Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: Build the Unity of the Working Class and Oppressed Nationalities


First Published: Revolutionary Cause, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1978.
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.

In REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE, Vol. II, #6 we carried an editorial entitled “Practice Marxism Not Revisionism.” This editorial was written to clarify some questions which had arisen as a result of a split in ATM(M-L) and as part of our on going line struggle. In the editorial we stated in connection with our struggle with certain views of those who had tried to split ATM:

The Chicano proletariat is FIRST AND FOREMOST a part of the working class... We must ’create a wall’ between the interests of the working class and the interests of the Chicano national movement which includes different classes and strata. If the interests of the two movements conflict – the national interests must always give way to the interests of the proletariat. .. .The line of the splitters sought to blur the distinction between the interests of the working class movement (socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat), and the interests of the Chicano people (their right to self-determination). All democratic demands, including the demand for the right of self-determination are subservient to the socialist tasks of the proletariat.

In carrying out our struggle with the splitters we correctly criticized their nationalist line. After summing up the criticisms that we have received from cadres, comrades of other organizations, and from the masses we have concluded that this section of the editorial is wrong and national chauvinist. While it is correct for us to struggle against bourgeois nationalism within our own ranks, we cannot do so through phrasemongering.

Behind some “revolutionary” sounding rhetoric we put forward a line which is totally rightist in its essence: we pitted the working class movement against the national movement. We claimed that the interests of these movements were opposed, and that only the working class had socialism as its aim, while the national movements were only concerned with achieving democratic rights. But things are just the opposite. In fact the working class and national movements are allies and not opponents. They have an overriding common interest – to overthrow the system of capitalism which underlies all class and national oppression and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to ensure the national equality of all peoples.

Our previous editorial promoted the idea that the national movement is “not as revolutionary” as the working class movement; that the national movement is not as “important” as the struggle of the working class. This view was put forward long ago by the trotskyite Progressive Labor Party. It is consistent with the general trotskyite view that the national movements are “reactionary” and “bourgeois”. Unfortunately, this view has existed as a tendency within ATM since our early history and led us to, at one time, liquidate almost all of our work in the national movements. It is absolutely correct for communists to base themselves in the factories. It is absolutely wrong to counterpose this work to work done within the national movements. There can be no revolution unless we build a firm alliance between the working class and national movements. What is more, the overwhelming majority of oppressed nationalities are workers, which only serves to further reveal the error of our views.

In our “left” period, and especially during our association with the so-called “revolutionary wing” we practically renounced our history of struggle in the Chicano and Latino movements.

Unfortunately, when we broke with the “wing” we did not thoroughly sum-up our ideological unity with them, and get to the roots of our incorrect views on the national question, which lie in counterposing one movement against the other. When our split occurred last summer, we quite frankly lost our bearings for awhile and created the conditions for old ideological baggage to float to the surface. The “wall” statement is evidence of that baggage.

We are in the process of summing up our history, and we know that we have had problems with both chauvinism and nationalism at different times. We are summing up our practice so that we can rectify errors that we have committed because of our deviations on the national question. We are an organization which was, actually born in the struggle against national oppression, (for the most part). We are proud of that history. We hope to learn from it. We hope to learn from the helpful criticism of our comrades and friends and to develop our views using the science of Marxism-Leninism. As Mao Tse-tung wrote:

The contradiction between the black masses in the United States and the US ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the US monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the black people it the United States win complete emancipation.

The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States share common interests and have common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the US monopoly capitalist class. (Statement in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violent Repression)

The working class and national movements of the US are bound to merge and destroy the hated rule of capitalism. The national question in essence is a class question; national oppression will never end without the destruction of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. We hope to help build the alliance which will accomplish that task. With that purpose in mind we offer this self-criticism.