Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Learn from Organizing Committee’s Work

First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 11, March 20, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPML) was founded nine months ago and represented a giant step forward for our movement. Among the many contributions of the Founding Congress was the powerful push it gave to unity–unity of the communist movement and unity of the whole working class.

That momentum towards unity is still being felt. Already new efforts are being made to further unite our Party with those communists who still remain outside it. As these efforts are being carried out, however, it is important for us to begin summing up the experience that went into last year’s big unity effort which succeeded in uniting the October League (M-L) with 10 other local organizations to form what is now the CPML.


Before such unity could be forged, it was necessary to use the tactical form of the Organizing Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party (OC) for over a year to consolidate the unity trend around its common line and program. The OC was formed in the spring of 1976 at a unity conference of eight organizations. To transform “unity” from simply a pretty word into a concrete reality, it was necessary to carry out intensive struggle inside the OC to oppose revisionism and rally this relatively large group around Marxist-Leninist politics.

The success of the OC could be seen in the fact that it was able to unite a relatively broad array of forces into one, single unified party. While the various opportunist blocs faltered and collapsed under the pressure of the class struggle, the OC grew and was able to overcome many problems in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity. The OC represented the first successful Marxist-Leninist unity effort since the CPUSA was taken over by the revisionists more than 20 years ago.

The OC’s success can also be seen in the documents it contributed to the Marxist-Leninist movement, including the Party Program and Party Constitution. This Party Program reflects a consolidation of the theoretical, ideological and political break with the revisionist party.

The OC carried us out of the period characterized mainly by the small, local communist circle and, as previously mentioned, lent strong impetus to the present-day unity efforts.

Finally, the OC was able to unite communists of various nationalities around a common line, including groups that were previously all or mainly white, all or mainly minority, as well as multinational organizations. This was a big blow to the white chauvinism and narrow, divisive nationalism of the opportunists, which had succeeded for many years in keeping the U.S. revolutionary movement divided along nationality lines.

What was it that made the OC so strong in the face of great pressure? First and foremost was the real desire on the part of those taking part to unite. All of the groups that forged the Party showed a serious attitude towards party building and a genuine desire to put an end to the backwardness of the small circle period.

The whole period of the OC was marked by principled struggle to achieve unity and resolve differences in a firm but comradely way. For many, this was a marked change from the petty sectarian politics of previous days. While the October League in many ways played a leading role in the OC, each group made significant contributions and added important experiences to the unity trend.

Secondly, the initiative taken to form the OC in 1976 was in accord with the sentiments of the masses. The class-conscious workers supported the unity efforts. The Marxist-Leninists who actively worked for unity and a single, unified party won their respect.

On the other hand, those who promoted factionalism, sectarianism and “mountain stronghold” mentality were greeted with the disdain and hatred of the workers.

Real Marxist-Leninists work actively for unity, not for splits. All are judged by the masses–not by their fine words about “party building” and “unity”–but by their practice and success and failure in bringing about such things. Chairman Mao’s fine principles–practice Marxism, not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, don’t intrigue and conspire–became a part of the new Party Constitution.

Third, the unity of the OC was unity built on principles. The OC was called together around a minimum statement of principles (“Call to Unite,” December, 1975) that represented a real assessment of the communist movement as it stood at that time. With its clear stand on the primacy of party building and on the final aims and strategy of our revolution; its firm support for the right of self-determination and democratic rights for the oppressed nations and nationalities; and its principled support for the worldwide struggle against the two superpowers, the “Call to Unite” drew a clear line of demarcation between the Marxist-Leninists and the revisionists, Trotskyists, centrists and opportunists of all kinds. These forces could never be included in any real efforts to forge a revolutionary party of the working class.

The call was then redrafted following the first unity conference, and a second call was issued reflecting a more accurate assessment of the forces.

That statement still wasn’t and could not have been a full program. Many tactical concessions were made so as to make the OC as broad as possible. However, after some early struggle and discussion, as well as an examination of our forces, it was decided that such a program would have to be developed as a prerequisite to the holding of the Party Congress. The drafting and adoption of the Program, Constitution and Political Report by the First Congress was a major victory for the work of the OC.

Fourth, while uniting the Marxist-Leninist forces, the OC carried out an unrelenting struggle against revisionism and opportunism. No sooner had The call for unity been put out than the opportunist groups, one after another, joined in a reactionary chorus of attacks.

Why should such a call for unity arouse so much antagonism? It was precisely because, previously, the opportunists had been free to swim in a sea of disorganization and ideological confusion, while the Marxist-Leninists were small and scattered, primitive in their work and easily penetrable by the agents if the police and FBI. They feared more than anything that the efforts of the OC would bring an end to the disunified state of affairs in which they found so much fertile soil for divisions and splits.

When the OC was just getting organized, the opportunists formed an anti-party bloc. The bloc was not unified on Marxist-Leninist principles, but admittedly was consolidated only on its hatred and opposition to the October League and the other party building forces.

Throughout the history of the party building efforts, the opportunist line would always be seen in its inclination towards such blocs. The Revolutionary Communist Party (formerly the Revolutionary Union) was the first to promote such an approach to party building.

In 1973, it pushed the line that party building was only a task of secondary importance. But, while lulling people to sleep on the party building question, the RU was secretly forming a bloc calling itself the National Liaison Committee to rally a few groups around their reactionary line and form an opportunist and chauvinist party.

When this effort collapsed, as all such blocs inevitably do, the RCP simply declared itself the party and showed disdain for the masses by proclaiming that all the Marxist-Leninists outside the RCP were “opportunists and revisionists.” With this line guiding their work, the RCP could offer no alternative to the state of disunity in the ranks of the communists. To the RCP, party building was already a settled question, and they arrogantly boasted that they would “demolish’1 the October League and the other revolutionary forces.


Looking back now, we see that it was the RCP which was to be consumed in a series of splits, reducing it to nothing but a Trotskyist clique. Its present anti-China line, its white chauvinist stand and its trade union economism, however, were all bound up with its opportunist bloc-ing on the party building question. If you practice revisionism, sooner or later you must abandon the Marxist-Leninist party building principles.

The Continuations Committee initiated by the Communist Labor Party (then called the Communist League) was the second major effort to build such an opportunist bloc. Little needs to be said here about this attempt, except to point out that it too collapsed when those who pushed a revolutionary line in its ranks were bureaucratically expelled.

History showed that this “committee” was nothing but a trick to bloc once more against the Marxist-Leninist forces and lead the movement into the arms of the CPUSA and the Soviet Union, where the so-called “party” that emerged from the Continuations Committee now contentedly rests.

With their first attempts discredited, the opportunists threw together a third bloc at the same time as the formation of the OC. This one, initiated by such well-known splitters and ultra-“leftists” as Workers Viewpoint Organization and Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, called itself the “Revolutionary Wing.”

In its own internal documents and later in its newspapers, the “Wing” revealed that, aside from some “leftist” phraseology, it had no basis for unity other than sabotaging the real unity efforts of the October League. It too fell apart the first time it was hit by the revolutionary forces.

The lesson that emerges from this period is that unity must be based on principle and that Marxist-Leninists cannot bloc together in opportunist fashion. The experience of the Liaison Committee, the Continuations Committee and the “Wing” should be thoroughly criticized by the Marxist-Leninist forces.

Another lesson that can be drawn from the negative example of the “Wing” is that the party building efforts must take place in the heat of the mass struggle. The “Wing” advocated building its party on the “ideological plane” through “propaganda only” and isolated itself from the factory workers and the masses of oppressed and exploited people, including the many advanced workers that could be actively drawn into the communist movement.

The OC always placed a great emphasis on combining party building with mass struggle. The mass line was taken into account, and direct participation from the advanced workers characterized much of the work.

Today our Party and our unity trend is growing stronger in the heat of class struggle. New perspectives and new possibilities are opening up. The CPML has made great gains since its founding. It is being placed firmly on its feet, widening its ties with the working and oppressed people. The founding of the Party did not cut it off from the many Marxist-Leninist forces that are still outside the CPML but, in fact, has drawn the Party closer to them.

Also creating a groundswell for communist unity has been the rapidly developing international situation and the deepening capitalist crisis. These factors have shown many new forces that great gains can be made for the cause of socialist revolution if the communists unite in one party.

Today, new parties and organizations of communists are growing up throughout the world in opposition to revisionism. They have been profoundly influenced by the scope of the international struggle against imperialism and social-imperialism and are rallying around Mao Tsetung’s brilliant theory of three worlds which provides the strategic and tactical guidance for the worldwide united front today.

Now it is necessary for the Marxist-Leninists in this country to increase their contribution to the international struggle by forging even broader unity and winning even greater victories right here in the heartland of one of the two superpowers.

In future issues of The Call we will continue to sum up the main lessons of the OC and our party building experience in order to contribute to the cause of future unity efforts.