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 two representatives of the Seattle Branch-Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists and by a supporter of Seattle Workers Movement. Summation of the discussion follows.)

Good evening, comrades and friends. This is the last in a series of meetings we have called in order to deal with certain questions facing the revolutionary movement. Tonight we want to deal with the most urgent matter that confronts the revolutionary people in the U.S. This is the question of building the party of the proletariat, the political party of the working class based on Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought.

Today the Marxist-Leninist movement is in great disorder, and this has disheartened some honest revolutionary people. But this is not the attitude a communist should have when confronting problems. There are definite reasons that explain why there is division among the Marxist-Leninists and why some elements even shut themselves off from others. It has to do with political and ideological line, and if we are serious and scientific in our work we can definitely change this situation of disorder into its opposite over a period of time through protracted struggle. The American working class is stirring while the threat of world war and growing fascism is increasing. Special demands are being made on us at this time and if we are able to combat opportunist political line in the communist movement then we can make a definite contribution to proletarian revolution.

Tonight we want to hit at the line that “a mass socialist base is a prerequisite to party building” because this is the line of the bourgeoisie, a line which is unwittingly being carried by many honest revolutionary people. We saw this line come into being in the late 1960s as “the Party emerges from the mass movement”. It is one-sided and destructive. In the spirit of unity, we want to develop discussion on this line and if this is done we are confident that the erroneous nature of this line will be exposed.

There will be three short talks: the first will deal with the two-line struggle in the history of the communist movement in the U.S.; the second will deal particularly with trends in the revolutionary movement advocating the line that “a mass socialist base is a prerequisite to party building”; and lastly, there will be a short talk on the social fascist line regarding the trade union movement.

To begin. The COUSM-L feels that the prerequisites for building a genuine Communist Party to lead the working class toward proletarian revolution exists, and has existed since the birth of the communist movement in the U.S. in 1852 with the formation of the Proletarian League. So what are these prerequisites? There is a class struggle going on in society, a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie which cannot be reconciled, cannot be resolved as long as capitalism exists. The social character of production and the private character of ownership puts the working class and the capitalist class in constant contradiction and the bourgeois state is the instrument through which the bourgeoisie protects its capitalist relations of production and exercises dictatorship over the proletariat. As the contradictions of capitalist society intensify and as the proletariat grows in strength, a test of strength takes place between the revolutionary class and the reactionary class in which the bourgeois reactionary class eventually finds itself on the outside looking in. As Comrade Marx said in Capital, “the knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.”

The revolutionary teachers of the proletariat, basing themselves precisely on this scientific theory, laid down for the proletarian political party the basic political line of the seizure of political power by revolutionary violence, guiding the proletariat in its struggle to overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat so as to achieve communism. (“Study Political Economy”, by Fang Hai, Red Flag, reprinted in Mass Line, theoretical journal of CPC (ML) vol. 5, no. 55)

This is the essence of the theory which forms the foundation of the Marxist-Leninist Party.

So, the revolutionary class exists and the basic theoretical foundation exists to guide it in the struggle for political power and economic emancipation. This basic general political line has existed in the U.S., as I said before, since 1852. And since that time, each period in the development of the working class movement has dictated certain tasks to the communist movement for its followers to uphold.

At this time we would like to militantly oppose the entirely pernicious idea that this is a “new communist movement” or a “young communist movement”. Building the Marxist-Leninist Party is an historical process and we are products of the historical trend of communism in this country. When the communist movement is betrayed or mislead, it is our task to rectify the situation and rebuild the Communist Party in order to give guidance to the proletariat in achieving its historical mission.

The revolutionary teachers of the proletariat have left us many profound lessons. Leninism teaches that “without a revolutionary party, based on revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.”

COUSM-L feels that in order for the unity of the Marxist-Leninists to develop vigorously, it is necessary to master theory, by applying the theory of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought to the actual conditions in the U.S. and to the practice of revolution. The study of history is an important aspect of this work.

Taking Lenin’s quotation, “without a revolutionary party based on revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement”, a look at the history of the communist movement in the U.S. will show the indispensible role of the Party.

(The remainder of this speech dealt in detail with the history of the communist movement in the U.S. from 1852 to the present. It relied heavily on the analysis provided in COUSM-L’s pamphlet “Against the Reactionary Idealism and Metaphysics of the “Communist” League”, particularly pages 20-30. This pamphlet is widely available and the portion of the speech based upon it will not be reprinted here. The speaker paid particular attention to the leading role of the Marxists and later the CPUSA when it was still a revolutionary party, in the great mass movements to organize the unorganized workers into trade unions, and in the campaigns to organize a broad Labor Party. The speaker began this portion of his speech with a quotation from Comrade Tim Hall’s pamphlet:

In every period of U.S. history the working class movement faced certain central tasks in order to advance its revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie. In the Communist movement, the Marxists waged two-line struggles against the line of the bourgeoisie which opposed leading the working class to execute these tasks. The role of organizations and individuals in the two-line struggle can only be evaluated on the basis of whether or not the tasks of the working class movement are executed and the proletariat advances towards its revolutionary goals, that is, on the basis of practice.

The speaker ended his talk with another quotation from the same source:

It is only in the course of building the mass movement for proletarian revolution that Communist cadre get trained, and it is only by the Communists building such a Party that the mass working class movement can advance toward its revolutionary goals. And it is only in the course of revolutionary practice that the ideas, theories, line and policies of an organization are tested and proven correct or incorrect.

(A supporter of Seattle Workers Movement then made the following remarks in continuation of the main speech.)

Comrades and friends, whether or not to build a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party which will lead the proletariat in smashing the bourgeois state by force of arms and. establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to achieve communism is the question facing all Marxist-Leninists today.

The “mass socialist base” advocates, such as M.I.S.O. (Mass Intermediate Socialist Organization) are the most concentrated form of the line “don’t build the Party”. These opportunists give many excuses for not taking up the task of party-building which history has entrusted to us. Furthermore they want to organize anti-party organizations with themselves as leaders. To them the question of Leninist theory and the vanguard party is a ’deferred’ question. This rag-tag army of liberals, philistines and social-democrats have neither the dictatorship of the proletariat nor the question of armed struggle on their program and thus deserve to be called neither socialist nor revolutionary. In two documents which M.I.S.O. has prepared totaling 30 pages, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not mentioned once. This is understandable because they do not support this basic Marxist-Leninist political line but in fact fear it like the plague.

This is what MISO offers to the movement (paraphrased): The majority of socialist activists in the U.S. are organized into small project groups and study circles dealing with one specific area of struggle. A qualitative change is needed to overcome this primitiveness – a broader form of organization.

Note: MISO is not calling for a higher form of organization, one led by a more correct ideological and political line than exists in the primitive circles, but a “broader” form of organization “The primary political task of the MISO is to build a mass movement of the working class to fight for socialism.” They propose to do this with their hodge-podge organization, which they say is more “democratic than centralist” “at this time”.

The present debates on the left state that we must choose now between joining a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party or a mass democratic socialist party which is an alternative to the Leninist conception of a vanguard. The MISO is neither. It is a mass socialist organization in which the question of the party is deferred.

(1) MISO is fudging the truth here. The sum total of their program, exemplified by the omission of the dictatorship of the proletariat, indicates that they are in fact striving to build a social democratic party, a party of betrayal to the revolution. And hiding behind the words “mass organization” won’t save them from exposure simply because Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought recognizes the absolute necessity of the masses to be organized into broad-based organizations. Marxism-Leninism does not recognize any necessity, but in fact, thoroughly opposes the workers getting deceived into supporting social-democracy. No one denies that social democratic parties are often “mass parties” and broad based. So is the Democratic Party in many areas. The key question is the content of their political line, not organizational form.

(2) Now that we have established that MISO is pursuing social democracy, let’s look under their cover a little further. In so doing it becomes clear why they are pushing the idea that social democracy is an alternative to the Marxist-Leninist Party. They are trying to set themselves up as an “alternative” to building the Party. This is true in spite of the support these type of liberals give in words to the task of party building. The prevailing confusion surrounding these type of liberals is that “The Marxist-Leninist Party emerges from mass organizations”. And the conclusion is that we should wait awhile for these cadre to emerge and before we try to build any Communist Party. What they actually mean is that the Marxist-Leninists should wait and wait and wait, etc, and never build the Party.

The MISO advocates never criticize New American Movement’s political line in their “working papers”, but only complain that NAM won’t “root themselves in the working class.” They want to carry their rotten reformism into the working class where NAM has failed to do so. They want to be a “successful” NAM, that is the only distinction between them.

On Sectarianism: The MISO-“mass socialist base” hodge-podge is fond of attacking Marxist-Leninist groups for being sectarian, even going so far as to say that any Marxist-Leninist group at this time is sectarian. Yet their very membership requirements guarantee that they will be a sect. Requirements of MISO include agreeing with the statement of principles, supporting the organization as a whole, doing ongoing work and study. Fine. But the communist requirement that a member be active in a mass organization (such as a trade union) is left out. In fact, in the MISO position paper I, the trade unions are not even mentioned.

These reformers and social democrats are fond of explaining the importance of the mass line ad infinitum, but again “defer” struggling to build the only kind of organization that can really apply the mass line – a Marxist-Leninist Party.

MISO proposes work in the factories, among the service and clerical workers, public employees, teachers and more. In the schools, among the unemployed, welfare recipients, prisoners, and in the military. They plan to fight on consumer issues, health issues, repressive apparatus of the state, develop people’s culture, fight for women’s liberation, develop a newspaper, fight racism, use the elections as an arena of struggle, etc. etc. They plan to develop cadre, develop theory, study – and have a “rich internal life”, where working people can develop their “revolutionary potential”, orient new members, take care of matters of security etc. If they can do these things without a party then we’ll never need one.

MISO writes: “Furthermore, we understand that although the organization does not oppose the possible development of a vanguard party, it does not feel that any existing organization is that vanguard. Thus the leadership can and must come from within, thus no member of a MISO could also have membership in another disciplined socialist or communist organization.” The members could belong to undisciplined liberal organizations, alliances of petty bourgeois and other hodge-podges with no revolutionary characteristics. And although MISO “defers” building a revolutionary party, the only persons they specifically deny membership to are communists who have taken the task of party building onto their shoulders. This “deferring” is nothing but anti-communism. Exclusion on the grounds that you can’t be in two democratic centralist organizations at the same time is subterfuge used by the opportunists. They don’t want communists exposing their opportunism Enough of MISO.

Let’s look at New York Communist Workers Organization. Instead of promoting the sham prerequisite of a “mass socialist base” before party building can commence, they promote R.U.’s sham prerequisite that significant progress must have been made in uniting the class before the Party can be built. They criticize R.U. for abandoning this “correct” position in practice in their rush to build a Party. They correctly point out R.U. ’s sham fulfillment of this prerequisite – that is, R.U.’s exaggeration of the significance of Farah Strike Support Committees, New Jersey postal organizing etc., but they don’t see the sham nature of the prerequisite itself. It is exactly the Party that will unite the class and by fighting to unite the class we will build the Party. Waiting until the class is substantially united, (spontaneously perhaps, with the help of some scattered, unorganized “socialists”? !) is not so much different than waiting for the “mass socialist base” to arise with the help of a hodge-podge of anti-communist “socialists” and liberals. (Of course, it is bad enough as far as some “mass socialist basers” are concerned to be equated with R.U. (!) but to demonstrate the identity of their theoretical premises is greeted with sheer horror by these same individuals.)

As for R.U. they are rushing to build a party claiming that “objectively the mass movement has come up against the lack of a genuine communist vanguard.” (“Revolution” May, 1974) While in Red Papers 2 (1969) they were claiming that the Communist Party had to be built primarily from a united proletariat. They claim to have been correct all along. If so, we should be ectstatic now that the American working class is a united proletariat.

In reality the mass movement was objectively up against the lack of a genuine communist vanguard in 1969 also – no matter how dishonest R.U. wants to be. We are much closer to founding such a Party now because subjective factors among the Marxist-Leninists are being sorted out, matters of political line.

The next speaker, a representative of the Seattle Branch-COUSM-L, will elaborate on these subjects, particularly the “mass socialist baser’s” social fascist line on the trade union movement.

Comrades and friends, let’s sum a few things up. Just exactly what is this vague idea about building a “mass socialist base” prior to the Party? Actually, objective reality knows of no such thing.

(1) In the first place, the working class is revolutionary by its very nature, without the influence of socialists of any “type”. Monopoly capitalism is characterized by private ownership over extremely concentrated and centralized means of production on the one hand, and by a production process socialized to the maximum, beyond which revolution must occur. It is precisely the objective development of capitalism which develops the modern proletariat as “. . .the most advanced class in the history of mankind. It is the most revolutionary class ideologically, politically, and in strength.” (Chairman Mao) There cannot be any question of “building” this situation, as the contradictions of capitalist society do this spontaneously. In this sense, the working class is already a “mass socialist base”.

(2) Of course, as Marxists, we know that the revolutionary sentiment of the workers acquired spontaneously under capitalism is not sufficient to unite and organize the workers for revolution. This is precisely where the “overthrowing” power of socialist, communist theory is indispensible, theory that becomes a material force. And it is a basic Leninist position that for the working class to acquire this higher level of revolutionary consciousness, a proletarian party of a new type is absolutely necessary. This is what Lenin’s book “What Is To Be Done?” is all about. So, in this sense, MISO’s and others’ theory of building a “mass socialist base” prior to the party is also wholly and completely absurd. Either these people are extremely confused or they are conscious agents of the bourgeoisie in the revolutionary movement.

To illustrate this latter point, take “Weather Underground Organization”. This group is completely bankrupt of course, “even” when it was named “Weatherman”. Aside from all sorts of muddleheadedness they also promote the theory of “building an anti-racist base” in the working class. This “base” would more accurately be described as an “oasis”, for in the eyes of these petty bourgeois, the workers are “racist”, and a base has to be created in the midst of all their hostility. “Weather” correctly perceives the hostility of the workers toward them, but misinterprets the reason for it. The workers, by their very nature, are hostile to bourgeois of all “shades” no matter what socialist cover they adopt. Just as the existence of bourgeois ideology in the working class does not make the workers “bourgeois”, similarly the existence of racist id.eas in the class does not make the workers “racist”. Here, “Weather” has the world view of the bourgeoisie, attributing all manner of evils to the workers, and hot to the bourgeoisie, the real culprits.

The same could be said for the “mass socialist basers”. They forget that the bourgeoisie is the anti-communist class, not the workers, and imagine socialist “oasis-building” to be a task confronting them. With this kind of stand and viewpoint toward the proletariat, the “mass socialist basers” will come to no good end.

Another aspect of the “mass socialist base” line is that “Marxist-Leninist cadre emerge from the mass organizations of the working class”, and similarly “the Party emerges from the mass movement.” This theory resolves itself into “Marxist-Leninist cadre emerge from struggle against the capitalists.” This theory is true in a certain sense, but in-and-of-itself is one-sided and reactionary in its implications, in that it condemns Marxist-Leninists to passivity on the organizational front (building ML organization) thus paralyzing all of the other revolutionary work that needs to be done.

Marxist-Leninist cadre and the Marxist-Leninist Party come into being and develop strength in the struggle against revisionism. This struggle against revisionism can be summarized in the two-fold slogan: Build the Marxist-Leninist Party as a task in-itself/ Lead the actual struggles of the masses. These tasks cannot be separated but must go on simultaneously. Those who separate them in the manner of the “mass socialist basers” are committing the error of economism, criticized by Lenin, i.e. “the movement is everything, the goal (or Party – ed.) is nothing”. This is the same error that grew into Menshevism and social democracy in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Now, to proceed with my prepared comments. The point we are trying to make is that the author’s of “mass socialist base” theories are actually pushing social-democracy. That is, right opportunism or revisionism, both old style and modern Kruschevite style. And that contrary to building any sort of movement for socialism among the workers, social democracy naturally tries to build a movement for bourgeois reformism and social democracy among the workers. And even a cursory glance at the history of the communist revolution in several countries shows that the end-point of social democracy is actually social fascism. Such was the fate of the Italian Socialist Party, the German Social-Democratic Party, the Austrian Social-Democratic Party, and others.

The breeding ground for social democracy historically was the parties of the Second International. Lenin fought them on all fronts, most notably on the question of the STATE and on IMPERIALISM AND WAR. Social democracy revised Marxism on the question of the state, advocated socialism via the parliamentary road, denied the necessity to smash the bourgeois state and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this way they disarmed the workers of their most precious possession – Marxist-Leninist political line – and delivered the working class movement, stripped of its militancy, to the fascist finance capitalists. In brief, this is how social democracy assists the fascists and earns the term social-fascism.

Today, the CPUSA is of course a good example of social democratic political line. But it would be a big mistake to limit one’s awareness to just the CPUSA.

The second issue of “No Separate Peace” newspaper says that, “Peace can only come when the united working class finally seizes the means of production and uses them in their own interest to set up a decent socialist society.” Social democrats always talk about “seizing the means of production” and “factories”. They mislead the workers in doing so. The proletariat can take control of the means of production only after first rising up in violent armed struggle and seizing state power. But social democrats will not put forward this line, which is indispensible for the success of the revolution. Lenin has said: “The emancipation of the working classes, must be won by the working classes themselves.” This requires that the workers consciously grasp the necessity to set-up the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is no accident that the individuals associated with “No Separate Peace” are also associated with the CPUSA through Seattle Liberation Coalition and the Venceremos Brigade, shout themselves hoarse about the supposed glories of Cuba and do an unhealthy amount of handwringing over the fate of Mr. Allende and the political line of “peaceful transition to socialism” in Chile.

There are other forces pushing different shades of social democracy in Seattle. On the question of national liberation movements. Throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America, there are many fascist military dictatorships. The social democrats are those “Marxists” who suggest that the solution to these problems lies in “restoring civil liberties” and “democracy” in the abstract. They hold out illusions of some sort of peaceful reform to eliminate fascist dictatorships. But for Marxists it is not enough to be anti-Military regimes. One must take a stand in favor of the actual armed national—democratic struggle and for the leadership of the working class and for the establishment of New Democracy. Otherwise, one is taking a social-democratic stand (virtually indistinguishable from that of many national bourgeois forces) and are doing the dirty work for the imperialists. The national bourgeoisie cannot lead the national democratic revolution to victory.

To continue. Some individuals are advocating “socialism” by means of “growth of public ownership” and expansion of the “public sector” under “worker-community” control. Here we have the “seizure of the means of production” line.

(Voice from the floor:

Who are you referring to?
“People’s Health newspaper”.
Are those direct quotes?
Paraphrased from June, 1975 issue.)

This brand of social democracy is even less bold than “No Separate Peace”, as the word “socialism” even seems to be treated like a hot potato in this newspaper. Here we have “shame-faced socialism”. It does not even occur to them that the workers every day seethe with hatred for the class enemy and that the slogan dictatorship of the proletariat represents the essence of their aspirations. They make the error of projecting their own timid world-view onto the workers.

So, as we can see, social democracy is thriving in Seattle. Sort of like picking up a board in the woods and seeing all kinds of bugs crawling around.

(The rest of the speech sharply criticized certain social fascist activity of several different political trends in the trade union movement in Seattle. Briefly, the two trends discussed were (1) the right opportunist, social democratic trend which, seeing the bourgeois state as aclass and “neutral”, calls for state interference in the trade union movement to resolve various problems. This was exposed as “running interference” for the bourgeoisie to further develop Mussolini-type control over the trade unions, converting them into an appendage of the fascist state machine. The other social-fascist trend discussed was the “left” opportunist, trotskyite and anarcho-syndicalist line of dual unionism. The speech ended with the following comments:)

So, in conclusion, the advocates of “mass socialist base” theories are peddling a social fascist line in the working class movement. There is a connection between their views on party building and on work within the trade unions. COUSM-L thinks that all Marxist-Leninists should unite. We are against any small-group calling a founding Party Congress. We favor an all-U.S. Congress of Marxist-Leninists and hope that the unity of thinking and lines of demarcation drawn tonight will be one small step in that direction.


After the talk, discussion lasted for three hours until midnight. COUSM-L clarified its views on different issues in response to numerous inquiries. Besides points of clarification, a vigorous two-line struggle also developed.

The opening gun in the two-line struggle was fired with the following formulation (all excerpts from the discussion are paraphrased from notes):

What are the steps to be taken in building the party? Many people are joining intermediate organizations (like MISO) because they can’t relate to the existing nation-wide Marxist-Leninist organizations.

As the meeting progressed, the line on party-building held by this view unfolded:

The Marxist-Leninist movement is very sectarian, at least most of the groups are so. Nothing but a series of endless disagreements. The only alternative is to join MISO-type groups.

As one can see, the erroneous “mass socialist base” line on party-building criticized in the speech is represented here, but in a new form. Instead of coming out with a positive appeal to build social democratic groups (alias “mass socialist organizations”) as a “step” toward building the ML Party, the “mass socialist base” line seeks refuge in a negative appeal. This negative approach seeks to justify submersion in social democratic politics by attacking certain weaknesses of the ML movement—its low theoretical level, its lack of unity, and certain opportunist tendencies toward squabbling in the name of “ideological struggle”. And instead of being excited and inspired by the incredible vitality and motion of the ML movement, which is struggling to develop the theoretical foundation and basis for proletarian revolution in the U.S., this negative approach seeks to create pessimism over entirely secondary and relative features of our movement, in order to negate it entirely. This is one way the “mass socialist base” line (pushed by certain ringleaders of social democracy in Seattle, who incidentally were not present) surfaced in the discussion.

Another trick of the social democratic line (and we are not criticizing any individuals at the meeting for being “social democrats”, as the situation in our movement is that many ML individuals uphold substantially erroneous views and are not consolidated on them yet) is to use sophistry to cloud the issues and objectively oppose clarification of ideas. For example, once the “mass socialist organization” line is exposed as an attempt to build anti-party, anti-Marxist-Leninist organization, the innocent question is asked: “Does COUSM-L support mass organizations?”

This “question” comes up from those who counterpose building mass organizations to building the ML Party. They want re-assurance that Marxist-Leninists support mass organizations as justification for their submersion in these mass organizations, whether they be embryonic social democratic Party formations or genuinely revolutionary mass organizations (such as anti-imperialist groups. Trade unions are another form which will make a contribution to the revolution.) But the words “mass organization” are used as a sophistic device to obscure the fact that no Marxist-Leninist can support social democratic parties, which always attempt to lull the workers to sleep in the service of the fascists. The Marxist-Leninists do not support organizations based on whether they are “mass” or not (form), but based on their class character (political content). The Democratic Party is indeed “mass” in many areas, but no Marxist-Leninist supports it. Trade unions however, the basic defense organizations of the workers, are a different issue.

In addition, the “innocent” question asking whether COUSM-L supports mass organizations or not is simply a dishonest attempt to sidetrack the discussion. Everyone present was fully aware that COUSM-L supports various mass organizations. This is not an issue! Our long-standing fraternal relationship with the anti-imperialist organization Afro-Asian Latin American Peoples Solidarity Forum is very well known. Our comrades participation in united front organizations to fight for the preservation of the International District and for low-income housing is also well-known. Our participation in the trade union movement is also very well known, such as the Providence Hospital organizing campaign (which, incidentally, certain opportunist-influenced individuals are trying to take “credit” for). It is simply dishonest to suggest that COUSM-L does not have a clear-cut public line in support of varied mass organizations.

COUSML emphacized that Marxist-Leninists must not confine themselves to work in the mass movements, and certainly not on a free-lance basis. Marxist-Leninists must build ML organization as a task-in-itself, as well as participating in the numerous struggles of the masses.

If a Marxist-Leninist is adamant about being unable to unite with any existing organization, then he or she would organize their own group. COUSML has friendly relations with a number of local ML groups around the country. We do not have a monopoly on historical experience and will assist Marxist-Leninists in whatever way we can to participate in the communist movement and to build the party.

There are three main mass movements in U.S. society to address ourselves to: the working class movement, the movement of minority nationalities, and the communist movement – the struggle to oppose revisionism and build the ML Party. It simply will not do if a Marxist-Leninist refuses to participate in the communist movement, he or she will inevitably become revisionist. This is a basic law of materialist dialectics, an inescapable aspect of the law of contradiction, of the unity and struggle of opposites.

Early in the meeting, the question was asked: “What is the distinction between building and forming the party?” The necessity to build the Communist Party exists as long as classes exist, to lead the working class in its struggle for emancipation. This task of party-building stands out in particularly sharp relief when no party exists at all, such as presently and over the last twenty years. The question of forming the party is a different question and is inseparably tied up with the particularities of the communist movement in each country. Today in the U.S., ideological and political conditions have not yet been created to call a founding Congress and weld the Marxist-Leninists together organizationally under one general staff. Because these conditions have yet to be created some groups have called or are preparing to call, “small-group” congresses, which unite essentially no one, to “declare” the existence of “the Party”. When conditions have been prepared, COUSM-L favors an ALL-U.S. CONGRESS of MARXIST-LENINISTS as the way to oppose “mountain stronghold mentality” and exercise our responsibilities to the entire class.

Before organizational unity can be consolidated in a founding Party Congress, more work to develop ideological and political unity is necessary. As our announcement for the meeting states: “To contribute to the process of Marxist-Leninist uniting into a single Communist Party, it is necessary to conduct principled ideological clarification of different political trends, both present and historical, and draw clear lines of demarcation.” Before the basic theoretical foundations of the Party are developed, before sharp line in support of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought and against all brands of opportunism are delineated, the prevailing disunity of thinking and action cannot be overcome. Marxist-Leninists regard unity as primary,, while disunity is relative and secondary and entirely subordinate to the desire for unity. Before unity in thinking, unity in action can be consolidated in the material existence of the proletarian party, more ideological and political work is necessary. It is the responsibility of all of us to shoulder this work.

The question is posed: “How does one go about building the Party.” There is no formula or recipe for this, which due to the widespread influence of metaphysics in the U.S., is not immediately grasped. However, five general areas (or fronts) of struggle can be outlined. There is the theoretical work to develop analysis and political line, there is the two-line struggle to oppose revisionism and opportunism of all stripes, there is numerous political battles, such as support for national liberation struggles, People’s China and Albania, against the two superpowers and their preparations for world war, in opposition to growing fascism and many other battles, there is work in the economic struggles of the working class and other oppressed sections, and there is work on the organizational front to build the apparatus to serve all these areas of struggle.

In addition, ML cadre will definitely emerge from certain mass organizations, under certain conditions. If various people with sentiment for communism who are currently oppressed and suppressed inside certain social democratic groupings rebel against the revisionists and in support of Marxism-Leninism – it is inevitable that they will become Marxist-Leninists. This also is explained by the law of contradiction and materialist dialectics.

The question is asked: “On what basis should Marxist-Leninists unite?” Marxist-Leninists never have and never will unite on 100 page programs or documents with 500 points in them. There will always be a basis for dis-uniting on some of the points, because while disunity is relative in relation to the desire for unity which is absolute, nevertheless disunity is real, objective and cannot be wished away. We do need a program, something short and to the point. Marxist-Leninists unite on political line, i.e. “what to do”. 5-10 points will suffice. We should keep secondary difference in reserve, while uniting to execute the main tasks, resolving the secondary differences over a long period of time. In addition, prior to uniting on a complete organizational basis with a ML Group or into the ML Party, communists should try to unite to carry out specific campaigns. An example was the proposal of the Seattle Branch of COUSM-L to Seattle Marxist-Leninists to form a united front committee of Marxist-Leninists to lead a mass campaign this Spring in support of the national liberation struggles of the Cambodian and Vietnamese peoples.

At one point opposition was raised to the statement by a COUSM-L supporter that two-line struggle existed in the meeting, saying that the differences in the discussion were simply misunderstandings. It was pointed out that both two-line differences and misunderstandings existed in the meeting, and that it would be particularly unfortunate if comrades closed their eyes to the two-lines. At this time, certain forces in the ML movement are organizing to consolidate their trend on an unprincipled basis. They are the ones who suggest that we should unite only once absolute unity is established. They wish not for proletarian class unity based on principle, but for bourgeois class unity based on manoeuvers, lowest common denominator based on spontaneity and sloughing over of differences, and in this way promote a wrecking trend inside the ML movement.

Many other issues were touched upon in the lengthy discussion. The meeting ended with the spirit of unity and optimism as the main trend.