First Time Tragedy Second Time Farce
Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

First Time Tragedy Second Time Farce

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 5, February 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In an effort to break new ground in the area of sensationalist journalism and spice up page one, two newspapers have recently announced the disintegration of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) – both for the umpteenth time and both, alas, prematurely (for we ourselves are determined that the RCP will wither away, but only with the achievement of communism!).

The papers in question are the January 27 edition of Workers’ Vanguard, newspaper of the Spartacist League (a microscopic Trotskyite sect headquartered in New York) and the February 6 Call. While there are striking similarities between the two–both in form and political content–the Spartacists lump Marxism-Leninism with revisionism and attack both, while our CP(ML) authors attack Marxism-Leninism in order to unite with revisionism.

It would be a waste of time (though perhaps an entertaining diversion) to rake the self-proclaimed Trotskyites over the coals, but the Call article is worth a comment or two as an example of Menshevism running obscenely exposed.

The Call article is an open appeal to an arrogant clique–a revisionist headquarters recently exposed and defeated within the RCP–to join the CP(ML) in forming a new Menshevik Party. The tone of the article is one of pleasant surprise that a revisionist line and headquarters could actually exist in a genuine communist Party.

For Marxist-Leninists this is certainly no surprise. As Engels once said, “It seems that every workers’ party of a big country can develop only through internal struggle, which accords with the laws of dialectical development in general.” (Engels to Eduard Bernstein in Zurich, London, Oct. 20, 1882, emphasis in original. Lest our CP(ML) authors or their fellow opportunist Mensheviks be confused, it should be noted that this statement by Engels was not an attempt to distinguish workers’ [communist] parties of big countries from those of little countries, but to make the point that class struggle exists inside all such parties.) And as Mao stressed, and our own history has repeatedly borne out, such two-line struggle is vital to the proletariat and its Party, to its ideological and political development and to its growth.

Opportunist Patchwork

But the CP(ML)’s consistent ability to avoid any serious two-line struggle over the years has been yet another damning piece of evidence that Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought has never made any serious inroads into the revisionism of their organization. (The recent spat with Martin Nicolaus was certainly no two-line struggle. It was simply the opposite poles of the same revisionist stupidity. Just another case of CP[ML] posturing–feigning two-line struggle [because, after all, real Marxist-Leninist Parties have such struggles] when in fact Nicolaus had only taken their line to its logical, embarrassing extreme. With Nicolaus gone, they have lost even the pretense of scientifically analyzing Soviet social-imperialism, which reduces their “opposition” to mindless name-calling incapable of arming anyone with a grasp of why and how it is one of the two main enemies of the people of the world.)

We do not intend at this time to do a definitive analysis of CP(ML) revisionism (much of the groundwork has already been laid in previous issues of Revolution), nor to fully illustrate their fundamental and pervasive unity with our degenerate Menshevik “superstars.” So repugnant are the opportunist machinations of the people involved that they are a true self-exposure. Picture our Mensheviks, in league with the Klonskyites, running to the Spartacist League with cooked up tales and sensational “scoops,” relying on the Trots to “spill the beans” so that when the CP(ML) publishes “excerpts” from those same pirated wares, our Mensheviks can point to the Trots rather than themselves as the culprits and try to hide from their misled followers the obvious fact these Menshevik “leaders” are negotiating with Klonsky & Co.

Those with whom the Klonsky Corporation seeks to merge are under the leadership of a handful of former members of the old CP who never thoroughly broke with its revisionism.

This is entirely in keeping with the history of M. Klonsky himself, who has never made a thoroughgoing break with the upbringing he received in a den of leading revisionist CPers. This background has come to the fore in the CP(ML)’s (and the OL’s before it) thorough rightism, bolstered heavily by dogmatism.

They negate the revolutionary character of the student movement of the ’60s. They attack those who took advanced action, who shocked (yes, Klonsky, shocked) many people–even many in the antiwar movement itself–by calling for the defeat of U.S. imperialism, for waving NLF flags, throwing Purple Heart medals at the White House and declaring that their next war would be to take the Capitol steps! The CP(ML) heaps scorn on all this, and in contrast offers a gratuitous self-exposure of the reactionary role of their own leaders during that period, replete with its CP-style rightism and fear of the masses, its “love” of the mass movement and hatred of its revolutionary content.

First Time Tragedy, Second Time Farce

All their talk of “Marxist-Leninist Unity” is a thin veneer covering their deep desire to recreate the CP USA as it was before it went thoroughly revisionist, but keeping all the right deviations that eventually led to its degeneration. The revisionist degeneration of the old CP was indeed a tragedy, but the CP(ML)’s dreams of a “second time around” are a farce. Their bankrupt line on the international situation is a clear indication that they are prepared to capitulate to U.S. imperialism–to “out-Browder Browder.” In the December 26 Call they openly declare their desire to split off and absorb a section of the CP– a blatant admission of their revisionism and a ridiculous effort to swell their numbers and coffers any damn fool way they can. What significant section of revolutionaries can be found today in the CPUSA?

Is it any wonder, then, that M. Klonsky & Co. would reach out to embrace those who festered in the RCP as a right-wing revisionist headquarters? Those whose fear and contempt for the masses was such that they didn’t want anyone to know our youth organization is a communist youth organization? The Call’s contortionist attempts to slip and slide past the glare of this embarrassingly obvious revisionism, while embracing its proponents, is truly amusing.

To the CP(ML) we say, concerning the top, ex-CP, revisionist ringleaders of the Menshevik headquarters: “You want them? You can have them! You deserve each other.”

But Menshevik unity will be nearly as hard to achieve as it is shallow. Clearly the jockeying for positions in the planned conglomerate has already begun, along the lines described in last month’s Revolution editorial on the call for Menshevik unity. At the same time Klonsky & Co. reach out to embrace the pathetic remnants of this revisionist headquarters, they also rabbit punch in the clinches. Their message is clear: “We are pleased that you have returned to the swamp, Comrades, but we have been here consistently and you have not. Never forget that we are the true guardians of the swamp!”