First Published: Resistencia, Vol. 8, No. 1, n.d. January 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We have quite a few Social-Democrats who give way to pessimism every time the workers suffer a reverse in single battles with the capitalists or with the government, and who scornfully dismiss all mention of the great and lofty aims of the working-class movement by pointing to the inadequate degree of our influence on the masses. Who and what are we, they say, to strive towards such things? It is purposeless to speak of the role of Social-Democracy as vanguard of the revolution when we do not even really know the mood of the masses, when we are unable to merge with them and to rouse the working masses! The reverses suffered by the Social-Democrats last May Day have considerably intensified this mood. Naturally, the Mensheviks, or new-Iskrists, have seized this opening to raise anew the special slogan “To the masses!” – as if in spite, as if in answer to those who have thought and spoken of the provisional revolutionary government, of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, etc.
It must be admitted that in this pessimism, and in the conclusions which the hasty publicists of the new Iskra draw from it, there is one very dangerous feature that may cause great harm to the Social-Democratic movement. To be sure, self-calk ism is vitally essential to every live and virile party. There is nothing more disgusting than smug optimism. There is nothing more warranted than the urging of attention to the constant, imperative necessity of deepening and broadening, broadening and deepening, our influence on the masses, our strictly Marxist propaganda and agitation, our ever-closer connection with the economic struggle of the working class, etc. Yet, because such urging is at all times warranted, under all conditions and in all situations, it must not be turned into special slogans, nor should it justify attempts to build upon it a special trend in Social-Democracy. A border-line exists here; to exceed the bounds is to turn this indisputably legitimate urging into a narrowing of the aims and the scope of the movement, into a doctrinaire blindness to the vital and cardinal political tasks of the moment. Lenin, On Confounding Politics with Pedagogics
* * *
With this article we are starting an open comradely polemic with the ATM-ML. We understand it to be of vital importance for Marxist-Leninists to clarify the tasks of the communist movement as a whole, and not just exclusively our own organizational tasks. We will center this initial part of the polemic criticising their “sober appraisal of our movement” and the conclusions derived from it by the comrades, as they appear in “The Revolutionary Cause And Our Tasks” (Revolutionary Cause vol.1 #10, Nov. 1976)
Let us say this clearly: We consider ATM-ML an honest Marxist-Leninist organization committed to the task of proletarian revolution in the U.S. That is why, despite the deep differences that exist between both our organizations, we are approaching this polemic from the point of view of “unity-struggle-higher unity”.
irst of all we must say we are indebted to ATM-ML for the valuable criticisms it has given our organization which has helped us to move forward. Among these are of special importance their influence in our adoption of the correct position of “Self-Determination for the Afro-American nation”; the need to analyze current topical issues in our newspaper; the need to consistently sum-up our mass work; the need to give more emphasis to the training of cadres.
Also we consider of value that, at a time when our organization was deepening its understanding on the question of party building and striving for a correct political line, the comrades of ATM-ML aided us to better grasp and adopt positions such as tactical tasks in party building, “Marxist-Leninists Unite, and Win the Advanced to Communism”, of which “Marxist-Leninists Unite was primary”, and “place all our work in the context of party building” – then held by ATM-ML. However, as Lenin says:
Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation. Lenin, Selected Works, vol. II, p.45
In the article we are referring to ATM put forward a thoroughly one-sided and pessimistic view of the actual situation of our movement. In brief, ATM describes an all-negative picture of the movement, and calls on honest Marxist-Leninists to retreat, to dedicate themselves only to fusion, until we grow enough muscle to confront the bigger and stronger opportunist forces. In the course of doing this, ATM objectively liquidates party building as the central task, political line as the key link, theory as primary over practice in this period, ’Marxist-Leninists Unite and Win the Advanced to Communism’ as our two principal tactical tasks (MLs unite is primary, LPR), propaganda as chief form of activity, right opportunism as the main danger, and the ideological and political struggle against opportunism. In the course of the polemic we will address ourselves to each of these questions.
ATM’s assessment of the communist movement is divided into 5 points:
1. The economic and political crisis of imperialism is rousing the masses to struggle on a growing scale. For example, we have the recent wildcat strike by 120,000 mineworkers; the growing organized rank and file resistance to the trade union bureaucrats among steelworkers, autoworkers, etc.; the spreading movement against police repression of the oppressed nationalities, (Joann Little, Gary Tyler, Coalition Against Police Abuse in Los Angeles, etc.). While these movements have not yet revealed the scope and intensity of the mass movements of the 1960’s, it is only a matter of time before they do. Communists are only providing leadership to these struggles to a small extent. Revolutionary Cause #10
We agree with this. However, the role of communists is not just to assess things; we also must put forward the correct political line to deal with them. To the question – what does this new arousal of the masses demand of communists?, ATM-ML and LPR-ML give two diametrically opposed answers.
ATM basically establishes that we should concentrate more on “fusion”. To accomplish this task, they say their newspaper should be mainly agitation in order that it may become “more ACCESIBLE to the class” (ATM emphasis). In other words, that ATM’s response to the upsurge of the masses which they forsee is to lower the political level of their newspaper (which they consider the “pivot” of their work). To the greater demands of the class for political consciousness, ATM answers with agitation in the forefront.
The comrades will claim that we are distorting their position because repeatedly they say in their article that “propaganda is still in the forefront”. They claim that despite the fact that the paper will be mainly agitational, this will not lower its level. This is like having the cake and eating it too. How are you going to change a paper from mainly propaganda to mainly agitation, make it more ACCESIBLE to the masses, and at the same time claim that you have not lowered its level?
Besides this being incorrect from the standpoint of theory – it muddles the differences between propaganda and agitation – the facts fly at the face. An analysis of Revolutionary Cause #s 9, 10, ll shows clearly that the level has been lowered and the sum-ups of ATM’s factory work show that agitation is in the forefront of their work.
We are second to none in our appreciation of the importance and necessity of factory exposures, but it must be borne in mind that we have reached a stage when St Petersburg folk find it dull reading the St Petersburg correspondence of the St Petersburg Rabockaya Mysl. Local factory exposures have always been and should always continue to be made through the medium of leaflets, but we must raise the level of the newspaper, and not lower it to the level of a factory leaflet. What we require for a newspaper is not $0 much “petty” exposures, as of the major, typical evils of factory life, exposures based on especially striking facts and capable, therefore, of arousing the interest of all workers and all leaders of the movement, capable of really enriching their knowledge, widening their outlook, and of serving: as a starting point for awakening new districts and new categories of the workers. Lenin, What is to be Done?, p. 181
LPR considers that a new upsurge of the masses places a greater responsibility over our shoulders. We need “greater consciousness in the theoretical, political and organizational work.” In this period, this greater consciousness in all our work has to be understood fundamentally aimed at the ever more urgent task of building the communist party in the U.S. Thus we hold that we must “place all our work in the context of party building”. As comrade Lenin says:
And so, we have become convinced that the fundamental error committed by the “new trend” in Russian Social-Democracy lies in its bowing to spontaneity, and its failure to understand that the spontaneity of the masses demands a mass of consciousness from us Social-Democrats. The greater the spontaneous upsurge of the masses, the more widespread the movement becomes, so much the more rapidly, incomparably more rapidly, grows the demand for greater consciousness in the theoretical, political and organizational work of Social-Democracy. Lenin, What is to be Done?, p. 63
To help provide honest Marxist-Leninists and advanced elements with the ideological, political and organizational tools that will allow the genuine Marxist-Leninist trend in this country to grow stronger we must broaden the scope and the quality of our propaganda and agitation. A communist newspaper in this period must be fundamentally a propaganda newspaper. Furthermore, it has to be expanded (its number of pages, circulation, topics, etc.) to meet the greater demand for ideological, political and organizational leadership that Marxist-Leninist collectives and honest Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers all around the country place on us.
The comrades of ATM continue:
2. The opportunists are stronger in certain respects than the Marxist-Leninists.
The CPUSA, PSP, CASA, the RCP and the OL undoubtedly have more mass influence than do Marxist-Leninists. They are also much bigger, much stronger financially and organizationally than “our side”. We are aware that this is a temporary phenomenon in an historical sense. Nevertheless we cannot let historical perspective blind us to contemporary realities.
This would be like an adolescent boy trying to knock out Muhammed Ali because “historically speaking” he is on the “ascendant” while Ali is on the decline. Revolutionary Cause #10
Comrades, who is going to expect that with a young communist movement, without a party, or even a developed ideological, political and organizational center for it, honest Marxist-Leninists will have more “mass influence”, be “much bigger” organizations “much stronger financially and organizationally” than the opportunists? The situation that ATM describes is the rule and not the exception in capitalist societies. And it will be such in the U.S. for a long time even after the formation of the party. As Marx has taught us, the dominant ideology in any society is the ideology of the ruling class.
First of all let’s see on the basis of what ATM compares opportunists and genuine Marxist-Leninists: “influence among the masses” “size of organization”, “finances”, “organizational strength”. The implication we get from this list is that somehow in our work to become stronger than the opportunists we have to excel from them in these areas in order to defeat them and build the party. This is absolutely incorrect. It is not money, amount of people, mass influence, organization, etc. that determines the real strength of the different groups. It is the ideological and political line that decides that, comrades.
As Chairman Mao teaches:
The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.
And Chou En-lai:
If one’s line is incorrect, one’s downfall is inevitable, even with the control of the central, local and army leadership. If one’s line is correct, even if one has not a single soldier at first, there will be soldiers, and even if there is no political power, political power will be gained. Report to 10th Party Congress
Now to the pessimistic attitude of ATM and its Muhammad Ali example. Here we have the heavyweight champion Ali (representing the opportunists) and the “adolescent boy” (representing genuine Marxist-Leninists). Through this example ATM is telling us that we have to either wait till we grow more muscle (more influence, money, etc.) to fight the opportunists, or wait till the complete decline of these opportunists before we can seriously make the struggle against opportunism one of our most important tasks in the communist and workers movement. No comrades. We each and every one of us genuine Marxist-Leninists, are prepared and must struggle against the opportunists right here and now. Saying the contrary is to conciliate with opportunism, to belittle the danger of opportunism and the role of the struggle against it. We cannot defeat the bourgeoisie in this country until, and unless, we defeat opportunism.
To retreat as ATM is proposing is to disarm the class and leave it under the influence of the revisionists and opportunists. And it is not enough to say that we are going to wait for them in those factories that we are working in. The struggle against opportunism – both right, which is the main danger, and “left” – has to be carried out consistently in our newspapers, in our theoretical journals, leaflets, forums, mass work, trade union work, etc., and attacking not only its practical manifestations, but demolishing its theoretical foundations as well.
Perhaps the “adolescent boy” won’t be able to knockout Ali after a single punch but can connect good and consistent upper cuts and body punches, and in this way expose, isolate and defeat these forces. History shows this consequently, “adolescent” Lenin took on the “champions” Plekhanov, Bernstein, Kautsky and the II International, and defeated them at all levels. He strove to knock them out ideologically and politically (Remember What is to be done?) and not to defeat them first in the factories to later polemize against them. Comrade Stalin said:
As a result of the wide circulation of this book, by the time of the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, that is, within a year after its publication (it appeared in March 1902) nothing but a distateful memory remained of the ideological stand of ’Economism’, and to be called an ’Economist’ was regarded by the majority of the members of the Party as an insult. History of the C.P.S.U.(B) p37-38
Historically ATM has belittled the role of open polemics in not only the struggle against opportunism but also as a way to develop political line, deepen our understanding and give concrete leadership to other Marxist-Leninists and advanced elements. ATM failed to wage a timely polemic with the October League, and this error led among other things to:
1. We helped to give the October League credibility among some forces where we had influence;
2. We confused many revolutionary forces; (Revolutionary Cause vol. 1 #3, p.8)
We expect that self-criticism means not only repudiation of error but also rectification in practice. But ATM deepened its error in their relation with the sham “genuine wing”. They never polemized with PRRWO before or during their political relation with them. Even at the time of the break of the “left” opportunists of PRRWO-RWL with the right opportunists of WVO, the comrades remained silent. It took them months after the complete degeneration of PRRWO to come up with a long overdue polemic that basically focused on defending the actual line of ATM-ML. And continuing in the same tracks they have belittled the danger of the right opportunists of WVO, disarming honest elements and objectively helping them fall – temporarily we are sure – in the claws of these petty-bourgeois intellectuals. ATM’s failure to struggle against the right opportunist WVO helped make it “easier for charlatans, demagogues and reactionaries to mislead the people who had only learned the ABC (of Marxism, ed. LPR). (Lenin, On Confounding Politics with Pedagogics, vol. 8, pp 452-455)
Again today ATM is coming very late with its polemic with WVO, and is starting it on the wrong foot as it is labeling the thoroughly right opportunist WVO as being “leftist”. This is perhaps an explanation of why in point #2 of the appraisal WVO is not included among the opportunists.
If we used ATM’s criteria to compare ourselves with PRRWO, RWL, WVO, OL, etc., we should have concluded that we are too “adolescent”, too “small”, too “poor”, etc. to struggle against them. But on the contrary, we have consistently struggled against them, not only in the newspaper but also in the forums, in strikes, in mass actions, etc. AND IN THE COURSE OF THAT STRUGGLE WE BECAME STRONGER IDEOLOGICALLY, POLITICALLY AND ORGANIZATIONALLY!
Marxism-Leninism has developed through fierce struggle against all shades of opportunism. Comrades, we must take on the opportunists! They are, the junior “paper-tigers”. If we don’t hit them, they won’t fall!
3. The Marxist-Leninist trend is growing but has some very serious weaknesses. Most serious is the lack of a real base in the working class, movement. We have had occasion to observe the; work of many comrades and to discuss this work with them, large organizations as well as collectives. Almost without exception they have only a minimal base, if that, among the industrial proletariat. The industrial midwest, the heartland of U.S. capitalism, for example, has very few Communists doing work there. Those that do are often young, inexperienced, untrained and with little influence. One small evidence of the truth of our assertion is provided by the communist forums. They are notable for the lack of calloused hands in the audience. Let’s not kid ourselves. Revolutionary Cause #10
The lack of a base in the working class is indeed an extremely serious weakness. However, ATM-ML – unable to see the forest for the trees – raises this weakness as being not only the most urgent problem but, in effect, the only problem. This is a onesided analysis that leads to the liquidation of political line as key link, as well as the task of uniting Marxist-Leninists. ATM-ML’s assessment and proposed solution negates the fact that in order to establish a real base in the working class, the emerging genuine Marxist-Leninist trend must unite on a correct ideological and political line that guides our work in the class. The ATM-ML is pointing to the lack of a real base in the class, disconnecting this fact from the state of disunity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists and then in effect asking comrades to go into the class guided by a propagandist-agitator-organizer (the R.C.) that is mainly agitational, to “unite Marxist-Leninists serious about doing the work” and summing this up as the way to achieve real fusion.
This is turning things upside down. Marxist-Leninists unite on the basis of political line and it is that unity that allows them to carry on revolutionary work among the masses. With the O.L., R.C.P., etc. for example, it is not that they are not “serious about doing the work”, but rather, that their political line is incorrect, and no matter how serious they are about doing the work – based on that incorrect line – the results will always be reformism, tailism, bowing to spontaneity, etc.
The very meaning of political line being the “key link” is precisely that. You cannot carry out revolutionary practice if you are not guided by revolutionary theory. That is why we also have to emphsize that “theory is primary over practice in this period”. But ATM is putting forward exactly the opposite.
To subordinate the task of uniting and organizing Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers into the one advanced detachment of the class – with a guiding ideological and political line – to subordinate this central task of party building to “fusion” will only lead to further fusing economism and reformism with the working class movement.
The Marxist-Leninist trend in the United States is composed of a few organizations, collectives and individual Marxist-Leninists around the country. The trend does not have organic connections among all its components. Some of the collectives just print internal documents, local leaflets, carry on propaganda and agitation in their areas, conduct study circles, work in the various national movement, etc. In the last 6 months we have come in contact with a great number of such collectives. Those comrades are developing by themselves, connected to the communist movement only through the different newspapers and by the liaison established through travelling around the country. We have to facilitate growing relations among the collectives; we have to help them solve the ideological, political and organizational problems they share with us. We cannot expect this trend to develop spontaneously. We have to consolidate the trend on the basis of unity on political line.
Political line is not something taken out of books as the petty bourgeois intellectuals of WVO would have it. But neither is it something that we arrive at based on our own narrow practice as ATM seems to be saying. Political line is the indissoluble unity of theory and practice. Communists must always strive to match their words with their deeds. Whoever breaks the relation that should exist between theory and practice can only cause harm to both the working class and communists movements.
OF COURSE, THEORY BECOMES PURPOSELESS IF IT IS NOT CONNECTED WITH REVOLUTIONARY PRACTICE, JUST AS PRACTICE GROPES IN THE DARK IF ITS PATH IS NOT ILLUMINES BY REVOLUTIONARY THEORY. STALIN, FOUNDATIONS OF LENINISM
The point in discussion here is not whether we should not base ourselves in the working class. We feel that the recognition of this need, and the actual striving to bring Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought to the class is one of the greater achievements of the developing Marxist-Leninist trend. The point in discussion is what should be the guiding line to accomplish this. It is on the basis of this line that Marxist-Leninists will unite.
It is in the context of this struggle to determine this guiding line that all other discussions (on key link, chief form of activity, etc.) take on importance. It is not a mere intellectual exercise, but a genuine preoccupation for the future of our revolution. Comrade Mao teaches us that:
The creation and advocacy of revolutionary theory plays the principal and decisive role in those times of which Lenin said: ’Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.’ And later add ‘When a task, no matter which, has to be performed, but there is yet no guiding line, method, plan or policy, the principal and decisive thing is to decide on a guiding line, method, plan or policy.’
But ATM is telling us the opposite.
4. The level of actual fusion of Communism with the working class and national movements is low. Although the League for Proletarian Revolution correctly criticizes the movement for failing to analyze the extent of this fusion, they too fail to do so. They merely state that the lack of a party is evidence of a low level of fusion. This is not an ANALYSIS. One could have made the same statement in 1960. Are we to suppose therefore that no change has occurred in the past 16 years, and that no change will occur until the Party congress? We think it is better to judge the level of fusion also by the political demands and slogans raised by the working class. Where do we see the working class masses calling for socialism, or for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American or Chicano nations or for full democratic rights for all national minorities, and fighting for these things? The examples we do have are paltry and extremely limited in scope. This tells us that Communists are not winning over the advanced and training them to lead the masses to fight under such slogans. We must end the practice of just talking about fusion and start actually fusing. Otherwise we will end up with a “party” composed of a few propaganda circles instead of a live and vital vanguard which is rooted in the advanced class, which has proven worthy of leading that class, which has shown itself capable of training the advanced workers as communist cadres based on the ability to organize and lead the class struggle in all its manifestations. We want, we demand a party of action, and not a bloated circle of polemicists and windbags; a party born and bred and tempered by having led the struggles of the workers. Revolutionary Cause #10
First of all let us establish what we have previously put forward on this question.
There have been a lot of arguing back and forth, but very little analyses in relation to what is the level of fusion between the communist movement and the working class movement in the U.S. today. WVO says that it’s just beginning while PRRWO maintains that it’s highly advanced. However, neither organization puts forth the basis for their position. OL, as always, is ready to build the party now. In our understanding, the absence of a communist party in the U.S. is an undeniable proof of the low level of fusion between both movements. Within the working class movement the influence of the communist movement is virtually non-existent. Even revisionists and right opportunists with all their tailing behind the masses have no real influence in the working class movement.
This is not TO say we do not recognize the work being done in the working class movement by Marxist-Leninist organizations, Marxist-Leninist collectives and Marxist-Leninist individuals, which is geared to fuse these two great movements. The first and the biggest step in this fusion is concretized with the building of the party. That is why we defend as correct the formulation that all our work must be seen in the context of party building. All our activities must be seen within the context of how they will aid in accelerating this process. Whoever deviates even a little, even for a moment is objectively affecting and sacrificing what is in the best interests of the working class. Resistance vol.7, #6, pp 4, 5.
ATM states that this is not an analysis and goes on to say that “its better to judge the level of fusion also by the political demands and slogans raised by the working class…” We feel that once again there are two diametrically opposed views of what fusion is, and how it is achieved. The thrust of our position is that in the absence of a party you cannot talk about a high level of fusion. How can the working class movement adopt the demands and slogans of the Marxist-Leninists in the absence of a revolutionary Program that concretizes these demands, and a party to lead the struggle for them? When we talk about fusion here and now, we are talking principally about fusion of the advanced workers and socialism. This is concretized in the slogan, “Win the Advanced to Communism”. The comrades of ATM on the other hand see it differently:
The examples we have are paltry and extremely limited in scope. This tells us that communists are not winning over the advanced and training them to lead the masses to fight under such slogans. We must end the practice of just talking about fusion and start actually fusing. (emphasis ATM’s)
The comrades of ATM-ML are correct in stating that the level of fusion is also judged by the political demands and slogans of the working class. It should be pointed out, however, that the working class masses may also call for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation under the influence of narrow nationalists (for example the Nation of Islam or Republic of New Africa raising this very slogan). This would not at all be an indication of fusion. The analysis that there is a Chicano nation has only very recently been put forth by the comrades from ATM-ML (even genuine Marxist-Leninists are not consolidated around this question, including LPR-ML) and now ATM-ML wants to measure fusion on whether or not the masses call and struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano nation.
We definitely agree with ATM-ML in that the number of advanced workers that have actually been won over to communism is very low. But it is really a contradiction for ATM-ML to on the one hand acknowledge this, and on the other expect that these “few” advanced workers be able to lead the masses in the struggle for socialism. Especially when the Marxist-Leninists that have trained these advanced workers have failed in many instances to raise the demands of socialism and the Party in their mass work, the same demands they expect the masses to struggle for. Besides, it is the party that makes the masses conscious, and leads them in the struggle for socialism. And the party is yet to be formed.
5. The Marxist-Leninists are beginning to carry out systematic political and organisational work among the industrial proletariat. Although some groups, like ourselves, have been there for a few years we cannot claim to have extensive influence as yet.
As we can see things are not all as we would like, we cannot sit back and congratulate ourselves for being Marxist-Leninists and not opportunists. Nor can we dismiss the mass influence of the revisionists arid opportunists with infantile references to “quality not quantity”, or “they only have numbers”. This is like saying, forget about the trade union bureaucrats, they “only” have the trade unions. We Communists must intensify our work among, the class, not fearing to lead their struggles just because someone might accuse us of “worshipping spontaneity”. In order to do this work, that is, to increase our political influence among the proletariat we must utilize all the tools at our disposal. And that is the purpose of this article, to discuss one of those tools – the Revolutionary Cause. Revolutionary Cause, #10
Again the question of the “influence”. Let us repeat again. There is NO capitalist country in the world in which the “influence”, the “size”, the “organizational and financial” strength of the genuine Marxist-Leninists is stronger than that of the revisionists and the reformists. This is true even where strong Marxist-Leninist Communist Parties (such as Australia, Philippines, Japan, etc.) exist. This is obvious, but to try to build over it and justify, a “practice, practice, practice” line is precisely to lose perspective as to how that influence is to be achieved.
Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only from outside of the economic struggle, from outside of the sphere of relations between workers and employers. The sphere from which alone it is possible to obtain this knowledge is the sphere of relationships between all the classes and strata and the state and the government, the sphere of the interrelations between all the classes. For that reason, the reply to the question as to what must be done to bring political knowledge to the workers cannot be merely the answer with which, in the majority of cases, the practical workers, especially those inclined towards Economism, mostly content themselves, namely: “To go among the workers.” To bring political knowledge to the workers the Social-Democrats must go among all classes of the population, must dispatch units of their army in all directions. Lenin, What is to be Done, p. 98
On the question of carrying out “political and organizational work in the industrial proletariat” there is no doubt that ATM is doing so. But we firmly believe that this work is being reduced in the main to militant trade unionism. We base this view on the sum-ups of their work as printed in the Revolutionary Cause. We refer specifically to the articles about the Western Yarns strike (Revolutionary Cause #9) and about the Major Safe strike (Revolutionary Cause #s lO, 11, 12). The work of ATM in both places show clearly the position we have established above. The failure to consistently raise party building in their mass work, their mainly agitational newspaper, their practice over theory, etc. are stubborn facts that we believe show the correctness of our appraisal.
A final comment. We feel that the main danger in ATM-ML is the right. All the examples of their line; its implications and manifestations in practice clearly show this. The comrades, however, insist on that the main danger in ATM-ML has been, and continues to be “leftism”.
The failure to correctly identify the source of our errors necessarily leads to an incorrect approach to its solution. Let’s briefly show two examples of what we mean:
1. ATM-ML has criticised itself that many times it has failed to raise the party in different struggles. This is a right error. But insisting that they are “leftist” in trailing their cadres, they emphasize “on the danger of raising party building in a dogmatic way” as opposed to putting forward “Comrades, Party building is the central task, make sure that you do raise in a very concrete way.”
2. In the Editorial we have just discussed, ATM makes this statement:
We communists must intensify our work among the class not fearing to lead their struggles because someone might accuse us of worshipping spontaneity. (Revolutionary Cause #10, p.ll)
We are also bound to hear that we are becoming ’just like the O.L.’. This knee jerk response can only come from people who are confused or who do not think. (Revolutionary Cause #10, p.12)
This advise to the cadres reflects a right view on training. You cannot tell your cadres to do work and don’t worry if somebody criticizes you for “economism”, because only people who are “confused” or “do not think” will do that.
Such type of training will objectively put the cadres at the lookout for only “left” errors, and whoever criticizes them for committing right errors, they will just respond “You are confused”, “You cannot think”. PRRWO uses the same method of training in this respect. Their leadership tell cadres that the right was the main danger in the organization. Whoever criticizes you for being “left” is “attacking the quintessence of Marxism and is a Menshevik”. Even today, many ex-members of PRRWO as well as sympathizers are still striving to rectify those “left” errors. They were trained only against the right.
ATM, instead of conditioning cadres against those “confused” or “un-thinking people”, should seriously consider the existence of a right danger within the organization and rectify its right error in practice. Chairman Mao teaches us that:
If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticised, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it. Mao Tsetung, Serve the People
Anyone, no matter who, “confused” or “unthinking”, and especially comrades.
In summing-up, the growing upsurge of the masses as the result of the deepening of the imperialist crisis, finds the U.S. multinational proletariat without its vanguard party. Deprived of its “advanced and organized detatchment” of its “general staff”, the proletariat will not be able to defeat the U.S. bourgeoisie, despite the disposition to struggle and the heroism which it has consistently displayed.
It is an undeniable reality that the subjective factor is lagging behind the objective conditions.
What is our task? To put an end to that situation. Dedicate all our efforts to the building of such a party. The forces to build that party are scattered all around the country. In genuine Marxist-Leninist organizations and collectives, in study groups, factory cells, communist cores in work places, etc. To concentrate in bringing together all these forces is an immediate task. We have to make the existence of a genuine Marxist-Leninist trend in this country a living reality, ideologically, politically, and organizationally. But among our ranks, the comrades of the ATM-ML are spreading pessimism and defeatism. They objectively say that the “left” not the right, is the main danger in the growing Marxist-Leninist trend. They call for fusion being primary and not political line. We have to overcome that pessimism. And we are certain that it will be overcome.
Our principal and fundamental task is to facilitate the political development and the political organisation of the working class. Those who push this task into the background, who refuse to subordinate to it all the special tasks and particular methods of straggle, are following a false path and causing serious, harm to the movement. And it is being pushed into the background, firstly, by those who call upon revolutionaries to employ only the forces of isolated conspiratorial circles cut off from the working-class movement in the struggle against the government. It is being pushed into the background, secondly, by those who restrict the content and scope of political propaganda, agitation, and organisation; who think it fit and proper to treat the workers to “politics” only at exceptional moments in their lives, only on festive occasions; who too solicitously substitute demands for partial concessions from the autocracy for the political struggle against the autocracy; and who do not go to sufficient lengths to ensure that these demands for partial concessions are raised to the status of a systematic, implacable struggle of a revolutionary, working-class party against the autocracy. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, Pg. 369.
This polemic is just one step in that direction. We call on the comrades of ATM-ML to continue the polemic, to respond to the criticisms we have raised, to show us incorrect in whatever they consider incorrect. Only through a vigorous, open and above-board struggle among our organizations and other genuine Marxist-Leninists will we be able to move forward.