Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Unity Organization

Sooner or Later

Questions & Answers on War, Peace & the United Front


In July of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson offered the famous Tonkin Gulf Resolution to Congress, proposing to expand the military budget, increase the size of the armed forces, and giving the President the right to expand the war in Southeast Asia. Left and progressive Americans correctly opposed this act.

In January of 1980, in his State of the Union address, President Jimmy Carter proposed expanding the military budget, reviving selective service registration, and increasing our overseas bases. What position should left and progressive people take today? Do we adopt the same positions as in the ’60s and oppose military spending, the draft, military bases, etc.? Is it the ’60s all over again? Or do we sum up the “balance sheet” against imperialism and conclude that the 1980s present different circumstances requiring different answers?

The explosive international situation presents us with urgent questions. The American public has been aroused from its apathy by Iran and Afghanistan. American political leaders talk constantly of the danger of war and of the Soviet danger. Confrontation with the U.S.S.R. is no longer an extremist’s notion but a daily reality. But American communists have not provided clear answers for the questions it raises. Do we deny support to both superpowers and oppose “our own” bourgeoisie’s growing militarization? Do we support the growing mobilization against the U.S.S.R. and struggle for a world-wide front against Soviet aggression? The debate over these questions no longer is confined to certain leftists as it was five years ago. That debate is now being carried out on a mass level. Since we have not allowed ourselves to debate these issues before, it is high time to debate them now. For without debate and democratic discussion, no united action can be expected.

This pamphlet is the product of such a debate. It is written in question and answer form. The questions are those which came up as we debated the issues among ourselves and those which arose as we discussed them subsequently in the movement. In this manner they echo the very questions raised in the movement by those spontaneously trying to come to grips with the questions of our time.

The questions and answers are preceded by a brief introduction, which sums up our political views. The conclusion contains a self-criticism of our former views, a brief discussion of party building, and a discussion of proletarian internationalism.

We recognize that we have not answered all the questions that changed world circumstances have put before us. We shall be happy to hear from readers who both agree and disagree with our views. We shall do our best to reply to comments. There are many groups and individuals whose comments on the text have been indispensable and we are grateful for their help. We take complete responsibility for the views in the pamphlet and are eager to hear from readers who have suggestions about what to do in the new circumstances we currently face.

The Authors
March, 1980