First Published: The Call, Vol. 4, No. 7, April 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On January 17 the National Board of the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee (PRSC) voted to uphold the expulsion of four members of the Boston chapter, including members of the October League. These four had been fighting to carry out the main founding principles of the PRSC – to build a strong anti-imperialist organization in support of Puerto Rican independence, based among the broad masses of the American people.
The Boston activists were expelled because they firmly opposed the growing influence of revisionism and the Communist Party (CPUSA) inside the PRSC, and its attempts to turn the PRSC into an apologist for the aggressive policies of the Soviet Union. Towards this end, the revisionists had lobbied for support of the USSR’s sham “detente,” and tried to cover over the increasing danger of superpower war.
The expulsion maneuver was initiated by the CPUSA and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) who have been anxious to purge the Marxist-Leninists from the PRSC. Both the CPUSA and the PSP fear the influence of genuine anti-imperialists among the rank and file of the PRSC and among the masses. Phoney anti-revisionists and centrists like Irwin Silber of the Guardian lined up with the CPUSA and backed the expulsions.
In past months the PRSC leadership has attempted to discredit the Marxist-Leninists, distorting their views and blocking their democratic participation in the organization. Meetings have been called without notifying members, and binding decisions taken without consulting the rank and file in the PRSC.
Following the January 17 expulsion vote, the National Board moved to stifle political discussion of the issues surrounding the expulsions, but protests broke out in a number of PRSC chapters, including New York and New Jersey. The October League, active within the PRSC since its founding, denounced the expulsion and the attacks against Marxist-Leninists. As a result of these conditions, a number of other members of the PRSC has also withdrawn protesting the lack of internal democracy and the PRSC’s support for Soviet social-imperialism.
The struggle within the PRSC reflects the sharp two-line struggle worldwide between the genuine and sham anti-imperialist forces. It is a struggle between those who oppose both imperialist superpowers–the U.S. and the USSR–and those who would cover for and openly support the Soviet Union’s moves towards world war and world domination.
Political struggle grew especially sharp around the Soviet-backed Havana Conference of September 1975, which was supposedly called in solidarity with the Puerto Rican independence movement. The four recently expelled members of PRSC were all active in pointing out that genuine solidarity with the Puerto Rican people means opposition to both the U.S., which presently dominates Puerto Rico, and the USSR which hopes to gain dominance there and elsewhere in Latin America.
The revisionists and the centrists not only drove the genuine anti-imperialists out of the PRSC but were also guilty of allowing the whole organization to degenerate. On October 27, 1974, 20,000 people rallied in support of Puerto Rican independence in Madison Square Garden, indicating the genuine interest and mass support for this struggle. Today, the PRSC is little more than a paper organization, isolated from the masses of working and oppressed people in the U.S. Instead of bringing the question of support for the Puerto Rican people’s struggles before the U.S. workers and oppressed nationalities, the PRSC leadership has confined itself to appeals aimed mainly at the petty-bourgeois movement. Its newsletter, published sporadically, only comes out in English.
Over the past year, the PRSC has failed to take up the main campaigns adopted at its founding congress, such as mobilizing support for the workers’ movement in Puerto Rico and the fight to end forced sterilization and police repression both on the island as well as in the United States. Through most of 1975, the PRSC focused all its activity around the Havana Conference.
The October League helped found and build the PRSC, recognizing the urgent task of educating the American people about U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico and winning them to fight for Puerto Rican independence and for democratic rights in the U.S. In our own struggle to defeat the U.S. ruling class and overthrow the imperialist system headed up by both superpowers, the Puerto Rican people’s struggle is a powerful ally.
The degeneration of the PRSC makes it all the more clear that we need to build a genuinely anti-imperialist movement in solidarity with Puerto Rico, rooted among the working people in this country. Based on the realities of the world situation, the growing war danger and superpower rivalry, the political stand of this movement must not only be opposed to U.S. imperialism in Puerto Rico but also opposed to all attempts by the Soviet Union to turn the independence movement into a prop for its own aggressive plans for world domination.