First Published: Unite!, Vol. 3, No. 8, September 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Certain events in the last few months have provided a great impetus in this country toward preparing the subjective conditions for the formation of a genuine vanguard communist party.
The sharpening debate over the international situation, and the great clarity regarding the historic mission of the proletariat that has resulted from the struggle against the opportunist theory of the “Three Worlds”, has greatly sharpened the fighting sword of Marxism-Leninism in this country and worldwide.
In addition, the recent formation of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) has provided the working class a great service by means of negative example. In so clearly holding aloft the banner of national chauvinism and rank careerism, the CP(ML) has helped in important ways to clearly and vividly draw definite lines of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism, thereby helping to prepare the subjective conditions required for the formation of a genuine Marxist-Leninist party.
Both of these developments have produced a powerful upsurge of Marxist-Leninist struggle against opportunism, and are part of the historic struggle against modern revisionism which is an integral part of the necessary preparation of the conditions to form the communist party.
Forming a party is a question of correctly understanding the objective and subjective factors in making revolution.
Revolution occur because of the objective conflict between the new forces of production and the old relations of production. In other words, the way this society is organized holds back the development of the material well-being of the society. In the U.S.A., the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie prevents the vast majority, the working class, from developing the forces of production and building a society which is based on high moral values as well as material well-being. The vast resources and wealth of this country have gone to a handful of rich imperialists, while the masses of people struggle to even survive in the face of unemployment, speed-ups, inflation, the threat of war, and moral decay. The problem is not that there isn’t enough to go around, the problem is that what is there is ripped off and hoarded by this handful.
In the capitalist countries, the objective conditions for revolution fully exist. In the U.S. today, there has been a great sharpening of the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the oppressed nations and peoples of this country. The result has been a powerful upsurge in the spontaneous working class movement, the strike movement, opposition to the labor aristocracy, support for the national liberation movements and a genuine hunger for Marxism-Leninism.
But the objective conditions alone are not sufficient to successfully make revolution. It is the relationship of the objective to the subjective conditions which determines the victory of the revolution.
The subjective factors are the level of class conscious preparation, in the form of organization, of the Marxist-Leninist party and the working class movement for the actual seizure of state power. The level of class conscious struggle on the part of the working class is expressed in many ways, but the most important expression is the existence of the political party of .the working class, the communist party. It is the masses who make revolution, but it is the communist party which must make them conscious, provide genuine leadership and bring forth organization.
The need to form this advanced detachment of the proletariat has existed ever since the Communist Party U.S.A. took the road of class collaboration and modern revisionism in 1944. The formation of the party is not essentially a question of timing or of numbers. It is a question of whether the correct preparation of the subjective factors has been carried out so as to insure that this party will be capable of leading the working class through the ebbs and flows, zigs and zags, of the struggle for working class political power.
Given our conditions in the U.S., this is a question of insuring that the party is formed in struggle against modern revisionism, insuring the correctness of the stand, method and viewpoint of the party, and insuring the basic Marxist-Leninist nature of the party program.
In the past, the MLOC incorrectly stated that the formation of the party depended upon the existing level of fusion between Marxism-Leninism and the working class movement. With this viewpoint, we confused the spontaneous working class movement with the class conscious activity of the proletariat – as if vanguard communist leadership would, somehow, come spontaneously out of the workers movement. We thought that fusion was a pre-condition for the formation of the party, rather than understanding that the formation of a vanguard party is a reflection of the fusion that exists. The formation and development of the communist party is a very high expression of this fusion between Marxism-Leninism and the working class movement.
The result was a belittlement of the conscious element, and a conservative, tailing attitude toward the formation of a party. For example, when we issued a call for joint work on the party program, our organization itself did not at the same time proceed in the drafting of that program, but bowed to the spontaneous developments, and failed to bring forward a program when other forces did not come forward to do joint work on the program.
In short, our efforts to form a party were characterized by a right opportunist bowing to the spontaneous movement and belittlement of the conscious forces, and our own role in bringing the party into being.
As a result of the struggle against both right and “left” deviations waged in our organization actively over the last year, we have come to the correct recognition that if a party is to be formed, genuine leadership must be given; it will not fall spontaneously out of the sky.
Today, the necessary forces to create a party in the U.S.A. are vigorously being created. As stated in the past, five tasks must be carried out:
1) the development of industrial and political concentration in the most strategic centers of capital.
2) the drafting and circulation of a party program.
3) the development of the Marxist-Leninist press and ideological center.
4) the uniting of Marxist-Leninist forces throughout the country.
5) the preparation and carrying out of the founding party congress.
In the course of the last two years the MLOC has made great advances in carrying out these tasks. The concentration of our organization in strategic centers, the rapid development of UNITE! and other forms of agitation and propaganda throughout the nation, the building of international ties and the promotion of proletarian internationalism, the fight that is being waged for the right of self-determination in the Black Belt Nation, are all important indications of the actual ability of the MLOC to play a leading role in the formation of a party. The correct stand, method and viewpoint of the MLOC has been one Of upholding proletarian internationalism, applying dialectics to solve problems and viewing conditions from a materialist point of view. We have demonstrated our concern for the well-being of the class by taking up the fight for day to day demands and linking those with the final aim. We have also shown the great respect we hold for the masses of people by the development of UNITE! as a real weapon for the class, in the teaching of Marxism-Leninism to workers who come forward in the class struggle, in respecting the ability of the working class to understand communism, to welcome and embrace it and take it up as its own. This is a far different attitude toward the masses than has been taken by the Revolutionary Communist Party with its separate papers for workers and intellectuals, its bankrupt line that workers can’t under stand a big word like imperialism, but can only comprehend the term “rich man”. It is also very different than the kind of consistent wrecking and splitting of mass organizations carried out by the CP(ML) in their efforts to throw out all who disagree with them and to gain bureaucratic control, as reflected in the CP(ML)’s work in the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF), which has been reduced to a small circle of CP(ML) members and sympathizers.
The last few months have seen a powerful upsurge of struggle within the MLOC to correctly shoulder the tasks of preparing the conditions for the party – spurred in the main by the struggle against modern revisionism. Soon these fruits will be shown in the publication of a draft party program, which will be a powerful Marxist-Leninist weapon against opportunism.
In the months ahead we will attempt to sum up the advances which have been accomplished and discuss both the positive and negative lessons learned in this struggle to form a party. Our aim is to insure that the work of the proletariat is carried out in the most systematic, bold and conscientious manner, to place Marxism-Leninism at the forefront of the class struggle, and to lead the working class in finally accomplishing its most pressing task, that of building its own revolutionary political party.