Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Bolshevik League of the United States

Faction Purged From B.L. On The Road To a Bolshevik Party


Issued: Bolshevik Revolution, No. 5, August 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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One of the ways the imperialist system prevents the working class and oppressed peoples from rising up in revolution is by a constant ideological bombardment against the possibility of the success of a socialist revolution. This takes various forms, such as tired old fables that the workers in the U.S. are all conservative, that imperialism is too strong to be overthrown, etc.

Many of these type of ideas are largely discredited among the most politically conscious and advanced workers. But this does not mean that the ruling class stops its ideological struggle. On the contrary, all it means is that it merely changes its forms to promote the exact same demoralization and defeatism, but with more “revolutionary,” “working class,” and even “Marxist” sounding phraseology. Historically they have relied upon privileged demoralized and careerist forces from the labor aristocracy, the bribed upper stratum of the working class, and from the petty bourgeoisie, to spread pessimism within the ranks of the communist and workers movements. To this end, they continue their ideological campaign against communism, always seeking to influence elements within revolutionary groups to get them to abandon the struggle for socialist revolution, if not in word then in deed. As long as capitalism exists (and even for some time after it has been overthrown, it is inevitable that such forces, whose thinking and practice totally reflect both the ideological and material influence of the system of imperialism, and their own economic and political privileges, crop up in the communist movement.

History shows that particularly in critical periods the bourgeoisie calls upon its agents in the ranks of the workers’ movement to come to their aid. In this period of intense preparation for imperialist war, at a time when clear lines of demarcation are being drawn with social-chauvinism and centrism for the first time in decades, it should not be surprising that such demoralized and careerist elements most stubbornly try to peddle their venom. With the growing threat of war and the collapsing of the capitalist economy, we are entering a period of a new round of wars and revolutions. Especially in times like this the bourgeoisie needs its agents to spread demoralization, to deny the growing potential of a revolutionary situation as the crisis of capitalism sharpens up even further.

One of the purposes of the Leninist-type organization is to weed out, defeat, and purge such elements. By constantly checking up on work and using the Leninist method of self-criticism to learn from our mistakes, deviations can be corrected in time, while traitors in our ranks can be exposed and expelled.

Just such a process recently took place in the Bolshevik League, when a faction of two such traitors on our Central Committee was unmasked and purged. The essence of the faction’s platform was to deny the possibility of proletarian revolution in the U.S.; to destroy the ties of the Bolshevik League with other genuine Marxist-Leninists internationally; to sabotage both organizationally and politically the practical work of the Bolshevik League; to attempt to substitute an anti-Leninist line for the Leninist line adopted at our Founding Conference; to liquidate the national question in general and the Black national question in the U.S. in particular; and to promote the line of American exceptionalism that aims at further isolating U.S. communists and workers from the international proletariat.

Factionalists’ Platform of Classical Revisionism

The faction put forward the anti-Marxist thesis that “capitalism developed differently in the United States than in Europe” and based their analysis upon the peculiarities of U.S. capitalism. They denied the revolutionary potential of the U.S. working class who they scornfully attacked as having no revolutionary traditions. They liquidated the international sources for the low class consciousness in the U.S. proletariat, such as the victory of revisionism in the international communist movement after the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in 1953, and totally ascribed this to American conditions. They insisted that there was no workers movement in the U.S., since spontaneous struggles were all led by trade union bureaucrats, opportunists, and the like! They thus denied the split in the working class and the extreme oppression faced by the oppressed nations and national minorities. Their line amounts to a denial of the possibility of revolution in the U.S, and sees the entire proletariat and everyone else as bribed by imperialism, except, of course, themselves. This is a return to the line of American exceptionalism advanced by Lovestone in the CPUSA in 1928-1929. This was exposed and smashed by Stalin and the Communist International. What the Comintern said of the Lovestone line applies word for word to the line of the faction. Executive Committee of the Communist International said that the Lovestone group “has shown a tendency to underestimate the process of radicalization as well as the process of differentiation in the ranks of the working class, which finds its expression in the attempts to point out the conservatism of the American working class in a static form without giving a class analysis of the causes which underly its backwardness and without a sufficient consideration of the further prospects of development of its political consciousness.” (Open Letter of the E. C.C.I, to the Convention of the Workers (Communist) Party of America, 1929)

Such a line is especially criminal today, when the forthcoming imperialist war and the deepening economic crisis are only serving to sharpen the class contradictions and hasten the development of a revolutionary situation. At such a critical period in history these pitiful factionalists try to steer the genuine communists away from preparing for revolution. Their line amounts to nothing more than centrism, a thinly veiled social-chauvinism that seeks to rescue the bourgeoisie from a revolutionary situation brought on by the coming imperialist war, by promoting pessimism and demoralization.

The faction liquidated the Black national question in the U.S. and idealistically speculated on the existence of the Black nation in the Black Belt South. Articles by them conveniently “forgot” to mention the Black nation and conveniently ran out of space before raising the slogan of the right to political separation. They reduced the Black national question to a racial question, a question of color, thus covering up for the super-profits reaped by U.S. imperialism from the super-exploitation of the Black nation. The faction also attacked the correct relationship of Black workers in the U.S. to the national revolutionary movements in Africa, as outlined by the Communist International, as “Pan-Africanist”. By denying the possibility of a strong revolutionary movement of the Black proletariat in the U.S. to influence and direct the revolutionary movements in Africa, where the development of the proletariat is weaker, the faction denies the leading role of the proletariat in the struggle for the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, and attacks the international duty of the Black workers in the U.S.

The faction attacked the Leninist line on the existence of an oppressed Native colony in the North of Canada, thereby proving its chauvinism stretched as far as the hand of U.S. imperialism. They said there could not be colonies within the borders of an imperialist country, thus sanctioning imperialist annexation and showing where their true interests lie in the forthcoming imperialist war.

The faction denied the painfully obvious fact that a strong imperialist power could share state power with a weaker imperialist bourgeoisie through bribery and domination of the banks and stock exchange, as the U.S. does in Canada. Again they come to the aid of U.S. imperialism by denying U.S. control of the Canadian state.

After attempting to sabotage our practical work with the Maoist dictum “politics in command,” the faction tried to spread demoralization within the ranks when great success was not immediate. They said that there are no advanced workers in the U.S. When contacts were made and correspondents established anyway, the faction slandered them by saying that anyone who would respond to the Bolshevik League’s propaganda and agitation was either crazy or a police agent. They thus pursued a liquidationist line that sought to prevent the building of a Bolshevik Party by stopping the Iskra plan and wrecking the building of a nation-wide network of agents. When their activities were criticized, they most arrogantly refused to learn or correct their past ways and shouted that there would be “no debate” over their line and activity. This cowardly philistine fear of struggle is typical of all such mensheviks and opportunists.

The faction attacked the Leninist-Stalinist line on the family as the fighting unit for socialism. With the purpose of promoting demoralization, they claimed it was impossible for Bolsheviks to have families. They spread the petty bourgeois line that it is wrong to bring children into the world because they would inevitably fall victims to imperialist decadence. These conceited careerists believed that as they themselves had fallen victim to imperialist rot, and as they themselves were self-styled, staunch and mighty “bolsheviks,” it was only inevitable that mere mortals and children would become corrupt.

During the struggle against these two corrupted elements, they had, too often, been given a chance to abandon their anti-Leninist line to make a complete rupture with centrism, and to rally to Bolshevism. But as the Bolshevik trend grew stronger, so did their resistance to Bolshevism. As the important work to combat imperialist war became a practical necessity rather than idle talk, so did their work to sabotage Bolshevism become a practical necessity and not only idle talk. Applying Leninist norms, the two factionalists were exposed and isolated (and had isolated themselves through their conceit and contempt towards cadre), and were purged.

These two liquidators have split from Bolshevism.

Their sole interest is to split the growing Bolshevik forces. They are enemies of bolshevism and must be treated as such.

Completing the Break with the “Movement”

As Comrade Stalin said, “The Party becomes strong by purging itself of opportunist elements.” (Foundations of Leninism, Works, 6:191) While still struggling to construct a Bolshevik Party, the Bolshevik League has also strengthened itself and learned a lot from this struggle.

In particular, the smashing of the faction is another step in the final stage of eliminating the last remnants of influence from the so-called “anti-revisionist communist movement” from our ranks. Completely breaking with the past and with the social-chauvinist and centrist character of those forces has been an essential pre-requisite in reestablishing an organization based on orthodox Leninism, rather than any variety of Maoism.

This struggle was also a further repudiation of the Maoist “revolutionary wing.” One of the factionalists Gloria Fontanez Wright, was a leader of the “revolutionary wing” and was associated with many social-fascist acts of physical attacks, intimidation, etc., done in the “wing”.

The predecessor of the Bolshevik League, the Committee of U.S. Bolsheviks (C.U.S.B), attempted to analysze the period of the “wing” and repudiate its activities. But the CUSB, which was formed in May, 1979, out of a merger of the groups the U.S. Leninist Core and Demarcation (which had come out of the so-called “anti-revisionist” movement), itself was only in the midst of the process of a complete rupture with centrism. For example, despite what it said in theory, in practice it still had not implemented the Iskra plan for constructing a vanguard party or had begun a regular publication aimed at the working class. CUSB also had not completely broken with the Albanian variety of centrism. This failure to completely break with centrism was reflected in its inadequate analysis of the “revolutionary wing.” Some of this analysis was based on the personal interest of Gloria Fontanez Wright by not completely accounting for and repudiating her activities. She was able to lie and conceal much of what she did, and CUSB was still not functioning enough under Leninist norms to be as vigilant as it should have. The result was that CUSB was allowed to become associated with the “wing”, giving ammunition to the enemies of Bolshevism, and separating it from potential friends.

Now, with the formation of the Bolshevik League, and the purge of the faction, there is no more room to spread the myth that the Bolshevik League is in any way associated with the activities of or is a continuation of the “wing”. All confusion on this question can now be put completely to rest. The line of the Bolshevik League can be found in its Founding Documents, in the pages of Bolshevik Revolution, and in the other literature we issue. It is on this that we stand, and not the literature of any of our predecessors which, as we said, suffer from various defects.

As to the likes of Gloria Fontanez Wright, she made a phoney and superficial attempt to repudiate the past and travel the path of Bolshevism. All she did was merely abandon the most flagrant and outrageous of her methods in order to give the appearance of correcting her errors. For those who still want to pin the madness of the “wing” upon us, it should be pointed out that while Gloria Fontanez Wright lasted several years as a leader in the “wing,” she lasted only a few months in the Bolshevik League before her tiny faction was exposed, routed, and expelled. The bottom line is that the application of Leninist norms and the Leninist methods of self-criticism was successful in the Bolshevik League, and nowhere else. And for those who remain in the opportunist movement and want to snicker on the sidelines “I told you so,” we reply that you told nothing to the genuine Bolsheviks in CUSB and later the Bolshevik League. Not one recounting of the “wing” or the activities of is members by other groups even vaguely resembled a scientific analysis or brought to light any useful information.

Bolshevik League Strengthened

In sum, the Bolshevik League is now in a stronger position to successfully carry out its task of winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and building a vanguard party modeled after the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin. True, we made a stumble on the road to a Bolshevik Party, but we were not able to be diverted off that road. The lesson we must draw is that we must continue on the road even more resolutely.

The result of this straggle is that we are now even more united as an organization and even more in a position to fulfill our tasks in the face of preparations for imperialist war, the intensifying economic crisis, and heightening national oppression. We shall continue on the road to a Bolshevik Party and to world-wide proletarian revolution, and once again call upon all genuine communists and class conscious workers to join us in fulfilling these tasks.