Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Bay Area Socialist Organizing Committee

Confronting Reality/Learning from the History of Our Movement

BASOC’s Original Points of Unity

Political Perspective: A Starting Point

We are a growing number of more than several dozen independent Marxist-Leninists in the Bay Area who have been meeting regularly since September 1977 with the aim of increasing our political unity and organizational ties. Among us are former members and sympathizers of groups such as PLP, RU, and OL, but many of us have moved towards Marxism-Leninism independently through involvement in the mass movements of the 1960s–the civil rights, student, women’s and anti-war movements. Some of us are presently members of independent collectives and organizations.

The following points summarize the common outlook we have arrived at through our varied involvement in revolutionary work:

1. We are Marxist-Leninist and anti-revisionist. Our philosophical viewpoint is dialectical and historical materialism. Our political outlook recognizes the class nature of the state, and the necessity of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Some of us received our political education on these questions in the struggle that was waged in the 1960s by the Chinese Communist Party and the Albanian Party of Labor against the political line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

2. Our involvement on the Left and in mass struggles has confirmed our commitment to the above ideas. In addition, it has taught us further lessons. In recent years, the twin problems of dogmatism and sectarianism have been the main obstacles to the fusion of the communist movement with the working class, and to the development of a genuine communist party.

We are anti-dogmatic. We attempt to carry out serious theoretical work. We are not satisfied with generalizing the assumed lessons of previous revolutions without studying history and analyzing present conditions. We are anti-sectarian. We put the interest of the people’s movements as whole above those of our organization. We do no scorn the reform movement. On the contrary, we give assistance and, where possible, direction to all forms of class and political struggles. We attempt to imbue them with communist class consciousness. We can only do this by learning to integrate ourselves with the masses. Defeating sectarianism and developing an earnest approach to mass struggles is probably our main task in this period. Until sectarian thinking and methods of work are defeated, it is wishful thinking to imagine that a correct political line or communist party can develop.

3. We are anti-racist. The fight against national oppression is of prime importance for the revolutionary movement. We will not, under the phony guise of a “class” line, downplay the black liberation movement and other third world struggles for democratic rights. To do so would reflect a failure to understand the revolutionary significance of third world struggle and its relationship with the working class.

We belive that working class unity can only be built on the recognition of the needs of national minorities; that black and other third world workers are among the most politically advanced leaders of the class; that anti-racist movements should be led by revolutionary third world workers and intellectuals. (We do not have a position yet as to the existence of a black nation.)

4. We are anti-sexist. It is imperative that the revolutionary movement give serious support to the movement against women’s oppression and struggle against all manifestations of sexism within its ranks. We will not relegate the fight against women’s oppression to the background by counter-posing it to other class and political struggles.

5. We are anti-imperialist. Our main internationalist responsibility is solidarity with and support for oppressed people in their fight against U.S. imperialism. While we agree that the Soviet Union is not the genuine friend of the world’s peoples it claims to be, we will not use this as an excuse to waver in our principled commitment to all the liberation struggles that are aimed at our own ruling class.

6. We oppose bureaucratic centralism. While we want to work towards a democratic centralist party, we are aware that at this stage there is not a political leadership that has been adequately tested and developed in revolutionary work. To build a healthy movement, it is imperative that we show respect for each other and guarantee full democratic debate on all important questions facing our organizations.

These ideas are not the last word. Many important issues are not even addressed by this document. It is merely a starting point, a framework for further study and discussion. We feel there are many independent communists who will generally agree with our perspective. We welcome them in our ranks. In addition, we have no fantasies of being the pre-party formation. We are interested in making contact with any Marxist-Leninist groups of individuals who consider themselves part of the anti-sectarian/anti-dogmatist trend.

(January 1978)