Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Irwin Silber

Outline of Clubs’ political activities

First Published: The Guardian Sustainer, July-August 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

What are Guardian Clubs? (or organizing committees, or associations, or some other term? We’re still considering a number of suggestions.)

First, perhaps, we should say what they are not.

Guardian Clubs are not a new pre-party organization. Nor are they a new mass organization.

Guardian Clubs represent an effort to give concrete expression to and help further develop a political line that can unite U.S. Marxist-Leninists in advancing the party-building process. They are also an attempt to build the influence of and support for the Guardian as a national newspaper which plays an important role in the broader anti-imperialist and progressive movement.

As we see it. Guardian Clubs will have three main areas of activity:

1. Organized study and discussion of Marxist-Leninist theory and contemporary political questions. The study of Marxist-Leninist theory should develop in the context of a critique of modern revisionism. This is the fundamental ideological preparation for party-building, since it is the consolidation of revisionism in the Communist Party of the U.S. which has made the task of building a new party the central concern of Marxist-Leninists today. Such study should be also will be aimed at developing a critique of the new expressions of social democracy in the left and various manifestations of “spontaneity” as a path to socialism. Of particular importance in such study are: Marxist political economy, the theory of the state, analysis of imperialism and the role of the vanguard party.

In addition, Clubs will take up present-day questions, such as the nature and present state of the U.S. working class, international strategic aims of imperialism, relation between national liberation struggles and class struggles in the capitalist countries, oppressed nationalities in the U.S., the woman question and the modern women’s movement, etc.

At the beginning, the Guardian will develop study outlines and recommended reading lists around these questions. In time, as Clubs begin to sum up their own work, various papers and theses emanating from these discussions will be circulated in all the Clubs with a view to developing a common theoretical practice and a higher degree of ideological unity.

Another form of ideological activity will be the holding of public forums and debates on particular questions–so that Guardian Clubs will become a center of left ideological activity in those areas where they are established.

2. Supporting and developing the Guardian. This will be one of the chief forms of practical activity for the Clubs. Particularly important are circulation, news gathering and fund raising.

To say that “Guardian-building” is a major form of practical activity is a political judgment that today this newspaper plays a unique role in our movement and that the process of expanding its influence and securing its material base is in the interest of all genuine Marxist-Leninist forces in our movement today. Building wide support for the Guardian helps to overcome localism in our movement–precisely because it is a national newspaper basing itself on Marxism-Leninism. It also helps to overcome narrow organizational sectarianism, for if our movement can unite in support of a newspaper serving the entire left–despite political differences over one or another question–this will reflect a new level of political maturity in our ranks.

We are convinced that the potential for doubling the Guardian’s present circulation of approximately 25,000 already exists–but that it will take an organized effort by people throughout the country who are motivated politically to do so. In terms of news gathering, it is already apparent how much better a newspaper the Guardian has become, how much more nationally representative, since the development of Guardian bureaus. Guardian Clubs operating in areas where bureaus do not presently exist will further broaden and deepen the paper’s news coverage. And finally fund raising is a special task these days, since the relative handful of large contributors who at one time helped support the Guardian have become even fewer in number. This means that only a broadly based network of supporters (our Sustainer program proves this) can help make up the financial deficit which is built into the operation of a radical newspaper.

3. Local political action. We do not see Guardian Clubs replacing existing mass organizations or trying to develop a strategic concept–as a party would–for fusing Marxism-Leninism with the working-class movement. But there are a number of areas in which immediate democratic questions take on an urgency to which all Marxist-Leninists should respond. Among these are solidarity with national liberation struggles (particularly southern Africa today), affirmative action, women’s rights, strike support, environmental issues, war preparations, and others. Guardian Clubs should be prepared to play some role in supporting and developing these activities in their communities as an appropriate supplement to their other tasks.

This perspective will guide the Clubs during their first year–and should be the basis on which people undertake to become active in them.