Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) Holds Second Congress

First Published: Unity, Vol. 7, No. 9, May 25-June 14, 1984.
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.

Communist activists from around the country gathered last month and successfully held the Second Congress of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist).

The Congress is the highest decision making body of the LRS. The delegates attending were all democratically elected by their comrades in local areas.

“This is an important Congress for the League and for the entire working class, and revolutionary movement in le United States,” said Central Committee member Mae Ngai.

The Congress was the culmination of a year-long period of discussion and debate throughout the League, several important documents were debated and passed: a Programme, a Political Report, a Constitution and a Five-Year Plan for the League’s work. The Congress united around an assessment of the work of the League in the six years since the League’s founding. The Congress concluded with the election of a new Central Committee. The Congress was marked by a high level of communist unity, determination and spirit that reflected the progress made so far in forging a truly multinational, nation-wide communist organization rooted in the working class and among the masses.

A Black worker from Pittsburgh said, “I’ve been a long time in the movement, and sometimes I haven’t been clear on how the revolution will be done. I’m more clear now, and I’m proud to be here.” Accompanying this enthusiastic spirit was a sense of seriousness and urgency that came from the recognition of the critical situation facing the working class today. The composition of the Congress reflected the growth and maturing of the League as an organization of the multinational working class.

A majority of the delegates were from the working class, and three-quarters were oppressed nationalities, including Afro-Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans. Men and women were evenly represented. There were older and younger activists spanning three generations, from all regions of the country.

The delegates came from the forefront of the people’s struggles. There were trade unionists fighting plant closings and concessions, activists organizing against U.S. intervention in Central America, Jesse Jackson campaign workers, and leaders in many other struggles.

Mae Ngai continues, “The 1960’s were a turbulent decade. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of that period was the growth and maturing of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist trend which grew primarily out of the upsurges of the oppressed nationalities of the United States. We came to Marxism-Leninism through our own concrete experience. We sought change in this country, we sought justice and equality. In the course of this search, we came to the conclusion that Marxism-Leninism represents the best guide to action.”

The Congress noted there were some comrades present who had come from the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist (CPML) or other Marxist-Leninist groups. In a sense, the League is inheriting and continuing the work of those organizations.

The Political Bureau set an overall context for discussing the work of the League by broadly analyzing the developments since its Founding Congress in 1978. (The League was founded in 1978 and is the result of the merging of six Marxist-Leninist organizations: August Twenty-Ninth Movement, I Wor Kuen, Revolutionary Communist League, East Wind Organization, Seize the Time Collective, and New York Collective. Those organizations in turn trace their roots to the Congress of Afrikan People, La Raza Unida Party and other oppressed nationality organizations of the 1960’s.)

In an opening statement to the Congress, a spokesperson for the Political Bureau said, “In the years since our Founding Congress we participated in and led many struggles. Until 1980, our organization was able to grow and do its work in generally favorable circumstances.

“But from late 1979 through 1980, and going full steam in 1981 when Reagan assumed office, this country accelerated its move to the right. The U.S. ruling class’ ambivalence due to its debacle in Viet Nam came to an end. The U.S. under Reagan pursued with renewed purpose an aggressive imperialist policy around the world.

“The post-World War II economic prosperity achieved because of unrivaled U.S. domination of the world was coming to an end. The U.S. bourgeoisie undertook an offensive against the working class. Instead of relatively liberal approaches, the bourgeoisie under Reagan has undertaken a sustained attack against the living and working conditions of the masses. Combined with the serious economic crisis of U.S. capitalism, the working class in the last four years bore the brunt of vicious anti-working class acts and propaganda.

“The changing international and domestic situation threw up new challenges to the anti-revisionist communist movement. Much of the anti-revisionist communist movement succumbed to rightism or revisionism. To our credit, we did not hesitate or flinch one moment in our adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, socialist revolution and the need for communist organization. We are correctly proud of our staunchness in the face of difficult circumstances.

“However, we must also recognize that while we stood firm on general ideological and political grounds against the rightward trend, we also, on many matters, began to accommodate the rightward motion going on in society as a whole and within the communist movement. This accommodation resulted in erroneous ideological and political positions, including belittling the importance of theory and party building, rightism and nationalism.

“By 1982 we had begun to see these errors and we charted a course of rectification. In 1983 we reached a turning point, and since then we have experienced accelerated growth. Our progress since the start of our rectification process in August of 1982 is an indication of the vitality and strength of Marxism-Leninism.”

The Congress was thus a culmination of this process begun in 1982. It addressed the political questions posed by the current conditions in the world and the country, as within the U.S. left, and based on this analysis, the Congress set a course for the League’s work. It affirmed and deepened the rectification begun in 1982, set additional new tasks and adopted some new tactics and policies in line with the development of the mass movement.


The Programme passed by the Congress includes a declaration, which presents an overview of the long term goals of the League, and four chapters. The for chapters are: I. U.S. Monopoly Capitalism: A System of Exploitation, Racism, National Oppression, Injustice and War; II. Socialism is the Alternative to Monopoly Capitalism; III. The United Front Against Monopoly Capitalism; and IV. A Minimum Program of Struggle. We are printing here a brief synopsis of sections of the Programme.

The Declaration states, “The United States today is a land of stark and seemingly bewildering contradictions. The greatest industrial and agricultural power in history cannot seem to feed, clothe and provide a decent livelihood for millions in this country. Countless others work their lives away, barely able to survive, while billionaires squander their fortunes on mansions and fly the skies of the world in their private jets. Poverty and economic insecurity exist side by side with extravagance.


“What are the reasons for . . . these contradictions in the promises and the potential of this society and its stark reality? Why is there such a frustrating gap between what is and what could be?...


“This is an irrational and unjust system! But life doesn’t have to be this way! “We can struggle to improve the conditions of our live and ultimately we can eliminate exploitation and capitalist injustice by overturning the social system. We can replace capitalism with a more rational and humane socialism. Socialism is a social system where social wealth genuinely is controlled by society and for the benefit of society; where the common good, not profits, becomes the chief concern; where the everyday working people become the rightful masters of society.”

I. U.S. monopoly capitalism: A system of exploitation, racism, national oppression, injustice and war

The great economic power of the U.S. is the product of the labor of countless people in this land and around the world. But while the working people built all this, they do not own or control it.

Today U.S. capitalism is really monopoly capitalism or imperialism. It is marked by a basic contradiction: production is social, involving the coordinated and inter-connected labor of millions of workers, but the control of this social labor and its product is private.

Workers are wage slaves who survive only by selling their labor power to the capitalists, who own the means of production. The capitalist constantly tries to drive down the wages of the worker, while also trying to rob the worker through high rents, and other costs of living.

The monopoly capitalist system is the source of the exploitation of the working class, as well as the poverty and economic insecurity of society as a whole. This system is an obstacle to the further advancement of the material well-being of society. It is unjust, wasteful, irrational and increasingly unproductive.

Racism, national oppression, injustice

U.S. monopoly capitalism oppresses millions of minority nationality people, including the Afro-American, Asian, Chicano, Hawaiian, Latino, Native American Indian, Puerto Rican, and other peoples. The Afro-American people in the Black-belt of the South, the Chicano people in the Southwest, and the people of the Hawaiian Islands have become oppressed nations dominated by U.S. imperialism. The control of the territory, resources and labor of these oppressed nations form an important part of the power of the monopolists. The other oppressed nationalities generally live in concentrated communities where they suffer a markedly lower standard of living and social restriction.

Besides workers and oppressed nationalities, millions of others suffer under monopoly capitalism. The masses of women in the U.S. are discriminated against and degraded. Working women receive less than 60% of the income of men, and are victims of appalling violence. Young people face uncertain futures, with worsening education and few jobs. Veterans, senior citizens, the disabled, cultural workers, intellectuals, family farmers and small business people all suffer, too, under this system which is motivated only by the drive for profits.

The danger of war and U.S. imperialism

Looming above the people of the U. S. is the real threat of war. The politicians in Washington, D.C., are carrying out a foreign policy of domination, intervention, bribery and subversion. U.S. monopolies have actually become dependent on U.S. domination over much of the rest of the world.

Washington props up reactionary regimes as in South Africa and south Korea, and threatens to invade Central American sovereign nations. It spends hundreds of billions of dollars on a war machine whose basic purpose is to extend and protect the economic empire of monopoly capital, and to compete for global power with the other superpower, the Soviet Union.

Exploitation, injustice, racism and national oppression, and the threat of war – this is the face of the U.S under monopoly capitalism today. The situation cries out for change, for socialism!

II. Socialism is the alternative

Socialism is not some Utopian scheme. Capitalism itself has created the economic conditions for socialism in the U.S. Today there is social production but no social ownership. Socialism will bring social ownership of social production, the next rational step in the further development of this country, the next historical stage of human society. Our vision of socialism must take into account the history of the U.S., a superpower imperialist country that has a long tradition of highly developed bourgeois democracy, an entrenched labor aristocracy and a relatively large middle class.

The main means of production will be the property of society, not a handful of capitalists. Unlike socialism in developing nations, socialism in the U.S. would not focus on modernizing the economy, but in redirecting the productive capacity to meet human needs.

To protect and govern society, the people can establish socialist people’s democracy, the specific form of the dictatorship of the working class. Socialist democracy, with the destruction of the power of money over politics, will be a great advance over capitalist democracy. Socialism will elevate the working class to be the dominant class society, and would explicitly outlaw exploitation and national oppression, and guarantee a decent livelihood for all working people.

The future socialist government would have no need for a gigantic military that is used to threaten people around the world. The end of U.S. imperialism would bring a qualitatively new era in international relations. Socialism will be the first stage of the development towards communism, a truly classless society.

III. The united front against monopoly capitalism

Standing in the way of social progress and socialism in the U.S. is the monopoly capitalist class. The ruling class is composed of the top owners and administrators of the huge multinational banks and corporations that control the economic life of the U.S. today, as well as the destinies of millions around the globe. Altogether, the number of people responsible for monopoly capitalism is less than 2% of the entire population. They are the target of the U.S. revolution.

In opposition to this minority is the vast majority of the rest of the population. The monopoly capitalists are a powerful enemy, and it wi11 require protracted efforts to overthrow them. But there is potentially a much more powerful force opposing them: a united front of the vast majority of people in the U.S., as well as millions of people all over the world oppressed by U.S. imperialism. It is the strategic task of the multinational working class and its vanguard party to unite and lead all the various classes and strata against the common enemy, monopoly capitalism.

In order to forge this united front, it is necessary to understand the class breakdown of U.S. society. (This programme in its full text puts forward a preliminary analysis of the main classes in U.S. society today, and determines from an objective point of view which classes and strata can be won to the united front against monopoly capitalism.)

Strategic alliance

The working class and oppressed nationality movements are the two most powerful social movements in the U.S., and their alliance is necessary to bring down monopoly capitalism. The working class is multinational, composed of workers of many different nationalities, who all share a fundamental interest in the replacement of capitalism by socialism. But one of the great problems in the history of the working class movement in the U.S. has been its division. White chauvinism has weakened and split the working class. The ruling class has also corrupted some to be loyal supporters of white supremacy and the white racist monopoly capitalists.

At the same time, the system of racism and national oppression has created a profound desire among the oppressed peoples for equality and liberation.

To break this system of division and oppression, communists stand for the unity of the working class and the oppressed peoples on the basis of equality and respect. Revolutionary unity can be forged only by opposing all forms of racism and national chauvinism. This includes upholding and fighting for the just demands of the oppressed peoples for freedom, all the way up to autonomy for minority nationalities and self-determination for the oppressed nations.

The state

The government of the U.S. today exists to serve the interests of the ruling monopoly capitalist class.

The state suppresses and controls opposition to capitalism. It maintains social order and provides a stable environment for big business.

As the struggle against monopoly capitalism develops, the ruling class will utilize the state more openly against the people. The threat of fascism – the undisguised rule of the bourgeoisie by use of terror – may grow.

The struggle in the U.S. will mainly be protracted legal struggle, to exhaust all the possible avenues and rights under capitalist democracy. But the working class must make preparations to defend itself and be able to adopt different tactics in the case of fascism. The working class must also prepare for the eventual seizure of state power from the monopoly capitalists. In the final analysis, the bourgeoisie will not relinquish power peacefully.

The revolution in the U.S. will involve a combination of domestic and international forces that will supplement one another. One day these forces will converge into a current that will weaken and then topple the monopoly capitalist class. The eventual overthrow of imperialism is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise.

IV. Minimum Program of Struggle

The working class, oppressed nationalities and other peoples in the U.S. are struggling daily to improve their conditions, defend and expand their democratic rights, and for peace and social progress. The League raises its Minimum Program of Struggle as some of the main immediate demands against the monopoly capitalists and the government.

These demands are partially realizable under the present social system, but a radical transformation of society – socialism – will be necessary to realize them in a genuine and full way. These immediate demands will be of benefit to the people, and the struggle for them is an integral and necessary part of the revolutionary process.

The Minimum Program of Struggle, in its full text, raises some general demands for the people, including the right to a decent standard of living; demands for the protection and advancement of the working class; demands for the oppressed nationalities based on full democratic rights; demands for other oppressed sectors of society including women, youth, veterans, senior citizens, cultural workers and intellectuals, farmers, the disabled, prisoners and homosexuals.

Another section outlines some immediate demands concerning U.S. foreign policy. The American people must struggle against a foreign policy that is in the interests of the military and big corporations. It is in the interests of the American working people and people in general that the danger of war be reduced in the world, that people and countries advance towards democracy and genuine independence and equality, and that superpower aggression in the world be opposed.


The Political Report adopted by the Congress summarized in a comprehensive fashion the current international and domestic situation and the state of the left, and the implications for the League’s work. It noted that:

“Today U.S. imperialism under Ronald Reagan is the most militaristic and aggressive in years. Last year’s invasion of Grenada was the first use of U.S. forces in direct combat since the Viet Nam War. . . .The invasion of Grenada, and along with it, the whole chauvinistic and imperialist atmosphere whipped up by Reagan, is a dangerous step towards wider war in the world. It signals the decision of U.S. imperialism to try to protect its empire by openly belligerent and aggressive means. ...”

The Political Report affirmed the League’s view that the rivalry between the two imperialist superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, is the greatest danger to world peace. It noted that the third world has continued to advance through difficulties, and remains the main force against the two superpowers.

It also clarified that while the Soviet Union is a rising imperialism on a strategic offensive and the U.S. is a declining superpower on the defensive, at any particular moment, one or the other may be the more aggressive. This is the case today, where the U.S. has taken an offensive posture. This perspective is critical to maintaining a strategic view of both superpowers, appreciating the grave danger of U.S. aggression, as well as keeping fully aware of the danger of Soviet imperialism.

The Political Report pointed out the implications of the economic crisis of U.S. imperialism: “Most likely, the U.S. economy will continue to decline and stagnate. We should expect a prolonged period of economic problems with some ups and downs within, this downward trend. . . . This bleak economic picture will be the context for our work in the upcoming years. It is a situation that many of us have not confronted in our past political experience. In the 1960’s and 1970’s social reformism was still the dominant form of ruling class politics. . . . But today the economic foundation of liberalism has been delivered a major blow and conservatism is increasingly becoming the dominant trend.

“The situation facing communists is one where there are increased opportunities to help develop and organize the mass struggle and raise the political consciousness of the people. . . . We can be sure that the broad dissatisfaction will not go away, but will continue to spread. Very importantly we can expect that the lull (experienced in the mass movement in the last few years) will be temporary. ... At the same time, we cannot dismiss the possibility of growing reaction in the country and the development of fascist tendencies among the masses. The popular approval of Reagan’s aggression in Grenada is a warning.. . .”

The Political Report also analyzed the situation in the international and U.S. Marxist-Leninist movement. It addressed the question of the difficulties faced by numerous Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in the late 1970’s, with some of them dissolving and collapsing, including in the U.S. The Political Report stated:

“While external factors influenced these parties, we believe internal contradictions were the cause of their failures. ... They were young organizations that were relatively inexperienced and immature in their grasp of Marxism. Their leadership was primarily comprised of intellectuals from the petty bourgeoisie, and had ideological weaknesses of not grasping the importance of applying Marxism to their own conditions, as well as tendencies of self-glorification, arrogance and sectarianism. They were not able to keep their bearings, correct their errors and adjust their tactics according to changes in the objective conditions. They were also not able to combat the influences of the growing rightist and conservative atmosphere in capitalist society as a whole. The collapse of these parties and organizations is not some believe, the proof of the ’failure’ of Marxism, the succumbing of a sector of the anti-revisionist communist movement to petty bourgeois ideological weaknesses.

“. . .A most positive factor has emerged from the turbulence of the recent period, that more Marxists are seeing the importance of thinking for themselves and making independent application of Marxism to the concrete conditions of the revolution in their own countries. We believe there is evidence for confidence and optimism. ...”

The Political Report concluded that Marxism-Leninism must be strengthened in the left. It stated that the “main task of Marxism-Leninism in the left movement today is to contribute to the central task of party building by strengthening the ideological and organizational influence of Marxism-Leninism as a leading trend. ...”

The U.S. left today

The Political Report stated, “Within the U.S. movement there is a broad range of ideological trends and tendencies. By left movement, we refer to the forces which consider themselves to be in the left, forces which oppose capitalism and uphold some kind of social change. Marxism-Leninism is one trend within left; others include the revisionists, centrists, social democrats, anarchists, Trotskyites and others.

“The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) remains single largest and most entrenched left organization. This is due in part to its historical strength, but also to efforts on its part since the mid-1970’s to adopt a more militant facade and appeal to younger activists. This has been aided by the shift in the Soviet Union from 1960’s capitulation to U.S. imperialism and open revisionism (peaceful transition, etc.) to the more aggress and expansionist Soviet imperialism of the 1970’s, which has a seemingly more “left” posture under the guise exporting revolution and progress. . . .

“There are some forces such as the Guardian newspaper which remain “centrist,” i.e. trying to occupy a middle ground between revisionism and Marxism-Leninism. . . .


“Besides the pro-Soviet forces, there are numerous other left forces including social democrats, anarchists, radicals, etc. . . .

“The League believes that this broad ideological and political spectrum in the left will exist for a fairly long period of time, and that it is important for the left to practice a policy of non-sectarianism and to cooperate where possible around issues of common concern. . . . (especially) in light of the worsening international and domestic situation.

“This is not to say that differences do not exist or that there should be no struggle. Struggle should be conducted ideologically (i.e. propaganda, forums, polemics) and not through the use of organizational measures.

“. . . Left groups should combat sectarian and hegemonic practices. . . . Groups and individuals on the left should be judged in accordance with the work that they do and the actual stands they take in real life.”

Strategic and tactical views

The Political Report outlined some of the League’s strategic perspectives on the U.S. revolution and the major tactical considerations for revolutionary work at this time. It affirmed that we are still in the first stage of the revolution, where the working class must build its party.

More specifically, it pointed out the importance of continuing to focus on the lower stratum of the working class for the League’s work. The lower stratum includes production workers, most service workers and the generally lower paid sectors of the working class. This stratum continues to be the most receptive to communist ideas and best represents the basic interests of the working class.

The Political Report points out the importance of adopting some new methods of work and tactics in line with the development of the imperialist crisis and the evolution of the mass movement. It points out, “In a period when the conditions of the masses deteriorate and the left offers no viable alternative, the people turn either to fascism, escapism or to more struggle within the existing political system. This generation will have to learn through its own direct experience the bankruptcy of bourgeois democracy. Until then, however, we have an obligation to participate in bourgeois democratic institutions and to utilize them to both make immediate gains for the people, educate the masses in the course of struggle, improve the conditions for the continued struggle of the masses and the strengthening of Marxism-Leninism, and the building of a vanguard party of the working class. This is the case for electoral politics. . . . (D)uring this next decade electoral politics will touch on all mass movements and sectors of people. . . .

“We need to avoid making the error of dismissing these struggles taking place through traditional means. But we also must avoid liquidating our independent work. In fact, we must step up this in order to offer a clear alternative to those advanced elements who are emerging from the mass movement.”


The Congress discussed and approved a Constitution that defines the criteria, responsibilities and rights of membership in the League, and outlines the basic democratic centralist organizational structure of the League.

The last document adopted was a Five-Year Plan which set goals and priorities for the League’s work. These included target goals for growth in the League’s membership; a plan for the strengthening of Marxism-Leninism and of unity within the left; and a plan for deepening a Marxist-Leninist base and influence among the masses, particularly within sectors of the working class, the Black and Chicano national movements and the student and youth movement.

To meet these goals, the Congress united around a plan for increased theoretical work and for further professionalizing the League and training its cadres.

Finally, the Congress elected a new Central Committee to lead the organization through this next period.

The decisions of the Second Congress of the League marked the growth and development of the League as a communist organization. In the closing plenary, many delegates spoke to the maturing of the League – its developing ability to apply Marxism to the conditions of the U.S. revolution, summarize its work in an all-sided way, in the context of the objective conditions and the long-term strategic needs of the revolution, and identify shortcomings and mistakes and correct them.

Delegates also commented on the democratic process of the Congress. Many proposals for additions or changes to the Congress documents were raised from the floor, debated and voted upon. Not every decision was unanimous, but through discussion and struggle a high level of unity was forged, and the amended documents were passed unanimously.

William Gallegos delivered the closing remarks to the Congress on behalf of the newly elected Central Committee. He said, “The comrades here are all regular working people, but they represent also the best of the working class. Our cadres have faith in the masses, they are hardworking and put the interests of the revolution first. We know Marxism-Leninism is a science which we must study and struggle to apply creatively. And we are not afraid to struggle. This is what gives us confidence and optimism. What a contrast to the demoralized intellectuals of the petty bourgeoisie.

“We cannot underscore strongly enough the urgency of our tasks. The bourgeoisie threatens us with world war and domestic fascism. All of us must do our utmost to carry out the tasks we have set forth here, to help the working class and the masses fight for their interests, to strengthen a Marxist-Leninist trend in the left and bring into being as soon as possible the party of the working class.

“We have seen the correctness, the validity and the vitality of Marxism-Leninism in our own experience.. The Congress has placed a large responsibility on the Central Committee, but we are confident that collectively and through struggle we can achieve our goals. This Congress places us on the right path.”