Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Viewpoint

The October League – Revisionist to the Bone

Touched to Their Soul by the Bourgeoisie

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, Nos. 2-3, March-April 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The world capitalist crisis is heading towards tremendous confrontations and inevitable collapse. Everyone senses it. Revolutionary workers see it clearly, and so do the monopoly capitalists. All classes and all the national movements are in upheaval, preparing their political programs and tactics and gathering their forces for the coming battles. And out of this grouping and regrouping of the country’s political forces, two roads are emerging more and more clearly to workers and oppressed nationalities: either socialism or fascism, either the dictatorship of the proletariat or the fascist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

Only the U.S. workers, backed by the Afro-American and other national movements and guided by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, can lead the U.S. people onto the road to socialism and out of capitalist oppression. The progress of the workers’ and national movements in the last several years – from the West Virginian miners to the New York and San Francisco city workers, from the steel, auto and rubber workers in the Mid West to the oppressed nationalities’ struggles against police repression, deportations and for equal rights – all this shows the spontaneous striving of these two great movements for socialism. The struggles are still uneven, still just rising, sometimes zig-zagging, but they do advance and steadily go deeper into the masses. The slogan of the revolutionary workers’ and national movements is: Break The Chains of Wage-Slavery and National Oppression! Fight for Socialism!

The bourgeoisie answers’ with its slogans: Anything but socialism! Anything but Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought! That is the bourgeoisie’s constant war-cry, raised to a shriek in the present crisis. They know full well that the masses are putting on trial not only certain capitalist policies and politicians, but capitalism itself. Everything the bourgeoisie does today is therefore aimed at trying to pump some credibility back into capitalism. That is their whole political program. Henry Ford III put it bluntly when he left the Ford Foundation a couple of months ago, saying that the people at the Foundation do not sufficiently appreciate the virtues of capitalism! But the whole problem for the bourgeoisie is that while the need for them to fool the masses grows more and more, they have less and less political capital left to do this with. Their efforts therefore become more demagogic, more slick but empty than ever before. The recent airing of the T.V. series Roots shows that the bourgeoisie can in no way get over with the old, racist, Shirley Temple portrayal of Afro-Americans, but must try to appeal to the masses’ democratic and even revolutionary sentiments, for the sole purpose of distorting them and diverting them from revolution. In the same way, their new man Jimmy Carter spends every moment trying, in his own words, “to restore faith in government,” but he has next to nothing to do this with. His gas-price decontrol, his $50 chump-change tax rebate, his farmboy image, rigged-up town hall meetings and “dial-a-Prez” – these swindles just won’t get over anymore.

The petty bourgeoisie, by and large, falls into line behind the big bourgeoisie’s war-cry against socialism. From clerks and professors to shopkeepers, the petty bourgeoisie is squeezed dry under capitalism but has no independent road out. Grumbling but afraid of the monopoly capitalists, grumbling and even more afraid of the proletariat, the petty bourgeoisie gazes back at better times when there was no crisis and no threat of revolution. Its right wing plunges into KKK racism, to pornography and fascism, while its center ties itself up in every variety of Ralph Nader, do-good reformism and social uplifting. Its left wing even goes in for fake socialism and fake communism, which is only another brand of reformism. Every major political issue of the day, and the trends in the misleaders who arise from the petty bourgeoisie and stratum of bribed workers, shows these political trends – the Boston busing issue, for example, where the fascist KKK and ROAR as well as the NAACP and every other kind of pro busing liberal are firmly set. Like the big bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeois also tries to influence the working class and divert it from revolution. Like the big bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie’s slogan too, is: Anything but socialism! That is, anything but revolutionary socialism, or Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought.

Representatives of these class trends inevitably appear in the struggle between communist and sham communist organizations. The “WVO movement,” (as one of our readers in our Feb. 1977 issue called it) which alone is bringing Marxism to the workers’ and national movements, directing our every act in preparation for the proletarian dictatorship, is emerging as the vanguard party of the U.S. working class. The October League (OL), on the other hand, has steadily emerged since its birth as a representative of petty bourgeois revisionism. This organization is simply one of the many varieties of fake communism (and real reformism) that the petty bourgeoisie breeds in its left wing to try to influence the working class, to impose its own program on it and smother the proletarian revolution. The OL’s renegade leading clique, headed by its chairman M. Klonsky, has totally betrayed Marxism in politics, organization and philosophy, and totally betrayed all preparations for the proletarian dictatorship.

The Klonsky renegade clique deeply hates the proletariat’s real vanguard, the WVO. The sole true love of this renegade clique is the U.S. bourgeoisie. As we will see, the bourgeoisie never fails to touch this clique to its very soul. This clique, in turn, is devoting its whole life to defending U.S. capitalism.

The WVO has led the struggle over the past two years and more to discredit this petty bourgeois revisionism in the eyes of all genuine Marxists and advanced workers in the U.S., and this struggle has been tremendously successful. And since the OL leaders are now getting ready to make their revisionism official by finalizing their political program and changing their name to “communist party,” it is high time that we thoroughly settle accounts with them by summing up their all-round betrayal of Marxism.

1. Politics

The theory and practice of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the quintessence of Marxism. Under socialism, the proletariat’s task is to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat to the abolition of all exploiting classes, to communism. This is what the Communist Party of China has summed up in its basic line for the entire historical period of socialism. In capitalist countries, our task is to make immediate and universal preparations for the dictatorship of the proletariat, so that when conditions are ripe we will be armed and ready in all ways to smash the capitalist state and establish proletarian rule. In those countries like the U.S., where bourgeois democracy is the form of capitalist rule, the question comes down to this: Should the working class smash or help consolidate bourgeois democracy? Should communists expose it in front of the masses or help build it up?

The OL’s answer is that of all dyed-in-the-wool revisionists, which amounts to this: abandon all preparations for the proletarian dictatorship, consolidate and save bourgeois democracy.

From 1973 to early 1975, the OL smuggled this in under the slogan: “Stop the Fascist Tide.” Everywhere the OL turned, they saw fascist tides, except coming from the liberal politicians and monopoly capitalists. When they looked at these liberals, the OL saw nothing but democracy and freedom!

The proof? Throughout Watergate, the OL played the role of a loyal opposition to the ruling class, supporting the Congress’ moves to impeach Nixon under the slogan, “Dump Nixon, Stop the Fascist Tide.” In fact, since the OL’s only gripe against Rodino, Ervin, Kennedy and all the rest was their “paralysis” and “vacillation” in impeaching Nixon, the OL made every effort to channel the mass sentiment against the ruling class merely into pressuring Congress to act more resolutely!

As early as Jan. 1974, we warned that communists must not be taken in by the Watergate “revelations” and possible impeachment to expose Nixon and a few other politicians while letting the rest off the hook, but must use Watergate to show the masses that the entire bourgeoisie is unfit to rule and that Nixon’s resignation would only give an illusion of change. Isn’t it true that through Watergate and the capitalist crisis, not only the advanced workers but the broad masses were rapidly losing faith in the entire U.S. ruling class? Yet just then, the OL tailed behind the narrower and more backward, purely anti-Nixon sentiment and through their support of impeachment stuck out a helping hand to the liberal Congressmen in their efforts to shore up bourgeois democracy. True to their liberal souls, under cover of “Building the Mass Movement to Dump Nixon,” the OL actually resurrected the tired liberal call to “write your Congressman.”

It was the same on the shop floors and in the trade unions. “Push the Trade Unions to the Left,” which from 1973-76 was the OL’s main slogan for their work, translated in real life into attempts to push the trade union misleaders to the left, to connive and get tight with the militant misleaders, to treat them as direct reserves of the socialist revolution and help them fool the masses. The OL fully took the bourgeois class stand, calling unions like the United Mineworkers of America and the United Farmworkers “progressive unions” precisely because they were headed by such militants as Arnold Miller and Cesar Chavez. The OL smothered Miller with kisses before, during, and long after the sellout, wildcat-busting contract he pushed through in 1974. Why? Because the OL was still so grateful to Miller for his victory in 1972 over the openly reactionary UMW misleadership of Tony Boyle. Just as in Watergate, the OL whole-heartedly supported the rise of this militant misleader over the company man as the fight to “Stem the Fascist Tide.”

But what are these militant misleaders like Miller and Chavez? In struggle against the OL, we showed in 1975 that, just as much as the company, men in the unions, like Boyle, George Meany or Frank Fitzsimmons, the militant mis-leaders are social props of the bourgeoisie, one of the firmest pillars of bourgeois democracy, without which the bourgeoisie could not maintain their rule. They are not, as the OL held, “direct reserves” of the proletarian revolution or the struggle against the danger of fascism, but the most dangerous agents of the bourgeoisie in the workers’ ranks. The Industrial Workers of the World and the old Communist Party USA (when it was a revolutionary party) used to call them ̶labor fakers.” In the course of fighting the ruling class, communists must direct their main blows, the fullest and most painstaking exposures against these militant misleaders, for it is just at times like now when the bosses and union reactionaries are losing all grip on the workers that the militants will come to the fore to try to save capitalism. Who but a militant like Miller could have forced the 1974 contract on the miners? Who but a militant like Chavez could support deportations of illegal aliens among the farmworkers without getting run out immediately? To build these militants up, to help strengthen their grip on the masses, to smother them with kisses as the OL did for three full years, is to help strengthen bourgeois democracy and defend capitalist rule.

“Everyone” accepts or pretends to accept this Marxist truth today, including even the OL, who now mouths off against the misleaders and social props. But for three years we had to prove this truth against the OL’s wildest accusations of “sectarianism,” “dual unionism, “ultra-’ leftism’” and even the charge that we supported the right-wing misleaders.

In the very same way, at the Puerto Rican Solidarity Day rally in New York City on Oct. 27, 1974, the OL supported the revisionist Puerto Rican Socialist Party and the “Communist” Party USA, without raising a single exposure either of Soviet Social-Imperialism or of revisionism in the U.S. That, they claimed, would he “sectarian,” and “splittist.” But only four months later, in International Women’s Day 1975, they suddenly came out ranting “on principle” against any work in coalitions or other mass situations where the revisionist “C”PUSA was present. That, they held, was right opportunist, in the process distorting the slogan, “No United Action with Revisionists.”

Here we had to take up the struggle against the OL’s “left” feint. We showed that communists must uncompromisingly expose the misleaders, and they must do it in front of the masses, to educate them and win them from the misleaders in the course of fighting the bourgeoisie. And to do this, communists must go into the unions, into mass organizations and coalitions, wherever the masses are present.

The OL’s totally unprincipled flips and feints are obvious to anyone who knows their history and has the slightest grasp of Marxism. But what caused them? To put it bluntly, besides the WVO’s exposures of the OL’s revisionism, the OL got their liberal fingers badly burned by the masses. After laying at Arnold Miller’s feet for two years while Miller was constantly betraying the rank and file, the OL suddenly realized that in 1975-6 the miners were now wildcatting by the tens of thousands against the companies and Miller! Frankly, anyone who dares to come out for Miller among the rank and file today is liable to get shot. It is no accident, then, that the OL started coming out against Miller in Aug. 1976, at the height of the miners’ latest wave of wildcats. This practical example fully shows the OL’s extreme rearguard role, sacrificing the masses’ long-term interests to worship whatever is popular at the moment, tailing miles behind the level of understanding of the middle and even the backward elements among the masses!

If anyone still doesn’t believe it, just look: now that Miller is thoroughly discredited, unable to smother the rank and file any longer and thus losing all value to the mine owners and the ruling class, what is the OL’s stand on the new militants like Hayes Holstein of Local 1759? Holstein, like Miller, is a dyed-in-the-wool anti-communist misleader, but is even more militant than Miller and is rising rapidly, possibly to take Miller’s place just as Miller replaced Tony Boyle. Naturally, you can’t find a word against Holstein in the pages of The Call. The OL quotes freely from Holstein and even gives him credit for having “initiated” the miners’ wildcats last summer (The Call, Aug. 2, 1976, p. l) So exactly as we predicted months ago, the OL’s “repudiation” of their revisionist worshipping of the militant misleaders was a complete fake. The bourgeoisie is simply bringing up new militants to replace the old, and the unrepentant OL is still trying to “push the trade unions to the left!”

The OL’s unlimited service to bourgeois democracy shows itself most flagrantly in the Boston busing issue. In 1975, the New York Tomes made support for the forced busing plan an essential criterion for being a good liberal Democrat, and the OL fits the bill perfectly. Anyone who supports forced busing as a democratic demand must view the Ted Kennedy’s, the Judge Garrity’s, the NAACP and even the police and troops these liberals call on to enforce the busing plan, as friends in the struggle, and must go over to liberalism themselves. And this is, the whole story of the OL’s role in busing.

Is it that the OL doesn’t criticize and show their differences with the liberals? No, of course not, but exactly what does the OL criticize them for? The OL’s criticism of the liberals has always been that they don’t support forced busing hard enough, especially in the face of fascist opposition. The OL does them one better. The OL supports forced busing “to the point of laying down their lives” – this has always been their cry against the liberals, who according to them, ”capitulate inevitably and “cannot be relied on to stand up to the fascists.” The OL’s touching devotion to the forced busing plan shows more starkly than anything else that they are just a bunch of small pawns in the ruling class’ hands. They would “lay down their lives” for it! Just as Lenin said, the opportunists in the workers’ ranks are indeed better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie itself!

The OL’s view that the liberals are the “lesser of the two evils,” who help in the struggle against the danger of fascism but just don’t go far enough, isn’t a Marxist criticism at all. It’s a liberal criticism of liberalism. To Marxists, liberalism works as fascism’s twin pole, feeding its growth while holding the workers’ movement down. The defeat of fascism and the proletarian revolution will not be the result of the consistent application of liberalism, no matter what the OL may think: Tailing after the bourgeoisie’s slogans, the OL’s only line of demarcation against the bourgeoisie is their challenge: “Are you or are you not – resolute and thorough-going liberals?”

Didn’t the OL support “federal protection” for the black community, meaning “protection” by the police and federal troops, and even say that “the lack of federal protection has only served to expose the government and especially the liberals, who have refused to send in help”? (The Call, Nov. 1974, p. 12) We will set the OL straight: the police and troops have never entered working class and oppressed nationality communities except to hold the people down at gunpoint. It is this oppression by the police that long ago exposed the ruling class “and especially the liberals” to the masses, and not any “refusal to send in help” on the ruling class’ part. If the OL doesn’t believe this and stubbornly sees it the opposite way, it is only because of their own liberal illusions and isolation from the masses’ daily suffering!

At Carson Beach on Aug. 10, 1975, the OL carried their consistent application of liberalism into action. Riding on the masses’ outrage against the violent attacks on Afro-Americans on the beach that week, the NAACP called the “peaceful picnic”, telling everyone to leave all weapons at home and instead demanding “protection” from the Boston tactical police force and STOP Squad. The “picnic” turned out to be a police slaughter, as genuine communists and a good part of the masses (who came armed despite the NAACP) knew it would. Communists were duty bound to warn the masses before and during the event that the NAACP was leading us into a slaughter, to march with the masses to educate and defend them on the spot, and to sum it up afterwards. But the OL supported this “picnic” throughout, differing only with the NAACP’s call to come unarmed, and even celebrated it later under the front page headline, “Freedom Struggle Erupts!” Once again, the OL out-1ibera1ized the liberals. They are, for sure, better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie itself!

We say: Communists must oppose the forced busing plan, which is a ruling class ploy to split the multinational working class and oppressed nationalities and must unite the masses around the demands for quality education for all and equal rights, including the right of oppressed nationalities to go to the school of their choice. Communists must isolate and smash both the fascist ROAR and KKK and the liberal NAACP misleaders, winning both the white and oppressed nationality masses from their influence, and must organize armed self-defense of the oppressed nationalities against all attacks from the fascists, the police and troops.

This is inconceivable to the OL. They will always tell you that to oppose forced busing and the liberals is to support segregation and the fascists. The OL is so ensnared in the bounds of bourgeois democracy that they cannot even conceive of any alternative to the fascist and liberal paths – take one or the other, because there is no other choice! Just as the liberal integrationists in the 1960’s accused Malcolm X of “reverse racism,” when he opposed liberal integration, the OL today accuses the WVO of supporting segregation and ROAR when we oppose forced busing. We answer: we do support integration because it provides favorable conditions for revolutionary struggle, but it is pure treachery to substitute it for the revolutionary struggle, to abandon that struggle under the call for integration.

Political trends show their true class features in the course of the class struggle. No matter how much the OL may try to hide their “real feelings” today by mouthing fake criticisms and exposures of various misleaders and liberals, their features shine through the fierce struggle in Boston busing, the trade unions, Watergate, and many other issues. Scratch the surface, and you will find, with only slight alterations, all the familiar liberal slogans against Marxism and revolution: “write your Congressmen,” “reverse racism,” “push” the liberals and misleaders into the socialist revolution, defend bourgeois democracy against fascism.

To sum up: the OL’s soul is the soul of petty bourgeois liberalism. Their line is nothing less than a complete political program for opposing all preparations for the proletarian dictatorship, a program for consolidating, extending and saving bourgeois democracy.

2. Organization

“Immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat” applies in all spheres, including organization. The proletariat is the only class in history with a single interest, the class with the mission of waging the most revolutionary struggle for socialism and communism. Reflecting this single interest and mission, the proletarian party, the vanguard which must lead the struggle, cannot be a debating society or a loose association, jut must maintain the highest degree of centralism and discipline. “The workers, united, will never be defeated!” Only with this iron unity and centralism will the proletariat be prepared organizationally, as well as in all other ways, to carry out the revolution and establish its rule.

This is why, in organizational matters, the working class needs democracy but needs centralization even more. The proletarian organizational principle of democratic centralism holds that the individual is subordinate to the organization, the minority to the majority, the lower level to the higher level md the entire Party to the Central Committee. Proletarian centralism cannot exist without democracy, without conflicting opinions, struggle and criticism. Without inner-Party struggle, discipline would be blind and centralism bureaucratic, and the Party’s life would come to an end. But inner-Party democracy is not an end in itself, but only a means to consolidate the party’s centralism to higher and higher levels.

The OL’s organizational principle, however, is: democracy first, the “freedom” and autonomism of all individuals, minorities and levels against the Central Committee and the Party’s unity. The OL’s organizational principle is a recipe for a petty bourgeois mass party, or a club of intellectuals, but never for the militant fighting Party of the proletariat.

When the OL first announced their party building drive in Nov. 1975, they actually proposed that their party would go for a full year without a political program to unite and guide it. Instead, it would scrape along on its “principles of unity.” During the year, instead of formal Congress and Central Committee, the OL proposed a “temporary leading body” with no formal authority or democratic centralism to direct the party’s work. To top it off, instead of demanding the utmost centralism and discipline, the OL promised all members “full democracy,” and later, the “fullest possible democracy.” And the OL seriously hoped others would believe that the party merging from this flying circus of intellectuals would be able to lead he proletariat to overthrow the U.S. monopoly capitalist class!

They hoped, but not for long. When the WVO exposed this revisionist organizational plan, the OL beat a quick retreat, promising to draft a political program and drop their “temporary leading body” scheme. Since then, the OL is been widely advertising their organizing Committee (OC), which is the center the OL wants to build their party out of, as the successor to Lenin’s OC, which prepared the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party in 1902. They’ve run a fake “study campaign” on Lenin’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, and – no joke! – they’ve been parading themselves as the champions of proletarian centralism and discipline.

The OL/OC is taken from Lenin... with a few slight alterations. Lenin always stressed that the real work of party building was done by the Iskra (Spark) newspaper and organization in Russia between 1900 and 1902. Iskra, which he founded, was the collective propagandist, agitator and organizer that served as the real scaffolding on which the party was built. Lenin established Iskra in late 1900, and through tremendous efforts for two years, Iskra developed the correct line for a number of major questions of the Russian revolution, Iskra drew the line of demarcation against the opportunists, Iskra developed the draft Party Program, and Iskra united most of the Russian workers’ circles even before the OC was created. The OC, which tried to unite a number of other circles with Iskra, was mainly a commission set up in the final step of party building to convene the Second Congress in 1902. But Iskra had already done the real work of party building before the OC was even formed, so much so that Lenin said that “Iskra became the Party and the Party became Iskra.”

Iskra’s central role, its role as the leading circle which rallied the Party’s forces, is the centralist approach to party building. In Russia in 1900, the RSDLP existed formally, but not in reality. The hundreds of workers’ circles were still disunited. Lenin explained that in such a situation where there was no united Central Committee to direct the Party’s work, the center and “top” inevitably was one of the circles, the circle with the most influence because of its activity and revolutionary line. In Russia, that leading circle was the Iskra organization. Lenin called this approach of building the Party on the leading circle, the top-down approach. Lenin carried out his democratic centralist outlook consistently, applying its organizational principles to all situations, and in fact it was during the Iskra period that he developed his views on democratic centralism. This centralist, top-down approach, building the party on the leading circle, is the real content of Lenin’s organizational plan for party building.

But according to the OL, the OC and not Iskra provided the basis for the RSDLP m 1902, and it is this opportunist, bottom-up approach they are carrying out in their own OC today. The OL never dares to proclaim that the OL is the leading circle (the OL is against leading circles on principle!), that the OL’s line will be the party’s line, that those circles that agree with the OL should liquidate themselves and join the OL, that the OL is the party. No, the OL would never dream of dominating the OC; it is only one of the OC’s many circles, which are all absolutely equal, each with a single vote! The OC, and not the OL, is laying the real basis for the OL’s party. The OC writes its principles of unity, the OC is drafting the party program, the OC makes the public tours, the OC calls the circles to join itself, and not the OL.

Even the OC is not “broad” and “democratic” enough for the OL, for they claim that the OC is based on an even broader and vaguer ”unity trend” in the U.S., which includes all “honest Marxist-Leninists currently studying the different lines and trends out of a genuine desire” to build a party. And the OL promises they will try to bring this whole “unity trend” into their OC. In One Step Forward, Lenin fought the opportunists (Mensheviks) who wanted to bring “every professor” and “every striker and sympathizer” into the Party membership, because this would have liquidated the Party’s vanguard character, making it not the advanced detachment of the working class, but dissolving it into the mass of the proletariat. To be a real vanguard party, Lenin held that its members must not only agree with the Party program and say they support the Party, but must actively work in a Party organization and pay membership dues. But the OL, who is strutting about with their study campaign on One Step Forward, repeats the opportunist arguments almost word-for-word, promising they will try to bring anyone who is “currently studying the different lines and trends” and who simply says he or she wants to build the communist party into the OC and eventually into the OL’s party. Democracy first, to the very end!

In reality, the OL’s party, as they originally planned it, already exists. There is no program, there has been no founding Congress, there is no Central Committee, but there is the “fullest possible democracy” for all members, and there is also a “temporary leading body”: the OC. The present OC is that “temporary leading body,” that loose un-center, with no formal authority or democratic centralism over its parts, out of which the final product will eventually emerge. Just as the unrepentant OL revisionists promised to stop trying to “push the trade unions to the left” but actually continued it policy by supporting Hayes Holstein, these same unrepentant revisionists promised to abandon their “temporary leading body” scheme but smuggled it back in, in the shape of the “temporary leading OC.”

The representatives of all exploiting and dying classes are riddled with internal contradictions, with cut-throat maneuvering and career-building. The OL/OC. as a representative of the petty-bourgeois marsh, is no exception. The most recent proof of this inner decay is the OL’s “purge” of the arch-revisionist M. Nicholaus. This “purge” had no principled basis at all. Ask the Klonsky renegade clique who iced Nicholaus out, why they had to get rid of him, and they will tell you that Nicholaus holds a revisionist view of the liberal bourgeoisie, the trade union misleaders, party building, and so on – in other words, Nicholaus stubbornly holds onto the Klonsky clique’s own exposed revisionist line of 1972-75, while the Klonsky clique itself has been trying to dissociate itself from its own line for the past two years to prevent further exposure.

By its own bad example, the OL/OC proves that, in the conditions of the U.S. today, the setting up of an OC is the incorrect approach to rally the Party’s forces. The Russian communists used the OC twice in their history, once in 1902 when the Bolshevik (Leninist) and Menshevik wings formed in the RSDLP, and again in 1912 when the Bolsheviks formally and definitely split from the Mensheviks and formed a separate Party. There were two main conditions that made the OC the necessary and correct way to rally the Bolsheviks’ forces. First, there were numerous, literally hundreds, of workers’ circles and committees scattered across Russia, all belonging formally to the RSDLP but having little or no actual contact between them. There were many honest communist workers even among those who followed the opportunist Menshevik leaders. Lenin therefore made every effort to establish contact with these workers’ circles and win them away from the Mensheviks, and the OC was one form to do this. Second, under Tsarism the RSDLP was illegal and brutally suppressed, which made common work among the circles a matter of survival, even if they had certain differences in their lines and views.

In the conditions of bourgeois democracy in the U.S., the communist movement was not forced to develop into one organization, but on the contrary, any swell-headed intellectual could start his own little circle and trend. The sorting out between Marxists and opportunists has taken place not inside a single party, but between different organizations. The major trends have definite organizational representatives, and there are not hundreds or thousands of workers circles, but only a few genuine Marxist collectives. What’s left of the communist movement that emerged from the 1960’s movements and is either unable or unwilling to follow leadership of the WvO, is what we call: the marsh. Swell-headed intellectuals trying to start their own little “communist” corporations, a whole layer of petty bourgeois social-democrats and revisionists left over from the old communist movement, many of whom claim they want to build a genuine communist party but who have proven over the years that they are absolutely unable to help and are actually working against the Party’s formation – that slag is the marsh. And that marsh is the secret of the OL’s “unity trend”, the real social basis of their OC, the real source of most of the “honest Marxist-Leninists” they claim to be attracting.

The WVO is the leading circle in the U.S. today, the core of the genuine Communist Party. We call on all genuine communists to rally to the WVO’s correct line and liquidate themselves. We strive to unite with all genuine Marxists on the basis of the WVO’s correct line, including those who break from opportunist organizations and thoroughly repudiate the opportunist lines. But we maintain special vigilance against all careerists and fakes, anD unlike the OL, we certainly will not open up the Party’s doors to the marsh.

With the struggle to unite Marxist-Leninists largely completed, today our main stress nationwide is on winning the advanced workers to the WVO. We gladly leave the OL to the marsh; the advanced workers and other advanced elements now emerging from spontaneous struggles around the country are our great new source of strength. The WVO’s road is the only road to the genuine Communist Party in the U.S., the only road to the centralized and united Party which alone will be prepared organizationally to establish the proletarian dictatorship.

The OL, who opposes all political preparations for proletarian rule, naturally does the same organizationally. Parties that are trying to reform and save bourgeois democracy have no need whatsoever for centralization and discipline. To support liberal Congressmen, to die for forced busing and unite the marsh, as the OL is trying to do, centralization and discipline are a downright hindrance.

To sum up: here too, the OL’s soul is the soul of petty bourgeois liberalism. Their party without a program but with the “fullest possible democracy,” their OC un-center and their unbridled call to the marsh; are a complete organizational line for the petty bourgeois mass party, the loose club of intellectuals, that their revisionist, politics demand.

3. Philosophy,/h5>

The class struggle in the political, organizational and other spheres is inevitably connected to struggle in philosophy. In Marxism, philosophy is the theory of knowledge, the theory of the relation between thinking and practice, knowing and doing. Marxist philosophy is dialectical materialism. All revisionists inevitably betray dialectical materialism and call into service all kinds of rotten bourgeois philosophies to justify their betrayal of the working class, and the OL is no exception. As the philosophical back-up for their revisionist political and organizational lines, the OL has completely jettisoned dialectical materialism for bourgeois pragmatism and eclecticism, and instead of honestly seeking truth from facts, has resorted to the worst kind of lies and rumor-mongering.

Marxist philosophy holds that the law of the unity of opposites is the fundamental law of the universe. Everything in nature and society moves through contradictions, through the unity and struggle of the two “opposites,” the two aspects in contradictions. There are many contradictions in a complex process, and at each point, one and only one of them is the principal contradiction whose existence and development influences and determines the existence and development of all the other contradictions and the advance of the whole process.

Our preparations for the dictatorship of the proletariat are a protracted, difficult and complicated struggle which demands that we carry out many fighting tasks. At each point in this struggle, one of our many tasks must be the principal task which, when we grasp it tightly, will advance our entire struggle towards proletarian revolution. Looking at the task of immediate and universal preparation for the proletarian dictatorship from this side, too, we will see that the OL has again completely betrayed the working class.

Since the mid-1950’s, when the “C”PUSA totally betrayed Marxism and became simply a capitalist party with a “communist” label, the principal task of U.S. communists has been party building,, the building of the genuine vanguard Communist Party. As long as the working class is without this organized vanguard which is based on revolutionary Marxism and unites the finest members of its class, the socialist revolution cannot advance in the long run. Without this vanguard, all the heroic struggles the working class wages every day inevitably end in reformism and deadends.

In 1972, the advanced fighters from the great mass movements of the 1960’s had adopted Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and the genuine communist movement definitely took shape. The communist movement had broken with the cruder aspects of revisionism and the petty bourgeois theories of revolution that had flourished in the 1960’s, and accepted Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in its cruder aspects. The Revolutionary Union (RU) led the way in making this fundamental break and establishing the communist movement. The First Congress of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization in 1972 was an important marker of this break, for the RU, the Black Workers Congress and the I Wor Kuen all attended and all came out openly for Mao Tsetung Thought.

Parts of the communist movement did start raising the principal task of party building from its very first year. But the movement’s adoption of revolutionary Marxism and break with revisionism were still only in their cruder aspects, and the movement’s main task in party building was the serious study of Marxist theory and its application to the concrete conditions in the U.S. The genuine communists, who had rich practical experience from the revolutionary movements of the 1960’s, above all needed the solid Marxist theoretical basis on which to sum up their own experience and the whole class and national struggles in the U.S. Training in the fundamentals of Marxist theory in the process of applying it to the concrete conditions in the U.S. was the key link to party building and the precondition for solving all our other tasks the precondition, not in the sense of excluding the other tasks, but of leading and determining them.

But just then, the RU brought out their blind worship of the mass movement and practice-practice-practice, fighting to the end against party building and the importance of theory under their notorious slogan: “Build the struggle, consciousness and revolutionary unity of the working class and its leadership in the anti-imperialist united front.” Under cover of their seemingly Marxist call for “the masses” and “practice,” the RU tried to build a special “trend” based on bourgeois pragmatism.

Just like the RU, the OL opposed the study of Marxist theory and saw nothing but “ultra-’leftists’” and “dogmatists” everywhere they turned.

Just like the RU, from 1973-75 the OL opposed the study of Marxist theory and saw nothing but “ultra-’leftists’” and “dogmatists” wherever they turned, even when they turned to-’ wards the RU! Just like the RU, the OL went in for building the party out oħ the mass movement and the united front, and not by concentrating on uniting Marxist-Leninists and winning the advanced elements to communism. In all the following struggles that the revolutionary theory trend and the revolutionary wing waged against the RU, the OL always ended up in the opportunist wing with the RU, and they are still playing the same role today in the struggles the WVO is waging against this opportunism and revisionism.

On this important question of principle, the two-faced OL constantly shifted from one side to the other, talking out of both sides of their mouths, even saying both things at the very same time that party building was the central task and that building the mass movement and united front was the principal task. Why did the OL cop 100% to the RU’s pragmatism? Because, for a short time, the RU’s opportunism was the popular wind in the communist movement. And in their whole history, the OL has never once failed to tail after a popular breeze.

To top it off, the OL had the audacity to claim in November 1975, when they launched their present party building push that they had always been “consistent and clear” in upholding the central task of party building! Now, we have many times given documented proof that this is a bare-faced lie.

The OL’s present “left” feint only proves that they are still tailing behind whatever’s popular at the moment. For only after the revolutionary wing and now the WVO have defeated the RU and OL’s right opportunism in 1974-76, only now that party building and theory have become “popular” and “acceptable” even with opportunists, only now is the OL dusting off their old pamphlets where they long ago mentioned party building. Just as the unrepentant OL resurrected their support for Arnold Miller in their support for Hayes Holstein and resurrected their “temporary leading body” in the shape of their Organizing Committee, the unrepentant OL is still tailing behind whatever’s popular in party building.

Once started, it couldn’t stop. In the face of the WVO’s correct criticisms of their revisionism, the OL resorted to the worst kind of sophistry to cover their tracks. They were completely unwilling and unable to do an honest self-criticism of their mistakes and repudiate them. Unable to prove in any way that the WVO’s criticisms were wrong, the OL resorted to their favorite trick of trying to cast suspicion on the WVO, saying for example that we can’t be trusted because we “have no practice.” Unable to show any real connection on the basis of line between the WVO and Trotskyism, the OL invented a fake historical connection between the WVO and the Trotskyite Progressive Labor Party by distorting one WVO member’s personal history. Ordinary people call this sort of thing gossiping and rumor-mongering and that’s exactly what it is.

Everybody knows by now that the WVO does have a great deal of practice and influence in all the mass movements. Even more important of course is this accusation is absolutely no basis to prove that our line is wrong, and is nothing but a diversion from the real question. Even the RU, who used this favorite ploy for several years, has given it up as bankrupt. As to our supposed historical connection to the PLP, the WVO has its roots in the national and student movements of the 1960’s.

One WVO member, comrade Jerry Tung, was in the PLP for about a year. Ho was not in the “top leadership” as the OL has tried to tell people. He fought the PLP’s Trotskyite line and left it when the PLP turned against the Communist Party of China and against the U.S. working class.

In its whole history, the OL has never once taken a firm and definite position on any important question of principle! One year ago, in March 1976, we criticized their characteristic indefiniteness, slipping and sliding, eclecticism and sophistry. Indefiniteness and eclecticism are revisionism. In taking both sides of an important question of principle like party building, talking out of both sides of their mouths, casting suspicions and spreading rumors, the OL was using eclecticism and sophistry to liquidate our principal task, the principal contradiction in our preparations for revolution. Their revisionist political and organizational lines could not have stood up without the OL’s total betrayal from dialectical materialism to revisionist philosophy, to pragmatism, eclecticism and rumormongering. From this angle, too, then, we see that the OL has completely betrayed all preparations for the proletarian dictatorship.


We can say that since the “C”PUSA totally betrayed Marxism and revolution in the mid-1950’s, there have been two major attempts to rebuild the genuine vanguard party. One was by those Marxists who came out fighting from within the “C”P itself, such as the Provisional Organizing Committee and the Progressive Labor Party, which split from the “C”P in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. But when these organizations also degenerated into Trotskyism and revisionism in the 1960’s, it was largely left up to the advanced elements from the great national and student movements of the 1960’s who adopted Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to raise the party building task for a second time and really carry it through. The life story of the OL since its birth in 1972 is the story of its attempt to bust this second attempt, to deprive the U.S. working class of its genuine vanguard yet another time by setting up their own fake “communist party.”

Lenin said that the opportunists’ formal membership in workers’ parties by no means disproves their objectively being agents of the bourgeoisie in the workers’ movement, and the OL is no exception. The fact that they will soon change their name to “communist party” will not at all disprove the hard, cold fact that they are a revisionist party, a capitalist party with a communist label, no different in substance from the “C”PUSA.

As we have shown, the Klonsky renegade clique which has piloted the OL from the beginning has completely betrayed Marxism, whether in matters of politics, organization or philosophy. This clique and its sworn followers are not Marxists at all, but a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists, a bunch of petty bourgeois democrats who are giving their lives to save U.S. monopoly capitalism and oppose the proletarian revolution.

Where does this petty bourgeois democratic and liberal trend of the OL come from? What are its class roots, the social fountainhead it springs from? To sum up briefly, it springs from the petty bourgeois stratum that was swept into the mass movements of the 1960’s.

The great national, student, workers’ and other mass movements of that time shook up the U.S. from head to foot, in one way or another drawing elements from all classes of U.S. society. These struggles were the focal point of class struggle in the U.S. It was completely natural that, alongside the emerging proletarian elements in the struggle, petty bourgeois revolutionaries and democrats were also swept into these movements. Not only workers and those who represented the working class’ interests fought against segregation, against U.S. aggression in Vietnam and class oppression at home, and so on, but also petty bourgeois liberals, pacifists and all kinds of do-gooders and social uplifters. Even the names of some of the tremendous mass movements of that time, such as the Freedom Rides, the Free Speech Movement, the Peace Moratoriums, and so on, show the petty bourgeois democratic thinking that dominated large sections of the struggle.

Over the years, these petty bourgeois democrats have fallen away from the revolutionary struggle, openly or covertly, layer by layer. These are the historical roots of what we call the marsh.

This stratum’s political right wing has many leading lights. Andrew Young, once Martin Luther King’s right hand man, is now, with Jimmy Carter’s endorsement, the fastest rising black politician around and U.S. representative at the U.N., professionally engaged in suppressing African revolution in a way that Kissinger and Moynihan never could., The same goes for Julian Bond, once a leader of SNCC, and Alex Haley, who took down Malcolm X’s autobiography and is the author of Roots. This right wing is openly reformist, openly against revolution and anti-communist. Behind the stars is a whole layer of lesser-known poverty pimps, small-time trade union misleaders, and radical intellectuals in agencies, unions, universities and other institutions around the country. In one way or another, they have all found a comfortable niche in U.S. capitalism. As the ruling class’ support for Young and Roots shows, they have the full material and ideological backing of the U.S. ruling class, and, to put it simply, they are therefore eating very well.

In the center of this political waveband are the social democrats like the Guardian newspaper, the New American Movement and James Bogg’s New World Developers. All of these claim to be “Marxist,” but... like the NAM claims to be “for Marxism but against Leninism,” or like the Guardian who ups the ante another round, claiming to be “for Marxism-Leninism but against Mao Tsetung Thought.” Boggs puts the same thing more honestly when he admits that his outiook is “dialectical materialism/humanism.” This center is openly against Mao Tsetung Thought, the highest development of Marxism to date. It is typical petty bourgeois socialism.

On this spectrum’s left wing, we have the OL, as well as other opportunists from the old communist movement, like the Revolutionary Communist Party and the August Twenty Ninth Movement. Liberalism regenerates itself not only under cover of “Marxism” and “Marxism-Leninism,” but even under “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.” This left wing is simply the bastardized “Mao Tsetung Thought” version of the very same petty bourgeois democratic ideological, political and actual class trends represented by the right and center.

There is a personal as well as ideological connection between this spectrum’s right, center and left wings, as the ideas, theories, slogans, trends of thought and living representatives all pass freely from one to another. The OL’s intimate connection to the Guardian shows this connection clearly. From 1973-75, the OL and Guardian held identical lines on all the burning political issues of the day, from party building and the Shah of Iran to Arnold Miller, Watergate and, of course, forced busing. They freely reprinted each other’s articles and speeches and sponsored each other’s forums, and many leaders of the OL grew up and “gained maturity” on the Guardian editorial board, and were only later transferred bodily to the OL and The Call. This connection is proven again today by the OL Organizing Committee’s appeal to the marsh in its party building drive. And as we showed before, once we scratch below the surface of the OL’s slogans, we see the tight ideological connection between the OL and the right wing petty bourgeois democrats, the open reformers: Here too, we can expect more and more direct and personal ties in the future.

Like their neighbors on the right, the OL has completely fallen away from revolution. The fact that their falling away is covert, maintaining the cover of “Mao Tsetung Thought,” makes no difference – the OL remains the left wing of this social democratic marsh.

The OL is still working overtime to bust the second historic attempt to build the vanguard proletarian party, but they have already failed. The WVO has already scored an all-round theoretical and practical victory over the OL’s revisionism. The WVO movement, rallying the genuine Marxists from the past movements and the advanced workers from the present, has achieved the greatest victory of all for the working class – it has laid the foundation for the genuine Communist Party in the U.S.A.