Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The New Voice

CP M-L, RCP, Guardian All Have... Opportunist Strategy for the U.S.

First Published: The New Voice, Vol. VII, No. 3, February 6, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Without a revolutionary strategy there can be no revolution. While The New Voice and other Marxist-Leninists have a strategy for revolution, three prominent opportunist groups–the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Guardian newspaper–all put forward a non-revolutionary strategy. This is the basic contradiction in the United States communist movement today.

From all the in-fighting among the CP (M-L), RCP and Guardian, one would think that they had basic differences on this vital subject. But in fact, all three groups rely on the idea of a united front against imperialism in the United States. This is not a general principle of Marxism, like the dictatorship of the proletariat, which everyone in the revolutionary movement must endorse. Instead, it is their own creation and choice.

The notion of such a united front is wrong in theory. It leads to failure in practical revolutionary work. And it serves as a cover for reformism and opportunism.


The CP (M-L), formerly the October League, says in its Party program adopted in June 1977:

Within the U.S., the working class and its Party must build the broadest possible united front and unite all who can be united against its main enemy, the U.S. imperialist ruling class....Building this united front against imperialism and its reaction ary policies is a strategic task....At the heart of the united front within the U.S. stands the alliance between the working class and the movements of the oppressed nationalities–the main strategic alliance for the U.S. revolution. (Documents from the Founding Congress of the CP (M-L), pp. 88-90)

The RCP, formerly the Revolutionary Union, writes in its program:

The strategy for revolution in the U.S. is the united front against the imperialists, under the leadership of the proletariat and its Party....The solid core of the united front in the U.S. will be the revolutionary alliance of the working class movement as a whole with the struggles of the oppressed nationalities against the common imperialist enemy ....The united front against imperialism is one united front, it is the overall political aim of the proletariat....It is the strategy for proletarian revolution. (RCP Programme, pages 96, 99)

The Guardian, in its “Principles of unity for a new party,” wrote in June 1977:

The strategic political instrument for the struggle against monopoly capital is the united front against imperialism ....The cornerstone of the united front is the alliance between the multinational working class and the nationally oppressed peoples of the U.S... (Guardian, June 1, 1977)

The CP (M-L), RCP and Guardian all endorse the united front against imperialism, claim that it is a strategy for revolution and agree that there are classes and national groups with whom the working class must make a basic alliance for socialism.


The united front against imperialism in the United States has nothing to do with a genuine strategy for revolution. The New Voice and other Marxist-Leninists start from the fact that a revolutionary strategy can be applied only by a genuine communist party of the working class. What must that party do?

What communists must do now, as capitalism decays and the working-class struggle approaches the moment of revolution, is to put forward clearly that the enemy is capitalism and the fight is for socialism. (“Revolution or No Revolution: Two Sides,” TNV, August 8, 1977)

As often stated by TNV, 90% of the U.S. people are members of the working class. This is the basis for socialism. If there were a large petty bourgeoisie, then we would need to modify the goal of socialism to recognize their class interests. But there is no large petty bourgeoisie; it amounts to about 7% of the population.

At the same time, the many forms of bourgeois ideology are strong in U.S. society, and the state is a tool of the capitalist class, too. Therefore,

We have to overcome fraud with class consciousness and create the working class force that can defeat the force of the capitalists. The organization that does this is the communist party following Marx-ism-Leninism ....The basic strategy for revolution in the U.S., therefore, is to recognize that the enemy is capitalism and the goal is socialism, and to practice the policy of making the workers’ struggles the party’s struggles and making the party’s outlook the workers’ outlook....This is the way to unite the Marxist-Leninist outlook and strategy with the working class. This is the way to spread class consciousness in the course of many struggles. (TNV pamphlet, Revolutionary Strategy in the U.S., p. 3)

If we follow the revolutionary strategy, “At each step along the way, those who become class conscious will want to work for revolution, and the communist party organizes them. In this way, it prepares itself to lead the working class in socialist revolution.”


TNV’s revolutionary strategy and the three opportunist groups’ united front against imperialism are directly opposed to each other. Revolutionary strategy is based on a clear and correct analysis of classes in the U.S., and this gives it a solid foundation on which to raise the goal of socialism. The united front against imperialism has a confused and incorrect analysis of classes. When we push and probe the CP (M-L), the RCP or the Guardian, we find that they have no basis for winning the vast majority of people to socialism. They cannot trick millions of people about revolution. Revolutionaries must know and speak to people’s class interest.

The revolutionary strategy is based on the idea of a revolutionary situation and a party that prepares for it:

Revolution is based on three things: the crisis of monopoly capitalist society, the movement of the workers and the leadership provided by communists. As the contradictions of capitalism sharpen, they produce extremely deep crises at certain moments. The working class is always in struggle on several fronts, demanding better pay, defending social services and fighting repression. But in some crisis moments it is ready to call the entire capitalist system into question and overthrow it. At such a moment, the genuine communist party must exist, must be steeled in struggle and must have the respect of politically active workers. Such a party can point the way to socialism and organize the revolutionary struggle to smash the capitalist state and set up the dictatorship of the proletariat. (TNV, August 8, 1977)

The revolutionary strategy is patient and persistent. We must go through repeated cycles of taking up the workers’ struggles and using all occasions to take Marxism-Leninism to more and more workers.

The united front against imperialism has no concept of a revolutionary situation and revolutionary work in the period leading up to that situation. Its supporters have no stable attitude toward all kinds of workers, because instead they think of these people as the petty bourgeoisie, the middle class or intermediate strata. The united front against imperialism drifts aimlessly or, becoming frustrated at building an alliance with non-proletarian classes and national forces, it goes for a get-rich-quick scheme. So we see the unprincipled swings by the CP (M-L) and RCP from “Left” to Right positions and back again.


It is true that the three opportunist groups do exhibit differences in their methods. The CP (M-L) was built on liberal racism. It specializes in dividing the working class, attacking workers of one skin color and hiding its opportunism behind pictures of nonwhite workers. Its position on forced busing is an example. As for the RCP, it engages in manipulation and wrecking of mass organizations, such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The RCP tries to wreck real organizations and substitute an alphabet of its own stage shows–UWOC, NUWO, etc. The leading activists around the Guardian take a different tack. They put off the party, lump Marxism-Leninism in with opportunism under the label of dogmatism and participate in mass struggles without doing revolutionary work in them.

Still, while the CP (M-L), RCP and Guardian specialize in one feature or another of the united front against imperialism, the common essence is their opposition to the revolutionary strategy. All three have the wrong class analysis. They cover the rainbow from sectarian posturing to worship of reform struggle for its own sake.


The New Voice has put the revolutionary strategy into three key points:

The Enemy Is Capitalism; the Fight Is for Socialism! Make the Workers’ Struggles the Party’s Struggles; Make the Party’s Outlook the Workers’ Outlook! Fight Racism!

By grasping and applying these points, defenders of the revolutionary strategy have won theoretical, political and organizational victories. Only this strategy is backed by a detailed class analysis (see Classes in the United States, by Charles Loren). To more and more persons, the failure and opportunism of the united front against imperialism are apparent.

By testing the three key points in polemics and practice, The New Voice has grown and will continue to grow. Such work is part of the struggle between the revolutionary and opportunist strategies. In this struggle The New Voice unites with all whom it can. Basic principles are the important thing, not particular persons. The choice is between the united front against imperialism and the revolutionary strategy summarized in the three key points. For in essence it is the choice between revolutionary struggle and reformism.