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Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee

Documents of the First Congress of the MLOC – Political Report from the Central Committee


Basis and Development of the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee

Looking at our organization, comrades, as we pointed out before, we think that there are many advances which have been made. Over the thirty months since the organization has been formed, there has been a real upsurge in the working class movement and there is a different situation now.

At the time of our formation, there were dozens of little groups and collectives. We thought we could unite with many of these organizations. We charted a course to unite with many of these organizations. We have seen in the recent period a very radical change in which there have been definite lines of demarcation drawn in the subjective factor. Organizations such as the CP(M-L), and the RCP have completely degenerated into revisionist and social-chauvinist circles. Others like the ATM(M-L) or the Workers’ Congress(M-L) or most of these circles today do not carry out significant work in the industrial proletariat, have no plans to carry out work in the industrial proletariat, and represent no hope for the future of the working class. These lines of demarcation have meant that the attacks against our organization have intensified.

We have waged a struggle, comrades, against both external and internal enemies. On the external front, we want to point out that our organization was formed out of a struggle in the former Black Workers’ Congress. We want to retrace just a little bit of this history to draw some lessons from it. Many comrades attending this First Congress may not be familiar with this history. It was a struggle waged against those people who said there was no basis to believe that there existed an oppressed nation in the Black Belt South. They did not have “the evidence”. It was waged against those people who thought that the Party would grow out of the spontaneous movement and would not represent the fusion of Marxism-Leninism with that movement. And many of those people in the BWC actually stated that revolution was not possible, revolution was not on the agenda (we have heard that song only too recently) and therefore there was no reason to have an organization. The Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee rose out of a struggle against right opportunism and modern revisionism. That was the birth of our organization. In May 1975, after months of principled efforts to struggle against this revisionism, we abandoned these opportunists and formed the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee.

We then pursued a dual course. On the one hand we sought the unity of Marxist-Leninists. We laid out definite principles to unite the Marxist-Leninists that existed in this country, principles to guide common work with them. On the other hand, we laid out a policy of concentration, to concentrate the center of our organization in the industrial and political centers of the U.S.: in steel, auto and coal, and in the Black Nation.

We also proposed a very definite attitude towards the state, to insure that we correctly recognized the nature of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and that we did not give our organization over to the hands of the bourgeoisie before we got started. This was a correct course that we charted.

Comrades, we also made both right and “left” deviations in the course of this work, deviations which we are only now maturing to a point to be able to see many of them in a truly scientific manner. We have to be frank, probably six months or a year from now, many more of these problems will come to light. But the course we have charted has proven in practice to be correct. Because it has been correct, we have been attacked by all kinds of opportunist forces.

To Be Attacked by Opportunism is a Good Thing

We were told that concentrating a superior force was an opportunist view, and that it was only a military tactic. Now those same people have come around to talk about working in the industrial proletariat. We were attacked as being the bourgeoisie by ATM (M-L). We were attacked as being the “Jimmy Carter of the Left” by the WVO. Now, they have gone down their road and we have travelled ours. They are in the camp of Jimmy Carter and we are in the camp of the proletariat. We were attacked as being a subsidiary of Xerox for reprinting material from the Party of Labor of Albania. Now they oppose the Party of Labor of Albania, and we uphold the Party of Labor of Albania. We were attacked for saying that revolution was the main trend in the world today. Now we definitely are a part of that trend and they are in the other aspect of that contradiction, namely counter-revolution. So, whenever we have been attacked, it has been a sign of the correctness, in the main, of our political views and program.

We have also been attacked from the inside, make no mistake about it. The bourgeoisie has not confined its efforts to the ravings of people outside our organization. Some people at one point in our organization said that we could not carry out concentration. They said that it was not possible for a small group which began with a half dozen people in California, to carry out a plan to build nuclei in steel, auto and coal. “You can’t do that!” Some preached that there needed to be a “shake up” in the organization, a familiar term from Trotsky. These forces were purged, and today cannot be found in the class struggle. These are the kind of internal problems we have dealt with.

Others told us it was wrong to focus our attention on the international question, the question of strategy and tactics of the proletariat–“We don’t have time for those kinds of things.” Still others said that we were not going to be able to make UNITE! into a weapon of the class struggle. ”Only after years is that possible. UNITE! can’t develop into that, we don’t have the ability–we’re only a small group of people, we can’t do it.”

We were also attacked for the leadership of the organization. All kinds of slanders and attacks were made against various individuals. These, comrades, are attacks which are classic to opportunists and reactionaries of all colors. These attacks have served to strengthen us. Our history has proven that to be attacked by an opportunist is a good thing. To be attacked by the CP(M-L), by the “C”PUSA, or whomever else, has only served to strengthen our ranks. We took no stock in those kinds of attacks against us.

And while they were raving in little meetings in New York, or Los Angeles, or elsewhere, we were building nuclei in steel, moving into auto and coal.

Lines of Demarcation Have Already Been Drawn

In this period, as we have said, there has been a sharp line of demarcation in this country drawn between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism. The RCP has continued in its course of attacking Stalin on every conceivable question, from the national question to the question of the direction of the main blow, (Stalin did not know what he was talking about there either! they have most recently stated) to a variety of other questions. The CP (M-L) has consolidated itself into a social-chauvinist organization which now stands for the defense of the bourgeoisie. And of course, the Communist Labor Party has already gotten itself into bed with the “C”PUSA. What has happened? The lines of demarcation have been drawn in a definite way. By correctly carrying out the struggle against opportunism externally, and internally within our ranks, we have emerged as a vanguard political organization. Let us make no bones about it. There is no other political force in the United States which can lead the proletariat down the road of revolution. Why is that, comrades? Because we have stood on the basis of making our own analysis of questions, studying questions, investigating questions, pioneering in the defense of Marxism-Leninism.

We have demonstrated our ability to apply a Marxist-Leninist analysis to the concrete conditions in this country. You only need to look at our analysis of the conditions in the Black Belt South to understand this point vividly. We are the first organization in the United States in thirty years to pay any serious attention to the analysis of conditions in that oppressed Nation. On other questions as well, we pioneered in our views– for instance on the trade union question. Today, the CP(M-L)’s line on the trade unions tails directly behind what we have pioneered. Other organizations tail on these questions as well. We have also been able to break with social-democracy in a significant way in our attitude towards the state and related matters.

Now, there are questions which we have not yet settled, such as the forms of organization and forms of struggle. We certainly need to deepen our illegal methods of work, and utilize our legal methods of work much more boldly than we have before. But we do not have an organization where dozens of our cadre are parading around the country, having their pictures displayed in the pages of our newspaper, advertising who they are, listing members of our Central Committee. We have taken very important steps to break with those social-democratic methods.

We have also demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that we stand for proletarian internationalism, that we stand for the defense of the international proletariat, the oppressed nations and people, and the socialist countries. We are not afraid to stand up and defend what is right. There are many indications, comrades, of the fruits of that stand....These are indications that we stand resolutely for proletarian internationalism, and that we will continue to stand for proletarian internationalism, and that the contacts we are building up with the international proletariat and oppressed people are an extremely important indication of the correctness of our stand and the role we will play in the future.

Comrades, we would like to report that we have plans to deepen our ties on a much more extensive level with many Marxist-Leninist parties and with several national liberation movements.

Comrades, we can see today that we are part of a definite international trend. In every country of Europe and Latin America there has been a line of demarcation already drawn on this question of the theory of the “three worlds”. There are Marxist-Leninists and there are opportunists, and we stand in the camp of Marxism-Leninism unequivocably. We are following in the tradition of the internationalist rallies held in Europe, and indeed, comrades, we are talking and discussing about plans to hold internationalist rallies here in the United States as well.

Our Party Building Plan is Steadily Advancing

During this period we have actually been able to prepare concretely, the basis for the formation of a new communist party. We have proposed a five point plan, as comrades know. On the question of concentration, the details of our progress will be reported in the Report from the Central Committee. Forty percent of our cadre are actually working in steel, auto, and coal. We have demonstrated unequivocably that this is a correct element of the plan to build the party.

Secondly, we have been able to produce a Draft Party Program. Now we fully expect, and encourage, sharp debate on that Program in this Congress. We know that there are many questions which comrades will raise about substance and form–that is a good thing. We have absolutely no fear of that. Out of this kind of discussion and struggle will emerge a finer Draft Party Program, a draft we will publish and take to the workers. This will be carried out in stark contrast to the manner in which the programs of the RCP and the CP(M-L) were hidden from the workers.

Thirdly, we have built a party press. If comrades would look back to August 1975, to the first issue of UNITE!, and compare it with the January 1977 issue, or the present issue of UNITE!, it is obvious that we have made tremendous progress. In February we will begin publication of our bi-weekly UNITE!, an important step on the road to a daily working class newspaper. Special credit and praise must be given to the comrades in our agit/prop department, and to the Editor of our newspaper. These powerful developments in our agit/prop work came as a result of struggle against opportunists who tried to destroy our newspaper and its important work. These struggles are long behind us now. A full report will be given later in the Congress by a comrade from the agit/prop department.

It is inevitable that there will be mistakes, and we have made mistakes. The source of our mistakes has been mainly the fact that we are a very small and youthful organization taking on very big and historic tasks. We are working in a very complex situation, a very difficult situation internationally and domestically. The ideological sources of the mistakes we have made stem from precisely that question we talked about earlier. To the extent to which we have deepened and consolidated ties with the working class and oppressed people, we have followed the correct Marxist-Leninist line. To the extent that those ties are shallow and superficial, viewpoints and decisions are made upon superficial investigation and subjective positions.

Comrades, there is reason for alarm in some regards. If you recall when we were talking about the percentage of comrades who go to meetings almost every night, the cramping of the agendas of our nuclei and unit meetings, etc, then we would like to refer comrades to a criticism which was circulated in the “C”PUSA in 1932. In an article on how self-criticism was dealt with, they pointed out that the problems in the “C”PUSA stemmed from the large number of questions on the agenda, the stereotyped discussions which did not focus on local questions of the class struggle but all kinds of general matters, on the narrow organizational focus of the discussions, and the failure to really deal with the political questions of the working class movement. When we look at our nuclei and our units, we can see, comrades, that we have not escaped from that history.

We must make a break, once and for all, from that history. And we have a very reliable guide. One party already took the course of class collaboration for failure to pay attention to those things, the “C”PUSA. Others have, and we must make sure that that does not happen to us. While we have certain policies, as we have pointed out before, that 50% of our time should be spent in nuclei and units on dealing with shop questions, those policies are not carried into practice. They must be carried into practice. We have policy which sets the goal that 70% of the cadre recruited into the basic units of the organization come from working class backgrounds. We must be certain that this policy is implemented ruthlessly.

If you look at the development of the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee ideologically, politically and organizationally, you can see that there have been many ideological and political advances. But the weakest link in the chain, the weakest element has been our failure to correctly address organizational questions. More often than not, both internally and externally, questions of organization have been belittled. The questions of legal and illegal work, the proper operation of nuclei, the smooth functioning of democratic centralism, the formation of certain kinds of mass organizations–these are real pressing problems.

Without proper organization, there is no proper Marxist-Leninist discipline in an organization. There is no unity of action there is no possibility of genuine discussion, and there is no possibility of genuine criticism. That is the essence of proletarian discipline: unity of action, discussion and criticism. The forms of organization must be material and concrete to insure that. We must fully understand, comrades, as Lenin pointed out, that if you have a smooth working organization, you can increase your effectiveness ten times. If you have an organization that is dilapidated, that is squeaky, where you cannot count on the bodies that you are associated with to come through, where communications are sloppy, where meetings are cancelled, where meetings are too long, then you reduce your effectiveness ten times. So this question of organization is a fundamental question. In the coming months, our efforts towards consolidation must focus on the question of organization. For as Lenin noted, this is a weapon of the proletariat.

The solution of this question, in many ways, will complete our internal preparations for the development of the Party.