Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist Party

New Revolution Magazine!

Party Press Moves Forward


First Published: Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

With this issue, Revolution has begun publishing in a magazine format. Since its inception in 1973 as the organ of the Revolutionary Union (the organization that played the central role in forming the Revolutionary Communist Party) and continuing since October 1975 when Revolution became the organ of the Central Committee of the newly formed RCP, it has been published monthly in a newspaper format. The decision to switch to a magazine format is part of important, broad-reaching steps the Party is taking to strengthen and expand the revolutionary role of its press. Chief among these is to give even further emphasis to the Party’s mass newspaper directed at the broad section of workers in this country who are awakening to political life. This paper, published in 19 local editions and linked together by a central news service, is being published more frequently and renamed the Revolutionary Worker.

Revolution has played and will continue to play a crucial role in the development of the revolutionary movement in this country. As the organ of the Revolutionary Union, Revolution was a key instrument in raising the political level of the new communist forces and helping to lay the basis for the formation of the RCP. In addition to containing Marxist-Leninist analysis of the major political events of the day, the pages of Revolution addressed the major questions that came forward within the ranks of revolutionaries. Its polemics slashed away at various opportunist lines and their organizational expressions that developed in that period. Many articles examined the effect of various political lines on the development of the mass struggle and popularized the advances made in correctly linking communism with the struggles of the masses.

With the formation of the RCP, Revolution played an even more critical role as the organ of the Party’s Central Committee. Sought avidly by revolutionary-minded people, Revolution has provided incisive analysis of domestic and international events, given timely guidance to the work of Party members and other revolutionaries, and has waged an uncompromising war on revisionism and opportunism in all its forms.

Revolution played a crucial role in the struggle with the Menshevik headquarters within the Party. Prior to the split with these revisionists, Revolution upheld and elaborated the revolutionary line of the Party in opposition to the tide of revisionism being fomented by the opportunists. When the Menshevik headquarters leapt out and provoked a split, Revolution defended the Party and its Central Committee and dealt heavy blows to the splitters, dissecting and repudiating their counter-revolutionary line and using it as a teacher by negative example to raise the level of Marxism-Leninism among Party members and revolutionary-minded people. It has been mainly through the pages of the organ of the Central Committee that important Party statements have been released to the revolutionary movement and key aspects of the Party’s line elaborated. The series on “The Immortal Contributions of Mao Tsetung” (which concludes with this issue) is one outstanding example of this.

For all these reasons Revolution has come to be held dearly by those who fight to overthrow the rule of the capitalist class and march forward to socialism and communism. And, conversely, it has become hated and feared by all manner of opportunists who seek to clothe counter-revolution in a “Marxist” garb.

Revolution, while published in a new format, will continue in its fine tradition. We are confident that it will continue to advance and remain an indispensable weapon in the hands of revolutionary fighters in this country. At the same time, further developments in the work of the Party, as well as a deepened grasp of the role of the Party press in general, have required that certain changes be made to make further advances in carrying out the Party’s revolutionary work.

Forward with the Revolutionary Worker

The most important among these changes involve the Party’s mass newspaper, the Revolutionary Worker–known up till now as the Worker.

For some years the revolutionary leadership of the Party has been stressing the importance of these papers, which are and must be distributed on a broader basis than Revolution, especially in the ranks of the proletariat. However, it has only been with the defeat of the Menshevik headquarters a year ago that real progress has begun to be made on this front. Already nine of these papers have begun publishing biweekly as opposed to monthly, and several others are planning to take this step quickly. Advances have been made in improving the revolutionary content of the papers, linking them together and guiding them through the Workers Press Service published under the leadership of the Party’s Central Committee. The writing style and layout of many of the papers have also improved. In addition, distribution has begun to climb.

All this, however, is only a beginning. The Revolutionary Worker must better fulfill its role as the face and voice of the Party to the tens of thousands of workers and others among the masses awakening to political life. Adding the word Revolutionary to the name Worker, as well as putting “Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA” on the masthead, will help these papers fulfill their revolutionary role. These papers must follow close on the heels of events in society, using Marxism-Leninism to produce concise, vivid and sharper exposures of the abuses of capitalism and lay bare the overall reactionary and moribund nature of capitalism. The Revolutionary Worker must further develop its ability to hound the bourgeoisie mercilessly. Through its agitational articles, that seize upon and lay bare a particular contradiction (which is the main content of these papers), as well as its propaganda and theoretical articles, it must instill in its readers a picture of the society they suffer in and the desire to rise up in revolution against it.

For the Revolutionary Worker to fully carry out this task it must make still further advances in its content and form, and the whole Party must strive to utilize this weapon among ever broader ranks of the proletariat. The papers must come out more frequently still, and efforts are underway to publish the Revolutionary Worker weekly in the not-too-distant future.

Having Revolution published monthly in a magazine format will assist in making the Revolutionary Worker seen as the principal voice of the Party to the broadest section of workers. As for Revolution, the new magazine format is quite in keeping with the role Revolution has played in the past and will continue to play as the organ of the Party’s Central Committee.

Revolution has and will continue to consist mainly of propaganda–that is, articles and essays that take up several ideas, discuss a particular question (contradiction) in relation to other contradictions and events and thus provide a fuller, deeper and more all-rounded picture than an agitational article can, no matter how well done. By its nature, propaganda has a somewhat more limited audience than agitation. Revolution assumes a relatively high degree of political knowledge and is aimed first and foremost at those who are consciously striving for proletarian revolution. It is also not necessary, at the present time at least, for Revolution to be published more than monthly.

While Revolution, as a propaganda vehicle, will tend to have a somewhat more restricted audience than a mainly agitational newspaper, publishing in a magazine format will help to clarify its political role in the class struggle and help it reach out more broadly to revolutionary-minded people thirsting for the kind of in-depth analysis it provides.

For these reasons, as well as certain aesthetic and practical considerations (one being that the new format will hold up better and readers will be better able to save issues and refer to them) the new format has been adopted.

Different Periodicals for Different Purposes

This decision should also help to clarify the relationship between Revolution and the Revolutionary Worker. On many occasions we have been asked why we publish two different newspapers, and some opportunists have tried to seize upon this to charge that the Party was committing an error in principle by having these two types of publications.

The basic reason for the need for these two types of publications comes back to the difference between agitation and propaganda and, coupled with this, the existence of two different audiences with different needs.

There is a clear need for a newspaper which is published frequently and distributed broadly among tens of thousands of workers, whose number will multiply many fold as the developments in society and the deepening crisis propel ever-broader sections into political life. At the same time, these workers are not yet, in the main, consciously striving for socialism nor consistently seeking to learn the science and method of revolution. While the Revolutionary Worker must strive to win them to this stand, it cannot take such a stand as an assumption.

Such a paper is not only critical in reaching out to the broad masses of workers, but also plays a key role among communists, class conscious workers and other revolutionary fighters. It keeps them abreast of the developments in the class struggle and society, helps them to carry out the various campaigns of the Party, and, most importantly, enables them to play their role as “tribunes of the people.” But can it be said that the Revolutionary Worker can meet all the needs of the most conscious revolutionary fighters? Don’t they have additional questions that must be addressed, don’t they demand a fuller picture of events than a broad-reaching paper can provide? We believe the answer is obvious.

The RCP’s policy of publishing two basic periodicals–one concentrating on agitation and aimed at a broader section of the masses, the other concentrating on propaganda and aimed at the relatively advanced–is not the model that some say is the one which must be used by Marxist-Leninists worldwide. It is, however, in keeping with the principles that must guide Marxist-Leninists in building the revolutionary press (the Bolsheviks, for example, published different types of papers during certain periods), and we believe this is required by the conditions in the U.S. today.

The point Mao made concerning literature and art is also applicable to this question:

The cadres are the advanced elements of the masses and generally have received more education; literature and art of a higher level are entirely necessary for them. To ignore this would be a mistake. (“Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art,” SW, Vol. 3, p 83.)

Does this mean, then, that Revolution will become, in effect, a theoretical journal? No, it does not. Of course Revolution has in the past made important contributions to the theoretical struggle and will continue to do so by running articles on important theoretical questions, as will the Revolutionary Worker also. However, Revolution will continue to be mainly a propaganda vehicle that is closely linked to analyzing the current developments in the class struggle domestically and internationally. At the same time, Revolution will publish some articles from the Workers Press Service (WPS) that have a more agitational character, which will help round out the magazine’s overall news coverage and political content.

The Party presently publishes a theoretical journal, The Communist, which will continue to be published two or three times a year in book form. Unlike Revolution, The Communist consists of only a few articles which deal in considerable depth and length with key questions of Marxist theory, and/or their application to a major question. While these questions, too, have their origin in the struggle between classes, theory is a separate sphere and has its own particularities. Thus, unlike Revolution, The Communist does not mainly address questions from the point of their immediate political ramifications, but rather from the overall vantage point of Marxist theory. Of course, there is no “Great Wall” between agitation, propaganda and theory–all have in common that they seek to prepare public opinion for Revolution and train and arm the forces which must carry out the proletarian revolution. Most importantly, all forms of this public opinion work, and all the publications put out by the Party, must be guided by the science of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought and the line of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

The changes called for in the Party’s press demand that further strides be taken in sharpening and wielding this powerful weapon of the proletariat. The Party is confident that these advances can be accomplished and further victories achieved.