Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League (M-L-M)

Response to Open Letter of League for Proletarian Revolution (M-L) to Revolutionary Communist League (M-L-M)

First Published: Unity and Struggle, Vol. VII, No. 2-4, April 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We first want to raise our criticism of the method which your organization chose to make criticism of the IWWD Coalition ’78 and of the groups within it. We are of the firm opinion that many of the contradictions that exist between our two organizations have not been given a proper arena to be resolved. We have approached your organization time and again on the need to meet and fully discuss our intra-organizational relationships. Over the past two years, we have not met! Although the RCL (MLM) takes some responsibility in failing to make these meetings a reality, we feel the principle criticism must be directed at LPR (ML) who has consistently failed to meet, yet has maintained they are upholding the principle of Marxist-Leninists unite. Certainly, as Marxist-Leninists who must adopt a dialectical materialist approach in analyzing and resolving contradictions, the RCL firmly believes that small and petty differences can go on and on and develop into major and principal differences if they are left un-addressed. We feel that this may be the case at hand and we are openly repeating out desire to meet and begin resolving our differences through the process of Unity-Criticism-Unity.

In your open letter, you have distorted many of the lines and positions of RCL which has served to further muddy the waters and confuse independent forces involved. There is no reason to create straw men for the sake of scoring points. If Marxists-Leninists are really serious about uniting, then we should start from facts and rely on scientific analysis to understand them.

You criticized the tactical plan for the IWWD Coalition by stating that the RCL (MLM) supported a proposal that the IWWD event should be aimed at Marxists-Leninists and the advanced. The tactical plan was drawn up by a member of the Anti-Imperialist Cultural Union (AICU), in the name of AICU. The AICU is a mass cultural organization which is separate and independent of RCL, although it is a fact that the two organizations work closely together. The RCL did not participate in drawing up the tactical plan and is not responsible for the line that was presented. Facts affirm that RCL openly criticized the tactical plan and confirmed its line that IWWD should be aimed at the broad masses. In this meeting, the AlCU had self-criticism around the plan and retracted that aspect of the plan aiming at the Coalition uniting Marxist-Leninists. There is no need to merge AICU and RCL in this struggle – they are completely different organizations.

Your line that the RCL did not want a mass event was your own creation and you further built this straw man by raising the March versus indoor program question. But what are the facts? You entered the Coalition at a point where plans for an indoor event were already on the table. You raised that the event could not really be of a mass character unless it was a March. In presenting your line, you could not present even one concrete plan you had for organizing a march WITHIN 30 DAYS yet you even went so far as to propose that there should be a March and outdoor rally ONLY thereby liquidating the concrete work for the indoor event by the AICU.

We want it to be perfectly clear that RCL has no opposition to marches as a form of mass activity – but we are resolutely opposed to the spontaneous and sectarian character of a “left-bloc parade”, which is our view of what you proposed. If you really understand the “left”-bloc mentality and can unite around the fact that “left” distortions of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought are not one iota better than right distortions of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Thought, then you would not have taken up valuable time in several meetings pushing this incorrect line.

Marches definitely take a higher level of planning and organization than the kind of indoor event we planned. In past IWWD’s the planning and organizing of the march has taken several months. Did LPR really believe that such a task could be pulled off in 30 days? In our view, a mass march means that it has the participation and support of the masses. We don’t believe that a small group of Marxist-Leninists and advanced forces who parade through working class communities constitute a mass march. In our history, we have participated in and organized a significant number of marches and we must look at positive and negative experiences. While we recall the 60,000 people who poured out into the streets for ALD 72, after months of hard work and preparation; we also recall the poor planning that led to a dismal march of approximately 40-50 people who appeared in Brownsville to demonstrate against police brutality. Not only were the Marxist-Leninists and advanced forces sitting ducks for the agents of the bourgeoisie to photograph and identify – but not a SINGLE member of the Brownsville Community joined this march. In discussing the question of a march, LPR was asked repeatedly what concrete plans they had for the implementation of a truly mass march and repeatedly they could offer nothing but a march in the abstract. We also want to point out that a mass march is not determined by the number of people that are in them. Every mass march will not be made up of 60,000 or even 1,000 people. But at the same time, we see no point in advancing the line that a march can be mass in character without the participation of the masses in it, which means much more than parading through their community!

One further note on the march – RCL never said it would split the coalition on the question of an LPR led march. What we did say is that we would not co-sponsor a march that would be spontaneous and sectarian in its character. We went on to say that we would march along with LPR(ML) if you had a march because we see your organization as genuine. But we did not want to be listed as sponsors since we opposed the plans being put forward. However we chose our right to criticize what we saw as a “left” error and struggled against this line in the coalition based on it being a “left” error.

At the point where LPR had filibustered several meetings on the question of this “left”-bloc parade and were finally defeated on the question, they still asked if they could continue to raise the issue again at the next coalition meeting where other organizations were expected to attend. The coalition unanimously united around the point that they could raise their line, even though it had been defeated. In this position, the coalition pointed out, however, that the line should not be raised in an obstructionist way. That the next meeting should deal primarily with the program on which we had unity and that the march question should follow that discussion and not precede or interrupt it. At the end of the meeting LPR (M-L) united with us on this point and that letters of invitation would go out to other groups stating that the purpose of the coalition would be to have an indoor event of a mass character to celebrate IWWD.

In a totally philistine manner, the LPR showed up at an RCL event less than a day after the meeting, with their open letter of “criticisms” and announced they were leaving the body of groups who was leading the event. We feel that if LPR did not unite with the coalition, they should have raised it open and above board and not disrupt the event. To come back, hours later, and announce a complete reversal in their position without first raising their departure to the coalition itself, was incorrect.

In all honesty, RCL’s representative must do self-criticism for subjectively and spontaneously putting forward People In Struggle Against Imperialism (PIS) to form part of the leading and sponsoring groups of the coalition. Not knowing the exact state of affairs in the development of PIS, RCL’s representatives put their name forward for this coalition leadership. And instead of repudiating this error, RCL made the center of its line struggle with LPR, the erroneous statements put forward by LPR saying that PIS had told them in one meeting that they were about to liquidate themselves. The initial error was clearly RCL’s for involving a young anti-imperialist group like PIS in the middle of the leadership of this coalition. And we take the leading responsibility for the errors in the struggle over the role of PIS in this coalition.

In summation, the RCL criticizes LPR for raising the correct call of Marxist-Leninists unite in theory but in pushing “left” sectarianism in practice. Practically, they held up the motion of the IWWD Coalition for several meetings on the question of a “left”-bloc parade.

Practically, LPR took the line in the coalition as being the “overall most correct” and “objective leadership” of the coalition in the style of the now-defunct “left” sectarians of the “Revolutionary Wing”. Practically, LPR did not seek truth from facts on many questions in the coalition and in their “open letter” to RCL, thereby laying the basis for further unprincipledness between the two organizations.

Practically, LPR has not met with RCL to begin to resolve our differences by seeking common ground on major questions while reserving our differences on minor questions.

We are now approaching May Day 1978 and LPR(ML) has proposed that we maintain our coalition and do joint work for that event. The RCL intends to make public its self-criticism for the errors it committed around IWWD and to in-practice repudiate what has been incorrect in our theory and actual work. If LPR(ML) can see past their subjective view of themselves and also make honest self-criticism for their incorrect lines and errors, then we should be on the way to a much better organized May Day event.

Comradely yours,