Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Committee of U.S. Bolsheviks

Split and Decayed – The Present State of the Opportunist Movement


First Published: In the pamphlet, Imperialism, Superprofits and the Bribery of the U.S. Anti-Revisionist Communist Movemement, August 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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All the social chauvinist and centrist forces are gripped by a deepening crisis. The groups of the old, so-called “anti-revisionist communist movement” have encountered great difficulty in peddling their revisionism to the working class. Their failures have been accompanied by intense in-fighting, factionalism, and intriguing in the revisionist camp.

It is natural that the social chauvinist Maoist factions try to cover up their internal crisis as much as possible, and describe “the situation as excellent.” But assisting them in this cover-up are the centrists, who are silent as a corpse about this crisis. This is because the centrists themselves are wracked by a similar crisis, and to report on the crisis among the social chauvinists would only invoke comparisons with their own situation.

Thus, to find out what is really happening with all these opportunists has become somewhat of an art. We must read between the lines of all their pronouncements in order to understand the real situation. As we shall see, the contemporary activities of all these social chauvinists and centrists are but a continuation of their long history of treachery.


“LRS” and “CPML”

That the “Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists”, composed of “LRS” and “CPML”, was getting nowhere was exposed in Bolshevik, Vol. 9, No. 1. Recent events have shown that the in-fighting among these “three world”-ers has intensified greatly.

In their factional squabbling, the offensive has been taken by “LRS”. “CPML” now has to admit that it is in the throes of “the inner-Party struggle that has been going on for several months.” (The Call, June 11, 1979, pg. 9) “LRS” has swallowed up several more collectives of petty-bourgeois nationalists, such as Seize The Time, East Wind, and The New York Collective (Mensheviks from the old “wing”.)

The differences between “LRS” and “CPML” do not involve Marxist-Leninist principles, for they are all social chauvinist upholders of Maoism and its theory of the “three worlds”. All these groups support the alliance with U.S. imperialism, their own bourgeoisie. This is not up for question. What they are fighting about is hegemony over the social chauvinist movement, and about who will be the chairman of a “united” social chauvinist party and overall leader of the U.S. social chauvinists. Further. “CPML” aims at expanding its base in the labor aristocracy, and at gaining hegemony over the working class movement. “LRS”, on the other hand, is mostly concentrated among the oppressed nationality students, emphasizing its “anti-Bakke coalition”, etc. Both “CPML” and “LRS” fight to get more crumbs from the superprofits of imperialism. And it is their vying for these crumbs that is the basis of their factionalism.

Since their differences do not involve Marxist-Leninist principles, the “polemics” between them do not adhere to the Leninist norms of open polemics. Rather, they are Maoist attacks, innuendo without mentioning each other’s names. “LRS”, for example, has recently come out with the first issue of its “theoretical” journal, “Forward” (its cover has a large red arrow behind the word “Forward”, pointing, not coincidentally, to the right). In their analysis of U.S. ”Marxist-Leninists”, they point to the ATM-IWK merger in glowing terms, along with their merger with the smaller collectives. They praise the Jarvis-Bergman “RWH” as “striving to sum up the errors and opportunism of the “RCP”, carry on their mass work, and establish relationships with other Marxist-Leninists.” (pg. 7) But what of “CPML”? Remember them? This is all “LRS” has to openly say: “The decision to try to establish a Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists by the CPML and the League (then ATM and IWK) was also a hopeful development for U.S. Marxist-Leninists.” (pg. 8) Not very enthusiastic. And all they did was make a decision ”to try to establish” this committee? Again “LRS” slips, speaking as if this committee still hasn’t been set up. But “CPML” speaks as if it already exists: “The CPML will continue to support the broadened development of the Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists (CUML) in its vital efforts to unite all U.S. communists into one single unified party.” (The Call, June 11, 1979, pg. 16) “CPML” also sounds a lot more enthusiastic about this. To put it another way, “CPML” sounds desperate for unity with “LRS” to avoid its own group from being splintered apart.

“LRS” has been putting a tremendous amount of pressure on “CPML”. The focus of their attack has been, naturally, the national question. This is so the petty-bourgeois nationalists of “LRS” can try to make a split in “CPML” along national lines and create a re-alignment among the social chauvinist forces. In an interview in their journal, an “LRS” representative was asked about “important differences among Marxist-Leninists”, meaning between “LRS” and “CPML”. He responded: “I think that there are quite a few differences, but here I will just speak of one. This is on the national question.” (pg. 12) Only a narrow-minded petty-bourgeois nationalist would want to speak in a “theoretical” journal of only the one difference on the national question if there were quite a few. A genuine Marxist-Leninist would tie deviations on the national question to the overall struggle against opportunism and social chauvinism, and to the social base of social chauvinism, the bribed section of the working class and the petty-bourgeoisie that want to defend their share in the plunder of the colonies and oppressed nations. A genuine Marxist-Leninist would expose that the social chauvinists and centrists trample on the right to political secession for oppressed nations and defend their own bourgeoisie’s annexation and enslavement of the colonies and oppressed nations. Needless to say, none of these themes are raised by “LRS”.

Listen to what they say: “The question comes down to this: Do the national movements have a great revolutionary potential, and their own revolutionary significance; or are they reducible simply to workers question, drawing their power from the workers struggle or liberal reformist struggle?” (pp.12-13) To talk of the national movements having “their own revolutionary significance” is to separate them from the world proletarian revolution. It is the old bourgeois nationalist line of “autonomous” national movements all over again, meaning autonomous from the hegemony of the proletariat. This is also the theory of the “three worlds”, which argues that the “third world” is the main force in history, etc. All these views that separate the national movements from the world proletarian revolution are actually a defense of the hegemony of the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie in the national movements, and thus reduce the national movements to a mere reserve of imperialism, rather than a reserve of the proletariat.

What “LRS” means by “revolutionary” national movements, of course, are really no different from the liberal, reformist movements that their unnamed opponents support. Both “LRS” and “CPML” have been jumping head over heels to line up interviews and national speaking tours for the Black bourgeois building contractor Alfred “Skip” Robinson, head of the reformist United League of Mississippi. Both “LRS” and “CPML” liquidate the leading role of the Black proletariat in the Black national movement, and both liquidate the right to political secession for the Black nation. So despite their rhetoric, this is not the real difference, although the petty-bourgeois nationalists would have us believe that their “third world” militant reformism is really revolutionary, different from the trade unionism and economism of “CPML”.

“LRS” goes on: “Some believe that in order to win white workers to the struggle against national oppression we must appeal mostly to the way that national oppression affects their own immediate monetary interests. These comrades tend to blur over the differences between the oppressor nationality workers and the oppressed nationality workers. They say basically, ’all workers suffer from national oppression, therefore we must all oppose it’.” (Forward, No. 1, pg. 14) This is an outright attack on “CPML”. The most recent issue of their “theoretical” journal, “Class Struggle”, 7 Winter, 1979, No. 11), is billed as a “special issue on the national question”. It includes such gems from white members of SCEF, a “CPML” front group in the South: “It’s easy to talk to white workers about how they’re making money for someone else and that Black workers are in the same situation.” (pg. 55) And, ”We’ve learned that the most effective work in building unity with the Black and white workers and in drawing workers into the general class struggle can be done when an organization actively takes up the issues and concerns that the white workers have.” (pg. 65) Not voluntary unity of the workers of all nationalities that upholds the right to political secession of oppressed nations and “arising on the basis of mutual confidence and fraternal relations among peoples” (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Works, Vol. 6, pg. 151) – no, this is not what “CPML” wants at all. Unity on a few economic and political reforms is their version of “multinational unity”. This is imperialist economism, social chauvinism through and through.

But “LRS” is not so interested in such a bread-and-butter, economist approach. This would not go over well on the campuses, where their petty-bourgeois base fights in its “anti-Bakke” committees to increase their cut of the superprofits. The approach of “LRS” is closer to that of the poverty pimp trying to hustle as much as he can for “his” or “her” group, meaning, of course, for the bribed “leaders” of one nationality or another.

This is what “LRS” tells the white workers: ”We must strive to win white workers over to oppose national oppression and racism on the basis that the long-term and day-to-day unity of all workers can only be built if white workers oppose the particular oppression of their fellow minority workers; on the basis that the working class opposes all injustices perpetrated by our common enemy, because the working class supports all mass struggles directed against the monopoly bourgeoisie. All mass struggles that oppose the imperialist bourgeoisie are in the material interests of the working class because they weaken the enemy class.” (Forward, No. 1, pg. 15) The clear tone of this statement is that the national movements are the vanguard, and all that the white workers can be expected to do is to be won as their allies to “support” them, “because the working class [referring to white workers – Ed.] supports all mass struggles directed against the monopoly bourgeoisie”. “LRS” does not talk of the hegemony of the proletariat as a whole, but only of the national movements as revolutionary and the need to win white workers to them. This is nothing but a very thinly concealed version of the line of the 1960’s that the national movements and/or the students were the vanguard of the revolution.

Significantly, “LRS”’s blast at “CPML” nowhere takes up the question of the right of oppressed nations to political secession, or the question of the economic and political privileges for the workers of the oppressor nation. On these questions, they are at peace with “CPML”. Both these questions get at the heart of national oppression, and call out the superprofits that imperialism gets from its plunder of oppressed nations. This is because both “CPML” and “LRS” are social chauvinist defenders of the “three worlds” theory, which is nothing but a defense of the “right” of their own U.S. bourgeoisie to plunder the world. So the polemics between “LRS” and “CPML” must stay within bounds acceptable to U.S. imperialism. They cannot bring up the fundamental revolutionary questions, because to raise the question of a proletarian revolution is to threaten the interests of these bribed, bought-off defenders of imperialism.

The efforts of “LRS” to gain hegemony over the “three world”-ers have had some success. The collectives joining them have called “the line of LRS(ML) as the leading line of the communist movement today.” (Forward, No. 1, pg. 18) This is another direct attack at “CPML”, which fashions itself as the “vanguard party”. It is a call for a split in “CPML” to unite all who can be united around this “leading line”. “LRS” thinks it can split “CPML”, bring in RWH and perhaps some others, and isolate the Klonsky group in “CPML”. “LRS” feels they have the strength and momentum to do this, so they now directly challenge the “party”, the “CPML”, over who has the “leading line” of social chauvinism.

A look at some of those forces that have rallied to “LRS” will tell us even more just what kind of groups they are. The New York Collective is composed of members of the Richie Perez faction of the old “revolutionary wing”. These opportunists have the classical ”build the mass movement” line, and their activity also shows that they see the students as the vanguard. These elements are also allying with bourgeois nationalists like Vicente “Panama” Alba, who upholds the lumpen line. The Richie Perez clique was, in the main, the kind of people who were purged from the ”wing”. “LRS” today provides a haven for them. And the centrists in the “MULC” and elsewhere cover up for these social chauvinists by attacking all the purges.

“LRS” and “CPML” are also competing for the allegiance of the forces around the “Organizing Committee”, a coalition headed by the pro-Russian imperialist Philadelphia “Workers” Organizing Committee. In general, these groups hold that dogmatism and ultra-leftism are the main deviations of the “anti-revisionist” movement, that the U.S. alone is the “main enemy” internationally, that the Soviet Union is still socialist, and that there is no Black nation in the Black Belt and no right to political secession. Any Marxist-Leninist can see the ultra-right and social chauvinist nature of these forces. But not “CPML” and “LRS”. Their main polemics with them are on the Soviet Union, since they want to convince them to unite with U.S. imperialism against Russian imperialism. Here they all appeal to that same social base that makes up these groups, the labor aristocracy and the petty-bourgeoisie. “CPML” ran an article in the July 2, 1979 Call praising the “three world”-ist “Proletarian Unity League” for entering the O.C. to push for the theory of the “three worlds”. This also reveals how all these groups in general have the same line, except on the international situation.

Both “CPML” and “LRS” call these pro-Russian forces “centrist”. This is because the O.C. groups are outside of the “CPUSA” but not inside the “three worlds” camp. This completely absurd thinking covers up that both “CPUSA”, the O.C. groups, and the “three worlds” groups are all social chauvinists. Even more, “LRS” gives a classical distortion of what centrism is. They talk of “the inherent instability of the centrist position – of trying to stand midway between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism” (Forward, No. 1, pg. 8-9) We have already shown how these forces are not centrist, but naked social chauvinists. But “LRS”’s definition of centrism is wrong from a theoretical standpoint, also. Here is how Stalin defines centrism: ”Centrism must not be regarded as a spatial concept: the Rights, say, sitting on one side, the ’Lefts’ on the other, and the Centrists in between. Centrism is a political concept. Its ideology is one of adaptation, of subordination of the interests of the proletariat to the interests of the petty-bourgeoisie within one common party. This ideology is alien and abhorrent to Leninism. Centrism was a phenomenon that was natural in the Second International of the period before the war. There were Rights (the majority), Lefts (without quotation marks), and Centrists, whose whole policy consisted in embellishing the opportunism of the Rights with Left phrases and subordinating the Lefts to the Rights.” (Industrialization of the Country and the Right Deviation in the CPSU(B), Works, Vol. 11, pg. 293-294). As we said, there are no centrists here, only Rights, only social chauvinists. In fact, by only attacking these groups for their stand on the Soviet Union, “LRS” and “CPML” reduce this so-called “centrism” to just one policy, and not an overall ideology of adaptation, an overall embellishing of social chauvinism and subordination of the Lefts to the Rights. It is in the interests of the social chauvinist “LRS” and “CPML” to paint these circles as ”centrist”, since that makes themselves the “Left”. This also covers for the real centrists, the likes of “CPUSA(ML)”, “COUSML”, and the “MULC” circles, who in reality try to embellish and camouflage the social chauvinism of the “three world”-ers.

The trip in early 1979 of several pro “three worlds” groups to China is also a sign of the depth of the crisis among these social chauvinists. On the trip were “CPML”, “LRS”, “RWH”, “PUL”, “BACU”, and “Red Star Unity Collective” of Portland (which has since joined “CPML”). These opportunists could not even agree what the trip was for. “LRS” writes: “The main objective of the trip was to learn about the developments in socialist China. A second goal of this joint delegation was to contribute to the struggle to forge the unity of U.S. Marxist-Leninists.” (Unity, Feb. 23, 1979, pg. 2) So “LRS” clearly plays down the role of the trip in unifying the social chauvinists. While they mention that these groups met while in China, they say nothing about meeting with the “CPC”.

“CPML”’s version is, of course, very different. They say: “Before we left, we set two goals for the delegation. First, to strengthen the unity between the U.S. Marxist-Leninists and the Communist Party of China. Second, to promote the prospects for unity among the U.S. Marxist-Leninists.” (Call, Feb 12. 1979. pg. 12) They also tell us that their delegation met with Ceng Biao (Keng Piao), who is in charge of liaison work between the “CPC” and foreign “parties” Thus, the emphasis to “CPML” was on questions of the social-chauvinist trend, while for “LRS”, it was on being “friends of China”. This was because “CPML” is on the defensive, while “LRS” is making headway against them, and therefore not desperate for the “CPC” to step in and help them, as “CPML” is. In short, these groups were forced to go to China to try to get the “CPC” to mediate their differences. And “CPML” was forced to go as an equal with the others.

It appears that the main result of this trip was that the endorsement of “CPML” as the “party” by the “CPC” was taken away. Writing about the results of this trip, “CPML” leader Carl Davidson says: “It is pretty well known in the international communist movement that the CPC refuses to consider itself as the ’international headquarters’ of anything and that it steadfastly refuses to ’wave the baton’ in relations between parties. This was one of the points of difference between China and Albania.

”China also practices what it preaches. This was completely evident to the U.S. Marxist-Leninist delegation. While the CPC and all genuine communists (sic!!) support the general trend of Marxist-Leninist unification around the world, the CPC has consistently refused to intervene in the internal affairs of the American revolution.” (Call, July 2, 1979. pa 13) Beneath this mass of lies and defense of the thoroughly anti-Leninist norms that the “CPC” practices and advocates internationally, is the stark tact that the “CPC” no longer recognizes “CPML” as the sole franchised agent in the U.S. Now all the “three world”-ers, “party” and non-“parties” alike, can put in a bid. This was a far cry from the statement of “CPC” vice-chairman Li Hsien-nien in July, 1977, when Klonsky visited China and met Hua, that: “The founding of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) has reflected the aspirations of the proletariat and the working people of the U.S. and also marked a new victory for the Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S.” (Call, August 1, 1977, pg. 8) Then Klonsky was the toast of the town, wined and dined by the Chinese revisionists and even put on the front page of “People’s Daily” in a special color photograph with Hua. Now the “’CPC” has pulled back recognition, without, of course, anything even resembling the Leninist norms that govern relations between genuine parties. All “CPML” can do is sing “Thanks for the Memories” (which is doubly appropriate because the reactionary dog Bob Hope, with his trip to China, is now a “friend of China”), and “The Way We Were” (also doubly appropriate, since the movie of the same name was about similar philistines in the “CPUSA”).

Since the “CPC” took back its endorsement. “CPML” has been in a most serious crisis. What “CPC” did was actually a withdrawal of aid and now “CPML” cries that it is in a “financial crisis” (no coincidence here)! The latest thing to happen is that “CPML” now says they are no longer the “party”! Recently Call editor Dan Burstein was in Spain when two “three worlds” parties merged (each got 45 seats on the central committee in other words, equal partnership in the merger of the businesses). Burstein sees this as “a very positive example. As in Spain, our movement cannot content itself with the present situation where no single, unified Marxist-Leninist party exists.” (Call, July 30, 1979. pg. 12) So here they come right out and say that there is no “party” yet. But what, then, is “CPML”’ And listen to “CPML”’s program: “The Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) is the vanguard party of the proletariat, the advanced, organized detachment of the working class and the political leader of the working class movement.” (Documents from the Founding Congress of CPML. pg. 62) So does the “CPML” still consider itself the party or not? Or just a party? Or just one of several “vanguard” parties? Stay tuned, for the plot thickens (and sickens, too). “LRS” has forced “CPML” to eat crow, and all indications are that “CPML” is still chewing.

The rivalry between “LRS” and “CPML” and the recent assault on “CPML” by “LRS” is showing its signs on “CPML”. They have recently declared a “critical financial situation” and stopped printing the masthead of The Call and other features in red ink. This crisis is bound to intensify the scramble by “LRS” and “CPML” for such rotten forces as the O.C. groups.

“CPML” is also attempting a counter-attack. Klonsky began such a counterattack in Class Struggle, No. 11 of Winter, 1979, in a signed article entitled “The National Question and Party Building”. But he still had to be very much on the defensive. The article is from a speech by Klonsky on “nationalities work”, during which “CPML” calls its “present campaign against the ’three evils’-sectarianism, subjectivism, and bureaucracy.” (Class Struggle, No. 11 pg. 35). Klonsky warns that “we should not see all the different nationalities in the Party as different lobbying groups, as groups all just fighting for their own narrow interests.” (Ibid., pg. 45) So obviously a lot of people do, or else Klonsky wouldn’t publicly polemicize against this line. This is “CPML” ’s real problem, the splintering up of “CPML” into different factions based on nationality. And what “narrow interests” are these factions fighting for? Klonsky goes on: “We are not a Party of special interest groups. And our Central Committee is not made up of representatives acting like different lobbyists representing different nationalities. Our entire Central Committee is made up of the hardest fighters for all oppressed people. It isn’t especially important what nationality they are.” (Ibid., pg. 46). The rival faction must have proposed its own “affirmative action” plan for “CPML”’s Central Committee.

Further evidence of the nature of the crisis in “CPML” is seen in this statement of Klonsky: “We must have a correct orientation on the nature of the main contradiction in this struggle. What is it? It is not between the minority and white workers. It is not between the minority and white Party comrades. There are contradictions among these people, of course, and they have to be handled in their own special way. But these are not the main contradictions. Nor is it between the leadership and the rank and file or different Party units. We all have the same task, we all have the same interest in this fight – therank and file, the different nationalities, the leadership, and so on.” (Ibid., pg. 43). All these examples are not brought up for academic purposes, but because these are the ones, especially the national antagonisms, that stand out the sharpest and most obviously. Klonsky then tells us just what he thinks the problem is: “In our Party, this is a contradiction between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism.” (Ibid.) But before this is taken as a declaration of war on the other factions or “LRS”, let us remember that to these Maoists it is perfectly fine to have many lines and classes in the “party” – except, of course, for the proletariat and the Marxist-Leninist line. So after slapping around his rivals for a while, Klonsky holds out the Maoist olive branch: “Our aim must be to win over people who have taken a wrong view. We should not try to drive them out, but try to save them.” (Ibid., Pg. 44). Until, of course, your faction gets stronger. Klonsky even admits as much: “By saying that it’s a protracted struggle, we mean that it has to be organized stage by stage. We fight revolution by stages. That’s the Marxist-Leninist way.” (Ibid.) No it isn’t, but Klonsky continues: “At this stage of this campaign, the task is to raise the level, to educate and mobilize.” (Ibid.) This again shows Klonsky and his group are on the defensive. It is the “CPML” leadership that is the target of this struggle against “sectarianism”, because it declared itself above the “vanguard” of the working class. And only the deeply entrenched Klonsky old guard, including old-time revisionists like Harry Haywood, whom Klonsky trots out to bolster his credibility, can be the targets of a struggle against “bureaucracy”. So the first “stage” of this counter-attack by the Klonsky group will be to remove his opposition from the “CPML” leadership. He says that: “I won’t say that it isn’t necessary to change leaders at certain times. That’s a law of dialectics on any party. Leadership changes. Some people advance, some people go backward. And the leadership, obviously, should be the leading people.” (Ibid., pg. 43) Very profound. So Klonsky tells his opposition that, sorry folks, you have to be off the Central Committee, because that’s dialectics, it’s all pre-determined. Klonsky hopes to crush his opposition and swamp them within “CPML”. If they leave and join “LRS”, that could spell real trouble, so he wants to avoid an all-out purge, while still weakening their power. Towards this end, he invokes the “prestige” of all his international connections with all the other social-chauvinists.

But “LRS”, too, is competing for these international connections. They report that they have met “with Marxist-Leninists from the Middle East, from Europe, and from Latin America.” (Forward, No. l, pg. 17) This refers to the other “three worlds” parties that have thus far dealt exclusively with “CPML”. And “LRS” also plans to print its ragsheet Unity every week to show it is just as strong as The Call, which has been a weekly since 1976. So “LRS” expands and “CPML” declines.

To avoid losing its hegemony among the “three world”-ers, “CPML” is trying to give itself a facelift. Its work in the working class has been an utter failure. It has not achieved its goal of becoming a large social prop for the bourgeoisie and of making major inroads into the aristocracy. Thus, it sees its problem as “subjectivism”. They write: ”An important aspect of those objective conditions that must be taken into account is the fact that the working class movement is in a state of general ebb at the present time. Actions, slogans and day-to-day work must be carried out based on the real situation of today and not on the conditions of five or ten years ago when the masses were more in a state of ferment.” (The Call, June 11, 1979, pg. 9). Thus, once again “CPML” raises supposedly “left” errors as the main ones.

And the “solution” to their internal crisis and their isolation? From all indications, “CPML” sees the way out for itself through elections. They say that ”participation in electoral work has been seen as something synonymous with revisionism’, thus depriving us of our ability to utilize electoral tactics in appropriate places.” (Ibid.). Also, “CPML” calls for even greater unity with “reformists”, which can only mean the liberal bourgeoisie, since “CPML” is already united with all sorts of reformists. All this is called “broadening our work”.

To drive the point home even further, this same issue of The Call ran a centerfold on “a communist mayor in Spain”, referring to the election of E. Garcia, a member of “O.R.T.”-”Revolutionary Workers Organization” of Spain, a “three worlds” group, as mayor of Aranjuez, Spain. There is the “joint communique” between “ORT” and “CPML”, and a picture of Klonsky with the mayor. The Spanish “three world”-ers did not use this election campaign as a platform for communist propaganda and agitation, but, rather, to become part of the state apparatus and manage the affairs of the bourgeoisie. This is what the mayor tells us: “’I have only been in office 20 days’, Garcia explained. ’The town has a debt left over from Franco of 90 million pesetas. There are 2,000 unemployed, and already 600 of them have come here personally to demand I get them a job. This is a new situation for our Party, and we will have to learn from experience.’” (Ibid., pg. 13).

The point is clear. “CPML”, likewise wants to become similar ordinary, social-democratic mayors and politicians in order to gain more strength for itself. “CPML” wants to become a third, major bourgeois party, like a labor party or the “Communist Party” of Italy. It s “fight back” work is crumbling, too “subjectivist” and not reformist enough for the ebb, they argue. “LRS” is helping to stir up factions in “CPML” and is breathing down its neck. “CPML”’s solution: get elected and draw more strength from the bourgeoisie. “CPML” says, Let ’LRS’ run around with street rallies of the students. We, ’CPML’, concentrate on the workers, because that’s where the votes are, that’s how we can really get those crumbs from the bourgeoisie. So perhaps the “fight back” committees will change their name to the “citizens to elect Klonsky committee.”

A key factor leading to “CPML”’s difficulties has been its feverish defense of the social chauvinist theory of the “three worlds”. No doubt “CPML” has faced great difficulty in trying to palm off this class collaboration as ”revolutionary”. This must be especially true since Deng’s trip to the U.S. so starkly showed the criminal nature of this “theory” and its counter-revolutionary alliance with U.S. imperialism and its entire imperialist bloc. These self-exposures have put “CPML” on the defensive. They say that while they support the “three worlds” theory and the “CPC”, “our application of this theory cannot be the same as parties in other countries. For example, while supporting China’s efforts to improve its relations with the U.S. government, our Party must intensify the class struggle against this government and step up our support for those who are oppressed by our own ruling class.” (Ibid, pg. 16) No, “CPML”, it is no use pretending that the theory of the “three worlds” does not mean collaboration with the U.S.-led imperialist bloc against the Russian-led imperialist bloc. Deng has said as much himself in as many words. “CPML” takes the working class for utter fools when they think they can get over with this one. But they also cannot admit that their program is an alliance with their “own” bourgeoisie, at least not yet. This would just confirm their social-chauvinism. Thus, they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. These social chauvinists have painted themselves into this corner, and the only place they have left to go is into the ground, crushed by the invincible might of the revolutionary proletariat. In order to facilitate the smashing of the social chauvinists, we not only unmask all their tricks, but also welcome any internal strife among them. All this weakens these enemies of the proletariat and helps prepare the genuine Marxist-Leninists and class-conscious workers to form a genuine vanguard Marxist-Leninist party.

While all the maneuvering between the “major” “three worlds” groups goes on, the lesser “three worlds” groups are in even more of a crisis. “WVO” has especially been hard hit. After saying nothing publicly about China since the death of Mao in 1976, they now so bravely denounce Deng. Where do they get so much courage? But the problem with Deng is that he is “abandoning Chairman Mao’s line on three worlds.” (Workers Viewpoint, Feb. 15, 1979, pg. 5). With absolutely laughable remarks as this, “WVO” has found itself in quite a hole. Its activity in the working class is also a big failure. Its Foster-ite “Trade Union Education League” has been going nowhere.

Likewise, the other sects that still support Hua and Deng, namely, “LPR”, “COReS”, “WC”, and “RCL”, are in dire straits. “LPR” and “WC” are in the process of “rectification campaigns”. They are figuring out how to play a role with the larger “three worlds” groups, as both have been excluded from the present round of bargaining. “WC” recently “removed” its chairman, and is trying to make headway among some of the centrist forces in the “MULC”. “LPR” is once again in the process of its never-ending merger with “COReS”. And very little is heard from “RCL” these days. They have been unable to make any headway anywhere and appear to be disintegrating. These sects seem to be the real losers so far in the battle for their share of the crumbs.

So “LRS” schemes to gain undivided hegemony over the old ”anti-revisionist communist movement”. It is a commentary on the state of this “movement” that the group that appears to be the most influential in it is the old I Wor Kuen. IWK was one of the slimiest, slipperiest maneuverers around, never taking a clear position on anything, never taking a clear side in any struggle, except against Marxism-Leninism. Of the whole “anti-revisionist communist movement”, they were the last to say that party-building was the central task, in late 1975. Prior to that, their central task was mass work in the Asian community. And now they have just about gotten themselves into a position to rule this rotten roost. There are few better fit for this job.

Aside from their common defense of imperialism and its superprofits, the only glue that holds this disunited “unity trend” together is support of the “CPC” and the theory of the “three worlds”. But, as we have seen, the situation with the “CPC” is not stable. Each U.S. faction appears more loyal to one or another “CPC” faction. Recent evidence of this is the little polemic “LRS” and “CPML” had with each other over China’s allowing Coca-Cola to come back. Both “LRS” and “CPML” support these open connections with the imperialist world market wholeheartedly. But their interpretations differ. “CPML” defended the Coke deal because “can’t the politically advanced people of a socialist country decide what to eat, drink or wear?” (The Call, Feb. 5, 1979, pg. 2). But this was too open for “LRS”, who criticized “CPML” (without naming them) for this: ”Others have tried to link this with China’s campaign for democracy, saying that China just wants to give the Chinese people ’freedom of choice of soft drinks!” (Forward, No. 1, pg. 30) “LRS” says: “The imported Coca Cola will be sold exclusively in the tourist hotels and stores for foreigners.” (Ibid.) This sounds more like the Maoist line of “self-reliance”. But lest “LRS” be accused of not supporting the Chinese revisionists 100% (or their own bourgeoisie), they add, “Paradoxical as it may seem, Coca Cola too can help build socialism.” (Ibid. pg. 31) Also very profound. This, of course, cannot be proletarian socialism, but only state capitalism with a socialist mask, an economy run for profit and tied by a million and one links to the entire capitalist world market.

With another shake-up in the “CPC” leadership, which seems inevitable as their “modernization” program collapses, there could be a corresponding shake-up and split among their “fraternal” parties. Already there are signs of tension. For example, at the recent National People’s Congress in China, Hua Guofeng openly dropped several Maoist formulations and said that class struggle was no longer the “principal contradiction” in China, that there was no need for ”large-scale turbulent class struggle” in the future, and that there was no longer any bourgeoisie in China. This upset “CPML”, who prefers to maintain a more Maoist rhetoric to make it appear “revolutionary”. So “CPML” took a step it previously had considered unthinkable, and openly raised a number of “questions” about this new line. In the July 16, 1979 issue of The Call, they ask “What if another group of capitalist readers should make inroads in the Party?” (pg. 11) And they ask “shouldn’t socialist modernization be considered a form of class struggle?” This is what the ”CPC” itself said only last year, when it tried to justify its line with Maoist phrases. So “CPML” concludes: “It appears that there are still some questions stemming from this important meeting that have not yet fully been resolved, some compromises made for the sake of unity. Perhaps the future will shed more light on these points.” (Ibid.) Here “CPML” wants to speculate on the rivalry between the different factions in China.

So since the “CPC” took back its recognition of “CPML”, now “CPML” feels free to strike back at the faction of the “CPC” that cut them loose. And since “LRS” benefitted most from “CPC”’s shift, they rush to then-defense. After “CPML” raised all its questions, the July 27, 1979 Unity ran a “commentary” on Hua’s speech that praised it to the hilt and upheld every new formulation. It is inevitable that the “CPC”’s factional re-alignment will lead to factional re-alignments among their “fraternal” allies.

So the “unity trend” is sitting upon a powder keg. Its crisis is a reflection of the general crisis of imperialism and the political crisis in the bourgeoisie. The factions scheme and maneuver with all the intrigue and careerism of the openly bourgeois politicians. But the differences between them really boil down to nothing as far as the fundamental revolutionary interests of the proletariat are concerned. The opportunists will help themselves into their graves, but the Marxist-Leninist vanguard must lead the proletariat to bury them.


The split in “RCP” was related to the defeat of the “gang of four” faction in the “CPC”. The majority of “RCP”, led by its chairman Bob Avakian, continued to back the policies of the “cultural revolution”. The minority, led by Mickey Jarvis and Leibel Bergman, two ex-“CPUSA” members, backed Hua and Deng, and left “RCP” to form “RWH”.

Another factor contributing to the split in “RCP” was “CPML”, who had, at least for the time being, been recognized by the “CPC” in 1977. After it became clear that the majority in “RCP” supported the ”gang of four” and that a minority didn’t, “CPML” intensified its pressure on “RCP” by labelling them “anti-China”. This, plus their franchised status, was a call for the pro-Hua forces to split “RCP”.

But this alone cannot explain the split. “RCP” was formed by the merger of many factions and collectives left over from the “new left” of the 1960’s, and the “CPUSA”. Not coincidentally, when it split up, the alignment was very close to the original factions when they had merged. This shows how Maoist parties are merely alliances of factions, each with their own lines.

“RCP”’s social base was the labor aristocracy and the petty bourgeoisie. Its program was thoroughly social chauvinist, with opposition to the right of the Black nation to secession and support of the theory of the “three worlds” The polemic waged against its social chauvinism, especially on the Black national question, led to its isolation in the “movement”. This greatly contributed to the demoralization of many of its members and was an important factor leading to its internal crisis and split.

Still, “RCP” was able to grow for a time, especially among white petty bourgeois ex-students and students, by promoting such a social chauvinist program. Their main form of work was carrying on the trade union struggle, with their petty-bourgeois cadre going to work in the factories and setting up all sorts of economist “intermediate” organizations, trade union caucuses, etc. Like all the other opportunists, their goal was to achieve hegemony over the proletariat and climb the ladder of the labor aristocracy.

The difference they had with OL’s trade unionism was that while OL said “move the unions to the left” and went straight to taking trade union positions, “RCP” built intermediate organizations to “jam the unions”, that is, to pressure them, so they could then take them over. At times “RCP” even tried to build its own unions. When all this failed, as we shall show, they moved to a more adventurist line.

“RCP”’s cadre had been whipped up into a wild frenzy of expectation when they formed their “party”. They had branches in many cities, with a local newspaper for each region, and these Maoists thought the working class was ripe for their picking. How disappointed they were when it became clear that the working class was not receptive to their social chauvinist and economist line. “RCP” itself had whipped up anti-communism, especially among backward workers, by turning them off with all the opportunist antics of the petty-bourgeois implantees. In short, “RCP”’s work in the working class was a bust, an utter failure. Coupled with the crisis in China following Mao’s death and their widespread exposure as social chauvinists, their failure in the working class precipitated a crisis in “RCP” that led to the split.

The “solution” for the Jarvis-Bergman faction was, in the traditions of their revisionist mentor, William Z. Foster, to declare that there had been “left” deviations and to bury their heads even further in the “day-to-day” economic struggle. They maintained the same social chauvinist and economist line as before. Their ragsheet, Workers Voice, is perhaps the most vulgar and openly economist rag of all the pro-“three worlds” groups. “RWH” also has a stronghold (plus access to a lot of money) in that playground for the petty-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, the U.S.-China “Peoples” Friendship Association. “RWH” began to patch up its relations with other “three world”-ers, especially “LRS” and “PUL”. “RWH” is presently checking these groups out and determining just what factional alliances it should make. It is clear that the long-time political intriguers, Jarvis and Bergman, will not allow themselves to be swallowed up, but will only agree to some sort of partnership, just as they had previously done with Avakian and company. This fact certainly will complicate matters with their long-time factional rivals in “CPML”, who do not want to give up undivided hegemony of the “three world”-ers.

But for “RCP”, a different “solution” was found to their failures in the working class. The problem, as spelled out by Avakian, was that they weren’t being “revolutionary” enough. An unnamed “RCP” leader explained: “Let me break it down this way. For the last few years I have been responsible for work in an industrial concentration. Now over this time we have gotten very good, in fact we have achieved advanced world levels, at being able to formulate contract demands and put together the tactics for building a big contract struggle. But now that we have finally realized that what Lenin says in What Is To Be Done? is actually true, it’s clear that what we need to be good at is doing ’strictly Marxist’ all-round political exposure and building concentrated struggles, particularly revolutionary struggles.” (Revolution, May, 1979, pg 12) In other words, their economist running around led nowhere. Of course, they pat themselves on the back for this by claiming “advanced world levels” of trade unionism. Actually, even their trade union activity was in general decidedly primitive and miserably amateurish. We also see here a variety of the “theory of stages”. “RCP” presents their period of open economism as if it were a necessary pre-requisite for passing onto politics. Such thinking only seeks to justify their declaration of a “party” when they did.

So now “RCP” claims that they “have finally realized that what Lenin says in What Is To Be Done? is actually true.” If this were really so, we should expect a lengthy repudiation of the ridiculing of What Is To Be Done?, not by Jarvis and Co., but by current “RCP” chairman Bob Avakian. Our memories are not that short that we will so easily forget this demogogue chanting, in a mocking tone, like a Catholic priest, “Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement. Amen.” (In Avakian’s speech, “On Building the Party of the U.S. Working Class and the Struggle Against Dogmatism and Reformism”, speech of August 9, 1974, New York, pg. 16) This ridiculing of Lenin drew howls of delight and hysterical laughter from the “RCP” hacks.

But “RCP”’s “new” line is in essence no different than its old line. While “RCP” admits some “errors”, it still upholds its struggle against the “dogmatism” of What It To Be Done? When RU was attacked as economist, they responded by labelling the teachings of Lenin and Stalin as “dogmatism”. In opposition to What Is To Be Done? as the ideological foundations of the Marxist-Leninist Party, they put forth that it didn’t apply to present U.S. conditions. In opposition to the Leninist characteristics of the advanced workers, they said that even anti-communists could be advanced workers as long as they were “militant”. In opposition to propaganda as the chief form of activity in the period of the formation of the party, they viciously denied Stalin’s description of the two periods of building the party-winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and winning the masses to the side of the vanguard. In opposition to Stalin’s definition of a nation, they put forward the “proletarian nation of a new type”, dispersed, with no common territory. Their aim was to liquidate the existence of the Black nation and oppose the right to political secession in theory and in practice. In opposition to Lenin’s analysis of two periods of the national question (the first – before imperialism – being part of the bourgeois democratic revolution, and the second-during imperialism-being part of the world proletarian revolution), they said we were in a “third period” where the national question, especially the Black national question, again became an “internal, state question” so that the right to political secession was not at the heart of the solution to the national question. These were their great “contributions” to the ideological struggle and are still upheld by the “RCP”.

Further, “RCP” incorrectly equates dogmatism with ultra-“leftism”. But Marxism-Leninism has held that dogmatism can either be right or “left”. For example, Stalin described the dogmatism of the social chauvinist Second International this way: “Instead of an integral revolutionary theory, there were contradictory theoretical postulates and fragments of theory, which were divorced from the actual revolutionary struggle of the masses and had been turned into threadbare dogmas. For the sake of appearances, Marx’s theory was mentioned, of course, but only to rob it of its living, revolutionary spirit.” (Foundations of Leninism, Works, Vol. 6, pg. 83) So dogmatism is an ideological deviation that can take either right or “left” forms. This fact is covered up by “RCP” to justify its own rightism.

“RCP” attempts to give its social chauvinism and economism a slightly different mask by now claiming to uphold What Is To Be Done? rather than so openly and so crudely ridiculing it as they did in the past. But all that has changed is the form in which they oppose What Is To Be Done? Listen to what they say: “The RU played a key role at all junctures in exposing these trends for what they represented. These dogmatists themselves missed the heart of What Is To Be Done? – specifically its emphasis on building revolutionary consciousness among the broad masses, especially through political agitation.” (The Communist, May, 1979, pg. 112) So now What Is To Be Done? is reduced to emphasizing broad agitation to the masses.

Here is how Lenin ridiculed such economism: “Catch-words like: ’We must concentrate, not on the ’cream’ of the workers, but on the ’average’ worker-the mass worker’; ’Politics always obediently follow economics,’ etc., etc., became the fashion, and exercised irresistible influence upon the masses of the youth who were attracted to the movement, but who, in the majority of cases, were acquainted only with legally expounded fragments of Marxism.’” (What Is To Be Done? Collected Works, Vol. 4, book 2, The Iskra Period, 1929, International Publishers, pg. 120) “RCP” still uses such catchwords today, showing that it still upholds “freedom of criticism” itself and still opposes the Leninist teaching that propaganda to win the vanguard of the proletariat to communism must be the chief form of activity in the period of forming the party.

And “RCP” still distorts What Is To Be Done? The “heart” of What Is To Be Done? is not broad agitation to the masses, but the fact that it exposed that the ideological root of all opportunism is the worship of spontaneity. Lenin says: “And so, we have become convinced that the fundamental error committed by the ’new tendency’ in Russian Social-Democracy lies in its subservience to spontaneity, and its failure to understand that the spontaneity of the masses demands a mass of consciousness from us Social-Democrats. The more spontaneously the masses rise, the more widespread the movement becomes, so much the more rapidly grows the demand for greater consciousness in the theoretical, political and organisational work of Social-Democracy.” (Ibid. pg. 134) It is in this universal teaching that we see the “heart” of What Is To Be Done? This teaching applies whether the main form of activity is propaganda, practical action by the masses, the armed uprising itself, or the construction of socialism and communism.

Although “RCP” continues to attack What Is To Be Done? and justify the worship of spontaneity, their main form of activity has changed. They have tried to cover up their social chauvinism by dumping open support for the “three worlds” theory. But they have only demarcated against it as a strategy, and for today. They write, “We understood Mao to have made a general description of countries as dividing into three worlds’ and we did not and do not today feel that such a description, in and of itself, is revisionist.” (Revolution, Nov., 1978, pg. 15) Further, they laid all the blame for the alliance of China with U.S. imperialism entirely on Deng Xiaoping, and claim that Mao had nothing to do with it. They even still uphold Mao’s conclave with Nixon. It is clear that “RCP” dropped its open support for the theory of the “three worlds” mainly because it had become associated with the Hua-Deng faction of the “CPC”, which “RCP” opposed. This was the same Maoist “tactic” used by Mao himself when Khrushchev openly attacked Stalin. Although Mao and the “CPC” shared these criticisms, they pretended to uphold Stalin in the ideological struggle against their rival revisionist enemy, while promoting their own form of revisionism and making their own attacks on orthodox Leninism in general and Stalin in particular. This was to give a veneer of “orthodoxy”, a tactic “RCP” has adopted here.

It was not another tactic of “RCP”, however, to spend so much time upholding Mao Zedong. They have written numerous books and articles praising Mao as ”the greatest revolutionary of our time”, etc. They have echoed and even amplified upon all of Mao’s revisionist attacks on Comrade Stalin and the Comintern. Yes, they are genuine Maoists, through and through. The only difference they have with the pro-Hua and pro-Deng Maoists is that their Maoism resembles the more frenzied factionalism of the Red Guards during the “cultural revolution”.

Indeed, “RCP” sees the way out of its crisis as having the “cultural revolution” now, in the U.S. They hope to be the new Red Guards. Their adventurist attack on the Chinese embassy during Deng’s visit is evidence that they are taking the road of the frenzied intellectuals driven mad by the horrors of capitalism. First a gang of five “RCP”’ers (was this number a coincidence? ) staged a raid on the Chinese embassy, to be followed a few weeks later during Deng’s visit with a riot there that got dozens beaten and arrested, including their chairman, Avakian. It is these kind of isolated adventurist acts that they mean when they talk of building “revolutionary struggles”.[1] More and more “RCP” posters, such as their 1979 May Day poster, show wild-eyed youth with long, unkempt hair holding guns. “RCP”’s new symbol is a flag on a bayonet. The May, 1979 Revolution introduces this symbol emblazoned upon a brick wall, in the tradition of Latin American terrorists. Their newspaper is filled with pictures of screaming people, all to give the impression that the “revolution” is just around the corner and it is time to pick up the gun. Their newspaper is a cross between that of the Yippies and the scandal-sheet National Enquirer. The absolutely individualistic and moralistic frenzy they are in can be seen in an almost unbelievable headline in their newspaper: “I Waved the Red Book in Teng Hsiao-ping’s Face”. (Revolutionary Worker, Feb., 1979, pg. 6)

Such “wild in the streets” activity usually means an intensification of social-fascist attacks on genuine Marxist-Leninists and advanced workers. We should not be surprised when “RCP”, either “spontaneously” or through agent provocateurs sent in by the state, channels more of its “anger” and “rage” against the working class itself for not heeding their numerous “revolutionary” calls.

The change in “RCP” ’s activity also indicates a shift to a semi-terrorist stance. In fact, “RCP” is doing favorable propaganda right now for the open terrorists of the “FALN”. When terrorist William Morales, who lost both his hands in a bomb explosion, escaped from a prison ward, “RCP” was filled with praises for the terrorists. They called “FALN” “one of many Puerto Rican revolutionary groups” and apologized for their terrorism because they “targeted the imperialists’ banks and corporations, like Mobil Oil and the bourgeois hang-out like the Fraunces Tavern”. (Revolutionary Worker, New York-New Jersey Supplement, May 11, 1979, pg. 1) And for those who don’t support terrorism, “RCP” instructs, “The capitalists are terrified and outraged by destruction of their sacred private property, especially through the use of arms. But the masses of American people have nothing to fear from this and in fact should view it as a blow to their enemy too.” (Ibid.) Baloney! First of all, it is well known that the bourgeoisie historically has set up and supported such terrorist groups. The German Nazis burnt down their own Reichstag (parliament) and blamed it on the Communists. In the long run, such terrorist acts aid the bourgeoisie much more than whatever small loss the damage to a building might be. They use terrorism as an excuse to increase repression against the genuine Marxist-Leninists and the working class. The bourgeoisie is not really scared by the attacks of a few frenzied individual terrorists, since it is only by an armed uprising of the proletariat and its allies that capitalism can be overthrown.

To “RCP”, however, individual terrorism is wonderful. In fact, the only “criticism” they have of “FALN” is that ”their apparent near-exclusive emphasis on individual armed action doesn’t represent the road to victory for Puerto Rican liberation.” (Revolutionary Worker, May 25, 1979, pg. 11) This is the problem–“near-exclusive emphasis on individual armed action”, and not terrorism itself. To “RCP”, if this were combined with, perhaps, a little agitation and an occasional forum to honor Mao Zedong, there would be no problem. We also now see even more clearly just what “RCP” was talking about when they advocated “revolutionary struggle” today.

And here it ties all together. Lenin taught that economism and terrorism were both forms of worship of spontaneity. He wrote: “The Economists and terrorists merely bow to different poles of spontaneity: The Economists bow to the spontaneity of the ’pure and simple’ labour movement while the terrorists bow to the spontaneity of the passionate indignation of the intellectuals, who are either incapable of linking up the revolutionary struggle with the labour movement, or lack the opportunity to do so.” (What Is To Be Done? op. cit., pg. 155) “RCP” has merely bent from one pole to the other, first bowing to the spontaneous labor movement, and now bowing to the passionate indignation of the intellectuals. It is all bowing to spontaneity, and all counter-revolutionary. This is why they continue to attack What Is To Be Done??, which lays bare the common essence of both economism and terrorism as bowing to spontaneity and thus exposes “RCP” ’s “new” line as essentially the same old trash of worship of spontaneity. Its petty-bourgeois line has absolutely nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism. “RCP” has proved not only incapable of success in gaining hegemony over the proletariat, it also has proved incapable of becoming as “respectable” as “CPUSA” and “CPML”. It is thus driven into a mad frenzy. “RCP”’s defense of terrorism is also aimed at ending their isolation by attracting a base in the national movements, especially from among the lumpen proletariat, who are most open to such frenzied activity.

The course taken by “RCP” has important similarities with that of the Russian Narodniks. The Narodniks saw the peasantry, and not the proletariat, as the vanguard of the revolution. “RCP”’s predecessor, “RU”, was one of the promoters of the line of “revolutionary youth movement”, which in essence saw youth as the vanguard. They wrote in 1969 that “we must recognize that next to Third World people, youth in the working class, especially among industrial workers, are the main road to arousing and activating the entire working class.” (“Revolutionary Youth and the Road to the Proletariat”, Selections from Red Papers, pg. 35, also in Red Papers #2) Thus, they implanted their cadre into the factories to “arouse and activate” the youth and to support the “Third World” struggles. Compare this with the Narodniks: “The Narodniks first endeavored to rouse the peasants for a struggle against this tsarist government. With this purpose in view, young revolutionary intellectuals donned peasant garb and flocked to the countryside–’to the people’, as it used to be called.” (History of C.P.S.U.(B), pg. 10) And today they call it “to the masses”, which is where “RCP” went when its cadre implanted in the factories. They donned what they thought was workers’ garb, always parading around in soiled clothes and wearing work boots, never seen without a lunchbucket in hand. “RU” and later “RCP”, failed miserably in the working class and the “masses”. And so did the Narodniks: “But they found no backing among the peasantry, for they did not have a proper knowledge or understanding of the peasants either.” (Ibid.) “RCP” responded to its failure by taking the adventurist, semi-terrorist road laid out by the “gang of four”. And the Narodniks? “Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.” (Ibid.) The Narodniks passed over to terrorism, and were soon smashed by the tsarist regime. “RCP”’s present course, however, does not represent “mistakes”. It has been exposed for years as a thoroughly social chauvinist and counter-revolutionary force, and it is desperately fighting to regain some credibility. And their social chauvinism may prove too useful to the bourgeoisie for them to allow “RCP” to be smashed like the Narodniks. But the parallel with the Narodniks does show the utter futility of all forms of bowing to spontaneity.

That “RCP” is aiming at the frenzied petty-bourgeoisie can also be seen in the direction of its $1,000,000 fund drive. This fundraising has become a necessity since “RCP” is getting so many of its people busted, and since their source of funds from the wealthy “friends of China” dried up. They openly admit that “This appeal is specifically directed to the progressive sections of the middle class particularly people like entertainers and sports celebrities, intellectuals, doctors, lawyers and other professionals.” (Revolutionary Worker, July 14, 1979, pg. 12) They have accompanied this appeal with a poster of a bearded and leather-jacketed Avakian, cap tilted to one side, with eyes piercing through the shadows. This devilish image is next to a commentary describing “RCP” as “the only organization in this country seriously working for revolution.” Like true petty-bourgeois, they don’t say proletarian revolution, just revolution. And apparently “RCP” wants to build a cult of Avakian to replace the worship of their now-fallen idol Mao Zedong. Since the working class has no inclination for all this petty-bourgeois romanticism and adventurism, “RCP” has appealed to the petty-bourgeois and the bourgeois professionals and intellectuals who can supply them with big bucks. The semi-terrorism of “RCP” is especially attractive to a section of the petty-bourgeoisie. The terrorist theory of the revolution being carried out by a few “heroes” instead of the passive “mob” is but another attempt at gaining hegemony over the proletariat, this time rather desperately through adventurism and terrorism.

Another feature of “RCP”’s new mask is a flurry of “theoretical” activity. “RCP” sees that virtually no one stepped forward after Mao’s death to boldly defend his rotten “legacy”. This is an international vacuum that they want to fill – to become the international ideological leaders of Maoism and defenders of the “cultural revolution”. To accomplish this, Avakian wrote a series on Mao’s “immortal contributions”, which is now published as a book. When Mao was alive, “RCP” showed absolutely no interest in the international communist movement, save for the “CPC”. The “RCP” social chauvinists showed no real interest in the international communist movement outside of “their” country, the U.S., and the party that was uniting with U.S. imperialism, the “CPC”. Now that “RCP”’s favorite faction is smashed and has no visible international center, “RCP” all of a sudden begins reprinting articles from various other parties around the world whom “RCP” thinks may end up supporting their version of Maoism. “RCP” hopes that no one outside the U.S. is familiar with their long history of social chauvinism so that they can get over with their new-found ”internationalism”.

In the midst of all this, other social chauvinists like “LRS” and “CPML” come forward to attack “RCP” as “trotskyite”. This is nonsense designed to cover up “RCP”’s real semi-terrorist line. The “three world”-ers have been absolutely silent about “RCP”’s flirting with terrorism. This is because they are contending with “RCP” for the loyalty of these same forces. While the “three worlds” groups still bow to the pole of the spontaneous labor movement, they must leave the door open for bowing to either pole of spontaneity if the situation calls for it. And if one of them ever gets around to attacking “RCP”’s semi-terrorism (the most likely candidate for this is “CPML”), then we can safely expect that attack to be from a social pacifist angle that unites with the state apparatus against “violence”.

But no matter what form the worship of spontaneity takes, the genuine Marxist-Leninists will always expose its bourgeois reformist essence. As Stalin said about the theory of spontaneity, “It scarcely needs proof that the demolition of this theoretical falsification is a preliminary condition for the creation of truly revolutionary parties in the West.” (Foundations of Leninism, Works, Vol. 6, pg. 96) And we will ruthlessly and mercilessly expose any and all defenders of any form of the theory of spontaneity.


In the U.S. the main forces in the centrist trend are “COUSML”, “CPUSA-(ML)”, and the various small circles engaged in the “MULC” conference (multilateral conference) on party building. All these groups claim to be against Chinese revisionism, against the theory of the “three worlds”, etc. But all they have done is merely camouflaged their social chauvinism with a centrist mask. These groups have all sorts of revisionist theories and programs themselves, and are all thoroughly anti-Leninist.

This section focuses chiefly upon the latest activities of “COUSML” and “CPUSA(ML)”, and on the conflict between them, which is a key part of the crisis in the centrist trend. We have already done a major analysis of the “MULC” circles in our pamphlets A Joint Counter-Proposal to the Multi-Lateral Conference Proposal on Party Building and Cheap Slanders Will Never Build a Vanguard Party. As the crisis among these forces develops (and as we find out more about it, for especially the “MULC” circles are consciously keeping their materials from us), we will continue to analyze their latest maneuvers.


It has come to this. The latest opportunist sect to announce that it will soon declare itself the “party” is none other than “COUSML”. They have put out a “call” to “all Marxist-Leninists, class conscious workers, and revolutionary activists”. Their slogan is: “Build the Marxist-Leninist Party Without the Social Chauvinists and Against the Social Chauvinists”. (See “Workers Advocate” – WA – June 1, 1979, for full text of “COUSML”’s “call”.) So now “COUSML” will walk along that same dirty path most recently traveled by “MLOC”.

A “call” by a group such as “COUSML” is a sick joke. “COUSML” is a tiny force with no ties at all with the advanced workers, or with any workers for that matter. The working class has always viewed them as an alien sect. Almost no one, in fact, even takes them seriously, mainly because of its history of fanatical Maoist demogogy. But since they are forcefully promoting themselves, it is the task of the genuine Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. to expose their opportunist nature and show how their “party” will be nothing more than another centrist sect.

“COUSML”’s “call” mentions five “main tasks” for building their “party”. None of these even mentions the drafting of a party program. (We will elaborate on this point later.) But we cannot conclude from this that “COUSML”’s party will have no program at all. On the contrary, by examining their line, history, and practice, we find that “COUSML” actually has a hidden program. The essence of this hidden program is the same as the reformist, class collaborationist anti-monopoly coalition of the revisionist “CPUSA”. The only difference is that “COUSML”, like all centrists, merely thinly covers its revisionism with a few “revolutionary” phrases.

Let us first look at “COUSML”’s line on the character of the U.S. revolution. For many years, “COUSML” has put forward the line of “anti-fascist proletarian socialist revolution”, most recently repeated in their “call”. Such a garbled formulation has never been explained, although it distinctly implies a two-stage revolution in the U.S. and an alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie. Of course, it barely needs explaining to any serious Marxist-Leninist or any even half-sane person that the U.S. is not fascist today, nor is fascism an imminent danger. “COUSML” for many years justified their “analysis” of fascism with the statement of their former god, Mao Zedong, that there was “fascist rule in the U.S.” (“People of the World, Unite and Defeat the U.S. Aggressors and All Their Running Dogs!”, May 20, 1970, FLP, pg. 4) It was not so long ago that “COUSML” quoted this ridiculous statement like the born-again Christians quote the Bible. So while “COUSML”’s god has fallen, apparently his credo remains.

“COUSML”’s line on fascism not only reflects their fundamental unity with Maoism. It reflects that they also share a common line with the Khrushchevite revisionists, the “CPUSA”. This is what Gus Hall, head of the “CPUSA”, has to say about fascism: “We must keep a sharp eye on how, in the U.S. in the 1970’s, monopoly capital is preparing the political and ideological soil and the climate in which fascism can come to power.” (“The Crisis of U.S. Capitalism and the Fight-Back”, 1975, pg. 44) Hall, while he does not see fascism as inevitable or imminent (and this is perhaps the biggest difference he has with “COUSML”, which does see fascism as inevitable), adds, “I think in this stage of developments we have to take a longer view of this danger and see its fibers in the fabric of today’s reality.” (Ibid., pg. 47) In other words, every act of the bourgeoisie against the working class and the oppressed nations and nationalities, and every act of their shifting onto their backs the burden of the general crisis of capitalism, must not be seen as inevitable products of the capitalist system itself, but, rather, as evidence of growing fascism. Thus, both “COUSML” and the “CPUSA” cover up for the system of capitalism by taking every instance of suppression of strikes, police brutality, the “energy crisis”, or anything else as evidence of the “fascization of the state”.

All these views blur the distinction between bourgeois democracy and fascism. They also serve to cover up the reactionary character of bourgeois democracy by ascribing all reactionary actions by the bourgeoisie to fascism. To expose these distortions, we must re-affirm the scientific teachings of Marxism-Leninism on these questions.

Marxism-Leninism has taught that the bourgeoisie has two forms of rule, bourgeois democracy and fascism. Fascism has been defined by the Communist International as “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.” (G. Dimitroff, “The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International”, Report to Seventh World Congress of Communist International, in The United Front, Proletarian Publishers, pg. 10) Fascism, this open terrorist bourgeois dictatorship, is but one form of bourgeois rule. As Dimitroff says, “The accession to power of fascism is not an ordinary succession of one bourgeois government by another, but a substitution of one state form of class domination of the bourgeoisie-bourgeois democracy-by another form-open terrorist dictatorship.” (Ibid., pg. 12) Thus the distinction between fascism and bourgeois democracy is not which class holds state power, for both are a “state form of class domination by the bourgeoisie”. The distinction lies precisely in whether or not there is an open terrorist dictatorship.

Under bourgeois democracy, the working class has some limited political rights to organize itself. These rights were not a gift from the bourgeoisie, but were won through many years of violent struggle. But under fascism, even these limited rights for the working class to have legal literature, trade unions, bookstores, use of elections as platforms for communist agitation, etc., are abolished and brutally prohibited. During the anti-fascist war, Stalin described the difference between the bourgeois democratic governments and the fascist governments this way: “But in England and the United States there are elementary democratic liberties, there are trade unions of workers and employees, there are labor parties, there is a parliament, whereas the Hitler regime has abolished all these institutions in Germany.” (The 24th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Nov. 6, 1941, The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, International Publishers, pg. 27) After the war, Stalin described fascism this way: “It must be borne in mind that before attacking the Allied countries the major fascist states – Germany, Japan and Italy – destroyed the last remnants of bourgeois-democratic liberties at home and established there a cruel terroristic regime, trampled upon the principle of the soverignty and free development of small countries, proclaimed as their own the policy of seizing foreign territory, and shouted from the housetops that they were aiming at world domination and the spreading of the fascist regime all over the world; and by seizing Czechoslovakia and the central regions of China, the Axis Powers showed that they were ready to carry out their threat to enslave all the freedom-loving peoples.” (Speech of February 9, 1946, Speeches Delivered at Meetings of Voters of the Stalin Electoral District, Moscow”. FLPH. Moscow, pg. 23) But “COUSML” denies these distinctions, and actually attacks the analysis of Stalin and the Comintern by trying to paint the actions of bourgeois democracy as the same as the open terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, fascism. This shows their utter hypocrisy in declaring the “year of Stalin”, while actually attacking everything Stalin stood for.

By citing any attack on the working class and oppressed nations and peoples as examples of fascism, “COUSML” covers up that bourgeois democracy is also a reactionary form of class rule by the bourgeoisie. This is how Lenin describes bourgeois democracy: “Bourgeois democracy, although a great historical advance in comparison with mediaevalism, nevertheless remains, and under capitalism cannot but remain, restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a snare and a deception for the exploited, for the poor.” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, FLPH, Moscow, 1947, pg. 23) Thus, while a different form of class rule, both bourgeois democracy and fascism are a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, systems where all political power is held by the bourgeoisie, and where there is democracy only for the bourgeoisie. But we distinguish between bourgeois democracy and fascism not to support or defend bourgeois democracy. On the contrary, we do so precisely to expose all the tricks of the bourgeoisie, all the forms of its class rule, so that we may train and mobilize the proletariat to see through all the tricks and political deception of the bourgeoisie, and to master all forms of struggle against it. By calling for an “anti-fascist revolution”, “COUSML” diverts the working class from its real aim, which is to overthrow the bourgeois democratic state apparatus and set up the dictatorship of the proletariat. By targeting “fascism”, “COUSML” serves the bourgeoisie by letting its main form of class rule today, bourgeois democracy, off the hook.

It is especially important to expose the nature of bourgeois democracy since through it the bourgeoisie presents the phoney image of “democracy”. For this reason, the bourgeoisie prefers it to other forms of rule. As Lenin said: “The omnipotence of ’wealth” is thus more secure in a democratic republic, since it does not depend on the poor political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and therefore, once capital has gained control (through the Palchinskys, Chernovs, Tseretelis and Co.) of this very best shell, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly that no change, either of persons, or institutions, or parties in the bourgeois republic can shake it.” (State and Revolution, in Towards the Seizure of State Power, Book 2, C.W., vol. 21, 1932, International Publishers, pg. 160) But apparently for “COUSML”, “CPUSA”, and the rest of the revisionists, the bourgeoisie prefers fascism because then and only then can it use the state apparatus for its reactionary acts.

It is, of course, no loss of power to the bourgeoisie when they have bourgeois democracy instead of fascism. This is because the state apparatus under capitalism is a repressive apparatus of the ruling class, the bourgeoisie. Lenin said, “According to Marx, the state is an organ of class domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another” (Ibid., pg. 155) He explains that “A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power.” (Ibid., pg. 156) He talked of “The state as an instrument for the exploitation of the oppressed class.” (Ibid., pg. 158) And, “Furthermore, every state is a ’special repressive force’ for the suppression of the oppressed class.” (Ibid., pg. 164) Lenin could not be clearer.

But “COUSML” only sees fascism as making the state a repressive apparatus. This is why whenever they talk of police repression, etc., they immediately label it fascism. They also imply by this that there always has been fascism in the U.S., since 1776. Such a view covers up the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie under bourgeois democracy as being repressive against the proletariat. Lenin polemicized those like Kautsky and company, who painted bourgeois democracy as meaning “pure” democracy for all classes. This is why he called this kind of “democracy” bourgeois democracy. But while clearly distinguishing it from other forms of bourgeois rule, he always emphasized its essence: “We are in favour of a democratic republic as the best form of the state for the proletariat under capitalism, but we have no right to forget that wage slavery is the lot of the people even in the most democratic bourgeois republic.” (Ibid)

By scientifically analyzing fascism, Marxism-Leninism has shown that in times of severe crisis and weakness, the bourgeoisie must drop its “democratic” mask and go over from bourgeois democracy to fascism, to the open terrorist dictatorship. Speaking of the victory of fascism in Germany, Stalin wrote: “In this connection the victory of fascism in Germany must be regarded not only as a symptom of the weakness of the working class and a result of the betrayals of the working class by Social-Democracy, which paved the way for fascism; it must also be regarded as a sign of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, a sign that the bourgeoisie is no longer able to rule by the old methods of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy, and, as a consequence, is compelled in its home policy to resort to terrorist methods of rule – as a sign that it is no longer able to find a way out of the present situation on the basis of a peaceful foreign policy, and, as a consequence, is compelled to resort to a policy of war.” (Report to 17th Congress of C.P.S.U.(B), Works, Vol. 13, pgs. 299-300) By blurring the distinction between fascism and bourgeois democracy, “COUSML” lulls the proletariat to sleep when the conditions really ripen for the victory of fascism and when it really becomes the main danger.

Here is another example of the kind of doubletalk “COUSML” uses to defend its line: “We stand for anti-fascist proletarian socialist revolution. The proletarian socialist revolution is anti-fascist because it will destroy the growing fascism of the capitalist state machine, abolish the over-grown oppressive system of a huge standing army, police and arrogant bureaucracy, and replace them by the armed people themselves.” (U.S. Marxist-Leninists, Unite in Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism, 1977 “COUSML” pamphlet, pg. 42) Unravelling this ball of confusion is quite a task, so we will focus on the main points.

First, the proletarian revolution is, of course, anti-fascist, just as it is anti-national oppression, anti-women’s oppression, etc. Only overthrowing capitalism can finally abolish or prevent fascism. But to emphasize and single out its anti-fascist aspect is to narrow the target of the revolution to preventing fascism, and not to smashing the present bourgeois state apparatus. It talks as if the victory of fascism were inevitable. If “COUSML” did not see fascism as either inevitable, imminent, or already here, then they would not talk of the need for “anti-fascist” revolution.

Second, fascism does not come from the state machine. The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels says, “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” (Peking edition, pg. 35) The state merely serves the interests of the bourgeoisie. To speak of “fascization of the state” is to hide the fact the entire bourgeoisie is in crisis. For the bourgeoisie to implement fascist measures is a sign of its inability to rule in the old way. Dimitroff put it this way: “With the development of the present very deep economic crisis, with the general crisis of capitalism becoming sharply marked and the mass of working people becoming revolutionized, fascism has embarked upon a wide offensive. The ruling bourgeoisie more and more seeks salvation in fascism, with the object of taking exceptional predatory measures against the toilers, preparing for an imperialist war of plunder, attacking the Soviet Union, enslaving and partitioning China, and by all these means preventing revolution.” (The United Front, op. cit., pg. 9) Also, by focusing on just the state, “COUSML” wants to divert attention away from the analysis of the entire capitalist system that will reveal the nature and depth of its crisis, and whether or not fascism is on the horizon.

Third, the tendency to separate the state from the bourgeoisie is clearly seen in “COUSML”’s call to “abolish the over-grown, oppressive system of a huge standing army, police and arrogant bureaucracy, and replace them by the armed people themselves.” Since when is a standing army a system? The problem is not the existence of an army as such, but the question of which class that army represents. Here “COUSML” again narrows the target of the revolution by not calling for the dismantling of the entire bourgeois state apparatus. They focus on it piece by piece, like a social democrat, rather than as a whole, like a Leninist. Further, they sink to the level of the anarchists by coming out in general against the repressive apparatus of the state. Lenin said that “the ’special repressive force’ of the bourgeoisie for the suppression of the proletariat, of the millions of workers by a handful of the rich, must be replaced by a ’special repressive force’ of the proletariat for the suppression of the bourgeoisie (the dictatorship of the proletariat).” (State and Revolution, op. cit., pg. 163) This requires an army, police, and a state apparatus of the proletariat to suppress the bourgeoisie. It is true that, as Lenin said in State and Revolution, the Paris Commune called for the abolition of the standing army, the bureaucracy, etc., and that these are goals of the proletariat. But to raise these as aims that must be immediately implemented by the victorious proletarian dictatorship is anarchist hogwash. It was the same Lenin who wrote State and Revolution that also presided over the setting up of the Soviet Red Army, which was a standing army, and a new state machinery. This was essential both to smash the bourgeoisie internally and because of capitalist encirclement of the Soviet Union. Had the Soviet Union not had a standing army, one could imagine what the results of World War II would have been. To raise these as absolutes, applicable under any conditions, is to uphold idealism and anarchism, and to advocate sabotaging the dictatorship of the proletariat.

This brings us to our final point on this passage. With what will the bourgeois state machinery be replaced? A Marxist-Leninist would only answer: the dictatorship of the proletariat. But “COUSML” tells us: “the armed people themselves”. And who are “the people”? Perhaps the “non-fascist” bourgeoisie? “COUSML”, which tries to be the world champions of throwing around Marxist-Leninist sounding phrases, has the utmost difficulty in uttering the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat”. As Lenin said, “He who recognises only the class struggle is not yet a Marxist; he may be found not to have gone beyond the boundaries of bourgeois reasoning and politics. To limit Marxism to the teaching of the class struggle means to curtail Marxism – to distort it, to reduce it to something which is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. A Marxist is one who extends the acceptance of the class struggle to the acceptance of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Herein lies the deepest difference between a Marxist and an ordinary petty or big bourgeois. On this touchstone it is necessary to test a real understanding and acceptance of Marxism.” (State and Revolution, op cit., pg. 176) It should be clear that “COUSML” most miserably fails this test, and that their whole ranting about fascism is an attempt to implement a program that will be acceptable to the bourgeoisie, and that has its approval.

“COUSML”’s analysis of fascism, like everything else in its line, is not its own. It was first put forward by Hardial Bains, leader of the revisionist “CPC(ML)”. Bains has always been the main leader for “COUSML”, and “COUSML” in turn is one of several groups set up as part of Bains’ international network. “COUSML” has, in fact, been Bains’ main bootlickers internationally, (see Bolshevik, Vol. 8, No. 5, Cheap Tricks, for an analysis of their hook-up.) An exposure of “COUSML”’s revisionism would not be complete or get to its source if it did not examine the influence and content of Bains’ line.

One of the features of Bains’ revisionism is that he has consistently blurred the distinction between bourgeois democracy and fascism. In a document sold at “COUSML” bookstores and at times reprinted by them, Bains writes: “Opportunists are raising a hue and cry that the state form of the bourgeois dictatorship is ’bourgeois democratic’ instead of ’open terrorist’ dictatorship. In so doing, they are opposing the main and decisive form of the struggle of the workers against the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis of capitalism onto their backs that is, the necessity of using revolutionary violence against the reactionary violence of the Canadian state. Consider the threats of Trudeau against the workers, that either they bear the burden like nice boys and girls or face the ’full force of the law’. Nice ’bourgeois democracy’! (“Combat This Growing Fascism,” Norman Bethune Institute, pg. 3) Thus according to Bains, what distinguishes fascism from bourgeois democracy is that under fascism the bourgeoisie uses “reactionary violence” against the working class, and that any state apparatus that does so can therefore not be bourgeois democratic. This anti-Marxist-Leninist nonsense negates that the state under capitalism is nothing but a repressive apparatus of the ruling class, the bourgeoisie. Bourgeois democracy is nothing but a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, as we have said many times. Marxism-Leninism calls it bourgeois democracy because there is only democracy for the bourgeoisie, and not for the working class. Thus the bourgeoisie does not always require an open terrorist dictatorship to exercise its dictatorship over the working class. Under bourgeois democracy it does so through the “normal” methods of the police, the army, the courts, etc. Apparently the Bainsites believe that Lenin and Stalin were spreading illusions about the nature of the state when they talked of bourgeois democracy!

Bains tries to ridicule the definition by the Comintern by putting “open terrorist” in quotes, obscuring the difference between when there is such an open terrorist dictatorship and when there is not.

He also goes on to attack the international communist movement for being “abstract” on the question of fascism. Bains writes: “During the past year and more, several comrades have raised the question: ’What is fascism?’ and they have attempted to answer this question. They have read several books, made comments on the terrorist states of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo and have arrived at simple conclusions: At a certain stage of the development of the revolutionary initiative of the working class, the big bourgeoisie brings into being open terror of capital against labour. After arriving at this conclusion, it naturally follows that nobody in their right mind can say that the Canadian monopoly capitalist state is a fascist state. Two basic errors are committed in doing so: 1. The classic formulation by Georgi Dimitroff that: Fascism is the most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people; Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and annexationist war; Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution; Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and all working people! won’t suffice for the present day because while the general formulation is correct, it is devoid of all practicality. It is an abstraction which is applicable in general but leads us nowhere in terms of actually fighting fascism. Thus, for our purposes, we say that it won’t do at all to be satisfied with this general formulation. Those who are satisfied with just ’understanding’ are not anti-fascists or revolutionaries yet.” (Ibid, pg. 11 – emphasis in original) What shameless arrogance! First, Bains does not quote the real “classic formulations” given by the Communist International of what fascism is (which we quoted above), but quotes another section of the speech amplifying on its basic features. To Bains and his followers, the difference between bourgeois democracy and fascism is “abstract”. The difference between bourgeois democratic Germany and fascist Germany is “abstract”. The difference between bourgeois democratic Chile and fascist Chile is “abstract”. Only someone who is either hopelessly blind to reality or consciously trying to spread confusion can so grossly distort the facts and pass over the stark distinctions of life that differentiate fascism from bourgeois democracy.

Further, according to Bains, the Comintern’s definition of fascism was useless, “an abstraction which is applicable in genral but leads us nowhere in terms of actually fighting fascism”. Here Bains underhandedly attacks Stalin and the Comintern by saying that their definition “leads us nowhere in terms of actually fighting fascism”. Bains wants to give Stalin and the Comintern lessons in how to fight fascism! This is an outright attack on Stalin, the Comintern, and the international communist movement in general which tries to wipe out the glorious history of the real heroes who shed their blood and routed the fascists. Bains negates the entire experience of the international communist movement in the united front against fascism and the anti-fascist war. Was the anti-fascist war, in which the international fascist coalition was smashed to smitherines, an “abstraction”, too? Was the heroic struggle of the Spanish people in the civil war against fascism also an ”abstraction”? Or did they need Bains to give them lessons, as apparently “COUSML” thinks they did?

Another feature of Bains’ line on fascism is that it is unbridled freedom of criticism. It repeats the scientific Marxist-Leninist theses on fascism, which were arrived at only after much analysis. This process was not free from mistakes, as the Comintern itself often noted. But history has proven that the overall analysis and tactics of the Comintern were correct. To attack them in any way, whether openly as the semi-Trotskyite book Roots of Revisionism does, or sneakily as Bains and his followers do, is to attack the science of Marxism-Leninism.

“COUSML”’s revisionist line on fascism is also related to its revisionist line on the nature of the state. “COUSML”’s “call” talks of ”the monopoly capitalist dictators”. To “COUSML”, only the monopoly capitalists have state power. The rest of the bourgeoisie, the non-monopoly capitalists, are apparently not “dictators” under U.S. capitalism. They, presumably, also suffer under these “fascist” “dictators”! The task of the proletariat, then, is not to overthrow the entire bourgeoisie, but only the section of it that supposedly “holds” state power alone.

Such a view is diametrically opposed to Leninism. Lenin describes the state apparatus under capitalism this way: “The forms of bourgeois states are exceedingly variegated, but their essence is the same: in one way or another, all these states are in the last analysis inevitably a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” (State and Revolution, op. cit., pg. 177) The above quote was written in 1918, well after Lenin had analyzed that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, that imperialism is monopoly capitalism, etc., Yet Lenin saw no need to single out the “monopoly bourgeoisie” or the “big bourgeoisie” as exercising dictatorship. On the contrary, he clearly and succinctly talks of a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, of the entire bourgeoisie.

“COUSML”, as usual, is not alone in their distortion of the Leninist analysis of the state. Here is the latest “analysis” of the state by the “CPUSA”: “While the state can not do away with the contradictions and competition, increasingly it tends to be exclusively at the service of the largest monopolies and financial institutions. ” (Draft Main Resolution for 22nd. Convention, Political Affairs, April, 1979, pg. 35) What “COUSML” says with “militant” sounding rhetoric, the “CPUSA” says in milder terms. But they both deny that the entire bourgeoisie must be overthrown. In reality, raising a theory that only part of the bourgeoisie must be overthrown is the same thing as saying the rule of the entire bourgeoisie must be kept and the capitalist system preserved.

These analyses of the state by “COUSML” and the “CPUSA” are not mere academic theses. On the contrary, they are an important part of their theoretical justifications for class collaboration and reformism. The “CPUSA” is very open about this. They openly advocate the election of an “anti-monopoly” government as part of their ”peaceful transition” to socialism. Hence, they are always promoting collaboration between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie so that they can become part of the state apparatus in some sort of coalition government with the open bourgeois parties.

“COUSML”’s line on fascism and the state leads in essence to the same conclusions as the “CPUSA”. But “COUSML” has not yet openly spelled all this out. To do so would immediately call to mind the “anti-monopoly coalition” of the “CPUSA”. In order to maintain whatever miniscule credibility it has, “COUSML” therefore avoids writing up its real views in a party program so it can continue to cover them up with their hidden program of class collaboration and the maintenance of capitalism. But “COUSML”’s program also boils down to a coalition government with the bourgeoisie, with perhaps some nationalizations by the bourgeois state to give a pretense of “curbing” the monopolies.

To have a hidden program of alliance with the bourgeoisie is also a feature of centrism and distinguishes centrism from open social chauvinism. Lenin wrote that the first imperialist war “turned opportunism into social chauvinism; it changed the alliance of the opportunists with the bourgeoisie from a secret to an open one.” (Socialism and War, The Imperialist War, C.W., Vol. 18, 1930, International Publishers, pg. 229) Though “COUSML” still prefers to keep its program of alliance with the bourgeoisie hidden and secret, the genuine Marxist-Leninists have unmasked their class collaboration.

Still another feature of “COUSML”’s hidden program is that it nowhere says what the aim of its “revolution” is. “COUSML”’s “call” tells us: “Only through the organization of the advanced detachment of the proletariat in its vanguard Party can Marxism-Leninism be applied to bring the anti-fascist proletarian socialist revolution to victory.” And what, we ask, is that “victory”? “COUSML” is silent. There is no clear statement by “COUSML” that the aim of the revolution in the U.S. is the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Quite bluntly, that is because “COUSML”’s whole program boils down to defense of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and opposition to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

“COUSML”’s hidden program, like much else of its characteristics, is really the program of Bains. Briefly, Bains calls for a two-stage revolution for Canada (which he describes as “like a colony” of the U.S.) and an alliance with a section of the Canadian bourgeoisie. This is in direct contradiction to the position of the Communist International in 1928 that Canada was an imperialist country, that it needs a one-stage proletarian revolution, and that all talk of an alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie or Canada being like a colony is outright revisionism. Bains’ reformist slogan, “Make the Rich Pay” (also raised by “COUSML”) is actually a call for unity with the so-called “non-monopoly” bourgeoisie against the “rich”, whom he narrows down to only “45 families”.[2] This is the standard revisionist line that the “CP of Canada” has promoted for years, and that the international communist movement fought against for years. Bains merely dresses it up in a centrist cover, with “revolutionary” phrases about ”revolutionary violence”, etc. The dilemma for “COUSML” is not that they are afraid of parroting Bains. This presents no problem for them. But the rub for them is that it is impossible for anyone claiming to be a Marxist-Leninist to deny the “great” power imperialist status of the U.S. without being carted away to a padded cell. Thus, to promote the same two-stage program for imperialist countries as Bains, “COUSML” is forced to talk of “fascism” and “monopoly capitalist dictators” in order to “justify” their alliance with the “non-monopoly” or “middle” or “democratic” bourgeoisie.

But “COUSML”’s line on fascism is not a result of madness. On the contrary, it has a distinct, although hidden purpose. It is well known that all communist activity is illegal under fascism. “COUSML” has used the excuse of fascism to remain a shadowy, phantom organization and to keep its activity hidden.

Further, “COUSML” raises the question of fascism to justify its social fascist activity. Its favorite form of “fighting” fascism is what it calls “active resistance”. This generally has meant adventurist acts by individuals directed at police, judges, etc. While the tactics of fighting fascism vary depending on the overall objective and subjective conditions internationally, they never include isolated actions of individuals or small groups.

A final reason why “COUSML” persists in its line on fascism despite all reality is their relations with various immigrant and foreign student groups. “COUSML” is seeking its main support in the U.S. from such groups. Many of these students come from countries where there is severe and bloody fascist repression. Often in the U.S. the immigrants find themselves almost totally without political rights and subject to brutal treatment from the police. And some of them are not very familiar with the political situation in the U.S. Some of them are thus more open to “COUSML”’s analysis of fascism. By working with these groups, “COUSML” has several objectives. First, “COUSML” wants to isolate them from the genuine Marxist-Leninists and class conscious workers by discrediting them through their association with “COUSML”. Second, “COUSML” wants to spy on these groups. These groups generally have extensive international ties through their international student federations. In this way, “COUSML” and all the other Bainsites can keep tabs on them. Third, “COUSML” wants to use their prestige for credibility, since everyone in the U.S. rejects and distrusts “COUSML” intensely. And, to the extent that these groups do uphold “COUSML”, they are doing a great disservice to the Marxist-Leninists and class conscious workers not only of the U.S., but of the world, who are burdened by these centrist traitors to Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian revolution. By winning support among these groups, “COUSML” has the social chauvinist aim of capitalizing off them, of using them for their own ends. There is nothing proletarian internationalist about “COUSML”’s relations with these groups. For example, when the Bainsites upheld the theory of the “three worlds”, they promoted the CIA-front Angolan group “UNITA”, through organizing speaking tours for them, distributing their literature, etc. But when the Bainsites decided to drop the “three worlds” theory, they quietly dropped “UNITA”, without any explanation. And when their needs change again, “COUSML” and all the Bainsites will just discard anyone else without blinking an eye. Fourth, “COUSML” wants to win these groups to centrism and thus prevent the emergence of genuine Marxist-Leninist organizations from among them. So there is a definite, cunning method to the seeming madness of “COUSML”.

“COUSML”’s position on the Afro-American national question is also another part of their hidden program. “COUSML” has not attacked the social chauvinist OL (now “CPML”) for liquidating the Black national question. “CPML” opposes the right to political secession for the Black nation, and reduces the right of self-determination to mean regional autonomy. No, instead “COUSML” complains that these social chauvinists are “Knights of the National Questions”, that they make “special sectarian principles”. (U.S. Marxist-Leninists, Unite in Struggle Against Social Chauvinism!, pg. 51) In other words, OL-“CPML”’s problem is that they even give a pretense of upholding the 1928 and 1930 Comintern Resolutions on the Black national question! To “COUSML”, the Black national question is reduced to a struggle against “racial discrimination and violent repression”. This is directly taken from Mao Zedong’s 1968 speech on the Afro-American struggle. “COUSML” to this day still upholds it. “COUSML” previously upheld Mao’s statements as the basis for theirs, and said, as recently as 1977, that his statements on the Afro-American question ”should be constantly studied” (Ibid., pg. 49), which is exactly what they did. So while they dumped Mao Zedong, they still uphold “Mao Zedong Thought”. Again, it is easier to give up Mao than Maoist revisionism. To do the latter would require a fundamental break with everything “COUSML” has ever stood for. To genuine Marxist-Leninists, the Comintern resolutions on the Black national question are still applicable today, even with the industrialization in the Black Belt (which it predicted). But to revisionists, the industrialization meant withdrawal of the demand for the right of the Black nation to political secession. So here, too, there is nothing new about “COUSML”’s liquidation of the Black national question, their attack on the Comintern (for this is their real target with their line of “Knights of the National Question”), and their upholding the revisionist traditions of Mao Zedong by reducing the Black national question to a racial question, one of racial discrimination.

And as with their line on fascism, the state, and the two-stage “revolution” in the U.S., “COUSML”’s line is also the same as that of the revisionist William Z. Foster. The March 29, 1979 issue of Workers Advocate, “COUSML” ’s rag-sheet, was very upset when “CPUSA(ML)” accused them of dropping Foster. “COUSML” boldly replied, “The COUSML has not changed its evaluation of Comrade Foster.” (pg. 16) We know! (see Bolshevik, Vol 8, No. 4, for an exposure of Foster’s revisionism) And what was the position of “Comrade” Foster on the Black national question? He tells us, “In this movement for integration, the slogan of self-determination is altogether inapplicable for the American Negro people”. (Notes on the Negro Question by William Z. Foster and Benjamin J. Davis, Political Affairs, April, 1959, pg. 41) Foster and his revisionist crony Davis also voiced support for a draft resolution on the Black national question then being debated in the “CPUSA”. This resolution openly says that: “The oppressed Negro people are not a nation, and, therefore, the strategic concept expressed in the slogan: ’the right of self-determination’, which applies only to nations, is not a valid, workable, scientific slogan for the emancipation of the Negro people in the United States.” (Political Affairs, Jan. 1959, pg. 43) Foster and Davis comment that after years of errors on the national question, “it is only now that the Party is getting its feet on the ground again in this vital matter. This is manifested by the current Draft Resolution on the theoretical aspects of the Negro question by the National Committee, the discussion led by comrades Jackson, Allen, and others.” (Foster and Davis, op. cit., pg. 33) So while Foster and Davis went on to quibble with their fellow revisionists about the best revisionist formulation to use, they all were united in the open social chauvinist denial of the right of the Black nation to political secession. Needless to say, “COUSML” is silent on the real history of their ”Comrade” Foster.

“COUSML” also unites with Foster on what has been the main error on the Black national question. As we have shown, “COUSML” complains that the right to political secession for the Black nation is a “special sectarian principle”. To “COUSML”, then, sectarianism, and not the liquidation of the national question, is the central problem. William Z. Foster put forward a similar view in his article “Left Sectarianism in the Fight for Negro Rights and Against White Chauvinism”. (Political Affairs, July, 1953) The only difference is that Foster talks of “left sectarianism”, while “COUSML” avoids the label “left” when they raise sectarianism. In this way, they maintain their centrist cover. But whatever they do, the genuine Marxist-Leninists can rip off every mask “COUSML” dons, and expose their social chauvinist essence.

All of “COUSML”’s attacks, both open and secret, on the right to political secession for the Black nation, show the utter hypocrisy of all their talk of being against social chauvinism. As Lenin said: “In the internationalist education of the workers of the oppressor countries, emphasis must necessarily be laid on their advocating freedom for the oppressed countries to secede and their fighting for it. Without this there can be no internationalism. It is our right and duty to treat every Social-Democrat of an oppressor nation who fails to conduct such propaganda as a scoundrel and an imperialist.” (The Discussion of Self-Determination Summed Up, C.W., Vol. 22, pg. 346) This is the Leninist attitude, and this is why the genuine Leninists treat “COUSML”, “CPUSA”, “RCP”, “CPML”, and all the other opponents of the right of oppressed nations to secession, including the Black nation, as enemies of the proletariat. Clearly “COUSML” has worked very hard to earn themselves the label of imperialists and scoundrels.

“COUSML” tries to sidestep the Black national question by claiming that the main “form” of national oppression is racial discrimination. This absurdity reduces the national question to one of race, and liquidates the revolutionary struggle for political power in the Black Belt. The 1930 Comintern resolution on the Black national question says: ”Right of self-determination. This means complete and unlimited right of the Negro majority to exercise governmental authority in the entire territory of the Black Belt, as well as to decide upon the relations between their territory and other nations, particularly the United States. It would not be right of self-determination in our sense of the word if the Negroes in the Black Belt had the right of self-determination only in cases which concerned exclusively the Negroes and did not affect the whites, because the most important cases arising here are bound to affect the whites as well as Negroes. First of all, true right to self-determination means that the Negro majority and not the white minority in the entire territory of the administratively united Black Belt exercises the right of administering governmental, legislative, and judicial authority. At the present time all this power is concentrated in the hands of the white bourgeoisie and landlords. It is they who appoint all officials, it is they who dispose of public property, it is they who determine the taxes, it is they who govern and make the laws. Therefore, the overthrow of this class rule in the Black Belt is unconditionally necessary in the struggle for the Negroes’ right to self-determination. This, however, means at the same time the overthrow of the yoke of American imperialism in the Black Belt on which the forces of the local white bourgeoisie depend. Only in this way, only if the Negro population of the Black Belt wins its freedom from American imperialism even to the point of deciding itself the relations between its country and other governments, especially the United States, will it win real and complete self-determination. One should demand from the beginning that no armed forces of American imperialism should remain on the territory of the Black Belt.” (Resolutions of the Communist International on the Negro Question, C.U.S.B. reprint, pg. 11-16) By opposing the right of self-determination for the Black nation (never raising it while attacking those who even pretend to, is the same thing), “COUSML” presents no revolutionary solution to the Black national question.

The same thing has also been done by the “CPUSA”. It is not easy for all these revisionists to entirely deny that there is a national aspect to the Black question. But they all reduce the national question to one of petty reforms by emphasizing the race question. Listen to the present position of the “CPUSA”: “The Black American question in the U.S. is a national question of a special kind, of a specific type.” (1979 Draft Resolution on Afro-American Struggle, pg. 14) Shades of RU! In fact, “COUSML” also believes the same thing, the “nation of a new type”, but does not dare openly voice its views lest they be exposed as open social chauvinists as was RU. The “CPUSA” resolution goes on: “The national aspect of the oppression of Black people manifests itself in the fact that racism subjects all social strata of Black people to racist humiliation and violation of their dignity as human beings.” (Ibid, p. 15) “COUSML”’s position is precisely the same, minus the more liberal rhetoric of the “CPUSA”. But it all is the same, reducing the Black national question to one of race.

The material basis for this liquidation of the Black national question is the actual defense by “COUSML” of the superprofits extracted by the bourgeoisie in its oppression of the Black nation. The bourgeoisie uses a portion of the superprofits to bribe a section of the proletariat of the oppressor nation, along with the petty bourgeoisie, and to give certain economic and political privileges to the proletariat of the oppressor nation as a whole. By liquidating the existence of the Black nation, and reducing the Black national question to one of race, they liquidate the existence of these superprofits and privileges and, thus, defend them.

The opportunists are not merely people with “bad” ideas. No, there is a material, economic basis behind their opportunism and social chauvinism - defense of their privileges. Lenin taught: “The economic basis of opportunism and social chauvinism is the same: the interests of an insignificant layer of privileged workers and petty bourgeoisie who are defending their privileged positions, their ’right’ to the crumbs of profits which ’their’ national bourgeoisie receives from robbing other nations, from the advantages of its position as a great nation.”(Socialism and War, op. cit., pg. 229-230) So “COUSML”’s social chauvinist position on the Black national question is not an accident, but rather a reflection of their social base - the petty-bourgeoisie. “COUSML” has always shown its greatest attention to the petty-bourgeoisie, especially on the campuses, and is still focusing its activities among them. This is why they make such a fuss about running after the anti-nuclear movement. Their line is that of petty-bourgeois radicalism “against” the horrors of imperialism, but also, and more importantly, against the proletarian revolution (in general) and the proletarian position on the national question. What they are for is a defense of their privileged position, their bribery from the superprofits of imperialism. And anything that gets in the way of that must be opposed. Hence, “COUSML” opposes the right of political secession for the Black nation. Instead of applying the scientific teachings of Lenin to the Black national question, “COUSML” reduces it to one of “racial discrimination” and, like their centrist cousins “CPUSA(ML)”, negate the question of the difference between the conditions of the workers of the oppressor nations and the workers of the oppressed nations. They deny the division of the world under imperialism into oppressor and oppressed nations, and reduce the national question to one of race. Now, if their line were actually correct, they could write it up and prove it scientifically using the science of Marxism-Leninism. But they do not do this, and instead keep their real views hidden. “COUSML” sinks to the same liberal, anti-Leninist analysis of the Black national question as essentially a race question as did Mao Zedong, the “CPUSA”, Martin Luther King, the Democratic Party, and the U.S. bourgeoisie as a whole.

Again, “COUSML” avoids drawing clear lines of demarcation on the Black national question to keep their real views hidden. In 1974, RU came out openly and said that the Black nation no longer existed in the Black Belt, and that the right of self-determination was not an important aspect of the Black national question. They were rapidly and easily exposed as utter social chauvinists. Today, “COUSML” has essentially the same position. But to try to avoid the same fate as RU, they avoid openly declaring that the 1928 and 1930 Comintern resolutions on the Black national question no longer apply. So to cover up their own social chauvinism, “COUSML” keeps its real program hidden. If they really were so staunchly opposed to social chauvinism, they would come out, as they are so fond of saying, “in broad daylight”, and uphold the right to political secession for the Black nation. Their silence is deafening.

“COUSML” also tries to cover up their own role as conciliators to the position of RU on the Black national question. They write, “In 1976 COUSML initiated struggle against social chauvinism in the Marxist-Leninist movement.” (Workers Advocate, June 1, 1979, pg. 6) What a lie! In 1973-74, there was a real struggle against the social chauvinism of RU initiated by BWC, PRRWO, and others, a struggle which “COUSML” is still to this day silent about. Of course, as we have analyzed, the forces struggling against RU included both Marxist-Leninists and opportunists, and along with correct exposures of RU were all sorts of opportunist and bourgeois nationalist lines such as “Black workers take the lead”, etc. But the strength of that struggle against RU was that it firmly established that RU was social-chauvinist. Obviously “COUSML”’s flimsy distortion of history is aimed at those who are totally unfamiliar with recent events in the U.S. It is “COUSML”’s hope that they can convince their international audience of their consistent staunchness in combatting social chauvinism. But all that they have convinced the genuine Marxist-Leninists and class conscious workers of is that they are a revisionist band of maneuverers and liars without principles or scruples.

“COUSML”’s social chauvinism does not stop with the Black national question. Here is what their “call” has to say about the other oppressed nations, oppressed nationalities, and oppressed national minorities in the U.S.: “Other oppressed peoples including the people of Mexican nationality, the Puerto Rican people, the Native Americans, etc., are also rising to the struggle.” That is all. These struggles are compared to the struggle of the Black people against “racial discrimination and violent repression!’ Presumably, then, the struggles of these other oppressed nations, nationalities, and national minorities are also reduced to racial struggles. As on the Black national question, “COUSML” has never elaborated its position on these national questions. “COUSML” thus is consistent in only one thing-denying the right of every oppressed nation within the official U.S. borders of the right to political secession. Such is the treachery of the centrists on the national question.

Covering up their social-chauvinism, their defense of their privileged position, and their sharing in the superprofits of imperialism are all important reasons why “COUSML” avoids writing up a party program. Their line of a “party” without a position on the national question is also the line of “COUSML”’s fellow centrists, the circles centered around the “MULC” conference. That the tactics of these centrists are so similar should not be surprising, since historically all these petty-bourgeois opportunists have had virtually identical lines on racism and fascism, in order to defend their economic and political privileges. So “COUSML”, despite its often bizarre behavior, is really not unique at all, but rather is typical of the petty-bourgeois opportunism and social chauvinism that has plagued the U.S. “communist movement” for decades.

So, with “COUSML”’s hidden program, no proletarian revolution can ever be made in the U.S. The main target will be missed, class enemies (“anti-fascists”) will be portrayed as friends (which means the bourgeoisie will remain in power), and national antagonisms will wreck the unity of the working class of all nationalities because the right to political secession of oppressed nations is denied. No wonder “COUSML” is so afraid of putting all this down on paper in one place!

“COUSML” takes great pride in labelling itself “proletarian internationalist”. Yet one cannot be a real proletarian internationalist if one has a counter-revolutionary program. As Lenin said: “There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism: hard work at developing the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one’s own land, and the support (by propaganda, sympathy, material aid) of such, and only such, struggles and policies in every country without exception. Everything else is deception and Manilovism.” [dreaming – Ed.] (“The Tasks of the Proletariat In Our Revolution” in The Revolution of 1917, Book 1, C.W., Vol. 20, 1929, International Publishers, pg. 145-146) Since “COUSML”’s line and program is counter-revolutionary, all this talk of “proletarian internationalism” is, like the opportunists of Lenin’s day, pure deception. One cannot be a real internationalist if one does not fight against one’s “own” bourgeoisie, if one’s line and program capitulate to one’s “own” bourgeoisie.

“COUSML”’s hidden program also brings to mind the example of another one-time centrist - Trotsky. Concealing their real aims from the working class is precisely the same devious method used by the Trotskyites. Stalin pointed out the treachery of the Trotskyites: “Can it be said that present-day Trotskyism, the 1936 Trotskyism, let us say, is a political trend in the working class? No, this cannot be said. Why? Because the present-day Trotskyites are afraid to show their real face to the working class, are afraid to disclose their real aims and tasks to it, and carefully hide their political face from the working class, fearing that if the working class should learn of their real intentions it will curse them as a alien people and drive them from it. This in reality explains how it is that the chief method of Trotskyite work is now not open and honest propaganda of its views among the working class, but the masking of its views, servile and fawning praise for the views of its opponents, a false and pharisaical trampling of its own views in the dirt.” (Mastering Bolshevism, in Regarding the Question of Bolshevism, C.U.S.B. reprint, pg. 15) The Trotskyites used such deception to conceal their real program of alliance with fascism against the Soviet Union led by Stalin (see The Great Conspiracy by Sayers and Kahn, Proletarian Publishers, for a detailed account of this).

“COUSML” conceals its real program in order to discredit Marxism-Lenin-ism and to prevent the formation of genuine proletarian parties modeled after the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin. This is their chief purpose. The main thrust of their hidden program, like the Trotskyites, is wrecking. “COUSML” seeks to divert and wreck whatever forces it can. But in order to pull off its wrecking activity and maintain any credibility, it must keep its real program hidden. “COUSML” wants to wreck the Marxist-Leninists, wreck the foreign student groups, and wreck anything else it gets near. And to carry out this program is why they spread so much confusion on the question of the party program.

We have shown “COUSML”’s motives in keeping their real program hidden. But another feature of their opportunism is that they want to throw open for question the whole need for a party program itself. For these centrists, it is apparently enough to be “for” Marxism-Leninism and against the theory of the “three worlds”. There is no need for a common program, strategy and tactics, etc. In fact, one of their main attacks on “MLOC” was that they even bothered to write up a program at all! “COUSML” rails against “MLOC” by ridiculing “the theory of the ’draft program’ ”. (Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC, June, 1978, sec. 2) Of course, the real problem with “MLOC”’s program is that it is revisionist (as we have exposed in Bolshevik, Demarcation, and other literature of the Committee of U.S. Bolsheviks.) Instead of attacking “MLOC” for a revisionist program, “COUSML” came from the opposite direction and said the “MLOC”’s revisionism was seen in the fact that they wrote up a program at all. “COUSML” wanted “MLOC” to become even more social-democratic than it was and to throw out the party program openly and altogether. This is a repeat of the Maoist-Menshevik view of the party as a coalition of diverse lines, and shows “COUSML” has not broken with Maoism or revisionism in general.

The question of the need for a party program is one that is not open to debate among Marxist-Leninists. Rather, we must restore the orthodox Marxist-Leninist teachings on the role and character of a party program. The History of the C.P.S.U.(B) defines the program this way: “The program of a workers’ party, as we know, is a brief, scientifically formulated statement of the aims and objects of the struggle of the working class. The program defines both the ultimate goal of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, and the demands for which the party fights while on the way to the achievement of the ultimate goal.” (pg. 38) Only those who oppose scientifically and clearly formulating their views so that they can be propagated to the working class can oppose a party program or invent what “COUSML” calls the “theory of the ’draft program’ ”.

Lenin was extremely clear on the question of a program: “The need for unity, for the establishment of common literature, for the appearance of Russian workers’ newspapers arises out of the real situation, and the foundation in the spring of 1898 of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which announced its intention of elaborating a Party programme in the near future, showed clearly that the demand for a programme grew out of the needs of the movement itself. At the present time the urgent question of our movement is no longer that of developing the former scattered ’amateur’ activities, but of uniting-of organisation. This is a step for which a programme is a necessity. The programme must formulate our basic views; precisely establish our immediate political tasks; point out the immediate demands that must show the area of agitational activity; give unity to the agitational work, expand and deepen it, thus raising it from fragmentary partial agitation for petty, isolated demands to the status of agitation for the sum total of Social-Democratic demands.” A Draft Programme of Our Party, C.W., Vol. 4, pgs. 229-230) But for “COUSML” a program is not a necessity, but, in fact, a hindrance. Lenin showed how a party program is a necessity in overcoming the amateurishness and scattered state of the circles, in laying the foundations for a genuine vanguard party of the proletariat. By arguing against the necessity of a party program, “COUSML” wants to convince the genuine Marxist-Leninists that one of the necessary tasks for building a party and advancing from our primitive and amateurish level, a party program, is a waste of time and a diversion. “COUSML” is delighted with the primitive and scattered state of the genuine Marxist-Leninists, and wants to keep it that way. This is another secret part of “COUSML”’s hidden program of wrecking.

Further, Lenin showed that the program was necessary for drawing lines of demarcation. He said that: “if the polemic is not to be fruitless, if it is not to degenerate into personal rivalry, if it is not to lead to a confusion of views, to a confounding of enemies and friends, it is absolutely essential that the question of the programme be introduced into the polemic. The polemic will be of benefit only if it makes clear in what the differences actually consist, how profound they are, whether they are differences of substance or differences on partial questions, whether or not these differences interfere with common work in the ranks of one and the same party. Only the introduction of the programme question into the polemic, only a definite statement by the two polemising parties on their programmatic views, can provide an answer to all these questions, questions that insistently demand an answer.” (Ibid., pg. 231) It should not be surprising that none of these basic teachings of Lenin on the party program ever seem to make their way into the many quotations and reprints in “COUSML”’s voluminous literature. Nowhere either does “COUSML” ever introduce into their polemics questions concerning the contents of the programs of other opportunist groups, such as “CPUSA(ML)”, “CPML”, etc. And nowhere do they ever hint at what they would like to see a party program say. This is because “COUSML” is really anti-Leninist to the bone and opposes the drafting of a party program altogether.

“COUSML” also opposes the theoretical work around the party program. Lenin wrote that “The cardinal point of the programme should be the characterization of the basic features of the present-day economic system of Russia and its development...” (Ibid., pg. 233) This requires a tremendous amount of theoretical work to lay the foundations for the program. As Stalin said, ”Proceeding from the data of theory, the programme of Marxism determines the aims of the proletarian movement, which are scientifically formulated in the points of the programme.” (Concerning the Question of the Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists, Works, Vol. 5, pg. 165) “COUSML”’s opposition to drafting a program reveals their opposition to Marxist-Leninist theory. It shows that their line is not based on a scientific analysis of the economic system or any other Marxist-Leninist theoretical work, but is idealist, not derived from the data of theory. Thus their opposition to the program is also an opposition to revolutionary theory, and, thus, to revolutionary practice, which can be revolutionary only if it is guided by revolutionary theory. “COUSML”’s view is that all that is necessary to unite around to form the party is “Marxism-Leninism” in the abstract and opposition to the theory of the “three worlds”. “COUSML” has covered over their real contempt for theory by reprinting reams of documents and articles from the international communist movement. Their “theoretical” journal, Proletarian Internationalism, is even devoted entirely to reprints. This is all intended to give them a veneer of orthodoxy, to mask their actual “freedom of criticism” of Leninism. Rather than doing the serious, scientific theoretical work required to lay the foundation for a party program, “COUSML” is largely a reprint operation. But a party program cannot be reprinted. It can only be the result of a determined effort of theoretical work. Since this created a dilemma for these re-printers, they proceeded to attack the necessity for a party program altogether. Thus, to “COUSML”, Marxism-Leninism is not a science to guide our actions, but a dogma of empty formulas and categories.

Although “COUSML”’s writings are full of verbal denunciations of revisionism, their line is actually the same as that of all the revisionists. Their line on the party program is exactly the same as that of the Titoite revisionists. In 1948, the Communist Information Bureau, led by the C.P.S.U. and Stalin, exposed the Titoites as revisionists, agents of imperialism, and spies and wreckers. The Titoites were exposed for not having a party program and for arguing that the party did not need a program since the People’s Front had a program, and therefore the party did not need one. The Cominform showed that this was a liquidationist line. They wrote: “According to the theory of Marxism-Leninism, the Party is the main guiding and leading force in the country, which has its own, specific programme, and does not dissolve itself among the non-Party masses. The Party is the highest form of organization and the most important weapon of the working class....The Yugoslav leaders stubbornly refuse to recognize the falseness of their tenet that the Communist Party of Yugoslavia allegedly cannot and should not have its own specific programme of the People’s Front.” (Resolution of the Information Bureau Concerning the Situation in the CP. of Yugoslavia, June 28, 1948, in The Soviet-Yugoslav Dispute, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1948, pg. 64) “COUSML” takes precisely the same liquidationist line as the Titoites by also opposing the party program. “COUSML” wants to “dissolve itself among the non-Party masses” as soon as possible, as soon as any of the masses will start listening to it. So if their liquidationist dreams, patterned after the Titoites, have not yet come to fruition, it is merely because they have not yet had the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, “COUSML”’s line is identical to that of all revisionists.

This brief review of the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the program show that despite “COUSML”’s pretense of upholding Marxism-Leninism, they are actually advocates of “freedom of criticism” and opponents of orthodox Marxism-Leninism. Only a proponent of “freedom of criticism” could look at the integral science of Marxism-Leninism and feel free to ”agree” on one point and disagree on another. Marxism-Leninism is not a supermarket of ideas where one can choose one thing and pass over another. The opposition to the party program is one of the most blatant examples of “COUSML”’s naked hypocrisy when it labels itself “Marxist-Leninist”. By attempting to throw open for debate the necessity for a party program, “COUSML” is actually throwing open for debate the necessity for Marxism-Leninism itself.

“COUSML” also opposes Marxism-Leninism in its attitude to the relation of the struggle against social chauvinism and centrism. At whom is the main blow to be struck? “COUSML” answers this question in essence this way: “Today the central issue in the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement is how to fight social chauvinism”. (Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC, p. 7) This same view is apparent in their slogan of building the party without and against the social chauvinists. But this view is contrary to Leninism. Lenin taught that in order to make a complete and absolute rupture with all forms of revisionism, the emphasis must not be on merely exposing the most open forms of revisionism, but instead on centrism, the more disguised and camouflaged form of revisionism.

Leninism, of course, has always stressed the struggle against social chauvinism. But it has never separated it from the struggle against the conciliators to open social chauvinism, the centrists. “COUSML” talks a lot about open social chauvinism. But what about the centrist who “make peace” with social chauvinism? Their silence betrays their own centrism. “COUSML”’s line is nothing but social chauvinism slightly covered over and embellished so they can get away with their wrecking among those forces, both centrist and genuine, who claim to oppose the social chauvinism of the Maoists. The struggle against opportunism cannot be complete if it does not aim its main blow at the more deceptive, dangerous form of opportunism, centrism.

These centrists include not only “COUSML”, but also “CPUSA(ML)” and the circles gathered around the “MULC” conference. But to “COUSML”, the main thing is to “fight” social chauvinism without fighting centrism. Leninism has shown that such a fight is no fight at all, but actually a declaration of peace with social chauvinism.

“COUSML”’s line on the international situation is a typically centrist line. In the war in Indochina, “COUSML” supports revisionist Vietnam. It complains that “The Kremlin has signed a ’treaty of friendship and mutual cooperation’ with Vietnam and pretends to be on the side of the Vietnamese people.” (Workers Advocate, March 29,1979, p. 2) But nowhere do they show that the Russian imperialists are on the side of the Vietnamese revisionists whole-heartedly, and that the Vietnamese revisionists likewise “pretend to be on the side of the Vietnamese people”. “COUSML” presents the question as if the Soviet Union was not on the side of the Vietnamese government. But Vietnam is economically, politically, and militarily tied up to the Russian imperialist camp. This is no big secret, either. “COUSML” covers this up, as they also cover up Vietnam’s invasion of Kampuchea (Cambodia) to set up a puppet government and bring Kampuchea also into the Russian bloc. So “COUSML” here supports the re-division of the world when it is in favor of the Russian imperialists.

Likewise, “COUSML”’s line on Iran is thoroughly anti-Leninist. They hail the overthrow of the Shah as a “people’s democratic revolution” whose “main force” has been “the masses of Iranian workers and peasants”. (Workers Advocate, March 29, 1979, pg. 11) They ignore the power of the reactionary feudal Mullahs, or that Khomeini has set up an Islamic republic. Reading “COUSML”’s literature, there is only support for the new Islamic regime. Before the Shah was overthrown, the social chauvinists supported the Shah while the centrists did not. Now, both the social chauvinists and the centrists support Khomeini, both calling for “national unity” instead of class struggle and revolution. Both abandon the struggle for proletarian leadership of the democratic revolution and for the dictatorship of the proletariat. This shows how the centrists have the same line in all fundamentals as the Maoists and all the social chauvinists. So “COUSML”’s call to build a party “against” social chauvinism is nothing but a fraud and a deception.

What we see from “COUSML” is not at all a break with Maoism or any other form of revisionism. Their line is centrism, camouflaged social chauvinism. They even go so far as to glorify the centrism of the so-called “antirevisionist communist movement”. In their “call”, “COUSML” calls social chauvinism a “malignant tumor within the healthy body of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement”. They say about the “three world”-ers that “their degeneration to open social chauvinism marks the complete bankruptcy of the neo-revisionist trend”. In other words, these forces were not “completely bankrupt” when they were centrists! And since they were centrists, there still could be unity with them, “COUSML”’s logic goes. Therefore, they should be attacked, as “COUSML” does in its “call”, for “disruption and factionalization of the Marxist-Leninist movement”. But there was no “Marxist-Leninist movement”, only an opportunist, centrist movement, with some genuine Marxist-Leninists subordinated to the Rights within it. The likes of O.L., R.U. and the rest were completely bankrupt from the start. The problem was that the genuine Marxist-Leninists didn’t fully realize that this whole movement was opportunist and didn’t regroup on their own until much later. But now “COUSML” steps in and still tries to paint these dogs as not “completely bankrupt” until they openly came out for alliance with U.S. imperialism through the theory of the “three worlds”. “COUSML” also calls this opportunist movement a “healthy Marxist-Leninist movement”. This glorification of centrism is why they rail against Browder, but still uphold Foster.

A feature of centrism is that it always seeks unity with the social chauvinists in one party. Listen to “COUSML”s “call” describing the social chauvinists of “CPML” and company: “But there were those who claimed to be Marxist-Leninists and claimed to oppose revisionism, yet who refused to follow the first principle of Marxism-Leninism that all Marxist-Leninists should unite into one party. This was the anti-Party trend of neo-revisionism.”

“COUSML”’s chief gripe with the social chauvinists is that they refused to take them into their ranks! “COUSML” demanded peace, alliance, and unity with the social chauvinists, just like “MLOC” did in its open letter to all the social chauvinists arid centrists inviting them all to meet to discuss their program. But what “COUSML” gives is not the “first principle of Marxism-Leninism” at all. As Stalin has shown, it is actually the first principle of centrism-unity with social chauvinism, subordination of the proletariat to the petty-bourgeoisie, and subordination of the Lefts to the Rights. “COUSML” raises the Maoist line of “unite, don’t split”. This is the same line as OL’s “unity trend”. The Marxist-Leninist line, however, is very different.

For Marxist-Leninists, here is the “first principle” regarding unity, as elaborated by Lenin: “Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.” (Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra, C.W. Vol. 4, pg. 354) And lines of demarcation can be clearly drawn only if there are open polemics on the party program. “COUSML”’s opposition to the party program goes hand in hand with their “unite don’t split” line towards the social chauvinists. It reveals their fundamental unity with all the Mensheviks with whom “COUSML” is so heartbroken they did not unite with. Their demand for unity with the social chauvinists is also further evidence that “COUSML”, just like the social chauvinists, wants to defend the political and economic privileges it enjoys under imperialism. Presumably, if the social chauvinists did leave their doors open to “COUSML”, then they would have been happy. Genuine Marxist-Leninists, on the other hand, do not complain that the opportunists refused to unite with us. No, on the contrary, we pursue the policy of a split with them. This, not “unite, don’t split”, is the only correct Marxist-Leninist policy.

Despite all their pleas for unity with the social chauvinists, “COUSML” is deathly afraid of putting out their real line to the genuine Marxist-Leninists. At a recent film showing and discussion sponsored by the Committee of U.S. Bolsheviks in New York, three “COUSML” members were distributing literature outside. They were invited in to defend their line. As soon as the activity started, they quickly left. Instead, they sent in someone else, who claimed not to know about the U.S., etc. This person, who said he was not with “COUSML”, proceeded for several hours to defend their whole line, right down to support for Hardial Bains himself. “COUSML” wanted someone to spy on the meeting while defending their line. But they preferred that no open member of “COUSML” be there so they could disavow anything said there, and claim that it is not their position. This sort of double-dealing is the way “COUSML” seeks to “unite” Marxist-Leninists. This is the typical policy of centrism–seek unity with the Right and fight the genuine Lefts.

After having been so exposed at the activity of the Committee of U.S. Bolsheviks, “COUSML” has sunk to even lower depths and will continue to do so as we expose their centrist posture and social-fascist essence. When a C.U.S.B. member went to a “COUSML” bookstore to purchase their ragsheet, “COUSML” said the person was not welcome in the store and had to leave. When “COUSML” was asked if that meant they would not even sell their newspaper to our comrade, “COUSML” said that was right. They said that they “reserve the right to refuse service to anyone we choose to”. They were asked for a reason, but only said that there was no basis for unity with us and that it was “no use” having relations. They then told us to leave. As for them having “unity with us”, it’s really no debate. Genuine Marxist-Leninists in this country have long ago demarcated from this sinister group of opportunists. “COUSML” under the mask of unity, always attempted to infiltrate and split other groups within the “movement”. So let them to say that they have no “relations” with us is really a laughable statement with the intent of disguising their provocative action of forcing us to leave the bookstore.

The social-fascist activity of this and other types will continue to heighten as genuine Marxist-Leninists expose the camouflaged opportunism and the sinister activities of “COUSML”. After having been so utterly exposed at our activity, “COUSML” has no desire to respond in polemics. Instead they prefer to try and keep us away from their literature and bookstore. These social fascist acts and their cowardly avoidance of open polemics will by no means save their “hide”. The line and activity of this most dangerous centrist clique will continue to be exposed and no amount of social-fascist, provocative activity will stop us.

Their basic revisionism is also seen in other ways. “COUSML”’s attitude to the spontaneous movements shows their complete subservience to spontaneity. Their “call” tells us that the ”mass movements of the tumultuous decade of the 1960’s shook the monopoly capitalist system to its foundations”. Nowhere does “COUSML” show that these were spontaneous movements, and that even the most militant of these had no clear revolutionary aims because there was no Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S., much less leading them. “COUSML” gets even more ridiculous when they claim there are “revolutionary mass movements” in the U.S. today, glorifying the present spontaneous movements, even the utterly reformist anti-nuclear movement, which are at lower ideological levels than the movements of the 1960’s. “COUSML” makes no distinction between the Leninist thesis of two step–first winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and then winning the masses to the side of the vanguard. In their “call”, they attack this Leninist line by condemning the ”concocted theses of the ’pre-Party situation’ and the ’pre-Party collective’.” By trying to associate the Leninist line on party-building with the petty bourgeois line on “pre-Party organization”, “COUSML” shows its real hostility to the scientific teachings of Lenin and Stalin on the party. They thus unite with all the economists by including in their “main tasks” for party-building “Participate actively in the revolutionary mass movements.”

At times “COUSML”’s bowing to spontaneity has been to the opposite pole from the economists. In their “resistance to fascism” they acquired a reputation as lunatics for denouncing every judge as a fascist and provoking unnecessary jail sentences for minor violations. No doubt when their “party” is formed, “COUSML” will revert to similar provocative actions. They are already preparing for this by publicizing their antics when they called themselves “ACWM” (“American Communist Workers Movement”). This was when one or two of them would charge the police, get busted, denounce the judge, go on a hunger strike in jail, and end up getting sent to a mental institution when they would tear out the intravenous tube from their arms!

“COUSML” further tries to cover up its wretched history as “ACWM” in their “call”. They claim that “ACWM” fought against “opportunism of all hues”, that it “took up the decisive task of the widescale dissemination of Marxism-Leninism”, and that “it built a disciplined fighting organization with monolithic unity based on the single Marxist-Leninist line”. Let us look a bit back in history to see just what was their “single line”. As recently as 1977, “COUSML” described “ACWM” as “the first national center for the dissemination of Mao Tsetung Thought”. (U.S. Marxist-Leninists, Unite in Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism, pg. 22) Not Marxism-Leninism, not even “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought” – but Mao Tsetung Thought alone! This more accurately describes “ACWM”, although there were certainly other “centers” of Maoism in the U.S. It was “ACWM” that was well-known for pushing Maoism far and wide wherever it went. “ACWM” members could never be seen without a Mao badge and the Red Book. Ask even a question about Mao and they’d spit at the ground and denounce you as a social-fascist.

To give an example of the kind of Maoist nonsense they propagated, let us quote from an “ACWM” report of June, 1972. They listed as the first guideline of an “actual struggle unit” they had set up: “Ideological guidelines: Pay attention to the policy, apply mass line in everything. Struggle against bourgeois hang-ups, study and apply Mao Tsetung Thought in a living way.” (Peoples Canada Daily News, June 29, 1972, pg. 6) Maoist garbage, through and through! The whole petty-bourgeois individualistic theme of “struggle against bourgeois hangups” is raised to the level of the “ideological guidelines”. And the empiricist, pragmatist “mass line” is another “guideline” they still use to this day. But what is missing from this mess is taking the science of Marxism-Leninism as their ideological basis. Nor is the struggle against the ideological basis of all opportunism, the worship of spontaneity, even mentioned. From this, we can see that the “single line” held by “ACWM” and then “COUSML” for ten years has not been Marxism-Leninism, but rather has been nothing but Maoism.

Another episode “COUSML” “forgets” to recount is the formation in 1971 of the “Black Revolutionary Party USA”. This group appeared out of nowhere to put out one issue of a newspaper, “Black Revolutionary”, in May, 1971. The only thing it cited about its origins was that it was formed out of a conference of unnamed “Black revolutionaries” in April, 1971. It claimed three addresses – a national headquarters in Detroit, and two mailing addresses, one in Omaha, Nebraska, and the other in Des Moines, Iowa. The paper was issued during a very active period in the Black liberation movement. It was a collection of reprints of Mao, “Peking Review”, Robert Williams, and the “Afro-Asian, Latin American People’s Solidarity Movement of Canada and Quebec”, a Bains front. The paper includes photos and quotes of well-known Black nationalist leaders such as Malcolm X and Ruchell Magee. On almost every page are numerous pictures of guns, even more than there are pictures of Mao! The Bains slogan “China’s Chairman is our Chairman” is another tip-off just who put out this paper.

This “party” called itself “a Political Party of Black People to fight against racial discrimination and violent repression”, showing it was firmly based on Mao’s and “COUSML”’s (then “ACWM”) analysis of the Black national question. And it described its main program this way: “The core of our struggle is to politically organize ARMED SELF DEFENSE UNITS to combat racial discrimination and violent repression.” (emphasis original) The program of this “party” was thoroughly nationalist and negated the role of the working class as vanguard of the U.S. revolution: “The Black Revolutionary Party considers that the Native Indians, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos and other national minorities are closest allies in the struggle against racial discrimination and violent repression.” In keeping with the “thought” of Mao Zedong, nothing, of course, is said about the proletariat, the existence of the Black nation, or the right to political secession. The only group the paper raises polemics with is the “CPUSA” A weak criticism accuses them of saying, “Black People should depend on the ’sensibleness’ of the U.S. fascist government”. This was done to give themselves an “anti-revisionist” cover. The paper then goes on to criticize some unnamed “left phrasemongers” who “deny the national-class nature of our struggle and advocate that Black people should not fight for their emancipation; instead they should depend on others for their own struggle.”

This “party” was set up by “ACWM”, under the auspices of Bains, to adapt to the prevailing petty bourgeois nationalism of that time, 1971, so they could infiltrate the Black liberation movement. They tailed after every nationalist they could find, and advocated the nationalist line of a party for each nationality. Besides opposing the hegemony of the proletariat in the U.S. revolution: this “party” was also intended to encourage adventurist actions under the banner of “armed self-defense”. What did it do and where did it go? These are still unanswered questions, and, no doubt, will stay unanswered if “COUSML” has anything to say about it.

Perhaps “COUSML” would like others to forget those days. This is why they avoid like the plague a summing up of their anti-Marxist-Leninist line. According to them, they have always had a “single Marxist-Leninist line.” The only thing true about this is that their single line has always been revisionism. And now it is Mao Zedong Thought without Mao; China’s chairman is still their chairman.

Supposedly a Marxist-Leninist center with a single Marxist-Leninist line has existed in the U.S. for ten years. And what are the accomplishments of this hearty bunch? After ten years of supposedly the correct line, all “COUSML” could get at their May Day activities in 1979 was, according to their own exaggerated figures, a total of 400 people nation-wide at four different activities! (Workers Advocate, June 1, 1979, pg. 7) How is this astounding failure of ten years toil to be explained? “COUSML” is once again silent. This should expose to anyone who is totally unfamiliar with the situation in the U.S. the utter absurdity of this sect’s claims that it has led all these struggles against social chauvinism, etc. If there had been a genuine Marxist-Leninist organization in the U.S. with a single correct line for ten years, opportunism would not today be dominant in the U.S. and the genuine Marxist-Leninists and class-conscious workers would not be so scattered about. Ten years with a correct line and a solid organization would spell great strides in this country with over 220 million people, not just 400 people in four cities.

“COUSML” is also noticeably vague in its “call” on just what happened when they went from “ACWM” to “COUSML”. They tell us: “In 1972 the ACWM(ML) launched another broad campaign to unite the Marxist-Leninists. This campaign led to the formation of the Central Committee of U.S. Marxist-Leninists, the Marxist-Leninist nucleus, the center to further rally the Marxist-Leninists to fight modern revisionism.” Notice how when they talk of the “Marxist-Leninists” or the “Marxist-Leninist movement” they often are referring just to themselves. Now, how was such an advance to this higher level, this “nucleus” made? Just which “Marxist-Leninists” were united to require the setting up of a new organization with a new name? “COUSML” is silent, once again. And they have good reason to be silent. “COUSML” tells us that the ”Call for a Conference of North American Marxist-Leninists” in 1972 was “a general call and the Preparatory Committee for the Conference sought to consult with and unite with all the Marxist-Leninist organizations.” (U.S. Marxist-Leninists Unite..., pg. 23) Notable among those “Marxist-Leninist” groups the then “ACWM” sought to “consult with and unite with” were the “Red Star Cadre” of Tampa, Florida, and the “Red Collective” of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Tampa group was headed by Joseph Burton. Burton was an FBI agent and infiltrator who later quit the FBI and publicly revealed that he was a police agent. The “Red Collective” was led by a couple, Jill and Gi Shafer, who were also exposed publicly in the bourgeois press as FBI agents. These were the kinds of groups “ACWM” wanted to unite with to become “COUSML”. Burton and the Shafers were exposed as FBI agents during the Watergate scandals. It is impossible for us to know if these exposures were merely the result of contradictions in the bourgeoisie, or were actually planned by the bourgeoisie to make it look like they were the only agents in “ACWM” and later “COUSML”. Today “COUSML” uses this incident to brag: “During the campaign we and finally the whole Marxist-Leninist movement eventually weeded out ’C’L and the other agents, but they did far more damage than they need have.” (Ibid., pg. 26) Whatever the case, the transition from “ACWM” to “COUSML”, far from being such a “broad campaign to unite the Marxist-Leninists”, was actually more like the Policeman’s Ball. So “COUSML” never explains how, when it was pursuing unity with these FBI-front groups, it was building the “center” of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement.

“COUSML” also has distinguished itself not only by its hidden program, but also by remaining silent on the key questions of party-building. Their five “main tasks” for party-building, laid out in their “call”, do not constitute a Marxist-Leninist plan for building the party.[3]

These “main tasks” for their party do not mention winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism, who are the advanced workers, an organization of professional revolutionaries, the party program, propaganda as the chief form of activity, the necessity of a complete and absolute rupture with centrism, or building the international communist movement. Their plan deviates from the Marxist-Leninist teachings on how to build a Marxist-Leninist party because the “party” they are building will be another centrist party. They have never addressed the struggle over any of these questions that has gone on for several years, and appear to be quite satisfied with their history of dodging clear positions on all the burning questions of constructing the Leninist party of the new type.

Try as hard as they can, “COUSML”’s revisionism bursts forth behind their silence. They have never entered the polemics on the question of the line of Lenin and Stalin that in the period of forming the party propaganda is the chief form of activity. Yet its real line is that agitation is the chief form of activity, just like all the other economists say. In its “call” “COUSML” says that it has “developed its network of agitation to guide the mass movements onto the revolutionary path”, and that “through this agitation it seeks to orient and guide every step of the struggle of the masses, welding the economic and political struggles into a single revolutionary torrent.” While we get a lot of hot air, we get no distinction between the two periods of winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and winning the masses to the side of the vanguard.

Nor has “COUSML” neglected to promote a Menshevik line on organization. Their “call” tells us: “Through ten years of struggle, the “COUSML” has built up the centralized leadership and the self-moving basic organization in local areas which has the initiative to respond to the day-to-day struggles of the masses and the political strength and unity to train the workers in the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist line of the COUSML.” Democratic centralism is reduced to centralized leadership with no specific tasks, and a collection of “self-moving basic organization in the local areas”. This is autonomism, through and through. The Leninist line on organization sees the party as functioning from the top down. The district committees are subordinate to the central committee. Yet for “COUSML”, the district committees are “self-moving”. This Menshevik line on organization reflects “COUSML”’s Menshevik political line . First, the local committees are “self-moving” because there is no party program to weld them together ideologically and politically. Second, since “COUSML”’s line is but another version of worshipping spontaneity, which is the ideological root of all opportunism, the local organizations must be autonomous so they can tail every spontaneous struggle, or, as “COUSML” puts it, “respond to the day-to-day struggles of the masses”. Genuine Marxist-Leninists do not merely “respond” to the spontaneous struggle, but instead seek to divert it from its spontaneous path and give it “a politically conscious, planned character.” (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Works, Vol. 6, pg. 94) This requires Bolshevik organization. But merely tailing the spontaneous movement, as “COUSML” advocates, only requires autonomous organization, as “COUSML” admits it has built.


The relations between “COUSML” and “CPUSA(M-L)” have been characterized by intrigue and back-room wheeling and dealing. The polemics between them have not been aimed at drawing clear lines of demarcation. Rather, they have been unprincipled contests of maneuvering and innuendo.

In March, 1978, “CPUSA (M-L)”’s predecessor, ”MLOC”, put out its open letter to 32 groups to discuss their program. “COUSML” was included, along with all sorts of pro-Soviet, pro-“three worlds”, and centrist forces. The only ones excluded were the U.S. Leninist Core. This showed “MLOC” sought unity with every creature from the marsh, but not with the Marxist-Leninists. “COUSML” used the opportunity of this invitation to issue its “Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC” in June, 1978, to which we have referred earlier. This was followed by an article in the August, 1978 issue of “MLOC”’s theoretical journal, Class Against Class,, number 11, responding to “COUSML”.

“MLOC” has not been exactly known as a group that welcomes open polemics. It has a long history of back-room maneuvering with OL, ATM, etc. (See Demarcation, No. 1, March, 1979, for more on this). So why did they respond so rapidly and in such a prominent way to “COUSML”, a sect with such a shady reputation in the U.S.? “MLOC” gives its own motives away by saying of “COUSML”’s reply: “But more important, its main thrust is to sow confusion and concern internationally. It is not directed at workers in the U.S.-as anyone can see by looking at it-but at the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations worldwide with whom the MLOC has begun to build strong and important ties based upon Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.” (Reply to the COUSML Pamphlet’Reply to the Open Letter of the MLOC, Class Against Class, No. 11, pg. 43) True, “COUSML”’s main thrust was to sow confusion internationally. And “COUSML”, as Bains’ child, had been doing this for some time. But this was a game “MLOC” could not be left out of. “MLOC” conveniently fails to mention that their reply likewise was directed internationally, and especially against Bains.

The contents of “MLOC”’s reply only further reveals their own opportunism. They quote “COUSML”’s formulation that “Today the central issue in the U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement is how to fight social-chauvinism”. “MLOC” responds, “The heart of the difference between the MLOC and COUSML, in many ways, lies in this first sentence.” (Ibid.) We will get below to what really is the “heart of the difference” between these two centrist groups. But what “MLOC” says here is revealing. “MLOC” accuses “COUSML” of “focusing almost exclusively” on the struggle against the social chauvinist “CPML” and the theory of the “three worlds” and of leaving out–what? The struggle against centrism, maybe? Not at all! “MLOC” says, “The central issue remains how to fight modern revisionism which remains the main danger in the communist and workers movement here in the U.S. as world-wide.” (Ibid., emphasis original) This “conciliates with modern revisionism and opportunism on several issues, especially with the revisionists of the CPUSA.” (Ibid.)

In other words, “MLOC” presents “CPML” and the “three worlds” groups as not being social chauvinist. After accusing “COUSML” of ignoring the “CPUSA”, “MLOC” says, “COUSML says all this is secondary, that we should just hit the social chauvinists.” (Ibid., pg. 46, emphasis added) This is “MLOC”’s logic – “COUSML” just “hits” the social chauvinists, “CPML”, but not the revisionists, “CPUSA”.

This denies Lenin’s analysis in The Tasks of the Proletariat In Our Revolution in April, 1917, that there are three trends social chauvinism, centrism, and true internationalism. “MLOC”-“CPUSA (M-L)” tries to mechanically separate the “three worlds” social chauvinists, who are also revisionists (of the Maoist variety), from the Khrushchevite revisionists, who are also social chauvinists. Maoism is only a shade of modern revisionism. The theory of the “three worlds” is but a variant of the Titoite theory of the “non-aligned” movement or Khrushchev’s three “peacefuls” and theory of the non-capitalist road. The Maoist theory of new democracy’s “joint dictatorship” of many classes, including the bourgeoisie, and that the contradiction between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie is non-antagonistic under socialism, is no different from Khrushchev’s “state of the whole people”. And the Maoist thesis of the “bourgeoisie in the party” and “two-line struggle” is no different than Khrushchev’s “party of the whole people”, or even the old Menshevik line of every striker and professor joining the party. The list could go on and on.

Even more absurd is “MLOC”’s contention that the “CPUSA” is not counted among the social chauvinists. Long ago the “CPUSA” declared openly its loyalty to the U.S. bourgeoisie, way before the emergence of Khrushchevite revisionism. Browder’s line of “Communism is 20th Century Americanism” was pure social chauvinism. Foster’s support of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and elsewhere reflected that the “CPUSA” was social-chauvinist. And the “peaceful transition to socialism”, Foster’s prized “contribution” in the late 1940’s, was an open declaration of peace with the bourgeoisie and of class collaboration. Today the Gus Hall clique continues on this same path. Even when the “CPUSA” runs in elections, their own candidates are secondary to the bourgeois liberal candidates, like McGovern. Further, “CPUSA” is not purely a fifth column for the Russian bourgeoisie. It still is chiefly linked to the U.S. bourgeoisie. Through the trade union bureaucracy and its ties to numerous petty-bourgeois and bourgeois reformists and capitalist politicians, it defends the power and property of the U.S. bourgeoisie every day and scrambles for its share of crumbs from the superprofits of U.S. imperialism. The whole program of “CPUSA” is for a coalition government with the bourgeoisie, and has been since the days of Browder and Foster. While it has contradictions with sections of the U.S. bourgeoisie, especially the pro-Peking sections, to declare it simply an agent of Russian imperialism is to cover up the service “CPUSA” does for its main boss, the U.S. bourgeoisie.

That different social chauvinists follow different imperialist powers, even rival imperialist powers, does not mean that they are not part of the same trend. In Lenin’s day, the Russian social chauvinists sided with the Russian bourgeoisie. The German social chauvinists sided with the German bourgeoisie. That the Russian and German bourgeoisie were at war with each other did not at all mean that their followers in the Second International were separate “trends”. To have said this would have reduced trends to mere national phenomena, determined from country to country. But this method is the standpoint of bourgeois nationalism. To Lenin, there was not a “German revisionism”, a “French revisionism”, etc., but, rather, the international phenomenon of social chauvinism and their centrist allies.

Later in the article, “MLOC” tries to backtrack and add that the “CPUSA” is social chauvinist. First, they contradict what they have previously said. Second, they distort what social chauvinism is. They write, “Social chauvinism is the inevitable outcome of opportunism, especially in the periods of imperialist war. All opportunist parties will take up the cry of defense of the fatherland when an imperialist war breaks out.” (Ibid, pg. 48) Already “MLOC” is talking about ”when an imperialist war breaks out”, as if it is inevitable. They go on, “This is true not only for the CPML, who have already jumped out in favor of the U.S. bourgeoisie, but also for the CPUSA and the RCP, USA. And this in no way is changed by the fact that today the CPUSA supports the USSR. During the time of imperialist war, a large section of the CPUSA will side with the U.S. bourgeoisie, with the rest supporting the USSR.” (Ibid.) Very sneaky. That “CPUSA” is social chauvinist is not “changed by the fact that today the CPUSA supports the USSR.” This means that if tomorrow they still support the USSR, then they would not be social chauvinist. They are only social chauvinist because tomorrow, unlike today, “a large section of the CPUSA will side with the U.S. bourgeoisie,” as if they do not today side with the U.S. bourgeoisie. And, those who side with Russian imperialism in an imperialist war are supposedly not social chauvinists.

Such a view is entirely the opposite of Leninism. As we have shown, the social chauvinists usually side with their own bourgeoisie. By saying that “CPUSA” does not side with U.S. imperialism today, “MLOC” covers up the material basis of “CPUSA”’s revisionism and social chauvinism, its sharing in the superprofits of U.S. imperialism. Such a view mystifies social chauvinism and provides no materialist analysis to the revisionism of the “CPUSA”.

Further, it is true that there are those in the “CPUSA” who are agents of the Russian imperialists. But this does not mean that they are not social chauvinists. Here is who Lenin includes as social chauvinists: “To the social chauvinists belong those who justify and idealise the governments and the bourgeoisie of one of the belligerent groups of nations, as well as those who, like Kautsky, recognise the equal right of the Socialists of all belligerent nations to ’defend the fatherland.’ Social-chauvinism, being in practice a defence of the privileges, prerogatives, robberies and violence of ’one’s own’ (or any other) imperialist bourgeoisie, is a total betrayal of all Socialist convictions and a violation of the decisions of the International Socialist Congress in Basle.” (Socialism and War, in The Imperialist War, C.W., Vol. 18, 1930, International Publishers, pg. 226-7) According to Lenin, then, social chauvinism is defense of one’s “own” bourgeoisie, or any other, the defense of one of the imperialist powers, in the imperialist plunder. While most social chauvinists usually defend their “own” bourgeoisie, they also can defend another. While it is true that different sections of the “CPUSA” will defend different imperialists in the event of an imperialist war, they are all social chauvinist defenders of imperialism, all share in the world plunder and booty of the imperialists, and all gain by and defend the privileges imperialism bestows upon them from their superprofits.

Thus, “MLOC” ends up embellishing the social chauvinists of the “CPUSA”, and making a theoretical case that those who side with the Russian imperialists are not social chauvinists. This is centrism, pure and simple, directed mainly at reconciliation with the Khrushchevite revisionists.

It is also a justification for “MLOC”’s almost total inaction in the ideological struggle against the theory of the “three worlds”. They wrote only one poor pamphlet, and did not initiate a nation-wide assault on the “three worlds” theory. A genuine vanguard would certainly have done so. And, as should be obvious, “MLOC”’s fascination with the “CPUSA” also is a justification for the total liquidation of the struggle against centrism.

“MLOC” ’s defense of their tactics is that “Today the CPUSA has major influence and control in the trade unions like the United Electrical Workers, steelworkers, autoworkers, and longshoremen.” (Reply..., op. cit., pg. 46) It is well-known that the “CPUSA”’s “influence” is almost entirely among the labor aristocracy and the trade union hacks. But this is precisely where “MLOC” (and now “CPUSA (M-L)”) also wants to gain “major influence and control”. Thus “MLOC” judged the tactics in the ideological struggle of where to focus the fire not on the needs of the international communist movement, not on which varieties of opportunism have most influence, but solely on an estimate of the balance of forces in the labor aristocracy. Here they are scolding “COUSML” for not paying enough attention to joining the labor aristocracy!

“MLOC” repeats this same theme when they denounce “COUSML” for ”the worst type of infantile ’left’ separation from the actual day-to-day struggles of the working class and its allies.” (Ibid., pg. 54) “MLOC” also complains that ”Questions of tactics, the question of revolutionary leadership, and the link between the day-to-day struggles and the struggle for socialism are no where to be found.” (Ibid., pg. 50) “MLOC” is saying that “COUSML” is not reformist enough, not economist enough, that they should strive more for “palpable results”.

Let us look again at how “COUSML” deals with the spontaneous movements. It is true that “COUSML” does not talk of tactics, leadership, and the link between revolution and reform. But this is because they miserably tail these movements. For example, “COUSML” glorified in lavish colors the petty-bourgeois anti-nuclear movement. Speaking of the May 6th rally in Washington, DC which drew 100,000 people, and of similar rallies, they write, ”These numerous demonstrations and actions show that the American people oppose the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear energy program and have a burning hatred for U.S. imperialist aggression and war.” (Workers Advocate, June 1, 1979, pg. 2) Here they present this purely reformist movement in revolutionary, ”anti-imperialist” terms. “COUSML” adds that various bourgeois politicians spoke at these rallies, including California Governor Jerry Brown, ”only to be loudly booed by the demonstrators”, as if this somehow meant they all opposed imperialism and imperialist war. “COUSML” also mentions nothing of the petty-bourgeois social base of this movement, which provides fertile soil for all the anti-technology crap and reformist and pacifist garbage spread by its leaders. So it is because “COUSML” is satisfied with the tactics, leadership, and aims of these reformist spontaneous movements that they offer none of their own, and not because they are ultra-’left”.

But what this also does reveal is what is really the “heart of the difference” between “COUSML” and “MLOC”-“CPUSA (M-L)”. “COUSML” is entirely from a petty-bourgeois social base, and aims to stay that way. It focuses on spreading centrism to the petty-bourgeoisie. It therefore puts its greatest attention on the student movement, the anti-nuclear movement, support for various foreign student groups, etc. “CPUSA (M-L)”, though also of an almost entirely petty-bourgeois social base itself, focuses on the labor aristocracy. Their newly formed “Trade Union Action League” is a virtual copy of Foster’s tactics at gaining positions in the labor aristocracy and trade union bureaucracy (more below on this). But for both of them, their social base and the groups they emphasize their work among are those privileged by imperialism, those who get crumbs from the superprofits of imperialism. Both “CPUSA (M-L)” and “COUSML” strive to defend these privileges. So the quarrel between them is not over who serves the fundamental revolutionary interests of the proletariat, but between two competing centrist factions, each implementing slightly different tactics to defend their class privileges.

The “MLOC” reply to “COUSML” raises the question of centrism only once. On the Black national question, “MLOC” says, “In fact, on this issue, COUSML holds a centrist position.” (MLOC Reply, op. cit., pg. 55) The one time “MLOC” raises centrism they are wrong. “COUSML”’s position on the Black national question is openly social-chauvinist, not centrist. Their attacks on the right of the Black nation to secession, as explained earlier, is a classical social chauvinist defense of the right of their own bourgeoisie to exploit and plunder the oppressed nations. But it is not “COUSML” that is centrist on the Black national question: the real centrist position is held by “MLOC”-“CPUSA-(M-L)” itself, which gives verbal recognition to the right of self-determination, including the right of secession, for the Black nation, but opposes it in deed by propagating a reformist solution. They also embellish the social-chauvinism of the “CPUSA”, as shown above, who are long-time opponents of the right of secession for the Black nation. Further. “MLOC” never defines centrism or even explains why they think “COUSML” is centrist on the Black national question. They merely assert it. To have a theoretical analysis of the entire question of centrism would have been a self-exposure for “MLOC”, so they quickly dropped it.

After putting out their own centrist position against “COUSML”’s centrist position, “MLOC” gets to the meat of what was bothering them. “COUSML” had accused “MLOC” of having opposed the phoney ”internationalist rally” held by Bains in April, 1978. To this “MLOC” pleads innocent. “MLOC” responds, “This is not the case. The MLOC actively sought to support and participate in the Internationalist Rally.” (MLOC Reply, op. cit., pg. 57) They go on to say that they did the work of the rally’s Preparatory Committee, “distributing posters and leaflets for the Rally,” etc. (Ibid., pg. 57) But “COUSML” did not want “MLOC” to participate, and, according to “MLOC”, packed a meeting of the rally committee and kicked “MLOC” out.

It is obvious that “COUSML” would not have done such a thing by itself, without orders from Bains. This is true about anything “COUSML” does, and especially the organization for a rally hosted by Bains. But instead of attacking Bains, “MLOC” shows how it tried to “unite, don’t split” with the revisionist “CPC (M-L)”, but to no avail. “MLOC” had previously tried to woo Bains publicly, when it included “CPC (M-L)” among the list of “Marxist-Leninist parties” it sent its fraternal messages to after “MLOC”’s first congress in November, 1977 (Class Against Class, No. 10, Jan.. 1978, pg. 53). But Bains had set up “COUSML”, and Bains did not want to risk the possible repercussions of taking a potential upstart and rival hegemonist like Barry Weisberg into his nest. So he gave the word, and “MLOC” was axed.

So instead of utilizing the Leninist method of open polemics on such important questions as international rallies, “MLOC” played hide-and-go-seek with Bains, and only mentioned “COUSML”, as if it had acted independently. And “MLOC” had good reason not to expose Bains, because in essence they both hold the same centrist line and program and are both part of the centrist trend. Bains’ phoney ”internationalist rally”, at which “COUSML” was presented as “representing” the U.S. Marxist-Leninists and working class, was properly exposed as a fraud in Bolshevik, December, 1978. But we get no similar exposure by “MLOC”.

Bains’ “CPC (M-L)” planned a similar rally for March, 1979, this time for their “Sixth Consultative Conference”. This show was to coincide with the Bainsites’ election campaign in the Canadian national elections. Their main theme was the thoroughly reformist slogan of “make the rich pay”. By now, “MLOC” had declared itself “CPUSA (M-L)”. But it knew it had no chance of being invited. Again “COUSML” would get the nod. “CPUSA(M-L)” again began to reply, of course still without naming Bains. First, they ran a little jab at “COUSML” for their history of fanatical Maoism. This article, not coincidentally, was placed on the “International News” page of Unite. (Feb. 15, 1979, pg. 12) “COUSML”, too, notes where this is placed (Workers Advocate, March 29, 1979, pg. 16).

But the main act was still to come. In the March 15, 1979, Unite, timed to coincide with Bains’ rally, “CPUSA (M-L)” ran an article supposedly about the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International. The real purpose of the article, however, was to protest being excluded from Bains’ rally. The real meaning of this article was (designedly) missed by most of its U.S. readers, since the Bains rally was only reported about in the U.S. in “COUSML”’s literature, which is not widely read (although it is widely distributed, much of it ends up being street-lining for pedestrians and dogs).

“CPUSA (M-L)”’s article is not a real defense of Lenin, Stalin, and the Communist International. Previously they had attacked such Leninist formulations as propaganda as the chief form of activity in the period of party-building as being ”Trotskyite”. (Unite, Feb., 1977) The only examples “CPUSA (M-L)” mentions of how the C.I. (Communist International) dealt with the “CPUSA” were the resolutions on the Black national question and the struggle against factionalism. Both of these examples are obviously intended to show that “COUSML” is in essence anti-Comintern. But they backfire on “CPUSA (M-L)”. The right of political secession for the Black nation is only talked about in their regular literature on rare occasions, and is left out of “CPUSA (M-L)”’s main “tactical slogans” for 1979 (see Demarcation for a critique of this). As for factionalism and unprincipled maneuvering, this very deceptive article by “CPUSA (M-L)” is a classic example of just that.

After the obligatory cover of commemorating the Communist International, “CPUSA (M-L)” gets to what is really bugging them. First they mention how the “CP” of China were wreckers and splitters in their international communist movement. “CPUSA (M-L)” adds: “An important lesson of the last few years has been gained through the struggle against Chinese revisionism– a deeper grasp of the Marxist-Leninist principles which must govern relations among Marxist-Leninist parties. ’Independence, complete equality, non-interference in the internal affairs, and reciprocal international cooperation and aid’ (Constitution of the CPUSA-ML).” (Unite, March 15,1979, pg. 7) This is Menshevism, through and through. How can parties be “independent” from the international communist movement? While talking praise for the Communist International, “CPUSA (M-L)” actually attacks its principles, which included that every party’s program had to be approved by the Communist International. This was point 16 of Lenin’s famous Conditions for Affiliation to the Communist International. And “equality”? This denies that the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin was the leading party in the international communist movement, and is still the model for the party in all countries. “Noninterference in the internal affairs”? This means neutrality in the struggle against revisionism, which is really capitulation to revisionism. This is a nationalist line that says we must keep our mouths shut about parties of other countries. Just compare this to Lenin, who listed by name the representatives of all the trends internationally. Revisionism must be fought on an international scale, and can only be successfully fought with an international struggle, because revisionism itself is an international phenomena. And “reciprocal international cooperation and aid”? Again more equalitarianism. Those parties that have the resources are duty-bound to assist those that are weaker or in need of aid. “CPUSA (M-L)”’s points sound like the ”five principles of peaceful coexistence” of the Chinese revisionists, rather than Leninist norms. They also smack directly of the same bourgeois democratic, nationalist, and chauvinist norms for international relations promoted by the so-called “eurocommunists”.

Now here comes the clincher: “These principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism have nothing in common with the big-power bullying techniques of the Chinese revisionists, the size of a party or its age. They reject the attempt to separate any Marxist-Leninist parties, or to deify any party. The glue which unites the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and the source of their inspiration and direction is Marxism-Leninism, not the policy of any particular party. Those that fail to grasp this fundamental point have learned nothing from the struggle against Chinese revisionism.” (Ibid.) This passage, needless to say, is aimed against Hardial Bains, the “CPC (M-L)” and the 1979 “internationalist rally”. It is “CPUSA (M-L)” that feels it is being separated from ”the community of Marxist-Leninist parties”. Instead of fighting for Leninist norms, “CPUSA (M-L)” calls for bourgeois democratic norms to allow both it and the U.S. Bainsites. “COUSML”, into this “community”. Any genuine Marxist-Leninist would fight for a split with “COUSML” and all the Bainsites. But not the bourgeois democrats of “CPUSA (ML)” – Here they repeat on an international level their infamous proposal of “concentrating a superior force to defeat the enemy” when “MLOC” wanted to join the “revolutionary wing” in 1975. Today “CPUSA (M-L)” wants an “international revolutionary wing” based on the same Menshevik principles they put forward four years ago.

“CPUSA (M-L)”, of course, was not the only one to load up their weapons in time for Bains’ rally. “COUSML” was not to be outdone.

In the March 29, 1979, issue of Workers Advocate, also issued just in time for Bains’ rally, “COUSML” launched a tremendous broadside attack on “CPUSA (M-L)” and its leader, Barry Weisberg. Entitled Against Social-Democratic Infiltration of the Marxist-Leninist Movement, the clear implication of it is that Weisberg is a cop. It includes a mountain of detailed facts, reading like a police file. It argues that Weisberg was a paid agent of the social-democratic “Institute for Policy Studies” some years back, that he brought this same social-democracy with him into “MLOC”, and that, presumably, he was still in the pay of the bourgeoisie (“COUSML” says the “big bourgeoisie” because they want to ally with the “middle bourgeoisie”.). “COUSML” writes: “MLOC is an agency of social-democracy, and its chieftain is a professional anti-communist, trained by the social-democratic instruments of the big bourgeoisie. Its origins lie. not in some illusory struggle against opportunism in the BWC, but rather, in the halls of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. D.C.” (Workers Advocate, March 29, 1979, pg. 19) It proceeds to pick apart Weisberg’s writings before he openly joined any supposedly “Marxist-Leninist” group, especially focusing on his book Beyond Repair, written about Weisberg’s specialty, ecology.

Even though there were a few jabs at “CPUSA (M-L)”’s present line, the main thrust and overall effect of this attack centers on Weisberg himself. It was purposely designed to divert attention from the current ideological struggle and sow suspicion about Weisberg. This showed the kind of “norms” being followed by the centrists.

But the response of “CPUSA (M-L)” was even more pitiful. Instead of answering the attacks, “CPUSA (M-L)” took an even more defensive posture. As of this writing there has been no response by “CPUSA (M-L)” to “COUSML”’s charges. “CPUSA (M-L)”’s silence has only given the charge credibility. They have seen fit, in the July 15, 1979, Unite to polemicize a group of Maoists formerly in the “Committee for A Proletarian Party”, the rest of whose members joined “CPUSA (M-L)”. But to “COUSML”’s broadside they say nothing. Since Bains’ rally, “CPUSA (M-L)” ran only one more article on “COUSML”, in the April 1, 1979, Unite. This article merely repeated a few old jabs at “COUSML” for being staunch Maoists for years, for not implanting in the working class, and for being “pseudo-internationalists.” The article weakly says about “COUSML”:

It may receive some international attention for a short time, but sooner or later COUSML will find its just rewards.” (pg. 10)

These centrists are pitiful. The level and content of these “polemics” between “CPUSA (M-L)” and “COUSML” show their absolute vulgarity and complete lack of principles. There is nothing in these exchanges even vaguely resembling the scientific, principled, and open polemics demanded by Marxism-Leninism. The in-fighting among the centrists in the U.S. has further revealed how low they will sink, how much intrigue they resort to, and just how completely they are opposed to the revolutionary science of Marxism-Leninism.

We cannot know now the details of what has gone on behind closed doors in the maneuvering and intriguing of these centrists, nor may we ever know. But these details are not necessary to pass judgment upon them for their public statements are more than enough to convince any genuine Marxist-Leninist and class-conscious worker that all these centrists are nothing but slightly camouflaged social chauvinists and enemies of the proletariat, of Marxism-Leninism, and of proletarian internationalism.


“CPUSA (M-L)” has wasted no time since its formation in becoming more openly reformist than ever (as we predicted in Demarcation, No. 1, March, 1979, pg. 45). In fact they have written into their “constitution” their anti-Leninist, reformist line. They list the following as one of their “main tasks” of their “party”: “...to lead, organize and educate the proletariat, to lead in the struggle for all reforms which promote the consciousness, organization and fighting capacity of the working class and its allies; to fight against all fascist attacks and for the maximum extension of democracy for the proletariat and its allies; to assist the working class in its historic mission to carry the socialist revolution to completion, as the leading and main force;...” (Unite, Feb. 15, 1979, supplement, pg. 2) What immediately strikes the eye is the non-class usage of the term “democracy”. Even though they say “democracy for the proletariat and its allies”, it must be said by all Marxist-Leninists that under capitalism, there is no democracy for the proletariat. This is a system of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Yes, the proletariat has some hard-won democratic rights. But this is different from “democracy”, which is a political system that under capitalism can only be bourgeois democracy. We do not call for a gradualist ”maximum extension of democracy”, as if this will lead to proletarian democracy, which can only be the dictatorship of the proletariat. Genuine Marxist-Leninists call for the smashing of the bourgeois state machinery, which is presently bourgeois democratic in the U.S. We expose this type of “democracy” as a fraud, and do not call for its “maximum extension”. “CPUSA (M-L)” has plastered the slogan “for democracy and socialism” all over its newspaper. In the U.S., in the era of imperialism, where there is no two-stage revolution and no immediate threat of fascism, such a slogan can only be reformist and social-democratic.

If we look at the rest of “CPUSA (M-L)”’s formulation closely, we will see that beneath its thin veneer of “revolutionary” rhetoric, it reverses the relation between reform and revolution. According to “CPUSA (M-L)”, the party should “lead in the struggle for all reforms”, etc., while it should only ”assist the working class in its historic mission to carry the socialist revolution to completion...”

Now let us see how Lenin approached this question: “What are the main questions that arise in the application to Russia of the programme common to all Social-Democrats? We have stated that the essence of this programme is to organize the class struggle of the proletariat and to lead this struggle, the ultimate aim of which is the conquest of political power by the proletariat and the establishment of a socialist society.” (Our Programme, C.W., Vol. 4, pg. 212, [our emphasis, Ed.]) According to Lenin, the task of the genuine Marxist-Leninists is “to lead” the class struggle, which has a revolutionary aim of seizure of power by the proletariat. Lenin also says: “All Social-Democrats are agreed that it is necessary to organise the economic struggle of the working class, that it is necessary to carry on agitation among the workers on this basis, i.e., to help the workers in their day-to-day struggle against the employers, to draw their attention to every form and every case of oppression and in this way to make clear to them the necessity for combination.” (Ibid., [our emphasis, Ed.]) According to Lenin, the task of the genuine Marxist-Leninists is “to help the workers” in their economic struggle for partial demands.

Now contrast Lenin to “CPUSA (M-L)”. “CPUSA (M-L)” wants to lead the struggle for reforms, but only assist the struggle for proletarian revolution. Lenin says that the party must lead the struggle for proletarian revolution, but only help the struggle for reforms. This is because, to Lenin, the struggle for reforms was a means of developing the revolution.

Here is how Lenin explained the attitude of Marxist-Leninists to reforms and reformism: ”Unlike the anarchists, the Marxists recognise struggle for reforms, i.e., for measures that improve the conditions of the working people without destroying the power of the ruling class. At the same time, however, the Marxists wage a most resolute struggle against the reformists, who, directly or indirectly, restrict the aims and activities of the working class to the winning of reforms. Reformism is bourgeois deception of the workers, who, despite individual improvements, will always remain wage-slaves, as long as there is the domination of capital.

The liberal bourgeoisie grant reforms with one hand, and with the other always take them back, reduce them to nought, use them to enslave the workers, to divide them into separate groups and perpetuate wage-slavery. For that reason reformism, even when quite sincere, in practice becomes a weapon by means of which the bourgeoisie corrupt and weaken the workers. The experience of all countries shows that the workers who put their trust in the reformists are always fooled.

And conversely, workers who have assimilated Marx’s theory, i.e., realised the inevitability of wage-slavery so long as capitalist rule remains, will not be fooled by any bourgeois reforms. Understanding that where capitalism continues to exist reforms cannot be either enduring or far-reaching, the workers fight for better conditions and use them to intensify the fight against wage-slavery. The reformists try to divide and deceive the workers, to divert them from the class struggle by petty concessions. But the workers, having seen through the falsity of reformism, utilise reforms to develop and broaden their class struggle.

The stronger reformist influence is among the workers the weaker they are, the greater their dependence on the bourgeoisie, and the easier it is for the bourgeoisie to nullify reforms by various subterfuges. The more independent the working-class movement, the deeper and broader its aims, and the freer it is from reformist narrowness the easier it is for the workers to retain and utilise improvements. (Marxism and Reformism, C.W., Vol.19, pg.372-3)

“CPUSA (M-L)” goes against Lenin and has reversed the relation between reform and revolution. They use a touch of “Marxist-Leninist” rhetoric to deceive a section of the working class into thinking it is a revolutionary party, so “CPUSA (M-L)” can strive to gain hegemony over the proletariat to make a better deal with the bourgeoisie. This is why they never even raise the Leninist teaching on the two historical steps of first winning the vanguard of the proletariat to communism and then winning the masses to the side of the vanguard. “CPUSA (M-L)”’s meager force has jumped headlong into the trade union struggle to secure a position for itself in the labor aristocracy. And their plan to do this is to sound “revolutionary” while restricting the aims and activities of the working class to mere reforms.

Such a view is a liquidationist line, since it liquidates the building of a truly vanguard Marxist-Leninist party. “CPUSA (M-L)” is nothing but a club of centrists for reforms. It opposes the work towards the construction of an organization of professional revolutionaries. With its stark reformism, it reduces the party to a legal apparatus.

A brief look at some of “CPUSA (M-L)”’s recent literature shows this even more clearly. In the tradition of Browder and Foster, “CPUSA (M-L)” has set up a “Trade Union Action League” (TUAL). The name, and aims, are virtually indistinguishable from the “Trade Union Education League” (TUEL) of “WVO”, who took their name straight from Foster and the “CPUSA”.

And what is the aim of this “TUAL”? ”The TUAL is organizing to take control of the labor movement from the sold-out union bureaucracy and place it in the hands of the militant rank-and-file.” (Unite, May 1,1979, pg. 7) In other words, “CPUSA (M-L)”, through its “TUAL”, wants to take over the bureaucratic trade union apparatus, as it is, with all its crumbs from the bourgeoisie and all its ties to the state apparatus. Further, this is also another liquidationist line. “CPUSA (M-L)” wants its “TUAL” to become the “leader” of the working class movement, and not itself, the “party”. Like all opportunists, it wants to dissolve itself into the non-party masses. Some statement from a “vanguard” party!

And “CPUSA (M-L)”’s line is also a line of trade union neutrality. Marxist-Leninist work in the trade unions aims at openly winning the masses of workers in the trade unions to the side of the vanguard party. As Lenin said: “Our whole Party, consequently, has now recognised that work in the trade unions must be conducted not in the spirit of trade union neutrality but in the spirit of the closest possible relations between them and the Social-Democratic Party. It is also recognised that the partisanship of the trade unions must be achieved exclusively by S.-D. work within the unions, that the S.-D.S must form solid Party cells in the unions, and that illegal unions should be formed since legal ones are impossible.” (Trade Union Neutrality, C.W., Vol. 13, pg. 460) This kind of activity relates to the task of winning the masses over to the side of the vanguard, which, as Lenin and Stalin taught, is the second step, after the completion of the first step of winning the vanguard of the proletariat over to communism. “CPUSA (M-L)” not only liquidates these two steps, but, in their “mass” work, carry it on in a thoroughly reformist and non-revolutionary way that is incorrect and anti-Leninist even when winning the vanguard to the side of the masses is our emphasis.

The line and program of “TUAL” shows that it is modeled not only after Foster’s various economist schemes, but also “CPML”’s “fight back committee.” In fact, “TUAL” is trying to be a “fight back better committee” by raising more “militant” reforms than “CPML”. But it is still the same old reformism. “TUAL”’s first “principle” is “Our complete emancipation from wage slavery.” There is no explanation of what this means. Without such a scientific explanation, this is mere eyewash, and therefore can not indicate that this group is unified in support of proletarian revolution. Its “principles” also say: “Multi-national unity. Oppose white supremacy and national chauvinism. Stand up for the democratic rights of all workers.” It is an elementary principle of Marxism-Leninism that there can be no genuine revolutionary multi-national unity of the working class without upholding the right to political secession for all oppressed nations. “CPUSA(ML)” sometimes agrees to this in words, but only for some oppressed nations. In deed they never fight for the right to political secession of oppressed nations. So while “CPUSA(ML)’ advertises its “TUAL” as being part of a ” revolutionary trade union movement” (sic), nothing is further from the truth. It is supposedly “revolutionary”, but it is not for socialism and proletarian revolution. It is supposedly “revolutionary”, but it is nor for the right to political secession for oppressed nations. It is for “revolution” in the abstract, but opposes every revolutionary demand and measure. This is nothing but hypocrisy and deceit, the vile restricting of the working class movement to petty reformist measures under the cover of a few “Marxist” phrases.

What “CPUSA (M-L)” offers is not proletarian revolution as the solution, but rather, a “new unionism”. It is modeled after the old “CPUSA”. They tell us: “This is the same unionism that brought the union movement its real gains in the thirties and forties, before the C.I.O. surrendered to the A.F.L.” Rather, this is the same revisionism of Browder and Foster of the thirties and forties, and of before and after that, too. So there is nothing “new” about “CPUSA-(M-L)”’s “new” unionism. It is the same old reformist line of all economists, internationally and historically. Lenin explained in What Is To Be Done? what it meant to advocate trade unionism in the working class: “Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by the masses of the workers in the process of their movement then the only choice is: Either bourgeois, or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for humanity has not created a ’third’ ideology, and moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle Socialist ideology in any way, to deviate from it in the slightest degree means strengthening bourgeois ideology. There is a lot of talk about spontaneity, but the spontaneous development of the labour movement leads to its becoming subordinated to bourgeois ideology, it means developing according to the programme of the Credo, for the spontaneous labour movement is pure and simple trade unionism, is Nur-Gewerkschaftlerei, and trade unionism means the ideological subordination of the workers to the bourgeoisie.” (What Is To Be Done?, The Iskra Period, C.W., Vol. 4, Book 2,1929, International Publishers, pg. 122-123) “CPUSA (M-L)”’s advocacy of a “new unionism” is just as much an ideological subordination of the workers to the bourgeoisie as was the line of the Russian economists. Lenin clearly laid out our task: “Hence, our task, the task of Social-Democracy [communism–ed.], is to combat spontaneity, to divert the labor movement, with its spontaneous trade-unionist striving, from under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social-Democracy.” (Ibid., pg. 123) “CPUSA (M-L)” does not in the least combat spontaneity, but, rather, spreads the bourgeois ideology of trade unionism as far and as wide as it can. It should not be surprising that these servants of the bourgeoisie make up all sorts of excuses to spread the ideology of the bourgeoisie and to dress it up with a touch of “working class” rhetoric in hopes of selling it to the proletariat.

Through a number of other articles, “CPUSA (M-L)” has been appealing to the bourgeoisie to let it into the state apparatus. Recently it has run a number of signed articles by its chairman, Barry Weisberg, on science. This was to establish him as some sort of “expert” on science with political influence. When the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island nearly blew up and began sending radiation all over, “CPUSA (M-L)” was quick to respond with this demand: “Genuine public regulation of nuclear power. Abolish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Hold open hearings to insure nuclear safety. Establish a regulatory body concerned with public safety.” (Unite, May 1, 1979, pg. 9) And all this was under their masthead of “For Democracy and Socialism!” “CPUSA (M-L)” spreads the illusion that some sort of “public regulation” of the bourgeoisie’s nuclear plants can be set up under capitalism. Just like that, the ruling class will hand over control of its nuclear plants, its nuclear secrets, and its nuclear weapons to some “genuine” body “concerned with public safety”. This is the structural reform line of social-democracy and Khrushchevite revisionism.[4] And “CPUSA (M-L)” ’s aim is the same, to become part of the state apparatus. Just put Professor Weisberg, alias Chairman Weisberg, into the state apparatus on a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and there will be “genuine public regulation of nuclear power”. (Perhaps Weisberg has taken advantage of the resignation of Carter’s cabinet and the whole shake-up in the bourgeoisie by already putting in an application.) So much deceptive talk of “democracy” by “CPUSA(M-L)” is not merely the product of mistaken ideas or bad tactics, but, rather, the result of these petty-bourgeois reformists seeking to defend and extend their class privileges and get even a greater share for itself of crumbs from the superprofits of imperialism. To this end, they seek to gain hegemony over the working class.

“CPUSA(M-L)” is also striving to serve the bourgeoisie by organizing the working class to accept layoffs. Here is what they say: “In regard to layoffs, we demand: Layoffs in accordance with the single seniority list as amended by the quota system.” (Unite, June 1, 1979, pgs. 6-7)

One can just see “CPUSA (M-L)” chanting: We demand layoffs! Equality now! This is because “Until the time when we can overthrow the system of wage slavery, this will equalize the opportunities and sacrifices that capitalism imposes on the entire working class.” (Ibid.) But “opportunities” can never be “equalized” under capitalism for the workers of the oppressor nation the workers of the oppressed nation. Further, to spread around sacrifices and oppression is just what the working class needs a vanguard party for! Jimmy Carter couldn’t have said it better himself. In fact, Jimmy Carter and the whole bourgeoisie need such phoney “Marxist-Leninists” to dress up calls for “sharing the sacrifices” and “tightening our belts” to make them appear necessary and good for the working class. And don’t think “CPUSA (M-L)” is just all talk about demanding layoffs. They call for: “Implementation and enforcement rests with rank-and-file elected committees in all shops. We call for imprisonment and stiff fines for violators of the program, whether they are government, company, or union officials.” (Ibid.) Thus, the workers should have organized committees to enforce the layoffs. If some of the workers resist the layoffs altogether, then these “CPUSA (M-L)”-led committees will call in the state apparatus against them and demand “imprisonment and stiff fines for violators of the program”. Organization of the workers to enforce layoffs and directly collaborate with the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie-all this is placed under the slogan “Toward Genuine Equality and Multi-National Unity”. This is disgusting, naked class collaborationism. Only absolute traitors to the proletariat would even dream of putting forward such demands. With such demands, it would not be a major step for the “CPUSA(M-L)” centrists to be converted into outright social-fascists, open organized gangsters for the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.

And yet these vermin pretend they are opposed to reformism! They have the nerve to quote Comrade Stalin on reforms and revolution.

Yet it is “CPUSA(M-L)” that wants to strengthen the rule of the bourgeoisie disintegrate the strength of the proletariat, and renounce all illegal work in its vile campaign of class collaborationism. They have no right to quote Stalin, and are utter hypocrities in their “year of Stalin”. They are really having a year of Kautsky, a year of centrism, a year of opposition to proletarian revolution and Marxism-Leninism. And they will do this every year, until the proletariat smashes the opportunists once and for all.

“CPUSA (M-L)”’s desire to become the leader of the labor aristocracy is as clear as day in an article it ran on the labor aristocracy in the June 1, 1979, Unite. After the obligatory use of a few phrases from Lenin, “CPUSA (M-L)” writes: “As part of the program of the TUAL, we should fight to eliminate p differentials between skilled and unskilled labor by raising the level of the unskilled. Both as an opposition within the old unions and in new unions, we oppose special privileges for any group.” (pg. 4) Here “CPUSA (M-L)” calls on the entire working class to strive to share in the superprofits of imperialism. No, they do not ”oppose special privileges for any groups”. Rather, they want to enlarge the labor aristocracy, especially bringing in more oppressed nationality workers and more women workers. This is also why they emphasize work on the Bakke case and the Weber case. “CPUSA(ML)” is simply saying to the bourgeoisie: We want in. Marxism-Leninism, on the other hand, teaches that the proletariat must smash imperialism and end once and for all the system that squeezes these superprofits out of the workers and toilers of the oppressed nations. This will not mean a sharing in the superprofits, but an end to all capitalist profits and superprofits forever.

“CPUSA (M-L)” sees as its chief obstacles to its climbing the ladder of the labor aristocracy two other phoney “communist” parties–the Khrushchevite “CPUSA” and the “three world”-ist “CPML”. To beat out these rivals is a formidable task for such a small and new group as “CPUSA (M-L)”. To do so alone would be very difficult. “CPUSA (M-L)” chairman Weisberg has already admitted in the past that they and “CPML” have the same line on the trade unions: “Today, the CP(M-L)’s line on the trade unions tails directly behind what we have pioneered.” (Class Against Class, No. 10, Jan., 1978, pg. 34) Yes, they both are trying to gain hegemony over the proletariat and rise in the labor aristocracy. But “CPML” and “CPUSA” have a head start on “CPUSA (M-L)”, and more forces, too. Therefore, “CPUSA (M-L)” must seek alliances somewhere with other opportunists and established members of the labor aristocracy. Right now “CPUSA (M-L)” is searching around for just such forces. Those that are already hooked up to “CPUSA” and “CPML” have been denounced by “CPUSA (M-L)” not because they are reformists, but because they are allies of “CPUSA (M-L)” ’s rivals for a share of the crumbs. This is why “CPUSA (M-L)” so quickly denounced the United League in Mississippi, which is allied with all the “three world”-ists. But when they discover other reformist elements who are not loyal to the Khrushchevites or the Maoists, or who at least can split their allegiance to all these phoney “communists”, then “CPUSA (M-L)” will parade them around and plaster their picture all over their ragsheet. For now, “CPUSA (M-L)” is concentrating in building up for itself some of its own support so it can have a “base” as bargaining power with the bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy, and all the petty reformists.

But in their present state of relative isolation, “CPUSA (M-L)” is getting more pathetic. Their newspaper is deteriorating, with whole pages being filled up with reprints and slogans. And to seek opportunist and petty-bourgeois allies, their social chauvinism is becoming more open. They actually print a stars and stripes display on their front cover in an article commemorating July 4th (Unite, July 1, 1979). Above the article are 50 stars. “CPUSA (M-L)” did not want to miss including each and every annexed and oppressed nation within the official boundaries of the 50 states as being part of the U.S. No doubt if their paper was printed in color the display would have been in red, white, and blue. The article should have been titled “Stars and Stripes Forever”. It begins with a lengthy quotation from the Declaration of Independence. This must have brought tears to Weisberg’s eyes. After throwing around a few Marxist-sounding phrases, the article gets to its real point: “As July 4th is celebrated this year, it is important to remember the just demand of the American people of 1776 for an end to British colonial rule.” (pg. 5) “CPUSA (M-L)” thinks it is so “important” to celebrate the victory of the bourgeoisie in the war of independence to assure the bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy, and the petty-bourgeoisie that they are good patriots. They throw roses at the leaders of the U.S. bourgeoisie and the slaveowners of 1776 this way: “The revolutionary movement developed its leaders, patriots like Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson”. (Ibid.) The message is clear: Don’t be scared by the Marxist rhetoric, “CPUSA (M-L)” tells the bourgeoisie and its social props, because underneath it we are good patriots, we are loyal to the bourgeoisie and its right to plunder the oppressed nations and colonies, and our “revolutionary” aims are acceptable to you, O bourgeoisie, because they are merely following our great bourgeois revolutionary heroes, Adams, Paine, and Jefferson.

This is some of the vilest and most disgusting social chauvinism seen in the “anti-revisionist communist movement”. It can only bring to mind Browder’s revisionist slogan of ”Communism is twentieth century Americanism”. While “CPUSA (M-L)” still wears a centrist mask, their social chauvinism is only thinly camouflaged. Underneath their “Marxist-Leninist” disguise lurks a frustrated monster hungry for a greater share of the superprofits.

“CPUSA (M-L)”’s real social chauvinism is also being more clearly seen in their attitude to the oppressed nations, oppressed national minorities, and oppressed nationalities in the U.S. To cover themselves, they print a number of articles on oppressed nations in the same issue of Unite as their “Stars and Stripes Forever” article. But these articles are merely camouflaged social-chauvinism. For example, here is what they compare the Black nation to: “What is this nation? Like all other nations, such as France and England, the Black nation is a historically constituted community of people, who share (and have shared for generations) a common language, territory, economic life and psychological make-up which is reflected in culture and national pride.” (Ibid, p. 6) Notice how they do not say the Black nation is a “historically constituted, stable community of people...” as Stalin did in his definition of nations. (Marxism and the National Question”, Works, Vol. 2, p. 307) And they also slip in “national pride” as a characteristic of a nation. We have already seen in their “Stars and Stripes” article just what they mean by “national pride”. But more importantly, “CPUSA-ML” obliterates the distinction between oppressor and oppressed nations by equating the Black nation, which is an oppressed nation, with imperialist France and England. Lenin spoke very clearly about this point:

Imperialism is the progressing oppression of the nations of the world by a handful of great powers; it is an epoch of wars among them for the widening and strengthening of national oppression; it is the epoch when the masses of the people are deceived by the hypocritical social-patriots, i.e., people who under the pretext of ’freedom of nations’ ’right of nations to self-determinattion’, and ’defence of the fatherland’ justify and defend the oppression of a majority of the world’s nations by the great powers.

This is just why the central point in a programme of Social-Democrats [communists–ed.] must be that distinction between oppressing and oppressed nations, since the distinction is the essence of imperialism, and is fraudulently evaded by the social-patriots, Kautsky included.” (“The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self Determination”, The Imperialist War, CW, Vol. 18, 1930, International Publishers, p. 368-9)

And “CPUSA-ML” obliterates precisely what they should be emphasizing, the “distinction between oppressing and oppressed nations.” They rarely ever talk of the right to political secession of the Black nation. They give it up service in this article, although they never raise it in their regular literature or demands. And when they treat us to this special occasion of an article on the Black nation, they give with one hand only to take it back with the other by so fraudulently covering up this key distinction between oppressor and oppressed nations. “CPUSA-ML”’s quest for greater privileges and crumbs requires some “polemics”. But noticeably absent from their literature have been polemics on a question that has been hotly debated, the question of Mao Zedong. “CPUSA-ML” occasionally acknowledges that it no longer upholds Mao, but without any learning from its mistakes, without showing the roots of why they upheld Mao, without showing the implications of Maoism for the U.S. Marxist-Leninists and proletariat, etc. Such ideological work is mere eyewash for these aspiring trade union hacks. To them it is a “diversion” from the pure-and-simple trade union struggle. But since Maoism will not spontaneously disappear, its influence will remain. Maoism is but another variety of the theory of spontaneity. It has done great damage to the development of a Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S. But this is of no concern to “CPUSA(ML)”, who treats this ideological struggle in a very ho-hum, matter-of-fact way.

It should not be a surprise, then, to see “CPUSA(ML)” holding on to some of the formulations of Mao, just like “COUSML”. Listen to this: ’The strategy of the working class is to Unite the many to defeat the few.” This quote is not from an old “Peking Review” or a “CPML” or “RCP” ragsheet. It is from “CP-USA(ML)” ’s ragsheet, “Unite”, from May 15, 1979, on pg. 9. Here the Maoist strategy of unity with the bourgeoisie and the kulaks is quite acceptable to “CPUSA(ML)”, whose strategy is unity with the bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy. Since “CPUSA(ML)” has unity with the revisionist essence of Maoism, its talk against Maoism is hypocritical and impotent.

But for “CPUSA(ML)” there is no let-up in their ideological assault against Marxism-Leninism. They have tried to reduce Lenin’s great work What Is To Be Done? to a mere journalism handbook. They wrote: “Lenin’s What Is To Be Done? is a classic guide for building the communist press in the interests of the working class. The basic theoretical premises which Lenin laid out in this work remain the cornerstone for the development of the Communist press in each country.” (“Unite”, Feb. 15, 1979, p. 6) So, according to “CPUSA(ML)”, What Is To Be Done? is just a nice book for newspaper people, maybe as useful as a dictionary or a telephone book.

Here is how the Bolshevik Party summarized the significance of What Is To Be Done?:

The historic significance of this celebrated book lies in the fact that in it Lenin:
1) For the first time in the history of Marxist thought, laid bare the ideological roots of opportunism, showing that they principally consisted in worshipping the spontaneous working-class movement and belittling the role of Socialist consciousness in the working-class movement;
2) Brought out the great importance of theory, of consciousness, and of the Party as a revolutionizing and guiding force of the spontaneous working-class movement;
3) Brilliantly substantiated the fundamental Marxist thesis that a Marxist party is a union of the working-class movement with Socialism;
4) Gave a brilliant exposition of the ideological foundations of a Marxist party.
The theoretical theses expounded in What Is To Be Done? later became the foundation of the ideology of the Bolshevik Party. (History of the CPSU(B), p. 38)

To reduce the ideological foundations of the Marxist-Leninist Party to a mere guidebook for newspapers is a hidden yet fierce attack on Leninism. It is reminiscent of the likes of Zinoviev, who claimed to uphold Leninism, but insisted that Leninism was merely a Russian phenomenon, and not, as Stalin taught, ”Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution.” (Foundations of Leninism. Peking ed., p. 2 –see also Stalin, “Concerning Questions of Leninism,” sec. 1 and 2, Works, Vol. 8, for more on the question of Leninism). In this way, “CPUSA(ML)”, just like Zionoviev, attacks the international significance and universal applicability of Leninism. They raise What Is To Be Done? only to tear it down, to cut out its revolutionary heart and make it a midget of a book.

In its hidden attack on What Is To Be Done? “CPUSA(ML)” says that it now believes that in “Unite” that “there were definitely some economist deviations in the newspaper”. But their definition of economism is just as narrow as their description of the significance of What Is To Be Done? To them, economism means just economic agitation. If you have political agitation, they believe, that is no longer economism. So their solution is more reformist political agitation. Thus their paper has had such brilliant “political” headlines on page one as: “Highway Robbery at the Pump” (May 15, 1979), “Overturn Weber” (twice! –March 15, and June 1, 1979). “Can They Make It Safe?”(June 15, 1979–about the DC-10’s, the burning issue for the proletariat) and “Government in Crisis” (July 15, 1979– and not Bourgeoisie In Crisis, for that would scare the bourgeoisie). Both economic and political reforms are reforms. “CP-USA(ML)” ’s ragsheet is designed as a platform for its reformism with a centrist mask.

Just compare this with what Lenin said:

The conditions of bourgeois democracy very often compel us to adopt this or that position towards a mass of petty and minute reforms, but we must be able to learn or adopt a position for reforms so (in such a manner) that–to put it somewhat simply for the sake of greater clarity–in every half hour speech we speak five minutes about reforms and 25 minutes about the coming revolution.” (“Propositions of Principle on the Question of War”, Dec, 1916, in Lenin on the Struggle Against Revisionism, Peking, 1960, pg. 35)

So let “CPUSA(ML)” march merrily down the path of reformism. They are enemies of the proletarian revolution, and nothing they say or do can hide the fact. The more they deceive the proletariat, the more they prepare their own demise. The genuine Marxist-Leninists and class conscious workers see through “CPUSA(M-L)’s” centrist disguise. The purpose of the masquerade of “orthodoxy” is to cover what really stands at the essence of “CPUSA(M-L)” – social-chauvinism, reformism, class collaboration, and revisionism.


[1] “RCP” is already widely advertising plans for its 1980 May Day rally in Chicago. This event which they say is the focus of their organizing for the next year, will probably be a larger and grander repeat of their adventurist activities at the Chinese embassy.

[2] “Make the rich pay” is also a major slogan of the pro-“three worlds” “Communist Party of Australia (M-L)”, led by the revisionist E.F. Hill. The Australian social-chauvinists love it so much that they ran this slogan as the lead headline in their newspaper, ”Vanguard”, on May 17, 1979. “CPA(M-L)” also raises the slogan “Independence and Socialism” for imperialist Australia, the same slogan “CPC(M-L)” raises for imperialist Canada. This most graphically shows that social-chauvinism and centrism are really two forms of the same revisionism.

[3] These are “COUSML” ’s five “main tasks”:
1) Study the classic teachings of Marx, Engles.Lenin and Stalin. Defend the purity of Marxism-Leninism. Wage irreconcilable struggle against social chauvinism, “three world-ism”, neo-revisionism, and all the main variants of modern revisionism including Soviet revisionism, Yugoslav revisionism, “Eurocommunism” and Chinese revisionism.
2) Study, discuss and widely distribute the important political documents for the founding of the Marxist-Leninist Party, The Workers’ Advocate, and other literature of the COUSML.
3) Defend the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania with the Party of Labor of Albania and its leader Comrade Enver Hoxha at the head. Mobilize support for Albania, the great inspiration and bright red bastion of the world revolution and socialism.
4) Denounce the social-chauvinisttheories including: the theory of allying the American proletariat with U.S. imperialism to ”direct the main blow against Soviet social-imperialism”; the “three worlds theory” and its support for neo-colonialism and opposition to socialism and revolution; etc.
Develop the struggle against the militarization, war preparations and aggression of U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, of the other imperialists and all reactionaries. Opposes the aggressive, warmongering U.S.-China alliance. Use these struggles to expose the utter vileness of the social-chauvinist liberal-labor politics.
5) Participate actively in the revolutionary mass movements. Inspire the working class and masses with the spirit of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie. Mobilize the advanced elements of the proletariat into the Party work. Work hard to expose and defeat the revisionists’ sabotage of the revolutionary mass struggle.

[4] This is also the program of ex-SDS leader Tom Hayden, now a leader of the “left wing” of the Democratic Party.