Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee

Reply to the COUSML Pamphlet: “Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC”


First Published: Class Against Class, No. 11, August 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.


For more than three decades, the central task facing the communist and workers movement in the U.S. has been the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist vanguard Party to lead the proletariat and its allies in socialist revolution. The Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee was founded over three years ago and set out to complete the preparations required for the formation of the Party. Since that time we have carried forward five tasks required to complete the building of the genuine Party in the U.S. – carrying out industrial and political concentration; drafting and circulating a draft party program for the new party; developing a nation-wide center for agitation and propaganda; struggling for Marxist-Leninist unity; and making the necessary preparations for convening the Party Congress.

In line with this plan, on March 1, 1978 we issued an “Open Letter” to a number of organizations, requesting struggle around the Draft Party Program.

Several organizations came forward and entered into discussion and work for the reconstitution of the Party. The response to the Draft Party Program has proved the importance of the program as a unifier and mobilizer in the struggle for the Party in the U.S.

Other organizations, however, did not respond to our call for discussion, for they had long ago departed from Marxism-Leninism.

Still others, such as the Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists (COUSML) responded that they would be unwilling to discuss the Draft Party Program.

Instead, COUSML issued a 90-page pamphlet, “Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC”. It is obvious that this polemic was not simply a response to the “Open Letter” of the MLOC.

Instead, COUSML chose to interpret the Draft Party Program as an “ultimatum” and part of a “long standing war against revolutionary Marxist-Leninists”, whose purpose, they said, is to “stop the struggle against social chauvinism.” The main charge COUSML levels at the MLOC is that of conciliation with social chauvinism. For COUSML, “the central issue in the U.S. Marxist Leninist movement is how to fight social chauvinism.” In fact, this 90-page pamphlet is twice as long as any pamphlet they have previously issued, including those against their “central issue”, social chauvinism.

This is the kind of long-winded item, packed with so many fantastic formulations, ’left’ sounding phrases and outright lies and misrepresentations of the line of the MLOC that, as Lenin once said, it would take tens of pages to respond to even one paragraph.

Many readers may be unfamiliar with COUSML or their “Reply”, due to COUSML’s lack of live ties in the revolutionary movement in this country. Yet, there are some very important questions raised by COUSML’s “Reply” which merit attention.

The special importance of this pamphlet rests in the fact that the COUSML is one organization which appears to oppose the counter-revolutionary theory of the “three worlds”. Therefore it would seem that there would be potential for developing genuine unity based upon Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

In our efforts to build unity with COUSML, however, we found differences not only on how to struggle against the theory of the ”three worlds” but also on many other fundamental questions.

This is one of the most important lessons to be learned in this discussion. Genuine unity, the unity based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, can never rest solely on the struggle against one form of opportunism, such as the counter-revolutionary theory of the ”three worlds”. More correctly, genuine unity requires agreement on the overall struggle against imperialism and all forms of opportunism, including the struggle against social chauvinism.

Three years ago, in a letter to COUSML dated November 7, 1975, we stated ”We have pointed to three basic and important questions on which a comparison of the lines of the MLOC and the COUSML finds significant difference: 1. The present period in the communist movement, building unity in the communist movement and the history of the Communist Party USA; 2. The Black National Question; 3. The present era (On this last point it was and still is the position of COUSML that “Mao Tsetung Thought is the highest development of Marxism, the Marxism-Leninism of our era.”)

Our recent experience with COUSML and the “Reply” have only served to deepen our differences. COUSML’s “Reply” seeks to slander and disrupt the struggle for the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist Party. But more important, its main thrust is to sow confusion and concern internationally. It is not directed at workers in the U.S. – as anyone can see by looking at it – but at the Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations worldwide with whom the MLOC has begun to build strong and important ties based upon Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

The attempt of COUSML to skyrocket to stardom in the struggle against the counter-revolutionary theory of the “three worlds” will never manage to hide or cover over their incorrect stand toward the class struggle within the U.S. and their virtual isolation from the revolutionary movement of the U.S.

In this article, we have not attempted to sum up the entire history of COUSML, its origins or its present day practice. Instead, we have responded to some of the important questions raised by their “Reply”: the struggle against opportunism – including the struggle against social chauvinism; the struggle for the Party; the Black National Question; and some questions of proletarian internationalism. We believe that this will provide an important basis to determine that the stand, viewpoint and method of COUSML is in stark opposition to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.


The first sentence of COUSML’s “Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC” is “Today the central issue in the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Movement is how to fight social-chauvinism.” (“Reply”, page 7) The heart of the difference between the MLOC and COUSML, in many ways, lies in this first sentence. Today the central issue in the U.S. communist and workers movement is not how to fight social chauvinism.The central issue remains how to fight modern revisionism which remains the main danger in the communist and workers movement here in the U.S. as worldwide. The social-chauvinism of the Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist and the theory of the “three worlds” are an integral part of modern revisionism, but far from the whole. By focusing almost exclusively on this issue, COUSML, as we will show below, conciliates with modern revisionism and opportunism on several issues, especially with the revisionists of the CPUSA.

To grasp the essentials of what divides the stand of Marxism-Leninism from COUSML, we need to understand the relationship between opportunism and social chauvinism. Though COUSML frequently refers to these terms, it distorts them by putting the part before the whole.

The first great development of the social chauvinist trend and also the first great exposure of it occurred at the time of World War I. The exposure was carried out by Lenin, who gave social chauvinism its definition and exposed its historical roots and its political and economic essence.

“By social-chauvinism”, said Lenin, “we mean acceptance of the idea of the defense of the fatherland in (the present) imperialist war, justification of an alliance bptwpen socialists and the bourgeoisie and the governments of their ’own’ countries in this war, a refusal to propagate and support proletarian revolutionary actions against one’s own bourgeoisie, etc.” (The Collapse of the Second International, Vol.21, page 242.)

Lenin went on to say, “It is perfectly obvious that social-chauvinism’s basic ideological and political content fully coincides with the foundations of opportunism. It is one and the same tendency. In the conditions of the war of 1914-15, opportunism leads to social-chauvinism. The idea of class collaboration is opportunism’s main feature.” While opportunism had been developing in the course of many decades through the collaboration of the labor aristocracy with the bourgeoisie, World War I made social-chauvinism “particularly conspicuous and inescapable.”

Today, though no open shooting has begun, the CP/ML, as evidenced in its slogan of directing the main blow at the U.S.S.R. (see UNITE! especially August 1977) and its chiding of the U.S. imperialists for appeasing the U.S.S.R. is a most open and rotten example of social chauvinism. Certainly, our quarrel with COUSML is not that it has attacked the CP/ML or even its exaggerated personalization of “Klonskyism”.

No, our major disagreement with COUSML on this question is that it narrows its attack to the most jingoistic manifestation of opportunism and modern revisionism in the U.S. today, the CP/ML. COUSML completely ignores the struggle against Khrushchevite revisionism in the form of the CPUSA, which today is the more powerful influence in the working class movement. Not only does COUSML abandon the struggle against the foremost representative of modern revisionism in the United States, it demands that the MLOC and all others do the same.

COUSML’s chief charge against the MLOC is that we vacillate on the question of social chauvinism. It argues, “Today everyone is being put to the test in the great movement against social-chauvinism” (“Reply”, page 81). COUSML quotes a sentence from the Draft Party Program where we write, “In the U.S. the main representative of modern revisionism is the CPUSA with its line of detente.” COUSML says that “This elevation of ’detente’ to the main characterization of a distinct ’line’ or ’variety’ of revisionism is a crude fraud designed to prettify social-chauvinist war hysteria under the banner of opposing ’detente’.”(“Reply”, page 48)

Certainly the CPUSA is not elevated to the position of a “distinct line or variety” of modern revisionism. In fact, there are two full pages in the Program on Khrushchevite revisionism, of which the CPUSA is a component part. But what is it that really bothers COUSML? Is it, as COUSML claimed, that the MLOC raises the banner of detente to hold back the struggle against social chauvinism and conciliate with “Klonskyite Pentagon socialists” (“Reply”, page 48)?

This claim by COUSML counterposes the struggle against detente with the struggle against the theory of the ”three worlds”. We call attention to the correct position on this question as put forward by the Party of Labor of Albania: “The imperialist-revisionist propaganda on ’disarmament’, ’detente’, and ’world without wars and conflicts’ has as its aim only to deceive the people and to arouse in them dangerous illusions. The preachings of the theorists of the ’three worlds’ to rely on one imperialism and on one aggressive bloc to fight the other, to play the game of U.S. imperialism, NATO and reactionary and fascist regimes present the same danger.” (Albanian Telegraph Agency, June 22, 1978, page 5) The fact is, as the Albanian comrades point out, that internationally the propaganda on detente and disarmament represent the same danger to the peoples of the world as that of the theory of the “three worlds.”

Contrary to COUSML, which claims the struggle against social chauvinism is the central and only question, the MLOC holds that struggle must be waged against all forms of opportunism. We absolutely refuse in the present situation to direct our fire totally at the CP/ML and ignore the hold of the CPUSA on the working class movement. COUSML has closed its eyes to the fact that the CPUSA has a long history in the working class and national liberation struggles in this country and, in fact, is now making major new inroads into trade unions with their “left-center coalition.”

Today the CPUSA has major influence and control in trade unions like the United Electrical Workers, steelworkers, auto-workers, and longshoremen. The CPUSA has gained and is continuing to gain support within the Black liberation movement with the likes of Angela Davis, and work around the Wilmington Ten. For COUSML, all this is nothing to be concerned about.

COUSML says all this is secondary, that we should just hit the social chauvinists. In reality, their struggle against the social chauvinism of the CP/ML is waged by newsprint, not in the factories, mills or mines, or in the struggle to free Gary Tyler. It is not the MLOC who conciliates with social chauvinism, it is COUSML which both relegates this struggle to the battle of words, and abandons the struggle against the CPUSA and other opportunists.

COUSML goes on to charge that the MLOC is “dangling in fear of appeasement before the mind of the reader but is afraid to say so openly and consistently” (“Reply”, page 56). This slander again flows from their negation of the struggle against the line of detente. In Revolution Will Surely Triumph! the MLOC laid out the collusion of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the Intimidation of Europe. COUSML ignores this whole piece and goes on to an article in UNITE! on the same subject. In an article on Carter’s worldwide trip, UNITE! Volume 4, number 1, we pointed out that for different reasons neither Carter nor the second-rank imperialists have any intention to set up a line which would successfully resist the initial attack of the Soviet Union. Nor will they do so in the near future.

The plan of U.S. imperialism flows directly from the line of detente, which has in it elements of both collusion and contention. In Europe, both NATO and the Warsaw Pact collude at the expense of the European proletariat while both blocs maneuver to improve their positions in their fundamental conflict for world hegemony and maximum profits. These actions have nothing at all to do with appeasement by U.S. imperialism, but are a part of its overall aggressive plan. Explaining this is hardly a position of chastizing the U.S. bourgeoisie for not adequately arming Europe or NATO.

Before leaving this section on social chauvinism, there are several distortions which cannot be permitted to pass. According to COUSML, MLOC “made a few polemical jabs” at the social chauvinist thesis of directing the main blow at the U.S.S.R. but is “embarrassed” by that. The MLOC, COUSML charged, left out any reference to this thesis in the Draft Party Program, in the “Political Report to the First Congress” and in Revolution Will Surely Triumph! and prefers instead to focus attention on “detente” (“Reply”, page 53)

What can be made of these distortions and slanders? On page 7 of the “Political Report” (Class Against Class number 10), we write,“We will not follow the road taken by the CPUSA and we will not fight under the banner of social chauvinists today who call for unity with the U.S. bourgeoisie against the Soviet Union.”

In the Draft Party Program, we write, “The proletariat strikes its main blow at the imperialist bourgeoisie, the savage and irreconcilable enemy of the proletariat and its allies.” (page 31)

In Revolution Will Surely Triumph! there is an entire section that upholds both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are the main enemy. It states, ”It is wrong to propose an alliance, under present conditions, with either of them.” (page 31). There is a further section that states explicitly, “A Key element in this strategy, often overlooked and repudiated by opportunists, is the need to strike the main blow at the enemy in the direction of the compromising forces.” (Revolution Will Surely Triumph! page 37) This is explained in length, so that there could not be any confusion about what it means, both here in the U.S. and internationally.

Readers can see that this charge of COUSML has absolutely no basis in reality. Once again, their desperate fear of taking up the struggle against the CPUSA and Khrushchevite revisionism forces them to attack the MLOC without foundation.

COUSML goes on to charge that the MLOC tails after the CP/ML. With this charge they have had to come up with complete fabrications. For example, they say, “In this way, the MLOC presents a flabby, conciliatory attitude towards the Klonskyites, who are presented as having ’once opposed revisionism consistently and stood for revolution’ (Revolution Will Surely Triumph!, page 13) but who today are merely making some serious opportunist errors.” (“Reply”, page 53-54) But when one goes to Revolution Will Surely Triumph! to check this passage there is no mention of Klonsky, the October League or of the CP/ML! There is, however, discussion of parties and organizations, such as the Chinese Communist Party, which once opposed revisionism and stood for revolution and which now hold opportunist lines.

As for the CP/ML, from our founding we have held that the CP/ML and its forerunner, the October League, was a right opportunist trend. This was summed up in UNITE! Volume 2, number 1 which stated, “The ideology, politics, program and practical activity of the October League represents a definite right opportunist trend not simply a right deviation.”

Furthermore, prior to the publication of Revolution Will Surely Triumph!, we published a major editorial in UNITE! in August of 1977 entitled ”Communist Party/ML, A Social Prop of the Bourgeoisie”. There we stated that the CP/ML was a revisionist party. We also summarized the historical degeneration of the October League on all major questions of party building, the national question, the re-writing of the history of the CPUSA and other positions which we had condemned consistently over the previous two years.

In this editorial we wrote, “Breaking with social chauvinism and revisionism is a question which affects all aspects of the program of the proletariat. The basic program of the CP/ML on all major questions reflects its class collaborationist and revisionist stand.” Yet despite these statements and many others exposing the chauvinism of the CP/ML in the pages of UNITE!, COUSML entitles a chapter in their pamphlet, “MLOC Denies the Connection Between Open Social-Chauvinism and Three Worldism and the Opportunism and Neo-Revisionism That Preceded It” (“Reply”, page 34).

It is not the MLOC who separates the struggle against social chauvinism from the struggle against opportunism and revisionism. It is COUSML who states that the central issue is the fight against social chauvinism thus leaving alone the main component of Khrushchevite revisionism in the U.S., the CPUSA.

Social chauvinism is the inevitable outcome of opportunism, especially in the periods of imperialist war. All opportunist parties will take up the cry for the defense of the fatherland when an imperialist war breaks out. This is true not only for the CP/ML who have already jumped out in favor of the U.S. bourgeoisie, but also for the CPUSA and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. And this in no way is changed by the fact that today the CPUSA supports the U.S.S.R. During the time of imperialist war, a large section of the CPUSA will side with the U.S. bourgeoisie, with the rest supporting the U.S.S.R. In such periods, it is only the Marxist-Leninists that can stand firm against all brands of betrayal.

COUSML, by concentrating its fire only on the social chauvinism of the CP/ML, denies the connection between opportunism and social chauvinism. It is the COUSML who are the conciliators with modern revisionism.


Beneath the rhetorical frenzy of COUSML’s “Reply” lies its view of party building in the U.S. More than anything else, COUSML’s view on the reconstruction of the communist party reveals its isolation from the working class and its profound misunderstanding of the tasks ahead.

The reconstituion of the Marxist-Leninist communist Party of the U.S. proletariat has been our central task since 1944, when the Communist Party USA was destroyed by revisionism. Since that time there have been many attempts to reconstruct the party, all of which have resulted in the creation of more bourgeois parties.

But listening to COUSML’s version of the struggle for the party is like listening to a story from another country: it has so little to do with what has gone on in the U.S. According to COUSML, Marxist-Leninists have “had a national center ever since the formation of the American Communist Workers Movement /ML, a predecessor of COUSML, in May 1969” (“Reply”, page 61). COUSML claims that the ACWM/ML ”united all those who could be united into a single nationwide Marxist-Leninist center, the first center for the wide-scale dissemination of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in the U.S.” (“Reply”, page 41).

This portrayal of the U.S. has nothing in common with the reality of that period. The ACWM/ML, which arose out of a meeting in Canada, hardly represented a national center of “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought” which ”rapidly spread across the U.S.” (“Reply”, page 62) This organization had no known work in the most important plants, mines and mills in the U.S., nor work in the South or Southwest. It played no significant national role in any of the major mass movements of the period, such as the struggle against the War in Indochina.

The kind of national center that COUSML itself represents can be seen from looking over the last six months of their newspaper, The Workers Advocate. Published six times between January and June 1978, it has appeared from seven to 40 days apart.

During this period, this “national center” conducted no Marxist-Leninist agitation or propaganda in its paper on the struggle of the autoworkers, the situation in the Black Belt or in the Southwest. There is a single, meager article on Carter’s plans in steel. For all the articles on the “Afro-American” people’s struggle, it has put forward a completely bankrupt and revisionist line on the course of this struggle. Nor were there any articles on the Chicano National Question. (The chauvinism of COUSML toward the oppressed nations in the U.S. will be taken up in a later section of this response.) For COUSML, there is no such thing as “white supremacism”, let alone a need to struggle against it among the white sector of the working class.

Even when the Workers Advocate happens to have an article on a major battle of the working class, like the coal strike, we find only tepid analysis coupled with “glorious” praise of the “heroic miners”.

In their article “Glory to the Fighting Coal Miners”, COUSML falls into the same treachery as the RCP: praising without equivocation, the use of wildcats and roving pickets. Possibly COUSML has overlooked the tact that strikes are but one form of struggle to be used by the working class at particular times when they are to the advantage of the workers. There is noth ing in their articles which expresses any tasks that the miners face in rebuilding their union into a revolutionary movement. Questions of tactics, the question of revolutionary leadership, and the link between the day-to-day struggles and the struggle for socialism are no where to be found.

For COUSML, assisting and leading the day-to-day struggles of the working class is simply a matter of some “red salute” here and ”hail the glorious fighters” there. This is the character of the work of the “national center” after nine years.

For COUSML, party building is not a matter of concentrating in the industrial centers of the U.S. or establishing a nationwide network of agitation and propaganda. In fact, COUSML, by its own admission, has no conscious plan for building the new party. As COUSML puts it, ”There is no grand scheme for building the party. There is unity in the struggle against social chauvinism....Those revolutionaries who have been taught by their revolutionary practice the need for the party will unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and opposition to monopoly capitalism and revisionism. Revolutionary social practice will sort out the Marxist-Leninists from the sham elements. We hold that ’where there is a will there is a way’. The Marxist-Leninists who wish to unite will find forms and ways and will not feel compelled to advertise the complete details to all and sundry.” (“How To Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism”, P.35)

Is this really all that the vaunted national center of COUSML has been able to come up with after all those years? To cover this failure and to justify its continuation, as well as its attacks on the MLOC and others for carrying out the necessary steps to reconstruct the Party in the U.S., COUSML puts forward the inspired slogan, “Where there’s a will there’s away!” But Marxism-Lenin-ism teaches us and life confirms that when no conscious plan exists, then there really is no will. Whatever COUSML’s subjective dreams, there is no greater testimony to their wholesale failure to implement their will into a way than the fact that after nine years it has not taken significant steps towards reconstructing the Party.

In fact, COUSML’s pie-in-the-sky plan for building the Party in the U.S. negates the need for a program for the reconstruction of the Party. On page 21 of the “Reply”, they quote the Draft Party Program “The theory of Marxism-Leninism, this program and the Party’s strategy and tactics will ensure the revolutionary mobilization of the proletariat and the oppressed masses and their total victory over the U.S. bourgeoisie.” COUSML then writes, “The theory of Marxism-Leninism is eclectically placed on an even par with the program and the Party’s strategy and tactics. The idealist anti-revisionists do not think that Marxism-Leninism is a sufficient base to unite on or a sufficient basis for the Party.”

The activity of COUSML clearly reflects the view that there is no need for a program, strategy and tactics. Lenin states, in Our Programme, ”We do not regard Marx’s theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that is has only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially essential for Russian socialists; for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which in particular, are applied in England differently than in Germany, and in Germany differently than in Russia” (Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 4, page 211-212, emphasis inoriginal).

It is precisely because COUSML cares so little about the leadership, aims and objectives of the revolutionary movement that the questions of program, strategy and tactics are so irrelevant to this “national center”

Regarding the position of the MLOC toward the party program, COUSML makes the outright lie that “The MLOC believes that the main criteria for whether a Party is principled, Marxist-Leninist or revisionist, is whether it possesses a formal, written program” (“Reply”, page 19). This has never been the view of the MLOC. However, in the United States in particular, with over three decades of modern revisionism, a large labor aristocracy and trade union bureaucracy, and various contending opportunist trends in the working class, a Marxist-Leninist program is absolutely essential in order to be able to organize and coordinate the class struggle on a national level and in order to draw lines of demarcation with opportunism.

Today, there is a fierce struggle against opportunism. Today is a time comparable to the period of struggle against the Second International and Khrushchevite revisionism during the late 1950’s and early 60’s, a time when various opportunist forces preach an alliance with U.S. imperialism. There is an even greater need for a Marxist-Leninist program.

It is a measure of how little COUSML involves itself in the actual working class movement that it does not recognize the need for a genuine Marxist-Leninist program. In place of a Marxist-Leninist program, COUSML claims that this thesis on social chauvinism is their program!

Unsatsified with this slander against the MLOC, COUSML then manufactures a complete distortion of the Party of Labor of Albania on the question of the party program. Raising the historical fact that the PLA did not have a formal written program as late as 1948, COUSML seeks to present a case for its own backwardness. But in fact, the passages cited in The Party of Labor of Albania On the Building and the Life of the Party, pages 80-81 are completely misrepresented by COUSML. What the PLA is pointing to here is exactly the fact that “we under valuated the leading role of the Party by concealing its Program under the shadow of the program of the Front” (page 81).

Misrepresenting the historical experience of the PLA in order to justify its own backwardness on questions of program, strategy and tactics, is unprincipled and an indication of how little COUSML understands Marxism-Leninism.

On still another point on party building, COUSML claims that the MLOC’s motion has been that of upholding fragmented “pre-party collectives”. This is a total distortion of the path the MLOC has pursued in the struggle for the reconstruction of the party.

The MLOC moved quickly to work as an ideological center on a national basis. It moved rapidly to establish factory nuclei in major industrial cities and in the territory of the Black Nation. It has for several years pursued discussion with many groups to build principled Marxist-Leninist unity and to struggle out differences.

On this, the issue is not that the COUSML has been the national center and the MLOC has upheld pre-party collectives. Because of fundamental differences in line and because COUSML has never concentrated in the main industrial centers, the MLOC correctly concluded that COUSML was not a Marxist-Leninist center, and therefore set out to consciously complete the necessary steps to build one.

The COUSML charges that the “MLOC has already founded its Party” and that the “draft Program was already adopted by the First Congress” (“Reply”, page 9). This accusation itself demonstrates starkly that COUSML does not understand the fundamentals of democratic centralism or the conscious tasks that are needed for the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist Party. Such organizational congresses are entirely appropriate as is uniting around a draft program ( as The Iskra group did, after all!)

Finally in regard to party building, we must return to an important statement of COUSML. They say that “It is the great historical movement against social-chauvinism which is irresistably giving rise to the reconstitution of the Party”(“Re-ply”, page 38). What is meant by this curious statement?

Exactly how can a Party arise “irresistably” out of the struggle against social chauvinism? Is this not once again a further manifestation of the idealist formulation of “where there’s a will there’s a way”? Certainly a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party is built in the course of the struggle against opportunism, not simply against social chauvinism, but against all forms of class collaboration. The Party has not risen “irresistably” for the last 34 years, and will not do so today.

The Party does not spring spontaneously from anything, but requires a conscious plan that is fought for and implemented in the course of waging the struggle against imperialism and opportunism.

COUSML’s entire “party concept” rests upon the worst type of infantile ’left’ separation from the actual day-to-day struggles of the working class and its allies. The only thing COUSML offers the working class in the way of a plan are its tired “red salutes”. COUSML has not the slightest conception of the correct relationship between the Party and the masses, nor of the relationship between the struggle against imperialism and opportunism.

So now with all the “great movements”, the ”red salutes“ where does this “glorious national center“ stand? After nine years, COUSML has held no congresses, and has no program, no regular press, no shop papers, no programs for specific industries, no constitution, no major work in the trade unions or national movements in this country and no plan to reconstitute the Marxist-Leninist party. In fact, there is virtually nothing that would even suggest them as a national center. This is sober testimony to COUSML’s failure to grasp the essentials of Marxism-Leninism and establish strong and live ties with the masses.


The core of opportunism, as Lenin stresses, is upholding the privileges of “your” bourgeoisie against the oppressed. Within the U.S. one of the major forms of opportunism this takes is national chauvinism, supporting the U.S. bourgeoisie against the oppressed nations and national minorities.

In its attempt to link the stand of the MLOC to that of the social chauvinist CP/ML, COUSML states that on the national question we once again show our conciliation In their derisive terms, both the CP/ML and the MLOC are “Knights of the National Question” (“Reply”, page 38-40). They complain that “The MLOC does not judge groups by their stand in the struggle against the theory of the ’three worlds’ and against social-chauvinism and all revisionism, but by such things as their agreement or lack of agreement with the MLOC’s incessant, moralistic crusade around its special sectarian formulations on the ’National Question’“ (“Reply“, page 39, emphasis added).

But what in fact are these so-called special sectarian formulations that COUSML gets so excited about? They are nothing more nor less than the definite position of Lenin, Stalin and the Communist International on the Black Nation. Through further investigation, we have seen that the question of self-determination also applies to the oppressed Chicano Nation in the U.S. Southwest.

It is on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles on the national question that we have condemned the social chauvinism of the CP/ML for the past two years. And it is on this basis that we have maintained a fundamental difference with COUSML from our very first discussions.

Why, we asked, do they never take up the positions of Lenin and Stalin and the Comintern on the self-determination of the Black Nation. Uphold these positions, or refute them and show how changes in conditions require a change in our position. In fact, on this issue, COUSML holds a centrist position.

As recently as April 1, 1978, COUSML writes “The merging of the Afro-American movement for emancipation and the revolutionary workers movement will bring about the total demise of the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class” (Workers Advocate, page 12). This formulation suggests that the struggle of the “Afro-American” movement is a national liberation struggle, that there is a strategic alliance between this national struggle and the struggle of the multi-national proletariat. But if so, what is the Nation involved? Or is there a Nation? After nearly a decade of existence, COUSML and its predecessor has not put forward a clear position on this question. What is their stand as regards self-determination for the Black Nation? What are the class divisions of the “Afro-American movement”?

In the article noted above, COUSML writes “The Afro-American movement has been set back in the face of the reactionary alliance between the state, the sold-out upper stratum within the Black community and the influence of revisionism, pacifism, terrorism, anarchism, cultural nationalism and opportunism of every hue within the revolutionary ranks“ (Workers Advocate, page 13, emphasis added).

Just exactly what is the class nature of this upper stratum? Or is it like the intellectuals, who do not constitute a class? Could it be a comprador bourgeoisie? After all, we don’t talk about the “upper stratum“ of the white community, namely the U.S. bourgeoisie. So what is this “Black community”? What exactly does this bit of bourgeois sociology signify? Is it a national minority? Is there, we ask COUSML again, a Black Nation?

This paragraph of COUSML, like much of their writing on the oppressed Black Nation of the South and the national minority in other regions of the U.S., strongly follows the line of the CPUSA. The difference is that the COUSML subtly and with all the despicableness of the centrist, sticks in references to a national liberation movement, while at the same time it refuses to come out and say there is or is not a nation. COUSML accuses the CP/ML of counterposing the struggle against racial discrimination and the right of self-determination, but refuses to uphold or deny the existence of the right of self-determination for the Black Nation.

It is exactly this type of vacillation that Stalin heavily attacked in 1928 when he pressed for the CPUSA to adopt the position of Lenin, that there existed an oppressed nation with the right of self-determination. While COUSML speaks a lot about the “International Revolutionary Authority”, they completely ignore the authority of Lenin, Stalin and the Comintern on the Black National Question in the U.S.

On this strategic question of the alliance of the U.S. multinational proletariat and the oppressed nations in the U.S. - the Black Nation in the South, and the Chicano Nation in the Southwest – the MLOC draws firm lines of demarcation within the U.S. communist and workers movement.

Lenin sharply noted that a key test of chauvinism was the position one took toward the oppressed nations within the boundaries of the territory of one’s “own” bourgeoisie. This is exactly another link of the relationship between opportunism and social chauvinism we referred to earlier. On the national question, COUSML shows that it shares much of the essence of social chauvinism with the CP/ML and the CPUSA.


It should come as no surprise that in a period when important steps are being taken to strengthen the unity of the international proletariat, forces will emerge to try and subvert or take advantage of these developments for their individual gain. This is what COUSML has done.

COUSML charges that the MLOC opposed the Internationalist Rally held in Montreal, and that the “MLOC refused to lift a finger to do any work for the Internationalist Rally” (“Reply”, page 79). This is not the case.

The MLOC actively sought to support and participate in the Internationalist Raliy. Several messages were sent to the Communist Party of Canada/Marxist-Leninist, indicating our support and desire to participate in the Rally. Moreover, COUSML distorts the facts when they say the MLOC refused to lift a finger for the Rally. This raises the story of the Chicago Preparatory Committee for the Internationalist Rally, which COUSML initiated. At the very first meeting which the MLOC attended, by invitation of the Preparatory Committee (to which COUSML agreed), COUSML demanded that we not be allowed to participate. When it could not achieve its goal, due to severe criticism of their opportunist position by the others in attendance, it then turned to unprincipled activity. COUSML packed the second meeting and the MLOC was “voted out”.

Between the two meetings, the MLOC actively carried out the work of the Committee, distributing posters and leaflets for the Rally, which members of COUSML and the Preparatory Committee witnessed.

This experience led us to condemn this Preparatory Committee. But at no time has the MLOC even opposed or criticized the Internationalist Rally. What has been criticized is COUSML and the work they carried out in the U.S. for the Rally. The result of their work was to discourage anyone other than their own ranks and close adherents from attending the Rally.

In another distortion, COUSML seeks to demonstrate that the MLOC carries out a policy of “poly-centrism on questions of International Authority”. The purity of Marxism-Leninism and a correct stand toward the international communist workers and communist movement are extremely important issues in the world today.

COUSML, in its attack on the MLOC, raises a remarkable distortion of a statement from the “Political Report of the First Congress of the MLOC” by quoting only a fragment of the passage. In its entirety, the quote reads: “We will base our strategy and tactics on Marxism-Leninism. We are absolutely committed that the party we will build here will stand on its own two feet. The Party will not take orders or directions from anybody. We will not follow blindly the line of any other Party, as great and glorious a party as the Communist Party of China under Mao Tsetung, or as great and glorious a party as the Party of Labor under Enver Hoxha“ (Class Against Class No. 10 p.44.

From this COUSML concocts the accusation that the MLOC “singles out Comrades Mao Tsetung and Enver Hoxha for attack” (“Reply”, page 74). COUSML further concludes that the MLOC holds that comrade Mao Tsetung and Enver Hoxha demand blind submission. This is exactly the opposite of the meaning of the passage in the Political Report. What is spoken to here is past mistakes of the MLOC, when the MLOC did not adequately maintain its own independent bearings and therefore followed incorrectly certain positions of the Communist Party of China. It is absolutely correct that each Marxist-Leninist Party make its own analysis of the class struggle based upon the science of Marxism-Leninism. COUMSL, who fails to make a concrete assessment of the class struggle in the U.S., should heed this point.

Lastly, COUSML, in its conclusion of this section on International Authority, takes the remarkable position that it “regards itself as but one section, one national branch of an International Party, of international communism“ (“Reply”, page 80). This is but one more formulation of “Where there’s a will, there is a way.” If COUSML is such a branch, then we must presume that it is already a Party. Today, there is not a Communist International, yet COUSML claims that it exists and that they are the U.S. section of this International! For COUSML, their pipe dream constitutes revolutionary authority, yet when such authority does exist such as Lenin, Stalin and the Third International on the Black National Question, they ignore it.

It is no secret that over the last few years the MLOC and many other Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations have made significant mistakes in evaluating the international situation and in lending support to the theory of the “three worlds”. Most Marxist-Leninist Parties have today corrected these mistakes. The MLOC has also rectified its error and continues to review its work, recognizing that still greater efforts must be made. But the slanders and distortions of COUSML have nothing to do with a genuine struggle for proletarian internationalism. Their objective is to try to damage the unity of the international proletariat which the MLOC has in small ways contributed to building.


There exists very little of substance to the 90 pages of ’left’ rhetoric, misrepresentation and slander contained in COUSML’s “Reply”. What this “Reply” does reflect is the extent to which COUSML has abandoned genuine Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism in its conciliation with the CPUSA, its national chauvinism toward the oppressed nations in the U.S., its separation from the masses, its idealist and revisionist views toward the tasks of the proletariat and the reconstruction of the Marxist-Leninist Party, and its pathetic failure to organize, educate and mobilize the proletariat in the course of its self-proclaimed existence as a “national center.”

COUSML tries to paint a picture which portrays COUSML as the only real fighter against social chauvinism. All of a sudden, COUSML now “leads the camp of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism in the U.S.” (Workers Advocate, July 24, 1978, page 13). It makes the fantastic claim that the MLOC conciliates with social chauvinism. COUSML justifies its extravagant “Reply” on the grounds that “every new step against the social chauvinists finds itself coming up against the opposition and intrigues of the MLOC“ (“Reply”, page 11). This is patently absurd.

But the real intention of this slander against the MLOC is to try to prevent the formation of a genuine Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S. COUSML is doing all it can to weaken the proletarian ties between the new party that is being built and the international proletariat.

COUSML is scrambling to find legitimacy. It thinks that “red salutes” are an adequate substitute for program, strategy and tactics. Up to this point, few, if anyone, in the United States has taken COUSML seriously. Its caricature of Marxism has been rejected wherever they try to peddle it.

After nine years, COUSML’s “national center” cannot see beyond itself. Just how inward looking they are can readily be seen by its ridiculous claim that the MLOC has been carrying out war against it all these years. The fact that COUSML considers this a war reflects again its complete isolation from the real class war being waged every day by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.

The struggle with COUSML teaches the proletariat, more than anything else, that it is only in the course of fighting against the reactionary bourgeoisie that the struggle against opportunism assumes significance. That is why the two must go hand in hand. The MLOC will make every effort to unite in struggle with all those who oppose the theory of the “three worlds” but will never sacrifice the struggle against other forms of opportunism for the sake of short-term unity in the current period. But most important, the unity upon which the party will be built in the U.S., the unity of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, takes as its first requirement the consistent and committed struggle against the two superpowers, the entire imperialist camp and particularly, U.S. imperialism. It is along this road that the party will be built, opportunism defeated and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie overthrown and replaced by the dictatorship of the proletariat.