RWHq-BACU Merger Statement

Statement on the Merger of the Bay Area Communist Union into the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, September 1979

The Revolutionary Workers Headquarters (RWH) proudly announces the merger into its ranks of the entire membership of the Bay Area Communist Union (BACU). Aside from increasing our membership and extending our work to the West Coast, this merger brings together two organizations, each of which possesses an important history in the struggles to integrate the general truths of Marxism with the concrete analysis and practice of revolution in the United States, and to uphold and defend revolutionary Marxism.

The merger of our two organizations is one of the several evidences of a growing trend toward unity among genuine Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. Others are the merger of the August Twenty Ninth Movement (ATM) and the I Wor Kuen (IWK) to found the League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS), and subsequent mergers into the LRS of three local collectives: Sieze the Time, East Wind, and the New York Collective. BACU, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), and the LRS have issued a call to build a "Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists" (CUML). The RWH has accepted an invitation to join these efforts and has submitted its own proposals. Others have also shown interest. Furthermore, several groups previously associated with the Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC) and its so called "anti-leftist, anti-dogmatist trend" have recognized the revisionist content of that trend, broken from it and are seeking new ways to contribute to the furtherance of Marxist-Leninist unity.

The young American communist movement, a product by and large of the mass movements of the 60's, has accumulated a certain amount of experience and has matured. Comrades have been in the plants, the communities and in mass organizations building struggle, building and deepening ties and spreading the influence of communists. In addition to advances in mass work and the struggle for Marxist-Leninist clarity, increasingly there exists an ability to learn from each other, instead of insisting on the 100% infallibility of one's own group or "leading center." All of this is very good.

At the same time, progress has been slow. Active and organized communist forces remain quite small and have even diminished in recent years. Against a population of over 200 million, our small movement stands out in its near isolation. While progress has been made in outlining the general Marxist viewpoint and defending it against blatant vulgarizations, we are still relatively weak at integrating general socialist ideals with the concrete conditions and struggles of the American people. We have not developed a clear application of that theory, a demonstrable living Marxist line that can lead us in breaking our present isolation from the struggles of ordinary people. Far too much we have satisfied ourselves with superficial line and fall short of the requirements of practical Marxism, of building a truly rooted socialist movement, fused with the daily struggle of the people. Failing to proceed from concrete analysis, based on concrete practice among the masses, of existing conditions and prevailing moods, we allow subjectivism and shallow dogmatism to guide our work. This results in superficial struggles against imperialism and revisionism, and in pedantic justifications for continued ultra-"left" nonsense and sectarianism.

In saying this we note and are encouraged by the progress being made in the unity efforts and believe this is happening precisely because all Marxist-Leninists are increasingly becoming aware of these problems and are more and more confronting them. For instance, we are encouraged by the rather protracted struggle going on within the CP(M-L) against "the three evils of sectarianism, subjectivism, and bureaucratism." We also recognize the importance of the ATM's year-long struggle against "left" opportunism, without which the merger with IWK would have been inconceivable. We also note similar challenges to prevailing "left" superficiality in other quarters. Our hope is that this process continues as a most crucial element of the struggle for a genuinely communist vanguard.

Many factors are favorably conditioning our progress. Internationally, the more clearly revealed expansionism of the Soviet social-imperialists threatening a new world war has sharpened the struggle between genuine Marxist-Leninists and revisionists of all stripes. Standing out as a force for peace and against superpower domination, and acting according to the "Theory of the Three Worlds," People's China and the Chinese Communist Party helped to elaborate a plan of action for the international proletariat, further clarifying the basis for Marxist-Leninist unity. The growing war danger underscores the urgency and gives both reason and basis for rapidly developing our unity efforts.

Furthermore, the struggle of the Chinese Communist Party against the ultra-leftism of Lin Biao and the "Gang of Four" has broadened the outlook of all communists worldwide. The "ultra-left" line had ill effects internationally, encouraging idealism, dogmatism and sectarianism throughout the world communist movement. It had its greatest impact on the American movement precisely during its formative years and we remain heavily infected with it. The struggle against this line, both here and in China is against the propagation of empty phrases, sectarian and self-serving politics, and the substituting of general Marxist sounding verbiage for concrete and specific solutions to practical problems arising in the course of each revolution.

Both the RWH and BACU share a particular and common history of struggle against this left line, as well as a common commitment and approach toward applying Marxist ideas to present American realities. Our merger represents the unity achieved by two organizations and their cadre who have struggled through the ultra-left distortions that have plagued our movement in terms of its understanding of the present non-revolutionary period and our tasks. Ours is a period in which the working masses are just beginning to break with the class collaborationist policies that have been imposed on and dominated labor since the late '40's; a period during which the mass movements of students, youth and minorities have ebbed following the turbulent '60's and are only beginning to rebuild; a period that is marked by the gap between the level of the struggles for reform and the goal of revolution the gap between socialists and the masses.

The merger of our two organizations reflects a commitment to come to grips with this reality and to develop strategy and tactics that will advance it. It represents a recognition of the largely uncharted course that confronts us concerning the need to fuse the socialist movement with the movement of the workers and oppressed minority people. In grasping this challenge we have developed a common commitment to mastering united front strategy and the tactics essential for building both the workers and oppressed peoples' movements, as well as the heart of the revolutionary united front in this country.

Both of the organizations come from a particular history of struggle against the capturing of the RU by an ultra-left line and its consequent degeneration. Drawing on its strengths of activism, as well as a commitment to uphold and creatively apply Marxism, the early RU played a leading and generally correct role in helping to cut a path to the fusion of the socialist movement and the movements of the workers and other mass movements. It displayed a fairly sound appreciation of the difficulties involved in forging a multi-national vanguard rooted among the masses.

In time, an ultra-left line emerged within the RU and came to dominate its thinking and practice. By 1974, it had become consolidated within the organization and was the basis for the sectarian proposal to the National Liaison Committee (RU, The Black Workers Congress, and the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization) to quickly form a "new communist party" before others beat them to the punch. It was also the basis of the chauvinist and false campaign against the "bundism" of the BWC and PPRWO, launched when these organizations refused to follow the RU's baton. In the course of this campaign, the RU reversed its earlier correct position upholding the independent revolutionary potential of the Black national movement, adopting much of the same sort of line it had boldly criticized in struggling against the Progressive Labor Party previously. The "go it alone" headlong rush to found the RCP was the height of sectarian vainglory and "left" opportunism.
As this "left" line emerged within the RU the people who later founded BACU, then members of the RU, fought against it on various levels. They called on the National Secretariat to open a broad internal discussion and wrote a paper exposing in detail the sectarianism and chauvinism involved in the drive for "the party" and elaborated how the ultra-left line was affecting all areas of RU line and practice. Isolated and persecuted for their actions, they eventually quit in protest. This was a mistake, as later events proved a large basis existed within the RU for struggle against this ultra-leftism. These comrades made the mistake of hooking up with the BWC which in its vengeance against the RU mistook ultra-leftism for right economism and right opportunism. This false theory lead the BWC on a whirlwind of self-destruction leading to fragmentation in 1976. The BACU forces regrouped, re-established their earlier criticism of the RU/RCP and also criticized the BWC style left idealism and dogmatism.

The RWH emerged in struggle within the RCP against increasingly apparent manifestations of the ultra-left line. While taken in by much of this line, RWH forces struggled against aspects of it as early as the founding congress of the RCP in 1975. The basic issue then was against the Avakian forces' attempt to divert our working class work from the trade union struggle and the daily struggles of the workers and to substitute the raising of political consciousness. Similar attempts to debase our work from the basic issues, felt needs, and struggles of the people involving areas of student, nationality, and other work were struggled against then and in the following years. But, Avakian's idealist line prevailed. The struggle sharpened in 1976 when Avakian openly called on the RCP to retreat from mass work at the base, pointing instead to a "high road" of self-cultivation and "shock troop" activity. This broke the struggle open further and differences over these issues would most likely have ended in a split. But, the process of unfolding struggle was cut short by Avakian's open siding with the "gang of four." This despicable act greatly clarified the complete bankruptcy of Avakian's entire world outlook and made it obvious that a fight to the end was needed.

Forty percent of the RCP rose in rebellion, formed into the RWH and eventually split away to form a separate organization. Since then the RCP, freed to take its left nonsense to its logical conclusion, has degenerated into a cult engaging exclusively in lunatic verbal insurrection-mongering fueled by a growing lust for cut-rate martyrdom at the hands of the state apparatus. The RWH, on the other hand, has turned its attention more fully to the people's struggles and the task of becoming internal to these struggles. Especially we are concentrating on advancing our work in the trade unions and the nationalities movement. We have also launched an intensive internal rectification movement to further identify continued influences of the "left" line in our work, our thinking and organizational style.

BACU and the RWH represent two stages in the struggle against the "left" opportunist line of the RCP. As a merged organization, we are committed to a deepening of the break from 'leftism,' and an unswerving orientation to the masses, to becoming internal to and fused with real existing mass movements. While learning from past errors, we do not proceed from fighting ultra-leftism, but rather from developing line summing up from practice, while combating both left and right errors. The more our whole movement orients itself on similar lines, the closer will come the day that a genuine vanguard or the American revolution will emerge. Our struggle against leftism, the developing consciousness within our movement of the dangers of the "left" line, developments in the international and domestic scenes promising heightened mass struggle, the greater clarity brought by the Three Worlds Theory and the struggle against the "gang of four," and the growing desire for unity among U.S. Marxist-Leninists are all factors favoring progress toward this end.

The mounting although uneven crises confronting U.S. society, the deteriorating conditions of the people brought on by these crises, the smoldering disgust and hatred of the people, and the embryonic rise of a future wave of intensive mass struggle demand ever more profoundly the rapid development of a truly rooted, capable and theoretically sound vanguard party. By placing the needs of the masses in the forefront, and basing the struggle for such a vanguard on solving the questions arising from the needs of the mass struggle, we are convinced that much headway can be made in the immediate future.

Central Committee,
Revolutionary Workers Headquarters
September 1979