Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Uniting a Bankrupt Trend

The Anti-Party Opposition Bloc

First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 19, September 13, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“It is a characteristic feature of the opposition bloc that being in fact the expression of a Social-Democratic deviation in our Party, and advocating what is in fact an opportunist policy, it tries nevertheless, to clothe its pronouncements in revolutionary phraseology, to criticise the Party from the ’Left’ and to disguise itself in a ’Left’ garb.” – Stalin

Among the forces now comprising the communist movement in the U.S., there are two significant trends. The first is the trend towards Marxist-Leninist unity and a new communist party, while the second is the trend of unprincipled, anti-party blocs.

What is the character of the anti-party blocs? They are formations of groups and individuals united, not on communist principles, but primarily on their opposition to the formation of a new party. Their political line is right-opportunist and, in fact, merges with the line of modern revisionism, while their rhetoric is super-“leftist” and their style of work sectarian. They are splitters and opportunists who have banded together in order to increase their size and influence.


The main proponent of this brand of opportunist blocking is the Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO) whose leadership has its origins in the Trotskyite Progressive Labor Party. WVO was the ideological mentor of the so-called “Revolutionary Wing,” which has now virtually collapsed less than a year after its existence was proclaimed. This opportunist approach to party-building, however, goes back further than the WVO or the “Wing.”

In 1973, the Revolutionary Union (RU) formed their “Liaison Committee,” which attempted to build an unprincipled federation of groups based along lines of nationality. The “Liaison Committee” included the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO), I Wor Kuen (IWK), and the Black Workers Congress (BWC). Due to what IWK described as RU’s “insincerity,” (IWK Journal, Aug. 1974, p. 14), they left the “Liaison Committee” and the others soon followed. RU has since consolidated itself into a “party,” proclaiming themselves to be the “only Marxist-Leninists” and standing violently opposed to communist unity within one single unified party. Despite hundreds of pages of polemics with the RU, none of the groups ever criticized this unprincipled bloc approach to the party or the “federation of nationalities” approach which was opposed to OL’s call for a multi-national party.


It was no surprise then, when in 1974, many of these same forces (PRRWO, BWC, August 29 Movement and others) formed another unprincipled bloc with the revisionist Communist League in its so-called “Continuations Committee.” Within months, inevitable splits occurred once again, but not one of the groups involved mentioned unprincipled blocking as an opportunist approach to the party.

When the OL published its call for Marxist-Leninists to unite in Nov. 1975, the oppositionists immediately grouped themselves into another bloc calling itself the “Wing,” under the direction of WVO. What was the basis of unity of the Wing? WVO explains in an unsolicited confession:

“Narrow nationalism was the glue that held us to PRRWO, despite broad political differences and many serious conflicts that came up in practice (e.g., their scabbing of a job action that WVO helped to call with over 150 workers participating).” (Workers Viewpoint Journal No. 4, p. 89).

Revolutionary Workers League (RWL), another member of the “Wing,” adds: “The oppositional mentality is a carryover from the ’functional unity’ method of struggle that prevailed during the earlier period in the Black Liberation Movement. This mentality manifested itself in the unity of the revolutionary forces in the RWL with the WVO in the struggle with the RU-OL lines.” (Bolshevik, May 1976, p. 72).

Again Workers Viewpoint: “The OL is correct that the Revolutionary Wing was formed ’in opposition’ to them.’...” Only now, WVO adds a new twist to justify the formation of this bloc in which its members held no political principles in common, saying, “Just as there was a revisionist Second International, Lenin had to form a Third International; just as there emerges modern revisionism, we must build a genuine Marxist-Leninist movement.” (WV newspaper, August 1976, p. S-14).


Workers Viewpoint views itself as the new Lenin rallying the Third International against the old Social-Democrats. But we must ask the new Lenin, isn’t today’s revisionist center the Communist Party USA (with whom you call for “united action”) and their leaders in the Soviet Union? Aren’t the Marxist-Leninist forces who are forging new, anti-revisionist parties the real inheritors of the Third International’s traditions? And finally, we must ask the new Lenin, where are your principles? Was the Third International merely an opposition bloc against the Second? Of course not.

Under Lenin’s leadership, the Third International was formed on clearly stated principles to which every party firmly adhered, principles based on a concrete application of Marxism to the conditions of this era, and principles standing in direct opposition to the political line of the opportunists. The real Lenin was a proponent of principled unity in a single revolutionary party, a party steeled in the struggle against revisionism. The new self-proclaimed Lenin is a phony, a splitter and an opportunist who has set himself up as the organizing center for all the bankrupt anti-Leninist trends in our movement.

WVO bases its efforts on the upside-down view that the “October League is the most dangerous revisionist trend in the communist movement.” (WV Journal, Nov. 1975). They have gone so far as to engage in police-like disruptions and physical attacks at recent forums sponsored by the Organizing Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party, of which OL is a member, and had to be put out of those meetings. With the disintegration of the “Wing,” they are once again calling for a new bloc–made up of themselves and various dregs from the “Wing.” Their dream is to assemble a new army of renegades and dishonest elements from the ruins of the “Wing” to launch a last-ditch attack before the party is founded and put on its feet.

Stalin, writing about the opposition bloc in Russia which brought the likes of Trotsky and other anti-party elements together on an unprincipled basis, explained:

“.. .they formed a bloc and formed it with great pomp, but the result has been the opposite of what they expected from it. Arithmetically, of course, they should have obtained an increase, for adding forces together should yield an increase; but the oppositionists forgot that, besides arithmetic, there is also algebra, and that in algebra, adding forces together does not always result in an increase, because the result depends not only on adding forces together, but on the signs that stand in front of the items. It turns out that they are good at arithmetic but bad at algebra, with the result that by adding their forces together, far from having increased their army, they have reduced it to a minimum, to a state of collapse. (“On the Opposition”, FLP, Peking, p. 391).

Like Trotsky and the rest of the oppositionists of his time, WVO and the am party forces are weak in algebra. The more they added, the weaker they became. The collapse of the “Wing” was inevitable. First, WVO split. Then the rest of the groups left or disintegrated as they took to physical assaults on each other and “purges” of the majority of their own members.

The basis for the split between WVO and PRRWO/RWL (which constituted the “left wing” of the “Wing” as a whole) was the conflict between PRRWO’s undisguised sectarianism and infantilism on the one hand and, on the other hand, WVO’s omability to adapt to the changing conditions with a more reasonable appearance. In essence, it was a split between sectarianism glorified as a principle (PRRWO/RWL) and conciliation with revisionism (WVO)–two heads of the same anti-party coin. WVO’s conciliation with revisionism could be seen most clearly in their advocacy of united action with the CPUSA revisionists on International Women’s Day and May Day, while PRRWO, RWL’s sectarian line is one of no action at all.

Further exemplifying PRRWO/RWL’s sectarianism is their line that “party-building is the only task of communists.” They took the stand of “boycottism,” to use WVO’s term, towards all manifestations of the mass struggle. (WV, Aug. 1976). But while PRRWO/RWL attacked mass work altogether, WVO accomplished the same revisionist feat of posing party-building in opposition to “building the mass movement” by disuniting theory from practice and breaking the fusion between communism and the working-class movement.

Now that the “Wing” has run its course and is in shambles as the different components attack each other with clubs and call each other “fruitflies,” “slimes,” and “scabs,” the unprincipled nature of the bloc is revealed. To build a federation based on such unstable opportunists, rather than upon the best elements of the working class, means penetration by agents, careerists and the like, as well as certain destruction.

Behind the unprincipled methods of the anti-party bloc stands a right-opportunist political line which merges with that of the revisionists on every major question of the day. This is especially clear on the question of the present international situation, where the anti-party opposition attacks the united front against imperialism and the two superpowers, objectively siding with one superpower against the other. In the case of WVO, they have capitulated in the struggle against Soviet social-imperialism and have tried to hold some middle ground in the fight against international revisionism–the main enemy in the ranks of the working-class movement.

Writing about the opposition bloc in the Bolshevik Party, Stalin said: “In the present period of acute class struggle, there can be only one or two possible policies in the working-class movement; either the policy of Menshevism, or the policy of Leninism. The attempts of the opposition bloc to occupy a middle position between these two opposite lines, under the cover of ’Left,’ ’revolutionary’ phraseology.. .were bound to lead, and have actually led, to the opposition bloc slithering into the camp of the opponents of Leninism, into the camp of Menshevism.” (“Opposition Bloc in the CPSU(B),” FLP, Peking, p. 379).

Like the oppositionists referred to by Stalin, Workers Viewpoint, as well as the centrist Guardian, tries to “occupy a middle ground” in our struggle today, calling on communists to “unite and struggle” and slither into the revisionists’ anti-monopoly coalition. WVO even recognized its unity with the Guardian centrists and came out in open support of the Guardian’s conciliation with revisionism and its attacks on Marxist-Leninists during the 1975 International Women’s Day campaign. In a letter dated April 16, 1975, WVO wrote to the Guardian expressing agreement with “some of Irwin Silber’s account of the October League’s unprincipled maneuvering around International Women’s Day.” In the letter, WVO attacked the various Marxist-Leninist and anti-imperialist groups who built the first communist-led Women’s Day March since the CP turned revisionist, calling these groups “saboteurs” of the revisionist-led event.

For Workers Viewpoint, like the Guardian, the attempt to hold a middle ground position has meant paying lip service to supporting China and Albania, while capitulating to the Soviet Union in each particular case of aggression or interference. WVO plays the Soviet game of dividing the third world movements from one another, declaring one country or liberation movement to be “revolutionary” and another “reactionary.”

This was seen in the June issue of WV, when they declared Syria, Iraq and Algeria to be “consistent anti-imperialists,” while Egypt was listed as a “vacillator” just after it broke relations with the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Jordan were cited as “reactionaries.” By August, Syria had invaded Lebanon, egged on by the two superpowers. WVO’s “consistent anti-imperialists” suddenly became “sell-outs to imperialism” having “identical interests with the two superpowers.” (WV, Aug. 1976, p. 11).

Here we see the petty-bourgeois vacillations of the opposition bloc and particularly WVO. Unable to grasp the significance of the third world struggles against the superpowers, they can only see these national movements subjectively as either pure revolutionary movements or “agents of imperialism.” They are exhilarated or depressed, depending on whether or not the movement is in a period of ebb or flow. It must be remembered that the “new Lenin” of WVO was openly attacking the Vietnamese struggle only a few years ago as a “sellout” when that heroic national liberation movement was facing some temporary difficulties.

The united front for Workers’ Viewpoint does not mean the front of the world’s peoples against imperialism and the two superpowers. Rather, it means joining hands with the revisionists in order to collaborate with imperialism. When RWL leader Own Sadaukai endorsed the social-imperialism sponsored Havana Conference and sat silently on the National Board of the revisionist-dominated Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee being used as a token “Maoist” along with the Guardian’s Silber, WVO claimed that they were “entering these forbidden premises” (the ranks of the revisionist front) while maintaining their own “independence and initiative” in order to “win away” members of the revisionist party.

But where is this “independence and initiative” when WVO’s paper makes not one criticism of the revisionists, but, in fact, filled it with the same slanders of the Marxist-Leninist forces that one is likely to see in the revisionist Daily World?

While WVO runs 16-page diatribes against the OL and the Organizing Committee, their newspaper doesn’t contain a single article criticizing the CPUSA. Where is the independence from revisionism when WVO’s paper launches slanderous attacks on the Palestinian people’s struggle, claiming that the leadership of the PLO are imperialist agents and “collaborators”? (See WVO’s attack on PLO leader Arafat WV, May 1975).

Here lies the essence of the unprincipled anti-party blocs being led by the likes of WVO. They are doing the work of the revisionists in places where the revisionists themselves don’t dare to tread. They are trying to lead our movement into some new “arrangement” with the CPUSA, spreading confusion within the Marxist-Leninist ranks and sowing splits and demoralization wherever they go. This is what the recent degeneration of the “Wing” should teach those who participated.

Our party can only be built on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles embodied in a program of struggle. Those who try to retain the old style of small circles and sectarianism, cloaking revisionism with new disguises, will certainly fail.