Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Workers’ Headquarters

Red Papers 8: China Advances on the Socialist Road: The Gang of Four, Revolution in the US, and the Split in the Revolutionary Communist Party

Documents from the Split in the RCP

Appendix A is two articles put out in the New York/New Jersey district of the RCP in the very early stages of the rebellion. The first is a mass cadre leaflet put out by the Avakian forces in response to a large majority vote of the district committee and a unanimous vote at a mass cadre meeting to 1) oppose all the leadership changes, 2) circulate both positions on China in the Party, and 3) call on other areas also to rise up in rebellion.

The second article was put out by the New York/New Jersey district committee in response to the Avakian position.

The “mass meeting” called for by the Avakian forces was attended by a very small percentage of the district, as the great majority of party members in this district boycotted this meeting as well as the “gentleman’s purge” as called for by Avakian.

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Comrades! Since the last Central Committee meeting, the former district leadership in this area, along with other leading members of the anti-Party headquarters exposed at the CC, has openly attacked the Central Committee of our Party and has openly repudiated its authority. They have sabotaged and refused to implement the clear directives set by the CC for the discussion of the CC report on China and the rectification campaign, making impossible any real discussion and struggle around the line and substituting lies and slanders in an attempt to split the Party, presenting the cadre in this area with a “fait accompli.” These are flagrant and extraordinary violations of the Constitution of our Party, not to mention of the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism.

These and other literally criminal and unconcealed attacks on our Party will, of course not be tolerated by the Central Committee or by Party comrades in this area. Article 5 of the Constitution of our Party states:

The organizational principle of our Party is democratic centralism. This principle combines centralized discipline with the fullest discussion and struggle over policy within the Party and the selection and supervision of Party leaders by the Party membership...The whole Party must observe Party discipline: the individual is subordinate to the higher level, and the entire Party is subordinate to the Central Committee...If a Party member holds different views with regard to the decisions or directives of the Party body he serves on, or others above it, he may reserve his opinion while maintaining Party discipline, and has the right to bypass the immediate leadership and report directly to the higher levels, up to and including the Central Committee. It is absolutely impermissible to suppress criticism or to retaliate. It is essential to create a political situation in which there is both centralism and democracy, both unified line and broad initiative, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and action and personal ease of mind and liveliness.

The Constitution of our Party is not just a piece of paper to be trampled on in a fit of temper. Comrades must ask themselves: What is the tradition of our Party, under the leadership of its Central Committee, and what is the tradition of the Revolutionary Union before the founding of our Party, if it is not to encourage full and free expression of conflicting views, within the framework of Marxist-Leninist democratic centralism? Didn’t the CC organize, over the past year and more, the fullest discussion and struggle around the question of China? (In fact, those who are now slandering the CC for “suppression” themselves suppressed and distorted the guidance and directives set for discussion of the China question in this area.) Was any attempt made to suppress conflicting views? Can even the leaders of the faction which attempted to split our Party at the last CC meeting deny that they were given every opportunity to present their line? (In fact, this anti-Party clique ran their line outside of channels and counter to the guidelines set by the CC for over a year, making it the height of hypocrisy for them to now cry that their “views” have not been presented to the cadre). Is there any reason to believe that now the CC intends to just “jam the line down the throats” of cadre, without allowing questions or disagreements?

Exactly the opposite is the case. Across the country right now, free and enthusiastic discussion is going on throughout the Party, under the directives set by the CC for discussion. In this area, the former district leadership has attempted to sabotage this process– but in this area, too, this process will take place, relying on Marxism and deep study, not inventions, fairy tales or emotional outbursts.

Since the former district leadership has openly voted not to recognize the leadership of the CC and to spit upon the discipline of our Party, the CC must reconstitute the district under its authority. In order to accomplish this, all cadre who want to remain in the Party must re-register as a Party member with a registration commission composed of comrades in this area, and acting under the authority of the Central Committee. The deadline for re-registration is next Sunday, January 15th, at 5:00 PM. All comrades should declare their intention to remain in the Party directly to a member of the re-registration commission. Members of the commission can be contacted by calling _______.[1]

Because of the confusion and lies being spread by the anti-Party faction in this area, and because for some time in this district the line and directives of the CC, including the directives for study and discussion around China prior to the last CC meeting, have been distorted or suppressed, the CC and the regional and district leadership under its authority have called a special meeting set for next Saturday, January 14th, at 9:30 AM. At this meeting will be members of the CC and others delegated by it to explain to the cadre the current situation in the Party and the factional and anti-Party character of those who are attempting to split it, and to answer questions and hold principled discussion and struggle on our line on China and on the nature and purpose of the rectification campaign outlined in the CC report. All comrades who respect the Party and are prepared to come and participate in the meeting while observing the rules set by the CC for conducting it are welcome. The former district leadership, having openly repudiated the authority of the CC, may not attend, and neither can those members of the CC in this area who have been placed on probation (they know who they are) due to their continued factional activity after they pledged to abide by discipline at the last CC meeting. Any disruption of this special meeting will, of course, not be tolerated.

Comrades! In 1975, a great victory was won when the working class forged a genuine communist Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party. At that time we pledged that this was the second and the last time that such a Party would have to be founded. The entire Party will unite and repudiate those who attempt to split and destroy it, and will strengthen itself immeasurably in the process, Let us all unite under the leadership of the Party Central Committee, conduct comradely and deep-going discussion and struggle and strengthen our unity, carry forward and fulfill our revolutionary obligations to the working class in this country and the entire world.


[1]Those who do not re-register prior to the deadline will no longer be party members. These individuals may, however, reapply for admission to the party, and their applications for admission will be taken up on a case-by-case basis in line with the Party’s established recruitment procedures.

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N.Y.-N.J. District Committee Comrades:

We are communists. Workers who pledged ourselves “to put the interests of the working class and the revolution above all else.” (RCP Constitution, Art. 3, pt. 1). We have seen the Communist Party, our first party in this country be consolidated by its leadership around an opportunist line. We are in danger of seeing this happen once again.

It was in this context that cadre of this district Friday night voted overwhelmingly to reject the leadership changes and to call for open discussion around the two China positions. That was a vote of rebellion against the Avakian Central Committee. Two roads have been taken since that meeting.

Avakian and Co. have taken the low road which is best reflected, and concentrated, in their recent leaflet to the cadre. They are attempting to scare every one of us back into “their channels of discussion.” Be forewarned, Sunday night is your deadline.

We who have sweated and sacrificed, who have upheld and built the Party are suddenly no longer Party members and have to reapply. They call for reapplying because cadre should put the unity of the Party above the current struggle. The same forces that attack Teng Hsiao-ping for promoting this line are promoting it here. For Avakian, unity in China is a dirty word, but in his party it’s the highest principle.

There can be no paper unity on the question of China. China is a “watershed question.” The last bulletin admitted that our line on China will determine whether our Party remains a Marxist party. It puts our Party at a crossroads, on every major question involved in the class struggle and in particular our understanding of Marxism and outlook toward the masses. Therefore, there can be no retreat from the struggle around this question. Neither can there be a formalist or organizational resolution to the struggle. It is a political and ideological question of the highest importance to the international working class. In our Party there are two lines and two headquarters and many forces in sharp struggle Avakian through a combination of idealism and outright deceit is attempting to ignore this. But reality asserts itself nevertheless.

the NY-NJ District Committee as well as the sections and most branches have voted to rebel,
the New England District Committee voted to rebel,
the Milwaukee District Committee and all the branches voted to rebel,
the Philadelphia-Baltimore District Committee and the vast majority of cadre have voted to rebel,
the majority of cadre and branches in Chicago have voted to rebel.

Other cities and areas are split with cadre vowing to oppose the Avakian “edicts” from Coast to Coast. To say that “across the country right now, free and enthusiastic discussion is going on throughout the country, under the directives set by the CC” is an outright lie.

Our Party is deeply divided on a question of principle. This situation cannot be resolved organizationally first. It must be resolved politically. Instead, comrades are being told to return to a reorganized party and to bow down to a Central Committee that has consolidated around an opportunist line. We are told there will be a full and democratic discussion.

On what basis are we told to expect this to be the case? Nothing is said in their leaflet except an attempt to appeal to the well-deserved respect people have for the past practice of the RU and the Party. But there is a world of difference between how this struggle has gone down and the past practice. The way in which the line was taken proves this. The purge of half the Party leadership says the same. The way in which the entire district and all its bodies have been declared illegal is not the practice of the RCP, but instead smacks of the AFL-CIO leadership. In many districts cadre haven’t even received the bulletin so that Avakian can contain the rebellion to certain areas and crush resistance in others. Cadre across the country are being told that leadership will be visiting their houses to collect the pro-China paper and they are not allowed to read it. But there is a more fundamental question than this.

The only way the question can be struggled out is with several complete positions based on thorough investigation of the class forces in China, the role of leading CCP members, the state of the economy, the results of the GPCR, etc., (time, place and condition), and lines viewed in relation to this. The way in which this struggle is brought to a head is through unleashing the masses of cadre, including holding congresses. Any other approach is an attempt to first organizationally consolidate people into their channels and branches and then to use the entire weight of the current Central Committee to crush resistance politically.

The high road has been taken by the district committee. One of calling for rebellion and encouraging broad discussion among all cadre holding different lines. Branches have been encouraged to sum up their work and determine the relationship between the criticisms raised in the bulletin and the left idealism emanating from the center, and which has been the main problem. China discussion groups have been organized that include the different lines and bring together workers, youth and professional comrades. At the Friday meeting, some of the CC members began to do self-criticism and called for real rectification of the Party’s work. This needs to be continued and deepened by all comrades. By contrast Avakian has rashly pushed our Party to the brink of a split and still arrogantly refuses to repeal his China bulletin as our Party’s line.

Avakian’s supporters have gone around and argued that two papers would lead to many people splitting. Comrades, does unity arise out of struggle or not? If Avakian’s paper is correct and can be defended, then they should be confident that they will win soldiers. If they are confident they shouldn’t fear the district leadership coming to the Saturday meeting. The Saturday meeting and the Sunday enrollment is an attempt to kill the struggle. The planned extravaganza on Saturday has to be opposed. The decision to ban the district committee and the threat to throw out “disruptive elements” guarantees no struggle. Instead, what is necessary is a debate between the two headquarters. We don’t fear an open clash between the two lines. In fact we demand it and every cadre and branch should do the same. Why is Avakian afraid of it? Because he hopes to use the Saturday meeting and the Sunday enrollment to again rush people to judgement. To again put organizational consolidation ahead of and against political struggle. It’s a plan that guarantees further divisions and is an attempt to specifically organizationally and physically isolate the district committee. The enrollment is a joke and should be boycotted. There is no need to reapply. Every person is a Party member.

The enrollment is an attempt to put an end to the struggle, while the aspirations of most cadre and the need for clarity demands it continue. This approach stands in direct contradiction to the lessons of the GPCR where every attempt to organizationally block, every scream of factionalism, every attempt to limit the struggle came from the capitalist roaders who feared criticism by the masses.

The low road pursued by the Avakian crew is arising in many ways. There are the ridiculous charges that some comrades are in negotiations with the October League. This statement exposes two things. Avakian is convinced that without his “genius” there can be no real Party in the US and that the masses of cadre who hate the OL to the marrow of their bones can be used as pawns and sucked into opportunism.

The ridiculous charge that people had factionalized around China for a year is exposed by every member’s experience that all that had been discussed around China in this district in and out of Party meetings were the bulletins that came out from the center. If this can be characterized as “full discussion and struggle” as their leaflet does, then that in itself is grim warning of the nature of future discussions in the Party.

Finally on the question of the “fait accompli” referred to in their leaflet. The real “fait accompli” is that which has been presented by the Opportunist headquarters to the cadre. Accept our Party going against the Chinese Communist Party before discussion. Accept our Party declaring China to be a deformed workers state before discussion. Renounce China on the basis of a 78-page paper, short of facts, absent of proof, long on conjecture and filled to the hilt with a priorist conclusions. Avakian says you have to be 100% sure that the Party is wrong before opposing it. But the real question is whether anyone–except Avakian– can be 100% sure China is revisionist and be in a Party where support for the Gang of Four is not a position but the LINE. Avakian has no problem being sure because idealists are never bothered by the questions reality poses. The line is no longer even internal, but has begun to be taken out to the Brigade members and some workers by the Avakian crew.

Comrades: The CCP withstood the attacks of the Soviet Union. It withstood the slanders of PL. It was proven correct when the petty bourgeoisie in this country freaked over Lin Piao going down. It will withstand the slanders of the new PL. But the class struggle in this country demands that there be a Party in this country that applies Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought to the US. Our responsibility to the workers of this country as well as worldwide demands that we wage war against this opportunist line.

Comrades Hold Firm!

Fight to prevent the RCP from being destroyed by an opportunist line. Fight to insure there continues to be a Party to lead our class. Uphold the interests of our class above all!