Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Ex-Boston Local Center/OCIC Members

The OCIC’s Phoney Campaign: Ultra-“Leftism” in Command Once Again


The last BLC meeting can be characterized as an extreme abuse of democracy in the effort by the supporters of the campaign to not conciliate the opposition. This effort was many-sided but the essential result was a demagogic squelching of genuine ideological struggle.

The following are examples of this abuse of democracy:

1. The leadership changes that have occurred in the LSC and the RSC since the regional conference were not only not discussed, but the body of the BLC was not told about them (R./H. removed, C./F./L. put on). The leadership obviously felt it was okay for this major shakeup of leadership to occur without explanation or membership discussion. Comrades need to examine what a serious breach of democratic practice this is. True democracy demands explanation and discussion, but the comings and goings of leadership and the reasons for it are apparently self-evident to the BLC leadership. The rank and file BLC members should accept and have blind faith. In truth, the BLC leadership is hiring and firing like the owners of a business.

We were told that F. and L. were removed from the LSC and why but we were never told of leadership’s assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. The same goes for C. In the past, we have always had written evaluations of cadre proposed for leadership. This went by the boards, another departure from democratic norms.

All of the original study group leaders for the 18 pt. study have been removed or are on probation. No mention was made of this at all, let alone the thinking behind it.

There was no summation, written or oral, or even a report of the regional conference. For those comrades in the know, this is fine. They know what went down, the key struggles, etc. For those who weren’t there (most of us), we depend on the news we can gather. This lack of summation or report leaves the majority of OC members in the dark and probably missing a number of significant developments. This effectively leaves us out of the process of the OC.

All considered, the practice of the leadership around recent events has been to treat the OC like a private club, where only the gang that’s running things is privy to information.

2. No mention was made of the fact that the leading member of the BLC, D. J. – an elected member of the RSC, resigned from the OCIC. Why did leadership hide this? What happened with comrade J.? Were errors made toward her? Or, was there something wrong with our evaluation of her leadership? Or is it something else going on? No one knows, except those in the know, and they kept this a secret. The failure to report on J. is consistent with our previous failure to report on cadre leaving the OC and their reasons for doing so. It is important for the rank and file to be informed not just when people come into the OC, but also when people leave. To ignore things like J’s leaving is to have the attitude “screw ’em, it never mattered they were here in the first place”. Such arrogance and contempt toward comrades, regardless of race/class background, has no place in a communist organization.

3. At the meeting Jenny F. was called upon to summarize a full opposition position. She had not been informed that she would be called on to do so. There is no reason why leadership could not have informed Comrade F. of its intentions to ask her to do this. Also Comrade F. did not get the written material for the BLC meeting until the night before (many people did not). In giving her-presentation of the opposition to the campaign, F. had to struggle to be allowed to have the three minute time period extended. It was extended to five minutes and when her comments were still not finished, F. was criticized for not getting to the point. When F. stated she was not certain exactly how long her comments would take because she had not been asked to prepare a statement, she was criticized for pleading for paternalism. As was evidenced, leadership was far more interested in harassing F. than in dealing with the content of her criticisms, (more on these) which were never addressed. Then, after her opening presentation, despite the fact that her hand was raised at every point, JF was not called on to speak again for one hour 25 minutes, and then only after she raised a point of order criticizing the chair for this obvious muzzling. This is despite the fact that after JF spoke initially several comrades made opportunist efforts attempting to discredit her which she wasn’t allowed to address. When Isaac B. attempted to point out this opportunism, his comments were ignored.

4. Other opponents of the CAWC were barely given an opportunity to put forward their views. For example, Comrade S. was called upon only once in a 7 hour meeting. This despite the fact that she had written and distributed to many comrades (including the LSC) an extensive document laying out her criticisms of the CAWC. Mike R. was called on only two times. Maria C. was called on only after raising a point of order criticizing the chair for not calling on her and then she was not allowed to speak to the point she wanted to address. She instead was asked to speak to her views of Comrade W.. O’H. was called on once and then as if she had been hiding out, when she had her hand up consistently, but wasn’t called on. Then, the icing on the cake was Comrades D. and W. sharply criticizing the opposition for hiding out in the meeting. The absurdity and manipulation of this is apparent. Both of these comrades were sitting in the front row, their backs to the rest of the room. They didn’t see a room full of people with their hands up that didn’t get called on by the chair.

5. Many concrete criticisms of the CAWC/PBC and of the local, regional, and national leadership were raised by opposition forces. For example, Comrade F. raised criticisms of ultra-leftism, idealism and unprincipled methods of struggle, She pointed to the phoney struggle that drove Tyree Scott out of the OC, the line of the Boston LSC that half of the comrades of the BLC will leave and that’s fine, the atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the OC, her own scapegoating, the liquidation of party building tasks (other than the CAWC), the fact that all national minority comrades in NE have left and finally the ultra left line on interpersonal relationships. These criticisms were never seriously responded to. They were swept under the rug and labelled speculations on various forms of chauvinisms. An example of this unprincipled method of struggle was Alice C’s response to JF’s comments. C declared that JF was elaborating a theoretical defense of white and PB chauvinism. She accused JF of appealing to sexism, of wanting to have a place where weaknesses wouldn’t be exposed. While there is no doubt that C. thought that she was being sharp, what she was doing was totally unprincipled and completely a posture. She did not respond to the criticisms raised by F. She did not struggle for a position that she thought was correct. Instead she tried to discredit JF by counter attack. Alice C. and the entire BLC has to take seriously the question of ultra-leftism in the line on interpersonal relationships. We have to look closely and speak to our unity or disunity with the struggles that have gone on with F./R., C./R., Scott and the woman that he is involved with. To dismiss these criticisms, with the constant charge of “speculation” is an unprincipled debating trick to avoid the content of the criticism.

6. Comrade D. proposed a motion to extend discussion 10 minutes on the interpersonal relationship question. This is entirely correct parliamentary procedure. Sal W., chair of the RSC, tried to overturn D’s motion. This he called “putting politics primary”. D. was ruled out of order and criticized for his opportunism. An important issue was at stake – the democratic rights of BLC comrades. The error wasn’t D’s opportunism, but Williams’ anti-democracy.

As for the rest of the meeting...

The struggle with comrade F. was a phoney struggle against capitulation that should not have gone on as it diverted from the 2 line struggle that needed to happen. However it is the logic of the CAWC that promotes diversionary struggles such as this one. At the Sept. NE Regional Conf., the resolution on “Carry Through the Struggle Against White Chauvinism” stated: “Whereas white chauvinism and secondarily anti-working class bias are the main obstacles within the OC blocking the OC in its task of uniting the tendency... Be it resolved that this conference.... fully endorse the campaign against white chauvinism and anti-working class bias and that it call on all OC members to carry out a sharp and persistent struggle against all manifestations of white chauvinism and anti-working class bias within the OC”. Thus the CAWC’s line is to take up any and all manifestations, regardless of their bearing on the struggle at hand. In this way, we got sidetracked.

The struggle with comrade F. over her capitulation to petty-bourgeois chauvinism points to the petty-bourgeois chauvinism in the LSC and the RSC and their willingness to tokenize and use F. Comrade F. said that she saw errors in the way the CAWC/PBC was being carried out. She pointed to errors of paternalism, posturing, and capitulation. Comrade F. was never allowed to speak to her criticisms. She was immediately counter-criticized for capitulation. She was used by the LSC/RSC. The view was clear. Liz F. is a leading comrade when she agrees with us. She is backwards, conciliating the opposition, and capitulating to petty-bourgeois chauvinism when she doesn’t. F’s criticisms of the CAWC, according to the LSC/RSC was the basis of her capitulation to petty-bourgeois chauvinism.

The internal logic of this racist and petty-bourgeois chauvinist line works like this: the CAWC/PBC equals the sum and total of the struggle against white and petty-bourgeois chauvinism. Any disagreement with the CAWC/PBC is really a disagreement with and an unwillingness to take up struggle against white and petty bourgeois chauvinism. Working class and national minority comrades who disagree with the SAWC/PBC must be satisfied with the level of white chauvinism and petty-bourgeois chauvinism that exists in the communist movement today. This can only be attributed to working class and national minority comrades’ capitulation to these chauvinisms.

This, comrades, is the ridiculously faulty logic upon which our leadership bases its line on capitulation. Disunity or criticisms aren’t taken seriously but explained away as capitulation. The dialectical Marxist-Leninist methodology of unity-struggle-unity is thrown to the dogs.

The struggle with Liz F. was called into question when comrade G., a nonmember/speaking observer, raised some important points. She noted how the meeting had gotten away from the 2 line struggle and that we should get back to that. This was correct. She also criticized the LSC for their role in the struggle. The LSC, as well as the RSC, were focusing on F’s accommodation to tokenism and petty-bourgeois chauvinism, drawing out F’s view of her own capitulation. What we should have heard in the context of this struggle was the LSC speaking to why F. and L. were “shuffled around like a piece of paper” in their short time on the LSC. For F. to accommodate, she has to be accommodating something. Petit-bourgeois chauvinism clearly is primary in this contradiction.

Instead of accepting this criticism the LSC and the RSC in the persons of C. and D. struggled with G. for hiding out and for getting off the track of the discussion. Her comments were ignored and not responded to.

Comrades need to step back and look at this loss of perspective. This was comrade G’s first OC meeting. She is not an OC member at this time. To assume that a non-member observer at their first OC meeting should jump in and take up the struggle in the same way that an OC member would is an example of abstract equality. (This is not to speak to comrade G’s ability.) Even so, G. did speak out and her comments were right on target. Our leadership was again using this national minority comrade. They engaged in a phoney, racist struggle against G’s hiding out. They wanted to appear non-paternalistic and only interested in moving forward the SAWC. Instead, they exposed their unwillingness to listen to criticisms, to listen to what a national minority comrade was really saying. They proved only their willingness to go to any length to appear as anti-racist as possible at the expense of moving the CAWC forward and at the expense of comrade G. It was ten minutes later when the same point raised by G. was re-raised by F. that it finally got listened to by the chair.

Comrade C. spoke to her errors in liquidating G’s comments, but when comrade F. raised a point of order asking to speak to her errors, she was ruled out of order and criticized for her opportunism. F. discussed this with the chair after the break explaining that she felt her contribution would have moved the struggle against white chauvinism forward. F’s error toward G. was that F. had been thinking the struggle was getting off the main point for about 20 minutes before G. made her remark, however, F. was not willing to put that forward until after G. had spoken. In other words, comrade F. was willing to use comrade G. to raise a point but was unwilling to bear the responsibility for that position herself. As it turned out, many other comrades were making the same error as F. and the exposure of this error would have been important. A further error of Jenny F’s was that she did not mention her unity with comrade G’s comments for fear of being criticized for chauvinism toward that comrade!

During the break, comrade C. agreed that F’s comments would have been helpful to the body, but was not herself self-critical. Instead she criticized F; for not stating her point of order more clearly. Still, C. did not bring this information to the body after the break.

The struggle over the campaign’s line on interpersonal relationships brought out the ultra-leftism of the line. All or nothing, a clean break or no relationship. This is the line that the leadership is advocating. This was brought out clearly in the example of F. and R. Ignore any movement, any change, but because after 2 months of struggle R. hadn’t sufficiently broken with his male chauvinism, the relationship should end. It was hopelessly opportunist and stagnating. The same is true in the example that R. brought out about herself and Manuel C. Comrade Carla saying to C., “You’re going home with that”, referring to Jane R. Is this comradely struggle? Has the practice of struggle with the comrades in these relationships been to move them forward or to isolate and smash them, ignoring a dialectical process. We think the latter.

It should be clear to all BLC comrades that there was considerable disunity around this question at the last BLC meeting. The RSC, C., C., F., L., and M. spoke to their unity with this line. The rest of the BLC did not.

Comrade F. called for a straw vote to assess the unity or disunity with this line. This was ruled out of order and criticized for opportunism. In fact, a straw vote would have contributed to a democratic process of struggle, and would have given the body of the BLC an assessment of where the membership stood on the question. This wasn’t clear because most people did not speak to the line.

A straw vote would have moved this struggle forward. Calling the suggestion opportunist and out of order certainly did not.