Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Summary of the March 1980 OCIC Steering Committee Meeting

First Published: National Steering Committee Bulletin, #1, April 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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I) Chairperson’s Report to the SC

A) State of the work

The period since the last SC meeting has seen significant progress toward getting the work of the SC underway.

1) National Conference

The conference summation has-been completed, including the proceedings. In view of the controversy around the supposed unprincipled methods of struggle at the conference, the SC should recommend that comrades throughout the OC and the tendency study the proceedings and form their own opinion about the process at the National Conference. If this is done, it will dispell much of the confusion caused by accusations of unprincipled methods of struggle and “bureaucratic centralism.”

Although their continue to be criticisms raised and controversy on several aspects of the conference, the SC’s summation of the conference remains sound.

The major outstanding concern arising from the conference is the lack of consolidation around the National Minority Marxist-Leninist Conference. The SC must assume a significant responsibility for this, the failure to provide a summation in particular. But the principal aspect is racism within the OC. The racism of the OC forces, coupled with a lack of experience with sharp struggle within the communist movement, has led to concessions to the jamming tactics of the rectification forces. The line of the rectification forces, that the conference “split national minority Marxist-Leninists,” is an appeal to racism. It has had a significant impact on the consolidation of the OC. In fact, it is the one area in which the tactics of the rectifiers have been successful.

The SC must take up the waverings within the OC around the NNML Conference and move sharply to put an end to the vacilation. This should take two forms:

a. A written response by the SC which draws out the racism of the concession to the rectifiers.

b. Encouraging the Planning Committee of the NNML Conference to respond to attacks on the conference and to draw the participants in the conference into its defense.

2) Task Forces

The Local Center Task Force has made excellent progress, due in large part to the leadership of its Chair, PF. The Anti-Racism Task Force has developed a good plan of work and has begun to move forward but it needs more consistent initiative and leadership from its Chair, LR. The work of the Ultra-Leftism Task Force is the weakest. It has just met and developed its initial workplan. The ULTF must advance its work. The OC is paying the price for the failure to move forward the exposure of ultra-leftism in our movement in the internal opposition to the SC’s line within the OC, much of which is rooted in ultra-leftism and conciliation of ultra-leftism. The ULTF must receive more consistent attention in the future.

3) 18 Point Study

The study program is in-excellent shape due to the good work of DF. The OC as a whole will soon be reaping the benefits of this work.

4) Draft Plan consolidation

The general approach has been worked out hut, organizationally, this aspect of the SC work plan is weak. The correct organizational form for leading this consolidation still has to be worked out.

5) Regional consolidation

Overall, the consolidation of the OC regionally is proceeding well. The Western Region is taking the lead in taking up the agenda of the OC at the regional level. The Mid-West Region is in good shape organizationally, but with some political weaknesses. There has been a qualitative shift in the Southern Region and that region is now on sound footing. TV has done excellent work in establishing the OC in the South. The regional consolidation of the OC in the Mid-Atlantic and New England Region is tailing developments in other regions with regional structures limited to regional steering committees at this point.

6) Executive Committee of the SC

The EC is now playing an active and positive role. But it is still not consolidated and functioning smoothly. Attention must be paid to developing its work.

B) Political developments

1) Minority bloc

It appears that an embryonic minority bloc behind the leadership of the Theoretical Review will begin to take shape. A platform has been circulated. It is likely that a bloc will coalesce and gain some support. Its essential thrust will be conciliation of ultra-leftism. In one respect the development will be positive. It will draw a much sharper line between those who have basic agreement with the line of the SC, but who have criticisms of the SC’s leadership, and those who fundamentally oppose the line of the SC.

The SC should take up sharply exposing the opportunism of the minority bloc. But it should avoid blurring the crucial distinction between the line of the minority bloc and the rectification line. It should be kept firmly in mind that although the minority bloc fundamentally opposes the line of the SC, they unite with the SC on the need for a common organized process to foster the emergence of a leading ideological center. This demarcates it sharply from the rectifiers. Practically, this means that the SC should organize the contention of their views with the SC’s views and encourage them to circulate their views throughout the OC, by use of the Discussion Bulletin in particular.

At the same time, the OC should be on guard against the possibility that the minority bloc will present the OC with the demand that either the OC must conciliate their line or they will leave the OC. It would be unwise to conciliate an opportunist line for the sake of short-term gains in the struggle with the rectification line.

2) Guardian and El Comite-MINP

Both have largely withdrawn from the party-building movement and are playing a minimal role in the tendency. The Guardian has not yet even carried through on a political summation of their break with Silber. El Comite is following the course of building El Comite in New York City.

3) Rectification forces

There have been no new initiatives from the rectifiers and they have largely ceased their attempt to jam the OC (i.e., to force the OC to take up their agenda and conduct the struggle on their terms by storming OC forces with a multitude of “initiatives”).

The recent shift in the organization of the leadership of the rectification forces, which establishing the editorial board of their journal has entailed, does not represent a significant change. Its main impact will be to lessen the NMMLC’s role in the “rectification movement.”

In general, the recent period can be characterized as a period of consolidation for the rectifiers. They are attempting to consolidate what little they have gained and will pursue their work with less contention with the OC in the coming period.

II) Secretary’s Report

A) Applications

The OC membership structure is being rebuilt to conform to a non-federationist view of the OC. Each individual who is now a member of the OC by virtue of the fact that they are members of an organization which belongs to the OC will be asked to reapply for membership in the OC as an individual. In the future, the OC will only accept individual applications for member-.ship.. In this way the unity of each and every member of the OC with the principles of unity of the OC can be ensured and each member be held directly responsible for their OC activity.

Tight security will be maintained around the membership applications. No copies will be made and they will be kept in a very secure place. Only one person on the SC will have access to the applications and information in them will be available to other OC leadership on a strictly need-to-know basis.

B) Participation in local centers by non-OC members

It has come to the attention of the Secretary that there are many comrades fully participating in local centers who have not joined the OC. In large part this is due to the failure of OC members to take actual recruitment to the OC seriously since, in most cases, these non-OC members have not been asked to join. All OC members are urged to take recruitment to the OC very seriously and to overcome their tailism in struggling to build the OC.

C) SC Bulletin

There has been a problem within the OC of SC mailings not being widely disseminated and, in many cases, being restricted to the leading bodies of organizations within the OC. To rectify this problem and draw the OC membership more fully into the process, communications from the SC to the OC as a whole will now take the form of a SC Bulletin which will be printed centrally in sufficient quantity for all OC members.

Each local center (or local circle where a local center has not yet been established) will be mailed a bundle of SC Bulletins for distribution to their membership. They should notify the SC Secretary as soon as possible how many SC Bulletins should be mailed. (The number should correspond to the number of dues-paying members.)

In order to facilitate printing and binding, all material for the SC Bulletin should have one inch margins on both sides and ample margins on the top and bottom. OC members are requested to follow this guideline in their communications with the SC since, often, the SC will want to include such communications in the SC Bulletin.

III) EC Report to the SC

(At each meeting, the work of the EC since the last SC meeting will be reviewed. In large part, this work is preparatory to items on the SC agenda or is concerned with finalizing OC documents. In this section only those items are included which are not taken up elsewhere in the summary of the SC meeting and are not reflected in SC documents.)

A) Problems with task completion and follow-through on the SC

Many assignments have been completed late in the period following the National Conference. It has been a special problem with CN, TS, and JF (particularly in relation to preparing the summaries of SC meetings for the later).

1) Political impact

The starting point for rectifying the problem is to grasp its political impact.
a. It has held back the OC’s political consolidation–the struggle against ultra-leftism, the defeat of the opportunism of the rectifiers, the Draft Plan consolidation, etc. These SC weaknesses have fed the waverings within the OC with respect to the rectifiers by giving some superficial validity to the charge that the approach of the SC is to place organization over politics.
b. It has fed federation!sm and the small circle mentality–both within the SC itself and within the OC as a whole. To the extent that the collective development of the OC at the national level is held back and diffused, OC members get pulled back into allowing the concerns of their own local circle to dominate their political priorities.
c. It has given needless advantages to opposition forces. The failure of the SC to provide a more timely summation of the National Conference, for example, has allowed opposition forces to create a good deal of confusion about its real content.
d. It has undermined building the process of ideological struggle within the OC that we are attempting to build. When material is gotten out late or at the last minute, the result is to disorganize the process of ideological struggle at the local and regional level. Genuine organization of the ideological struggle will require a much more professional approach to getting material out according to an established workplan and schedule.
e. It has led to an unnecessary duplication of effort and resulted in a waste of valuable time and energy on the part of some SC members. A prime example is DF having to summarize large parts of a SC meeting for the Western Region because JF was late in preparing the summary of that meeting.
f. It has held back the development of collective leadership by the EC. When documents are brought to EC meetings or mailed at the last minute, there is not time for all EC members to adequately evaluate them. The result is a break-down in the collective consolidation of the EC and a weakening of the quality of its political leadership.
g. It has had an objectively sexist impact on TV. To the extent that SC members fail to live up to their responsibilities, the work of the SC is disorganized. Because of TV’s role as the administrative center for the OC, the burden of this disorganization falls largely on TV. Time must be wasted in communicating with other SC members about when their--assignments will be completed and in dealing with the resulting administrative problems with respect to the OC. Because the role of administrative center already places a big burden on TV, the result is to seriously impede TV’s political development by preventing her from devoting sufficient time to serious study and writing.

2) Roots of the problem

Although there are particularities in each case (CN, TS, and JF), the underlying weakness in each case is individualism. Individualism led them to capitulate to local and personal pressures and to incorrectly assess the political impact of their actions (or lack thereof).

3) Rectification of the problem

The correct way to rectify the problem, which is rooted in individualism, is to strengthen the collective leadership and bring it more actively to bear on the work of each of the members of the EC. Concretely:
a. the EC will have a regular agenda item checking up on task completion and assessing where the SC stands in relation to its workplan;
b. the EC will publish a regular circular to EC members on tasks and dates for completion; and
c. the EC will have more regular meetings (two weeks after the SC meets, midway between SC meetings, and two weeks before the SC meets again).

In order to facilitate more regular SC meetings and to strengthen the collective leadership of the EC, TS will move to Philadelphia. Until this can take place, TS will only come to the EC meeting midway between SC meetings.

The objectively sexist impact on TV of the administrative workload, exacerbated by the lack of discipline and responsibility of some SC members but existing independently of that problem, must be spoken to directly. First, TV should take concrete measures to ensure that her political development is not stunted by the administrative workload. In particular, she should reserve a definite period each week for serious study, even if this means that the administrative tasks will move forward more slowly. Secondly, the SC will undertake trying to find someone to move to Baltimore to help with administrative work.

B) New members

The applications of individuals from Baltimore; Miami; Providence, R.I.; Boulder, Colorado; Hartford, Conn.; and San Francisco; as well as the Regroupment Committee (NYC) were reviewed and accepted.

C) Follow-up on the NMML Conference

It was decided that the Follow-up Work Plan for NMML Conference was over-ambitious and should be scaled down for the internal OC process. In its place there should be only one discussion at the local level focusing on the summation of the conference, followed by a discussion at the regional level. In line with this, the NNML Conference follow-up should be changed to a secondary initiative in the OC’s overall plan of work.

It is expected that the Planning Committee will carry out a separate plan for taking the summation of the conference to the tendency as a whole.

D) Requirement of participation in local centers

Some present members of the OC have taken the position that they want to remain in the OC and struggle at the national level but, for various reasons, do not wish to participate in the local OC process. In the EC’s view, all OC members must be willing to struggle for their point of view at every level. It was therefore decided that membership in the OC requires participation in the local process.

Those in the OC who disagree with this policy are, of course, free to organize a struggle within the OC to overturn it. They must, however, fully participate in the OC process at every level in order to conduct this struggle.

(This question was reviewed by the SC later in the meeting. See Section XI/C.)

E) Regional OC centers

It was agreed that regional OC centers are very important not only for “broadening the struggle from the local level but also for allowing the SC and the OC generally to accurately assess the views of the OC membership. Therefore, delegates to regional conferences should be elected proportionally to the numbers on the local level.

(This was taken up again later in the SC meeting. See Section XI/B.)

IV) Communications

A) Socialist Organizing Committee

The SOC wrote stating that they are now self-critical that they did not prepare to argue their point of view at the National Conference. However, they also think that after they agreed at the conference to present their point of view they were prevented from doing so by an “orchestrated” criticism session.

The SC thinks this is wrong on two counts. In the first place, the SOC comrades never “agreed” to present their point of view; the conference majority compelled them to over their protests and objections. In the second place, the session of criticism of the SOC comrades was hardly “orchestrated.” In fact, it began as a session of criticism of the SC for its supposed lack of democracy. Only after the session began did the conference delegates come to realize that it was the SOC comrades who were flaunting the will of the majority. It was the conference majority that insisted that criticism be directed at the SOC comrades.

(LR was asked to write a response to the SOC comrades along these lines.)

B) North Star Socialist Organization

A recent communication from the NSSO makes it clear that they do not unite with Principle 18. They explicitly question the statement that “the practice of proletarian internationalism is impossible without correctly identifying the main enemy of the world’s people.”

The SC requested the Mid-West Regional Steering Committee to write to NSSO to inform them that they are no longer members of the OC and to urge any individuals in NSSO who do unite with Principle 18 to reapply for OC membership.

V) Organizational Relations

A) Guardian update

There has been a breakdown in the liaison with the Guardian because the member of the Guardian leading body who was assigned to liaison work with the OC has left the Guardian. The reasons behind her departure from the Guardian are not clear but it is likely that the sharp struggle waged with the Guardian by the SC’s representative to the Guardian (and by the PWOC) played a significant role. She is now interested in taking up OC work in NYC.

An effort will be made to reestablish a liaison with the Guardian.

B) El Comite-MINP update

The SC is pursuing its attempt to engage El Comite in the discussion of party-building strategy and to struggle with them around their view that national initiative around party building is not appropriate in the current period. The SC’s perspective is that it is very significant that El Comite is not trying to set themselves up as an alternative center for the tendency. Given this, El Comite’s commitment to developing its work in the mass movements will eventually impel them towards unity with the OC.

C) Rectification circle

1) Update

a) Seattle

The furious efforts of the Network to force its own agenda on the OC forces has died down.

b) Bay Area

Much the same except for a concerted effort to advance the rectifiers’ criticisms of the NMML Conference. This effort was highlighted by a forum which the rectifiers held on that conference. Its sectarianism was revealed particularly by the fact that the forum focused only on the last resolution approved at the conference and criticized the one-sidedness of the resolution–a one-sidedness which disappeared if the resolution was seen in the context of the full range of resolutions which the conference approved. When criticized for taking the resolution out of the context in which it was adopted, the rectifiers offered the lame excuse that they had only received the other resolutions the week before.

It appears that the rectifiers are launching a concerted attack against the SC’s emphasis on sharply taking up the struggle against white chauvinism within the communist movement. The rectifiers portray this emphasis as “moralistic” and “race baiting.” According to the rectifiers, emphasis should be placed instead on taking up the mass struggle against racism. They point to the experience of the CPUSA in the 30’s to buttress this analysis. In the SC’s view, however, the rectifiers fail completely to understand the decisive role which the struggle against white chauvinism within the CPUSA played in laying the ideological foundation for the leadership which it gave to the mass struggles in the 30’s.

The SC thinks that the rectifiers have identified a weak link in the OC in their circle warfare against the OC. They will undoubtedly try to further exploit the combination of racism within the OC and the rectifiers’ balance of national minority comrades on the West Coast to promote the rectification circle. The white chauvinism of many comrades in the OC blinds them to the crucial importance of taking up the struggle to root white chauvinism out of our movement and they will therefore be more than open to the argument that the struggle against racism should be directed elsewhere–particularly when it is national minority comrades who are downplaying the need to struggle against white chauvinism within our movement. The SC will have to give this further attention.

c) Boston

The circle contention with the rectifiers has died down in Boston as well. The rectifiers, however, have suffered significant setbacks as their ultra-left approach to the mass struggles is being exposed– in Southern Africa work, anti-racist work, and affirmative action work.

2) Changes in the organization of the rectification movement

The NNMLC recently announced that the leading center of the rectification movement has constituted itself in the form of the Editorial Board of the rectification journal. The NNMLC both recognizes the editorial board as the leading center and subordinates itself to it.

This move is put forward as resting on five supposed “significant developments” over the past year:
a. the development of a multiplicity of rectification initiatives;
b. the elaboration and development of the rectification line:
c. the new forces drawn into the rectification movement and its emergence as a national force;
d. the consolidation of the OC’s sectarianism; and
e. the emergence of a leading center.

In the view of the SC, it is perfectly clear that the center was not forged through ideological struggle. Rather, it was forged through secret negotiations and organizational manuevering. It reveals the commandist conceptions of forging a leading center which dominate the rectifiers thinking and duplicates the worst features of the ultra-left approach to party building.

In the new organization of the rectification movement, the NNMLC has no theoretical role to play. Rather, it will concentrate on winning adherents to the rectification movement and training them in the line of the leading center. This removal of the leading center from any organized input from the base of the rectification movement is the organizational reflection of the elitist and commandist ideology of the rectification center–on the one hand there is the mob and on the other the “critical thinkers.”

The SC asked CN to sum up the discussion (the summary above contains only the highlights) in an article for publication.

VI) Minority Bloc Platform

See the enclosed platform and the SC’s response.

VII) Second National Conference Summation

The SC decided to publish a SC Bulletin to advance the consolidation around the conference. It will contain:

1. the main criticisms of the conference that have been written and the more significant exchanges that have been generated;

2. the SC summation of the conference; and

3. a SC commentary on the criticisms that have been raised.

DF was asked to write the SC response to the various criticisms that have been raised. (TS has almost completed the summation of the conference.)

VIII) OC Workplan

See the enclosed OC workplan for the coming year.

IX) SC Self-Criticism

TS criticized the SC for not ensuring that someone sat down with him and made sure that he knew how to do a summation of a national conference. Since, in fact, he was not at all sure what such a summation should encompass, the result was a significant delay in getting the summation done and needless lack of focus in his work for a period.

The SC accepted the criticism and deepened it. It is a good illustration of the racist error of ”abstract equality” in strengthening the leadership of national minority comrades. It is one thing to recognize that TS is potentially fully capable of summing up the National Conference. But it was a serious racist error to fail to recognize the historic results of national oppression–in this case, limitations in TS’s ability to translate his political grasp of the Second National Conference into a major written document–and to fail to take steps to help TS overcome these results.

At the same time, the SC reaffirmed that TS must bear the responsibility for his individualistic failure to raise the difficulties he was having to the collective and to seek some assistance. TS agreed.

X) Anti-Racism Task Force

A) Report by the Chair

The ABTF is focusing on producing a major study and discussion document on white chauvinism within the OC. It will contain:

1. a paper which gives a brief overview of the centrality of the struggle against racism, discusses white chauvinism within the communist movement, and examines the specific racist errors that were made around the Second National Conference and the NMML Conference;

2. some of the more significant criticisms, self-criticisms, and defenses of racism which written in the aftermath of the National Conference;

3. some written self-criticisms of racist errors that have been done within the OC that help to give a more complete picture of the range of racist errors that are made within our movement;

4. some short readings (probably from Harry Haywood’s Black Bolshevik and The Narrative of Hosea Hudson); and

5. discussion questions for use of the document in local centers.

After this document is completed, the ARTF will take up developing a study program on racism for the OC. In conjunction with this study program, the ARTF will attempt to sum up some of the more advanced experience within the OC in the struggle against racism for the whole OC’s benefit.

B) Proposal for an Ideological Campaign Against White Chauvinism

The proposal (submitted to the SC by DW of the SCALC) which is enclosed was approved as amended.

C) National Minority Marxist-Leninist Conference

The SC discussed the continued criticisms within the OC of the resolution on the NMML Conference which was adopted at the Second National Conference of the OCIC. Two things in particular stand out in these criticisms:

1. Comrades who are critical of the resolution avoid discussion of the precise content of the resolution. They criticize it as if it endorsed the political content of the resolutions approved by the NNML Conference.

This is simply not what the resolution states. Furthermore, there should be no ground for confusion on this point since the intent of the resolution was clearly explained at the National Conference.

2. Comrades who are critical of the resolution have assumed an anti-racist posture in objecting to the supposed endorsement of the political content of the resolutions adopted by the NNML Conference without detailed knowledge of those resolutions. But it is a posture.

If their objections truly rested on an anti-racist perspective they would not make the one-sided criticism of the resolution in its entirety but would, instead, vigorously support the aspect of the resolution which criticizes the racism of the OC in its relation to the NMML Conference and criticize only the formulation of Point II in the resolution.

The SC’s analysis is that rather than being based on an anti-racist perspective, the criticism stems from a racist conciliation of the rectification line on the conference–that it was incorrect to organize a conference of national minority comrades on the basis of political principles of unity, that skin color should be a sufficient basis of unity. This conciliation is racist in two ways. First, the rectification line on the conference is racist since it supposes that while communists should in general come together on the basis of all-sided communist politics, national minority communists should come together only on the narrow basis of skin color. Second, the conciliation is racist because it is bound up with the unwillingness of OC forces to take political struggle with the national minority rectification comrades who are leading the attack on the NMML Conference.

XI) OC Centers Task Force

A) Report from the Chair

1) Post Conference Packet on OCIC Centers

Only a few replies have been received to the questions in the packet. It appears that in localities where there are local circles but local centers have not yet been organized, comrades have been negligent in taking up the OC agenda in these circles. The fact that a local center has not yet been established is no excuse for failing to take up the OC agenda. All-group meetings of local circles can be called to take up the agenda in the interim before a local center is established.

a) Summation process

In connection with the growing clarity by the SC on the role of regional centers in the OC process, the process of summing up the responses to the packet has been reorganized. Rather than the responses from all of the local centers, local circles, and individuals being summed up directly at the national level, preliminary summations should be done at the regional level. First, each regional steering committee should sum up the responses from its region. This summation should be used as the basis for organizing discussion and struggle around the outstanding issues at a regional conference. Presentations on the key contending lines should be organized at this conference and, as far as possible, the line struggle should be taken to the point of formally voting on resolutions summing up the various lines. Second, the regional steering committee should sum up the discussion and results of the conference and communicate this to the Chair of the OC Centers Task Force. (Note that this is a change from the SC’s previous plan.)

b) Tim Clemens’ response to the questions

This response demonstrated such profoundly anarchistic views and such a poor understanding of the role of organization in the OC process that the SC decided that it would be useful to respond now before the summation process has been completed. PF was asked to draft a reply.

2) Update on regional developments

There are now fully functioning local centers–Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Southern California. Additionally, there are 4 local centers which have formed but are not yet fully on their feet–Baltimore-D.C. (transitional to separate local centers), Florida (Miami-Tampa), Atlanta, and the Bay Area.

There are firmly established regional steering committees in three of the five regions and regular regional conferences have been established ,in the Western, Mid-West, and Southern regions.

In order to give more leadership to the process, there will be regular meetings of the SC coordinators of each of the five regions with the Chair of the OC Centers Task Force. Additionally, the Chair of each regional steering committee will file a quarterly report.

3) Request for a review of local steering committee selection by the SCALC

The SCALC has taken the position that in order to carry through on subordinating the local process to the national, the SC should review their recent selection of a steering committee to ensure that it conforms to the national perspective. The position is taken as a matter of principle, not because of particular problems with the selection process or competence of the individuals selected.

In the SC’s view this position is unwarrented and an overreaction to the federationist errors which have played such havoc with the SCALC in the past. The SCALC comrades must take responsibility for their own decisions. If there are particular problems which the SCALC needs help with, they should call on the regional steering committee for assistance and should submit a plan of work to that body. It is a mechanical application of the principle of subordination of the local to the national to expect the SC to review the selection of each local steering committee.

The SC does think, however, that it must retain the right to remove local or regional leadership which refuses to implement the plan of work decided on by the National Conference and concretized by the SC in the interval between National Conferences. This is an elementary implementation of democracy in the OC. The majority decides on a plan of work at the National Conference and elects a SC to carry out this plan of work in the period until the next National Conference.

The question at issue here is not removing a comrade from local or regional leadership because of their political line. An example will make this clear. The national workplan calls for exposure of the organizational opportunism of the rectification circle. It is therefore the obligation of local and regional leadership to organize forums for the presentation of this exposure and to ensure the circulation of national documents directed toward this end. That leadership is not expected to actually present the exposure if they disagree with the view, is free to publically disagree with the exposure at such a forum and is free to circulate whatever other documents they wish to. They are not free, however, to refuse to carry out the plan of work of the OC. Such behavior is fundamentally anti-democratic and must be considered grounds for removal from local or regional leadership.

B) Regional structure

There has been considerable confusion within the OC on the role of regional structure in the OC process. The SC addressed several aspects of the quests ion and arrived at the following conclusions:

1. Regular regional conferences which sum up and raise to a higher level the contention between views at the local level will play a crucial intermediate role between local center meetings and National Conferences. Along with local centers, regional centers form part of the strategic conception of the OC process.

2. It is an error to collapse the distinction between regional conferences and regional steering committee meetings. It is vital to build distinct regional steering committees with specific responsibilities–organizing regional conferences, organizing the consolidation of the region around the summation of regional and national conferences, and overseeing the development of local centers in the various localities within the region. The absence of a strong regional steering committee will lead to a lack of centralization in this work and a spontaneous and fragmented development of the OC in the region. It should also be clear that any concession to spontaneity will weaken the struggle against federationism.

3. It is an error to counterpose the development of regional and local OC structure. They must proceed in tandem. If the development of regional structure is neglected, there will be no organizational form through which to realize the subordination of the local process to the national process. It is impossible for the SC to oversee developments in each locality. The SC must work through the various regional steering committees to build a truly national process. Further, regional steering committees will play a leading role in stimulating and overseeing the development of local centers throughout the region. On the other hand, building the OC regionally without taking up building the OC locally is a dead end. It is only through the development of local centers that the base of the OC will be broadened past its present narrow confines.

4. Since the results of struggle in regional conferences (reflected in voting) will be the primary way for the SC and the OC as a whole to scientifically assess the views of the OC base in the interval between National Conferences, this voting should accurately reflect the region. Participation in regional conferences should therefore be on a delegated basis (proportional to membership) from the various local centers in the region. (One regional delegate per 5 local OC members.) Regions can allow the attendance of non-OC members as observers.

5. The SC adopted the OCIC Organizational Structure Outline which is enclosed.

A comprehensive treatment of the role of regional structure will be included in an extensive document the SC is now preparing on local and regional centers.

C) Requirement of participation in local centers

The SC reviewed the decision of its EC that non-participation in the OC at the local level, i.e. in local centers, is incompatible with OC membership. The decision was unanimously supported.

The discussion revolved around the right of the SC to set an organizational rule designed to implement the plan of work decided on at a National Conference. The main points which were made were:

1. The policy that OC members must participate in building local centers is simply an implementation of the will of the Second National Conference. The OC’s First Year clearly specified that building local centers was one “of the main tasks of the OC in this period. No major objections were raised to this at the Second National Conference. Although the precise form of local centers was not specified, it is obviously impossible for comrades in the OC to actually carry this out unless they participate in the local process.

2. The requirement that OC members must participate in local centers does not demand that those OC members who oppose building local centers drop their federationist perspective. They are free to circulate their views in writing and to struggle for their point of view within local centers and at regional and national conferences.

3. The policy in question can only be decided at the national level. The SC is charged with this decision making to carry out the will of the National Conference until the next National Conference. Comrades in the OC who disagree with this policy are free to agitate within the OC to overturn it. They can, for example, attempt to win other forces over to support a call for a special National Conference to overturn the organizational policy set by the SC. They must, however, participate in the local process in order to carry out this struggle. They should attempt to get local centers to pass resolutions against the policy, then attempt to get regional conferences to pass resolutions opposing the policy and calling for a special National Conference.

4. Opposition to this policy will come from federationism and conciliation of federationism. Comrades who agree with the policy but disagree that it should be set by the SC are making an unnecessary and incorrect conciliation of federationism. They are incorrectly elevating the question of tactics in the struggle against federationism (i.e. attempting to avoid charges of an “undemocratic” SC) over the question of asserting the right of the SC to set the organizational policy which carrying out the will of the National Conference demands. In the name of democracy, they advocate hamstringing the ability of the SC to carry out the will of the majority.

XII) Ultra-Leftism Task Force

A) Workplan

The ULTF has adopted the following plan of work for the coming three month periods:

1. Study
a. The Lenin collection Against Right-Wing and Left-Wing Opportunism, Against Trotsyism;
b. PUL on ultra-leftism; and
c. PWOC on ultra-leftism.

2. Short “agitational” articles

In order to promote the discussion of the influences of ultra-leftism within the tendency and advance the consolidation of the tendency around the centrality of the critique of ultra-leftism, two short articles will be written:
a. One (in two parts) on the idealism of the TMLC’s views–the idealist separation of methodology and political line, and the idealist analysis of the history of the CPUSA. (CN will draft this and it will be submitted to the Organizer.)
b. One on the ultra-leftism of Mao Zedong Thought, particularly the ultra-leftism of “the correctness or incorrectness of ideological and political line determines everything” and the reflection of this ultra-leftism in the rectification line. (JF will draft this and it will be submitted to the Guardian.)

These articles are not intended to be the focal point for centralized ideological struggle, only to stimulate discussion of the concrete danger which ultra-leftism poses to our tendency.

3. Major discussion paper

A major discussion paper will be written for the Discussion Bulletin. It is intended to be the focal point for OCIC-wide Centralized ideological struggle and will follow through on The Struggle Over Principle 18 Summed Up by taking up the reexamination of Mao Zedong Thought. The aim is to draw out the idealism, voluntarism, and the exaggeration of the subjective factor in Mao Zedong Thought and its reflection in incorrect views of the relation of politics to economics and the relation of politics and organization.

B) Local work on the critique of ultra-leftism

After the basic orientation of the SC is established through carrying out the workplan above, it is expected that several local groups can be formed nationally to produce discussion papers on various aspects of an all-sided summation of ultra-leftism. Possible topics are the Theory of the Three Worlds, ultra-leftism in party-building line, and various aspects of the history of the anti-revisionist movement.

XIII) 18 Point Study

The SC clarified the objective of the 18 Point Study. The objective is limited to consolidating unity around the 18 principles of unity–ensuring that OC members know the basic material and grasp its political significance. The study is not intended to deepen the level of unity past the stated principles nor is it to provide an introduction to Marxism-Leninism.

It follows from this that the organization of the study should be focused and compact–16 sessions at the most (2 per month for 8 months).

XIV) Discussion Bulletin

Now that the basic plan of work of the SC has gotten off the ground, the SC intends to seriously take up establishing the DB as a central theoretical form for the OC and the tendency. The first issue was discussed.

A) Contents

The emphasis of the first issue will be the struggle against racism. The centerpiece will be the study and discussion document which was reported on in Section X/A above. Comrades who have contributions to make along these lines are urged to submit them to LR, the Chair of the Anti-Racism Task Force for consideration.

It will also contain the SC’s response to the rectification critique of The OC’s First Year and The Draft Plan. It is possible that the discussion paper on Mao Zedong Thought outlined above in Section XII/A will also be ready for this issue.

B) Schedule

In order to bring the publication schedule of the DB in line with meetings of the SC (which have now been established on a regular quarterly schedule), the first issue will be published in mid-July. Contributions to the DB must be received by the appropriate editor by June 1 in order to be considered for the first issue.