Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Jim Jacobs

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


One of the problems with writing a paper which details the internal political struggle of an organization is that the immense detail provided often obscures the general point that is relevant to anyone concerned with radical change in America. The white chauvinism campaign or even the fate of the trend as a whole can only be understood as one aspect of a general crisis of the American Marxist-Leninist left.

In virtually all major Marxist-Leninist organizations, there have been a series of internal disputes leading to splits, expulsions, resignations and paralysis. While the specifics of each conflict differ, the overall problems they reflect are the same. Essentially, the isolation and insignificance suffered by all Marxist-Leninists is increasingly becoming apparent. Not only are none of the organizations growing, but their inability to have ant influence within the struggles of the trade union movement, black liberation movement, women’s movement, and among other organizations of the working class and national minorities, increasingly underscore their irrelevance.

Finally, the recent decade of “party-building” political struggles has taken its toll. Often conducted over minute and abstract political details – the “principal struggle” really served to cover what were personality disputes between leaderships. In addition, the “burning” international questions upon which organizations choose sides without making any independent analysis now seem less clear and worthy of rethinking. After six or seven years of polemics, cadre are becoming demoralized and cynical about the significance of theory and study. This is especially true as what passed for theoretical struggle gave the cadre rarely a clue of how to understand the economic crisis of American capitalism and its impact upon the working class. Nor were these debates able to predict significant international events such as developments in China after the death of Mao, the Polish workers’ actions or the initiation of the Chinese-Vietnam war.

As a result of all these developments debates have broken out which basically raise the question of the future of the Marxist-Leninist movement. On the one hand there are those who persist in the belief that party-building is a subjective struggle, independent of the class struggle. There are believers in the “long-term” approach which will eventually bear out their specific political line and organizational thrust. They are unmoved by their isolation and lack of theoretical development, and to the present crisis they reply, “more of the same.” They see the present situation as a problem which can be resolved by “more discipline,” more “correct line study,” or “more commitment.”

Increasingly, however, some cadre are questioning the entire process and moving back to develop theoretical and practical steps to rectify the present dismal situation. These individuals see the significance of redeveloping a base, and learning how to intervene effectively in mass struggles. In short, to make Marxism-Leninism relevant again.

It is not at all clear the latter group will develop and emerge victorious. It is far easier to respond to the idiocy of the Marxist-Leninist movement by merely dropping away – which many good cadre have done. However, the present situation is weakening all the organizations and allowing a new spirit to emerge which can only advance to make Marxism-Leninism relevant again.