First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 5, May 31, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We are a group of communists who have constituted ourselves as a Marxist-Leninist organization, the Philadelphia Party Building Collective, in order to participate in the nationwide struggle to build a genuine communist party of the working class.
We have achieved a high degree of unity with the seven party building principles advanced in the November 1975 issue of The Call and are preparing ourselves for participation in the May unity conference. We believe that the current struggle to establish unity among Marxist-Leninist forces is a revolutionary struggle, one that is being waged in the interests of the working class and all oppressed people, both in the U.S. and all over the world.
In particular, we support the “Call to Unite,” including the seven points as a correct line of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism. A scientific Marxist-Leninist line must point out the necessary relationship between the struggles of the multinational working class and the revolutionary fight of oppressed nationalities for their democratic rights. We in the PPBC uphold the right of Afro-Americans to self-determination and believe that this position reflects a Marxist-Leninist understanding of the necessary connection between Black people’s struggle for liberation and the whole multinational working class struggle for revolutionary upheaval and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The formation of our party building collective is a great step forward for our movement in Philadelphia. In doing so, we have made a clean break in theory and practice with the revisionists and their allies, the centrists. In the past, Philadelphia has been a stronghold of centrism, most influentially represented by the Philadelphia Workers’ Organizing Committee (PWOC). Their line on trade unions has been characterized by an explicit trend of rightism and economism and, although they consider themselves communists, they make a practice of eliminating discussion of the goals of the whole working class movement: the overthrow of the state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Like the revisionists, they paint the state apparatus as neutral, and while they mention how difficult these bureaucratic agencies make it for workers to file grievances, etc., they do not explain that the ruling class owns and runs the state and must be overthrown. Besides distorting Marxism-Leninism, they demonstrate a profound pessimism about the ability of the working class to grasp Marxism-Leninism and build a revolutionary movement and a revolutionary vanguard party.
As regards the Afro-American national question, the PWOC has adopted the view that Black people constitute “a national minority,” and that the October League’s position that a Black nation exists in the deep South is nothing more than “romanticism and dogmatism”. In actuality, the PWOC view has led them to reject the struggle for democratic rights as evidenced by their opposition to the demand for compensatory seniority for minority and women workers.
To liquidate the revolutionary demands of oppressed people as a means of achieving working class “unity” is to capitulate to white chauvinism and contribute to wrecking the real unity being built in the multinational working class. There is much more to be said about the line of the PWOC, but the general thread which distinguishes this trend is a refusal to recognize the Soviet Union as an imperialist superpower, political backwardness and reformism to the core.
Besides a break with the rightist, centrist forces, we have also broken sharply with the ultra-“left” tendency, represented by the “Revolutionary Wing” and best represented in Philadelphia by the Workers’ Viewpoint Organization.
We in the PPBC believe that mass struggle is a testing ground for our theory, and only through the application of Marxism-Leninism to our revolutionary work can we advance our theory and practice in the working class movement. Although our organization is a transitional form, our work must be carried forward in all three aspects of party building: mass work, organizational work and ideological work. The fact that our party building collective was forged through breaks with both rightism and ultra-“leftism” is evidence that the rising trend in our movement is unity around a genuine Marxist-Leninist line, laying the groundwork for our new party.
Finally, we wish to express our solidarity with the weekly Call. We believe that it is a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist newspaper and continues to be a most valuable tool in our party building work here in Philadelphia. We have unanimously agreed to support it, write for it and sell it. These are major tasks for us in party building.
We call on all comrades who wish to advance the revolutionary task of party building to its realization to unite with our organization in Philadelphia and with this general trend throughout the U.S.