First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 17, August 30, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Organizing Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party (OC) has launched its nationwide speaking tour aimed at uniting the communist movement in the party-building efforts. In the first of these forums August 15, a large crowd in Baltimore heard speeches from October League Chairman Michael Klonsky and Shakur Aljuwani, representing the Buffalo Unity Collective.
The OC, which is composed of communist groups and individuals who have united around the statement of principles, “Marxist-Leninists Unite!” planned the tour following its first unity conference last May. The tour, now scheduled in 19 cities, will have speakers from all the organizations participating in the OC.
The Baltimore forum heard summaries from both Klonsky and Aljuwani about the history of their two organizations and the lessons they have drawn leading to their participation in the Organizing Committee.
Before joining the Buffalo Unity Collective, Aljuwani was a leading member of the Black Workers Congress and the Revolutionary Workers Congress. Summing up the experiences of communists in the early period of party-building, he recalled the struggles against the opportunist lines of the Communist League and Revolutionary Union, as well as against opportunist lines within the ranks of the BWC.
The ideological struggles of this period took up such strategic questions as the Black national question, party building, the international situation, and the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was through the course of these struggles, Aljuwani pointed out, that lines demarcating Marxism-Leninism from revisionism were drawn, and the Marxist-Leninist trend began to grow strong.
Aljuwani noted, however, that the BWC degenerated due to sectarianism and dogmatism, negating the unity of theory and practice. “Marxism-Leninism must be taken into the real world,” he said, “and applied in the workers’ and nationally oppressed peoples’ struggles. That’s when it really comes into itself, where it becomes deeper, where it becomes strong, where it has the power to change the world, as it has done for more than a quarter of the world’s people today.”
The degeneration of the BWC, said Aljuwani, “was a forerunner. PRRWO and RWL are going through a similar process of degeneration now.”
Aljuwani concluded his remarks by calling on former BWC and RWC comrades and all Marxist-Leninists to support the Call of the Organizing Committee and rally to the efforts to build the new communist party without delay.
In Klonsky’s speech, he described the history of the October League in the context of the communist movement in the U.S. of the past two decades.
“A qualitative leap has been made in the building of the party from the gradual developments of the early ’70s. We have moved from small study circles to the current stage of development when we are able to put out a weekly newspaper, when we are leading concrete struggles of the working class and when we are on the verge of actually organizing the new party.
“At the May Unity Meeting, representatives of hundreds of Marxist-Leninists around the U.S. sat down at the table and began laying plans for the development of a party program, a party congress, for party rules which will bind every party member.
“The Organizing Committee is growing. New groups are applying for membership. This unity of Marxist-Leninists represents a rising trend. This unity trend is exciting to the working people, who know that their future and that of their children depends to a large extent on the ability of the Marxist-Leninists to unite into one single unified party throughout the U.S.
“This trend is international in character. In every country where the old communist parties became revisionist, Marxist-Leninist organizations have arisen, and now they are actively seeking to unify their movements.
“We have to deal with the fact,” Klonsky said, “that there is still great division in our movement. The plan of the Organizing Committee is to deal with it as best as possible within the ranks of one single party, to bring all those who are Marxist-Leninists together on the basis of principles, knowing that there will always be struggle and differences, and to draw lines of demarcation which keep out the police agents, opportunists and revisionists. That’s what our ’Call to Unite’ does.
“Even after our party has formed, we don’t think that will be the end of the party-building process. There are many Marxist-Leninists in other organizations, for example, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), which is organized around a thoroughly opportunist line, whom we have to engage in struggle and debate. Those who resist, or who have the idea that they are the ’only’ Marxist-Leninists, will be exposed.
“We must take seriously the task of uniting the great majority of the Marxist-Leninists,” Klonsky continued, “because without a single unified vanguard we cannot win our victory. The working class cannot win when it has different factions and sections all leading it in different directions. It’s got to have one recognized party that has proven itself in practice in the class struggle. With the formation of the OC, we can now say we are well on our way to that goal.”