Published: Palante, Vol. 6, No. 1, Janunary 8-February 8, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On December 13, 1975, about 300 people attended the conference “Revolution is the Only Solution: Tasks of the Revolutionary Student Youth Movement,” called by the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization. Students and youth from different cities and states attended the conference. The following organizations were also present at the conference and participated in making the conference a success: Puerto Rican Student Union, February First Movement, Revolutionary Youth Collective (a high school youth collective), Ethiopian Student Union, Higher Education Committee, Iranian Student Union, La Federacion, Union Estudiantil, Communist Youth Organization, Federacion Estudiantil Puertorriquena – El Comite, Resistencia, I Wor Kuen, Revolutionary Bloc, Linea Roja, Revolutionary Workers League, Workers Viewpoint Organization, and other independent collectives of students, youth, workers and veterans.
Overall we believe the conference was a success and an aid to clarifying the tasks ahead in order to build a revolutionary student-youth movement. It was characterized by comradely polemics, line struggle and struggle for clarity on various key political questions.
The present situation is one where the U.S. imperialists are losing battle after battle, losing their world-wide empire. This is coupled with the U.S. imperialists going on a mad scramble for new markets, but facing a fierce struggle with the other superpower the USSR social-imperialists. In the U.S., the economic and political crisis has worsened. For us in the United States, the danger of another imperialist world war and the increased danger of fascism is a reality.
For the masses of people, there is a tremendous spontaneous upsurge against the present economic and political crisis.
In the communist movement, we’re in a period of building a Communist Party to further build and lead the revolutionary movement to overthrow U.S. imperialism. In this period, the uniting of genuine Marxist-Leninists and winning over the advanced elements around political line is the key link towards building a Communist Party, which will thereby accelerate the development of the communist and revolutionary movement as a whole.
The conference was a definite step in this direction. At the conference, the PRRWO put forth the political line which we believe will further accelerate the fusion of the communist movement with the student-youth movement, thereby further building the revolutionary student-youth movement. The conference was characterized by Marxist-Leninists advanced elements, and revolutionary minded students and youth struggling over the political line put forth by the PRRWO, voicing their unities and/or differences with the line.
In the Keynote Speech we put forward what we believe is the line around which communists, advanced elements and the revolutionary student-youth movement should unite.
The Keynote Speech did a summation of the revolutionary student-youth movement from the early 1950’s to the present period. It did an analysis of the economic and political crisis of imperialism, showing how it affects the masses of workers and oppressed people, and in particular, the effects of this crisis on the student-youth. It also presented an analysis of the role of education, institutions and other aspects of the superstructure under capitalism and how they aid in maintaining the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
In analyzing the development of the revolutionary student-youth movement, the Keynote Speech showed what effect the revisionist “Communist” Party-USA had in deviating the movement into the path of reformism and support of bourgeois democracy and against revolution. It showed how, due to the revisionist betrayal, the revolutionary student-youth movement developed, through twists and turns, in struggle against reformism. It showed the role that the civil rights movement, and the Afro-American Liberation struggle, and the anti-war movement played in building the revolutionary student-youth movement. Most importantly, it was able to show what effect and influence the anti-revisionist communist movement has played in building a revolutionary student-youth movement.
It showed how in the old period of the anti-revisionist communist movement, when the worship of spontaneity, economism, and eclecticism was a key feature; the period when ideology was the key link towards building a Communist Party; the period when during its latter part, ideological lines of demarcation began to be drawn, designating a genuine and a sham wing, a bolshevik and menshevik wing of the communist movement ” how all of this period affected and influenced the development of the revolutionary student-youth movement. In this period, communists within the revolutionary student-youth movement brought to the student movement many of the ideological struggles and clarity achieved through these struggles. Communists, among the students and youth, struggled against the eclecticism of that period and the need for revolutionary minded student-youth to take on the study of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought.
The Keynote Speech also showed how the right opportunist economist errors of communist organizations like the Revolutionary Union (now the “Revolutionary Communist” Party) counterposed Marxist-Leninist class consciousness with “anti-imperialist consciousness” causing right opportunist deviations in the development of the revolutionary student-youth movement. It showed how revolutionary student organizations were linked to communist organizations, such as how the Attica Brigade (now the Revolutionary Student Brigade) was linked to the RU (RCP) or how the Puerto Rican Student Union has been closely linked to us, the PRRWO.
The keynote speech showed that as some communist organizations degenerated more and more from opportunism to revisionism, they began to spread their opportunism among the masses; and in regards to the student-youth, they took on the task of splitting and dividing the revolutionary student-youth movement.
The keynote speech also exposed the ideological and social basis for the revisionist, trotskyite, and opportunist youth groups linked closely to them, such as the “CP”-USA and their Young Workers Liberation League; the Trotskyite “Socialist Workers” Party and their Young Socialist Alliance; the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and their Federacion Universitaria Socialista Puertorriquena; the “Revolutionary Communist” Party and their Revolutionary Student Brigade; the “Communist Labor” Party and their Los Angeles Young Communist League; and the October League (who plans to announce their “Communist Party” in about five months) and their “Communist” Youth Organization (which was formed recently ” see article in this Palante).
Based on the overall summation, we were able to elaborate on what are the key advances made in this past period by the revolutionary student-youth movement, and the key political tasks, the line and demands to unite and build the revolutionary student-youth movement.
In the workshops, there took place much lively discussion and comradely polemics on key questions which we believe are a crystalization of some of the key line struggles, struggles for clarity among communists, advanced elements and revolutionary-minded student-youth.
One of the key struggles was: how does political line as the key link in the communist movement towards the creation of a Communist Party affect and influence the “task of building a revolutionary student-youth movement?
One line put forth that in the revolutionary student-youth movement, the tasks of communists and advanced elements are ideological tasks principally and political tasks secondarily.
That is, that in the revolutionary student-youth movement, the struggle for the dissemination of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought, is the key task due to the eclecticism and opportunist bourgeois theories that still plague the student youth movement.
We hold that the key line of Party Building being political line will further accelerate the building of a revolutionary student-youth movement. That the development and implementation of a Marxist-Leninist political line means the application of ideology to the concrete conditions facing the masses, thereby clarifying what are the correct political tasks ahead of the revolutionary movement. Struggling for a political line and its implementation in the revolutionary student-youth movement will mean the fusion of communism with the student movement thereby leading to clarity on the tasks of the revolutionary-student-youth movement as a whole. As a matter of fact, the uniting of the revolutionary student-youth movement around a correct political line will further accelerate the ideological and organizational tasks. (from Closing Speech at the conference)
And as stated previously, the periods of development of the communist movement have had an effect and influence on the development of the revolutionary student-youth movement.
There was also struggle on what would be the most correct form of revolutionary student-youth organization that revolutionary minded student-youth must address themselves towards. There are basically three positions on this question: (a) build a Young Communist League form of organization (that is, the supposedly present existing RSB, CYO, etc.); (b) build a multi-national, nation-wide revolutionary student-youth organization; or (c) build anti-imperialist coalitions uniting the various existing revolutionary student organizations, thereby leading to joint political struggle and practice, and possible merger into one revolutionary student organization in the near future.
We hold to the position of building anti-imperialist coalitions for we don’t believe, based on our analysis, that the correct conditions exist for the immediate calls for the formation of a Young Communist League form of organization nor for a multinational, nationwide revolutionary organization. We believe that the anti-imperialist coalition will be the form to provide the most centralized guidance to the student-youth struggles, and based on the struggles of the communists, advanced elements, and revolutionary minded student-youth, will determine what will be the next higher form of organization to form, to aid in building and leading the revolutionary student-youth movement.
There was also struggle on what would be the correct political line and forms of organization that revolutionary minded student-youth must address themselves to in fighting against the imperialist crisis and its effect on the student-youth.
There were struggles on whether it is correct to have national revolutionary forms of organization (that is, revolutionary organizations addressing themselves to organizing among oppressed nationalities), and the various deviations that have been made ” for example national chauvinism (the main danger) as seen in the liquidation of the national question, and narrow nationalism (the placing of national oppression above the class struggle).
There was also a struggle for clarity on how to do revolutionary organizing among veterans on campus and among high school youth. In the course of many of these discussions, there were struggles as to how to determine and distinguish advanced students and youth from active students and youth. Overall, the struggles were very good in determining what are the key political questions to resolve in order to achieve the tasks ahead of us.
We’d like to criticize some of the comrades from El Comite-FEP around their participation in the conference ” principally raising questions, not taking firm positions in struggles which they have been aware of for quite some time, thereby taking centrist stands on many of the key line struggles. For example, on the line struggle on whether the anti-imperialist coalition is a correct form for revolutionary student organizations to group themselves in, FEP, who has known of this line struggle for a year, put forward in one workshop that they didn’t have a position. In another workshop, they put forward that they opposed it. When some of their members were asked a few days after the conference, they said they’ve just begun to investigate the anti-imperialist coalition. All along FEP took a centrist vascillating stance on the anti-imperialist coalition, but in essence opposing it.
As stated in the Keynote Speech and Closing Speech, some of the key advances that communists and advanced elements have made in the revolutionary student-youth movement are:
1. The repudiation of the erroneous “revolutionary vanguard theories” such as “students are the vanguard” or “lumpen proletariat are the vanguard,” etc.; and the recognition of the leading role of the working class in the revolutionary struggle.
2. Based on this recognition, many revolutionary-minded students have begun to understand that there exist fundamentally two ideologies (world outlooks), reflective of two classes in fundamental contradiction ” bourgeois ideology and proletarian ideology ” thereby recognizing the leading role of proletarian ideology, dialectical and historical materialism, which is Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought.
3. The repudiation of the worship of spontaneity, economism, and eclectism which predominated the revolutionary movement in the old period.
4. The further advancement of proletarian internationalism in the revolutionary student-youth movement as seen in the support of the struggles of the international working class and the national liberation struggles.
5. The recognition of the leading role that Afro-American student-youth have played in building a revolutionary student-youth movement, and the need to build a multi-national revolutionary student-youth struggle against imperialism.
6. The recognition of the need to struggle against opportunism in the revolutionary student-youth movement in order to build a truly genuine revolutionary student-youth movement.
Based on this summation, we see some of the key tasks of the revolutionary student-youth movement as being:
1. That the revolutionary, anti-imperialist student-youth movement cannot be solely anti-imperialist, but must fight for socialism in the United States and the eventual realization of communism.
2. That the struggles must not be solely against imperialism, but also against social-imperialism, with the main blow being directed at the two superpowers: U.S. imperialism and USSR social-imperialism.
3. That there must be exposure and a struggle against the danger of a third imperialist world war, stemming from the contention and collusion of the two superpowers.
4. That the students and youth must continue to actively support the struggles of the international working class and the national liberation struggles.
5. That the students and youth must actively support the struggles of the working class and oppressed nationalities within the United States.
6. That they must fight against the rising danger of fascism in the U.S.; and must be prepared to respond with major actions in response to imperialist attacks against the communist movement and workers movement. The revolutionary student-youth must play a role in safeguarding their conscious leadership, understanding that the bourgeoisie directs its most vicious fire at the communists in order to prevent the formation of a genuine communist party and to destroy that party once it is formed. While educating students about the need for socialism, the revolutionary student-youth movement, must fight for the immediate demands of the student-youth.
7. That the students and youth must continue to struggle against opportunism in order to build a genuine revolutionary student-youth movement, uniting itself in this immediate period in the form of an anti-imperialist coalition and must build the revolutionary student-youth movement under the genuine wing of the communist movement.
We also suggested that the various revolutionary students or organizations do joint campaigns on the following events: May Day-International Workers Day; International Working Women’s Day; Assassination of Malcolm X, the Nationalist Uprising in Jayuya (Oct. 30); the Chicano Moratorium (August 29th); African Liberation Day; and the May 4th Movement of the People’s Republic of China.
Overall, we believe that the conference was a success and a contribution to uniting Marxist-Leninists and winning the advanced over to communism around a political line aiding, not only the tasks of building a revolutionary student-youth movement, but of the creation of the Communist Party itself. We’d like to announce that the Keynote Speech and Closing Speech will come out soon in pamphlet form.
BUILD THE REVOLUTIONARY STUDENT-YOUTH MOVEMENT!