Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Line of March Editorial Board

The OCIC’s Phony War Against White Chauvinism and the Demise of the Fusion Line


The present pamphlet addresses two of the most complex and controversial questions confronting revolutionary activists in the U.S. today: how to take up the struggle against racism, and how to build a vanguard Marxist-Leninist party. While taking up these questions in the context of a specific controversy within the anti-revisionist, anti-“left” opportunist trend in the U. S. communist movement, the pamphlet also advances a set of views that we believe will be of value even after today’s immediate debates are long forgotten.

The specific controversy which has given rise to this polemic concerns the Campaign Against White Chauvinism, which has dominated the internal life of the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center (OCIC) for the past year. The leadership of OCIC has presented this campaign as the most advanced attempt in thirty years to confront racism in the communist movement. We include in an appendix OCIC Chairperson Clay Newlin’s main defense of this view–his article entitled The Second Crisis of U.S. Anti-Revisionism.

As the political center which has most consistently struggled with OCIC leadership over the past few years, we on the Line of March Editorial Board are by now all too familiar with such self-serving summations emanating from OCIC’s leading figures. Eschewing such fantasies, we believe that a thorough analysis of the guiding political line and objective results of OCIC’s campaign would lead to a far different conclusion from Newlin’s.

This pamphlet presents such an alternative analysis, and argues that OCIC’s campaign is a negative experience, one which has served to promote rather than undercut racism. In our view, the campaign represents in concentrated form all of the shortcomings of the fusion party building line which leads the OCIC process. It is precisely this incorrect party building strategy, compounded by the profound sectarianism of OCIC leadership, which has led OCIC to its present impasse, and caused it to degenerate into a mere sect, increasingly isolated within a trend that is gaining steadily in coherence and influence.

Undoubtedly, the struggle over these and other summations of OCIC’s experience will occupy the life of our trend for some time. This is a good thing, for only on the basis of an accurate and all-sided summation of OCIC’s failure can our trend move forward in its party building work, and can the many activists who are now confused and demoralized by their experience with OCIC gain their bearings within the Marxist-Leninist ranks.

In an immediate sense, we have little doubt about the outcome of this struggle to summarize OCIC’s experience. The Campaign Against White Chauvinism has been such a disaster, and OCIC such a spectacular failure, that the bulk of the trend is certain to reject its leadership’s self-serving views and search for other forms to conduct revolutionary activity. However, something more than a quick repudiation of the fusion line and OCIC process is required here, for the questions raised by the present controversy will hardly be settled in one struggle, however intense.

The question of the fight against racism, after all, represents the key particular question of the U.S. revolution. And the controversy over party building line brings to the fore the question of what constitutes true vanguard leadership of the working class movement. The ability of Marxist-Leninists to develop and internalize scientific answers to these questions will be a crucial factor in the overall success of the revolutionary process in the U.S. In this sense, the stakes in the present controversy are high indeed, and the issues raised here will be confronted again and again in the course of the working class struggle. For this reason, the lessons we can learn from this debate will be crucial as even more important and more bitter controversies break out in the years to come.

Line of March Editorial Board
Dale Borgeson
Linda Burnham
Max Elbaum
Bruce Occena
Melinda Paras
Irwin Silber
Bob Wing

March 1981