Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

New Years Editorial: 1979 begins on victory note

First Published: The Call, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 8, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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New Year’s 1979 ushers in a new victory for socialism and for the international working class struggle. After 29 years of trying to isolate and destroy socialist China, the U.S. was forced at last to normalize relations with that country, beginning this year.

This alone gives us much cause for celebration as an important year of struggle draws to a close and a new year full of bright prospects for our movement begins. The normalization of relations between the U.S. and People’s China represents a powerful blow against the main forces of imperialism and hegemonism.

It is a great step forward in the efforts of the third world countries fighting for liberation and independence and of the peoples of all countries trying to maintain world peace and delay the outbreak of a new world war. Finally, it is testimony to the growth and strengthening of socialism in the world while capitalism remains a system locked in a process of steady crisis and decay.

The decay of capitalism could be seen everywhere in 1978 from the rapidity with which the two superpowers stepped up their war preparation to the erosion of the social fabric of our society. This was expressed best by the recent events in Jonestown where hundreds perished, victims of the widespread cultism and superstition fostered under our system.

1978 held the hopes of capitalism’s leaders that an end to their crisis was finally at hand. With the help of the top labor bureaucrats, they had succeeded in promoting a slight upturn in the economy and lowering somewhat the unemployment rate. The strike movement of the workers was kept relatively quiet. Jimmy Carter had visions of a political resurgence, especially following his short-lived “victory” at the Camp David talks on the Middle East.

Early in the year a dangerous and significant reactionary offensive was unleashed which has continued right up to the present, with the goal of making the workers and oppressed peoples bear an even greater burden for the capitalist crisis.

The sharpest examples of this reactionary drive were the racist Bakke decision of the Supreme Court; the defeat of practically every pro-labor piece of legislation and the so-called “anti-tax” measures like California’s Proposition 13 which used the popular discontent with unbearable taxes to launch a wave of cutbacks and further erode the living standards of the most oppressed sections of the people, especially the minorities.


The ruling class had hopes that they could get the workers to peacefully accept Carter’s “anti-inflation” program, which began with a limit on wage increases. They also hoped by the middle of this month to see Carter and Soviet leader Brezhnev celebrating the signing of the SALT agreement, the biggest “peace” fraud since the Munich pact with Hitler in 1938.

But reality heavily began to assert itself early in the year when the United Mine Workers heroically stood up to the coal bosses, the government and their own union misleaders and staged their longest strike in history. Within the midst of a general ebb in t he workers movement could be seen the seeds of things to come, as the miners’ strike set a tone for class struggle and class unity throughout the country.

The myth of a “common solution” for both workers and capitalists was shattered amid the sound of gunfire between striking workers and company gun thugs. This sound can still be heard from the turnpikes of Pennsylvania and Ohio, where striking steelhaulers are fighting for their rights to the farmlands of the Midwest where farmers continue their organizing efforts. City workers and postal employees also sparked important resistance struggles among the workers during the year.

While the domination of the labor movement by the reactionary bureaucrats held back the strike movement, the struggle of the oppressed nationalities for freedom and equality played a vanguard role in the fight against capitalism. Especially the important wave of struggle among the Afro-American people gave indications that a new upsurge comparable to the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s could be ahead.

From Tupelo, Mississippi, to Crown Heights in Brooklyn, thousands of Black people marched against national oppression. In the face of KKK attacks as well as police repression, demands went up for self-determination and democratic rights.

From the Houston Barrio, which exploded in May, to the Indian reservations which spawned the “Longest Walk” to the nation’s capital, the fight against national oppression grew by leaps and bounds during 1978.

This year also saw gains in other people’s movements. Among students and youth, growing anti-imperialist consciousness sparked a broad movement against corporate investments in racist South Africa. Youth have also been a major force fighting national oppression in the U.S., such as the mass struggle to beat back the Bakke decision as well as the movement to free Terrence Johnson in D.C.

With more and more women entering the workforce, the demand for the Equal Rights Amendment has grown louder, bringing 100,000 women to march in the nation’s capital in July. Women also stood up against sterilization abuse, and increased attacks on abortion rights and affirmative action.

It is important to mention another big wrench thrown into the capitalist exploiting machine this past year—a march of 2,200 people in D.C. last February for Jobs or Income Now. This march, initiated by the National Fight Back Organization, culminated months of organizing against the effects of the crisis on working people and set a tone for the growing fight back that is to come in the months ahead in 1979.

Even the most optimistic economists and other government “experts” are now concluding that the coming year will bring a recession and end the moderate economic upturn. Major contracts are coming up for negotiation in 1979 for over three and a half million workers in oil, rubber, auto and transportation industries. All indications are that the rank and file will never accept Carter’s wage limit.

The potential exists for this issue to consolidate the labor movement in a nationwide, unified campaign of struggle, provided the sabotage of the union misleaders is combated. 1979 will certainly be a year of heightened class struggle.

Of course for a communist paper to sum up the gains and setbacks during the past year, it is necessary to speak about the Party. In June the CPML marked its first anniversary and showed growth and development in the heat of the class struggle. Without Party-building remaining at the center of our work in 1979, all talk about combatting the influence of the ruling class and their agents in the workers’ movement is fruitless.

1978 saw the formation of the Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists, and there are new indications of even broader unity taking shape. The growing determination among communists in the CPML and other organizations to unite on the basis of common principles of Marxism-Leninism raises the hopes of many for a major breakthrough in this area in the coming year.

The revisionists and opportunists, on the other hand, are more frantic and wracked with problems. This year, for example, saw the RCP locked in splits as a result of their anti-China and anti-Marxist stand.

Throughout the year, The Call was on top of the major stories wherever people were struggling, from the massive upsurge in Iran and Nicaragua to the armed struggle in southern Africa. The historic Call delegation to Kampuchea, the first U.S. visitors to the country since liberation, did much to expose the CIA-KGB fabrications and slanders of that socialist country. The Call reports are now being validated in the reports of the recently returned bourgeois journalists.

The year 1978 was a year of continued growth of The Call, the communist movement in the U.S. and the revolutionary struggle around the world. While great difficulties confront us, we face 1979 with great enthusiasm and optimism.

Socialism is stronger in the world. China has taken the first step on its new “Long March” towards modernization with the defeat of the “gang of four.” The countries and people of the world are increasingly joining together in a broad united front against their main enemies, the two superpowers. The workers and people in this country have stood up to every attack and every trick that was used against them and their struggle is far from dead.

All indications point to greater struggles and new victories in 1979. We wish all of our readers a happy new year and hope that they along with us at The Call will redouble our efforts in the coming year to bring closer the day when revolution will be a reality in the U.S.