First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 4, January 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In, the December 26 Call the CP(ML) made an open confession that their party, their so-called “vanguard of the proletariat,” is a bankruptcy and a fraud, and issued an open call for “other Marxist-Leninists” to join them in the swamp of revisionism. The Call editorial entitled “The Road to Communist Unity” calls for a “Marxist-Leninist Unity Committee,” with the CP(ML) and its line as the center, leading to “a series of meetings and conferences.” The clear implication of all this is that the CP(ML) is willing to dissolve itself and form another equally vile and equally revisionist party if only they can lure enough would-be opportunists into it so that sheer size alone would make up for the embarrassment of having to admit that their previous effort to “unite all Marxist-Leninists” was a failure.
In their editorial, the CP(ML) utilizes a time-tested opportunist technique–play on the real desire of communists and advanced workers for unity in their ranks and hope that it will obscure the question of ideological and political line. Of course the CP(ML) has no intention of abandoning the essence of its line (the only thing consistent about which is its revisionism and opportunism). It only hopes that under the cover of “unity” it can attract others to the same putrid bourgeois ideological and political line that has characterized it and its ugly forebear, the October League, for many years.
Much can be learned from Lenin’s struggle against the Mensheviks (whose similarities with the CP[ML] are known to all) who also raised a similar hue and cry for “unity.” Lenin always fought tooth and nail for the principle that unity must be forged around a correct line and the burden for splitting the ranks of the working class must be placed squarely on the shoulders of those opportunists who refuse to unite with Marxism and in fact consistently oppose it.
While this is neither the time nor place to chase down and refute every revisionist fallacy ever preached by the CP(ML) or the OL before them (such a task would require at least one book, although a pamphlet could touch on the main points) it is worthwhile to take note of some of their methods and approaches that they hope will attract “other Marxist-Leninists.”
–Their political line shifts according to what is most expedient. In dropping and running from one error they never dig out the ideological roots of it but seek to cover it over as quickly and painlessly as possible and proceed helter skelter to fall into another equally opportunist error.
–They are well-known to be two-faced and double-dealers. They say one thing to your face and do another thing behind your back. As many who have worked with them in coalitions can testify, they have even voted one way in meetings and done the exact opposite days later!
–For them every struggle is judged by “immediate results,” specifically, how does it further their own narrow interests. Every success they achieve (real or imagined) is turned into capital to further their collective, and individual, careerism.
–Even though pragmatism is their philosophy they rely heavily on dogmatism. Copy this and copy that is their watchword. Instead of a Marxist scientific and critical approach they are like an old gramophone, spewing out others’ words in a tinny and distorted way.
–When it comes to political struggle they rely mainly on rumor, gossip and innuendo. When confronted with two-line struggle in circumstances when others can’t be swayed by cheap appeals to emotion, they cower and snivel. Even when they arrogantly approach such struggle, as soon as they are rebuked they retreat onto their own turf (such as the pages of the Call or some corner they control) where they hope they can present a distorted and one-sided view of events while proclaiming they are champions of principled struggle over line.
–Fearing to take on the arguments of their opponents, they resort to quoting out of context, seizing on secondary and minor points and distorting even these, hoping that even their own followers will not try to use the science of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought to sort out right and wrong. When beaten on one point they, like Trotskyites, try to shift the focus of debate as long as they feel it makes them stronger in opposing the correct line.
–Organizationally they have perfected the bourgeois political method of representing “special interest groups.” Since their organization does not represent the revolutionary proletariat, each of their leaders appeals to his or her loyal following, nationality, or those engaged in the work they are responsible for.
–Their policy toward their own cadre is to treat them with contempt. They keep them in ignorance of the stand, viewpoint and method of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought, and instead feed them a diet of quotations and liberal doses of twisted “facts” usually out of context and always with the purpose of opposing the correct line and bolstering whatever political gimmick their leadership is then into. When it comes to promoting cadre, personal “successes” and personal loyalty count for everything; overall grasp of Marxism and ability to lead the masses forward and develop their class consciousness count for nothing.
–They oppose revolution in the name of revolution. They appeal to every petty-bourgeois prejudice: nationalism, liberalism, chauvinism–even anti-communism in the form of appeals to (bourgeois) democracy. They paint reactionaries as great upholders of the anti-imperialist struggle-like the Shah of Iran.
The list could go on and on. But this is typical of the method and ideological stand that the CP(ML) hopes will appeal to “other Marxist-Leninists.”
But, alas, CP(ML), genuine Marxist-Leninists have come to hate you to the bottom of their soul. They have read your paper. They have watched your acrobatics. They have seen you capitulate to the very imperialist ruling class you claim to oppose. They will not come to your “unity conference.”
In the Call editorial they declare that their “Program and Political Report of the Founding Congress have become major guiding documents for Marxist-Leninists [sic] throughout the country.” When the first of these historic documents initially came out we made our stand completely clear in our headline, “OL’s Draft Program: Trite and Wrong,” and the kicker, “Has Two Aspects.” Those who would like to unite with the trite and ignore or change the wrong will find that this particular unity of opposites is indivisible–and the wrong is principal over the trite. Those who would like to embrace only one aspect of the CP(ML)’s revisionism will find that it comes in a package–if you take one bite you will be forced to swallow and choke on all of it.
The CP(ML)’s proposed “unity conference,” if it comes off at all, will be like the founding of a new conglomerate–each comes in with a certain amount of capital and in return receives an appropriate number of shares in the new enterprise. This is the basic theme that Klonsky hopes will appeal to other opportunist “leaders”: no one is so famous that we can’t all share the pie.
But a word of warning to Klonsky and his like. Be careful with your claim to be the real upholders of “principle” and “unity.” You underestimate the strength of Marxism. The lure of your fool’s gold “Marxism” of eclecticism, pragmatism and revisionism might have a certain appeal to a handful of opportunists, but the allure of genuine Marxism is very strong indeed to class conscious workers, to all revolutionary-minded people, including your own cadre. Those that you fail to demoralize, ruin or corrupt, those whom you cannot bully and suppress or stomp the desire for revolution, socialism and communism out of, will rise up against you, if not today then tomorrow. And they will fight for real unity, unity around Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought and the line of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.