Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist Party

Call Outdoes Itself

Int’l Conf. Provokes OL, Guardian

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 2, No. 3, January 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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One of the most important accomplishments of the Conference on the International Situation held last November has been the renewed interest with which Conference participants, and others who were unable to attend, have plunged into discussion and struggle over the critical questions raised at the Conference. Precisely because the Conference succeeded in raising these questions so sharply and before such a large audience, various forces who did their best to prevent and sabotage it have been forced to comment on it and to reveal more of their own positions on the questions raised at the Conference.

The Guardian, which refused outright to participate, ran a lengthy report on the Conference and in their typical style of bourgeois journalism gave a basically “objective” account, not commenting on their own boycott of the Conference, despite the repeated calls for “debate” on these questions in the pages of their paper. They did, however, feel compelled to run a front page editorial statement in which they run down the Guardian’s general position on the international situation and the question of the “main blow” (which will be discussed shortly).

The October League, on the other hand, which tried pitifully to obstruct the building of the Conference and then to wreck the Conference itself, cast aside any pretext of reporting the facts and instead dished up a disgusting brew of misquotes, lies and deliberate distortions. “As predicted,” began the December 6 Call article, “the Nov. 20 Conference...turned out to be a circus of revisionists, Trotskyists and centrists who joined together in an anti-China and pro-social-imperialist chorus.”

The OL could hardly help but declare, irrespective of reality, that the Conference was as they “predicted” it would be. After all, they had to justify their own refusal to put their own line to the test of debate and principled struggle at the Conference and their behavior at the Conference itself, which was one of coupling phrasemongering with hysterical attacks aimed at disrupting the Conference.

This is not the first (and, unfortunately, probably not the last) example of OL’s apriorism in which they insist that reality conform to their preconceptions. Having repeatedly attacked the RCP for “national chauvinism” and declared that the RCP’s line could never lead to revolutionary unity between workers of different nationalities, the October League felt obligated to report that the Rich Off Our Backs-July 4th Coalition demonstration in Philadelphia was composed of mainly “white, middle class youth” when even the bourgeois press reported it as a demonstration made up mainly of workers of all nationalities. OL’s method of bending reality to fit their “predictions” is reminiscent of Trotsky’s behavior, when first he declared that socialism could not be built in one country, and when the Soviet working class proceeded to build socialism all he could do was declare that it wasn’t socialism at all–as he had “predicted.”

While it is impossible, and unnecessary, to refute every lie of the October League and untangle all of their distortions, their attempts to portray the Conference and the RCP’s participation in it as an “anti-China and pro-social-imperialist chorus” is so vile it must be denounced. In both of the two major speeches made by the RCP at the conference the RCP’s stand of supporting socialist China was made completely clear. To cite just one example, in the evening debate, Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Central Committee of the RCP, answered a question concerning the relationship of the People’s Republic of China to events in Chile over the past several years by pointing out that China has consistently supported the revolutionary struggle of the Chilean people and had aided the Allende regime. He pointed out that it was the line of the revisionists of Chile, backed by social-imperialism, that left the Chilean working class disarmed and unprepared for the bloody massacre at the hands of U.S.-backed reaction. Comrade Avakian, several times in his remarks, and other speakers representing the RCP throughout the Conference, including panelists and participants from the floor in the workshops, reiterated the RCP’s support of China, of the need for the working class worldwide to defend China and other socialist countries, and supported China’s stand on a host of international questions. We know what kind of game OL is playing by portraying the RCP as anti-China, but such brazen slander won’t stand the light of day.

OL’s whole approach to the conference was guided by two factors: on the one hand, to avoid their own exposure, and on the other, to paint a totally false picture for those, be they near or far away, who could not attend. But, unfortunately for the October League, over 2300 people participated in the Conference and know what actually came down and transcripts of the major speeches of the Conference are available for those interested so they will be able to make up their own minds.

Call for Debate

OL’s call for a debate between themselves and the RCP reveals what they were up to. When plans for the Conference were well under way, and the OL was scurrying for excuses to boycott it, we were told in the October 18 Call that the RCP “dare not confront [OL] face to face.” This was followed up by a challenge in the Call (also delivered verbally) for a debate between the RCP and the OL. Now, after the Conference has been successfully concluded and the RCP has accepted their debate challenge, OL suddenly seems to have lost interest in any debate at all and is inventing excuses for backing down–a stand we certainly hope they will reconsider. All of this raises the question of whether their whole debate challenge was but a ploy to try to sabotage the Conference and justify their own nonparticipation.

According to the Nov. 22 Call, the RCP confused the “struggle within the Marxist-Leninist movement over a correct line with the struggle by Marxist-Leninists against modern revisionism.” Later they went so far as to attack RCP member Nick Unger because “he did not bring out the need for a new Marxist-Leninist Party to lead the struggle against imperialism.” What a telling exposure! We cannot avoid pleading guilty to failing to call for a new party when the existence of the RCP is an established fact.

But more importantly, OL’s whole argument reveals their complete failure to understand how it is that the vanguard Party actually establishes its leadership–by actually leading the struggle, and enabling masses of people to see in the course of practice how the Party’s line leads to the advance of the movement. This is in opposition to the method of “leadership” of all varieties of sectarians and Trotskyites who insist on demanding that the masses recognize their own “vanguard” role.

No, OL, the Conference was not (nor was it intended to be) a debate among Marxist-Leninists and, yes, arguments were presented that are wrong, dangerous and even in some cases outright reactionary (not the least of which OL’s own line). There is no “Marxist-Leninist movement” in the way OL means it–though there are and will continue to be increasing numbers of people who are beginning to seriously take up Marxism-Leninism. It is absolutely necessary for the Party to unite and struggle with such people and also absolutely necessary for the RCP, as the Marxist-Leninist Party in the U.S., to debate and expose opportunists– which is why we are anxious to debate the OL and hope that they will reverse their stand of backing out of such a debate.

The point is that wrong tendencies exist in the real world and have influence over relatively large numbers of people who have fought against imperialism in the past and are genuinely concerned with understanding the situation in the world so as to make contributions to the struggle in this country and internationally in the future.

Conferences and other forms for debating out ideas are one of the methods by which the great majority of revolutionary-minded people can and will be won to a correct understanding of the tasks confronting the working class and masses of people. In the course of this struggle to unite the great majority around the leadership of a revolutionary line the Party is not afraid to confront political representatives of opportunist tendencies, precisely so they can be politically defeated and their influence minimized.

As far as organized Trotskyites and the CPUSA are concerned, the Conference organizers excluded them from participating in the planning, speeches or panels, since they have already been exposed to the great majority of revolutionary-minded people and their participation would only have had the effect of disruption and made it more difficult to take up the positions which actually confront those who genuinely want to battle imperialism. That, despite this policy, some Trotskyites snuck into the Conference and in a very few cases got onto panels–by denying affiliation with any Trotskyite or revisionist groups–should come as no surprise. It should be obvious that politically “screening”, all participants is not easy, and that political conditions are not always such as to allow for the physical removal of Trotskyites and other opportunists. But when Trotskyites attempted to disrupt the activities of the Conference and spread their counterrevolutionary poison, including attacks on China, they were both answered and roundly denounced by virtually all present.

What Aids Trots and Revisionists?

In fact, it is the October League’s own opportunist line and method of work which is providing an opening for the growth of Trotskyism and revisionism in this country. By claiming to be the true defenders of the People’s Republic of China and engaging in sectarian “Marxist-Leninist” phrasemongering all the while promoting an opportunist line, OL is having the same kind of effect that the long-discredited and Trotskyite Progressive Labor Party had during the late ’60s, the effect of discrediting Marxism-Leninism and China in the eyes of some inexperienced people who want to fight the bourgeoisie.

Trying to untangle all of OL’s lies and distortions about the Conference brings to mind Lenin’s lament that “It requires roughly ten pages of print to untangle and popularly explain ten lines of confusion.” (“Caricature of Marxism,” Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 48) For example, they charged in their article that the Conference revealed the “RCP’s long-standing opposition to these concepts” (of the Second and Third World) and they put forward a view that the Conference denied any progressive movement among Third World countries to oppose imperialist, and especially superpower, domination.

Nowhere in the article do they point out that there was a workshop devoted to discussing the “Third World and the New Economic Order.” As far as the RCP’s alleged long-standing opposition to the concept of the “Third World,” it is enough to quote our Programme, which is surely familiar to the OL:

Besides the workers in every country, the proletariat in the U.S. has as its allies in the international arena today the great struggles of nations throughout the ’underdeveloped world’ or ’Third World’ for liberation from colonialism and imperialism....

In addition [to the struggle for national liberation], in the world today, with the decline of U.S. imperialism and the increase of its worldwide contention with Soviet social imperialism (socialism in words, imperialism in deeds), a number of non-socialist governments in the Third World, including even some that represent the rule of the landlords and big capitalists in those countries, are to one degree or other resisting the domination of the imperialists, especially the two superpowers....

For this reason, the working class supports them insofar as they oppose this domination and encourages them to put up more resistance. This is especially crucial for the working class in the United States...

And finally the Programme sums up, “Against the imperialists, especially the two superpowers, the proletariat supports even the exploiting class governments in the Third World who resist them. Against these governments, the proletariat supports the revolutionary struggle of the people, and in so doing gives the greatest support to the fight against imperialism.” (pp. 73-76)

Obviously the claim that the RCP has long opposed the concept of the Third World is a sheer lie. But wait! Perhaps there is a grain of truth in OL’s tirade after all. If what they mean is that the RCP refuses to see the Third World as a monolithic force, but instead recognizes the actual situation: that the Third World is composed of different countries with different social systems, that the fundamental support must be to the masses of workers and peasants in those countries–if this is what OL means by the RCP’s rejection of the “concept” of the Third World (for Klonsky and Co.’s concept is precisely to see it as a monolith and blur over the sharp class contradictions within it), then we must plead guilty.

Lesser Imperialist Countries

As for those lesser capitalist and imperialist countries, other than the U.S. and the USSR, sometimes referred to as the Second World, our position is also clear: “These ruling classes are driven by the same profit-seeking law as all bourgeois classes, and there is no way the contradiction between them and the workers and other people they exploit and oppress can be resolved, except through revolution. But, on the other hand, their drive for profit brings them into conflict with the two superpowers, and in this conflict the proletariat supports them against the superpowers, in order to weaken the whole imperialist system.” (Programme, p. 77, emphasis in original)

What OL is really getting at when they attack the RCP for its stand on the “Second World” is shown by Michael Klonsky, chairman of the OL, in the June 7 issue of the Call in response to a question, “What is the relationship between giving support to the positive moves made by second and third world countries and supporting the workers’ struggles within those countries?” Klonsky replies: “...In the second world countries, we must give resolute support to the working class in its struggle, not only to defend the national interests of their country, but also to overthrow their capitalist governments and build socialism.

On this complex question, we should always keep in mind who the principal enemies of the world’s people are–the two superpowers–and not raise the contradictions with lesser enemies to the level of principal contradiction.

Talk here of “principal enemies of the world’s people” is a smokescreen. What does this mean for the revolutionaries “In the second world countries”? Does it mean that they should not make the contradiction with their own bourgeoisie principal over the contradiction with the U.S. and USSR? If so it is entirely wrong and a line of opposing revolution in these countries. If not it is mere double-talk.

And what, Mr. Klonsky, are the “national interests” in an imperialist country other than imperialist interests? Are we really supposed to believe that for workers in, say, West Germany or France, the principal task is defending the interests of the “nation” against the two superpowers and mainly, of course, the “most dangerous” Soviet Union?

On top of everything else, this is a recipe for actually strengthening the hand of the revisionist parties in these countries who will parade about as the upholders of the banner of “class struggle” against the capitalist enemy.

This, of course, is the real substance of the disagreement which the Call attempts to cloud when they package up a distorted paraphrasing of RCP speaker Mickey Jarvis in a Conference workshop. The Call puts it: “The struggle against social-imperialism in the European countries, said Jarvis, ’is not very important,’ since the revisionist parties ’represent the bourgeoisie in their own countries.’” This is yet another invention of the not-too-creative minds of the Call editors. As for this hatchet job characterization of our so-called failure to see the struggle against social imperialism as of any significance in Europe, and our actual analysis of the role of the revisionist parties there, all anyone has to do is read, for example, the December 15, 1975 Revolution article, “West Europe Revisionists Barrier to Revolution Aid to USSR,” which is reprinted in the “War and Revolution” pamphlet, and which was summarized by Comrade Jarvis in the workshop.

How to Expose Soviets?

In the November 22 Call we read that by promoting the Conference the “RCP attempts to cover its own opportunist line which fails to educate the masses of people about the danger of revisionism and social imperialism.” This statement is simply another in a by-now boring series of attacks claiming the RCP refuses to take up its responsibility to educate the masses of people in this country about the nature and role of the USSR.

Perhaps the worst example prior to their “reportage” on the Conference was the September 6 Call. In it they respond to a polemic in the July issue of Revolution which stated: “You have to be pretty out of it not to be aware that today American workers are much more likely to understand that the New Czars are pushing towards war than that our own capitalists are–our rulers are doing plenty of ’education’ on this point.”

And according to the October League, what does the above statement prove? That “Nowhere before has the RCP more clearly abdicated the responsibility of exposing the role of the revisionists and social imperialism. Their conclusion is that the workers are already familiar with the social imperialist character of the USSR and need no ’education’ from communists.” Is the RCP really saying that education on the role of the USSR should be left to the capitalists? Is it possible that perhaps OL, nosing about like the proverbial blind pig, has finally come up with an acorn?

No, OL’s batting average remains .000, for what OL does not quote is the very next sentence of the Revolution article which goes on to refute OL’s very argument: “Communists,” Revolution pointed out, “must bring out to the masses what they [the capitalists] – and the October League–won’t: the fact that our ruling class and the USSR’s have the same capitalist class nature and show how it is this class nature that not only drives them to rob us every day but likewise impels them to war over which will be number one plunderer of the world’s people. And we must concentrate our main fire on the enemy we face directly–our own rulers.” The omission of the last half of the paragraph in the Revolution article is truly an example of OL’s practice of deliberate distortion par excellence.

OL’s antics in trying to accuse the RCP of failing to educate the masses about social imperialism and revisionism bring to mind a comment by Lenin on his opportunist attackers when he wrote, “to ascribe to an opponent an obviously stupid idea and then to refute it is a trick that is practiced by none too clever people.” (Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, FLP, Peking, p. 81)

Perhaps OL has forgotten that it was the Revolutionary Union (which played the leading role in the formation of the RCP) which published How Capitalism Was Restored in the Soviet Union and What This Means for the World Struggle (Red Papers 7), which has since been adopted and distributed by the RCP since its formation? Can there be any question among honest forces about the role that this work played in bringing a Marxist understanding to revolutionaries in this country of the nature of the USSR and of the danger of a third world war and the changing tasks facing the peoples of each country as a result of the USSR’s emergence as an imperialist superpower?

Of course the October League has also “exposed” the Soviet Union, through a book published by a former member of its central committee, Martin Nicolaus. But these courageous battlers against social-imperialism are themselves now forced to admit that Nicolaus’ book was opportunist. In publishing Nicolaus’ book, OL was not interested in a scientific analysis, but hoping to put a feather in their cap. So in their rush to publish something they put out trash, which in fact totally obfuscates the real nature of the USSR and covers up the capitalist restoration there. And now, while they blast Nicolaus, they don’t comment on how the OL leadership, which claims that, unlike the RCP, it is engaged in educating the masses of people to the danger of revisionism and social imperialism, itself approved a revisionist work on the USSR and a revisionist criticism of Red Papers 7 which was published in their theoretical journal Class Struggle. (For more on this see the first issue of the RCP’s theoretical journal The Communist.)

It is also well known that the RCP has devoted numerous articles in the Party press (the local editions of the Worker as well as Revolution) to exposing the Soviet Union’s nature and role around the world, not to mention publishing a pamphlet on the Soviet penetration of Cuba and the Cuban leadership’s revisionist role. What then is behind OL’s criticism that the RCP “fails to educate the masses of people about the danger of revisionism and social imperialism?”

Main Blow

The answer to this question can be found in OL’s insistence that the Soviet Union be presented to the U.S working class as the “main danger” and specifically in their latest emasculation of Marxism, their thesis on the “main blow,” “main danger,” and “main enemies.”

Conference participants were treated to the spectacle of OL members parading this latest thesis like children showing off their new toys Christmas morning. While communists use Marxism-Leninism to develop the correct line and policies to lead the class struggle forward, for the October League “Marxism-Leninism” has an entirely different meaning. For some time now the OL has been searching frantically for a “theoretical justification” for their opportunist line. In particular, they needed to come up with something to distinguish themselves from the views of William Hinton who has argued in print, at the Conference, and on other platforms that revolutionaries in the U.S. should support NATO, support arms sales to reactionary governments in the Third World and even imperialist countries who are opposed to the Soviet Union, and has criticized leading representatives of the U.S/bourgeoisie for a policy of “appeasement” toward the USSR.

But OL’s differences with Hinton are one of formulation and of little practical significance. OL has refused to participate in demonstrations which call for an end to U.S. imperialist arms shipments to the reactionary Shah of Iran, for example. And in Klonsky’s May 13,1976 Call interview we read that “we must firmly oppose those in the U.S. who appease or conciliate to Soviet social-imperialism and who thereby bring on the war that much sooner.”

While Hinton and OL agree that the USSR must be the target of the “main blow” internationally, we are supposed to believe that what divides OL from Hinton is that while Hinton claims that internationally the people of the world face one main enemy, OL contends that the U.S. is also a “main enemy.”

OL claims that the phrase “two main enemies” saves them from falling into the same objective unity with U.S. imperialism. But OL’s recent proclamations make it clear that their “two main enemies” is really just a ruse to cover themselves while they direct the main fire on “exposing” the Soviet Union. In the Call the RCP is criticized for not propagating the line among the workers that the Soviet Union is “most dangerous” and the “main source of war.” (Call, Sept. 6, 1976) Does the October League really believe that the working class of the U.S. should be told that danger of a third world war does not stem from the imperialist system itself, from the drive for profit of all the imperialist powers, especially the two superpowers, that the U.S. bourgeoisie would not be equally the source of such a war if it breaks out? And how, we must ask, does OL’s agitation around the USSR as the main source of war differ in substance, once it is stripped of its flimsy “Marxist” cloak, from the agitation and propaganda of the U.S. bourgeoisie itself?

Lenin pointed out that a war between imperialists arouses a “Hatred of the ’enemy,’ a sentiment that is carefully fostered by the bourgeoisie” and, among the class conscious workers, “hatred of one’s own government and one’s own bourgeoisie.” Lenin says that the first sentiment is of “value only to the bourgeoisie,” and that the proletariat must foster the second sentiment; “one cannot be a sincere opponent of a civil (i.e., class) truce without arousing hatred of one’s own government and bourgeoisie.” (“The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War,” Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 280) Lenin does not mean that communists should not expose the class nature of all the imperialist powers and their responsibility for such a war, but that in each imperialist country the communists must especially direct their fire at their own ruling class, expose especially its imperialist nature, and build hatred for it, or else the task of revolution cannot be carried out. The OL, with its insistence that, even in the U.S., communists must portray the Soviet Union as the “most dangerous” imperialist and the “main source of war” clearly opposes Lenin here.

The November 22 issue of the Call was peddled at the Conference as having OL’s views on the international situation and runs down the “main blow,” “main danger,” “main enemies” double-talk in all its glory. OL’s views base everything on quotations from Stalin in which he described the tactics of the Bolsheviks as directing their main blows at isolating the compromising parties in the period of preparation for the revolution, pointing out that it would be impossible to overthrow the enemy unless these parties were isolated. Applied to the U.S., according to OL, this means that “we must direct the main blow at these forces–the reformists and revisionists,” and, going further, OL says that the CPUSA revisionists “are even more dangerous” than the “majority of the trade union leadership.”

OL’s Application of Main Blow

Stalin’s formulation, especially when rigidly and dogmatically applied as OL seems intent on doing, can lead to serious errors, and in fact has done so in the past in other situations. Considering the CPUSA one of the two “main props of imperialism” in this country is ludicrous no matter how much the CP would love to occupy that position.

But OL’s application of the “main blow” theory goes from the erroneous to the absurd when they talk about what it means for the international situation. While, for the sake of appearance, OL concedes that both the U.S. and the USSR are the “main enemies” it goes on to call the USSR “the main prop of imperialism” which makes it the “greatest danger,” “augmented greatly by the fact that the social-imperialists are the more aggressive of the two superpowers.” Here OL’s attempt to dogmatically apply Stalin’s formulation falls flat on its face. Is the problem with the Soviet Union, in 1976, that it compromises with U.S. imperialism? Is the Soviet Union the “main prop” of imperialism, or itself an imperialist superpower which would like nothing better than to knock the prop right out from under its U.S. rivals?

In the August Revolution we predicted that OL’s ideological acrobatics would be spectacular in an effort to explain their August 2 Call article when they wrote, “it is only by aiming the main blow against the revisionists and their Soviet social-imperialist masters that the fight to overthrow U.S. imperialism can be brought to a successful conclusion.” They have certainly not let their readers down. In their frenzied efforts to have their cake and eat it too, to define and redefine their thesis on the “main blow,” they have sunk deeper and deeper into the opportunist pit.

Correct Stand

The correct stand of Marxist-Leninists is to unite all who can be united against the main enemy–which in this country can only be the U.S. bourgeoisie and which is the two superpowers internationally–to win over as much of the middle forces as possible and to isolate and expose enemy agents in the course of aiming the main blow at the main enemy. For all that the OL would like to accuse the RCP of “covering” for and “uniting” with revisionism and the Soviet Union because we refuse to direct our “main blow” at them, revisionists and opportunists in this country and internationally– as well as the U.S. ruling class–would be positively gleeful to read OL’s latest thesis.

The masses of people in this country are exploited and oppressed by the U.S. bourgeoisie. The U.S. ruling class is today carrying out aggression and preparing for a third world war with all the suffering and misery that will inevitably mean for the masses of people. Large numbers of people have come to see the U.S. ruling class as an aggressive imperialist power which exploits the working people of many countries throughout the world as well as here at home. Naturally, people rise up against this exploitation and oppression, more and more become conscious of the face of the enemy–the imperialist ruling class–and direct their main blow against it.

And what would the OL have us tell the workers and others who are rising up in struggle against the U.S. bourgeoisie? Hold on, wait, direct your main blow at the CPUSA and trade union officials, and don’t forget that the social imperialists are more dangerous and the main source of war. And what effect will OL’s protestations have? Only to reinforce every anti-communist and anti-China slander put out by the revisionists and the bourgeoisie, to strengthen the bourgeoisie’s own efforts to prepare public opinion for going to war against the USSR, and to drive many honest revolutionary-minded people in this country into the arms of revisionists and opportunists who claim to uphold the banner of struggle against the U.S. ruling class.

The OL’s fishing about for a “theoretical justification” for their opportunism, and all the contortions it leads them to is not at all unrelated to their method of polemics, which consists of shameless lies and distortions. Both have their roots in the complete deviation from the scientific approach of Marxism, of, as Mao says, “seeking truth from facts.” With such a Marxist approach there is no reason to distort things and lie about the positions of those who oppose you, and every reason not to–truth is on the side of the proletariat and is revealed by its science, Marxism-Leninism, which develops in opposition to bourgeois ideology.

This is why Mao also emphasizes that “thoroughgoing materialists are fearless.” It is only those who take the stand and represent the interests of the bourgeoisie who fear a full and all-sided analysis of reality, for such an analysis reveals their own bankruptcy. And it is because its line does represent the outlook and interests of the bourgeoisie that the OL frantically tries to torture reality to fit their completely erroneous and opportunist views, and repeatedly resorts to slander.

The Guardian

The “radical newsweekly,” the Guardian, which also boycotted the Conference, used the occasion of the Conference to write an article putting forward their own thesis on the “main blow.” The main thrust of the Guardian’s Dec. 1 editorial is an attempt to prove, in a one page article, that Lenin’s thesis on imperialism is out of date.

The Guardian editors pose the question–is world war inevitable?–and answer, “We say no. Marxist-Leninists are not fatalists. Imperialism’s drive for war is indeed inexorable. But the masses of people are the makers of history and they have it within their capacity to stop war.” Despite the reference to “Marxism-Leninism” and the homage payed to the masses as the motive force in history, this line is really no different than that of the War Resisters League and Mohandas K. Gandhi.

It is true that the masses have the ability to stop a particular war as in the case of Vietnam where the U.S. imperialists were beaten as a result of the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people and the massive outpouring of resistance to the war by the masses in this country and others. It is also true that the outbreak of a particular war can be postponed as a result of the struggle of the masses of people. But to declare that the masses can “stop war” altogether, without eliminating imperialism from the face of the earth, is truly an argument that Khrushchev would have been proud of.

As long as imperialism exists there will continue to be wars, including revolutionary wars which the working class and oppressed masses have no interest in stopping, but in fact will organize and wage. The imperialists will continue to launch wars of aggression against the peoples of the oppressed nations. And the masses of people in these countries will continue to wage just wars of national liberation. The imperialists will launch attacks on socialist countries and these attacks will be resisted. And just as inevitably, the conflict between the need of the imperialist powers to expand their blood-soaked empires of exploitation will lead to global conflicts for world supremacy. The working class will inevitably rise up and wage armed revolution to overthrow the imperialists and establish its own rule.

As regards to the world war now brewing between the two superpowers for world domination, either revolution in the U.S. and the USSR will prevent this war, or if such a war breaks out it will give rise to a great revolutionary storm throughout the world and greatly hasten the doom of imperialism.

According to the Guardian what changes everything is the emergence of national liberation struggles on a world scale. Of course it goes without saying that the rise of national liberation struggles has a great impact on the international situation. But to stretch this truth to mean that the national liberation struggles change the nature of the epoch, making it something different than the era Lenin described, marked by world war and proletarian revolution, is absurd. National liberation struggles hit hard blows at the imperialist system, but to argue that they can overthrow imperialism or eliminate world war distorts the whole nature of imperialism.

Surely the Guardian does not really believe that they are the first to discover the significance of the national liberation struggles or that such struggles just recently began to play an important role in world events. As far back as the First World War, Lenin pointed out the revolutionary storm growing in the East. And during the Second World War one important aspect of the war was the national liberation struggles, especially in China and other parts of Asia, where the defeat of Japan and the other fascist powers was a critical step in winning liberation from imperialism altogether. But just because during World War 2 the struggle of China and Vietnam, for example, was principally part of their struggle for national liberation, the overall character of the war did not change as a result, in either of its two phases.

While the Guardian likes to present itself as the arch enemy of social chauvinism and the October League, they share more in common with OL than simply the tendency to pick their favorite superpower. Just like the October League, the Guardian muddles together all the different forces in the Third World (“armed struggles from Indochina to southern Africa, in the growth of the nonaligned movement, in the growing influence of the world’s most populous country–the People’s Republic of China...”) without any real class content.


The other thing that the Guardian finds in common with the October League is a total disregard for the facts. In the article they imply that the RCP put forward only the slogan “Superpowers Out of Angola,” which is an out-and-out fabrication. It is true that the RCP exposed the role of the USSR and Cuba in Angola, which not only reflects the facts, but is necessary to show how their intervention was imperialist, and had nothing in common with “communism.” Bringing out the class nature of the conflict was crucial to make it clear how the working class in this country had no stake in supporting the U.S. ruling class’ efforts.

It is also true that the RCP ran articles in the Party press with headlines like “U.S. Makes Grab for Angola.” And no one who read our propaganda and agitation could help but realize that the main thrust was to explain the Angola events as a result of imperialist interference and to call on the U.S. working class to oppose calls by the U.S. bourgeoisie to unite behind its banner. The claim that the RCP made the struggle against U.S. intervention in Angola “conditional” on a cessation of Soviet interference is an outright lie.

Similarly the Guardian distorts its own position on the Angola events. It claims that its slogan was “U.S. Hands Off Angola,” while failing to mention that it always coupled this with lauding the “heroic Cuban volunteers” and demanding that the slogan “Support the MPLA” be accepted, insisting that this stand was the cutting edge of anti-imperialism.

The Guardian’s position on the international situation is that the people of the world face only one main enemy, U.S. imperialism. When it comes to describing the Soviet Union, the Guardian, as if trying to learn from the OL school of doubletalk, calls it “social imperialist” but claims that capitalist relations “have not been fully restored.” (For more on the Guardian’s opportunist line on international affairs see the August 25,1976 issue of Revolution, also reprinted in the “War and Revolution” pamphlet.)

In their December 1 editorial statement on the “main blow” the Guardian makes it completely clear where their line leads: “We cannot be blind to the fact that in a period when superpower contention is indeed intensifying, peoples struggling for their independence will make use of the contradictions between the two superpowers. Where the principal enemy is–as in most cases–U.S. imperialism, people will seek aid, arms and political support from U.S. imperialism’s superpower rival. They will do this no matter what some ’Marxist-Leninists’ in the U.S. may say because that is the pressing reality of their struggle.”

The Chinese Communist Party has correctly pointed out that, while communists in each country must determine the strategy for revolution according to actual conditions, in those countries where U.S. imperialism is, together with the reactionary ruling class, the main target of the revolution, the people must take care not to allow the Soviet social imperialists in the back door while the U.S. is being kicked out the front. What the Guardian’s line in practice amounts to would be to welcome the enemy at the back door and even rely on it and allow it to take over in fighting the enemy at the front, because of the “pressing reality of the struggle.” OL, on the other hand, has a line that in practice would have the people of those countries rush off into the backyard to fight against the “main danger” while the U.S. imperialists remain in the living room. Both the OL and Guardian formulations are recipes for defeat.

On any number of questions OL and the Guardian are mirror images of each other’s opportunism. OL claims that the USSR is stronger militarily, while the Guardian finds it necessary to write articles on the superiority of U.S. arms. OL claims that the Soviet Union “must take the greater part of the blame” (March 18) for provoking a civil war in Angola while the Guardian claims that only after the U.S. and South Africa made theft Angola move, did the “heroic Cuban volunteers” and Soviet military aid start rolling in. OL claims that the Soviet Union must be the target of the main blow internationally and continues to spin out new formulations at a dizzying rate as to why this is so, including that the Soviet Union has the smaller sphere of influence and is up and coming, while the Guardian argues the reverse side of the coin, saying that since the U,S. still dominates a larger chunk of the world, they are therefore the more dangerous and deserving of the main blow internationally.

The Guardian’s line may perhaps seem to be the less dangerous of the two since, speaking to the tasks of U.S. revolutionaries, they target our own imperialists as the focus of our struggle. But this is not in fact the case. The Guardian line misleads people about the struggle on the international scale, and thus aids one of the two main enemies of the people of the world. In addition, as we pointed out in the August 15,1976 Revolution, as the superpower showdown heats up toward war, “and especially [with] the actual outbreak of such a war and the increased exploitation and oppression it will bring in this country, those who hold the line or the Guardian will find themselves with little of substance to say to the masses, little to base themselves on in opposing U.S. imperialism and will find they have ’little choice’ but to capitulate to the U.S. bourgeoisie in one form or another.”

Both lines–that of the Guardian and that of OL– aid imperialism in one form or another and are obstacles to the struggle of the people of this country and the world against it.

The fact that both the October League and the editors of the Guardian were forced by success of the Conference on the International Situation to further expose their own opportunist lines on the international situation is a positive development. The dangerous content of their lines further shows that the Conference was both necessary and timely. The debate over the correct line on the international situation will continue and grow sharper, and in the course of this struggle the correct line of concentrating the main blow of the struggle in this country at the U.S. bourgeoisie, within the context of the worldwide-united front against imperialism aimed especially at the two superpowers, will grow stronger.