Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

U.S. League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist)

Congress Papers #2

The Central Committee

Introduction to Congress Documents #2 and Report to the Organization on the Status of othe Pre-Congress Discussions

This is the second packet of documents issued in preparation for the Congress. Over the last several months, discussions have begun in the districts. In many areas, these have sparked lively debate, brought forth new ideas and approaches, and engaged many people in discussions on how to do effective revolutionary organizing in this period of time. The Central Committee feels that this is an important process of collectively grappling with the issues, and that through this process we can achieve a higher level of clarity and unity for the future.

In this set of Congress Papers we have a Central Committee proposal for a new direction, with an appendix on Marxism-Leninism; a draft public statement on the Dissolution of the League, which is proposed to be issued after the Congress; and a brief response to the paper submitted by five individuals of the CC. These aforementioned papers are all signed by 28 members of the CC. Secondly, there is the paper signed by five individuals of the CC who disagree with the CC proposal. The final paper is a document from the Los Angeles District Committee criticizing the destructive actions of some people in that district.

At the last Central Committee meeting in July, it was agreed to extend the process because individuals who disagreed with the direction proposed by the majority of the CC decided they wanted to try to organize a minority position and alternative proposal for the organization. It was agreed unanimously that all proposals submitted for this packet of Congress Papers would be stated affirmatively, constructively and with a concrete organizational component, i.e., that each proposal be able to stand on its own merits. We agreed unanimously that critiques of different views would not be in these proposals, but would be conducted in the second round of the discussion.

It was also agreed that for there to be an organized minority position, the minority must be able to present a concrete organizational proposal including its ability to constitute a center which can take responsibility for leading the organization and, most importantly, to draw out the concrete implications in real life of their views.

In reviewing the paper submitted by the five CC members, “Moving Forward Our Tradition,” and after much discussion and consideration at the center and with members of the Central Committee, the Central Committee decided to issue this report on the status of the pre-Congress discussions by a vote of 28 to 5. The Central Committee feels the paper “Moving Forward...” has serious problems in that:

* it does not adhere to what was unanimously agreed on in terms of approach and content;
* it makes numerous false charges in an irresponsible fashion which undermine the integrity of the pre-Congress process and the organization as a whole;
* it does not meet the criteria we agreed on to constitute an organized minority alternative, and is therefore not a minority alternative.

Nevertheless, the Central Committee decided to issue it anyway in the spirit of furthering an open airing of views, and so everyone can judge each proposal themselves.

(Note: Since the authors of “Moving Forward...” did not adhere to the agreement that the proposals would not be critiques of other positions, the CC is also including in its packet of documents a response to the charges and the politics contained in “Moving Forward...” See Section IV in this packet.)

As was stated in the report on the last CC meeting of July 8, the CC has not been able to come to unity on whether the discussion and debate should be waged as a “two line struggle,” i.e. a “class struggle” between a “working class line” and a line that is “bourgeois” or a “betrayal” or “abandonment” of the working class. The majority of the CC had stated that it does not regard this as a “two line struggle” and opposes it being waged as such, because this approach would only lead to destructive situation where one side must “defeat” the other. The minority on the CC stated that it could not at that time state that it did not view it as a “two line struggle.”

The CC is concerned that this unresolved issue has had an impact on how the pre-Congress process is unfolding in some areas. We are attaching at the end of this packet a memo from the L.A. District Committee which criticizes the factional and divisive activity of some people in that district.

The Central Committee believes that one of the most precious things about the League in the past has been our internal atmosphere of honest, principled struggle and respect for each other, and the lack of “ruthless struggle, merciless blows” types of factional disputes where the aim is to build up a faction for “leverage” in a “power struggle.” The Central Committee reiterates that we do not “negotiate” with factions. During this pre-Congress period, as we have stated before, all existing League structures, usual ways of functioning, decision making processes, etc. are to be respected and adhered to.

During this difficult period, we must hold on to our unity, conduct ourselves in a principled and responsible fashion, and uphold the integrity of the organization so we can emerge from this process intact and able to face the future work and the challenges of building a new organization together.

The majority of the leadership has taken this approach because of the responsibility we feel to the organization and the mass work. We have always recognized that in calling for us to no longer base ourselves on Marxism-Leninism, we are calling for a major change. We have taken the approach of trying to lead us all towards this new future together not only because we think it is the correct path, but, due to the very real and concrete fact that no one in the national leadership has been willing to assume responsibility for retaining the League as an M-L organization (even, with “adjustments”).

Within the Secretariat and CC, it has been repeatedly stated over the last seven months that if there were people who want to retain the League as an M-L organization, the present leadership would assist in transitioning the leadership to them, so they could preserve the League’s M-L character and lead the organization to the Congress at which time the organization would decide what changes to make.

It was only at the last CC meeting in July that individuals in the minority decided that they wanted to try to form an organizational alternative.

We want to make it absolutely clear that we believe in principled political debate over alternative positions and proposals. But we are not interested in and will not engage in any “two line struggle” where the goal is for one faction to “defeat” another. The co-chairs, in assuming responsibility for giving leadership to the organization through this period, want to make it clear that they will not preside over a faction fight and the destruction of this organization.

It has been and continues to be our hope that we can go through this process in a principled manner and move into the future together as we collectively solve the problems confronting us.

At the same time, we feel it is fine if those who want to continue to uphold Marxism-Leninism wish to assume the leadership of the League and retain it as an M-L organization, or build another M-L organization. They don’t have to be part of the new organization we are proposing. We also don’t have a problem with people belonging to both an M-L organization and becoming members of the new organization. We have stated that there is room in this new organization for individuals who consider themselves communists, Marxist-Leninists, etc. We feel individuals have the right to their own politics and affiliations, as long as they respect and abide by the policies and democratic procedures, and constructively contribute to building the new organization.

But we believe it is destructive to organize a factional struggle based on “ideological struggle” that has no practical or organizational viability in real life. The only result will be a split and, potentially, the destruction of our ability, whether in the majority or the minority, to build anything for the future. After so many years of collective work and struggle, we think we owe each other, and the mass movement, much more than that.

We hone that everyone will study the documents in this packet, consider them seriously in terms of their politics and practical implications, and participate fully in the discussions, keeping in mind our responsibilities to each other and the mass movement.

1. As stated in the last memo from the center, congress discussion packets with responses to the papers in this packet will be issued over the next few weeks to the entire membership. The schedule is as follows:

Deadline for papers to be received at center: August 10 (Fri. daytime) August 17 (Fri. daytime) August 24 (Fri. daytime)
Date packet to be mailed out: August 14 (Tues.) August 21 (Tues.) August 28 (Tues.)

Responses from any individual member are welcome. Papers may speak in favor of or critique either position, or offer other ideas for discussion. Please try to be concise. Papers longer than 3-4 single-spaced pages should include a 3-4 paragraph summary of the main points at the beginning.

2. Spanish language translations of the papers in this packet will be available on cassette tapes in approximately one week.

3. Delegate elections should take place during the last two weeks of August, and names of delegates should be submitted through the DC to the center by August 27 (Monday). Delegates shall be members in good standing and be elected as follows:
a. Units: one delegate for 1-7 members; two delegates for 8-15 members.
b. District Committees: Since DC’s have at-large members who are not in units, the DC elects one delegate from the DC.
c. Central Committee members are automatically delegates and do not have to be elected.

4. Minority meetings. Although the authors of “Moving Forward...” have not put forth a concrete organizational plan for how it would lead this national organization, some people have asked for minority meetings on the district level to see if there are people who agree with this view who could and would take responsibility for implementing it. The Central Committee decided that district level meetings for this purpose can take place. These meetings must be open and include the DO and/or other DC members selected by the DC. At the same time, the Central Committee wants to make it clear that we oppose any meetings held for factional purposes, i.e., which undermine or supplant the structure and democratic norms of the organization.

5. Finally, the Central Committee wants to report that the organization is currently operating on a deficit and that the finances for the Congress are very tight. Therefore any donations that people may want to contribute towards assisting the cost of the Congress are appreciated.