Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

August 29th Movement (Marxist-Leninist)

Editorial: Practice Marxism Not Revisionism
ATM Cadre Reject Splitters

First Published: Revolutionary Cause, Vol. 2, September 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We live in a period of intensified class struggle. Throughout the world the working class land oppressed peoples are rising up in extensive land far reaching struggle against imperialism land social-imperialism, and especially against the two superpowers. The US is no exception to this as the proletariat launches strike after strike against the capitalists, and as all other oppressed peoples in the US rise up in action against the enemy. More and more it is becoming apparent that the superpowers are going to wage a world war to “settle” the issue of world domination. The USSR is now the greatest war monger and presents the main war danger to the world’s peoples. Under such complex conditions of class struggle it is not surprising that even within communist parties and organizations the class struggle is also represented in an intensified way. Quite recently has the Communist Party of China routed and smashed the “gang of four”. Socialist Albania also recently uncovered la plot for capitalist restoration planned by traitors within the Party of Labor of Albania. Their plot was, of course, thoroughly smashed by the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Within the past several weeks, a small handful of revisionists has also attempted to split the August 29th Movement, with the objective of overthrowing its leadership and of instituting an ultra-right revisionist line as our general line. In this, the splitters can be seen as part of an international opportunist trend opposed to the growth and development of new Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations. In particular these splitters have consistently ignored the struggle against Soviet Social Imperialism and have objectively called for a united front only against U.S. Imperialism. It is important to understand that ATM’s struggle against the revisionists who have attacked us is not just an internal question, but is part of the worldwide struggle against revisionism and opportunism.

A small group of four stand at the head of the attempt to wreck ATM, including two former members of our central committee. They have held and promoted a revisionist line within our ranks, which we will be unfolding extensively in future issues of the REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE. They have attempted to pit leaders against leaders, cadres against leaders, and cadres against cadres. They have undertaken a widespread effort to travel around the country and to spread their poison among comrades outside the organization as well. While they have had some small success, they have been soundly rebuffed by the majority of ATM leadership and cadres. No collectives previously working with ATM or comrade organizations of ATM wants anything to do with the splitters. They are a small few who have only temporarily succeeded in confusing some honest people; but who are already finding the going difficult. Even among the “4” there are factional differences and some of the people who have been duped by them are already seeing through their opportunism.

Future issues of the REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE will explain our full differences with the splitters. In this editorial we take up two of the main differences.


One of the fundamental line differences between the splitters and ATM is on the Chicano National Question. Pushing a hidden line which advocated secession for the Chicano Nation, the splitters only succeeded in isolating themselves from the masses in the Southwest. Their line represented narrow nationalism and revisionism. In a “Campaign Plan” developed by one of the leading splitters for work in the Southwest, we can see this very clearly. He wrote:

The Afro-American revolutionary movement is part of the world revolutionary movement against U.S. imperialism. (Therefore) Secession of the Black Belt South would weaken U.S. imperialism, politically, economically and militarily.

First, the splitters completely fail to recognize the danger of Soviet Social-Imperialism (a failure which extends throughout the plan). Communists must examine any possible secessionist movement concretely to see if it genuinely opposes imperialism and Social-Imperialism. ATM has always held that we could not support a secessionist movement which aided the USSR. (See Red Banner #1, p.49) The splitter’s political line in this campaign plan, consistent with their general line and practice, objectively calls for a united front only against US imperialism. Secondly, the splitters advocate secession. After all, if secession will “weaken” US imperialism politically, then why not advocate it for the Black Belt South and the Chicano Nation? Of course, one trifle is missing: Would not a socialist revolution “weaken” imperialism even more; a revolution which would really solve the national question, as no secessionist movement can? What also stands out in this campaign plan is the almost complete lack of mention of the Anglo-American proletariat. All of the work in the “plan” centers almost solely among Chicanos, with some small mention of work among Afro-Americans.

The bankruptcy of the splitters’ position is clear in the second part of the “plan” entitled “Plan for Concrete Allocation of Forces”. This “plan” states:

...we cannot create a wall between the CNM (Chicano National Movement) and the Chicano proletariat, as the Chicano proletariat is part of both the multi-national US proletariat and the CNM.

The Chicano proletariat is FIRST AND FOREMOST a part of the US working class. Yes, 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. This is not surprising since only the proletariat truly represents the interests of all the oppressed in society. But 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. Under the cover of this “Marxist” sounding line the splitters hoped to sneak in their nationalist baggage.

What did the revisionist line of the splitters lead to in practice? Their narrow nationalist line led them to glorify the role of the peasantry, ignoring the leading role of the proletariat and Marxist-Leninists. In the Chilili land struggle, for example, they never distributed the REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE or any other Marxist-Leninist literature; the role of the proletariat was reduced to support resolutions by a few unions. They never once even mentioned the worldwide danger of Soviet Social Imperialism. Flowing naturally from their line, the splitters completely failed to bring class consciousness to the people of Chilili. After many months of supposed “Communist” work by ATM, the villagers of Chilili told us they were only fighting for their land grand and did not understand the question of a Chicano Nation and Communism.

Since the original roadblock incident in May, the splitters had done nothing to prepare the villagers for their court trials. At the last minute one of the leading splitters came up with a brainstorm: Have some of the defendants represent themselves, “show a strong class stand”, “put the state on trial”, etc. No one bothered to consult with the villagers to find out their opinions. On July 27, this adventuristic and showboating posture led to confusion in the courtroom, contributed to the eventual arrest of 8 more people, and to the complete isolation of the Communists.

(In RC Vol. 2, #5 because of misinformation fed us by those associated with the splitters, we incorrectly reported that there was a mass turnout July 28 in support of those arrested in court July 27. In fact, few people showed up. The splitters have completely abandoned any attempt at mobilizing the masses to support many honest people who were beaten and arrested that day.)

To the discredit of ATM, a member of our leadership went along with this opportunist farce and even aggravated it by his own adventuristic actions. While the main burden for the opportunism must fall upon the splitters, we cannot condone the actions of this comrade who must be thoroughly criticised by our rank and file and by the masses in order to grasp thoroughly the incorrectness of his actions, which represent putting his individual interests above those of the masses.

In conclusion, we point out that the splitters have now claimed to repudiate their line on secession. But their repudiation consists of blaming the line on ATM and its Central Committee for their own opportunism! They claim that all along ATM held to the line of secession. They completely ignore over a year of struggle against their nationalist deviation within the ranks of ATM. But their rantings and attacks on ATM are ultimately a good thing. Throughout ATM we are seriously examining the influence of the line of the splitters and its effect on our general line and practice. We will be closely studying FAN THE FLAMES because we feel there are the seeds of their opportunist position in that document. We will lay out the results of this study and investigation to the workers and Communist movements. Their wrecking activities will result in a stronger and more unified ATM!

In summary, then,

THE LINE OF THE SPLITTERS: Secession will automatically weaken US imperialism, therefore it is correct for Communists to lead a secessionist movement. Since the analysis of secession ignores the role of Soviet Social-Imperialism, they call for a united front only against US Imperialism.

THE LINE OF ATM: Any secessionist movement must be examined concretely to determine if it weakens both US and Soviet Imperialism. The duty of communists is to help build the worldwide united front against both superpowers.


In 1974-75 ATM held a position that 2-line struggle always occurred within a communist organization. However, a deviation developed in practice and every disagreement in the organization among comrades was seen as an antagonistic contradiction-even being late to a meeting. The Central Committee incorrectly summed-up that the line was wrong; rather than it was being implemented incorrectly. We were concerned that real line struggle was being stifled. Cadres were afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled “opportunists”. So, for the past l and a half years we have held that 2-line struggle within a communist organization is the exception, not the rule. We said that “line struggle”, struggle for clarity and struggle to consolidate the cadres goes on constantly.

Our intention was to make it easier for cadres to struggle out line differences; if the struggle was for “line clarity”, then not every disagreement would be seen as antagonistic. But an incorrect political line always subverts the best of intentions. The existence of 2-line struggle, our new position said, meant the existence of an opposition line. So when struggle got sharp, someone was sure to be labeled as holding an opposition line. So, once again, line struggle within ATM became stifled.

Both the splitters and ATM now recognize this line as opportunist. (This line had been originally formulated by one of the splitters.) It denies the existence of class struggle within a Communist organization. Every idea is marked with the stamp of a class, every idea represents the line of one class or another. Two-line struggle goes on constantly within society, so why not within a Communist organization? The error which we made in implementing our original position was in failing to distinguish between antagonistic and non-antagonistic 2-line struggle.

In practice our line of “two line struggle the exception” led to the stifling of line struggle within ATM, to it having to assume disguised forms. Cadres could ask questions “for clarity” but not genuinely struggle that the line itself was correct or incorrect; this out of fear of holding an “opposition line”. This helped promote passivity among many cadres. Because cadres are not involved in fully developing our major line questions, they were not always consolidated around the line, did not always understand it, and of course, were not always enthusiastic in carrying it out. There were constant problems doing correct sum-ups and evaluations of the work – because there was no room to challenge the correctness of the line itself. When struggle did occur it usually revolved around questions of tactics. The 2-line struggle that did occur was mostly kept within the ranks of leadership; and even there it was often submerged; major line questions were not debated among the cadres. In essence we had two policies: 2-line struggle for leadership, struggle for “line clarity” for the cadres.

What then distinguishes us from the splitters? To the splitters, all 2-line struggle is antagonistic. Anyone who dares challenge their views is “failing to repudiate revisionism arid opportunism”. They make no distinctions between “contradictions between the people and the enemy”, and “contradictions among the people”. They put all those who disagree with them, or who even question them, into the opportunist (enemy) camp. They have subjected some people to 6-8 hour ”criticism” sessions, forcing them to admit that they are “opportunists”, leaving them completely demoralized. In fact, their methods of mental and psychological intimidation are very similar to those used to wreck the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization and the Revolutionary Workers League.

The methods of struggle, along with other facts, show that police agents have been active within the ranks of the splitters. For some time police have been opening mail, harassing and even arresting people associated with ATM in the Southwest. The security in that area was a joke. Everyone knew everyone else, home phones were commonly used to discuss internal business, and much, much more. These kind of conditions make it very easy for police agents to become active.

With a political line that makes all internal 2-line struggle antagonistic, police agents can easily split and wreck even more. There are absolutely no attempts to re-group the former cadres. There is no new organization, no collective meetings, no mass work, no plans for a position paper. The leaders of the splitters play on the weaknesses of different individuals in order to demoralize them even more. When some ex-cadres wanted to prepare mass action for upcoming trials around the Chilili incident, for example, one of the leading splitters told them: “We’ll worry about that later, right now get yourself a good lawyer.” ATM believes that at least one police agent has participated in the splitting activity.

Our view is that 2-line struggle goes on constantly within a Communist organization, but that we resolve our contradictions as contradictions among the people, through the method of democratic discussion and persuasion. Comrades may at times even advocate an opportunist line, a line which stands in antagonistic contradiction to the line of the proletariat. Even then, the METHODS which we use to resolve this contradiction remains democratic. If, after repeated struggle, someone refuses to renounce their opportunist view and to correct their mistakes, then the contradiction may become antagonistic and the person will be purged from the organization. The key is being able to distinguish between contradictions among the people and contradictions between ourselves and the enemy.

In conclusion, then,

LINE OF THE SPLITTERS: All 2-line struggle within a Communist organization is antagonistic; anyone holding a mistaken view is holding an opportunist line.

LINE OF ATM: 2-line struggle goes on constantly in society and within a Communist organization. We must distinguish, however, between “contradictions among the people” and “contradictions between the people and the enemy.”


We are now in the process of unfolding the current two line struggle throughout ATM. It has aroused the enthusiasm of our cadres, and new leadership is shooting forward as the 2-line struggle against the line of the “4” develops. The chains of “line clarity” are being broken and all comrades are eager to wage the fight for the Marxist-Leninist line. In future articles we will be unfolding the entire 2-line struggle with the splitters. We will show that they held a revisionist line oh a series of questions, and that they have confirmed the truth that “revisionism is the source of all splittism”. We call on all comrades to join us in this struggle: to sum up how the line of the splitters has affected their work; to criticise the REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE where the line of the splitters has had influence; to submit articles detailing their own experience in the two line struggle and to comment on the 2-line struggle being unfolded in our ranks. This campaign is not ATM’s alone but is a part of the campaign which all Communists must undertake to drive all opportunists out of our movement. This struggle is a component part of the international struggle against modern revisionism and opportunism which is being waged by genuine communist parties throughout the world. Especially as the danger of war grows will this struggle intensify on all fronts. The struggle is a part and parcel of the struggle for a new Communist Party and for socialist revolution.