Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Bolshevik League of the United States

On the Founding of the Bolshevik League and the Establishment of Bolshevik Revolution


Issued: Bolshevik Revolution, No. 1, December 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Bolshevik League of the U.S. was founded on November 7, 1979, on the 62nd anniversary of the Great October Revolution. The group takes Bolshevik League as its name because it models itself on the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin.

Why the Bolshevik model? The answer to this lies in the victory of the greatest of all historical revolutions, the Great October Socialist Revolution. It was the Bolshevik Party, the greatest of all parties of a new type, which led the October Revolution to victory – the victory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The Bolshevik Party proved the Leninist thesis of the possibility for the victory of Socialism in one country. It scarcely needs proof that only the Party of Lenin and Stalin could lead such an earth-shaking revolution, because the Bolshevik Party is the party of social revolution, the party of war against the bourgeoisie.

Through the 36 years in which the Bolshevik Party led the Soviet proletariat through the most exemplary of all revolutions, it rallied the international proletariat to the living example of socialist construction, to the understanding that its emancipation lies in its own hands. This presented the greatest threat ever to world imperialism.

From prior to the victory of the revolution, the imperialist ’great’ powers set out to crush the October Revolution.

The October Revolution was betrayed by internal traitors, who conspired with imperialism. Khrushchev and Co. sold out the revolution and capitalism was restored. The proletariat lost a tremendous battle. This tremendous loss was not due to the “weakness” of socialism. On the contrary, it was because of its tremendous strength and the existence of a socialist world market that the imperialists set out to hatch conspiratorial plots against the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR.

In 1919, fourteen countries led by Britain coordinated an invasion of Russian soil with the White Guards. The young proletarian state drove the invaders out and scored a victory.

In 1941, the German fascists invaded, causing the death of millions throughout Europe, with the Soviet proletariat assuming the greatest losses. Loss of lives, destruction of the means of production, and devastation to the country were unparallelled by anything in history. Soviet industrial production fell to the 26th place in world output; but the Soviet power was not vanquished. The Soviet proletariat, undaunted by the devastation of the USSR, raised its industrial production to the second place in the world in the span of seven years.

The imperialist great powers, more threatened than ever before, continued their conspiracy, working with internal traitors of the mold of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin, traitors like Khrushchev and Co. This conspiracy succeeded with the death of Stalin in 1953, inflicting a tremendous loss on the proletariat internationally.

With this loss a period of reaction set in, the bourgeoisie grabbed the proletariat by the throat, just as Stalin had predicted.

What would happen if capital succeeded in smashing the Republic of Soviets? There would set in an era of the blackest reaction in all the capitalist and colonial countries, the working class and the oppressed peoples would be seized by the throat, the positions of international communism would be lost. (Stalin, “The Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I.” SCW 9:28-29)

The dictatorship of the proletariat lasted as long as it did because of the strong leadership of the Bolshevik Party, which was founded and led by Lenin. After Lenin’s death the Party was in the steel hands of Lenin’s most worthy disciple, Joseph V. Stalin.

After Stalin’s death, the revolution was betrayed. Modem revisionism scored a worldwide victory[1] dominating the international communist movement, as represented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of China, and the Party of Labour of Albania. But the lessons of the October Revolution live on immortal, and shall continue as the guide to the workers of all countries, as the model to their emancipation from the shackles of wage slavery. A battle was lost, but the class war continues, and will inevitably continue until imperialism is finally overthrown.

When we speak of the lessons of the October Revolution, we must immediately turn our attention to the lessons in building the party that led it to victory.

In studying the development of the Bolshevik Party, it becomes immediately obvious that the Party was built on the basis of the drawing of sharp lines of demarcation against all shades of revisionism.

The Bolsheviks knew that after the death of Engels in 1895, the old social democratic parties had degenerated into parties of peace with the bourgeoisie, into parties of social reform. These parties preached peaceful transition to socialism, based on the theory of the productive forces, i.e., that capitalism would peacefully degenerate because of the level of development of the productive forces.

The task of further developing the theory of Marxism was left to Lenin, who further elaborated Marxist orthodoxy, proving that capitalism had developed to its highest and last stage, the stage of imperialism, the era of the downfall of capitalism and the victory of proletarian revolution.

The Bolsheviks maintained that capitalism could be overthrown only by violent means, through social revolution. The Bolshevik Party led the Lefts internationally in a split from the old parties of the Second International, and set about to organize the Third Communist International along new revolutionary lines. The Bolsheviks fought and routed the opportunists of their own land – the economists, the Mensheviks, the liquidators, the ostvoists, the Trotskyites and Bukharin’s opposition block.

It was the Bolsheviks who led this fight on an international scale, by showing that indeed the Party becomes strong by purging itself of opportunist elements.

Thus it stems from all this that the Bolshevik Party is irreconcilable towards compromisers and capitulators, and revolutionary in its attitude towards the bourgeoisie and its state power.

Only the Party of a new type maintains firm consistency in matters of principle, and flexibility in matters of tactics. The Bolshevik Party possesses iron discipline, internal cohesion, and monolithic unity, because it is organized along new revolutionary lines.

The Bolsheviks wanted to create a new party, a Bolshevik party, which would serve as a model for all who wanted to have a real revolutionary Marxist party. (History of the CPSU(B), International Publishers, p. 140)

Such is the party which must be taken as the model by all who are seriously convinced of the need to apply the Marxist-Leninist thesis of social revolution in all countries. Bolshevism is synonymous with proletarian internationalism.

In learning from the Bolshevik Party, the Bolshevik League of the US pays close attention to its internal cohesion and monolithic unity, based on unity of political line.

The Maoists and all present-day Mensheviks have destroyed the true meaning of “unity,” distorting how real unity is achieved and stubbornly worked for.

Lenin placed great emphasis on the question of unity. He said:

To establish and consolidate the party, means to establish and consolidate unity among all Social-Democrats. Such Unity cannot be decreed, it cannot be brought about by, let us say, a meeting of representatives passing a resolution. Definite work must be done to bring it about. (Lenin, Iskra No. 1, “Draft Declaration of Iskra and Zarya,” International Publishers, pp. 16-29)

The ideological, political and organizational unity of the Bolshevik League was worked for, persisted upon, and achieved by the work done by the CUSB. The two groups which formed the Committee, US Leninist Core and Demarcation, from their inception recognized the need to draw lines of demarcation with all forms of opportunism, in order that real unity amongst Marxist-Leninists could be established. Demarcation and the US Leninist core (repulsing the circle fever of the big and small cliques in the U.S.) formed the CUSB, liquidating the two circles in order to regroup the Lefts on the basis of ideological and political unity. This would enable the Lefts in the US to come to the elaboration of a single plan, the implementation of which will result in the formation of the political Party of the Proletariat.

The Bolshevik League has been formed to enhance the task begun by the C.U.S.B.

The formation of the Bolshevik League was made possible because the US Bolsheviks ruptured with the revisionist-dominated international communist movement, welded in the rupture with the “theory of three worlds,” Mao Zedong “Thought”, and the centrist trend internationally which is led by the PLA.

This rupture was made possible because the two groups split with the social chauvinists and centrists in our land. This, however, cannot be taken to mean that the fight against them is over. In fact, we are only finally in a position to carry out that struggle in an organized way for the very first time; thus, the fight has just begun. This fight would mean nothing unless the opportunists are driven out of the working class movement.

Place Revolutionary Theory in the Forefront

The Bolshevik League takes as its fundamental starting point that revolutionary theory be placed in the forefront as the guide to all practical activity. It is a revolutionary movement that we strive to create. And, as Lenin said, without revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary movement. The theory of the class struggle, the materialist conception of American history, and the materialist analysis of the present economic and political situation in the US, will be correctly appraised only through the application of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory.

The US Bolsheviks are faced with an enormous, untouched field of work. That is the side of the theoretical work of the Bolshevik League, the side dealing with the question of the elaboration of the Party’s program. The completion of this work will represent the consolidation of ideological unity amongst all US Marxist-Leninists. The theoretical side of our work will be systematically dealt with in the pages of our regular publications and through special pamphlets. All members of the Bolshevik League uphold that it is the constant duty of every communist to study Marxist-Leninist theory. That is the systematic and consistent study of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, the classics of Marxism-Leninism, applying this study to the concrete conditions of the world and the U.S.

In order to carry out the work of the Bolshevik League and implement its line, every member must be guided by revolutionary theory. In order to understand the complexities of world economics and politics, every member of the Bolshevik League must study hard and improve his or her knowledge and understanding of the laws of the revolution by mastering scientific socialism.

It can never be forgotten that the US movement has been amongst the most theoretically impoverished movements in the western hemisphere.

The active promotion of phrasemongering and thorough belittling of theory for years has left its imprint. Bad study habits must be overcome. To the degree that revolutionary theory is studied and applied by members of the Bolshevik League, to that degree will it be better able to resolve problems, eliminate difficiencies and correct defects in its work. Through the systematic study and application of revolutionary theory, the political line will continue to develop and the basis for the elaboration of the Party’s program will be firmly established.

Leading politics cannot develop without a firm base in revolutionary theory. Without leading politics, the work of propaganda cannot be raised to its proper level, and the vanguard cannot be rallied to communism.

Any member of the Bolshevik League who neglects his or her studies will drop behind. Continual neglect of revolutionary theory will inevitably lead to deviations from the political line.

“Of course,” said Stalin, “theory becomes purposeless if it is not connected with revolutionary practice, just as practice gropes in the dark if its path is not illuminated by revolutionary theory. But theory can become a tremendous force in the working-class movement if it is built up in indissoluble connection with revolutionary practice; for theory and theory alone, can give the movement confidence, the power of orientation, and an understanding of the inner relation of surrounding events; for it, and it alone, can help practice to realise not only how and in which direction classes are moving at the present time but also how and in which direction they will move in the near future. None other than Lenin uttered and repeated scores of times the well known thesis that ’Without revolutionary theory there can he no revolutionary movement.’”(“Foundations of Leninism,” SCW 6:92)

Democratic Centralism

The Bolshevik League of the US is a Democratic Centralist Communist group.

The Bolshevik League insists upon the strictest discipline from all its members. Discipline begins with the understanding that this is not a formal discipline; it is a class conscious discipline because every member is convinced that discipline is necessary in order to maintain the internal unity of the Bolshevik League, which strives for the unity of the workers of all countries.

It is a matter of the sense of duty, a manifestation of a Bolshevik’s ardent desire constantly to strengthen Leninist norms and construct the Bolshevik Party, in order to overthrow the bourgeois state and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Stalin in his article “Proletarian Class, Proletarian Party,” wrote that those could be regarded as Party members who “... deem it their duty to merge their wishes with the wishes of the Party and to act in conjunction with the Party.” (SCW 1:66, Red Star Press), p. 66)

Without discipline, the Bolshevik League cannot function. Without its members assuring its iron-like discipline, it cannot fight the opportunists who are constantly on the look-out for laxity on questions of discipline and organization to sabotage the work.

The Bolshevik League cannot tolerate violations of its internal discipline. Members and candidate members must never forget that they are communists and must always act accordingly. The members of the Bolshevik League are responsible for it, and the Bolshevik League is responsible for each and every one of its members. Infractions of discipline are indications of serious problems, many times reflecting the lack of Party spirit, individualism, or worse yet, contradictions with the line, carried out through organizational sabotage.

The penalties observed for breaks of discipline in the Bolshevik League are: a warning, reprimand, suspension and lastly expulsion from the Bolshevik League.

The Bolshevik League operates on the basis of the co-optive system. We have not yet developed the political or organizational maturity to pass over to the elective system.

Centralism is the guiding principle. There is one leading center in the Bolshevik League, the Central Committee, which directs all the work of the Bolshevik League in accordance to a single plan.

The Central Committee as the highest leading body is responsible for the development of the political line of the Bolshevik League, and for assuring its implementation.

The members of the Central Committee have achieved monolithic unity of ideological and political line and have been selected on the basis of their ability to grasp Marxist-Leninist theory. They are capable of interpreting the world according to its realities, and are capable of providing practical leadership on the question of implementation of the line.

The Central Committee is responsible for convening the conference of the Bolshevik League. At the conference of the Bolshevik League discussions on the question of line are reviewed, amendments and resolutions passed, and decisions taken. At the conclusion of the conference, all decisions are binding on all members and candidate members of the Bolshevik League, and must be carried out resolutely.

Conferences will be periodically convened.

In intervals between conferences the Central Committee assures the implementation of the decisions of the conference.

The lower bodies are subordinated to the higher bodies. All decisions by the higher bodies are absolutely binding on lower bodies and the minority is subordinated to the majority.

Generally speaking, a Maoist interpretation and distortion of this principle has been prevalent. In re-organizing all the work on the basis of new revolutionary lines, the Menshevik suppression of Leninist organizational norms must be thoroughly eliminated.

“The principle of the minority submitting to the majority,” said Stalin, ”the principle of directing Party work from a centre, not infrequently gives rise to attacks on the part of wavering elements, to accusations of ’bureaucracy,’ ’formalism,’ etc. It scarcely needs proof that systematic work by the Party as one whole, and the directing of the struggle of the working class, would be impossible without putting these principles into effect. (“Foundations of Leninism.” SCW 6:183)

Every member and candidate member of the Bolshevik League must defend his or her democratic rights by fighting for and defending the Marxist-Leninist line, norms and organizational principles of the Bolshevik League. The Bolshevik League will prevent and not tolerate the slightest indication of factionalism within the group. Factions lead to many centers and a number of centers means the liquidation of one common center in the Bolshevik League. The absence of a common center leads to the disintegration of unity of will and action, and represents the presence of an anti-Leninist platform in contradiction with the Marxist-Leninist line of the Bolshevik League.

To assure the continued strengthening and development of the Marxist-Leninist line and in order that the inner iron discipline and unity of the Bolshevik League is maintained, the consistent application of Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism is absolutely essential.

The Maoists and all present-day Mensheviks vulgarise criticism and self-criticism, and degrade it to the level of psychological encounter sessions. The individual and his or her hangups become the gutter-type discussion, which has been dressed under the stolen term “criticism and self-criticism.”

Through the vulgarization of criticism and self-criticism, all Mensheviks betray a fear of Bolshevik criticism, and display a most disgusting philistine cowardice towards admitting mistakes.

In describing the identical phenomenon among the parties of the Second International Stalin showed how these parties had a habit of “. . . concealing their mistakes, of glossing over vexed questions, of covering up their shortcomings by a deceptive show of well being which blunts living thought and prevents the party from deriving revolutionary training from its own mistakes – a habit which was ridiculed and pilloried by Lenin.” (Ibid., p. 89)

In contradistinction, Lenin and Stalin taught the Bolsheviks to criticize defects in their work and to learn from mistakes in order to raise the level of the training within the Party and among non-Party masses.

Lenin and Stalin taught that if we want to train and steel party workers, we must not be afraid of offending people, we must not be afraid of honest, bold and frank criticism. When there’s no timely criticism, defects are many times driven below the surface, and become much more serious a problem and harder to root out.

On the other hand, bold and timely criticism of defects in the work helps people to perfect themselves. It stimulates discussion of the work and people are propelled forward, conscious of the methods to employ in correcting their weaknesses in order to keep to a minimum the defects in the work and finally eliminating the most minor defect. By focusing the attention towards discussion of how to improve the work, modest, quiet, unseen activity will strengthen the overall work of the Bolshevik League. There’s no room for conceit and boastfulness in the Bolshevik League; modesty is the hallmark of a Bolshevik. Difficulties are overcome by hard, persistent work.

There are some people who drown in a glass of water, who whine and complain about everything. They must not be pampered. I hey must be criticized and shown how this attitude is totally alien to the very spirit of Bolshevism and runs counter to the party spirit. They must be taught, through patient persuasion; their education must be uplifted and they must be shown through practical resolutions how to overcome obstacles.

Bolsheviks do not allow themselves to be daunted by difficulties. They go out and boldly overcome them, in accordance to scientific methods.

Resolving problems doesn’t end then; new ones always arise. These too must be solved; they will never go away by themselves. It’s an endless process, but a process which if handled in accordance with a single plan, will propel everyone forward, towards a single common goal.

The Maoists and modern-day Mensheviks talk people to death. They humiliate people and beat them back into submission; mistakes are blown out of proportion and opportunism is concealed, thus creating the basis for factional disputes and unprincipled blocking.

In contrast the Bolsheviks are never indifferent towards defects and mistakes, and wage a struggle of extermination against any and all manifestations of opportunism.

The opportunists insist on democracy over centralism and are always advancing the “broad democratic principle.” The Mensheviks’ aim is to degrade discipline and weaken the single plan through organizational sabotage. Endless debate, minutiae, intellectual pin-pricking or twaddle is used as a weapon against the Bolsheviks, to paralyze the practical activities of the Bolsheviks. “The only serious organizational principle for the active workers of our movement,” wrote Lenin, “should be the strictest secrecy, the strictest selection of members and the training of professional revolutionaries. Given these qualities something even more than ’democratism’ would be guaranteed to us, namely, complete comradely, mutual confidence among revolutionaries.” (“What Is To Be Done,” LCW 5:480)

Loose talk and meddling into affairs that are not the concern of those interested in detailed information is highly dangerous.

We must operate on the basis of “need to know” – i.e., everyone needs to know that which is necessary to carry out his or her tasks. Intrusion into the affairs of the organization on the part of any individual, member or not, must not be tolerated.

The political police is quite active and relies on slackness in questions of secrecy to conduct its gathering of information.

The centralization of all the activities of the Bolsheviks on the basis of a single plan and the direction of the work by one center is absolutely essential to maintain strict secrecy and the strictest selection of members. It is harmful to the cause of the proletariat to lose sight of the fact that we labor under the conditions of the ruthless dictatorship of the bourgeoisie no matter how “democratic” and legal its mask may be. The bourgeoisie will stop at nothing to smash the Bolshevik Revolution. Thus, secrecy and mutual confidence are mighty weapons against the bourgeois dictatorship; weapons which manifest seriousness, revolutionary maturity, and steadfastness in matters of principle. “They,” i.e., the revolutionaries, said Lenin, “have not the time to think about toy forms of democratism (democratism within a close and compact body of comrades in which complete, mutual confidence prevails), but they have a lively sense of their responsibility, knowing as they do from experience that an organization of real revolutionaries will stop at nothing to rid itself of an unworthy member.” (Ibid., p. 480)

Establish the Bolshevik Press in order to Build the Bolshevik Party

Having established the structural principles of the Bolshevik League, we now pass to the urgent question, the practical application, the matter of the practical activity of the Bolshevik League.

The Bolshevik League bases the organization of its practical activity modeled on the Iskra plan elaborated by Lenin in 1900. That is to say, the organization which we strive to develop will be built around a regularly published periodical which will take as its name Bolshevik Revolution.

This periodical will represent a definite trend in complete accord with the ideas of Marxism-Leninism. As we see it, it will stand for the consistent development of these ideas in the spirit of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, demarcated from and resolutely rejecting the opportunist revisions introduced by the Maoists and all present-day Mensheviks.

This periodical will be a transition to a nation-wide newspaper. Lenin in his brilliant organizational plan for Iskra, stressed the importance of such a newspaper to perform the function of collective propagandist, collective agitator, and collective organizer.

“A newspaper,” said Lenin, “is what most of all we need, without it we cannot conduct that systematic, all around propaganda and agitation, consistent in principle, which is the chief and permanent task of Social-Democracy in general and, in particular, the pressing task of the movement....” (“Where To Begin,” LCW 5:20-21)

Guided by Lenin we will begin first with the question of collective propagandist and collective agitator as it applies to the specific conditions in the US.

In the U.S., interest in politics and in questions of socialism in general is almost non-existent amongst the proletariat. This is due to the positions gained by the labour aristocracy and the conditions of national privileges, coupled with an entire history of over 3 decades of the dominance of revisionism. This makes it that much more urgent to interject scientific socialism within the working class movement; it is a question of immediacy. This work can be systematically carried out only by the publication of a regularly published and distributed periodical. The Iskra plan is 1000 times applicable.

The so-called communist movement in the US has been a vehicle for the suppression of communist literature in the working class. The working class is flooded with the rag-sheets distributed by the dozen or more revisionist parties in this country.

There has been a systematic coordinated conspiracy. The opportunists and the bourgeoisie in conjunction maintain the proletariat in total darkness on matters of politics in general. We must not be discouraged by this state of affairs, but we must understand that this situation calls for a revolutionary plan, for an organization that is capable of reaching lower and deeper into the proletariat. A frequent, regularly published periodical will serve as the vehicle to build that revolutionary organization; it will serve as the vehicle to establish firm links in the working class.

It is up to the Bolsheviks to stir up the interest of the proletariat in questions of politics and arouse in them an ardent desire to learn about the questions of proletarian revolution and socialism. A regularly published periodical will serve as the vehicle to carry out propaganda as the chief form of activity.

Through the regular publication which systematically conducts propaganda and agitation, links will be made and strengthened in the proletariat; it will reach out to those who are able and ready to speak up against atrocities carried out by US imperialism throughout the world. There are many oppressed nationality workers from a great number of countries in the US. Many today have to murmur about the barbaric conditions they have encountered at the hands of US imperialism the immigration police, the cut-throats that exploit them over and above all other workers through blackmail threats of deportation.

Many atrocities are committed every day against women, youth, and all strata of the population.

Today these murmurings go unnoticed. There is nowhere that the masses can go and express their real sentiments and disgust with this bloodsucking system.

A platform must be provided to all those ready and able to make exposures – a platform, a tribune, as Lenin called it, from which they can voice their grievances against the US government.

A platform is needed which will reach the attention of a receptive audience. And the audience, the proletariat, must be trained to respond to every form of tyranny. This work has nowhere begun. This is another reason for the low level of class consciousness among the proletariat. Only a regularly published and distributed Bolshevik periodical can provide this political training on an all-national scale.

But the publication will not be limited solely to the dissemination of ideas, to political education and the establishment of links.

The periodical is not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator – it is also a collective organizer.

“In this respect,” wrote Lenin, “it may be likened to the scaffolding round a building under construction, which marks the contours of the structure and facilitates communication between the builders, enabling them to distribute the work and to view the common results achieved by their organized labour.” (Ibid., p. 22)

Through the work of a regularly published and distributed periodical, a permanent organization will be erected that will partake in general activity, that will, said Lenin, “train its members to follow political events carefully, appraise their significance and their effect on the various strata of the population and develop effective means for the revolutionary party to influence those events.” (Ibid., p. 22-23)

The regular publication and distribution of the periodical will necessitate the development of a network of agents who will promote the local distribution. This network of local agents will maintain constant contacts with one another, know the overall situation, and be trained in carrying out their regular functions in nationwide work.

This network of agents will work successfully only if they take active part within the groups and study circles of the Bolshevik League.

Lenin called this network of agents the “skeleton of the party we need.” (Ibid, p. 23)

As the network of agents develops and grows, we will begin to pass from the periodical publication onto a regular political newspaper which is more frequent in its publication and has expanded in its distribution and in terms of political maturity.

On the basis of the network of agents, the organization will develop sufficiently large to embrace the whole country. It will then be possible to effect a strict and detailed division of labor. It will grow in experience and know how to conduct its work in a systematic way and on a consistent basis under all circumstances. In this way we will assure that it is not derailed by the occurrences of twists and turns in events, but pursues a single plan that takes those turns into consideration.

Today, we must take advantage of the tense political situation, the general crisis of imperialism, the threat of war brewing over the situation in the Middle East, and the depreciation of the living conditions; we must take advantage of the weak position the bourgeoisie is in and show the proletariat that the only way imperialist world war can be prevented is by the overthrow of imperialism.

Today we must muster the forces for the development of the organization we desire to build, for it will be too late to do the work of preparation at a time of a revolutionary outbreak.

People must be trained and ready for political activity at all times. Lenin said that “we must train people who will devote the whole of their lives, not only their spare evenings, to the revolution.” (“The Urgent Tasks of Our Movement,” LCW 4:371)

The question of assuring regular and consistent training of people who will consciously devote the entire of their lives to revolutionary work is a question of conscious acceptance of the political line. But not only of political line – as Stalin said, once line is determined, everything then rests with cadres, with organization, with the implementation of the line.

The proper organization of the work rests with the question of specialization, and division of labor. Different people are better equipped to efficiently carry out different areas of specialization. We must develop specialists in the following fields:

Writers: This entails the rooting out of vestiges of dead dogmatic formulas inculcated through years of the spread of phrasemongering. A revolutionary style consistent with the living essence of Marxism-Leninism must be developed. The audience to whom we are writing must at all times be kept in mind.

Our writers must be able to express the propagation of Marxism-Leninism in clearly defined terms in order to raise the level of the proletariat. Lenin, in his work, “A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy,” showed how communists must put out their literature in different forms, keeping in mind that amongst the proletariat there exist the advanced, intermediate and the broad lower stratum of the proletariat. Lenin stressed very clearly that: “It is quite possible that a socialist newspaper will be completely or well-nigh incomprehensible to them (even in Western Europe the number of Social Democratic voters is much larger than the number of readers of Social Democratic newspapers), but it would be absurd to conclude from this that the newspaper of the Social-Democrats should adapt itself to the lowest possible level of the workers.

The only thing that follows from this is that different forms of agitation and propaganda must be brought to bear on these strata – pamphlets written in more popular language, oral agitation, and chiefly – leaflets on local events. (LCW 4:282)

So our writers must keep in mind the audience they are writing for, for in our literature we will develop theoretical articles, propaganda, agitation, and articles of political exposures. The literary style differs according to whom the literature is aimed at. In this period our aim must be clear – the widespread propagation of communism amongst the proletariat, particularly in order to rally the vanguard to the side of communism, to the task of the construction of its party.

We need to develop propagandists. People who specialize in this field will be able to conduct lectures, lead study circles, and, in a convincing and authoritative manner, rally the proletariat to the program of Bolshevism.

To aid our writers, our propagandists, agitators, etc., we will need researchers who have the skill to gather data and information in order to improve the quality of all our literature.

Agitators are also needed who will be able to arouse the slightest discontent from even amongst the lower stratum of the proletariat. We need various types of agitators who can apply various methods of getting our political line across. Lenin in “A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy” quotes a passage of Kautsky (in the days when Kautsky was still a Marxist) which provides clarity on the importance of agitators.

Agitational methods must be adopted to individual and local conditions. Every agitator must be allowed to select those methods of agitation that he has at his disposal. One agitator may create the greatest impression by his enthusiasm, another by his biting sarcasm, a third by his ability to adduce a large number of instances, etc. While being adapted to the agitator, agitation must also be adopted to the public. The agitator must speak so that he will be understood; he must take as a starting-point something well known to his listeners. All this is self-evident and is not merely applicable to agitation conducted among the peasantry. One has to talk to cabmen differently than to sailors, and to sailors differently than to printers. Agitation must be individualized, but our tactics, our political activity must be uniform.”(Ibid.)

It is not everyone who can do this important job well. For the distribution of the literature good agitators are needed, who are capable of addressing the public with short, enthusiastic statements in regard to our publication. They must be able to arouse in the public an interest in reading the material. Agitators are able to select from the material what will interest that specific audience. Needless to say this is an important field of work in the overall development of the single plan.

We now pass to the field of organizational work, i.e., of organizers. At the same time that the Party is the sum total of all of its organizations, it is a single system of these organizations, the formal union of these organizations into a single whole.

Those people of the likes of Babushkin and Cecilia Bobrovskaya, the agents of Lenin’s Iskra organization. Organizers are people who are extremely conscientious, the ones who ensure the competent functioning of our apparatus. They are people who follow things through from beginning to end in spite of all difficulties. They are people capable of organizing a meeting, finding meeting places, and assuring that all concerned are notified. It is the organizers who maintain the distribution network properly organized, following up on distributors, assuring everyone has plenty of literature, posters, etc. Organizers are always on the alert for new distribution points; good organizers ensure that the production of literature proceeds uninterruptedly, because they understand that the literature is the basis around which the organization is built.

Organizers are practical people. When some people are good at elaborating on the problem, nine times out of ten it is the people who are good organizers who are able to come up with solutions. Talented organizers are therefore able to win people to communist work, on the basis of perserverance in organizational matters, by showing people the implications of where real revolutionary work leads them.

The field of translation is also an area where specialization is of immense importance, because Bolshevik Revolution will be published in two separate languages, a Spanish and English edition. Here the question of literary ability in the specific language is extremely important. The meaning of an entire concept can be lowered in terms of politics, or entirely lost, without special care given to the raising of the literary style in translation. Translations cannot be approached in a mechanical fashion. Thus an understanding of the politics being conveyed is the most important matter. We look forward to the day where our publications can be published in many more languages; these two languages are an essential beginning because of concrete conditions in the US.

These areas in brief are just some of the fields in which we have begun to develop specialists in the work.

There are of course other areas of specialization which we will not go into at this particular time.

What is important to remember is that everyone will receive work. Everyone’s abilities are important and necessary for the work of producing and distributing a regularly published periodical.

The size of the publication will vary, but the consistency of it cannot. It must be a regularly published monthly with leaflets and short pamphlets in intervals within the month’s span.

Why is the question of consistency so important?

Because, as Lenin said, the distribution apparatus must never become idle. It must be developed to the level of perfection, kept constantly well supplied. Only in this way will the links be maintained with the working class, and network of agents trained through the distribution of all our literature.

For years there has been talk of propaganda as the chief form of activity in this period of Party construction. Yet for the first time the basis to carry out the chief form of activity is finally being established. Without the application of the Iskra plan, inevitably the desire to do propaganda work will remain just that – a desire.

Throughout this work, the rallying of the vanguard of the proletariat to the side of communism will also be converted from wish to a reality. The periodical has a specific function in rallying the advanced workers. The advanced workers are rallied to leading politics; thus it is through the leading politics of the press that the advanced workers will begin to acquaint themselves with the questions of scientific socialism, with the positions of the proletariat on international and domestic questions, and will begin to respond to the question of the task of organization.

Said Lenin: “The newspaper that wants to become the organ of all Russian Social Democrats must, therefore, be at the level of the advanced workers; not only must it not lower its level artificially, but, on the contrary, it must raise it constantly, it must follow up ail the tactical, political and theoretical problems of world social democracy. Only then will the demands of the working class intelligentsia be met, and itself will take the cause of the Russian workers and, consequently, the cause of the Russian revolution, into its own hands. (“A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy,” LCW 4:280)

The level of propaganda must be consistently raised in order to meet the demands of the working class intelligentsia. The Mensheviks, who are not even capable of conducting intelligent economic agitation, by their failure to attract advanced workers conclude that there aren’t any in the US.

The facts, however, are that the advanced workers are not interested in bourgeois journalism which is dressed in “socialist” garb. The bourgeois press itself does a better job than the opportunist ragsheets in simple fact-recording and analysis from the point of view of bourgeois literature.

Such dull publications as Unite!, with headlines recording the disaster of DC-10’s, will put anybody to sleep.

This is the aim of all the opportunists to lull the workers into a trance as a step towards convincing them that there is something to gain from concluding deals with the bourgeoisie. In exchange, the workers must learn to accept their exploitation “militantly.”

The advanced workers are indeed not rallied by the opportunists who tell them to go form a militant trade union caucus, lead it, and run for shop steward as a stepping stone to the higher echelons of the Union bureaucracy. The advanced workers have long been convinced of the fact that the union bureaucracy is totally corrupt. The advanced workers are concerned with how all workers are to emancipate themselves from the shackles of wage slavery. Thus they are willing to study Marxism-Leninism, and are the most capable of grasping it. It is the responsibility of the Marxist-Leninists to take scientific socialism to them, through the vehicle of a regularly published periodical. This periodical must train them to follow political events in the world and at home very carefully. It accomplishes this with an appraisal of what it all means, and an analysis of what effect these events are having on the various strata of the population.

Through the consistency by which it is published and distributed, the advanced workers will begin to view the periodical as their own. They will begin to ask the distributors of Bolshevik Revolution for a few more copies and become distributors themselves. This activity must be encouraged. In fact it is necessary that distributors be developed from among the readership of the periodical, so much more efficient and widespread will the distribution of the periodical become.

The advanced workers will form discussion groups with friends, in the family, or at work. The contents of Bolshevik Revolution will assist them in these discussions and encourage them to take up the study of the classics of Marxism-Leninism. The exposures done in the Bolshevik periodical of the practical implications in the revisionist theories of the opportunists, will help the advanced workers detect those agents of the bourgeoisie within their midst and help them rouse the workers in struggle to drive them out of the working class.

As the advanced workers rally to the line, they will be encouraged to take up all the organization of the work into their steel-like hands. They will be rallied to the study circles of the Bolshevik League, where their training in Marxist-Leninist theory applied to the concrete conditions of the US will be systematically taken up.

“The most experienced and influential of the advanced workers,” said Stalin, ”must find a place in all the local organizations. The affairs of the organizations must be concentrated in their strong hands, and it is they who must occupy the most important posts in the organizations, from practical and organizational posts to literary posts. It will not matter if the workers who occupy important posts are found to lack sufficient experience and training and even stumble at first – practice and the advice of more experienced comrades will widen their outlook and in the end train them to become real writers and leaders of the movement. It must not be forgotten that Bebels do not drop from the skies, they are trained only in the course of work, by practice, and our movement now needs Russian Bebels, experienced and mature leaders from the ranks of the workers, more than ever before. (Stalin, SCW 1:156)

The study circle is an important level of organizational activity. We must develop a network of such workers’ study circles as were built during the period of construction of the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin.

“The object of these study circles,” wrote Stalin, “was to create among the workers themselves a group that would subsequently be able to lead the movement. Therefore, these circles were made up of advanced workers – only chosen workers could attend them.” (“The Russian Social Democratic Party and Its Immediate Task,” SCW 1:12)

Such, in brief, comrades, is the relationship of the press to rallying the advanced workers. Now we pass to a final but very important point, that of correspondence.

Correspondence to Bolshevik Revolution will establish an important link between the Bolshevik League and the working class. Readers of Bolshevik Revolution who are able and ready to speak out against the bourgeoisie’s atrocities will have a forum available to them in the pages of Bolshevik Revolution.

On the basis of this correspondence, one exposure in one locality can be spread across the country and the lessons drawn will teach the workers that their experience and struggle is a common one. More readers will become active correspondents breaking out of local isolation, thus becoming active in establishing all nation-wide work; they will establish links between themselves and all readers of the Bolshevik press. These correspondents will become active agents in the network of the Bolshevik mailing system, learning and developing secret methods of distribution and communication across the country.

These are only preliminary steps which must be taken in order to penetrate the working class and bring to it the science of proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, i.e., Marxism-Leninism.

The forms which we have above discussed – distribution, circles, correspondence – are extremely important for establishing the network of agents and must be developed over a period of time. Such a network is what we must work hard to develop. The dozen or so Menshevik parties in the US are detachments of the international counter-revolution. Anyone can join them. There are no principles whatever involved in what they do. But the Marxist-Leninist Party that we are constructing is built along new revolutionary lines – a Bolshevik Party of the new type, a detachment of the international proletariat, a detachment of world-wide proletarian revolution.

It is not all who can become members of such a Party. The Party is a union of class-conscious proletarians. The Party will be, as the Bolshevik League is presently, open only to those who voluntarily accept the discipline of the group, because they agree with the political line of the Bolshevik League. This unity of line is demonstrated by carrying out the political work of the group on the principle of unity of action and by financial support to the group. As the group grows from its loose forms of distribution, circles and correspondence, and expands its apparatus on a nation-wide basis, it will begin to tighten up those forms within the norms set forth by Lenin in which the Party is regarded as the sum total of its organizations, and the Party member, a member of one of the organizations of the Party.

At the same time that the Party is the sum total of all of its organizations, it is a single system of these organizations, the formal union of these organizations into a single whole.

At the same time that the Party is the sum total of all of its organizations, it is a single system of these organizations, the formal union of these organizations into a single whole.

The Party is not a loose conglomeration as the Mensheviks propose. On the contrary, it is the organized detachment of the working class. Only as a single organized whole will the Party be able to lead systematically the struggle of the working class, towards the seizure of state power, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialist construction.

It is this type of Party, modeled on the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin that the Bolshevik League devotes its entire energies to build.

It must be built from the top down, at its rudimentary level today, to the highest form of class organization. Building the Party is the chief task of all Bolsheviks, the main link in the chain is the Iskra plan. Towards the goal of founding the Party, we have established the periodical Bolshevik Revolution.

Central Committee
Bolshevik League of the U.S.
December, 1979


[1] For the Bolshevik League’s analysis of the inter-imperialist contradictions, and for our recent analysis of the international communist movement, see the founding documents of the Bolshevik League.