Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statements on the Founding of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist)

Declaration on the Founding of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist)

The anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S. has its origins in the great revolutionary mass movement of the 1960’s. During the late 1960’s, the Black liberation movement developed into a storm that was unprecedented in U.S. history. This spearheaded and inspired the struggles of other oppressed nationalities, including Chicanos, Asians, and Puerto Ricans. It was also during this period that a militant anti-imperialist movement grew in opposition to U.S. aggression in Indochina.

A number of revolutionary organizations arose out of these mass movements and strived to give them consistent leadership. These groups, while battling the bourgeoisie, also fought against the danger of the revisionist Communist Party U.S.A., the Progressive Labor Party and other Trotskyite forces which attacked and tried to wreck the young revolutionary movement.

By the early 1970’s, many of the young revolutionary groups began to take up Marxism-Leninism. This was the birth of the contemporary anti-revisionist communist movement. The Marxist-Leninist movement was composed of a number of organizations and collectives as well as individuals. Though young and inexperienced, the Marxist-Leninist movement had to struggle against various forms of opportunism, one after the other, which hid behind the words of Marxism and anti-revisionism. There was the Revolutionary Union (later to become the Revolutionary Communist Party) which, for a while, was a Marxist-Leninist organization, but then, consolidated an economist, national chauvinist and thoroughly right opportunist political line. There was the Communist League (later to become the Communist Labor Party) which pushed all sorts of metaphysics, revisionism and Trotskyism. The Marxist-Leninist forces also had to combat other opportunist organizations like the Workers Viewpoint Organization which tried to posture as “leftists” to cover its real ultra-rightist line and form its party, and tried to wreck the communist movement.

The struggle against all these opportunist forces was a difficult and complex one and the Marxist-Leninist movement was not always clear on how to wage the struggle. Errors were sometimes made. But through the struggle with opportunism, the genuine communist forces developed their understanding of Marxism-Leninism and began to integrate it with the concrete conditions for the U.S. revolution. Important gains were made in exposing and combatting opportunism. The communist forces deepened and broadened their ties with the masses and expanded the ranks of their organizations. In the recent period, important steps have been taken towards unifying the genuine Marxist-Leninists and forging a single vanguard party. It remains the central task of the communist movement to forge a single, unified party of the U.S. working class.

ATM and IWK were two of the Marxist-Leninist forces that originated out of the revolutionary movement of the 1960’s. The two groups were among the better known, experienced and nationwide communist organizations in the U.S. Both had relatively long histories in the revolutionary movement. Both organizations had developed out of the national movements: ATM mainly out of the Chicano movement and IWK mainly out of the Asian nationalities movements. Both organizations also went through much struggle in their development in which there were positive and negative aspects. Overall, both organizations contributed to the development of a Marxist-Leninist line for the revolution; both had battled the revisionists, Trotskyites and other opportunists and won a number of advanced workers and activists to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought; both had put out consistent agitation and propaganda in the form of newspapers, theoretical journals, leaflets and the like; both had led a number of significant struggles in the working class and oppressed nationality movements and both had established firm ties with sections of the mass movement.

The two organizations recognized the importance of building communist unity, and because of this, there had been liaison relations between the two groups from their very beginnings. The two groups tried to resolve differences and achieve unity. The discussions took place over a period of several years and at times the struggle was quite sharp. However, especially over the last year and a half, the two organizations have conducted intensive discussions and struggles over ideological and political line, coordination of mass work and evaluation of past histories. It was out of these discussions that the two organizations achieved unity on every major point.

The Merger Process

The League has drawn important lessons from ATM and IWK’s struggle to unite. We hope that the lessons from the merger process of the two organizations will contribute to the process of unification of U.S. Marxist-Leninists.

The relationship between ATM and IWK was not always marked by smooth discussions, and at times there was sharp struggle. The two organizations though came to better understand the necessity to keep the long range and broad interests of the masses and proletarian revolution in mind. They strived to make a distinction between major points of principle and secondary points. They struggled to build on the unities achieved. At the same time both groups rejected the incorrect method of blurring differences and “negotiating” away principles to have “unity.” Differences of substance were put forward in a clear way and resolved by seeking the truth from facts and conducting frank discussions.

The process of achieving unity required using dialectical materialism and practicing criticism and self-criticism of each other’s line, history and practice. Both organizations were Marxist-Leninist organizations and overall overwhelmingly positive. Indicating and upholding the positive aspects was an essential part of forging unity. But this did not mean that ATM and IWK were without fault. The two groups had both made errors in the past and had weaknesses to overcome. An essential part of forging greater unity was the recognition and criticisms of the past errors and weaknesses. Sometimes it is not easy to accept criticism and practice self-criticism, but this is what was required in order to be able to correct and eliminate what was incorrect, and to build upon what was positive.

For ATM, while it had strived to keep the overall situation in mind and play a leading role in the struggle to forge a communist party, it made serious errors of participating in formations initiated by certain opportunist groups. ATM made errors of metaphysics and idealism, such as adopting for a period a “left” line on party building which pitted mass work against the task of party building.

For IWK, its main error had been narrowness in its work in which it belittled the struggle in the Marxist-Leninist movement. This narrowness was also reflected in that it did not broadly expand its work as much as it could have at times. This had limited the contributions IWK could have made and also led to other errors.

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. This was done in order to evaluate not just the words, but also, the deeds of each group. To make an evaluation of an organization it is necessary to review what is said and also what is done.

After a certain level of unity had been reached between the two groups, it was developed to a higher level in the course of engaging in joint work in various mass campaigns. ATM and IWK forged practical unity by struggling to apply the mass line. The groups developed a common understanding and approach to issues in the mass movement such as propaganda and agitation, work with advanced elements, united front work, the struggle against opportunism, and independent communist work.

The merger process of ATM and IWK stands in sharp contrast to the way other forces have attempted to build themselves and relate to other communist forces. Groups with opportunist lines have invariably adopted unprincipled and opportunist methods of struggle in the communist movement.

The RU, for example, never approached relations with the other Marxist-Leninist forces by trying to resolve differences and achieve unity. The RU’s liaison policy was aimed at wrecking or splitting other communist groups.

The RU in the National Liaison Committee did not promote principled struggle to overcome contradictions among the groups, but rather tried to stifle struggle by refusing to discuss line differences or by trying to intimidate other groups into accepting the RU’s opportunist line. The RU declared itself the center and the “party” and refused to take any of the other Marxist-Leninist organizations seriously. As a result, the RU never was able to correct the deviations in its line and unite with any other Marxist-Leninist forces. The RU eventually degenerated into complete opportunism.

As the merger of ATM and IWK proves, Marxist-Leninists have nothing to fear by boldly criticizing their errors, and by struggling firmly but patiently to resolve their differences. The merger of ATM and IWK could have come about in no other way.

Political Line of the League

The political line of the League was developed through a process of struggle between ATM and IWK, during which, we attempted to sum up our work and apply Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to the concrete conditions of the U.S. We are presenting, here, the general views of the League on some of the key questions facing the U.S. revolutionary movement. The League will be putting forward its ideas in a more full way in the coming months, both through our theoretical journal and in the pages of Unity.

On Party Building and the Communist Movement.

The League maintains that the central task continues to be party building. There have been important gains made in the struggle against opportunism and forging a Marxist-Leninist line for the U.S. revolution. Communists have also developed their ties with the masses, but overall, the communist movement is still in a process of maturing and development.

In recent years there has been the emergence of new organizations, splits in old major ones, the declaration of some as the party, the rectification of errors and a process of forward development by other organizations, and the degeneration of some into complete opportunism and revisionism.

The League believes that three conditions must be met in order to forge a single, unified, vanguard party. These are the development of a Marxist-Leninist line and the demarcation of this line with opportunism; the unification of the genuine Marxist-Leninists around this line as expressed in a party program; and the establishment of strong ties with the working and oppressed masses by practicing the line. As of this time, these conditions still have not been fully met and it is the task of the communist movement to meet these conditions as rapidly as possible. The forging of a single, unified, Marxist-Leninist party at the earliest possible date is an urgent task of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement due to the sharpening of major contradictions domestically and worldwide.

The communist movement today is composed of several national organizations, a number of local collectives and independent Marxist-Leninists. The major Marxist-Leninist groups have distinguished themselves by their upholding of Chairman Mao’s theory of the three worlds, upholding the dictatorship of the proletariat and supporting socialist China under the leadership of Comrade Hua Kuo-feng and the Communist Party of China, recognizing the revolutionary significance of the alliance of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples in the U.S. revolution and other important points.

These views characterize the major Marxist-Leninist organizations, but the League also recognized that due to uneven and different development, there are other revolutionary and communist collectives and organizations that are still developing their opinions.

Furthermore, among the established communist groups there are still some major differences, such as on the evaluation of the communist movement, the national question and trade union work.

The established communist organizations have all made contributions to the revolution; but, in assessing the past and present work of all the different organizations, no one group has established itself as the leading center for the entire communist movement. There are several centers at this time. A single leading center inevitably emerges through the party building process, providing theoretical and practical leadership to the movement through the correctness of its line, its demarcation with opportunism and its ability to give consistent practical leadership to the revolutionary movement. But, such a center has not yet come forth.

The League will contribute as much as it can to unifying the Marxist-Leninist movement and furthering the revolution in this country to help forge a single, unified, vanguard party.

More specifically, the League will strive to unite the established communist groups, such as through the Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists. The League is confident that out of the efforts of the CUML, a single, unified communist party will be forged. The League believes that all the aspects of its work, theoretical, practical, and organizational, help to contribute to the conditions to forge the single, unified vanguard party.

On the International Situation.

The League believes that Chairman Mao’s theory of the three worlds is a brilliant guide for revolutionary practice. The theory points out the two superpowers, the U.S. and U.S.S.R., as the main enemies on a worldwide scale. The main force opposing the two superpowers is the third world, which is the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the socialist countries. A middle force that can be united with against the superpowers is the second world, the lesser capitalist countries such as those in Europe.

The world today is characterized by the rising factors for both war and revolution. Internationally, countries want independence, nations want liberation, and the people want revolution this has become an irresistible historical tide. The international united front against the two superpowers is developing in struggle. At the same time, the danger of war between the two superpowers is increasing daily. The two superpowers inevitably will go to war in their competition to achieve world hegemony. The U.S. is the stronger power, yet it is declining. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, is a fascist power that is on the rise relative to the U.S. The Soviet Union is the most dangerous source of war and the more aggressive superpower as it frantically works to build its own empire.

The focus of the contention of the two superpowers is Europe, with its highly developed industry, markets and resources. The danger of an invasion of Europe by the Soviet social-imperialists is a real one and threatens the sovereignty of the European countries.

The masses of people can postpone the outbreak of war by waging struggle against the aggressive moves of the superpowers, their war preparations and threats.

Over the past couple of years the Soviets have especially stepped up their activities in Africa, using Cuban forces as their mercenaries. This is evident in places such as Angola, Ethiopia, and Zaire. At the same time, the U.S. imperialists are scurrying around trying to find ways to maintain their hold in Africa, such as by continuing to prop up the racist southern African regimes.

The struggles of the third world though have dealt harsh blows against the two superpowers, frustrating their attempts to achieve world domination. The international proletariat has a powerful revolutionary ally in the third world and should fully support its struggles.

The struggles of the countries, nations, and peoples against the two superpowers help weaken the common main enemy; and thus, help each others’ struggles. Whatever actions help to weaken or isolate the two superpowers should be supported and utilized to help further the world struggle.

The theory of the three worlds is a powerful weapon, as it proceeds from reality and gives the masses of people the power of a correct orientation for struggle. The theory is based on the interests of the masses of people and is a strategic guide to achieve genuine independence, national liberation and socialism.

The People’s Republic of China has played an invaluable role in providing an example of socialism to the people of the world. It has helped people around the world in their struggles for revolution and economic construction. The Communist Party of China has provided guidance for communists around the world. It is for these reasons that the two superpowers slander and threaten China. The Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and Comrade Hua Kuo-feng, achieved a great victory in defeating the “gang of four’s” attempts to disrupt socialism and to usurp political power. The Chinese people have undertaken the tremendous task of constructing a modern socialist country by the end of the century, and this will be a great support for the struggles of the masses of people around the world.

On the Domestic Situation.

The League maintains that a victorious socialist revolution and the construction of socialism, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, is the objective of the revolutionary class struggle in the U.S. The principle contradiction in the U.S. is the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie, and this will be resolved only through the armed revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

The proletariat must form an alliance with the oppressed nationalities in the U.S. The alliance of the proletariat and oppressed nationalities is the basic core of forces in the revolution. The national movements in the U.S. have a tremendously revolutionary potential. It is necessary for communists to unite with these movements and strive to lead them to join with the working class to overthrow the monopoly capitalist system and bring an end to national oppression.

Presently the U.S. capitalist system continues to be in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The U.S. imperialist system, worldwide, is on the decline and the struggles of various countries and peoples against U.S. imperialism is giving the U.S. bourgeoisie increasing difficulties. The struggle with the other superpower is also intensifying. Consequently, the monopoly capitalists are increasing their exploitation and oppression of the people. This is reflected in the widespread economic attacks on the masses in which the income, living standards and working conditions of the working class are declining. National oppression is intensifying, as represented in issues such as the Bakke Decision, the increasing repression, and the police murders of oppressed nationalities throughout the country.

The offensive of the bourgeoisie against the masses is giving rise to broad mass resistance and struggle. Conditions inside the U.S. are excellent for revolutionary work and activity at this time. There is virtually no industry, nationality, or locality that remains unaffected by the rising mass struggles. With the sharpening of contradictions in all of these ways, communists have even greater and more complex tasks to shoulder.

Marxist-Leninists must push ahead their work in the working class and oppressed nationality movements by participating in their day-to-day struggles, organizing them and leading them. Communists must strive to lead the mass struggles in a revolutionary way against the capitalist system. Through the course of struggle communists must raise the political consciousness of the workers and masses of people and develop the advanced elements into communists.

With the heightening contention between the two superpowers, communists also have the responsibility to prepare the masses materially and mentally for the eventuality of a new world war. Communists must warn the masses of the danger of war and prepare them for such a development by intensifying revolutionary work and winning the masses to support all the forces internationally that are opposing the two superpowers.

In the event of war, Marxist-Leninists must make a concrete analysis of the nature of the war as it develops. Communists would support all just wars of national defense and liberation of countries suffering aggression, especially by the superpowers. Communists would oppose any imperialist war fought for the redivision of the world by the two superpowers and the attitude of communists would be to turn such a war into a civil war to overthrow the U.S. bourgeoisie. The stand of Marxist-Leninists on war is always based on the analysis of concrete conditions of world politics.

On Labor and Trade Union Work.

The League maintains that communist organizations must be rooted in the factories and workplaces. The basic form of communist organization should be the factory nucleus. Communists must take up and lead the economic and other day-to-day struggles of the workers against their exploitation. Communists must also lead the workers in political struggle and constantly raise their political consciousness.

The working class, on its own, spontaneously develops trade union consciousness; but this is not yet socialist consciousness, full class consciousness. Political training and education of the working class is essential to make the proletarian revolution. This consciousness will develop through the educational work of communists and the involvement of workers in campaigns around international and domestic events.

The working class is waging sharp struggles in the trade unions. These organizations are the most basic and broadest form of organization of the working class. They originated to help the working class improve the conditions for the sale of its labor power, but at present, the trade union apparatus in the U.S. is in the hands of corrupted, counter-revolutionary agents of the bourgeoisie. The working class must wrest back the trade unions, make them into genuine fighting organizations for the masses of workers and win the trade unions to the side of the proletarian revolution.

The working class must vigorously struggle against the labor aristocracy and trade union bureaucrats, who act as the agents of the bourgeoisie within the workers movement. The labor aristocracy and bureaucrats are fed from crumbs of the superprofits the imperialists reap by plunder. The labor aristocracy is a small section of the working class, which has an economic and political interest in the preservation of imperialism, and will fight to the death to defend the bourgeoisie. The labor aristocracy is an active promoter of racism, national chauvinism, and anti-communism. The struggle against the labor aristocracy and the union bureaucrats is a protracted one and a component part of the proletarian revolution.

Marxist-Leninists must pay attention to the national question in all trade union and labor work. This is essential because the U.S. working class is multi-national in character and the task of uniting the working class must necessarily include the struggle against national oppression, inequalities, and all forms of national privilege and chauvinism. This is part of the work that is necessary to forge the strategic alliance of the working class and oppressed nationalities.

In addition, communists must also take up the struggle of unemployed and nonunionized workers. Communists take up the task of organizing the unorganized as part of the struggle to improve the immediate conditions of the workers and build their organized strength. Furthermore, this struggle is often a struggle against national oppression since a large percentage of oppressed nationality workers have been systematically excluded from trade unions by the capitalists and the trade union bureaucrats as one means of enforcing super-exploitation and the system of national oppression.

The League recognizes the advanced workers as revolutionary-minded leaders of the working class, able to win the confidence of their fellow workers and who wish to overthrow capitalism. The advanced workers want Marxism-Leninism and are open to transforming themselves into communists. They oppose opportunism in the working class in words and in deeds. It is the responsibility of Marxist-Leninists to develop the advanced workers to the level of communists, and in a way that strengthens the solidarity and fighting capacity of the masses of workers. There are relatively few advanced workers at this time. But through the work of communists among the masses of workers, more and more advanced workers will emerge from the ranks of the average and lower stratum workers. Communists work with advanced workers not from the point of view of winning over individual workers alone, isolated from the class struggle of the masses, but rather, in close connection with the struggle of all the workers.

On the National Question.

The League recognizes the important and critical role of this question to the U.S. revolution. The intense national oppression, which the tens of millions of oppressed nationality people in this country have suffered, has created a powerful revolutionary potential.

National oppression in the U.S. today is an inherent feature of the capitalist system and is directly tied to the lifeblood of monopoly capitalism. The complete eradication of national oppression can only come about through the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of socialism.

Due to their oppression under capitalism, the oppressed nationalities have developed militant national movements opposing national oppression. The demands of the oppressed peoples include the right of self-determination for the oppressed nations and equal status for the national minorities. The right of self-determination is a right for the oppressed nations to freely determine their own political futures, including the right to secede and establish their own independent state. Self-determination may not necessarily take the form of secession, as it may take the form of voluntary union and/or a form of regional autonomy.

Equal status is the right of the minority nationalities to be recognized as equals having the right to participate fully in state, cultural, educational and other affairs. This includes the recognition of the equality of all languages and opposition to all forms of national discrimination and racism. Equal status may also include forms of regional autonomy in areas of concentration of minority nationalities.

The proletariat must uphold the right of self-determination for oppressed nations, such as for the Afro-American nation in the Black belt South and equal status for the national minorities, such as the Puerto Rican and other minorities. The proletariat must also uphold independence for the colonies held by the U.S., such as Puerto Rico.

Theoretically, it is possible that the demands for self-determination and equal status can be achieved under capitalism, as they are democratic demands. These demands may be wrested from the present ruling class without overthrowing the system of exploitation. But this would happen only under very unusual circumstances, such as in the midst of a revolutionary upsurge and crisis in the ruling class. Furthermore, they would be achieved only in a limited, distorted or temporary way.

These rights could only alleviate or alter national oppression; but could not, in themselves, eliminate national oppression. In the final analysis, the destruction of monopoly capitalism and the construction of socialism is required to put a complete end to national oppression. The national movements, therefore, are a component part of the U.S. proletarian revolution.

Communists must strive to win the leadership of the national movements and lead them towards revolution. Communists must strive to unite all who can be united in the national struggles to oppose the bourgeoisie’s system of national oppression. Only the working class, under communist leadership, can lead the oppressed masses to complete emancipation.

The struggle to lead the national movements in a consistently revolutionary direction requires class struggle in the national movements. The working class must win the leadership of the national movements. The petty bourgeoisie of the oppressed nationalities often fight against national oppression and can be united with. But at the same time, they also promote various forms of narrow nationalism or reformism as the solution to national oppression. If the petty bourgeoisie leads the national movement, the struggle against national oppression will not be thorough and decisive. There are also different types of opportunists in the national movements who present themselves as “Marxist-Leninists” or “revolutionaries,” but, in practice, promote incorrect paths for the national movements. These opportunists try to use the national movements to further their own careers and they must be exposed to the masses of people through the course of struggle for the charlatans they are.

Communists must always struggle for the unity of workers of all nationalities and win the working class to unite with and support the struggle against national oppression.

On the Woman Question.

The League maintains that the oppression of women is an integral part of class society. The emancipation of women will come through the elimination of class society by the socialist revolution.

In the U.S., today, the masses of women are cruelly oppressed economically, socially, and politically. Capitalist laws, customs, institutions and traditions keep women subordinate to men, bound to the home and family and treated unequally in society.

A large number of women must also work and are exploited in generally low paying jobs, such as light assembly, service, and clerical work. In addition, women are paid much less than men, even for the same jobs. In these ways, the capitalists oppress the masses of women and reap big profits from exploiting their labor power.

The working women of the oppressed nationalities suffer the most, as they face a triple oppression of their class, sex and nationality. They suffer in most brutal forms such as forced sterilization by the bourgeoisie.

The struggle against the oppression of women is a mass question that concerns the entire working class. The working class must be won to support the struggle against women’s oppression. The struggle against women’s oppression will help the masses of working and oppressed women to play a full role in the working class movement, the national movements, and in other progressive movements.

Communists must struggle for the particular demands of women such as demands for equal pay for equal work. Workers must fight for the equality and well-being of women, oppose discrimination against women and support special demands which aid the struggle of women for equality.

The working class must also fight for demands that will improve the conditions of the masses of women, such as for public childcare and against male supremacist ideology and practices.

Women have always played a major role in the revolutionary movement of every country; and the masses of women in the U.S. are playing and will play an extremely important role in the socialist revolution.


The formation of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) is an important advance for the entire U.S. communist movement. It is a step forward in the unification of Marxist-Leninists in this country.

The League has a solid foundation to make contributions to the revolutionary movement. It has brought together the experiences, knowledge and mass ties of the August Twenty-ninth Movement (Marxist-Leninist) and I Wor Kuen. The League will be continuing and expanding the mass work already begun by ATM and IWK.

At the same time, the League recognizes that there are great tasks that he before it and the entire communist movement. The Marxist-Leninist movement must deepen its understanding of the objective conditions and further integrate Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought with the U.S. revolution. The Marxist-Leninist movement must unify its ranks and struggle to forge a single, vanguard party. Communists must develop their ties with the masses. These are essential and immediate tasks for all Marxist-Leninists and the League of Revolutionary Struggle will do all that it can to help fulfill these tasks.