Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The Seattle Branch of the Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists

Apply Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought to problems confronting proletarian revolution in the U.S.


(Synopsis of the speech delivered to a meeting of over 20 Marxist-Leninists in Seattle by a representative of the Seattle Branch-Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists. Summation of the discussion follows.)

Comrades and friends, my introductory comments on the world situation will be brief. The two superpowers are preparing for world war, while at home, the monopoly capitalists are steadily consolidating fascist rule. Under these conditions it is ten times as urgent for the Marxist-Leninists to unite and build the communist party.

Today, objective conditions are not a factor in holding back the formation of the party. Objective conditions for party building have existed since 1852 with Sorge’s and Weydemeyer’s initiation of the Proletarian League in New York. For over 120 years the working class has struggled to organize its Communist Party and during these years the objective conditions have existed for its formation. These conditions are: the emergence of the modern proletariat; the class struggle of the proletariat against the capitalist class; the ideological weapon of Marxism. Today, subjective factors hold back the formation of the party. Lenin’s words of 1903 are applicable: “Before we can unite (and in order that we may unite) we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation”.

It is entirely erroneous to suggest, as some do, that the time to build the party has only recently arrived, that party building is only a momentary phase, which when completed, will resolve itself into a new phase of once again tailing behind the mass movements under reformist banners, or standing on the sidelines of the mass movements issuing ’left’ slogans and impotent catcalls. The time to build the party is now, it has been so for over 120 years, and has been a particularly important task ever since the CPUSA completely degenerated into Kruschevite revisionism in the late 1950s. All of the erroneous lines on party building stem from the incorrect counter-posing of the task of party building to the task of building the revolutionary mass movement. These tasks cannot be separated and those who counter-pose these tasks have landed themselves in a muddle. We will speak more on this question in a later meeting.

In opposition to certain bad practices in the Marxist-Leninist movement is the line of conducting principled ideological clarification of different political trends, both present and historical and drawing firm and definite lines of demarcation. This line goes against the line of seeking hegemony through gossips, squabbling and willy-nilly labeling of different organizations and individuals on a competitive basis.

Clarification of ideas through discussion and debate is not the basis for arriving at political line. The basis for determining one’s political line is application of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought to social practice and investigation. Discussion and debate however can clarify political line. This is very important. Revolutionary comrades cannot be expected to unite, much less carry-on sustained revolutionary work on an unconscious basis. Many problems have to be discussed to achieve unity of thinking in order to weld together organizational unity. While many things need to be cleared up, it is also wrong to suggest that Marxist-Leninists can only unite when they agree on one or two hundred different things, and if they disagree on one or two points there can be no unity. Attempts to unite around 100 page political programs have never succeeded and never will succeed. Marxist-Leninists should unite on political line, on a minimal basis, that is “what to do” and resolve differences on minor matters to be sorted out over a long period of time. In brief, it is wrong to reject thoroughgoing political discussions, just as much as it is wrong to divide on the basis of some disagreements that inevitably arise whenever any matter is discussed in depth. Only metaphysicians believe in pure unity on an absolute basis.

Tonight we have a minimal basis of unity, that is a common desire to sit down together and discuss questions of importance to the advance of the revolutionary movement. So to have a basis for discussion there will be a talk on some questions regarding our revolutionary history, on the Communist Party USA. Earl Browder, General Secretary of the CPUSA for many years during the 30s and 40s, is quite notorious as a renegade from Marxism-Leninism, as one of the first to develop a consistent revisionist line of the Khruschev-Brezhnev type, that is, a modern revisionist line.

Tonight we address ourselves to several questions:

(a) What is the essence of Earl Browder’s revisionism?
(b) How did Browder distort Dimitrov’s line on the United Front Against Fascism?
(c) Is the “liberal” bourgeoisie a barrier to fascism and is it permissible for the proletariat to unite, or ally itself, with the “liberal” bourgeoisie?

The purpose of examining these questions is solely to arm ourselves to avoid the same sort of deviations of 30 plus years ago. Today a life and death struggle between the two lines is raging on party building and other questions in our movement. So in studying the history between the two lines, particularly the Marxist-Leninist classics and the historical experience of our own people, we can definitely prepare ourselves to wage a successful two line struggle today and fulfill our important tasks. That’s why we believe in the slogan “Historical analysis merits attention”.

First, we would like to deal with some background history. Browder’s revisionism was exploded by the famous Duclos letter entitled, “On the dissolution of the CPUSA”, published in the New York Worker on May 27, 1945. Duclos, a prominent French communist, characterized Browder’s line as “a notorious revision of Marxism.”[1] Duclos stated:

Earl Browder declared, in effect, that at Tehran capitalism and socialism had begun to find the means of peaceful co-existence and collaboration in the framework of one and the same world; he added that the Tehran accords regarding common policy similarly presupposed common efforts with a view to reducing to a minimum or completely suppressing methods of struggle and opposition of force in the solution of internal problems of each country. (ibid p. 7)

And Earl Browder adds: “Whatever may be the situation in other lands, in the United States this means a perspective in the immediate postwar period of expanded production and employment and the strengthening of democracy within the framework of the present system – and not a perspective of the transition to socialism.” (Bridgeport speech, Communist, January, 1944. p. 7.) (ibid)

We shall have to be prepared to break with anyone that refuses to support and fight for the realization of Tehran agreement and the Anglo-Soviet-American Coalition. We must be prepared to give the hand of co-operation and fellowship to everyone who fights for the realization of this coalition. If J. P. Morgan supports this coalition and goes down the line for it, I as a Communist am prepared to clasp his hand on that and join with him to realize it. Class divisions or political groupings have no significance now except as they reflect one side or other of this issue.(ibid p. 8.) (ibid)

To this end we unhesitatingly sacrificed our electoral rights in this campaign, by refraining from putting forward our own candidates; we went to the length of dissolving the Communist Party itself for an indefinite period in the future: we declared our readiness to loyally support the existing system of private enterprise which is accepted by the overwhelming majority of Americans and to raise no proposals for any fundamental changes which could in any way endanger the National unity; we went out in the trade unions and the masses of the people straightforwardly and frankly using all our influences to firmly establish this policy of national unity; we helped with all our strength to restrain all impulses toward strike movements among the workers, and to prepare the workers for a continuation of national unity after the war...

As spokesman for the American Communists I can say for our small group that we completely identify ourselves with our nation, its interests and the majority of its people in this support for Roosevelt and Truman for President and Vice-President. (ibid) (ibid)

In his report Comrade Browder, in attempting to apply the Tehran decisions to the United States, drew a perspective of a smoothly working national unity, including the decisive sections of American Finance capital, not only during the war but also in the postwar; a unity which (with him quoting approvingly from Victory and After), would lead to a “rapid healing of the terrible wounds of war” and would extend indefinitely, in an all class peaceful collaboration, for a “long term of years. ” In this picture hardly a trace of the class struggle, and socialism plays practically no role whatever, (ibid)

It seems to me that Comrade Browder’s rather rosy outlook for capitalism is based upon two errors. The first of these is an underestimation of the deepening crisis of world capitalism caused-by the war. When questioned directly in Political Bureau discussion, Comrade Browder agreed that capitalism has been seriously weakened by the war, but his report would tend to give the opposite implication. The impression is left that capitalism has somehow been rejuvenated and is now entering into a new period of expansion and growth, (ibid)

The class nature of Imperialistic capitalism Foster asserted is reactionary. . .

Trailing after the big bourgeoisie is the historic error of social democracy, and we must be vigilantly on guard against it. (ibid)

We too, in France, are resolute partisans of national unity and we show that in our daily activity, but our anxiety for unity does not make us lose sight for a single moment of the necessity of arraying ourselves against the men of the trusts. ...

And it is clear that if Comrade Earl Browder has seen, as a Marxist-Leninist, this important aspect of the problems facing liberty loving peoples in this moment in their history, he would have arrived at a conclusion quite other than, the dissolution of the Communist Party of the United States. (ibid) (ibid p. 7)

William Z. Foster sums up Browder’s revisionist line well:

Comrade Browder’s revisionism has the same class roots and goes in the same direction as the traditional revisionism of Social Democracy. The essence of Social Democratic revisionism is the belief that capitalism is fundamentally progressive and that the big bourgeoisie may, therefore, be relied upon to lead the nation to peace and prosperity. The practical effects of this false conception are to throw the workers under the reactionary influence of the big capitalists and blunt their progressive and revolutionary initiative. Where these policies lead to, if persisted in, is indicated in the tragic debacle of the German Social Democracy. Such revisionism is a reflection in the workers’ ranks of the class interests of the big bourgeoisie. (ibid p. 8)

Foster says, to repeat, “The practical effects of this false conception are to throw the workers under the reactionary influence of the big capitalists and blunt their progressive and revolutionary initiative.” If the comrades and friends present have read our pamphlet analyzing the Justice for Joe Committee (“Afro-American People: Advance the Struggle Against Racial Discrimination and Violent Repression” by SWM), one can see that this line is still being pushed today by various forces. And it is also true that certain Marxist-Leninist forces in this city, notably the R.U. “influenced” Northwest Worker, echoed this revisionist line regarding the Justice for Joe Committee for several months. Therefore, we are not dealing with abstract issues but matters of real concern.

Rather than analyze the entire “ripe tomato” that Browder gave rise to, we wish to elaborate on the essence of his revisionist line. To do so, it is necessary to see that Browder turned the United Front Against Fascism theory into a theory advocating a coalition called the “democratic camp” centered in the Roosevelt new-dealers and the Democratic Party. That is, he tried to turn the working class into an appendage of the bourgeoisie and liquidate its independent proletarian revolutionary line and to submerge the proletariat in bourgeois politics. From this followed the idea that the proletarian party was no longer necessary – of course.

Before addressing ourselves to the origins of Browder’s departure from Marxism, let’s look at what the basic features of revisionism are. I will rely on quotations from Lenin.

The revisionists declare the doctrine of the class struggle to be “antiquated” or begin to conduct a policy which in fact amounts to a renunciation of the class struggle. (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. XI, p. 739)

In the domain of politics, revisionism tried to revise the very foundation of Marxism namely, the doctrine of the class struggle. (ibid p. 708)

Now, the bourgeois state is an organ of class rule over the working class. Lenin also points out that revisionism in the working class movement is exacerbated by the fact that the bourgeoisie pursues two alternating systems of rule – namely reforms and the method of force. These tactics are complicated and appear together or side-by-side in different combinations.

Not infrequently, the bourgeoisie for a certain time achieves its object by a “liberal” policy, which as Pannekoik justly remarks, is a ’more craftly’ policy. A part of the workers and a part of their representatives at times allow themselves to be deceived by sham concessions. ... The zigzags of bourgeois tactics intensify revisionism within the labor movement and not infrequently exacerbate the differences within the labor movement to the pitch of a direct split. (ibid)

Here, Lenin shows right opportunism to be, in essence, renunciation of the class struggle, caused by the representatives of the proletariat falling prey to the love songs and serenades of the “liberal” bourgeoisie. This is precisely where Browder went wrong. An investigation into the origins of Browder’s revisionist line shows that it arises along with his distortion of Comrade Dimitrov’s line on the United Front Against Fascism adopted by the 7th Congress of the Comintern in 1935.

What are some of the different erroneous views on Dimitrov’s position today?

(a) The “liberals” and the fascists, including various trotskyites and the NCLC say that the CPUSA was an agent of Stalin, the CP Soviet Union and the Comintern and subordinate to the foreign policy of the USSR, and that this was its problem during the Browder period.

(b) Some confused Marxist-Leninists say that to uphold the United Front Against Fascism necessarily means to unite with “progressive” monopoly capitalists against the “Reactionary” monopoly capitalists, the bourgeois “liberals” versus the fascists. They put words into Dimitrov’s mouth that were never there in the first place and raise doubts about the line of the 7th Congress of the Comintern. Because COUSM-L calls for anti-fascist struggle, these people say we are all wrong and should ’instead’ call for anti-imperialist struggle.


At the 7th Congress of the C.I. the general secretary of the International, Georgi Dimitrov, made his historic report in which he warned the working people of the world that international imperialism was driving towards the establishment of fascist dictatorships in all countries for the purpose of placing the “whole burden of the crisis on the backs of the toilers, in order to solve the problems of markets by enslaving the weak nations, by intensifying colonial oppression and repartitioning the world anew by means of war,” and, finally that “they are striving to forestall the growth of the forces of revolution by smashing the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants and by undertaking a military attack against the Soviet Union – the bulwark of the world proletariat.” (The United Front, p. 9) (ibid p. 10)

Dimitrov gave his famous definition of fascism. He said that fascism has come to power in s6me countries because the working class was split by the treachery of Social Democracy and because the Communist Parties “were not strong enough to rouse the masses and to lead them in a decisive struggle against fascism.” (ibid)

The question is posed: how can fascism be prevented from coming to power and how can fascism be overthrown after it has been victorious? Dimitrov then elaborates the line on the United Front Against Fascism. In general he says:

To this the C.I. replies: The first thing that must be done, the thing with which to begin, is to form a united front, to establish unity of action of the workers in every factory, in every district, in every region, in every country, all over the world. Unity of action of the proletariat on a national scale is the mighty weapon which renders the working class capable not only of successful defense, but also of successful counter-attack against fascism; against the class enemy. (ibid p. 10)

Rather than reading long quotations from Dimitrov, a summary of his main points will suffice.

(1) A united front of the working class is needed, established through unity in action, based in the factories, to defend its basic economic and political interests as the starting point and main content. He emphacizes mass struggle.
(2) On the basis of the united front of the working class, an anti-fascist popular front or peoples front must be built as a particularly important task. The proletariat needs an alliance with the toiling peasantry and the mass of the urban petty bourgeoisie.
(3) To secure these allies the working class and its party must (a) explain that their enemy is not the “red peril” but the fascist monopolies; (b) actively take up and fight for the basic economic and political demands of these sections, particularly the toiling petty bourgeoisie.
(4) In American conditions, perhaps the organizational form of such a peoples front would be a Farmer Labor Party. This would be a mass party, not fundamentally a parliamentary group, not explicitly socialist in program, that voices the demands of the working class and the petty bourgeois toilers and encourages mass action.
(5) It is permissible for the Communist Parties to secure agreements with the Socialist Parties and the Social Democratic Parties, but for unity in action.
(6) The Communist Parties should stay away from purely parliamentary agreements for legislative action.
(7) History has shown what theory already knew, that the participation of Social Democrats in Parliament is no barrier to fascism. (We add – and certainly the open capitalist “liberals” are not either).
(8) But all talk of a peoples front is worthless without unity in action of the working class. The core of the peoples front – the unity in action of the working class–must be developed and consolidated.
(9) Fascism can be defeated, by the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. (Note – this is certainly not a call for “bourgeois democracy” or the lesser of two evils, nor is it an abstract call for “civil liberties” or an “end to Military Rule” or “Martial Law”.)

This brief summary touches the main points, while leaving out all sorts of brilliant tactical instructions. We can develop this further by analyzing how Browder distorted these views of the 7th Congress of the C.I. Fergus McKean, in his polemic, quotes Jane Wilson of the CPUSA on this question:

The tentative conclusion to which I came is that between 1935 and 1944 the American Communists gradually gave up the strategy and tactics of the peoples front.

In November, 1935, Browder placed a Farmer-Labor Party as the American form of the People’s Front. In December, 1936, he analyzed the Republican election defeat as a vote along class lines, as hastening the disintegration of the two party system and widening the split in the Democratic Party. He concluded that “these things improve and broaden the prospect for the building of a People’s Front.” In June, 1937, Browder stated: “Many are puzzled by an apparent contradiction between the clearly established growth of the People’s Front sentiment in the United States and the slowing up of the organizational realization of a National Farmer-Labor Party.” Referring to a Pennsylvania steel strike which was supported by the Democratic administration, he said: “We will be utterly unrealistic if we expect a Farmer-Labor Party of serious consequence in Pennsylvania until the CIO is convinced that such a party will immediately exert as much political power as the CIO already exerts through the Democratic Party.” Further, legal obstacles to launching new parties and the democratic possibilities of the primary system were cited as operating against tin; organization of the Farmer-Labor Party. Mass trade unions and progressive groups should be encouraged “to systematic and organized activity within the Democratic Party (in some places the Republican Party)”

In Browder’s article in the 1937 Communist, the formulation “Democratic Camp” has already replaced that of the Farmer-Labor Party. He defines this as “America’s equivalent of the People’s Front” and as “now materialized in the organized labor movement, first of all the great movement of the Committee for Industrial Organization, and the progressive movements led by middle class figures within the old parties.” He foresees “two entirely new political parties” corresponding to Tory reaction based on finance capital and to this democratic camp. In 1938 this formulation changes to “democratic front.”

By 1939 the words “People’s Front” and “Farmer-Labor Party” have been entirely discarded by Browder. So has the concept, it seems to me. In the May Plenum, he denies the opposition to the “Hoover-Dewey-Taft Republican Party” as follows: “The Progressive and democratic majority is a coalition between the Democratic Party and the independent radical one-third of the electorate. President Roosevelt has embodied that coalition, and by his leadership has consolidated and strengthened it. (The Worker, July 15, 1945.) (ibid p. 9).

So here it is – the people’s front of struggle against the bourgeoisie had been perverted into an electoral coalition of labor with the “liberal” bourgeoisie and under the leadership of the “liberal” bourgeoisie! This, despite Dimitrov’s words that the end goal of the United Front Against Fascism was socialist revolution and that this could only be achieved if the workers were “free from all connections with and dependence on the bourgeoisie” and “an end must be put to the policy of reconciling the interests of the exploited and exploiters.”

A side-point is that William Foster fought Browder every step of the way. In 1940 Foster called for a Farmer-Labor Party in order to break the hold of the finance capitalists. He said that “The Roosevelt administration is putting into effect this war policy of big business. In doing so. . .it is retrieving in ail major essentials the support of. . . the dominant forces of Wall Street.” and “Altogether, the ’National Unity’ scheme is a very dangerous trap for the workers and other forces.” (ibid p. 12)


This subject centers around the activity of the Washington Commonwealth Federation. The WCF was a federation of hundreds of different organizations including trade unions, youth organizations, the Grange, technocrats, unemployed organizations, pension unions, etc. It was an important part of politics in Seattle particularly from 1936 to 1944.

Fascism was developing in the U.S. during this time. Social Democracy had shown itself to be an indispensible tool of the fascists – what Comrade Stalin called, the moderate wing of the fascists – in diverting the working class from proletarian revolution.

In the U.S., the social democratic parties, particularly the Socialist Party, were old and decrepit. The bourgeoisie was beginning to see the necessity to adopt socialist phrases as the workers were disgusted with the two major monopoly capitalist parties, the Republican and Democratic parties. Perhaps floating another Social Democratic Party would be their saving grace.

It never got off the ground in the U.S. for a number of reasons. In Canada however it did. The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was formed in Canada in 1933 as a party of class collaboration. This is the predecessor of the present-day New Democratic Party which is in power in British Columbia and elsewhere. This party is the child of Bernstein, Kautsky etc. and is a fraternal party to the British Labor Party, as well as Golda Meir’s party in Israel etc. These parties are social-fascist.

In the U.S. the bourgeoisie floated similar groups. Of note is the American Commonwealth Political Federation founded in Chicago on July 7, 1935 by 250 old-time liberals including Burton K. Wheeler, Norman Thomas, and Robert La Follette.

In Washington State, there was a similar move which resulted in the formation of the Washington Commonwealth Federation, originating out of Commonwealth Builders, Inc. WCF was called a triple alliance of “liberals, labor and the farm” and was to act as a pressure group inside the Democratic Party in order to “move it to the left”. Its first leader was Howard Costigan, a typical social democrat, anti-communist, and “as much against fascist dictatorships as he was against the dictatorship of the proletariat.”

The main slogan of WCF in its earlier years was the socialist pretense of “production for use, not profit”. The rest of its program is exemplified by the name of its newspaper for many years, “The New Dealer”. That is, a program for social legislation. The WCF was a left-wing of the Democratic Party that worked within it to push for welfare projects of every description.

But some scholars claim that its main role was to shape public opinion. For instance, these rabid pro-Rooseveltites are credited with raising President Roosevelt’s vote count in Washington State by 33% between 1932 and 1936, while nationally his vote increased by only 7%.

In 1935 the WCF held its first state convention in Tacoma. The CPUSA attended but were refused seats. Costigan, testifying before the Washington State Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, explained why:

Well, in 1935 we formed the WCF. It was not formed with the support of the Communist Party, as a matter of fact, the CP was sharply in opposition to its formation. At that time the Commonwealth Federation was an organization of liberals, of labor, and of generally progressive groups that were supporting the Roosevelt administration. In 1935 the CP was intent on establishing a third party, called the Farmer-Labor Party nationwide. They considered Roosevelt a social fascist and they considered me a social fascist too. Following the 1936 plenum of the CP held in New York the Dimitrov Orientation was instituted. Following this change of policy, the CP changed its, became completely anti-fascist in its program and was thoroughly opposed to what it had previously called the Class Struggle Line. (!!!) (First Report, Un-American Activities..., p. 360)

Upton Sinclair describes the attitude of the social democrats toward the CP’s “adoption” of the “Dimitrov Orientation”:

The final goal which is sought by Communists and Socialists is the same: the end of special privileges and the exploitation of labor. . . . The only argument has been as to tactics, the problem of how to get what we desire. So long as the Communists were demanding the overthrow of the democratic government and the setting up of a dictatorship, no believers in democracy could cooperate with them. But when the Communists change their line and are willing to cooperate with all the other groups for the putting-down of Fascism and the prevention of capitalist war, then of course the situation begins to change. (Sunday News, August 30, 1936, p. 8)

Here we see the social democrats describing, in their own way, Browder’s renegacy from Marxism.

Besides putting out liberal politics in their newspaper, the WCF acted as a pressure group inside the Democratic Party. The WCF became a prize for the CPUSA to capture under Browder’s growing distortion of the 7th Congress of the Comintern’s line. This they finally did after many years of heavily influencing it, in the early 40s. In 1944, they liquidated it, perhaps because it was too far to the left of the Democratic Party, which they could work within directly, and where they are still located today. (Where, we hasten to add, before certain individuals who act as if they have discovered a new Jerusalem, correct us, they act like a public relations firm for Soviet social imperialism.)

An example of the WCF’s electoral politicing was their support of Warren G. Magnusson and Henry Jackson in their election to Congress, as “progressives” and anti-reactionary Wall Street.

The WCF did do some good propaganda, particularly for a Second Front during WWII, as did the CPUSA as a whole, but the overriding main feature of the CP in the WCF was revisionism. The CP thought they could organize the “liberal” bourgeoisie and social democrats to become anti-fascist; instead the “liberals” and the social democrats organized the anti-fascists to become social democrats. The CP made itself acceptable to the liberals. Instead of permeating the Democratic Party with Communism, the Communist Party was permeated with liberalism. Dimitrov was totally opposed to this:

We have combined and shall continue to combine our readiness to march jointly with the Social Democratic Parties and organizations to the struggle against Fascism with an irreconcilable struggle against Social Democracy as the ideology and practice of compromise with the bourgeoisie, and consequently also against any penetration of this ideology into our own ranks. (Report. . . p. 83)

As was mentioned before, the WCF was liquidated by the CP in 1944. And across the country the bourgeois “Third Party” movement of the 30s never consolidated itself organizationally into a trend, as it did in Canada.

Lenin had this to say about blocs with the “liberal” bourgeoisie: “Having set foot on the inclined plane of compromises with the bourgeoisie, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks slid headlong to the bottom.” Stalin made these comments:

With us in Russia, in 1905, the revolution was directed against the liberal bourgeoisie, in spite of the fact that it was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Why? Because the liberal bourgeoisie of an imperialist country is bound to be counter-revolutionary. And that is why the Bolsheviks at that time did not and could not consider temporary blocs with the liberal bourgeoisie. (Marxism and the National and Colonial Question)


As we mentioned earlier, the Communist Party USA is still located in Democratic Party politics and is striving to permeate the revolutionary movement with capitulationism and reformism. They make themselves look ridiculous, jumping on the bourgeoisie’s bicentennial bandwagon and getting all decked out in red, white and blue for their recent national convention.

Any “Marxist” who promotes the idea that fascism can be stopped through legal channels, through Congress, by electing a “lesser of two evils” such as McGovern in 1972, or by “dumping Nixon”, is also bitten by Browder’s line. Democratic rights and civil liberties will never be ensured through electing this or that bourgeois who puts up a more “progressive” image than another. The revolutionaries cannot appeal to the “liberals” to stop fascism. The fight for democracy is necessarily a fight for the revolutionary overthrow of the exploiting class. The alternative that capitalism holds is the deepening of fascist reaction. There are no third alternatives.

Presently, some people are saying that the Guardian newspaper is “beginning to conciliate revisionism”, that is, to make the errors we speak of. But we would like to ask: when has the Guardian not created confusion on these issues? To this day the Guardian has never stopped promoting activities staged by the CP USA, New American Movement (social democrats), and even trotskyites. An example is the “Stop ITT” agitation backed by the CPUSA. (May 21, 1975 Guardian)

Last year Seattle was the scene of “Stop ITT” agitation organized in April-May by revisionists, anarchists, and by certain Marxist-Leninists who ought to be ashamed of themselves. In staging this activity, the CPUSA was interested in propping up their basic revisionist line of “peaceful transition to socialism” which had suffered such a crushing defeat in Chile with the fascist coup d’etat over the “popularly elected” Allende in 1973. To divert people away from criticizing the treacherous line of “peaceful transition”, the CPUSA backed a campaign calling for the people to “Stop ITT”. Under this logic the political line of “peaceful transition to socialism” would have been just fine in Chile if nasty ITT hadn’t interfered in Chile’s internal affairs, (along with the CIA). So it was up to the revisionists to do the impossible: “curb” ITT, and make it a “democratic” imperialist monopoly. Such are the illusions promoted by the revisionists. Illusions similarly promoted by the “liberals” everyday on the editorial page of the N. Y. Times, designed to instill faith in the capitalist system a and divert people from considering the revolutionary road. And the Guardian newspaper consistently goes along with the CPUSA’s attempts to assist the bourgeoisie by suggesting that “nasty” monopoly capitalism can be “curbed” and made democratic.

Many other examples could be listed. The point is to maintain the ideological and political independence of the Marxist-Leninist Party and keep to the proletarian revolutionary road. We will discuss these issues further in later meetings.


A vigorous discussion and debate followed the speech which lasted for 1 and 1/2 hours. In brief, two separate viewpoints arose in opposition to the line of the speaker of “no alliances with the bourgeoisie”.

One view was that it would be a doctrinaire position to uphold “no alliances. . . ”, that there may be exceptions to this generally correct position. After a long period of debate, the argument that this position was forced to rest upon is as follows: Lenin, in Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, stated that the emerging British Bolsheviks should form an election alliance with the British Labour Party, not because they were revolutionary, but because they were misleaders of the working class. And if the communists, in reaching an agreement with the British Labour Party also maintained independence of propaganda they could definitely expose this fact to the British working class in the course of the campaign. Therefore, under certain circumstances, blocs with the “liberals” were permissible, although only by way of exception.

This view was opposed by COUSM-L and others. While it was true that Lenin advocated the above-mentioned alliance, neither Dimitrov nor the COUSM-L speaker opposed certain alliances with social democrats, but with the “liberal” imperialist bourgeoisie. Subsequent to the meeting, the comrade who held the view that “no alliances . . . ” was doctrinairism, agreed that his argument did not hold up, because whereas the British Labour Party today may be a liberal imperialist party, Lenin explicitly referred to it at that time as “petty bourgeois”, and to be distiguished from the “liberals” represented by Lloyd George and the Liberal Party, by its predominately working class composition and other factors. This comrade changed his position to be that in the U. S. today, he can foresee no circumstances where the “liberals” are to be united with by the working class, but in fact, should be mercilessly exposed. However, his final position is that 99.9% of the time there can be “no alliances. . . ” but the question should be left somewhat open to take into consideration unforeseen developments.

The other opposing view in the meeting was that the “liberal” bourgeoisie were to be distinguished from the fascist monopoly capitalists and therefore could be of assistance to the working class in the anti-fascist struggle. It developed a number of scattered points, we will relate two of them.

1.) Dimitrov refers to fascism as being the rule of “the most reactionary section of monopoly capital” (emphasis his). Consequently, if Dimitrov is correct, then there must be progressive bourgeois who share an interest with the working class in opposing the fascist monopoly capitalists.

2.) Such progressive bourgeois, according to this view, were the “doves” in Congress who opposed the war in Vietnam. This view was almost entirely isolated in the meeting, facing much opposition.

First of all, to say that there is a most reactionary section of monopoly capital does not imply that there is a “progressive” section, but that there are less powerful and less reactionary monopoly capitalists. It would be absurd for the working class party to consider “less reactionary” class enemies to be an ally in the proletarian revolution.

Secondly, the opposition of the “doves” in Congress such as Eugene McCarthy to the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam is now exposed more clearly as motivated by the realization that the U.S. imperialists could not win the war and should therefore devote their attention to their more important European interests and the contention with the Soviet social imperialists in that area. This neglect of the U.S. to the situation in Europe is now being paid for, as the Soviet social imperialists gain influence in Portugal, Italy, and the Mediterranean area in general. The “doves” were motivated by these imperialist concerns, not by principled opposition to the aggression in SE Asia. In fact, any revolutionary who participated in the movement against U.S. aggression is SE Asia knows that these self-same “doves” were the ones who pushed all kinds of imperialist politics: pacifism, the war as a mistaken policy and not as an inevitable result of the U.S. monopoly capitalist system, etc. and tried to deflect the mass movement from a revolutionary orientation to a bourgeois-reformist one. In fact, it is summing up this experience that was instrumental in impelling revolutionary activists to adopt Marxist-Leninist theory and the task of building the genuine Communist Party, precisely in order to isolate the bourgeois agents and lead all the mass movements on a correct proletarian class basis. No, the “doves” do not deserve our support, but rather merciless exposure of their hypocritical, rotten, imperialist and fascist nature.

This in brief sums up the discussion.


[1] Excerpts from Duclos’ letter, as well as many other quotations subsequent in the text, are taken from Fergus McKean’s polemic “Communism versus Opportunism” first published in 1945. Fergus McKean held a number of responsible positions in the British Columbia Section of the Communist Party of Canada before resigning on August 12, 1945, refusing to support the revisionist line of the CPC leadership. This polemic has two chapters dealing exclusively with the CPUSA of that time, and is of definite value to our present-day movement. “Communism versus Opportunism” was reprinted in “People’s Canada Daily News” Vol. 3, No. 435, August 17, 1974. PCDN represents the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). In addition, Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee, Box 26457, S.F. CA. 94126 has announced that they will reprint this polemic in the October, 1975 issue of their newspaper “Unite”. It is also available through contacting “Seattle Worker”.