Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Demarcation, U.S. Leninist Core

A Joint Counter-proposal to the Multi-lateral Conference Proposal on Party Building


Issued:(Slightly Revised Edition) March 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In February, 1979, the Wichita Communist Cell (WCC) sent to several circles its “Announcement of a Multilateral Conference (MULC) on Party Building.” This was to be followed by responses both from those directly sent this document and from groups they are in contact with. What follows is the joint response and counter-proposal to the WCC document by Demarcation and the U.S. Leninist Core.

The last several months have seen greater communication and contact between the various circles opposed to the Chinese version of modern revisionism. The various proposals for joint plans, the joint statement on China’s cutting aid to Albania, and the Denver forum all show that there has been a general increase in the activity of the circles, both by themselves and also on a nation-wide scale, and that some of the local or regional barriers have been breaking down. Nevertheless, the growth in this activity has thus far been quantitative and often sporadic, with no qualitative leap to higher forms of relations among the circles. The chief reason for this has been the failure of many of them to struggle to draw clear lines of demarcation against opportunism and its proponents.

Various plans have been put forward over the last year that have proposed some form of organizational unity without first creating the necessary ideological and political basis and prerequisites. In short, the dominant line has been “unite to demarcate,” as opposed to the Leninist line of “Before WE Can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.”[1] (emphasis added)

Among these plans that objectively place organization and joint activity as key have been the multilateral committee proposal of MLC, the joint study on the international situation by various circles in the Bay Area, and the national joint study proposal by WCC and the Kansas City Revolutionary Workers Collective (KCRWC). The latest plan to repeat this same error is the proposal by WCC for a multilateral conference on Party building.

We must say openly and bluntly that we are opposed to the conference as it is presently proposed, and we reject the WCC proposal. We arrived at this conclusion by examining the chief features of this proposal, which are nothing but a continuation of all the old errors. These key features are:
1. That “the study and struggle leading to, and at the MULC, is the main form for advancing party building.” (p. 1 of “Announcement”)
2. “At this time, the focus of MULC should be the development of a common, scientific party building plan that guides our practice.” (p. 5)
3. That the presentations at the conference would be laid out “restricting as much as possible direct polemics against other groups’ lines.” (p. 8)
4. That “questions surrounding the Comintern, Fascism, Stalin, Mao, Hoxha, PLA, and CPC should not be the subject of struggle at the MULC, but be taken up through other forms.” (p. 5)
5. That on various burning questions in the international communist movement, including the role of Mao, “that comrades should not try to come up with new lines in these areas, but document EXISTING views.” (p. 4)

It is our view that this is a liquidationist, bottom-up approach that negates the struggle for Marxism-Leninism in the U.S. over the past several years. We are only for a conference that aims at open polemics to draw clear lines of demarcation on all the burning questions in front of all communists and class-conscious workers.

Some Features of the U.S. Communist Movement Today

At present there is a great amount of ideological confusion and backwardness among the circles. There is a stubborn clinging to economism, the subordination of the Lefts to the Rights, and rampant liberalism. A clear example of this is the Marxist-Leninist Collective (MLC), which has been characterized by ideological paralysis, conciliation and wavering towards opportunism, most notably “MLOC,” and immersion in local activity.

Among MLC and most other circles we see the dominance of Menshevik-Foster-Mao line of sending the petty-bourgeois intellectuals into the factories for “close, organic contact,” for “transformation,” and for carrying out the trade union struggle as the chief and often only means of attracting the working class and supposedly winning the advanced workers to communism. This line is in direct opposition to the line of Lenin and Stalin on building an organization of professional revolutionaries who bring the science of Marxism-Leninism to the working class from without. Lenin talked of “... the fundamental error that all the Economists commit, namely, their conviction that it is possible to develop the class political consciousness of the workers from within, so to speak, their economic struggle, i.e., making this struggle the exclusive (or, at least, the main) starting point, making it the exclusive, or, at least, the main basis. Such a view is fundamentally wrong.”[2]

Yet it is precisely this same economist view that is dominant among the circles, that says in order to win the advanced workers to communism, the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and cadres must be in factories. But we must be in the factory only to be a part of the trade union struggle itself. This is not at all necessary to attract and train the advanced workers, the members of the working class intelligentsia who “possess so much character and will-power that they study, study, study, and turn themselves into conscious Social-Democrats.”[3]

Rather, this can best be done by an emerging organization of professional revolutionaries that supplies the advanced workers with Marxist-Leninist literature and sets up study circles to teach them the science of Marxism-Leninism. The real advanced workers, whose main concern is not the narrow immediate economic struggle, will not be blinded by the narrow prejudices that the Marxist-Leninist propagandist must first engage in production or the trade union struggle in order to be “trusted” and “one with the masses”. It is only the right opportunist distortion of advanced workers as “militant trade unionists” that demands communists “prove themselves” chiefly by diving into the fray of the trade union struggle, and then sneaking in a bit of “politics”. The disdain that the advanced workers have for the “three worlds” economists is proof enough that this bankrupt line cannot win the advanced workers to communism. The advanced workers will judge the Marxist-Leninist propagandists by their ability to impart the science of Marxism-Leninism and train the advanced workers in this science, so that the advanced workers become revolutionary communist leaders of the working class. But the economist line of the circles essentially amounts to the old theory of stages–first the economic struggle, then the political struggle. It is a repeat of all the garbage of OL, RU, WVO, and “MLOC”.

There is the dominance of the American exceptionalist and liquidationist line that there are no or only a tiny handful of advanced workers. This belittles the conscious element and the vanguard of the class. Of course, the real advanced workers have not been attracted by the meager economist and reformist activity of these circles in the working class, so they have been written out of existence.

There is also the liquidation of the burning theoretical tasks and the cowardly avoidance of open polemics among the circles. Much of the relations among these circles appears to be based on a liberal camaraderie, almost on a social basis, and a refusal to wage ruthless struggle against opportunism and draw lines of demarcation. The liberal relations among these circles reflect the social-democratic view of the party as a loose, amorphous organization. Statements of definite views on Party building are rare indeed. This is not for a lack of contact among some of these circles, either. Many of them have known each other for years. For example, take the several circles in the Bay Area. Why are there no polemics between, say MLC and Pacific Collective (PC)? Why have they not written up and publicly published their views? And if polemics have not even occurred, on a regional basis, where relatively few practical problems exist to carrying them out, then how can we expect these circles to agree to carry on polemics on a nation-wide basis, which poses more practical problems for the local circles? And one circle in the Bay Area refuses to even formally constitute itself as a circle, first waiting for this one and then that one, pursuing a liquidationist line that doesn’t want to “offend” anyone with clear lines of demarcation and a separate circle. All this avoidance of open polemics and drawing lines of demarcation shows the dominance of an anti-Leninist line and reveals a very bad state of affairs.

In what few polemics there are, the question of the Party programme is usually avoided, instead of being boldly introduced into the polemics, as Lenin teaches. To this day, MLC still covers up for “MLOC”, claiming that it is not opportunist. But MLC supposedly had a position on the existence of national privileges in the working class, that the split in the working class was the fundamental question of modern socialism, and that the denial of this was social-chauvinism. But although they know that “MLOC” denies the existence of national privileges for all but a tiny section of the working class, and that this is reflected in “MLOC”’s programme, MLC apparently does not consider this social-chauvinism to be opportunism!

Related to this is a philistine attitude towards purging and splits with opportunist elements. This anti-Leninist view has been most clearly expressed by the Revolutionary Workers Press (WRP) of Denver. In a recent statement, they write: “While it is true that many circles are primitive, bogged down in the mire of continual local work or ’internal struggle’, while it is true that certain ’backward’ cadres are a constraint on the whole circle and thereby on that group’s ability to push party building forward, it does not automatically follow that purging the ranks at this time will solve the problem. This view reflects impatience and a failure to look at the concrete conditions in our movement.”

Of course, nobody has suggested that purging alone is the solution. We have stressed the Leninist method of first drawing lines of demarcation and then purging. RWP says: “What we need at this point is an open and above board development of line, full and open discussion and struggle before lines can legitimately be drawn.” Here RWP counterposes drawing lines of demarcation and purging opportunist elements. Once these lines are drawn, the opportunists must be purged. Otherwise, if they are kept in our ranks, then we will be condemned to the “paralysis and chronic infirmity,” as Stalin has described it, caused by their continued disruption.[4] Yet RWP warns: “Neither the drawing of lines too quickly nor hastily achieved unity will aid party building.” But the problem in our movement has not been too “hastily” drawn lines of demarcation, but the failure to draw them and to purge the proponents of the opportunist line. It is this that has led to the “paralysis and chronic infirmity” of these circles, to their inability to answer the burning questions of our movement and move forward. The fear of and opposition to identifying and purging opportunist elements boils down to the old opportunist line of “a party of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks”, and reflects the depth of these social-democratic deviations among the circles.

Further, there is the dominance of the narrow, empiricist view on the relation of theory and practice that eliminates the role of science as practice, as confirming truth. The line of “practice, practice, practice” is justified by studying On Practice, On Practice, On Practice. Mao says: “Man’s knowledge depends mainly on his activity in material production. This is the primary source from which human knowledge develops.”[5] This is diametrically opposed to Lenin’s analysis that: “If what our practice confirms is the sole, ultimate and objective truth, then from this must follow the recognition that the only path to this truth is the path of science, which holds the materialist point of view.”[6]

Maoist philosophy serves to justify economism and belittling of science, while Leninist philosophy correctly explains the relation of theory and practice. But among the circles, Maoism is the dominant philosophy, with clear signs that there is strong resistance to repudiating it. The dominance of Mao’s idealist, narrow empiricist view on the relation of theory and practice is directly related to the meager amount and low level of theory in our movement. It is only by a complete and absolute rupture with Maoism and a defence of the purity of orthodox Leninism that we can begin to meet the great theoretical tasks demanded by Party building.

The Leninist line on the role of theory is that “without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.”[7] This revolutionary theory is needed to guide our practice towards our revolutionary goal, towards the final aim. But for all the reformists and economists, the movement is everything and the final aim is nothing. They do not want a revolutionary movement, much less a revolution, lest their class privileges be taken away by the revolutionary proletariat. They want to keep the working class movement on a reformist, trade unionist course, with strictly reformist leadership. Thus, they have no need for revolutionary theory whose scientific teachings are not needed to guide reformist practice. So, in order to oppose revolution, they oppose revolutionary theory. The great degree of belittling of theory in our movement is an indicator of the great degree of opportunism, of the great degree of opposition to genuinely revolutionary practice and the proletarian revolution itself.

Along with all this is the continued refusal to break with the social-chauvinists. In their pamphlet on Party building in July, 1978, “Let’s Move Party Building Forward,” WCC and KCRWC say that LPR “in the past has had ML lines on party building.”[8] But LPR has always been a sect of opportunist, unprincipled maneuverers. Even today, COReS and LPR are still addressed as “comrades” or “centrists”, but in fact they are outright social-chauvinists. In the WCC-KCRWC presentation at the Denver forum, which was endorsed by RWP, centrists are defined as those who “vacillate between the social-chauvinists and the true internationalists.”[9] Yet this view hides the true rightist essence of centrism, and tries to make it appear genuine by reducing its treachery to mere “vacillation”. As Stalin said:

Centrism must not be regarded as a spatial concept: the Rights, say, sitting on one side, the ’Lefts’ on the other, and the Centrists in between. Centrism is a political concept. Its ideology is one of adaptation, of subordination of the interests of the proletariat to the interests of the petty bourgeoisie within one common party. This ideology is alien and abhorrent to Leninism.”[10]

By covering for the social-chauvinists, it is actually WCC, KCRWC, and others that show the real characteristics of centrism. The first draft of the WCC proposal called for LPR and PUL to be invited to the conference. While this specific idea was apparently shelved, the basic covering up of the nature of these enemies of the revolution continues. The social basis of the majority of these circles is the petty bourgeoisie. It should therefore not be surprising that there has not been a complete and absolute rupture with all the social-chauvinists, since the petty bourgeoisie, along with the labor aristocracy is the social basis for social-chauvinism.

We also see a lot of agnosticism when it comes to analysing the state of the U.S. communist movement. In the notes of a meeting of circles in Denver, WCC is quoted as having said: “No group right now knows what period we’re in.”[11] It is as if no history of drawing lines of demarcation existed. There were years of struggle against the economist, right opportunist trend and line of RU, OL, and others. The gains made then against opportunism and social-chauvinism, however small, are being negated by this know-nothing approach. But the problem is really not that these circles do not know what has happened, for many of them were embroiled right in the middle of these struggles. The problem is that many of them did not want to recognize the correct position on theory is primary, propaganda is the chief form of activity, Lenin’s two historical steps (winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism, and winning the broad masses to the side of the vanguard), right opportunism as the main danger, bowing to spontaneity is the ideological root of all opportunism, the struggle for Leninism and against all varieties of American exceptionalism, etc. These and other lines of demarcation have already been drawn, and the Leninist line reestablished in the U.S. Yet WCC and KCRWC write: “Lines of demarcation are not drawn or are drawn prematurely, and groups fall prey to opportunist and revisionist lines.”[12] Which lines have not been drawn or only drawn “prematurely”? By not spelling this out, the whole history, all the struggles we have been engaged in, are thrown out. It is true that there is still not a precise summation of the previous period of the now split and so-called “anti-revisionist communist movement”, the majority of which has completely gone over to the social-chauvinism and counter-revolution of the theory of the “three worlds” and the Chinese variety of revisionism. Nevertheless, blanketly declaring that “lines of demarcation are not drawn or are drawn prematurely” is a retrograde view. It is a centrist deviation because it only recognizes lines of demarcation being drawn correctly or not prematurely when consensus is reached by all or a majority of the forces that give themselves the title of “Marxist-Leninist”. It is a bottom-up approach that tells the advanced to wait for the backwards or the opportunists to “come around” before a line of demarcation is established through the ruthless ideological struggle against opportunism. Was the struggle for Leninism in the U.S. carried out “prematurely”, or was it actually carried out very late and inconsistently? Is the line that right opportunism is the main danger a line of demarcation that has been established through years of struggle, or must we wait for the Pacific Collective to “agree” before we recognize it as such? Are all the supporters of the theory of “three worlds” social-chauvinists and revisionists, or must we wait until WCC, KCRWC, MLC, and others make up their minds on the likes of LPR, Workers Congress, COReS, PUL, etc., before we can declare that this line has been drawn both internationally and nationally? Such a view can only retard the actual struggle to draw lines of demarcation and in practice has negated those lines already drawn.

There is also a blowing up of the significance of the joint statement on China’s ending aid to Albania which was only a compromise, practical statement. WCC gives this as an example of having “facilitated the development of the content and unity in our party building movement.” But it did so only to a very limited extent, and mainly served to help expose “MLOC”, begin nation-wide communication among the circles, and show the nation-wide character of the existence of these circles. But the role it played in establishing ideological unity was very small.

An Incorrect View of the Conference

In these conditions, what sort of plan is needed? A conference of circles with such great ideological and political divergencies being “the main form of advancing party building,” and placing our own work to draw lines of demarcation behind this? To develop a common “party building plan” when our conceptions of how to build the Party, what kind of party we need, and the tasks of Marxist-Leninists are all as different as night and day? To conciliate with opportunism by “restricting as much as possible direct polemics against other groups’ lines”? A plan to conciliate with social-chauvinism or to refuse to expose the most recent chief ideologist for this trend, Mao Tsetung? This sort of plan amounts only to a plan for the prohibition of Leninism.

At this time, due to the ideological backwardness and the political disunity, there can be no joint organizational plan for all these circles. Instead, there must be, in the first place, a fight for ideological unity and the drawing of lines of demarcation. We are not opposed to a nation-wide plan to build a Leninist Party, but this requires unity and clarity on the character, line, programme, and aims of this organization of professional revolutionaries. In the absense of this unity, adopting a common Party building plan would be to abandon Marxism-Leninism and to adapt to opportunism and bowing to spontaneity.

Calling a conference with the chief focus of developing a joint Party building plan is to abandon and prohibit the struggle for the development of a correct line and programme, the fight for its hegemony in our movement, and the drawing of clear lines of demarcation around it. Such a plan can only sink to the lowest common denominator and demand compromise with every opportunist and backward view on every key question.

Recognizing such a conference as the “main form” of activity would have us liquidate the struggle against economism, belittling of theory, the struggle against centrism, Chinese revisionism and “Mao Tsetung Thought,” etc. It would call a halt to understanding, deepening, and sharpening the struggle against Mao’s revisionism and how and in what ways acceptance of Maoism has led to the liquidation of Marxism-Leninism, both on Party building and proletarian revolution. The struggle against Maoism must be a major contemporary focus of the struggle for Leninism, for the Party of the New Type, and against opportunism and social-chauvinism. Leninism versus Maoism must be a constant theme we stress if we are to demolish all the theoretical falsifications that led us to compromise with opportunism and social-chauvinism.

Yet the WCC proposal prohibits this struggle for several months at least! If the struggle on this most burning question is not going on now, then what are these groups doing but avoiding drawing lines of demarcation on the key questions? How else can any conference be prepared for but by intense ideological struggle on the burning questions? It is not, as the proposal argues, that there is not time to take this up, but that some forces are resisting this, are too immersed in local economist activity, and just too plain backwards to meet the demands of the international communist movement.

One of the real reasons for not taking up this question is that there is a continuing defense of Mao as “a great Marxist-Leninist leader”, etc. At the Denver forum, after criticizing the likes of COReS for accepting the theory of “three worlds” without any serious study, KCRWC and WCC say: “However, there are some views of the PLA that we don’t have unity on. One such position is their view of Comrade Mao Tse-tung. We have always upheld Chairman Mao as an outstanding Marxist-Leninist, and continue to do so. The PLA line has serious implications, and we will study their view and present our conclusions to the movement as soon as we are able.”[13]

This distorts the question into one of merely accepting or rejecting the PLA view, when in fact the question of Mao, as with every other question, is first of all a question of Marxism-Leninism versus revisionism, and not one of who holds what line. But notice that these circles say they “will study” this question, which means they have not done so already. While they promise to “present our conclusions to the movement as soon as we are able”, it is obvious that they have already done so. This is why they want to stifle the debate on Mao at this conference. Here they are guilty of the same opportunism as COReS and Company, which is not surprising, since, despite their differences, they both stand on the same platform of defence of “Mao Tsetung Thought”.

Our movement was “born”, so to speak, into a situation where Mao’s role was regarded as an article of faith. This reflected the ideological backwardness of the U.S. communist movement. Now, belatedly, very belatedly in fact, open ideological struggle and lines of demarcation are beginning to be drawn on this question in the international communist movement. But since the conference’s focus and purpose is organizational unity, rather than drawing lines of demarcation, the ideological struggle is prohibited on this, and the resistance to taking up this question is justified.

To have a conference with presentations “restricting as much as possible direct polemics against other groups’ lines” is a thoroughly philistine view. What is needed is not a further restriction of polemics, but a widespread expansion of the activity of drawing lines of demarcation and polemics aimed at developing a correct Party programme. The situation in our movement is similar to that in the Russian movement when Lenin declared: “we regard one of the drawbacks of the present-day movement to be the absence of open polemics between avowedly differing views, the effort to conceal differences on fundamental questions.”[14]

A New Version of “Organization Is The Key Link”

The source of the errors of the “Announcement” can all be found in the pamphlet Let’s Move Party Building Forward, signed by WCC and KCRWC. In a supposed critique of “political line is the key link” the pamphlet says: “Political line is key link sees ML unity developing through the struggle over the independent lines of the numerous groups and circles. This concentration on one’s own group is small circle mentality and does not solve the problems of amaterishness and disunity, ideological confusion and fragmentation, the lack of a genuine ML center to lead party building.”[15]

In other words, for any group to take the initiative, to do the theoretical work, and to struggle for the hegemony of a correct line is small circle spirit. According to this scheme, everyone must proceed evenly, equally, and in unison. This is ultra-democracy with a vengeance, a bottom-up approach that reflects the illusion of “democracy” and “equality” of the bourgeois liberal environment of the U.S. But we do not need bourgeois democracy, but proletarian democracy. The leaders in Russia did not wait for every circle to move forward before they did. Rather, they concentrated on building their “own group”– the Iskra circle and won others to this leadership. Those of us who want to model ourselves after Lenin and the Bolsheviks are told by WCC that we cannot do this lest we be guilty of “small circle spirit” or “prematurely” drawing lines of demarcation! Yet in practice it is their retrograde plan that demands that the more advanced circles (yes, our bourgeois democrats, there are more advanced and less advanced circles) liquidate their independent activity, descend to the prevailing belittling of theory, and subordinate themselves to the more backward circles that are immersed in local activity. It is actually WCC’s plan that adapts itself to small circle spirit, that calls for national federation based on small circle spirit and not drawing lines of demarcation. The Leninist approach is to encourage the ones who can to put out the theory and to give leadership, for them to struggle for it, and to expose and purge the ones who are the hardened opponents of fulfilling our revolutionary tasks and are opportunists.

WCC’s proposal actually sees the formation of a new “pre-party” supposedly democratic centralist organization as the key link. This is directly related to their view that building the center is the key link to Party building today. They try to compare this to the work of Lenin and the Iskra circle in Russia. But WCC is confused as to what steps the Iskra circle actually had to take to become the center. The members of the Iskra circle, most notably Lenin and Plekhanov, were able to rise to such prominence in the Russian movement chiefly because it was they who elaborated the theory and programme of Russian social-democracy. Building the center is the key link liquidates this preparatory work that establishes the ideological influence and authority of the theoretical leaders and is a vital prerequisite for nation-wide joint organizational activity. A genuine center cannot be established without first doing this. Further, Iskra, while itself a vehicle for ideological struggle and polemics, built a network around it that was the scaffording and skeleton of the Party itself. It began to build an organization of professional revolutionaries. It was not a “pre-Party” organization. In our movement the so-called “pre-party” organizations’ tasks were merely to ensure quantitative growth, since in practice these “pre-party” groups were actually ”mini-parties” that only needed a few more bodies so that when the formal declaration of the “party” took place, it would appear as if there was a real nation-wide network. The Iskra organization, on the other hand, served not to merely build itself, but to build something qualitatively different, the Party of the New Type. It was an organization to create the Party. But WCC’s conception of “joint activity” actually strives to create another “pre-party” group, a “big” group to compete with “RCP”, “CP(M-L)”, etc. WCC’s plan is actually to build a legal center proceeding from the bottom-up through such “joint activity” as “multilateral conferences”, while the Leninist line strives to build an illegal center that builds the Party from the top down. So while WCC talks of making the conference a “success”, we each apparently have quite different criteria for what is success.

WCC also departs from the science of Leninism in their view of “party building theory”. What this amounts to is a call for a new, eclectic, American exceptionalist “theory” to “guide” Party building. In their pamphlet they say: “It is time we overcome our bowing to spontaneity on party building and develop ML theory to guide us in building the party.” (emphasis added)[16] No, our task is not to develop any new theory, but to apply the theory of Leninism to our present situation. It is to our advantage that Lenin and Stalin have already worked out this theory, and that we have the Bolshevik Party as the model of the Party of the New Type. But to WCC, the Bolshevik Party is not their model. Listen to this: “All of the lines we develop should come from a study of the early party building experience of the CPSU(B), CPC, PLA, CPUSA, applied to an analysis of the general objective conditions and our movement’s party building effort.”[17]

Eclecticism to the bone! This is the American exceptionalist line of WVO all over again, that there is no model for the party, that the experience of the Bolshevik Party only applied to the specific conditions of Russia, and that we need our own “premises”. But the genuine Leninists among us do not have any such eclectic model and do not need any “new” theory to replace Leninism. We base ourselves on the Marxist-Leninist classics. We uphold Lenin’s What Is To Be Done and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back as having laid the ideological and organizational foundations for the Marxist-Leninist Party. We stand on the principles laid out in the struggle against the social-chauvinists and the Kautskyites. To say that we must “develop ML theory to guide us in building the party” negates the fact that this theory has already been developed, applied and tested, and it is for those of us to either uphold and apply, or to discard and oppose. Citing random quotes from Lenin, as WCC does, is not sufficient to grasp and apply the theory and method of Leninism. Rather, if WCC really desires to be orthodox Leninists, then they will repudiate the eclectic and anti-Leninist line of developing “party building theory” and start modeling themselves after the Bolsheviks, and not the CPUSA, the Maoists, or anyone else.

WCC complains much about the lack of centralized leadership. But rather than struggling to first end the ideological confusion that plagues our movement, which can only be done from the top down; rather than mainly putting out their views and struggling for them; and rather than taking the actual steps necessary to build the center, WCC puts forward a plan for uniting to demarcate, for organizational unity first. Their organizational plan for building the center leads them to propose as the main form of Party building a joint conference that restricts polemics as much as possible to develop a common plan. But rather than being a plan for developing centralized leadership, which at this time must be chiefly ideological leadership, WCC’s plan is a plan for centrism, for subordinating the Left to the Right.

We have also seen WCC’s centrism concretely in our recent proposal that Demarcation and the U.S. Leninist Core give a forum on Party building in their region, which they rejected. Both WCC and KCRWC said they were opposed to such a forum, since they had to “prepare” for this conference. In other words, preparing for the conference detracts from actually carrying out the ideological struggle, from drawing clear lines of demarcation. These two groups expressed many questions about the U.S. Leninist Core, the history of the “Revolutionary Wing”, etc. But they refused to meet with our groups to discuss these questions, which would have been the best way to have cleared them up! KCRWC, in particular, said they would like to see the U.S. Leninist Core’s summation of the “Wing”. (The U.S. Leninist Core’s views on the “Revolutionary Wing”, and how this was actually a centrist wing, will be published soon as a pamphlet.) But where is the KCRWC’s summation? And if you want it so badly, why do you prohibit a forum that would have undoubtedly answered your questions?

Those of us who want to travel extensively to engage in open polemics and have meetings are told to stop because we are following small circle spirit! No, it is not us who are guilty of this at all. It is those who do not want forums, who do not draw lines of demarcation and have open polemics, who call for “restricting as much as possible direct polemics against other groups’ lines” that are guilty of small circle spirit, who want to hold on to all the backwardness and primitivism of the small circles. No wonder such a plan for conciliating with, glorifying, and adapting to all the worst features of small circles has won the approval of the likes of the Pacific Collective (PC), the Professional Centrists.

We should also add that despite WCC’s professed opposition to the likes of “MLOC” and OL, their actual proposal is a repeat performance of all the opportunist plans for opposition to open polemics, and organizational unity without ideological and political unity. In fact, WCC’s summation of what was wrong with MLC’s proposed multilateral committee misses that the chief defect of that plan was that it proposed uniting to demarcate, rather than demarcating to unite, that it was a bottom-up approach, and not just that it wrongly declared a Marxist-Leninist trend and had a wrong view of “MLOC”. In addition, MLC only stated agreement in words with the criticisms it received, but in deeds showed that they still continue the same errors of not putting out clear views.

An Alternative Proposal for a Conference on Party Building

To be consistent with the principles of Marxism-Leninism and to uphold the scientific, Leninist line on Party building means that we must reject the WCC proposal outright and present a substitute for a different kind of conference.

The main purpose, content, and focus of a conference on Party building must be to have an open and all-embracing discussion, to hold sharp and principled ideological struggle on the key questions related to our principal task of Party building. We are only for a conference if its method is open polemics and its aim is to draw clear lines of demarcation. Otherwise, the struggle for a genuine Party will not be furthered, but liquidated.

The line of the circle calling itself the Comrades in the Bay Area, in their “Notes on a Conference of Marxist-Leninists”, that “the most pressing task is to define the tendency (or tendencies) that may be coming into existence”, drags us back several months when the circles knew very little about each other.

Today many of the differences are more well known. Much of the lack of in-formation on a nation-wide scale of each others views is not because of lack of knowledge or communication, but because many refuse to put out clear views, because the views they do hold are contradictory, confused, and vague. For some of the circles, they have had relations for well over a year, and their differences are well known among each other. Yet they still avoid open polemics like the plague and want to “unite to demarcate” to form a loose federation not based on drawing lines of demarcation, but on uniting the different lines and factions as is. As Lenin said, “It is high time to stop playing at hide-and-seek concealing one’s Economist ’credo’...”[18] This, rather than the lack of communication, is the chief problem today. Thus, they do not go far enough in their “Notes”, which are explicitly presented not as a substitute to the WCC proposal, nor in their letter of March 2, 1979, in which they say drawing up an alternative proposal would be “premature”, since they have not seen written responses to the first round of written material. But it is our view that WCC’s “Announcement” is so starkly bankrupt that rejection of it and advancing of a counter-proposal are not only not premature, but, in fact, overdue, since the chaos around this conference shouldn’t have been allowed to have gotten as far as it already has.

A major battleground at this conference must be an evaluation of Mao. What is our guiding ideology, Leninism or “Mao Tsetung Thought”? Do we model ourselves after the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin that was based on monolithic unity, or on the CPC of Mao that was (and is) a swamp of opportunist factions? Should we demarcate to unite, or “unite, don’t split”? Certainly there will be adequate time over the next few months to address these questions and to measure up Mao’s works against the classics of Marxism-Leninism, especially Lenin’s What Is To Be Done? and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, which we feel, along with the rest of the Marxist-Leninist classics, refutes Mao’s whole bourgeois conception of the Party and the revolution. There will also be time to study and evaluate additional material, such as Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution, and other materials. But all this can only be done if the circles take up this burning question with the importance it deserves and demands. This is certainly a political decision to include this topic as a major focus of struggle, and to exclude others. But to avoid it or to put it off would be even more disastrous than avoiding and putting off the struggle on the theory of “three worlds” would have been (and was for some).

Also notably absent from the topics proposed by WCC was the question of “MLOC-CPUSA(M-L)”. Is this, too, one of the forces with whom we should be “restricting as much as possible direct polemics against other groups’ lines”? Apparently so. It is our view that many circles have rejected “MLOC” out of hand because they declared themselves the center, and not because of their opportunist line and program. The absence of clear polemics with “MLOC”, especially on their draft programmes, is evidence enough of this. And great confusion is spread about them. PC actually says “MLOC” is “ultra-left”. MLC still covers for them and denies they are opportunist, but that only their plan is opportunist. Presumably, then, their programme is fine. WCC, while in words taking a stronger stand against “MLOC”, actually assists the cover-up of “MLOC” by not emphasizing the struggle to unmask the phony “CPUSA(M-L)” as a major area of struggle crucial to Party building. To remain silent on the “CPUSA(M-L)” or any other opportunist group is to facilitate the dominance of their opportunism.

Principles of Unity

It is necessary to have principles of unity not, as the WCC proposal implies, chiefly to decide whom to exclude, but, rather, to identify, on the basis of principles, the deep ideological differences that separate the genuine from sham. The question is not with whom to go, but where to go, as Lenin stressed. Principles of unity are necessary to draw lines of demarcation, and are not mere organizational devices to combat “sectarianism”. WCC’s approach has been to start with the question of whom to invite and exclude, and work backwards to develop principles, rather than the other way around. This is the height of small circle spirit.

We are proposing alternative principles of unity because those proposed by WCC are inadequate. Our points are:
1. We hold that Party building is the principal task of all genuine communists and class conscious workers in the U.S. Today there is no genuine Party of the U.S. proletariat. Theoretical work is principal today. Right opportunism is and has been the main danger in the U.S. communist movement.
2. We oppose and fight against the main forms of opportunism and revisionism today: Soviet revisionism, Chinese revisionism (including the theory of “three worlds”), Yugoslav revisionism, and “Eurocommunism”. We also oppose social-democracy, Trotskyism, anarchism, individual terrorism, and all other anti-Marxist-Leninist variants. We defend the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania, which today is the only genuine socialist country in the world.
3. To establish the Party means to establish unity among all genuine U.S. Marxist-Leninists. Such unity cannot be decreed, it cannot be brought about by a decision of a conference of representatives passing resolutions to bury differences. Definite work must be done to bring it about. In the first place, it is necessary to bring about solid ideological unity which will remove the differences of opinion and confusion that–we will be frank–reign among U.S. Marxist-Leninists at the present time. This ideological unity, this unity of ideas, must be fortified by a unified Party programme. Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation. In order to accomplish this, we must conduct open and principled polemics in full view of all Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers. The unity we call for is the unity of all Marxist-Leninists and not the unity of Marxist-Leninists with opportunists. Only on the basis of the Leninist norms of criticism and self-criticism can there be education and training through learning from one’s own mistakes. Only in this way can genuine cadres and genuine leaders of the Party be trained.

Our first point on Party building, while maintaining that this is principal today, eliminates the explanation of the relation of theory and practice and the requirement that there is no center. The WCC proposal tends to reflect the Maoist view of practice, as opposed to the Marxist-Leninist line. Saying that “practical work must be carried out simultaneously” with theory and so forth has meant, in practice, a narrow conception of what practice is, generally the trade union movement, coalitions, and mass reformist activity. Saying that the theoretical work is principal, but that “practical work must be carried out simultaneously” is actually a centrist position that justifies the activities of those who, under this formula, actually fail to carry out the theoretical tasks, in the name of “simultaneously” fulfilling the practical tasks. It also reflects a narrow view of practice since most circles today do not see that when we still must form the Party and must make propaganda the chief form of activity, the chief form of practice is disseminating the theory and setting up study circles of advanced workers. Stalin wrote that, in the early stages of the Russian movement, “the only form of activity it engaged in at that time was to conduct study circles” for “advanced workers–only chosen workers could attend them.”[19]

But for many, this is not “practical” enough to be practice. This drives a wedge between theory and practice today, because it sees the theory isolated and separated from the practice of winning the advanced workers to communism. This is also seen in the common line of separating the two tasks of “uniting Marxist-Leninists” and “winning the advanced workers to communism”, which actually liquidates doing the theoretical work and bringing it to the working class. The prevailing view of practice actually distorts our tasks for the period we are in, and makes no distinction between the different practical tasks of the two periods of winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and winning the masses to the side of the vanguard. Rather than insisting upon uniting on a clear conception of this as a principle of unity and prerequisite for this conference, it should be a topic of polemics at the conference itself.

As for the question of a center, neither we nor anyone else considered for this conference upholds there is a genuine Marxist-Leninist center today in the U.S. But including this as a principle of unity reflects something else. The point here implies that if a group says there is a center that automatically it would be “sectarian” or unprincipled. This reveals hostility in general to the idea of a center, and forbids work for the emergence of a Marxist-Leninist center. It is an anti-leadership line in fact to the right of “MLOC” and Committee for a Proletarian Party (CPP). It looks down and casts doubt upon anyone who is consciously trying to weld a center today. Though “MLOC” and “CPP” raise this criticism of the circles to justify their own opportunist center, nevertheless, the bourgeois democratic view of “equality of all circles”, which actually is a severe obstacle to the struggle for the genuine center, is readily apparent both from the inclusion of this point in the principles of unity, and from the general line and practice of the circles. Demarcation expressed this same view last year in a letter on May 31, 1978, on the principles of unity for the MLC’s proposed regional study on the international situation, which raised a similar point in order to exclude ’MLOC’ and ’COUSML’ because they each said they were the center. The letter says: “To exclude a group solely on the basis that it calls itself the vanguard implies that this is a line of demarcation placing these groups outside of a developing trend. Now, if you say they should be excluded because they are dishonest, unprincipled, etc., then that is one thing. But why is it that all other questions but this one are left to be struggled out? Why is it assumed that we will have more in common with these other groups than ’MLOC’ solely on the basis that ’MLOC’ calls itself the center?” The letter continues, “Our view of ’MLOC and ’COUSML’ is that they are not the center, and that that is precisely their problem.” For this conference, we propose excluding “CPUSA (M-L)” and “COUSML” not because they claim to be the center, but because they are centers, centers of opportunism.

Finally, we added to this point that right opportunism is the main danger. It is quite amazing to us that WCC proposes a common plan without even expecting unity on what has been the main danger and weaknesses of our movement. If forces cannot even agree today on what is the main danger, then there is little point today in struggling over our tasks. There was mention of this point in the first draft of WCC’s proposal on the conference, but this was apparently eliminated later so that the principles of unity would be acceptable to the Pacific Collective, which opposes this point. This conciliation to PC shows just where these circles, who at the Denver meeting insisted that PC be allowed to participate in the conference, really do stand on the question of right opportunism in general. It has been an ABC of our movement and the international communist movement that right opportunism has been the main danger. For years there has been struggle on this question. And every time there is a sharp struggle against right opportunism, the Rights jump up and say the “left” is the main danger, or at least emphasize the struggle against supposedly “left” errors. This was done by OL, RU, WVO, and others. And now PC comes and does the same thing. In their response to the call for the conference, they “insist that, if the main danger question is to remain on the agenda at all, it must be preceded by some study of the forms leftism can take.” It is clear that PC’s main purpose in coming to a conference is to promote the long discredited view that the “left” is the main danger. But apparently WCC and others want to give in to what PC “insists” upon. To PC, not only is “MLOC” “ultra-left”, but the upholders of the theory of “three worlds”, such as “CP(M-L)” and Co. are also “ultra-left”! Now, this question has been debated out for years, and is a settled question. Why reopen it now? It is already a line of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism. To throw it out of the principles of unity is actually to give legitimacy to the ultra-rightist view of the likes of PC. If PC changes its thoroughly opportunist position and unites that right opportunism is the main danger, as well as all the other principles of unity, then it can come to the conference. Otherwise, they, like all else who have been demarcated against, should be excluded. We should let go of the hands of the opportunists, of all those retrograde forces who oppose that right opportunism is the main danger, a point which really does not reflect that high or developed level of unity. To conciliate on this point is actually to cripple the conference, to prevent the focus of struggle from being against right opportunism, since whatever ideological struggle does take place will go undirected against the main danger. The ideological struggle can only be worthwhile at this time if it is directed against the main danger of right opportunism. And if PC is not there, it will certainly be no loss to the genuine Marxist-Leninists.

Conceding on this question of right opportunism as the main danger also reflects the confusion in the minds of WCC about its own errors. In “Let’s Move Party Building Forward” they state that in the Fall of 1977 they began a “rectification campaign” against “the ultra-leftism in our line and practice.”[20] In other words, the “left” was supposedly the main danger in the WCC. Chief among these supposedly “ultra-left” errors was “to overemphasize the study of theory and struggle in the communist movement.” Well, judging by their latest activities, no one could accuse them of that today! And we have grave doubts that WCC ever overemphasized this work, since the movement saw virtually nothing of this supposedly “overemphasized” theory and straggle. Even if this was the case, which we do not believe it was, doing this work and neglecting work among the advanced workers is not necessarily an ultra-“leftist” line. For example, the line of “uniting Marxist-Leninists” as primary and then “winning the advanced workers to communism”, held by WCC’s mentor, LPR, is a rightist line that shields the advanced workers from the ideological struggle in the communist movement. There has been nothing “ultra-left” in either the theory or practice of this line, which appears to have been the basis for WCC’s previous errors. But identifying the errors as “ultra-left”, especially under the influence of KCRWC, led WCC to throw itself into the mass movement unprepared to train the advanced workers in the science of Marxism-Leninism, to greatly restrict its polemics with other circles, to not send out some polemics that were written up, and to subordinate their own initiative in the communist movement to “joint activity”, which was really compromise activity. Identifying their errors as right errors would have led them to have pursued a correct course of intensifying their theoretical work and ideological struggle to draw lines of demarcation. The sad results of this so-called “rectification” campaign against so-called “ultra-leftism” are all the errors in their conference proposal.

Our second principle of unity is more scientifically presented than in the “Announcement”. It distinguishes between anti-Marxist-Leninist trends that call themselves “communist” and others. It adds anarchism and individual terrorism, two very dangerous trends. And it recognizes that Trotskyism is no longer a trend in the working class movement, because, as Stalin taught, the Trotskyites are afraid to disclose their real aims to the working class, and because their chief method is masking their views.[21] We should also add that there is much inconsistency in the practice of groups regarding opposition to the third worldists, as seen in the Denver forum. But this point remains to be struggled out. Also, we took out the sentence referring to the PLA as the leading party because the model for every Party in every country must be the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin. This is a principle that every Marxist-Leninist should unite with, and is a line of demarcation. Saying the PLA is the leading party obscures this.

The third point is entirely changed, and instead we offer an adaptation of (and an avowed plagiarism from) Lenin’s “Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra”. WCC’s proposal in essence writes “Mao Tsetung Thought” into the principles of unity, with all contradictions being “among comrades”, with no talk of purging opportunists. The “criticism and self-criticism and transformation” presented is certainly not Bolshevik, despite the label put on it, if one understands that this means the method of a separate “session” of “criticism and self-criticism” (see page 8, and Day III, part A of proposed agenda, page 9). Leninism, on the other hand, sees the method of self-criticism as continuous, and not separate and apart from other activity. And the “transformation” is a phrase from the Cultural Revolution, meaning acceptance of Maoism. We have substituted for the Maoist view of self-criticism a Leninist formulation, adapted from Foundations of Leninism, that correctly placed self-criticism as part of the method of Leninism, and emphasizes its crucial role in the education and training of communists.[22] The Maoist view of self-criticism is actually very close to bourgeois psychiatry. We have proposed Leninist norms and methods to guide this conference. This point emphasizes drawing lines of demarcation and open polemics, rather than “restricting” them “as much as possible”.

Who Is Invited

In the absence of a developed Marxist-Leninist trend and center, and since its embryo will come from among those opposed to Chinese revisionism, we unite with the tactic of inviting all who profess opposition to Chinese revisionism, the theory of “three worlds”, and who uphold the principles of unity. This, of course, does not include “CPUSA(M-L)” and “COUSML”. This is to draw clear lines of demarcation among these forces, which has not been done on a nation-wide basis. But we emphasize this is a tactic, since we do not by any means see all of these forces as genuine. WCC’s proposal tends to give all these forces a blank check, and a priori declare them comrades. Nevertheless, inviting even the sham ones to have open polemics will help draw lines of demarcation where they haven’t as yet been drawn.

We add to WCC’s list the J-Town Collective, Sunrise Collective, and the U.S. Leninist Core. First, there was no reason J-Town Collective and Sunrise Collective should have been listed separately, since these circles just as well meet the points of unity as any others. To list them separately is to bow to the narrowness and cliquishness of the circles that have had more contact with each other.

Next, the question of the U.S. Leninist Core has already been controversial. But the U.S. Leninist Core fits the principles of unity just as well as anyone else, and even moreso than some on the list already. To exclude them is to actually admit that there is another, secret principle of unity here. This would mean that the conference is actually being called on another basis, on an unprincipled basis. Demarcation, which was on the original list, emphatically declares that if the U.S. Leninist Core is not invited to this conference, that Demarcation will not attend the conference and instead urge all other Marxist-Leninists to boycott what would then be an unprincipled and right opportunist conference.

As to individuals, they are certainly welcome if they agree with the points of unity. The only stipulation is that any individual at the conference be directly invited and accounted for by at least one of the invited circles.

We also see no reason to limit participation at this conference to just U.S. Marxist-Leninists. We are a detachment of the international communist movement. While there are certain recognized opportunist forces that we would want to exclude, in particular, the so-called “Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)” of the notorious Hardial Bains, we propose that this conference be open to all principled forces in the international communist movement that also oppose Chinese revisionism and the theory of “three worlds”. To exclude them would be the height of national chauvinism.

Presentations and Agenda

The central feature of the presentations should be clear statements of views on Party building, especially utilizing open polemics. These should include as much as possible, views on our tasks, our ideology (Leninism or Maoism), opportunist lines and currents [“CPUSA(M-L)”,’etc.], and other relevant subjects.

The whole emphasis on “documentation of existing views” on page 4 of the WCC proposal is all wrong. It bureaucratically and legalistically restricts the debate by saying “comrades should not try to come up with NEW lines in these areas, but document EXISTING views.” This will only stifle the debate. Also, the point on “circles’ and individuals’ history” (page 5), as a “focus of struggle”, besides being time consuming, will take attention away from the key questions of groups’ present views. We do not care about personal biographies. This point reminds us of the religious concept of “original sin”. Relevant sum-ups of groups’ past histories should best be written up.

As to the written presentation of views, we would assume that genuine Marxist-Leninists would not require a special occasion to write up and circulate their views, but that they would be contained in their regular literature. It would be better to organize a circulation of this literature prior to the conference. As to those who haven’t put out their views regularly for whatever reason, written presentations would be essential. These should be circulated at least one month before the conference.

We propose a radical alteration of the agenda. Instead of compartmentalizing the struggle to one hour on this point and one hour on that point, it would be far more useful and dialectical to treat these points together, and not separately. The overstructuring of the debate is an idealist and scholastic error. The content of the proposed agenda actually reflects WCC’s view of Party building. It separates Lenin’s two historical steps into two separate topics and fails to raise the ideological root of all opportunism or questions of ideology in general. It would be far better to leave the debate more open ended now because the differences on what to emphasize are precisely the differences between the various groups. It is also absurd to include discussions of illegal work at this conference, where there will be forces we do not know. The question of whether or not we need illegal work is no question for Leninists, and is inappropriate for this conference. What is appropriate and what we should discuss is the relation between revolution and reform, the question of how to make revolution and what are our tasks today.

Also, since time will be limited and written views circulated beforehand, it would be better to give each group that requests it a maximum of 15 minutes, with a strict time limit, to make an oral presentation at the beginning of the first day of the conference. The rest of the first day, except for breaks, should be reserved for open, floor discussion. At the start of the second day, there should be another period of presentations, this time ten minutes each, followed by more open discussion. The conference should close with ten minute periods of concluding remarks by each group. The chief task of the chair would be to maintain an orderly discussion and guarantee that different points of view are heard and debated. The chair should not summarize the debate, which instead should be the task of each group. This would allow for the widest and most open polemics on what are the most burning questions. To draw up a detailed timetable now before final plans are made is premature.

Number Attending

There is no reason to limit at all the number who would attend. An unlimited number will guarantee the widest debate, struggle, and education. The number will not be that large anyway. In case of voting, such as on agenda, etc., there can be one vote per group. But voting is clearly very secondary at this conference, which should reach out to as many genuine Marxist-Leninists and class conscious workers as possible, and not just be a conference of representatives or delegates.

Decision-Making Prior to the Conference

So far, extreme anarchy has reigned in the decision-making process leading up to this conference. The meeting in Denver, both before and after the forum there, that led up to the conference being called, was only organized at the last minute. It was not guaranteed or encouraged that the maximum number of Marxist-Leninists were represented there. When it was decided to have this preliminary meeting, everything should have been done to have gotten the greatest amount of Marxist-Leninist forces there. This is the tactics-as-process approach and reflects bowing to spontaneity.

Next, we are sent an “Announcement” of the conference. How and on what basis was an announcement agreed upon, rather than just a proposal by WCC? The immediate period should be used to evaluate various alternative proposals and for respective plans for the conference to be fought for. In the absence of a leading, agreed-upon authority, decisions require consensus. WCC’s approach of sending out an announcement, as if everything were a settled question, is itself a reflection of its line of organizational unity before ideological and political unity. We are not for quibbling over the practical details of the conference, which can be delegated out, but are for a period of struggle on the purpose and content of the conference.

We are also not opposed to WCC coordinating this activity. But thus far, its sending out of an “Announcement”, as if everything was already agreed upon, is the wrong method. Taking the lead is one thing. But that should be done through a proposal, not an “Announcement”. If WCC is unable or unwilling to coordinate the drawing up of a proposal for a conference and its preparation, then we will volunteer to do this. But for now, we still propose WCC do it.

Finally, all relevant correspondence on the conference should be circulated to all those invited. This is unlike the joint statement, which was a practical, compromise statement, where just summaries were sent out. This conference involves our central task of Party building. While practical compromises are necessary, the importance of Party building demands that everything be out in the open regarding the conference.


We are at a very critical stage of our movement, when we can move forward or backward very rapidly. The call for the conference and the debate over the proposals is not taking place under the conditions of growing unity, but, rather, under the conditions of a growing disunity on the role of Mao Tsetung and “Mao Tsetung Thought”. More and more, groups are adhering either to defense of Leninism or defense of Maoism.

Our situation demands a complete rupture with all versions of the line that organization of “joint activity” is key. A conference can play a positive role only it if aims at drawing the sharpest lines of demarcation to defeat and completely rupture with all forms of opportunism, especially right opportunism. Otherwise, such a conference would be a great setback to our movement and an obstacle to Party building.

It is our hope that these differences over proposals can be resolved and that one conference be held. But we are immovably opposed to a conference as the “main form of party building”, with the focus of “developing a common plan” “restricting as much as possible direct polemics”, and avoiding the exposure of Mao and “Mao Tsetung Thought”. If we cannot settle these questions, then there will be two conferences. However, we think that those who are seriously committed to building a Party of Lenin and Stalin will agree on a principled, unified proposal for one conference.

We conclude with the words of Lenin, which we find most appropriate and timely in light of the struggle around this conference:

We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance under their almost constant fire. We have combined voluntarily, precisely for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not to retreat into the adjacent marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now several among us begin to cry out: ’let us go into this marsh!’ And when we begin to shame them, they retort: ’how conservative you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road!’ Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word ’freedom,’ for we too are ’free’ to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh![23]


[1] Lenin, “Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra”, CW, Vol. 4, p. 354

[2] Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, Peking Edition, p. 97

[3] Lenin, “A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy”, CW, Vol. 4, p. 281

[4] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Peking Edition, p. 116

[5] Mao, “On Practice”, Four Essays on Philosophy, Peking Edition, pp. 1-2

[6] Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Peking Edition, p. 161

[7] Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, p. 28

[8] “Let’s Move Party Building Forward”, p. 3

[9] “In Defense of Marxism-Leninism on the International Situation”, p. 18

[10] Stalin, “Industrialization of the Country and the Right Deviation in the CPSU(B)”, Works, Vol. 11, p. 293

[11] Untitled Notes of Denver Meeting, p. 3

[12] “Let’s.. .”, op. cit., p. 4

[13] “In Defense of. . .”, op. cit., p. 3

[14] Lenin, “Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra”, CW, Vol. 4, p. 355

[15] “Let’s. ..”, op. cit, p. 4

[16] ibid., p. 5

[17] ibid., p. 6

[18] Lenin, “A Talk with Defenders of Economism”, CW, Vol. 5, p. 315

[19] Stalin, “The Russian Social-Democratic Party and Its Immediate Tasks”, Works, Vol. 1, p. 12

[20] “Let’s...”, op. cit., p. 1

[21] Stalin, Mastering Bolshevism, Section III, New Century Publishers, pp. 9-10

[22] Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, p. 15

[23] Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, p. 10