Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

’Revolution’ Article: An Unsolicited Confession by RCP

First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 2, May 10, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The April 15 issue of Revolution, the organ of the Revolutionary Communist Party (formerly Revolutionary Union), carries an unsolicited confession on the opportunist role played by the RU at the April 26 Jobs Rally a year ago. At that time, the RU lined up with the AFL-CIO bureaucrats and other labor misleaders to oppose the struggle of the rank and file.

At this significant demonstration of 60,000 workers at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., the reactionary labor bureaucrats of the AFL-CIO got a taste of rank-and-file rebellion. As they paraded their Democratic Party politicians and fellow labor lieutenants out onto the podium, the bureaucrats were greeted first with a trickle and then with a swarm of militant rank-and-file workers and unemployed. Spontaneously marching down onto the field, the workers demanded “more jobs and less talk!”


This act of open rebellion made the labor traitors tremble. Speakers like Hubert Humphrey ran from the stage. Also trembling at the sight of this protest from the job-hungry workers was the revisionist Communist Party, who attacked all the workers on the field for being “ultra-leftists” and “fringe elements.”

It might come as a surprise to some that the RU was joining hands with the revisionists and labor hacks in leading these workers back into the stands, or at least trying to. Says the recent Revolution article.: “We succeeded in leading most of the workers back into the stands, leaving the field to assorted Trotskyites and other weirdos, who continued to parade around making a spectacle of themselves.”

The article justifies this traitorous activity on the grounds of “practicing the mass line,” that is, integrating closely with the masses. But even the article, which makes some efforts at weak self-criticism, admits that practicing the mass line is different from this type of betrayal.


While it is crucial for communists to remain closely linked to the broad majority of workers in all struggles, it is even more essential that they pay special attention to consolidating the advanced workers. It was precisely the most advanced section of the workers in the stadium who rushed onto the field. They did so with the sympathy of the great majority of fellow workers, even though many were unprepared to follow at that time.

This action of the rank-and-file militants didn’t result in isolation from their brothers and sisters. Rather it helped sharpen the struggle against the corrupt and traitorous kingpins that lord it over their unions. The chants of “Jobs Now!” were picked up by thousands of workers in the stands. Long after the rally, the action was the source of good struggle within the unions. With the help of communists, this struggle qualitatively raised the consciousness of many workers about the role of the labor aristocrats, revisionists and liberal misleaders.

In a half-hearted attempt at self-criticism, the Revolution article points out that “being immersed in their (the workers’–ed.) struggle didn’t entirely settle the question and never can.” It admits that political work among the advanced is also part of the work of communists, and that RU did not make “full enough use of the opportunity.”

But the problem here wasn’t that RU failed to take “advantage of an opportunity,” but rather that they openly opposed the demonstration and were afraid of it. The problem wasn’t that RU didn’t do “all it could have” but rather that RU’s line then, and RCP’s line now, belittles the role of political work among the advanced workers. The RCP chooses instead to direct their political views at the intellectuals while peddling narrow economic agitation to the working class.

The article goes on to contradict itself about only “Trotskyists and weirdos” being on the field. It admits that: “At the point when the RU members were leading people back into the stands, there were still workers coming down onto the field.” These contradictions in the article reflect sharp internal struggle within that organization, which is bound to arise against the leadership’s opportunist line.

But towards the end of the article, the self-criticism is dampened and the work of the RU at the rally is summed up as being “a success to the extent that the mass line was correctly practiced.”

We must be careful never to run ahead of the masses in a rash advance, substituting the communists for the masses. The role of communists, however, must never be reduced to tailing behind or to confusing the intermediate with the advanced workers as RU did here.

Their treacherous actions, leading workers back up into the stands, should in no way be treated as “a success,” or a “partial success,” as it is in the Revolution article. Rather it demonstrates the miserable failure of the line of the RU and its child, the RCP. It is a line that the RCP rank and file are obviously trying to criticize in their effort to move towards the building of a genuine Marxist-Leninist party.