Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

COReS-LPR Joint Statement: Our work within the working class movement

First Published: Resistance Vol. 11, No. 2, March 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The U.S. multinational working class is the most and the only consistently revolutionary class in U.S. society. It is both the leading class and the main force in the struggle for proletarian revolution. This, although it seems so clear and in words has almost universal acceptance in our movement, has to be consistently raised.

Why? Because one of the major weaknesses of the US anti-revisionist communist movement is its lack of a real base in the working class. Without that base, all talk about a proletarian party is idle talk. We will never be the “general staff or the “organized detachment” of the working class” without being able to win over and recruit into our ranks the advanced elements of the class at this moment and greater numbers of workers at a latter period.

The need for a more conscious effort with the working class, especially at the point of production and in the trade unions, can be and has in fact been understood in many different ways. While raising the strategic importance of concentrating in the working class, we uphold the view that it is party building and not fusion which is the central task today. The placing of all work in the context of party building is a correct view that both organizations uphold.

In upholding party building as the central task, both organizations have worked to develop a guiding line for our trade union and plant work. To a limited extent we have worked in plants and unions with other Marxist-Leninists and have also shared sum-ups of this work with different communist groups. However, this has not, gone far enough, largely due to the narrow view we have had of our tasks of uniting Marxist-Leninists, doing propaganda and winning over of the advanced. The sectarianism of our two organizations as well as of the entire movement has also been and important factor.

Definitely, the task of establishing a real base among the working class, of fusing the working class movement with Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought, is one that goes far beyond the political, ideological and organizational strength of every US M-L formation. Not one of us, not even the arithmetic sum of all of us, is enough of a force to make fusion come about. The single, major step toward fusion would be the building of a genuine M-L Communist Party in our country, only that Party would create the necessary conditions to win over the working class movement to our side.

Does this mean that prior to the building of the party there would be no fusion whatsoever? Does lack of a base among the working class respond solely to the absence of the party? Obviously not. Even the weakest and smallest of our pre-party formations can and must establish real ties with working class. That we cannot do it on a national basis without a party does not mean we cannot do it in a particular region, city or even a single factory or working class community. Without the party we cannot travel the whole road, but we have to begin walking up that road, and make real advances, if we are to build that party.

The strategy and tactics of US Marxist-Leninists in their work among the working class is a fundamental question upon which principled unity must be achieved in our road towards the party. There is a real need for the summing up of the experience not only of individual organizations, but of the whole movement on the trade union question. There is also a definite need for more coordination, for joint work campaigns, etc, between different M-L formations on this crucial question. And very probably there is no other question in which it is so crucial to develop an uncompromising struggle against all sorts of opportunism. Without the defeat of all revisionist and opportunist trends, real fusion is not possible. Thus in the course of carrying out joint work, of summing up, of sharing experiences, of attempting to resolve existing differences, M-Ls are to raise the struggle against revisionism and opportunism within the working class movement to higher levels.

It is in this context that we are to look at the results that our organizations have had in their attempts to base themselves among the US multinational proletariat.


Historically, both LPR and COReS have attempted to establish a base in the working class. We have sent cadres and contacts to work in plants in larger numbers than in any other area of work. This concentration has not brought the results we were expecting. Although a thorough sum-up of each organization’s line and practice in the trade union work is still to be made, we have identified fundamental unity in the main aspects of this question. Our unity on the approach and practice within the class allows us to move forward with the merger.

Overall, we feel that our limited resources, the low theoretical level of our organizations, the over-extended character of our mass work.etc, contributed greatly to many of our failures in the work. These limitations are of course evidence of our amateurishness, small size and working pretty much in isolation from the rest of the communist movement.

We have been able to make some progress in influencing working class people in the plants and trade unions we have worked in. For example, we are able to participate productively to some extent in strikes, strike committees, rank and file caucuses and union drives, some of which we initiated. Some of our cadres have been shop stewards, participated in contract committees and played good roles in some strikes. We have presented resolutions at union meetings which have been passed. We have even had some rank and file caucuses support some of the non-plant events we have participated in, such as around the third world liberation struggles, affirmative action work and women’s movement work.

We have gained valuable experience and a grasp of the conditions of the working class in the locations and industries we have worked in. This will be useful to begin to participated in developing a program for the working class with other communists and advanced workers.

But in looking at how successful we have been in winning over the advanced which is crucial at this time, we see we have failed to do so. Far from being all pessimistic because of these failures, we are confident in that having been able to identify many of them and in understanding the reasons and sources of those failures, we are on the first step to rectifying them and moving forward in this strategically important work. By stepping up our tasks of uniting M-Ls, our work can definitely be improved. We also believe we can improve the local work in our areas, especially in finding more ways of building ties with the working class and broadening the scope of our work to reach more advanced workers.


In his monumental “Das Kapital”, Marx made a thorough and all-round exposure of the capitalist system. He showed that capitalism is based on exploitation, the extraction of surplus value from the working class. He also demonstrated that the exploitation will not end as the result of the trade union struggle, the struggle of the workers against the individual bosses, but from a class struggle in which the working class overthrows the capitalists. The struggle would not be one of “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage” but rather had to be a struggle for the “abolition of the wage system”. Obviously, Marx did not oppose the struggle for the improvement of better wages and working conditions under capitalism but instead was pointing out the necessity of going beyond the boundaries of capitalism to put an end to the workers’ exploitation.

One of the basic problems we face in the trade union work is how to correctly link the struggle for the immediate needs of the working class with the struggle for its long range interests: socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. You overemphasize the struggle for economic demands while sacrificing the struggle for socialism and you become a militant trade unionist; you overemphasize the struggle for socialism, while belittling the immediate needs of the workers and you become isolated. You carry out both tasks in a correct way, making the struggle for immediate demands and reforms a revolutionary struggle and you are contributing to the development of a real conscious working class movement.

In our experience, the one-sided emphasis in one or the other aspect of the working class movement has manifested itself many times and in many different ways. Overall in our work, we consider the tendency towards overemphasizing the trade union-struggle, or economism, has been the predominant in our work which has tended to be very narrow.

Our limitations in this respect have seriously held back our task of bringing Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to the plants, of fusing the working class movement with socialism. Despite the hare work, dedication and commitment of our cadres to the great cause of the emancipation of the working class and all oppressed people from the yoke of U.S. imperialism, the results of our plant work do not correspond in any way to the importance and great organizational efforts that we have historically assigned to it.

Some of the other problems we have identified and that are discussed somewhat in other places in this statement are closely connected to this failure of not being able to develop a revolutionary practice that concretely links the struggles for economic and other immediate demands in the plants with the struggle for socialism in the U.S.

One main weakness that has seriously hampered our ability to put forward socialist ideas to the working class where we have some influence or contact is our inconsistent communist propaganda and agitation. This is crucial in identifying and winning over advanced workers at this time.

The task of bringing scientific socialism to the working class has to be carried out in the course of our involvement in the day to day struggles. We must bring to the workers a broad range of political struggles that help them to grasp all the aspects of capitalism and go beyond the relations of exploitation between the workers and the bosses. It is the task of educating the workers through summarizing their own experiences, of pointing out the way forward. In the process, workers become conscious of their role in society, of their relation with other classes and strata, the role of the bourgeoisie, the State, the police, the need for armed struggle, socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Both organizations have reaffirmed the line on the advanced workers. Our experiences confirm that in this period, we will not be able to win over the whole of the working class. But, because of their sympathy and influence over the broad masses of workers, the advanced constitute our link with the whole class. By winning them over to communism, we are in fact guaranteeing our future influence over the whole of the working class. Thus the strategic importance of advanced workers.

In our practice, we have made many errors in attempting to win over the advanced. We have either failed to identify those who were advanced, or we have identified as advanced those who were not. We equated militancy or intellectualism with being advanced. But, independently of which we sum-up to be our main error, we have learned a valuable lesson: the advanced cannot be identified in the abstract. We learned that although discussions with workers and militant actions can help to identify advanced workers, we have tended to overlook that concretely they do come forward and develop in the context of the day to day struggles.


A hallmark of communist work is the ability to combine legal and illegal work. This applies in the plants too where the livelihood of the workers is at stake. We use both in our work but particularly use the legal to strengthen and expand the illegal. We have used the legal forms of participating in shop newsletter committees, rank and file caucuses, union meetings, grievance procedures, safety committees, etc., and also use illegal forms like communist propaganda, study circles, certain job actions, etc.

In some of our work we have tended to be so “illegal” that our presence in a factory was secret from everyone including the workers. In other cases, we have made social democratic errors that led to the isolation from the workers or to firings before probation was even over. Both tendencies are incorrect. At the same time that we must keep in mind that the capitalists are our enemy, we must become better at the task of bringing socialism to our fellow workers.


There are still other tasks which we will be undertaking to improve this work. Recognizing the necessity to participate in the trade unions, both organizations have struggled for union democracy, workers’ safety, better working conditions, the rights of women and equality of nationalities. To further develop in this direction, we need to improve our capacity to raise these questions in day to day struggles as communists.

We both agree on participating in trade union conferences, study projects, and meetings with other Marxist-Leninists and within the trade union movement. We are looking more to coordinate our work in the economic and political struggle with the rest of the communist movement. This is especially important when the movement is striving to break with tendencies of sectarianism.

Qualitatively changing our ability to do communist work can serve the effort of uniting Marxist-Leninists to build a genuine proletarian party.

We will strive to increase our knowledge on the trends in the communist movement concerning factory work and the working class itself. This would aid in improving our work and line as well as in enabling us to better participate in the development of Marxist-Leninist unity on the trade union question. For similar reasons, we must investigate the trends within the labor movement so as to lay out the direction of our work. We will then be in a better position to allocate our forces in those sectors that have the most revolutionary potential.

We have reaffirmed the urgent need of a class analysis to identify sectors of the working class and its allies and enemies. Both organizations today and the new organization tomorrow look forward to working with others to conduct this work which is overwhelming for any one or two groups. By joining forces, we can all be in a better position to deal with our common problems.

Lastly, we have reaffirmed our view on the crucial role of propaganda and agitation, especially directed at the advanced, in eventually winning over the broad masses. This will encompass the national issues which affect the whole class and should be linked up to local struggles.

The U.S. bourgeoisie’s motion towards a new imperialist war with the social-imperialists affects not only the working class but also the majority of the world’s people. It is the responsibility of communists to bring this issue to the workers and oppressed people. In this period the work of uniting the Marxist-Leninists and winning over of the advanced workers will be permeated with the question of war. This will be a good testing ground for our line and stand and provide excellent soil to advance the struggle for the building of the party.

We need to conduct exposures and work on the role of the labor aristocracy, imperialism, the roots of the economic and political crisis, the correct stand of the proletariat towards that war and all the urgent tasks against war preparations.


There are still a number of non-fundamental questions that will be resolved after the merger. First of all, both organizations have unity on the need to base ourselves in the working class. However, our strategic aim of concentrating on the working class can be implemented in various ways. We presently don’t have unity on the tactics of concentration.

Secondly, both organizations have maintained in the past that the main blow is aimed at the social props. In the course of discussions, some unclarities have arisen on the part of LPR as to what this means and both organizations have agreed to further study the theoretical basis and practical implications of this formulation.

Thirdly, as a result of our practice in affirmative action work, both organizations have seen the need to reevaluate our positions on super-seniority. Further sum-up of our experiences in affirmative action work will therefore be continued after the merger.

In conclusion, we can say that despite these differences, COReS and LPR have fundamental unity on the trade union question. We are certain that the honest and self-critical way in which we are approaching the sum-up of our line and practice in this area of work will enable us to correct our errors, further enrich the line and arrive at a position, as a single organization, on those questions still remaining to be resolved.