Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center

Resolution on the OC’s First Year

Published: Conference Transcripts and Resolutions, Second National OCIC Conference, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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EROL Note: This resolution was adopted at the Second National Conference of the OCIC, September 1-3, 1979.

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In the U.S. today there is a single anti-revisionist movement, united in its rejection of revisionism ideologically, politically and organizationally. That movement is presently divided into two main forces contending for ideological influence over the bulk of communists – an ultra-left trend and a Marxist-Leninist tendency. A minor centrist current has also developed.

Currently, the ultra-left trend exercises ideological hegemony. This trend is marked by its systematic political viewpoint on the major questions facing the U.S. revolution, its relatively large number of adherents and its relatively well-developed organization. Its politics are characterized by “left” opportunism manifest principally on party-building line, the role of communists in the reform struggle, the relation of democracy to socialism and on international line. Despite their ideological dominance, the ultra-lefts have begun to stagnate – disoriented by the new and complex problems posed by the class struggle, suffering acute isolation from the broader left and the masses, facing diminishing opportunities for cadre recruitment. This tendency towards stagnation has served to accelerate the process of consolidation around the CPML.

Between the ultra-left trend and the Marxist-Leninist tendency, a centrist current has emerged. This current is distinguished by its desire to declare itself in opposition to ultra-leftism on the one hand but its inability to make a decisive break with the key manifestation of “left” opportunism, “left” internationalism, on the other. As the CPML-sponsored “unity” trip to China demonstrates, the logic of the centrist political views inevitably drive them towards a merger with the ultra-lefts.

By definitely rejecting “left” internationalism the Marxist-Leninist tendency has made a genuine break with ultra-leftism. Nevertheless, its break is only an initial one. The break has neither been extended to other primary expressions of “left” opportunism on political line nor has it been deepened through the identification of the primary ideological errors of the ultra-lefts. In addition, the Marxist-Leninist tendency has only begun the process of elaborating an alternative system of politics to that of the ultra-lefts. As a result, this tendency is more’ appropriately called anti-“left” than Marxist-Leninist.

Despite a widening gulf between itself and the ultra-lefts, the anti-“left” tendency still suffers mainly from its inadequate rectification of ultra-leftism. Its inadequate separation from “left-wing” communism is apparent in two main areas. First, there is still a tendency to conciliate with ultra-leftism by being unwilling to consistently uphold the line of demarcation with “left” internationalism. Some comrades are still reluctant to vigorously promote a separation with the “Three Worlds Theory” throughout the communist movement. As a result, our tendency has not progressed as far as it might have in exposing the flunkeyism, the irrational fear of revisionism, and the dogmatism underlying unity with this counterrevolutionary theory.

The second, and in fact even more stubborn, manifestation of ultra-leftism retarding the development of the anti-“lefts” is the circle spirit. The circle spirit consists of the failure to subordinate one’s own narrow circle of comrades to the interests of the anti-“left” tendency as a whole. This narrow mentality not only fosters unnecessary organizational exclusiveness and splits in our tendency, but also serves to shield the survivals of “leftist” thinking in our ranks.

Within the anti-“left” tendency the circle spirit is headquartered in and around the leadership of the National Network of Marxist-Leninist Clubs (NNMLC). The present leadership, rather than the NNMLC as a whole, has consistently refused to subordinate its own narrow designs to the common interests of our tendency and the communist movement as a whole. It has refused to commit itself not only in words but in deeds to the struggle for a single leading center in our tendency. In so doing it has undermined the drive to generate a party spirit among the anti-“lefts”. Fundamentally, the leadership of the Clubs has displayed a consistent disdain for the communist principles of collectivity and centralized effort. This is reflected not only in the practice of the Network in relation to the OC but in the NNMLC’s own views on its internal organization. In essence, the NNMLC has abandoned the struggle for a common party-building strategy in the anti-“left” tendency as a whole.

It is the OC which has played the leading role in developing the anti-“left” tendency. The OC has led the struggle against “left” opportunism generally and in particular the fight for firm lines of demarcation with it. It has been the primary exponent of the need to struggle for a single leading center, the first line of the fight against a narrow circle approach to party-building, and, in deeds, the advance guard of the battle against localism and federationism. Organizationally, the OC has been in the forefront of evolving methods for conducting principled ideological struggle and of developing a broad, movement-wide process open to the varied political views in – and the various organizational expressions of – the developing Marxist-Leninist trend.

Along with the contributions listed above, the OC has made a number of other positive advances. It has established a functioning national Steering Committee, initiated a couple of local centers for ideological struggle, and given support to the National Minority Conference. In addition, it has developed considerable outreach, conducted a survey of the state of the communist movement, and established beginning regional structures.

The most important weakness in the OC’s work has been its inadequate attention to internal consolidation. This failing was expressed particularly in the failure to pursue the study curriculum around the 18 points of unity, the inattention given to strengthening the struggle against racism within the OC’s ranks, and its neglect of ensuring theoretical consolidation on the dangers posed by federationism and localism. And it was also revealed in the SC’s failure to develop clear and politically focused documents, materials and study guides, making possible a good educational process for all OC members.

A second important weakness was the inadequate attention given to its tasks by the Steering Committee (SC). The SC did not pay sufficient attention to elaborating and disseminating the thinking underlying its various initiatives. It failed to provide systematic leadership to the development of local centers - forcing comrades to solve the difficult problems encountered in attempting to build them with minimal guidance. And the SC also did not give enough energy to developing regional structures and following up on local initiatives.

On the basis of this summation of the OC, the following tasks are on its immediate agenda:
1) Consolidate as much of the anti-“left” tendency as possible around a plan to forge a single leading center.
2) Develop and consolidate an all-sided summation of modern “left-wing” communism – identifying both its principal manifestations, its ideological roots and material basis.
3) Consolidate and deepen the OC’s unity around the 18 points.
4) Strengthen the OC’s grasp of the centrality of racism, particularly in relation to the forms in which racism expresses itself in the communist movement. (The SC should develop a detailed and thorough study plan which includes a review of the historical weaknesses of the communist movement in relation to the struggle against racism. And further, the SC should implement any special means necessary to analyze and give guidance to all facets of the struggle against white chauvinism in the OC.)
5) Consolidate the OC’s opposition to federationism.
6) Strengthen the role of the SC.
7) Continue outreach, particularly to national minority Marxist-Leninists.
8) Develop OCIC centers, particularly local centers.

Based on the discussions at the national conference, a concrete and specific plan on how each of these tasks is to be taken up should be developed and circulated by the incoming OC Steering Committee.