Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee

The Syndicalist Fronts of the RCP


First Published: Unite!, Vol. 3, No. 10, November 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In its article on the “three worlds” in July REVOLUTION, the Revolutionary Communist Party states that this theory “is an important aspect of the more general world wide united front line.“ But it certainly is not an aspect of the Marxist-Leninist united front (See “Theory of the ’Three Worlds’ Opposes Marxism-Leninism”, UNITE!, September 1977).

Nor are the RCP’s views entirely in line with those of the other proponents of the opportunist theory of the “three worlds”. For example, it is a tenet of most “three world” theorists that the semi-colonial and dependent countries of “the third world“ are now the main revolutionary force, and that the second rank imperialist powers of the “second world” are the middle forces to be won over and united with. But the RCP disagrees and states that to make “the struggle of countries the main force in the international struggle ... would be in essence to deny that countries are divided into classes and that bourgeois forces rule the non-socialist countries.” (REVOLUTION, July 1977, p.5)

How is it that the RCP prides itself on its class stand, but winds up giving its support to the class-liquidating concept of the “three worlds”? There is a great struggle raging over the “three worlds“ and it might appear the RCP is taking a centrist stand. But this is not really the basis of the RCP’s line on the “three worlds”. Their position arises from the RCP’s deep-seated syndicalism that reduces the strategy of the proletariat to spontaneous struggle.

Their concept of the united fronts are not the principled coalitions with concrete, if sometimes limited, objectives that Marxist-Leninists strive to build in order to push the whole revolution forward. Unlike the Anti-Japanese United Front in China, or the United Front Against Fascism that involved hard fought for alliances, the united fronts of the RCP are formless and without real substance.

The RCP writes, “ ... the united front is not One Big Organization. It is not a static thing. Forces, representing different classes and class viewpoints, come together around particular struggles against imperialist aggression, cut- backs in social services, police repression, rising prices and other questions. Each class brings to this struggle its own ideology, and conflict goes on between opposing class outlooks-over who to identify as the enemy, who to rely on, who to unite with, etc.” (RCP Program, page 96.)

To take a now notorious example, forces, from different classes came together, in the RCP’s sense, against the busing plan in Boston. Was this a united front? Certainly it was not a Marxist-Leninist united front. The KKK and the Nazi’s, true enough, had brought their own ideology and their own identification of the enemy. But for the RCP, these questions were apparently secondary to their coming together to struggle against “forced busing.”

Objectively, and on the RCP’s terms for a united front, they formed a united front with the KKK and the Nazi’s, although in other places and other times they have physically struggled against them. A chief characteristic of the RCP’s fronts is that they are based upon no principles and no binding commitments between parties.

Here in the U.S. we witnessed this kind of syndicalist front in the RCP’s 1976 election campaign for Sadlowski in steel. In exchange for active RCP support, Sadlowski, in return, had to make no commitment.

Around African Liberation Day, we again saw the same syndicalist pattern. The RCP adamantly resisted the organization of a unified leadership body to guide the program or the march. Far from uniting all that could be united on specific principles, the RCP took it on itself to throw one group of Iranian Students out of the ALD march, because of the favored status of another group.

Now on the international scale, the RCP is actually upholding simultaneous warfare among all parts of their so-called united front against imperialism. The RCP places the imperialists of-the second rank powers as pint of the target of the united front. Against the rulers of both the “second world” and the non-socialist part of the “third, world” the RCP calls for armed struggle. At the same time they talk of uniting with these very forces against the super-powers. But in what sense is there a united front? The RCP’s support reduces itself to on- the-side-lines clapping over the conflicts between the second rank imperialists and the two superpowers. No’ wonder the other opportunist supporters of the “three worlds”, who are attempting to build their incorrect united fronts, find the RCP support tainted.

The essence of syndicalism preaches forces coming together for struggle but steadfastly refuses to lay a real base for revolutionary gains. In the first part of this century, the Industrial Workers of the World (lWW) attempted to rally the working class behind the syndicalist banner. The strategy and tactics of Marxism-Leninism partially developed as a conscious repudiation of the worship of the spontaneous movement.

What is missing in the RCP’s analysis and in their practice are concrete plans on how to use these conflicts or contradictions strategically or tactically in the interests of the proletariat.

Because for the RCP spontaneity rules, they make no attempt to really sort out the importance oi the class contradictions. The RCP sees the contradictions, not as the basis of the strategy of the working class, but as the way to find out where the action is. This is why the glaring contradictions between their various fronts pose really no problem for the RCP. This is also why they can provide no solutions to the proletariat.

The RCP is a revisionist party, not a Marxist-Leninist party. Its fronts are syndicalist theaters of war, not the principled, united fronts of the proletariat and its allies.