Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line


Editorial: A successful Guardian forum

First Published: The Guardian, June 16, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Not long ago, if someone had suggested that U.S. revolutionaries might someday soon be debating whether or not to “strike the main blow” at U.S. imperialism, that person would have been considered out of touch with reality.

The only “socialists” who thought that “red imperialism” posed a greater threat to the world’s peoples than U.S. monopoly capitalism were those discredited social-democrats who have always been the arch representatives of class collaboration and anticommunism. And, of course, these class traitors inevitably wound up supporting U.S. military aggression in Indochina.

But as everyone knows, class collaboration in a “left” guise has made grave inroads among would-be revolutionaries in the U.S. recently. It was in response to the development–and to the profound proletarian internationalist obligations which U.S. revolutionaries must undertake–that the Guardian ran its public forum in New York City June 4 to discuss “The International Line of the U.S. Left.”

That the Guardian’s concerns reflected widespread views among many dedicated Marxist-Leninist and anti-imperialist forces was demonstrated by the size and spirit of that gathering. Some 950 people attended what was, as Guardian executive editor Irwin Silber put it, “a frank discussion on the left.” It was the largest such assemblage of left forces in any one city in a long time.

But it wasn’t just a matter of numbers. From the very beginning of the meeting, when the audience responded with a roar of approval to Guardian managing editor Jack A. Smith’s tribute to “the heroic Cuban volunteers” who fought in Angola, it was clear that a most responsive political chord had been touched.

The proletarian internationalist forces of the party-building movement were saying: “We have been on the defensive long enough! It is not we who have to justify our principled support for the MPLA in Angola, our solidarity with the Puerto Rican independence movement, our defense of the Cuban revolution, our elation at the victories of national liberation movements in the struggle against U.S. imperialism. It is time to call to task those in the U.S. who have been wavering in such support, those who have found themselves (however uncomfortably and with whatever measure of rationalization) lined up on the same side as their own ruling class in slandering a socialist country like Cuba and liberation movements.”

The wide support for these views was also reflected in the selfless support given to the meeting by a number of fraternal organizations and by the large number of people from third world countries–Iranians, southern Africans, Chileans, Puerto Ricans, Palestinians, Ecuadorians and many others–who attended.

In our estimate, the meeting was significant on a number of counts. It helped to further clarify the crucial questions involved in the debate over international line. It helped to further expose and isolate the class-collaborationist trend in the party-building movement. It helped to demonstrate that friendship and solidarity with the People’s Republic of China–indeed with all socialist countries–is not dependent upon political obsequiousness or a blind following of all positions and pronouncements.

Also noteworthy was the fact that representatives of the dogmatist sects who were present–and a number of them were given the opportunity to speak–did not even attempt to answer the political charges brought against them. The best they could muster was the assertion that the Guardian was “covering for Soviet social imperialism”–despite a well-documented critique of Soviet policy and actions in many parts of the world–and that by publishing Wilfred Burchett’s criticism of Peking’s stand on Angola and the interview with William Hinton (May 5), the Guardian proved that it was “hostile” to China. While charging that Hintonís summary of Chinese policy was not accurate – or at least not “official“ – representatives of the October League did not deny the fact that their own organization agreed with the concept of “striking the main blow at Soviet social imperialism.”

But more important than the shabbiness of the political response of such groups was the great sense of affirmation and commitment to revolutionary solidarity that was the dominant tone of the evening.

The Guardian’s forum in New York–together with similar meetings in California and the Midwest where our executive editor has spoken–indicates a vast reservoir of political sentiment and cadres not only for a principled international line but for building a genuinely revolutionary antirevisionist, antidogmatist communist party.

This is a subject on which we will have more to say in the near future.