Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The truth about the relations between the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA and the Communist Party of Canada (M-L) Part 2

SECTION XIII: Unity-mongering to oppose the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism” in particular

In your letters of December 5 you phrasemonger a lot about centrism. But the facts are that you have especially opposed the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism.” Your theories negating the struggle against opportunism by replacing it with pragmatic maneuvering under the signboard of “unity” have meant maneuvering especially with the conciliators and centrists and the downplaying, obstructing and negating of the struggle against the conciliators and centrists in particular. This is because it is particularly the conciliators and centrists who are covert opportunists who try to hide their opportunism under the signboard of one or two slogans stolen from the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, slogans which the conciliators distort and try to tear the revolutionary heart out of. Clearly it is the conciliators and centrists who do their best to appear to be Marxist-Leninists in words, while in fact they are dangerous enemies of Marxism-Leninism in practice. Hence it follows that your theories about “putting unity in the forefront” with all those elements that claim in words to be Marxist-Leninists serves to dull the sense of outrage against especially the conciliators and centrists and to present them as “temporary allies” instead of opponents of the struggle.

Throughout this letter we have come repeatedly across the facts concerning your opposition to the struggle against the conciliators of social-chauvinism and the forces that could be called “centrists.” You have preferred a policy of maneuver with the conciliators and “centrists” to the policy of struggle. Here we put together in one place a list of some of these facts, most of which have been discussed in more detail previously. These facts include the following:

** Your opposition to the movement against social-chauvinism began with your opposition to our article “How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” of February 1978, the article that began the public attack on conciliationism as an obstacle in the struggle against social-chauvinism. And what you opposed in this article was precisely the attack on conciliationism in general and idealist anti-revisionism, a variety of conciliationism, in particular.

** You then proceeded to oppose all the polemics on the main conciliators of social-chauvinism. Under one pretext or another, you opposed all the polemics on both the rabid “three worlders” of the “RCP, USA” and on the social-democrats of the MLOC/ “CPUSA(ML).”

** You went to the extent of developing a special rationale for opposing the struggle against the conciliators and “centrists.” You denounced the struggle against the conciliators as a splitting of the front against “three worlds-ism.” Thus in the discussions with you of May 1978 after the memorable Internationalist Rally in Montreal, your representative stated:

...that their [CPC(M-L)’s – ed.] information was that there was a definite motion in the U.S. developing against the three worlds theory and that to launch this struggle [against idealist anti-revisionism, a variety of conciliationism – ed.] may split this front. And that he [the representative of the leadership of CPC (M-L) – ed.] seriously doubts that the ideas that we are raising are correct [referring to the passages in “How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” about conciliationism being a roadblock in the struggle against social-chauvinism – ed.]” (From our minutes)

Actually of course motion had been developing against the “three worlds” theory for some time. 1977 had been a year of disaster for the “three world” theorists. In order to thwart the motion against social-chauvinism and “three worlds-ism,” there was a further development of conciliationism and “centrism” beginning in the latter part of 1977, a further development that was also a decay. You misjudged the situation entirely, mistook the conciliators for the motion that was developing, and put forward the hackneyed philistine theory that struggle against the conciliators and covert opportunists means splitting the Marxist-Leninists. In practice, this meant to lose faith in the prospects of the development of the revolutionary upsurge against the social-chauvinists and to abandon the fostering of the healthy new forces coming forward and instead to succumb to the siren songs of a section of the conciliators.

You put forward the theory that one never fights the conciliators directly. You tried to attribute this to another party and your representative stated:

For example, [you gave the name of a Marxist-Leninist party – ed.) is fighting against Eurocommunism. They know very well that there are elements who oppose Eurocommunism in words but are for it in deeds, but they do not make an issue of this. What they do is to hit very hard against Eurocommunism and persist in this. (From our minutes of the discussions of May 1978)

This is a ridiculous anecdote. You didn’t tell us who these conciliators of “Eurocommunism” are who are being referred to, what the situation is in the struggle against them, how strong they are and what danger they pose, or any concrete fact at all. But clearly tactics depend on the time and place, on the concrete circumstances. We ourselves went through a period of putting intense pressure on the conciliators by continually stepping up the attack on the Klonskyite “three worlders” and open social-chauvinists before reaching the point where it was essential to pass over to a direct attack on the conciliators. At the same time, we were quite conscious right from the beginning that a fierce struggle was going on with the conciliators as well as with the open social-chauvinists. But you related this absurd story without time or place or concrete circumstances in order to make a very definite point. The moral of your story was that one allegedly never fights the conciliators.

You therefore advocated attacking only the main official sect of open social-chauvinism. You stated in the same discussion: “The paralysis of all the opportunists results entirely from the work of COUSML and CPC (M-L) against OL [the Klonskyites – ed.] and CCL [Canadian Klonskyites – ed.] To divert from the main target will give rise to ideological confusion and the strengthening of the enemy.” (Ibid.) It should be noted that with this you opposed attacks on the “three worlders” of the “RCP,USA” as well as on the Weisberg social-democratic MLOC/ “CPUSA(ML).”

And you have not given up these theories about the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism” splitting the “unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists.” This is proven by your denunciation in your letters of December 5 of the article “How to Advance the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” as an alledged failure to exhaust “the full possibilities of this opportunity of building the unity of the genuine Marxist-Leninists.” (p. 16)

** You maintained a policy of pragmatic maneuvering with the conciliators and “centrists.” You thus maintained a certain contact with the Weisberg social-democratic MLOC/“CPUSA(ML)” sect and judged them not on the basis of their stand in the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. but solely on how much contact they maintained with you at any particular time. You maintained this contact with them and this friendly, mild and benevolent attitude towards them despite their vicious and all-out war against the Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. and despite their vile social-democratic, anti-Marxist-Leninist nature.

Furthermore, you were also willing to at least consider the question of maneuvers with the “RCP,USA.” Hence you made the blunder of selling them the rights to your English translation of the Palacios book. To this date you have not admitted that you have violated any principles with this sale but simply complain that you got a bad deal.

** To oppose the struggle against the conciliators means sooner or later to oppose the struggle against the open opportunists. Hence your opposition to the struggle against conciliationism and your replacement of the struggle against the conciliators with maneuvers with them soon led you to denounce the movement against social-chauvinism itself. Thus you started to concoct all sorts of theories against “movements,” against attacks on any domestic opportunists at all, even the open social-chauvinists, and so on and so forth. Of course, you dress up your opposition to the movement against social-chauvinism in bright colors and with fancy pseudo-Marxist theories, theories which are a dime a dozen. But objectively, you sold the movement against social-chauvinism in favor of sweet dreams of pragmatic maneuvers under the signboard of “unity” with the conciliators, for it is clear that the price exacted by the conciliators for maneuvers is opposition to the movement against social-chauvinism.

** You advocate that “...this entire centrist trend...unfolded...across the USA this fall [1979 – ed.].” (p. 8) This is ridiculous. Right from the start of the movement against social-chauvinism, conciliationism and “centrism” existed and was a major question. You say that “centrism” arose in fall 1979 in the USA in order to justify your policy of opposing the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism” up until that time. Actually, however, you have continued to this day to oppose our polemical struggle against the “RCP,USA” and to give no support to our polemics against Mao Zedong Thought and in general to oppose the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism.” And it is interesting to us that the first issue of The Workers’ Advocate that you stopped distributing was the issue of December 5, 1979 that contained the major article “Mao, Browder and Social-Democracy: Mao Zedong and the American ultra-revisionist Browder supported each other and shared a common platform of social-democracy” as a supplement. Nor, as we showed in Section VI-C, did you give any support to our struggle against the tour by Palacios of the U .S. on the platform of the “RCP,USA.”

** In your letters of December 5, you identify the question of struggle against “centrism” as being solely the public denunciation of the RCP of Chile by name in the press. This is absurd. It is just another one of your excuses to refrain from the fight against Mao Zedong Thought and the ideological struggle against centrism. Consider your letter to the CC of the RCP of Chile, which you have now published in your organ PCDN. This letter not only does not develop the ideological issues at stake, but it repeatedly insists that the ideological differences between your Party and the RCP of Chile on such questions as Mao Zedong Thought are irrelevant and that the only issue is the provocations by the International Commission of the CC of the RCP of Chile against you.

Furthermore, your letter appeals for unity to the CC of the RCP of Chile. So on one hand in your letters of December 5 you ridicule our Party on page 4a for writing that “we are in no hurry to come to a final conclusion on the RCP of Chile,” while you yourself then proceed to appeal for unity to this same RCP of Chile! Charming, is it not? You write in your letters of December 5 that the RCP of Chile is part of “...the entire centrist trend which had already crystallized...” (p. 4a, your emphasis) and that “...this entire centrist trend...is the creature of imperialism and social-imperialism...” (p. 4a) and accuse us of not fighting these creatures of imperialism and social-imperialism, and then you yourself publicly and openly appeal for unity with these alleged creatures of imperialism and social-imperialism. And you stress that you hold that the RCP of Chile is “genuinely Marxist-Leninist and stand(s) on revolutionary grounds” through proposing discussions and saying that you oppose discussions with any revisionists and opportunists. You write, right after stressing your proposal for discussions:

Of course, it is not possible to settle differences with the revisionists and opportunists of all hues through discussions; thus, we are always opposed to such discussions. But we firmly believe that parties, organizations and groups which are genuinely Marxist-Leninist and stand on revolutionary grounds can certainly settle their differences through discussions. This is the only correct way to resolve these differences. Thus, we express our enthusiasm for such meetings with you in order to settle these important matters which we have raised in our letter. (PCDN, March 1. 1980. p. 4, col. 4, emphasis added)

Thus, irrespective of whether or not it is correct to polemicize against the RCP of Chile by name in the press at this time – and we have expressed our view on that to you repeatedly – it is clear that polemics against the RCP of Chile such as yours have nothing to do with the ideological struggle against Mao Zedong Thought or “centrism.” (All this by the way, is not to speak of the fact that your demand that we attack the RCP of Chile by name as part of your maneuvers was scandalous and disgraceful. As clear from your letter to the RCP of Chile, you wanted to hide the hand that throws the stone so as to pose as a long-suffering saint who abides by all the norms while suffering in silence the Chilean provocations.)

** And finally, you have put forward a number of theories directly prettifying conciliationism and “centrism.” Thus we showed near the beginning of Section XI-A of this letter that you denied that the Chinese revisionists adopted conciliatory stands towards Soviet revisionism on the grounds that “Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought are a departure from Marxism-Leninism and between Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought and Marxism-Leninism there is an insurmountable gulf.” Thus you denied that conciliationism is “a departure from Marxism-Leninism” and that between conciliationism and Marxism-Leninism there “is an insurmountable gulf.” When you deny that Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought could take a conciliationist stand towards modern Soviet revisionism on the grounds that Chinese revisionism and Mao Zedong Thought are anti-Marxist-Leninist, you are directly and clearly implying that conciliationism is not anti-Marxist-Leninist.

Furthermore you have denounced the “centrists” as advocates of “ideological struggle.” You have denounced the struggle against opportunism as “the Maoist theory of ’two-line struggle’” and at the same time denounced the “centrists” for “two-line struggle.” Thus you have been prettifying the “centrists” as allegedly fighters against revisionism and opportunism, indeed, as those who allegedly exaggerate the ideological struggle, raise it to the level of theory, and so forth. And this is manifested repeatedly in your letters of December 5.

Thus you write, in denouncing our characterization of U.S. neo-revisionism as the American expression of the international opportunist trend of Chinese revisionism, that:

“But these centrists are also not only ’opposed [your pencilled-in quotation marks on the-word “opposed” change nothing – ed.| to the ’international trend of Chinese revisionism’ but to its ’American’ or any other expression, as well. Thus, you [here you are referring to our Party and its struggle against opportunism – ed.] are in good campany with these centrists.” (p. 18) Here you prettify the “centrists” as opponents of and fighters against both Chinese revisionism and the domestic opportunist followers of Chinese revisionism. According to your prettifications, the “RCP,USA” not only is not Chinese revisionist, but it fights Chinese revisionism and the domestic Klonskyites. According to you, we are in company with the “centrists” when we fight against Chinese revisionism and the domestic opportunists. What an astonishing prettification of “centrism.”

Furthermore, earlier on in your letters of December 5, you wrote:

...the entire centrist trend which had already crystallized around the ’defence of “Mao Zedong Thought”’ and the ’contributions’ of Mao Zedong under the mask of their so-called ’opposition’ to Chinese revisionism and the notorious theory of ’three worlds’....“ (p. 4a. emphasis as in the original)

Here you are more careful to talk of “so-called ’opposition’” and “mask of their so-called ’opposition.’” However, one must compare this passage to your repeated denunciations of the “centrists” for “ideological struggle.” Then it is clear that you are putting forward the amazing position and tremendous prettification of “centrism” that it stands for struggle against Chinese revisionism and the “three worlds” theory. Indeed, you are even accusing the “centrists” of exaggerating the struggle against Chinese revisionism and “three worldsism.” This conception of yours concerning “centrism” is rubbish. It has happened many times that those who were confused about Mao Zedong Thought but who carried on a serious struggle against the “three worlds” theory and were not afraid to seek out the origins of the “three worlds” theory and to carry the struggle against the “three worlds” theory through to the end became clear on the question of Mao Zedong Thought. And conversely, in order to defend Mao Zedong Thought, it is necessary for the “centrists” to betray, blunt, oppose or never begin in the first place the struggle against the “three worlds” theory.

And indeed, in the passage we have quoted from you above you are talking about the “RCP,USA” as part of this “entire centrist trend.” But it is downright prettification of the “RCP,USA” to say that ’it even has a “mask of...so-called ’opposition’” to “the notorious theory of ’three worlds.’” The “RCP,USA” openly supports what they regard as Mao’s version of the “three worlds” theory. And the “RCP,USA” has repeatedly and continually stressed its opposition to the question of the “three worlds” theory being considered an important issue. These facts about the “RCP,USA” are no secrets either. We ourselves stressed this stand of the “RCP,USA” on the question of the “three worlds” theory when we wrote the polemical articles “Does the ’RCP,USA’ Oppose the Theory of ’Three Worlds’?,” Part One and Two, in issues of The Workers’ Advocate for February 12, 1979 and March 29. 1979.

Thus you have put forward a number of theories that prettify and put in a good light the conciliators and “centrists.”

All these facts show that you have slighted, downplayed and sharply negated the struggle against conciliationism and “centrism,” just as you have negated the struggle against opportunism in general. Indeed, this is not an accident. For a wrong stand towards the struggle against opportunism and a wrong stand towards the struggle against conciliationism are linked together. Thus Comrade Stalin wrote:

I am speaking, of course, of a real fight against the Right deviation, not a verbal, paper fight. There are people in our Party who, to soothe their conscience, are quite willing to proclaim a fight against the Right danger in the same way as priests sometimes cry, ’Hallelujah! Hallelujah’ But they will not undertake any practical measures at all to organise the fight against the Right deviation on a firm basis, and to overcome this deviation in actual fact. We call this tendency a conciliatory tendency towards the Right, frankly opportunist, deviation. It is not difficult to understand that the fight against this conciliatory tendency is an integtral part of the general fight’ against the Right deviation, against the Right danger. For it is impossible to overcome the Right, opportunist deviation without waging a systematic fight against the conciliatory tendency, which takes the opportunists under its wing. (“The Right Danger in the C.P.S.U. (B.),” Works, Vol. 11, p. 244, emphasis added except for the first word)

(Since you have made such a big fuss about counterposing “practical measures” to ideological struggle, we will point out that in the struggle against the Right danger at that time Comrade Stalin held that: “...our chief method of fighting the Right deviation at this stage should be that of a full-scale ideological struggle.” (Works, Vol. 11, p. 299, emphasis as in the original) According to Marxism-Leninism, ideological struggle is a very definite practical measure.)

Here Comrade Stalin is speaking about tendencies and deviations, not trends, but the same general conclusion follows in the case of the hardened opportunist trends of open social-chauvinism, conciliationism and so forth. The fight against conciliationism is an integral part of the general fight against the open social-chauvinists. Here of course we are talking of a real fight against open social-chauvinism, not a verbal, paper fight. The conciliators and all those who only claim in words to be Marxist-Leninists may lift their hands to heaven and cry “Hallelujah!” over this or that formulation, while opposing any practical measures against the social-chauvinists and especially cursing the movement against social-chauvinism. But our Party stood for a real fight and so we have waged a systematic fight against conciliationism. While you have especially opposed our struggle against the conciliators and “centrists” and from that passed on to opposition to our struggle against opportunism as a whole. You have even put forward special theories against fighting “centrism” and conciliationism and these theories are central to your theories of replacing struggle against opportunism with pragmatic maneuvering under the signboard of “unity.”