Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Jerry Tung

Presentation to the Party Leadership, December 1980


First Published: The Socialist Road, 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: Jerry Tung

There are signs of the maturity of the Party and certain victories which have national significance, such as the NASSCO elections in San Diego. Our ability to orchestrate several things at once is increasing. The NASSCO election confirmed what we’ve said: masses are not turning to the right but becoming more disoriented. They’re looking for leadership and there’s a vacuum. They’re affected by anti-communism and chauvinist propaganda, but if they know you and know what you represent, they will support you despite heavy red-baiting. Another victory is the dropping of charges against the Greensboro 6, due to the government’s fear of a bigger groundswell of resistance around the country. The Party is clearly the focus of the government’s attacks, and equally clear is the Party’s pacesetting role in class struggle in this country.

But there are still some deep and unresolved problems, problems we must deal with or we will be unable to meet the demands of class struggle ahead. The political landscape is changing so fast that our rate of progress is not adequate to deal with the situation ahead. Senate Majority leader Robert Byrd, who was a Klan organizer in the 40’s, was recently quoted in a New York Times article saying that Klansmen are the finest men in this country. That’s pretty much an open declaration of war. The politicians have become very blatant. Reagan’s election is interpreted as a mandate to carry out repression.

The Party’s name is out there. It is proven that we can succeed and sink roots like no other political force can. But we have to be able to back up our propaganda and our words. We must examine ourselves critically and honestly. We cannot be satisfied with a little growth. We have to judge ourselves by the requirements for seizure of state power and the ability to lead in the coming period. If we cannot do it, we’ll be dead. One comrade summed up our line on the 80’s and the economic crisis: either they get us first or we get them first. In the final analysis, it’s that simple. Of course we don’t advocate military offense, but full political offense. At the same time, we must prepare all-roundedly. Our propaganda is militant and we must be able to back up our words with force when the bourgeoisie pushes it. We’re not about to shut our mouths in front of the American people. Every serious revolutionary will ask the bottom-line questions: How strong are you? Are you strong enough to deal with this political scenery?

The founding of the Party in 1979 and the five-year framework put forth then represent some foresight, but not enough–the situation is developing more rapidly than we thought. So we must treat our problems very seriously.


As I said in my report to the Central Committee, the biggest problem is our lack of people with abilities. We find ourselves in a situation similar to Lenin’s after the Bolsheviks seized state power. At every congress after the Seventh, his cries for people with ability, for bourgeois experts, got louder and louder. You can see the progression. Lenin said they seized state power under exceptional circumstances, and consolidation of the Bolshevik rule required ability to organize the economic life of the masses. That’s when 99 out of 100 old Bolsheviks were good for nothing in terms of continuing the revolution. The question became so urgent and practical that Lenin desperately equated communism with electrification. Soviet power was threatened by their inability to organize. There were incorrect lines, but it was clear they needed a core of bourgeois experts to revive the crippled economy and organize the peasantry and state.

Lenin said the key was people with abilities. We are in the same situation as we prepare to seize state power in this country. The problem is not that comrades are totally undeveloped and untrained. There has been a leap forward in becoming independent leaders of the working class. Comrades who are in leadership around the country have strong abilities and make steady improvement. But we must measure ourselves by the objective demands of the living class struggle. Though our present core is more and more solid, it will not satisfy the needs of the next period.

We cannot just count on the existing core. In the report to the Central Committee, I laid out the problem, particularly our incorrect line that actually slows down the training of leadership so comrades have not developed independent political bearings and problem-solving abilities in the speediest way. Over and beyond that, we have to recruit broadly. We have to recruit from strata of progressive petty bourgeoisie and even bourgeoisie. We need experts and managers in everything from fund-raising to distribution. Right now, we may demote a comrade, yell and scream about how their area is loused up, but who will replace the comrade? We demoted one comrade from the Central Committee and head of an area because of illness. We combed the whole Party and found nobody to replace her. No one knows more about the area and can lead it better. Cornered like this, we have to recruit petty bourgeoisie in a big way.

The Communist Workers Party is in a class of its own in terms of revolutionaries. We cannot compare our growth with any other forces. The pacesetting impact of our work is greatest and beyond the scope of other forces. But the main shortcoming, which is becoming extremely sharp, is our inability to clothe, sustain, amplify, and use the leverage of that impact and then accumulate from it. For example, because of overall need we scaled down our liberation support work through African Liberation Support Committee, and the high tide ebbed because we weren’t driving it anymore. So the key problem is people with ability, which leads to the fact that we must recruit from the petty bourgeoisie and even progressive bourgeoisie.

We have just completed the Third Plenary of the Central Committee. It was very inspiring. We enlarged the Central Committee–demoted a few comrades and pulled in more comrades. We had unanimous agreement with the line put forward and we made a lot of plans. The overall task is twofold: one is to recruit the progressive petty bourgeoisie in a big way and the other is to change some key political lines.

Again, I want to reaffirm the leadership of the Party, in particular the local leadership who have been trained and become more professional. That’s undeniable. But there is a line actually slowing down the development and causing tremendous wear and tear on the Party. It is a system adopted from China after the Ninth Congress. The line and system really hinder the development of high-powered professional revolutionaries. Comrades said they can see the phenomenon–a vicious cycle in which things are oriented to tasks and not to political training. They can see how this relates to the question of whether the Soviet Union and China are socialist or not. I want to describe this system and explain its relationship.

Our Political Roots

When we built the foundation of the CWP, the Workers Viewpoint Organization, the line and model we followed was the Communist Party of China. There have been two historical sources of our understanding of revisionism and we knew we had to build an anti-revisionist party. We knew the Communist Party, USA had degenerated–they’re incompetent, irrelevant, and have given up on the proletariat and capitulated to the bourgeoisie with lines like “peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.” Why did they degenerate? Well, they were revisionist. But what is revisionism? We had little experience with revisionism because we were new Marxists, young Marxists. So what is revisionism? We dug into books, mainly two sources: l) books from China, and 2) Lenin’s writing on the collapse of the Second International.

We knew from studying Lenin that if a party’s political line thoroughly changes into its opposite, leaders of the working class can become bourgeoisie themselves. We traced what happened to such leaders when the Second International collapsed. Representatives like Willy Brandt of West Germany, Golda Meir of Israel and some Laborites in England show how thoroughly they can turn into bourgeoisie themselves. We concluded, “Revisionists become bourgeoisie.” We drew parallels in the contemporary scene to Mao’s words that a situation of revisionists in power equals bourgeoisie in power. We didn’t differentiate parties with state power from parties without state power. Revisionist parties without state power can certainly be absorbed into the bourgeoisie, whereas revisionist parties with state power, and where the ownership of the means of production has in the main changed, the whole state apparatus must be dismantled in order to restore capitalism. There is danger of restoration, but it is not so easy as we thought.

The most comprehensive view on anti-revisionism to come out of China was the first criterion of study Marxism and criticize revisionism. It stressed criticizing bourgeois ideology and restricting bourgeois right and the realm of operation of the law of value. The whole model of party-building was based on combating and preventing revisionism. The key to dealing with individual ideology and ideology in general was to understand its manifestations. We tried to systematize our understanding of revisionism since we wanted to build an anti-revisionist party and draw out the pattern behind revisionist political lines. We read in Peking Reviews about the superstructure, this mystical, ideological field that acts on you like a ghost. In one of the WV journals, we summed up the anti-revisionist theoretical premises in the ideological sphere of the United States as pragmatism, chauvinism, centrism, bourgeois democratic illusions, and so on. Those ideological tendencies, forces of habit and traditions do exist. We won’t negate that. But when you generalize them and focus on that, you will not focus on political line anymore, particularly when many of us still do not have a profound grasp of the political lines.

Concentric Attack

Moreover, in the course of party-building, there was little appreciation of the art of leadership. The art of leadership consists of profound grasp of the political lines and their implications, as well as profound understanding of organization to serve the political line. We require a system of organization that serves the political line, in organizing it, rallying the masses, and encouraging comrades and leading them to turn the political line into material force. The model of combating and preventing revisionism, criticizing and restricting bourgeois right and ideology, does not help one iota in developing this necessarily profound political line and organization. There was a lot of talk about the bourgeoisie in the Party, because we assumed there had to be bourgeoisie in the Party. Our model was the model of combat and prevent bourgeois ideology, rather than a model of the art of leadership in concentric attack against the bourgeoisie–guided by a political line that kept politics in command, and established an organizational and ideological system to serve the political line. Handled correctly, this encourages and inspires comrades to fight.

You can’t lead the whole party solely by directives, just as Lenin said you can’t deal with organizational matters by coercive force. You can’t build communism just according to a wartime model. You have to build it as socialist construction, getting the productive forces and cultural life going and developing highly conscious socialist man with initiative, as you create the material basis for communism. Directives alone will not do this. What war-time communism can do, while absolutely necessary in some periods, is inherently one-sided and limited.

The Soviet Union shifted from war-time communism to the New Economic Policy in 1921 because with the war over, the former had started to turn into its opposite. Directives no longer worked. The army was disbanded when the civil war ended (mainly after Lenin made some concessions to the German imperialists) and, without provision for returning them to civilian life, the Bolshevik army disintegrated into bandits robbing their own people. Previously the army was sent in and martial law imposed whenever industry was disrupted. There was no trade union democracy, and only military-like order got the economy going.

But Lenin realized when war-time conditions were over that the art of leadership entails far more than organized coercive force. He made the same point in speeches to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at party congresses and to fraternal parties in advanced capitalist countries in the Third International. He said, Comrades, you must do parliamentary work. He said they had a better chance at consolidating power only if they educated people and found people with abilities before their party seized state power. He stressed getting involved in all spheres of revolutionary activity, without exception, and criticized comrades who broke with the Second International, who were staunch comrades and real revolutionaries but condemned communist parliamentary work as reformism and were generally one-sided in their activities. He told them to rectify their infantile disorder and make all-rounded, comprehensive preparations. In speech after speech to party members, and speech after speech in public, he pushed that line.

Some European revisionists like Santiago Carrillo and others criticize Lenin’s teachings on the state. We want to defend Lenin’s teachings on the state. He was correct that the only way to overthrow the bourgeoisie is by coercive force and violent revolution that dismantles the bourgeois state, smashes it and replaces it with a proletarian state. But that is the bottom line. Over and beyond it, the party must lead people in all spheres. As an example, in terms of religion and culture, the answer is not shutting down churches. That method will backfire, and you will lose state power. You have to provide superior, positive and lively culture to replace religion rather than restricting, combating and eliminating the old. Religion will play a role as long as there are material miseries and people need something to explain the world. They won’t have an historical materialist understanding and communist world outlook for years to come, and meanwhile we must provide superior proletarian culture to begin replacing religion. Lenin’s teachings on the state are more than State and Revolution and Lecture on the State, which is what the revisionists pick on. His speeches to party congresses and to the Third International form a comprehensive body of knowledge of the state and how to safeguard and run a socialist state.

We clearly demarcate ourselves from the Eurocommunists and revisionists like the CPUSA, particularly those who advocate peaceful transition. Although they do seem to have comprehensive superstructure work, they are incapable of leading class struggle. They are incapable of leading grassroots struggle and can only speculate off of it. The pressure of legalism cripples them and thus they are reformist – comfortable, cozy, “loyal opposition.”

Professional in All Spheres

Back to the question of the character of revolution. We’ve established one thing that we’re confident is correct: it’s relatively simpler, in the sense of being relatively one-sided in preparing the forms of struggles, to seize state power in third world, agrarian societies because it is possible to utilize larger international contradictions. Here, in an advanced capitalist country, there are numerous trials of strength, tit-for-tat struggle with the bourgeoisie in all spheres. We must outmaneuver the bourgeoisie in many spheres and know how to tap the existing superstructure networks.

This society, due to the consolidation of capitalism, has already developed to great complexity. In a materialist sense, this is a modern society and we can’t go backwards. For example, we must be able to speak in front of TV cameras and use the networks to influence the bourgeois media. Without such skills, the working class will lose state power after we seize it. In third world countries, revolutionaries have to learn those skills after they seize state power. Over here, we won’t even come close to state power without them. That’s why we must develop a “feel” for all spheres independently and why it’s not enough for comrades just to follow directives or national campaigns. You have to be able to find independent bearings in an “over-communicated,” (meaning deceived with disinformation) complex and diverse society.

Why do we have such a hard time training our comrades? I think we have been through the hardest part, that is, seasoning through trial and error–struggle, fail, get defeated, try again, sum up the victories and failures. We have a core of very strong comrades who are close to being professionals. But the real professionals are very few and have been consistently held back by the line of combat, prevent and restrict. We didn’t want to promote comrades with abilities who happen to have a lot of professional training because to us, that was bourgeois ideology. We make them go through changes: like comrade Alec, who had to fix typewriters, sweep floors, give all his money, and so on. We didn’t have enough confidence in him to let him out and run the line because sometimes he ran it mechanically. We just didn’t feel it was the Party’s line, but this really restricted both him and the Party.

We have not been able to develop professionalism and a professional atmosphere throughout the Party. This is because we didn’t take organizational measures, particularly with leadership. The “with leadership” is a very important distinction, because we can’t expect professionalism from new party members who are also new to Marxism. This would contradict our building a mass communist party. They must have time to develop and make mistakes. We should take their hands, guide them to really fight the bourgeoisie, train them on political lines and show them the organizational necessities. But if leadership doesn’t come through, we have to take measures. Otherwise it will burn out a whole generation of people and block the development of class struggle in entire states and cities.

Certain reasoning stopped us from taking organizational measures. We thought that since all comrades are proletarian in character, and loyal to the working class and to the Party, if we took organizational measures with them, then the people with petty bourgeois backgrounds and professional training would prevail. A small core of bourgeois-trained professionals would take over the leadership of the Party. That’s the philosophy hidden behind not taking organizational measures. But then decisions lag, guideposts become jokes, and the Party does not move like clockwork.


The line of combat, prevent and restrict is a very dangerous line and it hurts because it’s based on criticizing and restricting bourgeois right. It reflects a very vulgar understanding of classes. The petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie have the keys to knowledge. This knowledge is the fruit of the laboring masses throughout history, but the proletariat does not directly inherit this body of knowledge. The petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie in power, to a larger degree than our class in its present state, reap the fruits of class struggle, struggles for production and scientific experiment. They have the books accumulated in libraries and know how to use the libraries. For example, the petty bourgeoisie is trained in how to use them, though the bourgeoisie themselves are decadent and incompetent. Parasitism affects them, but there is a group of managers, a stratum of petty bourgeoisie which serves them. Yes, the progressive petty bourgeoisie have the organizational know-how to unlock that knowledge and return it to the proletariat. We have to utilize them. In this period and in this country particularly, the proletariat can absorb and influence them far better than in any other country and any previous revolution. There are more experts among us because the literacy and organizational level, the scientific level, is relatively higher than in other countries.

The incorrect view towards comrades from petty bourgeois backgrounds really hurts the proletariat. Lenin said in the strongest possible language that in the period of transition from capitalism to socialism, we must use the bourgeois experts. They are indispensable. He said don’t play games with them, try to sort them out, or worry about this and that. Actually we have had an incorrect line towards the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie insofar as we only see their bad aspect. We haven’t seen how they can help in actually reaping the fruit of the laboring masses’ blood and sweat. Through them we can use all that knowledge for the working class.

The incorrect line surfaced in the Founding Congress when we had a struggle over relations to the petty bourgeoisie and farmers. It was defeated, but not thoroughly. There is still the same line, the same view towards the petty bourgeoisie, that the dictatorship of the proletariat is exercised over all classes and strata. This line really doesn’t understand that in modern society, where production and livelihood are highly socialized, control of finance, distribution and key industries will make it very difficult to restore capitalism, even though there will still be basis on which to organize for restoration, especially just after workers seize state power and it is not yet consolidated. Monopoly capital has already, to some rudimentary extent, pulled together the economy and organization for the proletariat. Thus, superior culture, to combat capitalism and to lead the masses and other classes, is the main thing after we seize state power.

Unite Politics With Organization

The system of “combat, prevent and restrict” actually prevents us from understanding the systematized art of leadership, keeps us from understanding that political line and its unity of opposites, organization, is the key link. It keeps us from uniting politics with professional organization. Organization is more than just calling people together for mass meetings. It requires anchoring people, rules and regulations, a set of sharp, clear policies that reflect the political line and priorities.

Another incorrect line is our understanding of the system of collective leadership and individual responsibility. There have been many criticisms of the Soviet Union and China about one-man management systems. We’re against one-man management, period. The system of collective leadership/individual responsibility is really not a dialectical system. This “system” is like a mass of brains sitting around a table, all the brainwaves oscillating until a pure synthesis comes out. But there is no head!

In reality, one person has to pull it together, because you cannot move without a head, without authority. In saying that, I’m not supporting one-man management. Every class has advanced, middle and backward. In the Party there is advanced, middle and backward. The greater the collective leadership–that is, the more input other comrades give, the better the most advanced comrade in the area will be able to use the raw data and synthesize on a higher level to make decisions to move on. Somebody has to be the head, the anchor person to implement decisions. An ultra-democratic system inherited from China has been operating and we’re beginning to change it just by our own practical experience.

The organizational system built by the Party is related to the system of views that concluded the Soviet Union and China had restored capitalism. It led us to not grasp the political art of leadership. Criticizing bourgeois ideology, restricting, checking and preventing it, absolutizing individual ideology is a system itself. You can run a whole area and the whole party by this method, but it’s the most primitive and backward method.

It’s simple to check and test comrades on their stand and staunchness. It’s much easier to do that than to understand the art of forward-moving leadership, the profound nature of class struggle and meaning of the political line, its implications and the system of organization it requires. What does it mean to have regular political education, even if you don’t feel like it, or there seems to be something more urgent? Why is it significant in the long term? We must have patience with comrades, patience with policies, and with the rational step-by-step method of encouraging comrades–patient implementation. This replaces acting by sheer will, jumping from spot to spot based on where class struggle feels hottest, which is basically voluntarist.

To build up the Party requires rationality and patience. It takes flexibility–encouragement, accountability, organizational measures, education, campaigns, and so on. Thus the Party and Party members develop so they themselves will be able to size up and not be just people willing to follow orders and implement tasks. They will be trained as leaders, understanding the art of leadership. Science is not direct. If you are impatient towards an atom or the structure of a molecule, you can’t even smash it. You won’t come close to it. Impatience doesn’t help. Sometimes you have to lead directly and set an example through a set of programmatic and rational policies. Other times you have to lead indirectly. And for both you have to have a profound understanding of the political line and organizational system.

The Party is growing, encompassing more areas of responsibility all over the country. But it is also harder to lead when the national leadership has to troubleshoot and has no systematic way of giving guidance. Then it is all crisis-oriented. There’s no way to pay attention to political line, to theoretical work, to the newspaper. Then you lose political initiative. An urgent situation exists in all places at all times. There’s no way to set up various bodies and patiently guide them to the point of being on their own if we just react to crises all the time. Now we have more divisions of labor and more areas off the ground. The question is how to orchestrate them and the art of leadership becomes more difficult and profound. We really have to grasp the political line and the organizational system, their interrelations and the concentric attack, always with the political line of class struggle leading and guiding it. In the course of waging struggle with the bourgeoisie, we must orchestrate well and in that way give leadership. We’re just beginning to understand that.

Need for Cultural Revolution

I uphold the need for the Cultural Revolution. It was a good thing–not something you want or don’t want but necessary. I think Polish workers speak to that historical inevitability elegantly. Socialism is like a newborn infant. It’s a nascent system. There’s no ready-made perfect system so bureaucracy and revisionism do develop. Marxist-Leninists obviously need cultural revolution to clean up the socialist system rather than allow the system to totally break down. For communists, cultural revolution is a form of voluntary breakdown, but without it, there would be more devastating forms of involuntary breakdown. A lot of mistakes, I believe, were made in conducting the Cultural Revolution. But it was the first time mankind tried, after starting to run our own lives, to find a system that cleanses and checks itself.

After the Ninth Congress, the Cultural Revolution continued. The laws, many with incorrect aspects, were abolished and never redeveloped. Just as our party needs codified policies to run the organization and implement political line, a state needs laws. But there was no tendency to recodify laws after the Cultural Revolution because there was constant struggle against bourgeois right. Again, I uphold the study campaign on the dictatorship of the proletariat. But the study campaign can become basically a power struggle, moving into the ideological realm and criticizing bourgeois right, Confucius, and old Chinese epic novels like Water Margin. It became shadow-boxing when the majority of comrades, peasants and workers in China didn’t know the target, who the concrete representatives were, so everything was up in the clouds. Even though the intent was for the struggles to be free of personalities and institutions and focus on political line, the effect was the opposite, since the line was not grasped readily and the implications not often understood by the masses. It turned into deceptive leadership by insinuation rather than direct political line.

A consequence was that people hit on the person next to them, or the manager, or the team leader in the commune. The call to “unite to win still greater victories,” the concentric attack, and the proper relations of the “three directives” could not be orchestrated simultaneously. There was no way for production to get on track. Without that orchestration, the revolution turns into its opposite. To me, the fact that the campaign continued without policies being codified shows that the Cultural Revolution was taken advantage of and abused rather than consolidated. There was a lot of “left” opportunism as well as right-wing revenge movement involved.

Chairman Mao represented the line to move towards consolidation. For example, he rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping. (It wasn’t Chou Enlai as is commonly believed.) Mao knew the need for people with experience. He tried out Wang Hungwen running the general office of the Central Committee but Wang could not do the job. He didn’t have experience to run a city, so how could he run the whole country, which involved everything from military to diplomacy and commerce, from agriculture to industry? The relations in the Central Committee and the internal line of the Central Committee were not normal. A system to develop the political line and then to implement it on a day-today basis was not accomplished in China.

Furthermore, after the Ninth Congress, the relation between the party and the state was not normal because Chou Enlai, the premier, was one of the targets of attack. That’s why the Cultural Revolution up to the Ninth Congress was both timely and necessary. But then it started to turn into its opposite, after attempts to consolidate it failed.

To sum up the incorrectness of the combat, prevent and restrict line: one, it leads to not understanding the art of leadership–the coexistence of class struggle on all three fronts, political, organizational, and ideological (as well as the commanding height of politics and class struggle). Two, it leads to not taking organizational measures, which kills the professionalism of the leadership. (Applied to rank and file cadres this turns into its opposite, a bourgeois line that blocks a lot of proletarian members.) But the more working class-based and more professional the top leadership, the more proletarian elements you can absorb and train, because the tasks are defined and scheduled. They see the Party operates like clockwork and are unleashed. Three, the system of party-building based on “combat, prevent and restrict” leads to discouraging mass leaders because of fear of parliamentarians and careerists. We become a faceless party–except for a handful of party leaders. Lenin said there is a danger of parliamentarians becoming careerists. But there is another danger, he noted, of building an anti-parliamentary trend based on that fear. You can’t worry so much about careerism that electoral tactics aren’t utilized. This shows a lack of confidence that comrades will get stronger as they serve the proletariat. It is the proletariat who gets hurt the most.

Deviations in Practice

The lack of organizational leadership that translates the Party’s political and theoretical leadership into organizational measures explains why historically there’s always a gap between theory and practice, between our line and our practice. After a while, the system of bombarding bourgeois ideology changes the nature of our political line. There is nothing in our writings that says the petty bourgeoisie, or the labor aristocrats, as a class are rotten and that we shouldn’t deal with them. In fact, if anything is written, it’s just the opposite. We have friends who are trade union presidents, young presidents who came out of insurgent movements. They’re sophisticated and they’ve stuck with us because we’re the only ones they respect. But objectively we have a line that really disdains them and says that any official is a labor aristocrat. We’re not able to use them, but these are the people who are open to our line, and who have abilities and networks no matter what their shades of careerism. In practice, comrades get a gut feeling and say get lost whenever these trade union leaders talk about rules and regulations in the contract. The political line of the superstructure in the unions actually changes in practice.

I want to stress that there is an independent momentum to the system of absolutizing individual ideology as a way to lead. The correct system is the art of leadership, with politics in command and a profound, sophisticated organizational system that patiently turns the political line into a material force. It’s far more difficult to adopt this system, to try it out and understand it. Your rashness, impatience, and gut feelings for the working class can jump out and kill this system right away. Your individual system, the easy system, will prevail and all the political lines are liquidated. The Party’s political line changes because of the strong, individual ideology-oriented system which comes from the model of combat, prevent and restrict revisionism. The basis is that the political line was never thoroughly consolidated among comrades with regard to the role of the petty bourgeoisie, the role of the labor aristocrats, the difference between the individual and the stratum, use of the dynamic role of the subjective factor, and the laws to win them over.

This also applies to united front work. We have a system which some comrades call “tight control and loose line.” It basically means we have to control the leadership like crazy because we can’t trust unreliable friends. We say shift gears and push out broadly but you can’t if you don’t understand the laws of the petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie. The only way to work with those classes is the way the Bolsheviks worked with the peasantry. Lenin said, as long as they fight the monopolies, work with them, and give them something in return. When the worker-peasant alliance started to break up, there was an incorrect line in the Bolshevik program to nationalize the peasants. It wasn’t just an error in the agrarian program, but an incorrect strategy for the Russian revolution. The only correct strategy was to seize state power first and then talk.

After the seizure of state power, Lenin had to figure out what the dictatorship of the proletariat was in Russia. What did it mean for the peasantry? Confiscate their land? They had no land. A lot of them were like serfs. What about the promise of “Bread, Peace and Land”? Why should they work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and hand all their grain over to the state? If they worked hard and made more, the state took more; if they made less, the state took less. What gave them incentive to sell the grain to the state, why not hide it underground? Lenin said to give them land, even though that meant capitalism in the absolute sense of the word because the land became family farms. All the state had to do was tax the grain sold anywhere on the free market 1-2%. That 1-2% made the difference in continuing the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union. Workers were starving and factories were at a standstill because peasants refused to give grain due to the incorrect line towards them.

I want to draw the analogy for ourselves and the petty bourgeoisie in united front work. As long as the petty bourgeoisie are anti-monopoly, make room for them. The Party will gain from it in the long run. Our interest is consistent and we have the organization and network nationally. We have a stable ideology and program, and professional revolutionaries. We have the best core of organizers in the country, though we don’t have enough of them. If we have the correct political line towards the petty bourgeoisie and united front, the firing power of the whole organization will be tremendous. The incorrect system is now so powerful that it knocks all the individual abilities out the window and the firing power is really reduced. There’s a certain view towards the petty bourgeoisie, not an explicit, written line, but the ideological system constantly bombards the political line to the point where the political line turns into its opposite.

Another example: the recent article in the Workers Viewpoint newspaper on the Greensboro 8. We stressed there should be facts, and that article only talks about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It doesn’t mention the views of the local bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. On that issue, their views may be critical. It does not always come down to the state versus the Party. The state singles us out for attack, there’s no doubt about that. But the state also has contradictions with the other classes in Greensboro. The way it’s going, business will leave Greensboro. Certainly, no business executive in his right mind will start a multi-million dollar plant in or around there because the name stinks. The name Greensboro already has an independent momentum to it, and we’re going to make sure the momentum is there. You can’t just say the bourgeoisie does this or that–you have to explain what the attack does to the local economy and what the ministers are thinking. That’s why Lenin said to do political size-ups and know all strata without exception. Get into their heads, not just the big ones, but also the small ones. If you don’t grasp all strata, you can’t come out with a correct line of action and you will certainly get messed over.

Basis for Victory

We have been saying “know all classes and strata” for many years. Why is it not practiced? Examine Party comrades one by one and you see the Party is staunch, together. Because of that, you think victory is a sure thing. We love comrades for their staunchness but everything else gets wiped out. Lenin differed from Trotsky precisely because he knew how to use contradictions, including retreat. That’s why Stalin was different from Trotsky, why Mao was different from Trotsky. Trotsky yelled “Long live the working class!” louder than all three of them, but he was still Trotsky and not a real Marxist. It’s not necessarily a conscious line but without political education, ideology and staunchness take command and you have sentimental communism. I have been critical of comrades exaggerating–reporting 5,000 people in our demonstration and 50 in the opportunists’, when it may be the opposite. We respect comrades’ subjective effort to put the Party in a good light. But if you don’t criticize the exaggeration, you will give in to sentimental communism. The science won’t come in. And in the long run our stand with the Party and working class will become fragile. Have confidence to say even if it’s only 50 people. The basis for victory is the recognition of why we only have 50 people and the opportunists have 5,000 people. Our ability to dissect ourselves and to change ourselves as well as appreciate our strength differentiates our party from revisionists, social democrats and Trotskyites.

Political line is ideology. Organizational system is ideology. Communist ethics and morality are ideology. They are ideology in the concrete. They are not abstract individual stand. There are particular laws to them, like the laws of physics or chemistry. It’s highly concrete, specific and scientific. You either know them or don’t. Absolutizing abstract stand will block out class struggle, politics and the science of Marxism as a whole.