Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party USA/Marxist-Leninist

COUSML Demolished Again

Published:The Workers’ Advocate Vol. 9, No. 3, March 29, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A vulgar, trashy article demolishing the COUSML in a single blow appears on the international page of the February 15th issue of Unite!, the newspaper of the MLOC (“CPUSA(M-L)”). The article is short, but it is crammed full of anti-communism. Its title is “COUSML Gets in Step”. The COUSML is supposed to be getting in step “in order to appear to be in step with the world Marxist-Leninist movement”. Anyone who has been active in “left” politics knows that this is the language of the paid anti-communist scribblers of the bourgeois press–who always and everywhere present the principled stand of the local Marxist-Leninist Party as the frightened antics of mindless puppets who allegedly must make abrupt turns to “get in step” with each shift in world communist policy. The COUSML is alleged to have “found it necessary to abruptly change its colors” (from red to red?) on the two issues of Comrade William Z. Foster and Mr. Mao Tsetung. The COUSML has not changed its evaluation of Comrade Foster. That “abrupt change” is just another fairytale of the MLOC, which cannot survive except by floating as many rumors, gossips, intrigues and red herrings as possible. As to Mr. Mao Tsetung, we invite any reader who is interested in a serious discussion of an important problem of world significance to read the article starting on the front page of this issue of The Workers’ Advocate entitled “Mao Tsetung Thought Is Anti-Marxist-Leninist and Revisionist”. This article is the result of long study and discussion inside the COUSML. We shall leave it to the MLOC to treat important questions in the non-serious breeziness of the gutter bourgeois press. Finally, the MLOC reaches deep into the arsenal of hack journalism to trot out its charge that “For COUSML, however, its history and its current existence has nothing to do with the proletariat and oppressed people in the U.S.” Anti-communists everywhere present the proletariat as a class without an historical mission, a class without revolutionary sentiment and revolutionary organization, and on this basis denounce the communists as simply a handful of outside agitators having “nothing to do with the proletariat and oppressed people”. The MLOC can’t even resist smirking at the alleged “curious appearance” of the communists. It is one of the serious crimes of the neo-revisionists, the MLOC and the opportunists in general that they have made fashionable inside the “left” the use of the ugliest phrases and anti-communist sneers taken from the gutter bourgeois press. The time is coming when the class conscious proletariat will hold the opportunists responsible for their anticommunist agitation.

In their trashy bit of anti-communist agitation, the MLOC makes clear, and not for the first time, its fervent hatred for the forces of revolutionary Marxism- Leninism in the U. S, The MLOC admits that its real program is and has always been to fight the “infantile left” which “for ten years” has had “a more anti- Leninist stand” than anyone else. The MLOC does not regard its worse enemies as the “three worlders” or the Khrushchovite revisionists of the “C”PUSA or the Trotskyites or the reformists...but takes the camp of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism led by the COUSML as allegedly the most anti-Leninist of all. In fact, in this way the MLOC is picking up the dirty banner of the struggle against “ultra-Leftism” from the neo-revisionists and “three worlders” of the OL and RU type. Both the OL (now the “CP(M-L)”) and the RU (now the “RCP,USA”) fought against Marxism- Leninism and opposed the struggle against revisionism by advocating that the struggle should be waged against the “ultra-left”. They held that revisionism was the main danger internationally, or in general, or in the long run... but the immediate task was to fight “ultra-leftism” inside the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement. And once again the MLOC picks up the dirtiest, discredited trash from the “three worlders”, only substituting “infantile leftism” for “ultra-leftism”. This, as well as many other deeds of the MLOC, irresistibly testifies to the MLOC’s long history of open support for the “three worlds” theory, for the thesis that the Soviet social-imperialists are the “main danger” and for all of the basic politics of the Klonskyite social-chauvinists. And when the growing prestige of Marxism-Leninism, that resulted from the struggle against social-chauvinism and the “three worlds” theory, forced the MLOC to drop its open support for “three worlds-ism” in September 1977, then the MLOC commenced a career of professional conciliation to “three worlds-ism” and social-chauvinism. They continued to uphold the entire corrupt arsenal of “three worlds-ism”, they wrote that the “three worlders” such as the OL “once opposed revisionism consistently and stood for revolution” (1) and intensified their struggle against the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. In an earlier attack against the COUSML in the August 1978 issue of Class Against Class, the MLOC tried to explain away its conciliation with the Klonskyite “three worlders”, its refusal to fight against the basic theses of “three worlds-ism” (Chinese revisionism) and its opposition to the struggle against social-chauvinism by arguing that the MLOC was too busy fighting the ”CPUSA. But in fact the MLOC has no serious interest in the fight against either the “C”P USA nor the “CP(M-L)”. On the contrary, the MLOC is a notorious conciliator with revisionism. And with its present article it admits the truth... its fight is against “infantile leftism”.

Thus the MLOC’s hatred for the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists is but the flip side of its history of “three worlds-ism”, and its constant striving to give the most “Marxist” covering to the flimsiest rightist, reformist politics. The MLOC has opposed the struggle against the social-chauvinism of the Klonskyite “three worlders” at every step along the way. In early 1977 they advocated that the struggle should be against Trotskyism just at the time that the “three worlders” and the social-chauvinists were making a big fuss about the so-called “Trotskyism” of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. As part of this they put out a pamphlet of reprints entitled “Two Articles on Trotskyism” in which one of the articles was a reprint from Peking Review entitled “The ’Gang of Four’ and the Trotskyites”. In July 1977 they denounced the “RCP,USA” for being among those “who belittle the struggle against Soviet social-imperialism”, when the truth was that the “RCP,USA” was stressing the question of Soviet social-imperialism in a one-sided manner in order to defend the basic ideological theses of “three worlds-ism”. After the MLOC finally dropped open “three worlds-ism” in September 1977, while still continuing to give such basic “three worlds” theses as that the Western European imperialists are “inadequately rearmed”, they immediately intensified their struggle against the Marxist-Leninists and denounced the whole movement against the “three worlds” theory and social- chauvinism, boasting that “We (the MLOC–ed.) have generally taken a leading role in pointing out its (the party program’s–ed.) importance–in pointing to the fact that the wave of polemics in 1976 and 1977 were of little value because they were not geared to the party program.” (2) But it was precisely this “wave of polemics in 1976 and 1977” that denounced the thesis of “directing the main blow at Soviet social-imperialism” and the “three worlds” theory–and the MLOC opposed them originally because the MLOC was then in favor of the “three worlds” theory. In their polemic against us of August 1978 the MLOC keeps up the same denunciation of the polemics against social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism”. The MLOC openly calls the evaluation of the struggle against social-chauvinism as the “heart of the difference between the MLOC and the COUSML, in many ways”. (3) The MLOC disparages this struggle by, don’t laugh, counterposing it to the struggle against modern revisionism. First the MLOC opposed the struggle against the “three worlds” theory and social-chauvinism because they openly supported these theories. Then the MLOC concocted the thesis that the polemics were of little value because they allegedly didn’t involve questions of the Party program. Finally in August 1978 the MLOC concocts the most “left” excuse conceivable–it is against fighting social-chauvinism because it is for the struggle against modern revisionism! In the March 1, 1979 issue of Unite! the MLOC writes an editorial where they conciliate the Klonskyite Pentagon-socialists by denying that they have ever given a “direct call” to the working class to collaborate with U.S. imperialism. Listen to this: “It won’t be long before the CP/ML not only chastises the U.S. bourgeoisie for its supposed lack of aggressiveness, but comes out with a direct call to the U.S. working class to set aside its struggle against U.S. imperialism because it would ’weaken the struggle against Soviet social imperialism’.” (underlining added) What shameless bootlicking of the social-chauvinists! The “direct call” was given over two and a half years ago in the thesis of “directing the main blow at Soviet social-imperialism.” Yet in March 1979 the MLOC prettifies the “CP(M-L)” and prettifies the thesis of “directing the main blow at Soviet social-imperialism.” The MLOC does not regard the “CP(M-L)”’s position of “directing the main blow against Soviet social-imperialism” as the most anti-Leninist stand. Oh no, they are mild, meek, benevolent and understanding with the social-chauvinists and save their savage attacks for the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists with their alleged “curious appearance”.

What lies behind the MLOC’s frantic war against the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists and their conciliation of social-chauvinism? The MLOC itself has raised the question of the history of the ACWM(ML) and COUSML from 1969 to the present in their polemic of August 1978. Once again, in their anti-communist outburst on February 15, they again raise the question of “ten years” of history. Therefore we looked more closely into the entire history of the MLOC. The MLOC itself is a group of vagrant intellectuals, without either roots in the masses or stable principles, which came into existence in 1975. It does not represent a trend inside the Marxist-Leninist movement. Therefore one of the few ways to study its history was to trace back the history of its guiding spirit and chairman, Barry Weisberg. It turns out that Mr. Weisberg has been fighting the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists for this entire period. He was trained in the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. The IPS is a social-democratic “think tank” devoted to the struggle against communism and headed by social-democratic intellectuals who move in and out of positions in the executive branch of the government. In 1970 and 1971 Mr. Weisberg wrote anti-communist books that explicitly denounce Marxism-Leninism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, and “infantile leftism”, in order to put forward social-democratic politics. He praised the Israeli Zionist kibbutzim, Yugoslav revisionism and Soviet revisionism as “socialist”. Thus right from the start, “for ten years” he was opposed to the revolutionary politics of the ACWM(ML) and the revolutionary dissemination of the classics of Marxism- Leninism. Mr. Weisberg moved into the Marxist-Leninist movement through the U.S.-China alliance. He was a co-founder of the Bay Area Institute, an off-shoot of the IPS which was devoted mainly to the study of Asia in general and China in particular and which included early advocates of U.S.-China alliance. From that time to the present, he has preserved his social-democratic politics while adapting his phraseology to the prevailing trend. With the victory of Marxism-Leninism among the advanced section of the activists, Mr. Weisberg shifted from social-democratic politics combined with open denunciation of Marxism-Leninism to social-democratic politics combined with alleged “Marxism-Leninism”. The MLOC has social-democratic politics combined with “left”-sounding phrase-mongering. This is the secret of its constant war upon the Marxist-Leninists and its history of first open “three worlds-ism” and then blatant conciliation of the “three worlders”. The MLOC’s social-democratic politics lead it to fight the Marxist-Leninists as the worst enemy, to curse the “infantile left”. At the same time its social-democratic politics put it into close affinity with the Browderite liberal-labor politics common to the “three worlders”, the neo-revisionists, the “C”PUSA and the open social-democrats.

The MLOC exposes its social-democracy with its stand on Mao Tsetung Thought. According to the MLOC, to abandon Mao Tsetung Thought in the interests of defending the purity of Marxism-Leninism is to have “adopted a more conservative stance”. MLOC regards the theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin not as the most dynamic and revolutionary theory known to history, but as “more conservative” than the revisionism of Mao Tsetung Thought. Now that Chinese revisionism is being repudiated, the MLOC interprets this as a struggle against “infantile leftism” and holds that the movement can throw off its pretension to revolution and return to tame, “conservative”, social-democratic politics.

The MLOC is thus trying to write off the entire history of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist movement from the ’60’s to the present under the hoax that it is all tainted with “Mao Tsetung Thought” and “infantile leftism”. In doing this, the MLOC is joining a whole chorus of the opportunists and the bourgeoisie itself. They all are trying their best to demoralize the revolutionary mass movement. Some of the bourgeois publicists are openly boasting about the influx of capital in China and the rule of the most fascist elements, like Teng Hsiao-ping. The “C”PUSA, the Soviet revisionists and the Trotskyites are patting themselves on the back for having opposed China from imperialist and revisionist positions. Still others pretend to support the present Marxist-Leninist movement while cursing it on the pretext of its earlier support for Mao Tsetung. Now that the Marxist-Leninists themselves, through their own work and struggle, have succeeded in penetrating the veil of mystery around China and in learning the truth about the ideas guiding the Communist Party of China, all sorts of wise-acres simply copy what the Marxist-Leninists are saying and then turn around and reproach the Marxist-Leninists for not having grasped these things years earlier. Cheap and easy!

Should the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists hang their heads and feel crestfallen because they supported Mao Tsetung Thought in the past ? Should the history of the revolutionary movements of the ’60’s and ’70’s be written off ? Never. We say: let the cowards flinch, the traitors sneer and the scribblers scribble. The issue was that the advanced section of the activists took up Marxism-Leninism, denounced Khrushchovite revisionism and supported the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. At that time it seemed that China and Mao Tsetung stood in the van of the movement against modern Khrushehovite revisionism; the question seemed to be: Khrushchov or Mao? The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists supported China because they wished to fight revisionism and take up Marxism-Leninism. The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists also supported Albania and the PLA right from the start and propagated the literature of the Party of Labor of Albania and the writings of Comrade Enver Hoxha. Right from the start, we knew there were powerful revisionist forces in China, and we supported Mao because he claimed to be fighting the revisionists and because the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution removed such notorious elements as Liu Shao-chi. It was correct to support China against the ferocious attacks of imperialism and revisionism as long as China fought imperialism and revisionism and in the hope that the Chinese Party might find its way to the stand of Marxism-Leninism in the heat of the battle against modern revisionism.

The taking over of certain Chinese formulations, and mainly the fostering by the Chinese revisionists of the mainstream of neo-revisionism and the direct wrecking activities of the Chinese revisionists against the revolutionary movement did immense damage to the U. So Marxist-Leninist movement. But it is a historical fact that the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and Chinese revisionism did not break out on the issue of the formulation of “Mao Tsetung Thought”, as the MLOC pretends. True, the “Communist Labor Party of the USNA” brought up this issue. But as the “CLP, USNA” exposed itself as a left-sloganeering front of Soviet revisionism, its fight “against” Mao Tsetung Thought could not but disgust the revolutionary anti-revisionist fighters. The Trotskyites, Khrushehovite revisionists, imperialist professors and others also brought up their style of “opposition” to “Mao Tsetung Thought”. But this too could only arouse revulsion. No, in the U.S. the struggle against Chinese revisionism was expressed in the struggle against neo-revisionism. Right from the start, this was a life-and-death struggle. The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists fought against the opportunist theses of “pre-party collectives”, “ultra-left as the main danger”, “the party will spring from the mass movement or the united front”, “the proletariat is backward”, “the objective conditions for revolution are not ripe”, and so forth. The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists refused to accept the “united front against imperialism” as the strategy of American revolution. The Chinese revisionists took an active part in these struggles by slandering and denigrating the ACWM(ML) and COUSML and promoting all sorts of neo-revisionist, revisionist and opportunist groups, including the OL, the RU, the MLOC, etc. This struggle finally broke out in full force against the thesis of “directing the main blow at Soviet social-imperialism” and against “three worlds-ism”. And it was at that time that it became apparent that it was Chinese revisionism that was the target. It is this struggle against neo-revisionism, social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism” that was the struggle against Chinese revisionism and that prepared the ground for learning the truth about Mao Tse-tung Thought. Thus the exposure of the roots of Chinese revisionism in the “three worlds” theory is a continuation of the movement against social-chauvinism; it should inspire confidence in the justness of the fight against neo-revisionism.

Therefore the lessons that should be drawn from the exposure of the roots of Chinese revisionism in Mao Tsetung Thought are the direct opposite of those that the bourgeoisie and opportunists are drawing. The repudiation of Mao Tsetung Thought teaches us:

(a) that the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists must never become complacent about defending the purity of Marxism-Leninism and must carry the struggle against modern revisionism through to the end;

(b) It underlines the absolute necessity of the movement against social-chauvinism and “three worldism” and of the repudiation of neo-revisionism; and

(c) It should inspire confidence in the hard-gained maturity of the Marxist-Leninists who have maintained their bearings in the face of very complex and deceptive problems.

Now one can see the utter hypocrisy and totally false position of the MLOC. They are prattling on about the “infantile left” position on Mao Tsetung Thought in order to demoralize the Marxist-Leninist movement and condemn it all as tainted with Mao Tsetung Thought. Nor is this the first time that the MLOC has found some pretext or other to issue some sweeping condemnation of the whole Marxist-Leninist movement, as when it waged its “two-line struggle” in 1976 in support of learning from the lessons of revisionist Romania. But, as the old saying goes, the emperor has no clothes. For the MLOC is treating us to the revolting spectacle of seeing social-democrats parade around as paragons of revolutionary virtue. It hardly befits those who denounced Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1971 and supported Zionism and revisionism, and who in 1976 were still fervently propagating the importance of learning from Romania, to pose as the judges of the Marxist-Leninist movement. Imagine that: Mr. Weisberg, a co-founder of the Bay Area Institute, an institute funded by the bourgeoisie in order to help develop the U.S.-China alliance, is denouncing the Marxist-Leninists for Mao Tsetung Thought!

However, the truth is that in raising the issue of Mao Tsetung Thought, the MLOC is following the recipe of denouncing as loudly as possible what it wants to hide in its own actions. Let us examine the MLOC’s formulations on Mao Tsetung Thought:


(A) First of all, the MLOC itself used the formulation Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and even today it admits that “The view of the MLOC... was that the defense and development of Marxism-Leninism by Mao Tsetung was on a par with that of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. ” (Unite!, March 15, 1979, p. 7) If the MLOC had an interest in revolution or in Marxism-Leninism, they would therefore pass on to the repudiation of the basic theses of Chinese revisionism and of Mao Tsetung Thought rather than trying to quibble on whose wrong and discarded formulations on Mao Tsetung Thought were the best.

(B) But since the MLOC is making a big fuss about the question of whether Mao Tsetung Thought was regarded as a higher stage or level of Marxism-Leninism, let us quote from the statement issued by the Central Committee of the MLOC entitled “In Commemoration of Mao Tsetung”. The MLOC wrote that “Based upon a deep and penetrating analysis of the degeneration of the subjective factor in the Soviet Union leading to the restoration of capitalism, Mao Tsetung carried forward the great teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and raised them to a higher level, both in theory and practice, (underlining added –ed.) Mao Tsetung fully elaborated the basic questions of classes and class struggle during the entire historical period of socialism... (emphasis as in the original –ed.)” (p. 12) It also seemed that Mao Tsetung was the dialectician of the modern era, as the MLOC wrote that “Mao Tsetung, more than anyone else in the modern era, recognized the lesson of dialectics well.” (p. 20) The MLOC combined this with criticism of Stalin. The statement said: “While making certain errors, Stalin did recognize in theory that classes and class struggle still continue during socialist construction, but was not able to guarantee the hold on state power by the proletariat. ” (p. 20)

The Chinese revisionists liked this statement so much that in the November 28, 1976 issue of Hsinhua News Bulletin, item 112714 reported on this statement and carried excerpts. No statement from the COUSML on this or any other matter was ever reprinted in the Hsinhua News Bulletin.

(C) Thus the MLOC gave the exact line from the Chinese revisionists on Mao Tsetung Thought. So what is behind their attacks on the COUSML? In the Unite! Special Supplement to the issue of March 1, 1979, on page 3, the MLOC attacks the COUSML and writes: “Even the Central Organization of U.S. Marxist Leninists,...,for ten years raved how ’Mao Tsetung is our Chairman’, and followed the line of Lin Piao that Mao Tsetung Thought was ’a higher and completely new stage of Marxism’, ” (underlining added –ed.)

Thus according to the MLOC, it is not the line of Chinese revisionism to negate Marxism-Leninism with Mao Tsetung Thought, but only the line of the Lin Piao faction. Therefore when the MLOC followed the “three worlds” formulations of the Chou En-lai-Hua Kuo-feng factions, and when the COUSML refused to follow every gyration in line from Peking Review, the MLOC tars COUSML with the brand of “Lin Piao-ist”. Charming, is it not?

In fact, the MLOC is following the line of the Chinese revisionists and of the OL social-chauvinists to negate the struggle against revisionism by replacing it with the struggle against the “ultra-left”. After the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the OL took up this cry against the “ultra-left Lin Piao” and even today the MLOC is repeating the same tired-out Klonskyite trick. Only the MLOC replaces the word “ultra-left” with the word “infantile left”. So when the MLOC raises the charge of “infantile leftism” and “Lin Piao-ism”, it is not doing this because it has broken off with Chinese revisionism, but because it is still following the same basic line as Chinese revisionism.

The struggle against Chinese revisionism is not expressed in MLOC’s crusade against Lin Piao and the “infantile left”. On the contrary, it was the struggle against neo-revisionism, “three worlds-ism” and social-chauvinism that expressed the struggle against Chinese revisionism. Now even more of the utter moral corruption of the MLOC is apparent. For while they shout about Mao Tsetung Thought, in practice they opposed the movement against social- chauvinism and “three worlds-ism” through which the Marxist-Leninists came to recognize the ugly features of Chinese revisionism. The MLOC preached in its tirade against the COUSML in the August 1978 issue of Class Against Class the utter futility of fighting such a minor issue as the “CP(ML)” or social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism” in general. And the MLOC did so at the very moment that the questions of Chinese revisionism and the roots of the “three worlds” theory were heating up as major is sues o The MLOC asked in their tirade of August 1978 about who has-more influence, “C”PUSA or someone else, in the “trade unions like the United Electrical Workers, steel workers, auto workers, and longshoremen.” They raised the question of “C”PUSA’s influence in the Afro-American people’s movement and the question of Angela Davis. But the importance of fighting Chinese revisionism and “three worlds-ism” cannot be judged the way the MLOC does. The real issue was that the purity of Marxism-Leninism was at stake, and not the temporary balance among the bureaucrats in the AFL-CIO. Only if the Marxist-Leninist movement defeated “three worlds-ism” and Chinese revisionism would it be able to carry out any of its revolutionary tasks at all. And it is only the repudiation of social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism”, including that allegedly awful wave of polemics that started in 1976 and 1977 and that MLOC says were of such “little value”, that allows the Marxist-Leninist movement to hold up its head with honor. Without this struggle, the mass movement would have been handed over to the revisionists, who would have been able to pass themselves off as the genuine opponents of social-chauvinism.

The struggle against Chinese revisionism and the exposure of the roots of the “three worlds” theory in Mao Tsetung Thought are thus yet further proof of the bankruptcy of the social-democratic politics championed by the MLOC.


(1) Revolution Will Surely Triumph, by the Central Committee of the MLOC, November 1977, reprinted April 1978, p. 13. It is cited on p. 35 of the COUSML’s Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC.

(2) Unite!, October 1977, major centerfold article entitled “,Genuine Unity Rests on Principle”, p. 11, col. 2. It is cited on p. 25 of Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC.

(3) Class Against Class, August 1978, p. 43.