Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Successful Left Unity

First Issued: December 1986.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We are happy to announce that in December 1986, after prolonged and intensive discussions, the Organization for Revolutionary Unity joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The ORU formed around four years ago on the West Coast. Working mainly in the Bay Area, its members have been active in the labor movement and in Central America solidarity work. They also published several pamphlets on topics ranging from the international situation to the role of working women in class struggle.

This unification has some significance beyond what it represents for the members of these two groups. Both FRSO and the ORU trace their histories back to the early 1970s and the “new communist movement.” Since the beginning of this decade, however, many of the organizations comprising that movement have dissolved, generally as a result of internal struggles which they could not survive. The FRSO and the ORU can count themselves among the survivors of that period.

Unification has additional significance. The ORU was founded in opposition to the “Three Worlds thesis,” the analysis first promulgated by the Communist Party of China in 1977. That thesis divided the world into three general categories according to the relations of countries to the struggle against the U.S. and Soviet superpowers. The ORU, while opposing both superpowers, believed that the Three Worlds thesis encouraged collaboration with the U.S. and other advanced Western capitalist states. FRSO, which was founded in 1985 with the unification of the Proletarian Unity League and the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, holds to the basic analytical framework represented by the Three Worlds thesis. Believing that this framework is a basically correct and useful way of analyzing united front forces–friends and enemies–on a global scale, the FRSO also upholds that framework’s emphasis on struggles for national liberation and national independence.

Despite these general differences, the ORU and FRSO were able to reach substantial agreement when analyzing specific world events and appropriate tactical responses. Realizing this was an important indicator of basic unity between us gave us confidence in working for greater unity within a single organization. Differences remain, but in our work together over the last two years we have built significant unity around our tasks both in the peoples’ movements and in building revolutionary Marxist organization. We have come to agreement on the central role played by white-supremacist national oppression and the national liberation struggles against it in this country. And we have reached new unity around our more immediate work for a mass progressive politics with the Black struggle for parity at its core.

The unification of the ORU and FRSO should also be seen in the context of other similar efforts such as the recent unification of the International Socialists, Workers Power and Socialist Unity to form Solidarity. These successful unity struggles, as well as the work of groups like the League of Revolutionary Struggle and a number of local collectives, all represent efforts to reverse the dissolution and defeatism within the revolutionary Left. While we don’t intend to exaggerate the significance of any of our groups, all our efforts can play an important role in rebuilding a national revolutionary Left with an independent socialist vision for the United States.

The FRSO, now joined by the comrades of the ORU, looks forward to working closely with others on the Left. We look forward to building the closest possible ideological, political and organizational unity to help make the revolutionary Left a vital force on the national political scene.