Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Resistencia Puertorriqueña

W.V.O.’s Forum Backfires

First Published: Resistencia, Vol. 7, No. 6, n.d. [1976]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

On Friday, June 11th, the Workers Viewpoint Organization sponsored a forum in Los Angeles, California. This was part of a series of forums which that organization sponsored throughout the country. The participants at this forum were WVO and the Boston Chapter of The February First Movement (FFM) which, based on the line they defended left no doubts that that chapter is WVO’s student appendage in that city.

The Boston Chapter of FFM made the first presentation which concentrated on the OL. It specifically criticized OL’s position on “bussing”, the ERA, etc. Later, the FFM spoke of the “two contending trends”, war and revolution, which according to them (and WVO) characterizes the present world situation, the right of the Afro-American nation to self-determination and wrapped up their presentation with a call for “building the party on an ideological plane grasping the political line as “key link”. The representative of FFM did not, at any time, mention the tasks of revolutionary students (FFM is a student organization), or the struggle between the different manifestations of the menshevik line which resulted in the division of their organization between those who support the “left” menshevik line of PRRWO-RWL and those who support the right menshevik line of WVO and the purging of some advanced elements.

On their turn, WVO limited itself to reading pages upon pages from their recently published pamphlet. After WVO’s presentation, a period for polemics followed in which different communist organizations were asked to establish their points of unity and the differences with the presentation. ATM, IWK and ourselves proceeded to polemize with WVO on various aspects of the presentation. In the polemics with ATM, WVO’s representative recurred to excuses such as that he didn’t know much about the strike that was being discussed because that was in San Francisco and he was from New York (the particular strike that was being discussed was that of the Moulders, see Revolutionary Cause and Workers Viewpoint to better understand the differences between ATM and WVO in this respect). There was also an attempt to justify their line on the basis that “you don’t know the work that is carried out by our factory, nuclei during that strike”. We made it clear that in dealing with concrete questions, we would limit ourselves to specific instances in N.Y. where both organizations work and that in terms of practice we would limit ourselves to the legal work both organizations so that excuses such as “you don’t know what I do in secret” could not be used. Of course we don’t know. But since it’s a secret and we don’t want to nor should make it public, then we can’t justify our open errors with the clandestine successes.

In our presentation, we raised three questions to WVO and one to FFM. Since he was unable to respond to any of the four, the WVO representative became hysterical and resorted to calling us “agents of the bourgeoisie”. We are putting them forth again through this medium so that our readers can learn from that experience with the opportunists of WVO.

l) In their presentation, WVO pointed out that RWL had had a “right opportunist line for over two years and that it wasn’t till January that they turned “leftists” and became the “left” opportunists they are now. WVO also pointed out that there were plans for merging RWL with WVO in December-January and that “due to the maneuverings of PRRWO these plans were not carried through”. We asked WVO: How do you call an organization (WVO) which attempts to merge with another organization which has a right opportunist line (RWL) in December-January? We call this opportunism. What does WVO call it? We are still waiting for an answer. It’s obvious that when WVO was considering the organizational merger with an organization that they considered had a right opportunist line, it could not explain this without pointing to their own opportunism – their right opportunist line in party building that sees the building of the Party as a merger of all opportunists in a unity without principles.

2) WVO, in the period from November 1975 to February 1976, proclaimed themselves as part of the genuine wing of the communist movement and now they say that they are part of an “irreversible trend”. We want to know about the self-criticism of WVO and the repudiation they made of the line that they considered themselves part of the so-called “genuine wing”; we want to know when the so-called “genuine wing” ceased to exist for WVO (We’re very clear it never existed) and we want to know also who makes up that “irreversible trend”. Clearly WVO is pushing the same line under a new guise. It is extremely important that they proclaim themselves the circle with the most correct line in the communist movement. Regardless what new title they assume, we are still waiting for a reply from WVO.

3) As an example of their “revolutionary practice” WVO uses their participation in the Day of Solidarity with the Independence of Puerto Rico, held in Madison Square Garden on October 27 1974. WVO never ceases to point out that their representative was the only voice which condemned Soviet social-imperialism. Bravo WVO! However, we are interested in discussing it in greater depth, the events before and after the Garden activity. It is well known that the preparations for this activity took well over 5 months. Under the leadership of an Asian community organization – a non-communist organization – a coalition of Asian organizations to support the activity was organized. Within the coalition WVO conspired left and right, using its now famous front organizations, in order to assure itself that its member was chosen as the speaker for the coalition (not as a WVO representative) for the activity at the Garden. Meanwhile during all this time, 5 months, WVO did not produce one single independent piece of propaganda criticizing the line of the activity which was based on the reformist slogan “Bicentennial Without Colonies”. We are clear that this line, put into practice by WVO, of “Unite to Expose” led them to make a series of concessions on principles to the revisionists in exchange for three minutes to denounce the social-imperialists in front of the “masses”. Contrast this position with our own which we published in August of that year in a series of articles which appeared in Resistencia, condemning the line of this activity, which we later published in booklet form and was distributed to those that attended the activity. Furthermore, we held a series of activities prior to October 27, where we denounced not only the Soviet social-imperialists but also the Yankee imperialists as well as the revisionists from PSP and “C”PUSA which controlled the activity. We also pointed out that WVO never took an official position in regards to the Havana Conference, a super-revisionist conference, in solidarity with PSP which consistently in its preparatory work attached and slandered the People’s Republic of China, its correct Communist Party and its great leader Chairman Mao Tse tung. In a forum in which WVO, OL, the Comite-MINP, and CAP participated, the representative of WVO declared that they were not participating in the Conference because they had not yet received an invitation. Several weeks later, in a conference on the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union sponsored by OL, Martin Nicolaus, the speaker, asked WVO for its position on the Havana Conference and they replied that they were still studying the question. On August 5, 1975, starting date of the Conference, Resistencia Puertorriquena held a forum on this issue. Representatives of WVO as well as RWL and PRRWO attended. Our position is published as an Analysis of the Havana Conference. The only organization which consistently struggled against our position was WVO, who pointed out “We do not know the forces which are represented in Havana. If there are honest forces there, we should be there; if there are only revisionists the we should denounce it.” We pointed out that in both cases they would be opportunists for they were not at the Conference and they had not denounced it, and the Conference was already in progress. The purpose of this part of our presentation was to denounce the conciliatory policy towards revisionism which WVO held based on the line of “Unite to Expose”. As usual the only ones exposed were themselves. We challenged WVO to show us any piece of agitation and propaganda produced by them denouncing the revisionist line of the activities in Havana and the Garden. We are still waiting! It seems that WVO’s break with revisionism is just talk. Their objective is to build, not a party of a new type, but, consistent with their right opportunist line, they seek to “build the mass movement”. They drag themselves behind the revisionists under the guise of being where the masses are. Thus, they make concessions and end up denouncing, not the revisionists but themselves and their opportunism.

4) Finally, we questioned the Boston Chapter of FFM on one of the positions they presented in the Forum in New York on May Day. The position which appeared in a pamphlet entitled “Let’s denounce the “Left” Opportunism of RWL/PRRWO” was given out in the Los Angeles forum. We read from page 7 of their booklet the following:

RWL says that FFM needs positions on party building, trade unions, the national question, and needs democratic centralism. These “left” covers that RWL puts forth will inevitably lead them to establish a Communist Youth Organization (CYO) without any concrete analysis of the conditions and time of the student movement and how it relates to the party building motion.

We pointed out to the Boston FFM representative that in their presentation that evening (in L. A.) a clear position had been established in regards to the national question, the party, the international situation, bussing, ERA, trade unions, etc. We then asked how they justified their criticism that RWL was “leftist” when they demanded that a student organization have positions on these questions and by the same token they had come to establish the position of a student organization on these same questions. It was clear that the Boston FFM did not accept the “left” opportunist line of RWL because it prefers the right opportunist line of WVO.

After we had made our presentation, the representative of WVO “lost his cool.” WVO did not deal with any of the questions. In between screams and shouts of WVO’s representative and another of their cadre who hysterically attacked us, we were able to deepen the analysis on some of the issues we had raised as well as mentioned a series of examples of WVO’s practice such as: their unity with the “C”PUSA, PSP and the Girl Scouts in celebrating International Women’s Day in New York in 1975, their position that in “Chinatown there exist special conditions which do not allow for open communist work”, also their now famous “Coalitions against the Budget Cuts”. The last point which we debated with WVO was regarding the characterization they made of PRRWO (YLP) in their pamphlet in which they called them “shock troops” – for the role they played in the uprising of the Puerto Rican national minority in the later part of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. This type of insult and slander was directed not only to PRRWO but to all organizations and individuals who at that time actively and in a revolutionary fashion participated in fighting to defend the democratic rights of the Puerto Ricans in the U.S.

Finally, it should be noted that no organization or collective (and there were several present) nor independent Marxist-Leninists among those present arose to defend the line of WVO. As a matter of fact most of those present applauded our participation and after the forum we had an opportunity to deepen some of the issues we had raised.

Comrades, WVO is trying to take advantage of the confusion that the “ultra-leftist” politics and suicidal sectarianism of PRRWO-RWL has created. But their tactic backfired in Los Angeles. And it will continue to do so, to the degree that genuine Marxist-Leninists better grasp the opportunism of their line and combat them point by point not only in forums and newspapers but in the hospitals, schools, workplaces and other service areas where they daily spread their reformist, right opportunist poison. To the degree that this is done, we will be advancing the task of party building in the heat of the struggle against opportunist of all hues.