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 Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center (OCIC) has experienced a profound and what may prove to be irreversible crisis, marking its collapse as the largest organizational formation within the anti-revisionist, anti-“left” opportunist trend. This crisis also signals a qualitative demise in the influence of the PWOC’s fusion line, the party building line which produced the OCIC itself and which has enjoyed dominant influence in our trend until recently.

The phenomena attesting to this crisis in the OCIC have been so overwhelming and dramatic that the leadership has not even attempted to deny the crisis. Expulsions, mass resignations, shifts in leadership bodies, etc, have accelerated to the point where even the continued existence of the OCIC itself is called into question. The core of cadre remaining show unmistakable signs of demoralization and disorientation. In the wake of the crisis, Clay Newlin, the leading theoretician and political spokesperson of the PWOC/OCIC, has struck the posture of defending a besieged fortress. This is evidenced in his increasingly reckless commentaries in The Organizer and elsewhere in which, while grudgingly admitting that the OCIC is isolated and shrinking, he goes on to appeal to the remnant OCIC loyalists to hold firm in the face of all odds, for the sake of the fusion line, for the “sake of the proletariat.” Unfortunately, the U.S. communist movement has witnessed this retrograde and sectarian syndrome time and time again. It is a sobering reminder that our trend is not immune, simply by nature of its initial break with “left” opportunism, from some of the more endemic problems of the New Communist Movement of the ’60s and ’70s. Taking note of the OC crisis in this manner, however, can only be the starting point and not the conclusion of our analysis. The particular and ultimately more significant feature of the OC crisis is that it vividly expresses the failure of the fusion line to unite and lead our trend in the direction of party re-establishment.

To the extent that our trend will no longer be dominated by the fusion line, this development is positive, as is the fact that many comrades are shedding long-held illusions about the capacity of the fusion line to lead to the party. On the other hand, the degeneration of the OCIC also represents a setback for our trend as a whole–and not just for the present and former members of the OC–since this failure is bound to have a negative impact on many cadre in a period when the ideological moorings of the communist movement remain shaky.

However, failures can be turned to good advantage provided we struggle for a thorough and accurate summation of them. In this case, the mistakes and errors of the OCIC process inescapably place before our trend the need for a more definitive and comprehensive critique of the fusion line. Toward this end, we hope our commentary will make its appropriate contribution.

Needless to say, the Editorial Board of Line of March brings a clearly identifiable point of view to bear upon this summation. In many ways the rectification party building line has developed in contention with the fusion line, both in its explicit formulations by the Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC) and in its implicit expression in the line and practice of the OCIC. Over the past few years the Line of March Editorial Board has developed the most comprehensive and consistent critique of the fusion perspective, both theoretically and in the realm of practical initiatives. This has provided us with an important vantagepoint from which to survey the main features and scope of the OCIC’s collapse, as well as to analyze its causes and impact upon our trend.

Although it is probably safe to say that the OCIC is no longer a serious center for the party building efforts of our trend, the struggle for unity on party building line still continues. It will reemerge in new forms. One of the most immediate will undoubtedly be in the various responses within our movement to the crisis of the OCIC and the contending analyses concerning the reasons for its decline. First and foremost, this will entail a struggle to defeat the self-serving summation being advanced by the Steering Committee (SC) of the OCIC itself. However it would be a mistake to restrict our efforts to this alone. The struggle for summation should involve the whole trend in a process as thorough and all-sided as possible. The political stakes are high–no less than the survival and future of our trend.

Our fledging trend is quite fragile and relatively unconsolidated, especially when compared to the gigantic tasks before us. The gross inadequacy of the fusion party building line has been driven home through the utter and rapid degeneration of the OCIC. However the resulting confusion, demoralization and vacillation could well scatter our trend to the four winds, requiring many years to regroup and rebuild. Whether we can avoid such a setback and strengthen our trend instead is bound up with the struggle for a correct summation and analysis of these events.

In this light, it is crucial that we not lull ourselves into complacency. Although it is accurate that the potential for the reemergence of Marxism-Leninism and the re-establishment of a vanguard party lies today within the parameters of our lines of demarcation–that is, within the anti-revisionist, anti-“left” opportunist trend–we must avoid any mechanical, historical determinist approach. In the broad sweep of history, Marxism-Leninism is bound to reemerge eventually and become, once again, a powerful material force in U. S. political life. But this general truth in no way assures us of the survival of our trend in this immediate, historically concrete period. It in no way assures us that our trend’s potential will in fact be actualized. This is where the struggle for a correct party building line remains decisive. For while Marxism-Leninism cannot ultimately be prevented from reemerging as the leading orientation for the communist movement and a material force in the class struggle, it can certainly be delayed for a significant period of time by the subjective errors of the Marxist-Leninist forces.