Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L) Founded!


First Published: Unity, Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A big step forward has been taken in the struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity in the U.S. The August Twenty-Ninth Movement (M-L) (ATM) and I Wor Kuen (IWK) have merged to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist). Recently, the Founding Congress of the League was held. This congress successfully culminated the struggle to unite the two organizations and set forth the line and tasks of the newly founded League.

ATM and IWK had carried out intensive discussions and struggle, especially over the past year and a half, to resolve differences and unite. Through this process, the two organizations reached agreement on all basic points of line and an evaluation of the two organizations’ histories. Based upon this unity, ATM and IWK dissolved their respective organizations and jointly founded the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L).

This is the first time since the formation of the anti-revisionist communist movement in the early 1970’s that two major, established Marxist-Leninist organizations have succeeded in resolving their differences and merged. It thus sets a precedent and example for all communists in the U.S. to push further the struggle to unify the entire Marxist-Leninist movement and forge a single, unified communist party.

Rising factors for war and revolution make Marxist-Leninist unity urgent

The merger of ATM and IWK to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L) takes place at a time when Marxist-Leninists throughout the world are stepping up their efforts to unite. The rising factors for both war and revolution are making the task of forging Marxist-Leninist unity more pressing and urgent.

The significance of the merger at this particular time was brought out in the Political Report delivered to the Founding Congress of the League.

The Political Report characterized the world situation. It stated that throughout the world there is great disorder. Countries, nations and peoples are continuing their struggles for independence, liberation and revolution. The targets of their struggles are the two chief bulwarks of world reaction – U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. The two superpowers desire nothing less than complete world domination, and are preparing to go to war for this purpose.

While the two superpowers want world domination, the peoples of the world do not want it. In the face of the threat posed by the two superpowers, the peoples of the world are bringing their forces together in a broad united front.

The third world is the main force opposing the two superpowers, and the second world countries are a force that can be united with against the domination and aggression of the superpowers. The international united front against the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. is developing in struggle, and has become an irresistible historical tide.

The Political Report also described the conditions within the U.S. The U.S. capitalist system is in the midst of the most severe economic, crisis since the Great Depression. It is trying to shift the burden of the crisis onto the masses by intensifying class exploitation and national oppression, giving rise to growing resistance by workers, oppressed nationalities, students and people from many different walks of life.

The heroic struggles of the coal miners over the past year, the present determined struggle of the postal workers, as well as the strike actions of other sectors of the working class show that the. proletariat is going to develop sharper and sharper resistance to the attacks of the bourgeoisie.

The oppressed nationalities by the thousands have taken to the streets to oppose the racist Bakke Decision and to continue the defense of the hard won gains of the 1960’s. Their struggles against cutbacks in minority programs, police repression, and all aspects of national oppression are growing stronger and more determined.

These objective developments internationally and domestically demand that Marxist-Leninists push forward rapidly the struggle for unity, to construct a single vanguard party. Thus, the unity achieved between ATM and IWK is a significant advance for the communist movement as a whole.

The struggle to forge a single, unified vanguard party is advancing

The struggle to unify the Marxist-Leninist movement around a correct line has followed a difficult and complicated path in recent years.

The anti-revisionist communist movement in the U.S. has its origins in the great revolutionary mass movements of the 1960’s. During the late 1960’s, the Black liberation movement arose with unprecedented force across the country, shaking the capitalist system to its very foundations. There was also a new upsurge in the struggles of the Chicano, Asian, Puerto Rican, Native American and other oppressed peoples against national oppression. The anti-war movement also developed as a powerful mass force opposing U.S. imperialist aggression in Indochina.

Several revolutionary organizations emerged from these mass movements. They struggled to provide revolutionary leadership to the masses. They boldly advocated revolution, and battled the revisionist Communist Party U.S.A. (CPUSA) and the Trotskyite Progressive Labor Party (PLP), as well as other opportunist forces who were trying to destroy the young revolutionary movement. The work of these revolutionary organizations laid the basis for the formation of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the early 1970’s.

In the early 1970’s, the present-day Marxist-Leninist movement was born as many of the revolutionary forces began to take up Marxism-Leninism. It was composed of a number of organizations, collectives, and individuals. The young communist groups struggled to develop their understanding of Marxism-Leninism, to develop a correct line for the proletarian revolution in the U.S., and to develop their ties among the masses.

During the early years of the communist movement, the young Marxist-Leninist forces had to wage a vigorous and difficult battle against opportunists who pretended to be Marxist-Leninists and anti-revisionists. The Revolutionary Union was for a while a Marxist-Leninist organization, but consolidated around economism, chauvinism, and a thoroughly right opportunist line, and formed its party. The Communist League then formed the Communist Labor Party based on revisionism and Trotskyism. Later, the Workers Viewpoint Organization tried to posture as “leftists” to cover their real ultra-rightist line, and declare themselves the party.

Though the genuine Marxist-Leninist forces were inexperienced and mistakes were made, they matured and developed in the course of struggle against these opportunist forces.

Significant advances have been made in integrating Marxism-Leninism with the concrete conditions in the U.S. The communist forces are step by step developing their roots among the masses and giving more consistent, revolutionary leadership to mass struggles. In the recent period, important steps have been taken, too, toward unifying the genuine Marxist Leninists and forging a single van guard party.

ATM-IWK merger provides important lessons to the communist movement

The merger of ATM and IWK provides the communist movement many valuable lessons on the method by which Marxist-Leninists can unite. It represents a concrete blow against the opportunist forces in the movement who have tried to build themselves on the basis of revisionism, and through splittist, unprincipled and underhanded methods of struggle.

ATM and IWK were able to unite because in the course of the struggle between the two groups, both adhered to principle, kept the overall interests of the revolution in mind, and boldly practiced criticism and self-criticism.

The two organizations struggled to resolve differences in line by basing themselves on Marxism-Leninism and proceeding from the concrete interests of the revolution and the masses. Both groups rejected the method of trying to “negotiate” away differences over principles. At the same time, they made a distinction between major points and secondary points, and tried to keep in mind the overall interests of building unity step by step. The two groups also made a conscious attempt to understand the concrete implications of different views or lines in actual practice. In addition to resolving contradictions in the evaluation of their histories and political lines, ATM and IWK also closely examined each other’s mass work to evaluate not just the words but also the deeds of each group. After a certain level of unity was reached between the two groups, it was developed to a higher level in the course of engaging in joint work in various mass campaigns. They did not try to “unite” simply over a series of abstract formulations. When there were differences, the two groups tried to determine the correct line by basing themselves on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the interests of the revolution, and utilized the criterion of practice and the experience of the revolutionary movement to determine right from wrong.

ATM and IWK also struggled to boldly practice criticism and self-criticism in the process of uniting. This was an essential requirement to forge the unity of the two organizations and distinguish correct and incorrect aspects in their lines and work.

An important component part of building the unity of the two organizations was the process of summarizing the two organizations’ histories. The strengths and weaknesses of the two organizations’ histories were evaluated. The summation of the histories was a major achievement in applying a dialectical materialist method to analyze the development of the line and practice of each organization. It was also a contribution to summarizing the history of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S. since its origins from the revolutionary mass movements of the 1960’s.

ATM and IWK bring rich tradition of struggle to the League

Both ATM and IWK have acquired many years of experience in the revolutionary movement. The two organizations have helped the development of a Marxist-Leninist line to guide the revolution. They have grown up in the battle with the revisionists, Trotskyites and other opportunists, and have won numbers of advanced workers and activists to Marxism-Leninism. They have contributed by putting out consistent propaganda and agitation in the form of newspapers, theoretical journals, leaflets, and forums. Both organizations helped lead a number of significant struggles in the working class and national movements, such as the nine-year struggle to save the International Hotel, the mass movement to overturn the Bakke Decision, struggles for ethnic studies and minority admissions on campuses across the country, struggles for better contracts such as in the Molders Union and the recent postal workers fight, and struggles to stop the destruction and dispersal of the Japanese communities, to name a few. They have established firm ties with sections of the mass movements.

There are other similarities between the two organizations. They both arose out of the great revolutionary mass movement of the oppressed nationalities in the 1960’s. They played leading roles in the young revolutionary movement. They stood staunchly for revolution and with all the forces in the world fighting against imperialism.

After the two organizations adopted Marxism-Leninism, they both went through intense and complicated struggle.

IWK developed out of the Asian national movements. It has always upheld a consistently revolutionary line and has based its work on the interests of the masses and the revolution. Its history has been one of consistent and steady development. It has always been closely connected to the masses since its formation. During the first several years after IWK took up Marxism, it had to wage sharp struggles with every major opportunist force in the movement. IWK consistently defended Marxism-Leninism against attacks by forces like the Revolutionary Union, the Communist League, and Workers Viewpoint Organization. The organization was inexperienced and made mistakes, but in the course of these struggles it contributed to defending and developing a correct Marxist-Leninist line analyzing the international situation and on the national question, in promoting support for socialist China, and in building anti-imperialist struggles.

IWK’s main error was narrowness in its work. It downplayed the role it should have played in waging an active ideological struggle in the communist movement to unite Marxist-Leninists, and it did not broadly expand its work as much as it could have at times. Over the past two years, it struggled to correct these weaknesses.

IWK took up a more aggressive struggle against the revisionists and opportunists in the theoretical sphere, and stepped up its efforts in party building. It expanded its work on a broad scale, further developed its line, and made contributions to the struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity.

ATM developed mainly out of the Chicano national movement and was founded on Marxism-Leninism. Its history has been marked by a consistent struggle to contribute to the revolution and to uphold the interests of the masses. ATM has always strived to build close ties with the masses and has participated in and led a number of significant mass struggles. It focused most of its work in the industrial area, where it led a number of important struggles. It developed a correct Marxist-Leninist line on labor work as well as a relatively advanced understanding of this work. ATM consistently battled the revisionists and opportunists in the mass movement, and strived to play an active role in the struggle to forge a communist party.

ATM made serious errors of participating in formations initiated by certain opportunist groups. These formations were the National Continuations Committee and the so-called “Revolutionary Wing.” There were errors of metaphysics and idealism, such as adopting for a period of time a “left” line on party building, which pitted mass work against the tasks of party building. But because ATM upheld Marxism-Leninism and always strived to place the overall interests of the revolution foremost, it was able to break decisively with the “Wing” in 1976. It set a positive example for the entire communist movement by struggling vigorously to correct its errors and share the lessons of its development with other Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary activists.

Based on its long years of mass struggle and its basically correct line during the past two years, ATM was able to develop its mass work on a wide scale and make significant contributions to the struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity.

Both ATM and IWK bring to the merger and the newly founded League a rich treasury of experience in struggles in the communist movement and in the working class and national movements. The merger of the two organizations is also a concrete blow against the opportunists in the movement and a significant advance in the struggle for a correct Marxist-Leninist line.

Tasks of the League of Revolutionary Struggle

The successes achieved through the merger of ATM and IWK enable the League of Revolutionary Struggle to take on new and greater tasks at this critical time.

The central task of the League is party building. The League will do its utmost to contribute to developing the conditions for the formation of a single, unified communist party in the U.S.

The League will strive to deepen the struggle for a correct Marxist-Leninist line based on the integration of the principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete conditions of the U.S. revolution, and its clear demarcation with opportunism. Such a line cannot simply be a list of generalities or formulations, but must concretely point the way forward to making proletarian revolution and deal with the realities of the revolutionary struggle itself.

The League will intensify efforts toward uniting with all genuine Marxist-Leninists around a correct line. It will carry out systematic discussions among Marxist-Leninist organizations to resolve differences through principled struggle, as through the Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists. The League intends to continue the recent joint steps taken by ATM, IWK and the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist (CPML) towards communist unity, in order to unite at the earliest possible time to forge a single unified party. It will wage a broad and active struggle against opportunism within the movement, and do more to contribute to winning over the advanced workers and other revolutionary activists to Marxism-Leninism.

Finally, the League will strive to contribute to the development of communist ties among the masses in every region of the country, in the strategic and other important industries, and in the oppressed nationality movements. It will also intensify work among students, youth and women.

The founding of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) shows that the Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S. are growing and becoming more united. The League will make every effort to contribute its best to the revolution, and to continue the struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity and to forge a single, unified communist party at the earliest possible time.