Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: Build UNITY as a weapon for revolution!


First Published: Unity, Vol. 3, No. 15, August 8-21, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

As you can see, UNITY has a new look. In this editorial, we’d like to explain to our readers the changes in our format, and make some comments on how we see UNITY’S role in the U.S. revolutionary movement today.

The new format is designed to better present those important news stories, major analytical articles, and special features in each issue that provide in-depth coverage of domestic and international trends and issues in the revolutionary movement.

While highlighting these articles, we will continue to have broad and diverse coverage. There will be regular national and international news briefs sections, and an entire page for short news stories about mass struggles in the U.S.

Each issue will contain a regular page for cultural features and reviews, sports or science; and two pages for letters, editorials and opinions.

We also redesigned and reorganized the paper to make it more readable and lively in appearance. We added two pages in both the English and Spanish editions. (Beginning this fall, UNITY will publish a Chinese-language magazine.)

We made these changes as part of an ongoing effort to improve UNITY’S quality as a professional revolutionary newspaper. Our understanding of the nature and role of a communist newspaper at this stage of the revolution has deepened over the past two years since UNITY began publishing as the organ of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L).

UNITY and party building

At present, the central and most pressing task of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the U.S. is to forge a genuine communist party that can lead the struggle for socialism and put an end to the rule of monopoly capitalism. The Communist Party U.S.A. long ago sold out the interests of the masses, becoming a party of narrow reform and capitulation, and today serves as a mouthpiece for Soviet imperialism. Other groups like the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Communist Workers Party proclaim themselves as the “vanguard” but they remain divorced from the actual lives and struggles of the people.

Marxist-Leninists are still confronted with the task of building a communist party based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, that has a correct grasp of the concrete conditions in the U.S. and has within its ranks revolutionary fighters from the working class and other classes and strata. This party must be highly unified and disciplined – it cannot be a loosely-organized party of liberalism if it is to be the vanguard of the working class.

A communist newspaper should help bring about the formation of such a party. UNITY must serve the task of party building by contributing to the development of a Marxist-Leninist line for the U.S. revolution, and by helping to build up the forces of the revolution from the working class and other mass movements.

Help develop line for U.S. struggle

We believe that the communist movement in the U.S. is still in the process of developing its general line. There is still no basic class analysis or general program. There are also major political questions that must be solved, such as how to forge the strategic alliance of the working class and oppressed nationality movements; build multinational unity and combat the rise of national chauvinism in the U.S.; combat the threat of world war, and so on.

This clarification of line should help sort out right from wrong and distinguish Marxism from, opportunism, and lay the basis for unity among the different Marxist-Leninist forces in the movement.

We want UNITY to help contribute to the development of a Marxist-Leninist line for the U.S. revolution through analyzing the issues and trends of the day, investigating the objective conditions, summarizing experiences in doing revolutionary political work, and addressing the actual problems that confront Marxist-Leninists in doing revolutionary work.

The process of developing the line is not an abstract or academic one which can take place in a study, divorced from the masses. The newspaper can only provide news, analysis and leadership if it is closely connected with the actual practice of making revolution.

Win advanced to communism

We believe that at this stage of the revolution, a communist newspaper must be addressed to the level of the advanced workers and activists – those revolutionary-minded fighters in the mass movements who are open to communism. These advanced workers have the respect and following of others. Thus they are the vital link that can connect communism with the mass movement. Only by directing the newspaper to the level of the advanced can we really understand and take up the questions and problems confronting the mass movement, and develop a Marxist-Leninist line.

The newspaper plays an important role in educating the advanced in Marxism-Leninism and training them as communist leaders. The advanced workers and activists must form the backbone of any communist party. Thus an important part of party building and our newspaper work must be in winning the advanced to communism and recruiting them into the ranks of the communist organization.

In order to do this the newspaper must be comprehensive in scope – it must address all the important domestic and international issues of the day. In this way, the newspaper can provide a timely and broad Marxist-Leninist orientation for the day-to-day. struggle and help educate the advanced about the tasks of the revolution.

The paper should help to develop political consciousness to respond to and support all the struggles against capitalist oppression.

Besides being educational, the paper should help train the advanced as communist leaders, by answering the problems that arise from the mass movement and assisting the advanced in their actual political work.

Build UNITY among the masses

Does addressing our newspaper to the level of the advanced mean that only revolutionary-minded people can read UNITY or find it relevant? No, by all means not. There is no sense to the dogmatic view that says the advanced must read dry, abstract, “theoretical” articles while popular writing should be reserved for the masses. UNITY should be written in the language of the people, and it should help to raise the political understanding of a relatively broad audience.

Because of our comprehensive coverage and close connections with the mass movements, we want UNITY to actually become a source of news, especially about the struggles of the workers and oppressed nationalities.

What actually makes a communist newspaper widely read or influential? It would be a mistaken idea to think that the paper would grow, or be more “mass,” if it were directed at the average or backward segments of the working class or if it lowered its politics. If the newspaper were aimed in this way, then it would not be able to lead the movement; nor would it actually become widely read by people who are interested in the struggle. These activists demand a paper which will show the way forward, not tail the spontaneous movement. The advanced want to know how to lead the struggle, and they will support and build a paper that does so.

UNITY contributes to party building organizationally through building a network of writers, correspondents, photographers, distributors and financial supporters in the factories, communities and schools across the U.S. Such a network helps to root the communist forces in the mass movements.

The 1980’s will clearly be a decade of upheaval. The capitalist class is stepping up its attacks on the living standards of working people and intensifying national oppression and political repression.

The mass movements are sharpening, as evidenced in the recent uprisings in Miami and other southern cities, and the widespread dissatisfaction with this year’s presidential politics.

There is a reactionary political climate being drummed up by the bourgeoisie. At the same time there is a growing trend of social democracy and reformism in the petty bourgeoisie and the upper sectors of the working class. Thus there is a growing responsibility to strengthen our revolutionary newspaper work – to build UNITY as a clear alternative that stands for revolution and Marxism-Leninism, a paper which can help lead the mass movement forward, and contribute to forging a genuine communist party.

UNITY has made some advances and improvements in our contents and format, but we feel we must do much more to build UNITY as a weapon for revolution. Our readers and supporters can contribute greatly by sending us your comments and criticisms, contributing news stories and evaluations of the struggle, and distributing UNITY to more people.