Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Theoretical Review

Draft OCIC Minority Platform

First Issued: Spring 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The following draft is intended for the broadest possible circulation within the OC-IC and among forces close to it. The final draft will also be circulated among forces within our broader movement as a whole. We are actively soliciting rewriting suggestions, deletions, and amendments. Send all comments and criticisms to:

P. Costello
c/o Theoretical Review
P.O. Box 3692
Tucson, Arizona 85722

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As members and supporters of the Organizing Committee for an Ideological canter we have been deeply disturbed by a number of recent developments within our movement. The way in which the Steering Committee handled the Labor Day Conference and the National Minority Conference as well as the way it has been handling differences with the National Network of Marxist-Leninist Clubs is a matter of great concern. The preparation or rather lack of it for the Labor Day Conference and the style of leadership and struggle which the Steering Committee displayed there, the sectarian manner, in which the National Minority Conference was organized and the bureaucratic and hasty manner in which it was “endorsed” at the Labor Day Conference speak to real problems in the way the OC-IC is functioning. So does the general manner, tone and style of work which the Steering Committee has adopted in its treatment of the contradictions between the OC-IC and the NNMLC, an approach which has served to exacerbate an already difficult situation.

Our analysis of these problems indicates to us that these are not merely isolated instances in an over-all correct practice of the Steering Committee. We feel that by outlining what we consider to be the fundamental incorrect practices of the Steering Committee and counter-posing to them an alternative platform we can highlight what we perceive to be not simply the negative features of the OC-IC but also a way out of the present difficulties.


In all areas of work, Internal and external, the Steering Committee has placed organizational questions and practices above politics. This is contrary to understanding of Marxism-Leninism which insists that politics should always “be in command.”

Internally, the Steering Committee has made loyalty to the OC-IC form more important than sharing a common political orientation. In fact it has put off to the indefinite future a discussion of our common political perspective on a whole series of issues while extolling the organizational form of the OC-IC as the leading center of our movement, in spite of the fact that we are lacking a developed and articulated “leading line.”

Externally, the Steering Committee has rejected all appeals to make politics and political differences primary in its polemics with the NNMLC and has restricted itself to denouncing the Clubs for their “organizational opportunism” by which it means their decision not to join the OC-IC. Far from contributing to advancing the unity or understanding of our movement, this approach has diverted attention from the real differences while fostering a strong, spirit of sectarianism within the OC-IC itself. Also externally the Steering Committee demonstrated its “primacy of organization” approach by excluding from the National Minority Conference a considerable number of minority Marxist-Leninists for the simple reason that they did not recognize “the leading role” of the OC-IC.


As originally conceived the OC-IC was to function as a means of organizing a movement-wide discussion and debate on all the important questions facing anti-dogmatist, anti-revisionist communists. Implicit in this view was the idea that political decisions would not be made until such a necessary discussion and debate had been undertaken.

Of late, however it has become increasingly clear that what the Steering Committee is organizing is not such a discussion but rather the dissemination and acceptance of its own views on these questions. This realization comes from a number of practices we have witnessed on the part of the Steering Committee.

At the labor day conference the steering Committee insured the adoption of its own views on issues such as the character of the NNMLC, the question of whether we are one movement of two movements, when the Communist Party, USA went revisionist and the character of its own National Minority Conference. On not a single one of these issues was there anything approaching a movement-wide, or even an OC-IC-wide discussion. On the character of the National Minority Conference the delegates were not provided with a written report on the conference, nor with the resolutions adopted there. What the delegates were provided was the “word” of the Steering Committee and the National Minority Conference Planning Committee that the conference was indeed a “success.”

If this is the kind of preparation and discussion which the Steering Committee considers sufficient for a national conference of the OC-IC than it is clear that they are more concerned with the adoption of their own views than with their stated goal of a genuine ideological struggle which will really advance the level of unity and understanding in our movement.


The OC-IC, like our fledgling movement, is extremely diverse, with organizations and individuals varying in their backgrounds, political experience and theoretical development. This cannot but be reflected in the differing political views and attitudes of our forces. Yet in spite of this diversity the Steering Committee is of the opinion that leadership of the OC-IC should not reflect the real differences within the organization but rather should be representative of what it perceives to be the “majority” or “correct” line.

This narrow conception of leadership has lead to the problems we discussed above in #2. Since the Steering Committee is united behind a single line, it has failed to take into account the existence of other lines, and has even endeavored to neutralize the opposition, if only by ignoring them. This has lead to an insensitivity on the part of the steering committee toward differing views, an impatience and even an arrogance which was evident at the Labor Day conference in the way some steering committee members, Clay Newlin, in particular, responded to opposing views.


As a result of the three practices discussed above a strong current of sectarianism has become manifest within the OC-IC. Anyone not affiliated organizationally with the OC-IC is being written off or criticised or simply excluded from party building activities and their positions and views are being ignored or suppressed.

Can we really learn nothing from comrades outside the OC-IC? Would not the active participation of the Clubs and El Comite/MNIP at the labor day conference have elevated the discussion and helped to sharpen the issues and areas of agreement as well as disagreement? Could not the same be said for the National Minority Conference?

Our movement is too young, too inexperienced, to treat the current differences as irreconcialable, to abandon comradely and open criticism for cheap demagogy and imputing motives as was done at the Labor Day conference with the Steering Committee’s blessing. Having criticised the Clubs for “voluntarism” the Steering Committee should look at its own practice of unilaterally determining that the OC-IC is the “leading force” In our movement before any kind of necessary political-theoretical struggle has taken place.

Instead of organizing joint discussions and joint work for our entire movement, that is, instead of establishing principled relations with the NNMLC, El Comite/MNIP and other independent forces, the Steering Committee has placed its own perceived notions of what the interests of the movement are above any genuine effort to find out these answers from the movement itself. Instead of stimulating debate and discussion throughout our movement through principled activity the steering committee has antagonized non-members by its sectarian organizational maneuvers. The grave dangers inherent in this course should be apparent to all.

For us to have ended this document here would have been to simply criticise the Steering Committee without providing a viable alternative without offering a way out of the crisis into which the Steering Committee has led the OC-IC. On the contrary, we feel that any such alternative must lay the basis for real progress in the OC-IC by establishing structures and principles which will enable the OC-IC to accomplish the tasks for which it was founded.

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The OC-IC must restore the correct relationship between politics and organizational form. No longer can we set up organizational forms which some time in the future will be given some definite political content. The OC-IC is a party building formation and as such must begin to take up the issue of party building strategy and tactics.

Internally groups should support the OC-IC because of its demonstrated leading line, and not out of a sense of organizational loyalty. Tendencies within as well as without the OC-IC should be judged on the basis of their political line and their political practice and not on the degree to which they support our organization’s Steering Committee. To the degree we have differences with other organizations we should inaugurate political discussions and debates in a comradely manner, without organizational maneuvering.


Instead of simply disseminating its own views, without providing for differing positions, the Steering Committee should make it its business to encourage and organize the production and dissemination of all viewpoints within the OC-IC. With a centralized body which will supply to all member groups the perspectives of differing positions within the OC-IC and which will set up organizational (regional, local) mechanisms in which these perspectives can be discussed and debated, the Steering committee will be able to practically assist in the broadest possible ideological struggle.

While this would not preclude the Steering Committee from making its own majority and minority positions known, it would prevent the suppression of opposing views and positions. The Steering committee should call national and regional conferences to put positions to a vote only after the broadest possible presentation of differing views and their discussion and not before. Without this necessary discussion any vote is a meaningless gesture rather than what it should be: the culmination of a political-ideological process of consolidation and growth.


In order to implement #2 it is necessary that the leadership of the OC-IC be broadened. By this we mean that important minority positions should be represented on the steering committee. This would insure that the Steering committee would be aware of and sensitive to differing conceptions and enable it better to organize and disseminate these opposing views.


It is necessary to put an end to the manner in which the Steering Committee has handled differences with the NNMLC and other independent forces as soon as possible. We should make a self-criticism for the past uncomradely polemics and sectarian organizational maneuvers. But more importantly, we should move to establish some kind of definite organizational relationship with these forces based on our degrees of unity and a common commitment to work together. At the same time we should not conceal the differences which exist, but address them in polemics which are political in character and comradely in tone.

Any future conferences of the OC-IC should provide for a restricted form in which representatives of other groups within our movement can participate and present their positions. Any future conferences in which the OC-IC plays a leading role should not make a condition for participation support of the OC-IC or its line. The legacy of sectarianism which is a holdover from our new communist movement past must be repudiated, not simply in words but in deeds.

* * *

We feel that this platform, if put into practice, would enormously strengthen the CC-IC and help it to become, in fact, the leading force in our movement.