Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Proletarian Unity League

Letter to The Call on Self-criticism

First Published: The Call, Vol. 9, No. 28, July 21-Aug 4, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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With the articles by Michael Klonsky and Charles Costigan [an abridged version of this article had appeared in The Call – EROL] in the June 9, 1980 issue of The Call, the CPML’s rectification efforts have taken a new turn. For our part, we would like to pledge whatever support we might be able to give to this process. Of one thing we can be sure: the more thoroughgoing the discussion and rectification of our errors, the more seriously will the U.S. people take us in our efforts to unite with their struggles.

We agree with a number of major points made by both Klonsky and Costigan, as our forthcoming article in Class Struggle makes plain. Overall, in working out the “balanced estimate of the past and present” for which Comrade Klonsky calls, we think there are two things to keep in mind.

First, to really have meaning out there in the world, the campaign against ultra-leftism has to be borne out in every sphere of practical work.

In this regard, we can appreciate what Klonsky points out about the National Fight Back Organization: that many of its best activists have come to see the problems with the way that organization was formed. We were likewise happy to see Comrade Costigan’s rejection of the OL/CPML’s ultra-left policy towards the Sadlowski candidacy in the 1976 Steelworkers election. Costigan points out that the erroneous thinking behind that policy had ramifications throughout the CPML’s labor work, and a rejection of that thinking will help put that work on a sounder footing today.

Already we have seen how the “criticisms of past work” discussed by Klonsky have been applied to The Call itself as well as to the CPML’s new orientation towards electoral politics and the national political scene in general.

Second, in all this discussion of past and present mistakes, of years of hard work which have not always borne the hoped-for results, there is no cause for demoralization. Although the present audience for Marxist ideas has declined a little in the past few years, the potential audience has grown enormously. Socialism reflects the real aspirations of the U.S. people, and despite the mistakes of yesterday’s and today’s Marxists, socialism can become a legitimate trend in U.S. society.

Comrades should not get discouraged with communism because of our mistakes as communists. Our ability and willingness to rectify our errors show that Marxists mean what they say, are sincere in their desire for truth and serious about serving the people.

We therefore look forward to the Second Congress of the CPML and hope that its decisions will help chart a course for a mass communist politics in the 1980s.

Executive Committee, Proletarian Unity League New York, N.Y.