Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L)

Interview with William Gallegos of the League of Revolutionary Struggle on some questions of party building


First Published: Unity, Vol. 3, No. 2, January 18-31, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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(Editor’s Note) – The League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) views the construction of a single, unified communist party as its central task. William Gallegos, a spokesperson for the Central Committee of the League, addresses some current questions regarding party building in the U. S. today. A longer interview with Comrade Gallegos on the same subject appeared in FORWARD No. 1, July 1979, the theoretical journal of the League.

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How do the trilateral meetings between the League, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPML) and the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters (RWH) relate to efforts to forge a single, unified party? (See page 2 of this issue for an announcement of the meetings.)

The trilateral meetings are a positive step in increasing dialogue among the three largest Marxist-Leninist organizations in the U.S. The League hopes that these meetings can help clarify the unities and differences which exist among the three groups. Such clarification will be helpful for the party building efforts.

These meetings are not seen as a mechanism for the actual formation of a party. The three groups recognize the responsibility to contribute towards this end and are hopeful that the meetings will be a step forward in that direction.

Are these meetings the Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists (CUML)?

No, they are not. The CUML never existed and there are no specific plans at this time to form it. The idea to form the CUML originally was jointly proposed by the August 29th Movement (M-L) (ATM), I Wor Kuen (IWK) and the CPML in 1978. Since then, though, there have been a number of developments in the communist movement. Among these were the merger of ATM and IWK to form the League and the merger of the Bay Area Communist Union into the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters. Recently the Revolutionary Communist League (M-L-M) merged with the League.

Due to these and other developments, the situation in the U.S. communist movement is different than when the idea of CUML was first conceived. After a couple of meetings where various proposals for CUML we’re discussed, the CPML, the League and the RWH agreed that CUML should not be formed. The three groups decided to hold trilateral meetings to advance the discussions among them.

What are some of the League’s plans to contribute to party building in other ways?

We hope that the trilateral meetings will produce some good exchange. At the same time, we will also strive to develop our relations with all other Marxist-Leninist forces and individuals in the country. The struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity is not limited to just the trilateral meetings. We hope to develop bilateral and other forms of relations with other groups to clarify line and discuss practical work as well. The forging of a single, unified communist party will require a variety of efforts and approaches, for there does not seem to be a set way at this time for achieving this end.

The League will also continue to develop its line and work, and strive to expand its influence among the masses. These tasks are important for all Marxist-Leninists to carry out as a part of party building. We believe the key thing in party building is the development of a correct ideological and political line.

The political line must be based on the integration of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought with the concrete conditions of the U.S. A political line cannot be some formulas or experiences mechanically adopted from other countries. The Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S. must be based on the actual reality of this country.

The practical and theoretical work of the Marxist-Leninist movement over this past decade has provided valuable lessons and experiences. These have formed a good basis for the development of a revolutionary political line, but more investigation, summarization of experience, study, and discussion and struggle among Marxist-Leninists is required to construct this line.

On what issues are there major differences among Marxist-Leninists in the U.S.?

There are differences on the international situation, particularly on the question of how we see combating Soviet aggression in the world and the relationship of that to our struggle against the U.S. bourgeoisie. We recognize the Soviet Union to be the greatest danger to world peace and the importance of educating and mobilizing the workers and oppressed nationalities, and uniting with people of all strata, to oppose this; while at the same time exposing the appeasement and also the hegemonic ambitions of the U.S. imperialists. Some comrades have a different view.

Differences still exist on the party building question. Some comrades view that the immediate task confronting us is the organizational unification of the existing organizations. We differ on this view. We see that ideological and political line unity is the most important foundation for a single party. While unity on each and every question is not a prerequisite for forging one party, our view is that there remain important differences which must be resolved prior to organizational unification.

There are many serious theoretical and practical problems of making the U.S. revolution which confront us at this time. The unity of Marxist-Leninists must be based on how we see and resolve these questions both theoretically and in real life Organizational unity without ideological and political unity will not be lasting. The whole purpose of forging a party is to lead the revolutionary struggle along a correct path.

There is continuing controversy and serious differences on the national question. There are differences on how we see Marxist-Leninists fighting for the right of self-determination for oppressed nations; on the recognition of the oppressed nation status of the Afro-American people in the Black-belt South and the Chicanos in the Southwest; and on how we see the building of a united front in the national movements and on other points. Some comrades reduce the struggle against national oppression to bourgeois reformism or bourgeois integrationism, and even deny the right of self-determination and some forms of its expression for the Afro-American and Chicano nations. These are all serious differences with tremendous implications for the future of the national movements.

There are also differences on the trade union question, particularly on how the different groups assess the tasks of Marxist-Leninists at the present time, and whether or not it is appropriate for communists to strive to aggressively provide leadership for the labor movement. We also view as very serious the continuing differences on the importance of upholding the struggle against national oppression in the work places. This hits at the very core of our view of what the strategic alliance of the working class and oppressed nationalities means in practice.

Overall, we see that there has been some flux in the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement over this past year. The lines of some groups are still in the process of development, and other organizations have developed their lines in new directions. There are still important differences among Marxist-Leninist organizations on a number of questions.

What are some of the important world events which affect party building in the U.S.?

The heightening tension in the international arena and the visible growing threat of a new world war between the two superpowers, the U.S. and Soviet Union, make a unified, genuine party even more urgent. Last year we saw the invasion and occupation of Kampuchea by Viet Nam, acting in concert with the Soviets. Last month the Soviets carried out their audacious attack on Afghanistan. There is the continuing U.S.-Iran crisis. International developments are taking place at a very rapid rate and the absence of agreement and unity among Marxist-Leninists diminishes our ability to influence events and make preparations for the looming war danger.

In addition, over this past year, we’ve seen the steady deterioration of the U.S. economy. The wild gold market is a symptom of the problems of U.S. monopoly capitalism. The 1980’s are sure to bring harder times for the working and oppressed peoples in the U.S. The forces of the Marxist-Leninist movement need to be unified to respond to the coming crisis.

The next period will bring tremendous challenges to the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement. We must boldly step up our work to develop strong ties with the masses, give leadership to their struggles, develop a profound grasp of the practical movement, and ensure that a party disciplined, united and militant emerges which is capable of overthrowing U.S. imperialism.