanced elements of the revolutionary movement, Marxist-Leninists are stepping forward where possible to lead the masses of workers and oppressed nationalities and minorities in the struggle against capital.
Since the bourgeois degeneration of the CPUSA in 1944, the central task of all Marxist-Leninists has been the reconstitution of a vanguard communist party. This struggle, in essence, is the struggle to break ideologically, politically and organizationally with modern revisionism; to free the advanced from the most obvious shackles of bourgeois ideology. Ultimately this break must be made by the entire class.
In COMMUNIST LINE #1, we stated that “for the most part, the ideological break has been made”. We have received many questions about this in recent months, and we would like to clarify this point further. We do not mean that the ideological break has been completed– for this would be impossible in bourgeois society, where the dominant class, and therefore the dominant ideology, is bourgeois. We certainly recognize that the ideological struggle is the most protracted of all, and for this reason, as the Albanian comrades state, the class struggle is first consolidated on the political front (state power), second on the economic front (establishment of socialist relations of production), and lastly, ideologically. Ideological consolidation is achieved with the elimination of class distinctions.
Important achievements have already been made in the ideological struggle to break with modern revisionism; a genuine Marxist-Leninist movement has definitely emerged as separate from the modern revisionists and social democrats, part of the worldwide Marx1st-Leninist movement. By stating that an ideological break has been made for the most part, we mean that the Marxist-Leninist movement has broken substantially with the bourgeois world outlook, and taken up the proletarian world outlook, and that we strive to practice the stand, viewpoint and method of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
In summing up this struggle to break ideologically with modern revisionism, the outlook of the bourgeoisie in the communist movement, we point to several important advances which represent this break: (1) upholding the historic mission of the working class established by Marx and Engels in 1848, and thus reaffirming the general line for the working class movement;(2) persisting in the struggle to master dialectical historical material ism as our world outlook; (3) grasping Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as our theoretical guide to action, while upholding the mobilizing, transforming, and organizing power of revolutionary theory; (4) upholding the right of all oppressed nations to self-determination and oppressed minorities to full democratic rights–which is particularly important in regard to the oppressed nationalities and minorities in the United States; (5) recognizing the leading role of the Chinese Communist Party and the Albanian Party of Labor in the struggle to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and against the two superpowers, recognizing that we are part of an international working class and communist movement; (6) recognizing that the restoration of capitalism has taken place in the USSR, giving rise to Soviet Social Imperialism, the split in the socialist camp and the sundering of the world into three parts; (7) that in practice, Marxist-Leninists seek to unite, not split; (8) that our attitude towards mistakes is to practice criticism and self-criticism before the masses.
For the current state of the movement, significant advances on the ideological front resulted in the break that occurred with the Revolutionary Union over party building as the central task and the Black National Question carried on largely by the Black Workers Congress and the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization. From that time on, roughly since 1972-1973, our task has been to deepen this break ideologically through the development of political line.
Political line is key and theory is decisive. This is not a question of consolidating around the existing political line, out of the development of political line. The MLOC believes that linking the development of political line to the decisiveness of theory at this time deepens our grasp of the nature of the task at hand, and helps to distinguish the line of the MLOC from others on this question.
To hold that political line is key and theory is decisive means that the focus of work must be directed towards the development of political line, in the course of laying a granite theoretical foundation, summing up our past practice and errors, repudiating these errors, and testing the developing political line in the course of leading the class struggle.
In the heat of class struggle, a number of questions have arisen around which definite lines of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and opportunism have been drawn. This is the basis for identifying the emerging revolutionary trend, not abstract book definitions, not merely attitudes. These questions are: (1) party building as the central task and key link in this period, the struggle against opportunism in the course of the fusion of the workers and communist movements; (2) self-determination for the Black Nation in the Black Belt South, up to and including secession; (3) political line is key and theory is decisive in the struggle to consolidate the break ideologically, politically, and organizationally with opportunism; (4) Marxists-Leninists Unite as our task in the communist movement; (5) right opportunism, namely economism and American exceptionalism, as the main danger in the workers and communist movements; (6) win the advanced to communism as our task in the workers movement; (7) factory nuclei as the basic unit of the party in the working class; (8) in carrying out propaganda and agitation, propaganda Is in the forefront in the period of winning over the advanced to communism.
Two questions must stand out as the two legs upon which the revolution will walk In this country. These two are first, the nature of the party, which is a question of the leadership of the proletarian class struggle; and second, the Black National Question, which is a question of the unity of the proletariat. On these two questions, more than any others, the revolution will stand or fall. This has proven itself to be the case historically in this country. Both the question of the party and the national question are component parts of the capability of the proletariat seizing state power and establishing its dictatorship. While we must not compromise principles on any of the questions advanced, or future issues of political line, for a genuine vanguard center to emerge out of the revolutionary trend, there must be utmost clarity on these two questions.
We do not see these questions as static, and definitely believe that other struggles will emerge around which definite lines of demarcation will be drawn, which will become distinguishing characteristics of the revolutionary trend.
At this time, the MLOC does not believe that any single organization has demonstrated its ability to provide vanguard leadership to the emerging trend, but rather that a center wiII develop out of this trend in struggle against opportunism to develop a political line.
In pointing to an emerging revolutionary trend, the MLOC stands on the importance of political line and the decisiveness of theory. The revolutionary trend does not distinguish itself by simply meeting the ideological requirement of self-criticism. The real question is one of genuine leadership, in theory and practice, of the development of political line which consolidates a definite trend, forges a center which provides genuine vanguard leadership to the advanced elements of the class struggle, and forges a vanguard communist party – a party which will stand at the head of the class struggle.
The emerging revolutionary trend consists of a number of organizations and collectives around the country. No single organization has yet demonstrated its genuine vanguard role theoretically or politically. These eight questions of political line are advanced in order to help draw lines of demarcation, to sort out genuine from sham. What is important in evaluating the role of any organization or collective is not their stand at a particular moment on a particular issue, but their motion towards or away from a correct ideological and political line. Therefore it would be mechanistic to use these lines of demarcation as some criteria for membership in the emerging revolutionary trend. More important, it is the question of the ideological and political motion of any organization. On the other hand, those organizations which have already taken incorrect stands, particularly on the Black National Question, cannot be considered a genuine part or element of our movement.
While there are few who deny party building as the central task, organizations must be judged on what they are actually doing to advance the party in a conscious manner.
To forge a center from the emerging revolutionary trend, we must undertake a definite plan and policy toward the development of political line. The heart of such a conscious plan is (1) joint theoretical work and (2) joint political work. This is a question of concentrating a superior force to defeat the enemy.
Joint theoretical work means waging a national campaign on the theoretical front, relying upon the theoretical resources of many organizations and collectives to develop a conscious agenda of theoretical tasks over a definite period of time to solve many pressing questions of theory which face the revolution. Joint political work means common work in (a) campaigns on various fronts of the workers struggles in trade unions, directed against the state, or in the national struggles; particularly the Black National struggle, Chicano National struggle and the struggle of the Puerto Rican people; (b) common summations of practice by organizations, where lessons are learned from mistakes and correct policy developed for future struggles.
In the context of joint theoretical and political work, polemics serve to “clarify the depth of existing differences, in order to afford discussion of disputed questions from all angles, in order to combat the extremes into which representatives of various views, various localities, or various ’specialties’ of the revolutionary movement inevitably fall.” (Lenin, “Draft Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya,” CW, vol. 4, p. 328). Polemics serve the larger task of the development of political line; they are not the basis of political line. Polemics come to the forefront after the basic theoretical foundations of the movement have been laid. The unification of the revolutionary trend is served by polemics helping to draw clear lines of demarcation.
It is primarily through such joint theoretical and political work that a correct and comprehensive political line will develop, capable of uniting Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers into a single center. This center would then utilize an Iskra type press to win over all undecided elements, and would constitute the basis for the formation of a vanguard party. This is the lesson we draw from Lenin’s experience In Czarist Russia. In 1896, Lenin proposed that the situation was ripe to pass from propaganda centered around a few advanced workers gathered in propaganda circles to political agitation. By this time, the theoretical foundations of the party had already been established, through the analysis of capitalist agriculture, the development of capitalism, the specific character of national oppression, etc. In the United States, once a center has emerged, a definite trend, which means a trend which advances a unified political line on the important questions facing the revolution, then an Iskra type newspaper is appropriate, not before.
Then an Iskra type newspaper is demanded to serve as a collective organizer for the party. The task of Iskra was to unify the movement. In that a very definite Social Democratic trend did exist by the time of the First Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party In 1898. It was the task of Iskra to win to the side of the genuine Bolsheviks all those who had not yet been consolidated, to draw clear lines of demarcation between the two existing trends.
The immediate period ahead will be a period of intense class struggle in which both the bourgeoisie and the working class will continue to mobilize themselves for the inevitable clash ahead. This definitely is a period, as Lenin described in WHAT IS TO BE DONE?, when “the mass movement puts before us new theoretical, political and organizational tasks far more complicated than those that might have satisfied in the period before the rise of the mass movement.”
This is definitely a period in which communists must prepare for all forms of struggle, cast away illusions, and deepen work among the masses.
The next several months will see a sharp struggle on the economic and political fronts as numerous trade unions face crucial bargaining; 436,340 Teamsters In April; 117,000 construction workers in June; 125,000 electrical workers the same month; and in September over three quarters of a million auto workers face contract negotiations with the bourgeoisie.
These struggles demand class conscious leadership, and this task falls upon the shoulders of genuine Marxist-Leninists. This leadership must be advanced in the course of building the party, that is uniting Marxist-Leninists winning the advanced to communism, building factory nuclei and developing the means of propaganda.
In the period ahead, we must recognize the increasing tempo of the struggle by the Black Nation for self-determination and by oppressed minorities for democratic rights. In the last year, for example, the struggle over busing, the formation of the Black Womens’ United Front, the struggle and triumph of Joann Little, the fight of Hurricane Carter for freedom, the freeing of Martin Sostre, all indicate that the revolutionary struggle against national oppression is a component part of the class struggle against imperialism, and will continue to play a leading role in the struggle of the multi-national working class. Increasing attention must be directed by Marxist-Leninists towards linking the class and national struggles, towards uniting Marxism-Lenin ism-Mao Tsetung Thought with advanced elements in the Black, Chicano, and Puerto Rican struggles In particular, towards developing African Liberation Day as a multinational event, and other important developments In the course of the national struggles against imperialism.
The unity of the multi-national proletariat must be forged by giving conscious leadership to the working class and national struggles. This leadership must be intensified within the context of the growing preparations for war and fascism by the bourgeoisie. Such efforts as Senate Bill 1 Indicate that the bourgeoisie still utilizes the priest rather than the hangman– but the priest is only sent to give the blessing for the hangman’s noose which is already tightening around the neck of the working class.
Intensified contention by the two superpowers will inevitably lead to war, and fascism goes hand in hand with the preparation for war. Fascism and war are rooted in the objective conditions of imperialism. After the emergence of monopoly capitalism, the material base for bourgeois democracy ceased to exist. Monopoly does not need or desire the “free competition” upon which bourgeois democracy is based. As Lenin said, “Political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of Imperialism”. (IMPERIALISM AND THE SPLIT IN SOCIALISM, Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol.23, p.106) Senate Bill 1 is merely a legalism to hide and protect the dictatorship of a tiny minority, the bourgeoisie, and to undercut the growing progressive and democratic tides within the United States which are moving against the bourgeois state apparatus.
Both the Bicentennial and the November election are two extremely important sacraments used by the bourgeois priest to deceive the working class and to deflect it from its world historic mission. The advanced detachments of the working class must turn this around, expose the Bicentennial and the fascist sentiment of chauvinist patriotism that goes with it, pointing out the glorious revolutionary history of the working class and Its historic mission. Against the revisionist slogan of “A Bicentennial without colonies”, we must pose the revolutionary slogan of “No nation can be free as long as it oppresses another nation”.
The bourgeois elections in November must become an opportunity for the working class to expose the nature of the bourgeois dictatorship, point out that democracy is an illusion for the working masses under capitalism, and teach the workers that they must rely upon themselves. The MLOC will be taking up these questions in a future issue of UNITE!
Our task of exposing the nature of the bourgeois dictatorship and mobilizing the working masses for struggle in the course of forging a vanguard communist party is constantly thwarted by both the social democratic reformers and the revisionists. In striking blows against the bourgeoisie we must aim to stride through the midst of these revisionist and reformist dogs who feed off the bones, sweat and blood of the exploited and oppressed peoples and nations of the world. This pack of mongrels must be kicked aside as the working class moves in to behead the bourgeoisie.
These are but a few of the struggles which await us in the next year and beyond. However, each and every theoretical, political and organizational task which awaits us must be taken up within the context of our central task, that of forging the party, in which political line is key and theory is decisive. The MLOC has advanced its views on party building; (1) development of political line; (2) Bolshevization of the movement; (3) uniting Marxist-Leninists through joint theoretical and political work; (4) winning the advanced to communism through propaganda. These tasks confirm themselves in reality every day as the basic road towards the party. As well, we have elaborated our views on some elements of a plan and policy to carry out the task of uniting Marxists-Leninists.
FIRST, taking the theoretical form of class struggle as the chief form of class struggle in this period, and political line as key, the MLOC has set definite goals of advancing its basic line on many of the pressing questions faced by the proletariat.
SECOND, Bolshevization is not synonymous with professionalization or abstract concepts of discipline. Bolshevization is the all-around development of a Leninist Party, a party in the era of imperialism, the eve of proletarian revolution. Bolshevization encompasses the tasks of molding the revolutionary movement into a communist form by leading the masses in struggle. In this sense, also, political line is key in carrying through the ideological break to an organizational form. As in all things, one divides into two in the task of consolidating the ideological break from the interests of the bourgeoisie. In the unity of political line and organizational line, political line is now key. As the unity of the working class with communism is made, one aspect will turn into its opposite, organization will become key through the consolidation of honest forces around political line.
A key task of Bolshevization today, is linking the central task of party building to the changing conditions, linking party building to the growing threat of war and fascism. This is fundamentally an Ideological question, of grasping the true nature of imperialism, the role of Soviet Social Imperialism today.
Our party must be built in the actual situation of the transition from bourgeois democracy to fascism, which is no qualitative movement, but quantitative, since in the age of imperialism, “The difference between the democratic-republican and reactionary-monarchist bourgeoisie is obliterated precisely because they are both rotting alive.” (Lenin, IMPERIALISM AND THE SPLIT IN SOCIALISM, CW, Vol.23, p.106) There exists no difference between the bourgeois imperialist state and the ruthless, vicious oppressiveness of czarist autocracy.
In order to persist in the revolutionary struggle we must concretely consider the varied conditions of the class struggle, the inter-relationship of forces within the working class, the varying political and ideological attitudes of the masses, and the degree of disintegration of capitalism, that Is, the state of the Imperialist crisis. This is the basis for determining the appropriate tactics to defeat this rising tide of reaction. The degree of Bolshevization of our movement is not a matter of our ability to hide a small group of people or even simply questions of security and defense. These are only small aspects which are, however, important for the preservation of the party and its cadres.
One more aspect of Bolshevization is the digging of deep roots in the working class through the formation of factory nuclei as the basic unit of the communist movement. This is the only genuine defense of the advanced elements of the working class, the party and the revolution. Our sole purpose in forging a Bolshevik party is to lead the struggle of the masses in the conquest of state power, the formation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and eventually, communist society.
A key question to raise in this context is our attitude towards the imperialist state, conspiratorial work and illegality. The basic principle of illegal work is the “ability to preserve the mass character of the party in its underground activity during the most savage terror. The essence of illegality lies in carrying on uninterrupted mass work, and in having a constant influx of new help from the masses–this with the help of a strongly welded hidden organization” (COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL, “On the Question of Illegal Work”, 1933, p.854). The basis of all under-estimation of the complete reactionary nature of the Imperialist state; of the under-estimation of the ferociousness of the state apparatus that remains to be unleashed; of the inability to adapt communist work and organization to illegality, is legalism, the glossing over of the nature of the bourgeois state as an apparatus of class violence. This is the essence of Bolshevik conspiratorial methods, illegality which serves to deepen and extend the involvement of the masses in the proletarian revolution.
This is in stark contrast to the counter-revolutionary activity of such groups as the Weather Underground, the New World Liberation Front, and other such terrorist organizations which reveal themselves to the masses only at the end of a fuse. Such sham counterrevolutionary groups must be exposed and isolated ideologically and politically, or objectively they only serve to aid the imperialist state and increase the reign of bourgeois violence on the masses. Objectively, they represent an arm of the bourgeoisie expressed through petty bourgeois terrorism. The terrorism of such groups as the Symbionese Liberation Army is nothing but a form of armed petty bourgeois reformism. “The various anti-Marxist trends of the Trotskyists and anarchists have been activated as never before ....Although they frequently come out with ultra-revolutionary and anti-revisionist slogans, in fact they are playing the revisionists’ game, and they are undermining the cause of revolution altogether. ” (Enver Hoxha, REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE PLA, 6TH CONGRESS, p.212-213).
Only a fool would neglect to realize that living in the most powerful state in the history of class society, the United States bourgeoisie can be expected to unleash the most ferocious attack upon the working class, the most brutal fascist oppression yet. There is one, and only one safeguard for the revolution, and that is to rely upon the working class itself, to mobilize the masses in the course of the economic, political and theoretical forms of struggle of the working class movement. Dimitrov pointed out that “whether the victory of fascism can be prevented depends in the first place on the militant activity displayed by the working class itself.. .Second, on the existence of a strong revolutionary party... .Third, whether a correct policy is pursued by the working class towards the peasants and the petty bourgeois masses of the towns....Fourth, whether the revolutionary proletariat exercises vigilance and take actions at the proper time....” (Dimitrov, THE UNITED FRONT AGAINST WAR AND FASCISM, p.12).
Correctly building the party in the context of the transition from bourgeois democratic rule to fascism Is a question of vital importance, which will determine our ability to train successors to the revolutionary cause of the working class in this country. The vanguard party must be forged In the context of uniting the working masses against the two superpowers, mobilizing all progressive strata people to every and all manifestation of the contention between the two superpowers, and particularly against Soviet Social Imperialism, the main’ source of the threat of war today. Marxist-Leninists must actively go about building the united front against the two superpowers today.
THIRD, in regard to Uniting Marxist-Leninists, our views on this question have already been developed on this question. Elements of our plan and policy to carry out this task center on joint theoretical and political work.
FOURTH, winning the advanced to communism. In the course of carrying out this task, and through struggle with other organizations and comrades, the MLOC has come to realize that the formulation of the advanced worker put forward in UNITE!, Vol.1, No.1, WAS INCORRECT. We stated that,
This worker has a sense of their class interest, and the unity of this interest with the struggle of the oppressed nationalities and minorities. They are active in fighting for the interests of their class, and already realize the need for fundamental change; though they may not call it revolutionary change. They are searching for a scientific understanding of their exploitation and oppression, and for a clear answer as to the solution. In other words, they are open to communism, and do not have anti-communist opinions”.
Comrades, this more aptly describes an intermediate worker, not the advanced worker. In a RETROGRADE TREND IN RUSSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p.280) Comrade Lenin describes the advanced worker:
The history of the working class movement in all countries shows that the better situated strata of the working class responds to the ideas of socialism more rapidly and more easily. From among these come, in the main, the advanced workers that every working class movement brings to the fore, those who can win the confidence of the laboring masses, who devote themselves entirely to the education and organization of the proletariat, who accept socialism consciously, and who even elaborate independent socialist theories ...”
In criticizing the retrograde trend of the time, Lenin pointed out earlier in the same article (p.255-6) that the Rabochaya Mysl trend ”reveals an extremely narrow conception of the working class movement and a desire to close his eyes to the higher forms of that movement which have evolved under the leadership of the Russian Social Democrats.”
Two important points must be made here. First, Lenin is very clear that “every working close movement brings to the fore” such advanced workers, not just the Bolsheviks. Lenin here is speaking about the general conditions of the capitalist mode of production which bring to the fore advanced workers, i.e. the spontaneous struggle between labor and capital.
Second, Lenin in the second passage indicates that an important aspect of the under-estimation of the working class movement by the retrograde trend was to deny the higher forms of the movement that arise “under the leadership of Russian Social Democrats.” In other words, that it is through the leadership of communists that advanced workers come forward; not in the presence of economist, revisionist or social democratic leadership. Concretely, given the economist trade union work of the RCP, it is little wonder they do not draw out advanced workers, because advanced workers shy away from opportunist leadership.
The original view of the MLOC stated In UNITE!, Vol. 1, no. 1 reflected remnants of right opportunism within the organization. It denied and neglected revolutionary theory as a guide to action and the advanced forms the working class movement takes, and, instead, focused narrowly on our own experience. In trying to determine why our work in certain plants had not advanced adequately, in struggle with comrades and friends, through studying carefully what Lenin actually said and in summing up our own experience with an eye to Identify right tendencies, we came to realize the incorrectness of our view and to embrace the genuine Marxist-Leninist position of Comrade Lenin.
In addition, we came to understand that Comrade Lenin’s evaluation of the era of imperialism is, obviously, applicable to the class struggle In the United States, for Lenin is clear that such workers arise “in every capitalist country.” In terms of independently elaborating socialist theory, we would note that in Russia a theoretical base had already been laid in the working class by the time Lenin wrote this article. Historically in the U.S., with (1) the lack of development of the struggle on the theoretical front, combined with (2) the existence of a strong, though small, labor aristocracy created out of the superprofits of imperialism and (3) thirty years of strong revisionist presence in the working class, the situation is not exactly the same as in Russia. However, it is definitely correct that advanced workers seek to independently elaborate socialist theory even If they confront many obstacles in this task.
The source of this error was in economist tendencies, in tailing after the masses. Concretely, in not giving leadership to struggles, armed with the most advanced theory. The conditions in which this error arose were in the course of spontaneously directing cadre in mass work without consolidating the break with revisionist methods and styles of work. The ideological source of this error is clearly the petty bourgeois view which, because of its vacillating material base, sacrifices the interests of the proletariat to the passing interests of the petty bourgeoisie. Summing up such practice revealed the incorrectness of our views. In the course of repudiating this error, our experience to date has confirmed the importance of rectification on this question and work in certain plants has advanced.
A second major point to raise in the task of winning the advanced to communism is the question of trade union work. The point to stress is the necessity to combat vacillation on work in the trade unions. Our own work has reflected the right tendency which tends to down play this essential work and to vacillate on its importance both in theory and in practice. It has taken the form of neglect of factory nuclei, unwillingness to participate in actual trade union struggles, unwillingness to assume leadership positions in trade unions that result out of the actual support of workers for communist leadership, etc. All tendencies which have historically denied or neglected the importance of communist work in the trade unions must be combatted vigorously. The line of the October League, for instance, that the trade unions must be moved to the left, must be thoroughly defeated. The trade unions must be won over for the working class from the bourgeoisie, a definite break must be made in which the working class replaces the bourgeoisie in command of the trade unions. The unity of theory and practice, of the ultimate aims of communism with the immediate demands of the working class, of the economic struggle with the political struggle, are all clearly reflected In the winning of the trade unions to proletarian leadership.
This task must be done on the basis of the day to day struggles of the working class to improve its material and political conditions. Questions concerning wages, hours, seniority, layoffs, housing, insurance, taxation, unemployment, the high cost of living, etc., will play a most Important, if not the decisive role in the task of exposing the treachery of the opportunist trade union leadership. However, this task will not be fully carried out if these everyday practical questions are not linked up with the fundamental alms of the revolutionary struggle.
In the fight against the bourgeoisie, the consciousness of the proletariat as a powerful class has grown through the struggle to build and maintain the trade unions. Trade unions, under proletarian leadership, consciously seized from the hands of the labor aristocracy and the trade union bureaucrats, will one day, as Marx foretold, promote the abolition of the system of wage labor. Trade unions are political as we’ll as economic organizations. To belittle the revolutionary role they can and will play is incorrect. To deny their importance in the revolution will be to step upon the road of revisionism.
Comrade Stalin’s words on the relation of the trade unions to the revolution should be grasped firmly. They are a basic axiom for all communists. “For it is impossible,” Comrade Stalin pointed out to the communist parties of the west, “to win over the vast proletarian masses unless the trade unions are won over; and it is impossible to win over the trade unions unless work is conducted in them and unless the confidence of the masses of workers is won in the trade unions month by month and year by year. Failing this, it is out of the question even to think of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Stalin, “The International Situation and the Tasks of the Communist Parties”, WORKS, Vol. 7, p.56).
1975 has been a year of tremendous victories for national liberation struggles against U.S. Imperialism and Soviet Social-Imperialism The people of the world are uniting and taking up the struggle against the two superpowers.
Important strides have been taken recently by the working class of the U.S. toward the formation of its vanguard party, the key link in moving the chain of revolution forward at this time. Opportunism on the question of party building and the Black National Question has been dealt telling blows. Everywhere genuine Marxist-Leninists are preparing for the inevitable clash ahead, preparing for war, persisting in struggle.
There is no room within our ranks for gloom, pessimism or vacillation. As a vital detachment of the International proletariat, the U.S. working class takes pride in the historic victories scored against the two superpowers in the last year, pays tribute to the many fallen comrades who gave their lives in the struggle against U.S. Imperialism and Soviet Social-Imperialism, and gains strength from the selfless courage, determination and triumphs of our comrades and friends all over the world.
Armed with a correct ideological, political and organizational line, the vanguard communist party of the U.S. proletariat will surely “fell that wild beast, capitalism, which has drenched the earth in blood and reduced humanity to starvation and democratization, and whose end is near and inevitable, no matter how monstrous and savage Its frenzy in the face of death.” (“Prophetic Words,” Lenin, LCW, Vol. 27, p. 499)
Cast away illusions, prepare for struggle!
Forge the Vanguard Communist Party!
People of the World, Unite to Oppose the Two Superpowers!