Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

What is the League of Revolutionaries for a New America?

First Published: The People’s Tribune (Online Edition), Vol. 22 No. 28, September 4, 1995.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Editor’s note: Below we print excerpts from a letter we received recently, a letter asking an important question about the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. Following the letter is a reply by Nelson Peery, a veteran revolutionary and a member of the Editorial Board of the People’s Tribune.

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Dear People’s Tribune:

By the way, in the new incarnation of the Communist Labor Party/National Organizing Committee known as the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, do you consider yourself an old-style Leninist vanguard organization? Are you explicitly Marxist? Is it a united front/people’s front type organization that’s open to revolutionaries no matter where they’re coming from?

A Reader

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The LRNA Is an organization of revolutionaries

Dear Reader:

Thank you for your letter. I would like to answer some of the important questions you raise.

First, concerning the evolution of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America.

In our struggle to build a revolutionary organization worthy of the American people, we have been guided by the cardinal principle that organizations are either the subjective expression of an objective process or they are sects (or will become sects.) Now, so that this doesn’t sound like sectarian gibberish, let me explain what we think this means.

We proceed from an understanding that history is going somewhere. This separates us from most people who seem to think that history is going where the strongest social or political force is taking it. Where history is going depends on what is possible. What is possible, in the final analysis, depends upon the tools with which people create their means of life. By this we mean that a plow and a hoe cannot be the foundation for urban life and all that differentiates urban life from rural life.

We don’t believe that it follows from this that each stage of the development of tools automatically leads to this or that political order. It does determine what type of social order is possible. The point is that although decent people may long for a better life and strive for a better life, they cannot get it until the material conditions, especially the tools, change and thus allow for it.

We think this has been proven especially vividly in the history of the South and the history of the African American people. No matter how consistent and bloody the struggle for equal rights and integration was, it could not be won so long as the African Americans were tied to the manual labor of Southern agriculture. Their experience proves that a slave cannot be emancipated unless that slave is replaced by more efficient means of production.

All our organizational efforts have been guided by this truth.

When we started in 1968 as the California Communist League, we were a small, local group of Marxists in Watts. At that time, financial investment and industrialization in the colonies was fueling the struggle for national independence of the colonies. At home, the mechanization of Southern agriculture was fueling the freedom struggle of especially the African Americans.

At least partially understanding the opportunities of the time, we attempted to build a mass anti-imperialist movement with Marxist revolutionaries at its core. In this effort, the League became a national organization. Joined by a few local Marxist groups, it took the name “The Communist League.”

As the struggle and our growth continued, two very important organizations became close to us. One was called “La Colectiva del Pueblo.” It was a very influential group of mostly young Mexican revolutionaries in California. The other was the League of Revolutionary Black Workers in Detroit. We in the Communist League felt that if we joined with these two groups we would have a broad enough base to call a congress to form a revolutionary political party. This was done and the Communist Labor Party was formed in 1974.

By 1986, we began to discuss the meaning of the new and permanent unemployment and poverty developing in this country. Little by little, we began to realize that the new poverty was the result of the new machinery, machinery that was no longer assisting workers, but replacing them.

As we analyzed the experience of the African Americans, it became clear to us that robotics by replacing the workers is in fact liberating them. Robotics is making it possible to build a new world, a world in which the robots do the “work” and people set about the task of culturally and socially enriching their lives.

So, we asked ourselves, what social force was going in that direction? As backward and disorganized as this new class of poor people was, it had to be the core of a broad social struggle for economic communism. We could not question the fact that the new demands for the necessaries of life – whether or not there is money to pay for them – were expressions of a movement that was objectively communist, whether the participants in that movement understood it or not.

Here was the beginning of an actual communist movement upon which to build a communist political organization. Such an organization could not be Marxist, since Marxism is a theoretical current within the communist movement.

For the same reason, the organization could not embrace any of the “isms.” It had to be an organization of revolutionaries (practical as well as theoretical and ideological) whose goal was creating the political conditions for achieving the unstated communist goals of the movement against poverty and fascism in this country.

Nelson Peery