Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

LPR(M-L) Launches Rectification Campaign

First Published: Resistence, Vol. 9, No. 6, August 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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FIGHT, FAIL, FIGHT AGAIN, FAIL AGAIN, FIGHT AGAIN. . . TILL THEIR VICTORY; THAT IS THE LOGIC OF THE PEOPLE... THIS IS ANOTHER MARXIST LAW. Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle Mao Tsetung, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 128

Comrades and friends:

The task of determining which are our errors weaknesses and how to correct them is one in which we are concentrating the most in the recent period. It is clear that we have serious problems which have prevented us from playing a more responsible and leading role in the revolutionary struggle in the United States. Among them are: our relatively small size; being based solely in one area of the country; the small number of workers that make up the ranks of our membership and contacts; lack of formal and consistent relations with other Marxist-Leninist formations; the poor quality and small quantity of our theoretical work and our insufficient communist agitation and propaganda. Our defects and weaknesses have been felt much more strongly around the central task of the communist movement at this time – the building of a genuine multinational, Marxist-Leninist party.

In a period of ideological confusion, in which the self-proclamation of parties, vanguards, and leading centers, etc., is the order of the day, a period in which small circle spirit is glorified and grows stronger as if in opposition to these self-proclamations, a period in which the pillars of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought are being attacked from all quarters, we have been unable to offer an alternative to the movement. We have been unable to correctly organize the struggle against opportunism, of the right, which constitutes the main danger, as well as the “left”. Similarly, we have not given our dispersed forces a tactical plan that would provide a method by which to carry out the task of party building and consequently to advance the great cause of proletarian revolution in our country. We can’t move forward without a tactical plan which takes into account the basis for unity as well as the method by which these unities can be made into an irresistible force which gives leadership to the movement on party building. In order that we can seriously consider our participation in the developing of this plan, we must seriously deal with our weaknesses – we must get rid of the baggage and start up the machinery.

It took us a long time to come to understand the situation although the evidence was right before our eyes. The dominant tendency was to look at the problems separately, without establishing a connection or interrelation between them. Thus, we recognized the existence and dealt with the problems of sectarianism, subjectivism, bowing to spontaneity, lack of ties with the masses. However, we always tried to deal with these problems in isolation from one another. Naturally we did not completely eliminate these “poisonous weeds”. We removed or cut the biggest branches, however the weeds ’grew again’ Although in different ’forms’, the content was the same.

For a long time, we have been aware of the fact that something was wrong, but we were unable to correctly figure out what it was. We basically dealt with the symptoms or manifestations of the problems, with its clear expressions, without ever touching the root – the essence of the problems. A circumstance that helped to create the conditions by which we were able to correctly focus on the essence of our problems was: the development of the contradiction within the international communist movement around the question of the theory of the three worlds. The ideological struggle between the comrades from the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labor of Albania brought about a realignment of forces within the communist movement in the United States (as well as the world over).

The task of uniting Marxist-Leninists is to be established over new basis given the fact that both sham and genuine Marxist-Leninists are supporting the correct three worlds theory. The same thing could be said regarding the incorrect position on the international situation that is being put forward by the Party of Labor of Albania. Trying to determine how to deal with this situation made it necessary to consider the questions of who were genuine and sham Marxist-Leninists, as well as what were proper lines of demarcation, etc. The process of carrying out this analysis, made it necessary that we analyse our own line and in so doing identified some of the errors which we have to repudiate and correct, but even more important we identified errors in our method of thinking and in our style of work which are at the root of our problems.

In April of this year, we had already begun to discuss the need to sum-up our different areas of work in order to determine the positive gains as well as errors. However, we did not yet perceive the necessity for a rectification campaign. (As a matter of fact, we had criticized the Revolutionary Communist League-RCL-MLM, correctly we think, for having put forth a rectification campaign around the unities the movement had with the gang of four, without however mentioning what needed to be rectified or how one would go about it.)

The great fiasco we had around our May Day Celebration served as the catalyst for the campaign. “We were confident that a couple of hundred people would attend the activity and that we would be able to mobilize workers from different factories and other work places from throughout the area. The activity was poorly attended (perhaps 50 to 75 people) and workers were conspicuous by their absence. During the discussions carried out after the activity, our organization made itself responsible for the failure of the mobilization for the event and took on the task of identifying the reasons for this failure. (We still believe the political content of the May Day event was correct.)

The process of summing up the May fiasco, trying to learn from the errors committed in order to avoid the same errors in the future gave way to a vigorous ideological struggle within the organization. Many comrades correctly pointed out that we could not separate the May Day activity from the rest of our work and our political line. These comrades insisted that we see the activity in the context of what we had to do in the ideological, political and organizational sphere. These comrades were able to win over the organization to their line and the decision was made to repudiate the original analysis which merely pointed to such incidental phenomena as who did or didn’t do what, who was or wasn’t invited, who should have been excluded, etc. but did not deal with the essence of the problem. Ultimately, the organization consolidated around the view that the May Day Fiasco was a sign of major problems – the tip of the iceberg.

Around the beginning of June, the organization was united around the need for a rectification campaign and a series of major problems needing immediate attention were pointed out. These problems were in the ideological as well as the political and organizational sphere. A list of over 24(!) errors and problems was put forth. We even went as far as to propose resolutions! It seemed that we knew what the problems were, and all that was needed was to establish methods of correction and the campaign would be in full swing. We were mistaken! Our rectification campaign which was supposed to combat the errors of subjectivism and spontaneity among others was itself developing in a completely subjective and spontaneous manner. Fortunately we became aware of this immediately.

The idea of a rectification campaign was for us (and we believe this is true for most of the communist movement in the U.S.) a book knowledge concept that had never been deeply studied, as if it did not apply to our movement. In the past, as we pointed out earlier, we have had struggles, rectification campaigns, as a matter of fact – around particular questions such as sectarianism (see Resistance, Vol. 6 No. 7). narrow nationalism (see Resistance, Vol.7 Nos.1,6), incorrect lines such as the divided nation, etc. All these struggles were carried out without discussing in depth the form and content of said struggles. Thus we were able to defeat the ideas such as the divided nation, as an incorrect political line without having to deal with the method of thinking and analysing which had brought us to our line. The idealist method used in arriving at conclusions, the failure to establish positions based on a rigorous scientific study of concrete conditions, the failure in not looking for truth based on facts were not dealt with at any level in our struggles against the lines and tendencies mentioned above. Therefore, these failures continued to be part of our ideological baggage.

This same error was at play at the beginning of our campaign we knew that something was wrong, and decided to operate where we thought the “tumor” lay. Instead of studying concrete conditions and determining our errors based on them, we started by determining the errors and then later on we would analyze the concrete conditions.

At this point, the organization decided to develop study on the question. A number of writings by Mao Tse-tung which had given political and ideological leadership to a series of rectification campaigns of the CPC were assigned for study and discussion at all levels within the organization. (See Resistance, Vol. 9, No.5 for a list of the readings). These writings helped us to better understand the process which we had begun and also allowed us to see the similarity between some of the problems confronted by the Chinese comrades and our own. The study and discussions allowed us to clearly establish the focus of our campaign as well as the methods to use to carry it out. This can be correctly summed up with the directives:

In analysing what we must do in the ideological, political and organizational front, and in analysing all of our theory and practice, based on where these ideas come from, what method we have used to arrive at them, as well as how we have carried them out – by carrying out this analysis in each area of work, around each political line and its components, we have been able to establish a series of principal errors which we must concentrate on at the beginning of the campaign. These are: bowing to spontaneity, sectarianism, narrow circle spirit, subjectivism and incorrect methods of leadership. In terms of political line, the campaign has established as the principal target our failures in applying in a consistent manner our line: all our work must be placed in context of party building. This is in fact a deviation from the line that party building is the central task. In regards to party building, it is our understanding that by not having developed a concrete party building plan, we have left the most important question of our movement to spontaneity and continual improvisation.

This does not mean that the rectification campaign has finished determining all the errors and lines which must be corrected. As a matter of fact, we know that to the degree that we deepen our study of Marxism-Leninism deepen, our criticisms and self-criticisms, to the degree that we correctly sum up all our areas of work, political lines, etc, me will find more wounds which must be healed. However, we are also aware of the fact that it would be idealistic to wait to identify all our problems before we begin to deal with them. Thus we believe that we must launch our campaign at this time, that is to say we must establish methods of rectification in all the areas pointed out, while at the some time we must continue the task of investigating ourselves in order to obtain a clearer view of our errors and weaknesses.

In order that the rectification campaign be successful, so that we can move forward, we need the participation of comrades and friends who are not part of our organization. The publication of this article and those that will appear in our paper and other forms of propaganda must serve us in two ways. First it should help other comrades to identify similar problems and tendencies. We believe that there is a great deal to rectify in our movement and our rectification campaign can be the “spark that starts a prairie fire”. Secondly, we hope that the article motivates comrades and friends to actively participate in our rectification campaign. Your criticisms and suggestions are necessary and really important. We wish to submit our errors to the intense fire of revolutionary criticism. We are already internally subjecting these to a war without quarter. We need that they also be criticised from the outside.

To this end, in future issues of Resistance, we will alot space to print the points of view of comrades and friends around those questions put forth in the rectification campaign. Furthermore, we have organized sessions of criticism-self-criticism in order to encourage friends and contacts to raise their criticisms in an open and frank way, in front of other contacts and cadres of the organization.

To rectify, we repeat, is to correct the method of thinking and style of work. We are firmly on this path, remembering the inspiring words of the great teacher, Mao Tse-tung:

When we have rectified our way of thinking and style of work, we will experience greater initiative in our tasks and will be capable of better work.