Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Jim Jacobs

“The OCIC’s White Chauvinism Campaign and its Lessons for the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Movement”

Appendix B: Report to Detroit Local Center Membership on Comrade Paul’s Resignation from the OCIC – From the Detroit Local Center Steering Committee – 9/16/80

At the last local Center membership meeting it was reported that Comrade Paul was resigning from the OCIC. This resignation was verbally communicated to Comrade PF of the Local Center Steering Committee on June 22, 1980. In the discussion which took place the day before he was to leave out of the country for several weeks, Comrade Paul said that he did not believe that party building was possible in this period; that the working class was not ready for party building; that the movement was no longer “fun” anymore because of all the criticisms (meaning the campaign against white chauvinism) and that he has been questioning Leninism for quite some time. This discussion and Comrade Paul’s resignation was then relayed to the Detroit Local Center Steering Committee at its June 29 1980 meeting.

Upon his return home in August, Comrade Paul contacted PF by phone. In this conversation he denied that he had intended to resign from the OCIC. He said that he had “only questions” about the possibility of building a Communist party, that he “only had questions” about the readiness of the working class to take up party building, and that he only had questions about Leninism. He further stated that his “questions” did not disqualify him from unity with the OCIC and that in his view everyone had questions about the possibility of building a communist party and the ability of the working class to take it up. He further accused PF and the Local Center Steering Committee of manipulating his resignation in order to suppress struggle around his paper “The Struggle Around Racism.”

At its meeting of September 6, 1980, Comrade PF made a full report of the discussion. The Local Center SC voted unanimously to demand of Comrade Paul a thorough self-criticism of his views that party building is not possible, that the working class is not able or capable of building a revolutionary party, that he doubts the correctness of the Leninist vanguard party, and his view that others in the Detroit Local Center have questions on the same views. It is the perspective of the SC of the Detroit Local Center that such a thorough going self-criticism on the part of Comrade Paul is the only principled basis upon which application for re-admittance to the OCIC can be considered.

The decision of the SC was relayed verbally by phone to Comrade Paul by Comrade PF. His response was to refuse to write such a self-criticism and to refuse to listen to the criticisms that the Local Center SC wished to raise with him. He stated that he wanted the SC to puts its decision in writing and that he would protest the decision with the National Steering Committee.

The Local Center SC would like to briefly state to the membership the criticisms it wishes to raise with Comrade Paul, specifically the profoundly racist and anti-working class views which are represented in his views on the possibility of party building and the capabilities of the multi-national working class to take it up. In the view of the SC, Comrade Paul’s views are fully consistent with his practice.

Like most white, petit-bourgeois comrades in the party building movement, a bourgeois liberal approach to the struggle against racism has led Comrade Paul to present himself throughout his political life as a “friend of Black people.” Comrade Paul, like the bourgeois liberal, sees racism as a problem for colored people only. With missionary zeal, white comrades see themselves as coming to the aid of colored people because in their view they are in need of uplifting. They think that colored folks need at least a few “good” whites on their side to help defend them against the racism of the white workers. So the white liberal will separate him or herself off from the white workers and run to their “Black friends” to tell them how racist the white workers are. The bourgeois liberal views white workers as hopelessly racist, Archie 8unker types.

This view leads white comrades to moralize, chastize and berate white workers for their racism while they themselves refuse to own up to the fact that they too are influenced by white chauvinist attitudes.

In a discussion between Comrade PF and Paul recently, a question was posed to Comrade Paul, asking him to put himself in a position where he was attempting to struggle with some white workers against white chauvinist attitudes. The example was en actual situation that had confronted another white comrade at his plant. The company instituted two new production lines one day – one was all-Black workers and was the more difficult line physically. The other was all white workers. The attitude expressed by some of the white workers was that “Blacks were more suited for the more physically demanding work” and therefore saw nothing wrong with the segregation on the line. What would Comrade Paul say to these white workers? His reply to Comrade PF was that he would tell the white workers: “You think those fucking workers are more stupid than you are!”

This example clearly illustrates the racist and anti-working class attitudes of Comrade Paul. He refers to Black workers in a profoundly hostile and slanderous tone and says that they are stupid. Then he says that white workers are stupid as well but they only think they are less stupid than Black workers. The attitudes expressed in this example only serve to underscore Comrade Paul’s statements about party building and the utilities of the multi-national working class to take it up.

Instead of approaching the struggle against racism from the point of view that all working people have a stake in a vigorous and consistent struggle against every manifestation of white chauvinism and racism, the bourgeois liberal uses the number of Black “friends” accumulated as the measure of one’s anti-racism.

For example, this approach led Comrade Paul to attempt to boost his ratings in the movement and that of DMLO by boasting that a member of DMLO was the only white person in an all national minority caucus. But Comrade Paul never questioned why there weren’t any white workers in the caucus. Instead, he uses the number of national minority people in a caucus as a measure of one’s anti-racism. “Look how much Black people look up to our white missionaries!” is the white chauvinist attitude.

Comrade Paul has posed as the white friend of a number of Black revolutionaries and organizations throughout his political life. He has used his political associations with organizations like SNCC, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and DARE [the Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy – EROL] to promote an anti-racist image for himself. But what has been the content of his relationships with national minority communists and leaders of the mass movement? They have been characterized by racist paternalism. By his own admission, he does not struggle with the national minority leadership of, for example, DARE around ideological weaknesses. According to his own statements, he has never raised the question of racism and anti-working class bias as obstacles to the development of a national minority and working class leadership body in DARE.

Comrade Paul himself admits that the leadership body of DARE is now predominantly white and that this is a problem which has not been addressed. But Comrade Paul refuses to recognize that it is his unity with white chauvinist ideology and anti-working class bias which prevents him from raising these questions. It is because he himself does not believe that the national minority, working class members at the base of DARE are capable of providing a leading role that presents him from raising the ideological struggle.

Has Comrade Paul ever struggled with comrades in DARE to win them over to unity with the need for party building? Has he taken up struggle ideologically with opposing points of view on this question? How could Comrade Paul possibly take this on if he himself does not believe In the abilities of the working class to grasp the need for revolution and party building? In relationship to national minority people, to hold back from ideological struggle is racism. It expresses the white chauvinist view that national minority people are not capable of taking up such questions as party building. In relationship to white workers, it is an expression of anti-working class bias.

In DMLO, Comrade Paul has operated off the view that multi-national unity is not possible nor correct, and has put forward this position within the organization. What this view amounts to is a “whites only” segregationist policy in the party building movement. This amounts to a racist justification for the racism which drove out the national minority comrades from the organization and which has been all-white ever since then. Comrade Paul’s view is that instead of building multinational unity, the task of white Marxist-Leninists is to build “alliances” with national minority revolutionary and progressive forces in the mass movement, not the party building movement. The white chauvinist basis for this argument is that national minority comrades are not capable of taking up party building. The “whites only” policy serves to protect this white chauvinism. As long as DMLO was all-white, comrades could maintain a conspiracy on white chauvinism. They did not think they had to struggle against racism among themselves in the organization or in summing up their work in the mass movement to the extent that it existed. As long as there were no national minority comrades in the organization, white comrades did not have to feel “uncomfortable.” In other words, they didn’t have to struggle ideologically and didn’t have to hear about criticisms of their racism and white chauvinism. The fact that no one in the organization ever challenged the racism of maintaining in principle the all-white character of the organization speaks to the depth of the conspiracy on white chauvinism which existed in DMLO.

Has Comrade Paul taken the 18 Principles of Unity to white working class people? Has he shared them with national minority members of DARE? Has he struggled for the participation of national minority and working class people to participate in the 18 Point Study? Will he be able to share and struggle around the Draft Plan for an Ideological Center with people in DARE given his views about the ability of working people to take up party building tasks? Given his lack of confidence in the working class, how can Comrade Paul take the OCIC seriously?

It is these attitudes which are the obstacles to transforming the organized party building movement from the hegemony of the white and petit-bourgeois to the multi-national working class. This is the only way a revolutionary party in this country will be built. Without this advanced character, our movement will remain in its present state – incapable of answering the pressing questions of the class struggle.

Comrade Paul believes that everyone has questions about party building in the OCIC. He believes that everyone else lacks confidence in the working class. This is a slap in the face to all those who have demonstrated their unity with the tasks of party building through their willingness to engage in the process of criticism and self-criticism In order to move the party building process forward. It is Comrade Paul who has refused to be self-critical and has refused to look at his errors. Comrade Paul has made a choice between Marxism-Leninism and holding on to bourgeois ideology. His refusal to be self critical of his racist and anti-working class views demonstrates which class he wishes to align himself with. Those who are taking steps to break with the white chauvinist conspiracies which have for so long held back the party building movement are demonstrating their commitment to Marxism-Leninism.

The LC SC wishes to raise a number of other criticisms of Comrade Paul as well. Comrade Paul made his intentions to resign known to Comrade PF at a social gathering at his house. It was a party which Comrade PF and the rest of the local Center SC were not invited to attend because in his own words, he ’’didn’t want lunatics busting up his party.” The lunatics were those who have been taking up the sharpest criticisms of white chauvinism. In the main this struggle has been led by the national minority comrades. The white chauvinism in his view of the national minority comrades as “lunatics” is all too obvious. It 1s the same white chauvinist view of Black people as emotional savages whom whites cannot reason with. But Comrade Paul does not believe that he is influenced by white chauvinism!

Comrade Paul “entrusted” his views (he thought) on party building and the abilities of the multi-national working class and his intentions to resign from the OCIC “in private” conversation with Comrade PF. But Comrade PF did not view this as a private conversation. Ideological struggle is not reserved for meeting rooms! So at the next meeting of the LC SC and the membership it was reported that Comrade Paul had resigned from the OCIC. But when Comrade Paul found out that his resignation and conversation with Comrade PF had been taken seriously – that his class stand was being taken seriously – he said that he had only “questions” about the possibility of party building and about the abilities of the working class. This so-called change in position from definite views to “questions” is supposed to suffice as a change in class stand, according to Comrade Paul’s view. No, comrade, Marxist-Leninists are accountable for their class stand whenever and wherever they are, and your “questions” are only a cover for not wanting to be held accountable for it. All comrades must hold each other accountable – to do otherwise is to promote conspiracies and opportunist alliances.

In terms of the charges made by Comrade Paul that the Local Center SC is attempting to suppress his views on the current campaign against white chauvinism, these charges are completely unfounded. The circulation of his paper locally and regionally is hardly an expression of suppression of his views!

To Comrade Paul, the Local Center SC’s position is that the OCIC and the revolutionary movement in this country cannot wait for the white, petit-bourgeois to make up their minds about whether or not the working class is ready for revolution. And the OCIC will not tolerate these obstacles to forging multi-national, working class unity. The struggle against white chauvinism and anti-working class bias is aimed at transforming the historic hegemony of the white, petit-bourgeois in the organized party building movement. It is aimed at clearing the way for the emergence of a working class vanguard. To conciliate to any extent comrades who demonstrate no commitment to this struggle is to attempt to maintain “petit-bourgeois socialism”. It is only through the process of criticism and self-criticism that a truly communist working class party can come into being.