Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Irwin Silber

Discussion of supplement moves ahead

First Published: The Guardian Sustainer, June 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.

Readers and Sustainers are beginning to respond to the Guardian’s party-building supplement published in the June 1 issue.

So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people agree with the general political perspective of the supplement and feel that it will help move the party-building process forward.

We have also been told that many small collectives and study groups are undertaking extended study and discussion of the supplement among themselves. This is reflected, too, in a large number of orders for copies of the supplement in quantities of five or 10 or more. (These are available at 20 cents each.)


Discussion, debate and amplification of the political content of the party-building supplement represent the most serious kind of response. In our view, such critical discussion should naturally fall into certain broad categories:
1. An assessment of the present stage of development of Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S.
2. The critique of revisionism as “the principal danger within the working-class movement as a whole and within the left in particular” and as “the starting point for uniting Marxist-Leninists today.”
3. The historical critique of the “new communist movement” and the view that within this movement “class collaboration around the question of international line has emerged as the principal opportunist tendency to be opposed.”
4. The recapitulation of the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism dealing with the nature of imperialism, the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the vanguard party, armed struggle, the role of the state and the strategic political goal of the working class being the seizure of state power, as summarized in “principles of unity” 1-11 and 28.
5. The general application of these principles to the situation facing the multi-national U.S. working class today as developed in “principles of unity” 12-15.
6. The general appraisal of the international situation today, particularly on such matters as the principal contradiction in the world today, the relationship between national liberation struggles and the working-class movement within the U.S., the class character of the Soviet Union, the threat of war and the particular tasks of proletarian internationalism today.
7. The view of the political autonomy of a U.S. communist party (see point 27) and its independence in political line as well as organization from all other Marxist-Leninist parties in the world at this time.
8. Point 29 reaffirming that party-building is the central task for U.S. Marxist-Leninists today.
9. The proposal for a network of Guardian Clubs.

Listing these main “discussion areas” of the supplement can help focus the attention of Marxist-Leninists on the broad categories of topics under consideration. Agreement on some of them, such as the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism, is clearly indispensable if we are to move ahead. On others, there is room for debate, amplification and further development. On some, such as the question of the Soviet Union, we ourselves see the need for a fuller and more thorough investigation and discussion.


Interestingly enough, one of the most “controversial” points in the supplement is the use of the term “Guardian Clubs.” Most readers who have responded thus far are enthusiastic about the idea. But many have objected to the name “club” for the network of groups we plan to develop. Some people think the word is too “frivolous” for such a serious undertaking and have suggested instead names such as Guardian Solidarity Committee or Guardian Organizing Committee.

A name is important and we think there is a lot to be said for the term “club”–especially since our plans are relatively modest at this stage–but we do not consider it a closed subject.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has designated staff member William Ryan to be the acting coordinator for the Guardian Clubs with a view of beginning serious, concrete organizational steps to their formation in September. During the summer months, we urge all Guardian readers and Sustainers to continue discussion around the supplement, communicate their ideas to us and let us know of their interest in developing Guardian groups in their particular localities.


During this time, we plan to publish the party-building supplement as a pamphlet, adding to it a number of other materials– particularly important viewpoints and several columns and radical forums–in order to present in one piece of literature a more fully .developed elaboration of the Guardian’s political stand.

We believe that current discussion about party-building should proceed in a strategic fashion: that the principal emphasis be on questions of ideology and political line and that the discussion help develop a national perspective with comrades throughout the country beginning to forge a common ideological practice through such discussion and debate.

All attempts at by-passing or downplaying the struggle for ideological unity among Marxist-Leninists at this time can only divert the party-building forces from the task of forging principled unity among themselves. Such unity is the indispensable prerequisite for bringing into being a strong organization of revolutionaries capable of becoming the vanguard party of the working class.

In this respect, it is also crucial that the Marxist-Leninists immediately begin to develop a national and an international perspective on their efforts at party-building. The ideological principles of the party will not be found in the small-circle mentality which arises inevitably out of the restricted practice of local groups.

While we have now taken a major initiative in trying to move the party-building process forward, the Guardian will continue to perform its function as a newspaper for the broad left and progressive movement as a whole. We urge that a similar approach be taken by the party-building forces who should conduct the necessary ideological discussions while maintaining their activity in the developing mass movements and arenas of struggle that are before the working class, the oppressed nationalities and the democratic women’s movement at this time.