Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Resistencia Puertorriqueña

Defeat the “Left” Opportunist, Menshevik Line of PRRWO-RWL


First Published: Resistencia, Vol. 7, No. 5, n.d. [1976]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On Friday April 30th, after having exhausted all possibility of resolving the contradictions existing between our organization and the self-proclaimed “genuine-wing” of PRRWO-RWL through ideological struggle based on the Marxist-Leninist principle of unity-struggle-unity, we decided not to participate in the activities of May 1st with these organizations.

Resistencia Puertorriquena took this decision convinced that:
1. The differences in line were of a fundamental nature, and that
2. There was no longer any possibility for comradely ideological struggle, since PRRWO-RWL have substituted ideological struggle with insults, threats and hysterical shouting.

The “left” opportunism of the self-proclaimed “genuine wing”, which we struggled against, thinking that there were possibilities of repudiation, became consolidated. Proof of this were the two ultra-leftist propaganda documents, bordering on Trotskyism, which were produced by PRRWO-RWL and in which, as an additional proof of their opportunism, they had the audacity to include our name as one of the signers.

Let us examine things in their development. The Anti-Imperialist Coalition for International Working Women’s Day, composed of PRRWO-RWL, ALSC and Resistencia Puertorriquena, decided to sponsor a celebration of International Workers’ Day. In relation to this we pointed out in our sum-up of IWWD coalition:

The anti-imperialist coalition for IWWD has decided to continue its work on to May Day. This is a good thing. This coalition achieved a higher level of unity of Marxist-Leninists and this being our primary tactical task it is a great achievement. We must now sum up, deepen our self criticism, determine the source of our errors and correct them, so we may move ahead! Resistencia. vol.7 #3, p.6

It was public knowledge that there were line differences between our organization and PRRWO and RWL. In fact we have consistently pointed out such differences in our paper. But it was our understanding that there were also unities. And based on these unities we decided to remain in the coalition.


1. Uphold Marxism-Leninism–Mao Tse Tung Thought (including the dictatorship of the proletariat, the vanguard role of the working class, the role of the state, etc.
2. The building of the Party as our central task (not the only one, we add) – political line as key (not to the exclusion of ideology and the tasks of organization, we add); the formulation of what is an advanced worker (differences exist on how to win them over to communism); illegal work as primary (not exclusive, we add); main blow to the social props (differences exist as to how we fight against them.)
3. The leading role of China and Albania (its M-L parties and Mao and Hoxha) in the International Communist Movement.
4. Opposition to both superpowers, the Soviet Union as an imperialist country.
5. Support of national liberation struggles and uphold the right of all oppressed nations to self determination.
6. Armed peoples’ war as the only road to socialist revolution.
7. Factory nuclei as the basic form of party organization, democratic centralism, and attitude towards criticism, self-criticism as hallmark of true bolshevism.
8. Right opportunism (revisionism, economism) is the main danger in the communist movement.


(Here we will just briefly establish these differences because it is our purpose to continue polemics with PRRWO-RWL in a series of articles in coming issues of Resistencia in order to establish clearly, in full view of the communist movement, who upholds “Practice Marxism and not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, and don’t intrigue and conspire.”)

1. PRRWO-RWL say that Unite Marxist-Leninists and win the advanced to communism is carried out simultaneously and that neither is primary over the other. We say that you carry out both of them simultaneously but that the former is primary over the latter.
2. We hold that propaganda and agitation are inseparably linked, although we also hold that “propaganda is the chief form of activity in this period”. PRRWO-RWL liquidate agitation, and as a consequence, they also liquidate propaganda. (See Resistencia Vol. 7 #3, p.6)
3. We say that M-Ls have to participate in the mass struggle and that in this struggle we must direct our main blow to the social props of the bourgeoisie and combat both the right danger (which is the main danger) and the “left” danger. In this way we train the advanced workers, and this activity helps the propaganda we make in the process of winning the advanced to communism. PRRWO-RWL see all mass struggles as economism and bowing to spontaneity. For them the advanced are won over only through propaganda.
4. The struggle against revisionists must be carried out in theory as well as in practice. We must defeat them politically and ideologically. Correct political line has no value whatsoever unless it is carried out in practice. PRRWO-RWL limit their struggle against revisionism and all other form of opportunism to ideological struggle over line among communists (and some hand-picked “advanced” elements). Because of this they build, not a communist party which is an “advanced detachment of the working class”, but a debating society.
5. The existence of the “genuine wing”. We disagree with their sectarian, hegemonistic line which elevates it to a matter of principle, of line of demarcation between communist organizations, if they do or don’t accept the existence of the so-called “genuine wing”, created by PRRWO (who puts organizations in and out the wing at their fancy – WVO, Revolutionary Block, ATM, etc.). In our analysis of the communist movement we have said: “The issue at hand is the building of a Bolshevik Party, thus clear lines of demarcations must be established between revolutionaries and opportunists, between mensheviks and Bolsheviks. However, to say that one of these lines of demarcation is the acceptance of the existence of a genuine wing composed of xyz would clearly be left-wing infantilism. Resistencia, vol.7 #3
6. They have a “left” opportunist line characterized by their “onlys”: only party building, only propaganda (rejecting agitation), only line struggle (discarding all other forms of class struggle), only political line (ideology and organization are not important for them), only the advanced (it is incorrect to pay any attention to the intermediate or attempt to raise the general level of consciousness of the masses according to them), only theory (all practice is economism according to them.) only the proletariat (denying the existence of allies of the proletariat like poor farmers, lower sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie, etc. In essence this is a Trotskyite line of isolating the proletariat in its struggle against the bourgeoisie from every other class and sector of class), only the “genuine wing” and eventually only PRRWO-RWL (will be the new “party”.) We oppose all their “onlys”! As Lenin said:

However, such exaggeration of one side of our activities to the detriment of the others, even the urge to throw overboard the other aspects, is fraught with still graver consequences for the Russian working-class movement. Lenin, A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social Democracy, CW vol. 4, p. 283

And further Lenin says:

Philosophical Idealism is only nonsense from the standpoint of crude, simple, metaphysical materialism. From the standpoint of dialectical materialism, on the other hand, philosophical idealism is a one-sided, exaggerated development (inflation, distention) of one of the features, aspects, facets of knowledge Into an absolute, divorced from matter, from nature, apotheosized...

Human knowledge is not (or does not follow a straight line, but a curve which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmire, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes.) Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness: voila the epistemological roots of idealism. V.I. Lenin, On the Question of Dialectics CW Volume 38, page 363

7. Lines of demarcation. For us, the positions that an organization adopts in relation to an issue such as ERA or bussing, etc., are not of themselves basis to determine whether an organization is or is not truly revolutionary. In the absence of a program, a class analysis, and above all a party, it is logical that different organizations adopt different positions in specific questions where we must apply the theory of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions in the U.S. In these instances what is needed is to develop comradely polemics between organizations and to investigate and test the line further in order to determine what is correct.

PRRWO-RWL don’t believe in this. According to them their line is the Bolshevik line and all those that differ with it are Mensheviks. Thus they label as Trotskyites, opportunists, Mensheviks, etc. all those that support E.R.A. without making any distinction between opportunists that support the E.R.A. such as the October League, and honest organizations that also support this legislation, as is the case with ATM. The same applies to those that oppose E.R.A. which includes varied forces such as WVO, PRRWO, Resistencia Puertorriquena, and, (don’t be shocked) the “C’PUSA. It is clear that what is important in such cases is not to establish lines of demarcation between those that support and those that oppose E.R.A., but rather, deepen the analysis on the true significance of. this legislation, on how the different organizations have arrived at the position they have on it, how this position relates to the position organizations have in general regarding reforms, the struggle of the masses, etc., and what is the overall line of those organizations. On this basis, we can call honest and genuine communists those who like ATM differ with our position on E.R.A., and call revisionist the “C’PUSA, and “left” opportunist PRRWO-RWL despite the fact that in this issue there is apparent unity.

In brief, our position is one of drawing lines, of demarcation between ourselves and forces which, through serious and deep study of their line, we can come to the conclusion that they are not for revolution and socialism, but for reform and the continuation of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. We must always make the difference between the antagonistic character of the contradictions between ourselves and the bourgeoisie and its representatives, and the not necessarily antagonistic character of the differences among the masses (and in this case, among communists). To do otherwise would be to do as PRRWO-RWL who are involved in a “witch hunt” putting the label of “Menshevik” indiscriminately, including on those who are really striving to unite all genuine Marxist-Leninists and win the advanced elements to communism in order to build a party which will truly be an advanced detachment of the multinational working class in the U.S. PRRWO-RWL are really drawing lines of demarcation between themselves and the communist movement and the working class. They are following the trail that will turn them into another Trotskyite sect similar to the CLP.

8. Criticism and self-criticism. For communists, criticism and self-criticism is the most correct method to detect and correct our errors, to “cure the disease without killing the patient”, to Bolshevise our ranks. The attitude of an organization towards criticism and self criticism is a hallmark of a truly Bolshevik organization. Despite all their “chest-beating” the self-proclaimed “genuine wing” and especially PRRWO does not take seriously the matter of criticism and self-criticism. They have turned this valuable weapon of Marxism-Leninism into some sort of “confession” Catholic Church style: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned, my sins are the following, I promise not to commit them again, I will say 3 Hail Mary’s and will see you again next week to tell you my new sins!” This is self-criticism for PRRWO. PRRWO offers ideological justifications of their past errors in order to cover for present errors. PRRWO does not connect their errors to their leadership or their political line. Errors are simply attributed to “Mensheviks” which have been purged. Thus we see them making phony self-criticisms such as:

1. “The errors that were made in the IWWD coalition were not ours, but those of a Menshevik, who did not properly represent us and as a result he has been purged.”
2. “The errors at Brooklyn College were not ours but of the Mensheviks we threw out.”
3. “The errors which appeared in the leaflet that we wrote for May 1st were not ours but those of...(and we never found out whose errors they were) and are a consequence of an intense struggle between two lines.”

Similarly, they continue ad nauseam. Behind all these so-called self-criticisms is hidden a “left” opportunist line which grows out of the fantasies and the wishful thinking of a leadership wholly alienated from the communist movement and the masses. Further, PRRWO’s method is one of “trial and error”. Try something today, and if it doesn’t work, throw someone out and try the opposite. This constant vacillation from side to side, from slogan to slogan, also points at the fact that they are incapable of making concrete analysis of concrete situations and that there does not exist democratic centralism in that organization. Because, how can we explain that organizations like PRRWO, and also RWL, which allege to be “national organizations” push one line in the morning and another in the evening? How can we explain that for more than two years of developing work in a place (Brooklyn College) they now allege that their line was not being applied and that they did not know what was going on there, despite the facts that (a) at least two central committee members participated in this work, and (b) based on the sum-up of their experience in Brooklyn College especially (and other colleges) they held a Student Conference last December in which they proposed anti-imperialist coalitions (which they today reject) as the correct way of student organizing.

Despite all the differences already presented (on which we will expand in future issues in a pamphlet under preparation) we maintained a principled ideological struggle based on unity-struggle-unity, until Friday, April 30, with these organizations based on the understanding, today we realize an incorrect one, that there was a possibility of real change and that their “left” errors would be finally repudiated. But all the contrary occurred. PRRWO-RWL in their feverish hegemonic attempts embarked on a “holy crusade ” in which:

1. They declared Resistencia Puertorriquena and ATM “Mensheviks.”
2. They purged from their organizations some comrades who correctly summed-up the organization’s line as a “left” opportunist one and who attempted to repudiate it. As a matter of fact, in a liaison meeting in December last year, the representatives of PRRWO, 2 C.C. members, summed up the main error of their organization as being “left”.
3. They purged from PRSU and FFM all the elements who had contradictions of any type with their opportunist line. As a matter of fact these organizations, at least in N.Y., are mere appendages of PRRWO-RWL.
4. Apparently the same process is occurring in ALSC who recently withdrew an invitation they had made to us to participate in a forum on Angola based on that RWL was opposed to our participation because according to them we were Mensheviks. When questioned as to what proof RWL had given to ALSC to substantiate their accusation, they told us that RWL would soon give their sum-up of our line. And until “soon” comes around, we cannot participate in that activity.

As we said at the beginning of this article, the “left” opportunism of the self-proclaimed “genuine wing” showed clear consolidation in the ultra-leftist (Trotskyite at times) line put out for May 1st. It’s important to establish that although the PRRWO-RWL binomial are currently in agreement on everything, PRRWO is the leading force and RWL is tailing behind, the same thing they were doing to WVO until last January. In those documents they established almost all their line of “onlys” (See point #6 of our differences with PRRWO-RWL). They also established that the position on ERA and bussing are lines of demarcation in the communist movement (see point #7) established their “genuine wing”, their metaphysical development of the communist movement (See Resistencia, Vol.7, #3); they liquidated the struggles of the Third World (See their propaganda pieces and their sham self-criticism), liquidated the danger of fascism (see their propaganda) and to top it all they proclaimed themselves the “Leninist core” of the “genuine wing” (this is a fantasy to beat all fantasies) and even went beyond Trotsky in viewing himself the center of the universe, referring to themselves as the “quintessence of Marxism”. (In the pamphlet we plan to publish, at least one of the two writings as well as the sham self-criticism they made about one of these writings and some excerpts of the first document (35 pages of the same trash) will be included).

All these questions we personally presented to them in the meeting of April 30 in which we demanded:
1. Our right to make a presentation in the next day’s forum in which we could clearly establish our differences in line, and
2. that PRRWO-RWL make public the fact that we had not participated in any way in the writing of the propaganda and that they had included our name without asking us beforehand or showing us the written material.

PRRWO-RWL (as well as what’s left of FFM, ALSC and PRSU) refused to accept our demands slandering us by claiming we were “Mensheviks” and “Philistines towards ideological struggle” because we “defended our line in a social-pacifist way” (instead of screaming, insulting and threatening as they were doing) and that to accept that we speak was “ultra-democracy” and that therefore as “Mensheviks” we should attend the forum and after their presentations we would be given 10 minutes to speak in which to self-criticize or submit ourselves to the circus that they call forums and ideological struggle. We did not accept their conditions. And we did not attend the forum. The struggle for the correct line in the communist movement is a long and protracted one. We are going to carry it on every inch of the way. But always in a principled, open and aboveboard manner, and not under intimidations, threats and imposed conditions. We are not going to allow that anybody, no matter how many high sounding titles they give themselves, determine the time, place and conditions in which this struggle should take place. We are Marxist-Leninists because our theory and practice so determine, and not because any sect in their feverish dreams of glory and power determines, it. As Lenin, who never proclaimed himself the vanguard even though he was in theory and practice, points out “people should be judged not by what they call themselves, but rather for what they do. Deeds speak louder than words.” And about the self-proclaimed vanguards, he adds

For it is not enough to call ourselves the ’vanguard’, the advanced detachment – we must act in such a way that all the other detachments shall see us, and be obliged to admit, that we are marching in the vanguard. And we ask the reader: Are the representatives of the other detachments such fools as to take our word for it when we say we are the ’vanguard’? V.I. Lenin, What Is To Be Done? (page 103, Chinese Edition)