Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The Movement for a Revolutionary Left, Eugene, Oregon

Racism, White Chauvinism and the FBI: A Critique of Petty Bourgeois Moralism


Published: March 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Racism is a structure of exploitation, domination and all around degradation (including cultural and interpersonal humiliations) that is produced by capitalist society which is legitimated by the ideology of superior and inferior “races.” A materialist understanding of racism does not confuse the reflections of the racist relationships of exploitation between capital and dominated ethnic groups or nations in consciousness (subjective racist attitudes and stereotypes) with the racist structures that are both the cause of these attitudes and the principle manifestation of the oppression of ethnic or national minorities. Racial ideology or racist attitudes maintain that there are biologically rooted characteristics of different ethnic or national groups which justify their relative positions in the class structure. For example, in the U.S. in recent centuries, Blacks have consistently been defined as intellectually and culturally inferior as well as inherently lazy (as a biological “race”). This is a transparent ideological justification for their forced migration to America as slaves, their semi-servitude status as sharecroppers and their continued concentration in the most menial and low paying positions in the U.S. class structure. At various points in U.S. history, Indians, Hispanics, Irish, Poles, Jews, Italians and Asians, and others have been similarly defined as biologically “inferior” i.e., inherently stupid, lazy, incapable of generating culture, etc., always as a justification for capital’s exploitation/domination of such groups.

We can perhaps distinguish three major types of racist relationships: (1) The relationship between the propertied class (slaveholders, capitalists) and the especially exploited underclass (slaves, “dirty workers”), e.g., the relationship of most Blacks or Hispanics to capital in the U.S. today. (2) The relationship between imperialism and those who are the indigenous inhabitants of the land and who must be eliminated in order to secure their resources. This is the genocidal relationship between European imperialism and the American Indians in North America, Brazil and Argentina as well as the aborigines in Australia. Very much unlike Blacks who were forcibly brought to the U.S. and Brazil as laborers, Indians were forcibly displaced or exterminated. (3) The relationship between a “middleman x minority” or intermediary group in the chain of exploitation, between the propertied class and the producing class. Such a petty bourgeoisie typically serves as money lenders and petty merchants and draws the hostility of both the propertyless population (deflecting it from the ruling class) and the hostility of petty bourgeois majority ethnic group members, which becomes especially vicious in times of intense competition (such as depressions). The Jews in European history have been the principle example of such a group. Through much of the Near East Armenians played the same role. In South East Asia this role has been largely played by Chinese and in East Africa by East Indians. It must be emphasized that neither racist structures nor their reflections in racist ideologies are in any way unique to the U.S. or to Black people. Capitalist hunger for expanding profits generates “races,” racism and racist ideologies throughout the world capitalist system and does so in qualitatively similar ways for different peoples at different times.

There is tremendous confusion about the terms “race” and “racism” that have been manifested in very serious theoretical and political errors on the left. First, it must be reaffirmed that there is only one race–homo sapiens sapiens, i.e., there are no socially significant inherited characteristics among different ethnic groups or nations. Blacks are in no way inherently more lazy, less creative, more musical or cooperative* Jews or Chinese are in no way inherently more crafty, sly, or intelligent; whites are in no way inherently antagonistic to people of dark skin; and no members of any socially defined “race” or ethnic group have any inherent predisposition to identify or feel solidarity with other members of the same group and hostility to, or lack of solidarity with, members of other groups. All manifest differences between different people’s, ethnic groups, nations, etc., are a product of the logic of the mode of production that generates “races” (i.e., differential positions in the structure of exploitation legitimated by racist ideology). Very different social definitions of what race a child of mixed Black-white parentage is in South Africa (“colored”), Brazil (“mulatto”) and the U.S. “Black” and the continual formation of new “races” (Asian Americans out of very diverse peoples, “whites” out of formally antagonistic English, Irish, Poles, Germans and Jews) testify to this.

Racist structures all manifest objectively antagonist relations of domination and exploitation. The relationship between capital and especially exploited menial workers (such as Blacks and Hispanics) in the U.S. is the essence of racism. This antagonist relationship is a source of considerable profit for capital. Such exploitative relationships can only be dissolved through revolutionary activity which destroys such antagonistic relationships. Capitalism generates a racist ideology which is not only used to legitimate the special exploitation of ethnic minorities and nations in the eyes of the exploiters, but also to convince the members of the majority ethnic group workers that it has “white skin privilege,” i.e., that it has more in common with “white capitalists” than it does with Black or Hispanic workers. This ideology is implanted both by control of the education and mass media which perpetuates racist ideologies, and by the ability of the capitalist class to structure the labor force in such a way as majority group workers have slightly better jobs, slightly better pay than minority group workers, and further receive somewhat better treatment by the police, in the courts, by welfare agencies etc. The illusion that all whites benefit from racist structures is thus created in both the majority group workers (“after all we are at least better off than the Blacks”) and the minority group workers (“why do the white workers get all the breaks?”). But in reality, the ability of the capitalists to turn the different segments of the working class against each other seriously hurts the condition of all the working class, both its majority and minority members (although of course it hurts the minority group workers relatively more). The only beneficiaries of racist structures are those that employ minorities and thus make extra profits from: (1) the special exploitation of minorities and, (2) the weak class consciousness, lack of strong unions, absence of a militant socialist movement, etc., which racial divisiveness brings to the majority group. It should be remembered that white workers in the U.S. are the best off in states such as Michigan where their relative advantage over Black workers is the least in the country (and which have a strong militant interracial union tradition) and worse off in Mississippi where whites are at the same time the best off vis-a-vis Blacks. Where racist Ideology is strongest, working class solidarity is the weakest and all workers, white and Black are in much worse shape than where racist ideology has been overcome enough to allow multi-ethnic/ national forms of class organization to emerge and improve the conditions of the working class as a whole. It is doing the ideological work of the ruling class for those opposed to capitalism to perpetuate the myth that white workers benefit from racism. It is the obligation of leftists to educate white workers about how they are being “suckered” by the “white skin privilege” argument of the capitalist class and how their own interests coincide with their fellow minority group workers (as well as to point out the same reality to minority group workers).

In addition to racist relationships which are the material basis of all “racism” a number of different behaviors and attitudes have been labeled as “racist.” These include: (1) the belief in racialist theories which claim that “races” exist which are inherently inferior/superior in innate mental, creative, labor abilities (and which thus justify both the essential relationships of exploitation and interpersonal white chauvinist behavior). (2) Overt White-Chauvinism: the behavior of members of relatively privileged group individuals in their face-to-face interactions with members of oppressed nations/ peoples which express contempt, arrogance, superiority, etc. This overt white chauvinism is maliciously motivated (e.g., the activities of KKK members). (3) Paternalism and Stereotyping: the unconscious acceptance of prevailing stereotypes about minorities together with patronizing, protective (less is expected from minorities) over-compensatory or awkward behavior on the part of those who do not believe in the ideology of inferior/ superior races and are personally committed to not act in an overtly white chauvinist manner. The unconscious acceptance of stereotypes and paternalism, often on the part of those who are politically committed to the liberation struggles of minorities, is not malicious (although it may well be quite offensive) and because of this is qualitatively less antagonistic than either the essential racist relationship of exploitation or overt white chauvinism. (4) Institutional Discrimination: the explicit or implicit policies of organizations (schools, corporations, professions, etc.) which differentially favor majority group members over minorities who on all relevant criteria have the same objective qualifications, e.g., minorities with the same test score, grades, etc., as a white do not get a job when the white does. (5) Objective Racism: any structures (or policies) which have the effect of differentially hurting the position/life chances of the subordinate minorities/nations/peoples relative to the relatively privileged group, even though there may be no overt institutional discrimination, dominant group chauvinism or racialist theories in any way involved. For example, the social forces and state policies that lead to the decay and decline of the inner cities (where Blacks are heavily concentrated), cutbacks in welfare and job creation programs (Blacks are disproportionately effected because of their class position) etc. (6) Other behaviors or practices which are none of these things, but either are perceived by some minorities to be when in fact they are a manifestation of something quite different (e.g., elitism, poor work style) or purely rational responses (given the current realities of class and inter-ethnic relations)which might be perceived as somewhat offensive e.g., white women walking fast through a working class Black neighborhood at night.

All seven types of racism: (1) racist relationships of exploitation, (2) acceptance of racialist ideology on the part of majority group workers, (3) white chauvinism, (4) unconscious stereotyping and paternalism, (5) racial discrimination, (6) objectively racist policies and structures, and (7) non-racist behavior perceived by some minorities as offensive, are qualitatively different phenomena and must not be confused with each other. As qualitatively different phenomena each has a different cause, each effects minorities very differently (both qualitatively and quantitatively) and each must be handled in a different way. The first is an antagonist relation among enemies that consequently must be handled in an antagonist manner (revolution). Although the second, often has the appearance of (bloody) antagonism, it is false consciousness and as such can be resolved (and must be resolved if revolutionary working class consciousness and revolution is to be possible) in non-antagonistic ways focusing on education. Because racist workers have no prior commitment to either racial equality or to support of minority causes-, such educational work will normally be difficult and lengthy, and of necessity take the form of showing the majority group workers how inter-racial solidarity is in their interests (how “white skin privilege” is a myth). Unconsciousness stereotyping and paternalism is the easiest to deal with because ethnic majority people who manifest such behavior already have both a theoretical understanding and personal commitment to anti-racism, and generally need only be criticized in a constructive and supportive manner to induce serious attempts to change. Dealing with “objective racism” within left organizations can be very tricky, since different theories argue that one or another course of action is or is not racist in its effects (e.g., opposition to busing, support of “take back the night demonstrations,” inter-racial sexual relationships, feminism). The determination of whether or not a policy is objectively racist or not can often only be resolved by careful scientific and historical study of the effects of such policies in the past and/or the carrying out of a controversial policy with the intent of carefully evaluating it. It might generally be better not to use such a charged term as “racist” to describe policies of leftist groups when there arc legitimate differences over whether or not they will negatively effect minorities. Non-racist, but perhaps offensive practices, such as poor work style or avoiding poor Black neighborhoods after dark had better not be characterized as racist at all, since they have nothing in common with the other forms of “racism.”

The importance of seeing racism as essentially a relationship of exploitation and not an attitude can not be stressed too much. Hypothetically it could be the case that leading capitalist employers of Black labor do not themselves believe in the theory of superior/inferior races (but only encourage such an ideology in white workers). It might even be the case that they do not share in unconscious stereotypes or engage in paternalistic behavior in their interpersonal relations with minorities. But nevertheless they are the real racists. This is true both in the sense of being responsible for the system of exploitative race relations and the beneficiaries of that system, and (2) because their system generated the conscious and unconscious racist Ideologies and practices on the part of large segments of the majority group population which effect minority group peoples in all aspects of their lives (not just the on-the-job economic relations) including cultural and interpersonal humiliations. On the other hand, even while white workers might be beating up minority workers it must be kept in mind, that it really isn’t them that is doing it (even while Blacks shoot back) whites are “only pawns in the game” who are both potential and eventually necessary friends in the struggle to eliminate real racism (racial relations of exploitation). It is just as important to see the offensive practices of unconscious stereotyping and paternalism on the part of those that don’t share a racist ideology as residues of the racist ideology generated by capitalist racial relations of exploitation. Residues that are difficult to totally eradicate because of the pervasiveness of racist ideology even in the best intended and dedicated anti-racist. Such practices in fact are often tolerable in the short run providing that such people are in practice providing support to the real anti-racist struggle (as in the old slogan “Black and White Unite and Fight”). Unconscious stereotyping and paternalism after all stem from ignorance and inexperience and thus in good part tend to correct themselves (with or without comradely criticism) in the course of working closely with minority group peoples.

The Anti-White Chauvinism Campaign in the O.C.I.C.

Over the winter and spring of 1980 the national steering committee of the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center which claimed to be the leading body in the “anti-revisionist/anti-dogmatic trend” of the New Communist Movement, without meaningful prior discussion among the members and constituent organizations of the O.C.I.C. launched a national “anti-white chauvinism campaign.” This campaign was consciously modeled after the “anti-white chauvinism” campaign in the Communist Party in the late 1940s and early 1950s (see the extensive collection of Party documents assembled for this purpose called “Study Manual on Specific Manifestations of White Chauvinism in the Communist Movement” edited by “D.W.” from the Southern California Local Center, April 1980). In the opinion of most of those who identify with “the trend” this campaign (along with other associated campaigns and practices) has resulted in the rather rapid destruction of a once very promising prospect for bringing together non-dogmatic revolutionaries in the U.S.

The campaign seems to have gradually emerged. It has been justified by a resolution passed at the 1979 Labor Day Conference of the O.C.T.C. where “race-baiting” was in fact carried on, although much more gently than was soon to become the case. “D.W.” was assigned to do the necessary historical work over the winter. The campaign first blossomed within the Philadelphia Worker’s Organizing Committee (the leading group in the O.C.I.C.) over the winter and spring of 1980 in an intense internal struggle between many women who were accusing the predominantly white male leadership of sexism. These women were beaten back by a Black-white male alliance’s countercharge of racism. The S.C. of the O.C.I.C.’s justification for the importance of a campaign against the individual “racism” of O.C.I.C. members at this particular point was made in terms of the failure of the O.C.I.C. to “fuse” with the advanced workers, most of whom are today Blacks and other minorities. In the S.C. way of thinking the principle reason advanced workers had not join ed O.C.I.C.’s constituent organizations was because of the white chauvinism of individual white members.

The recently concluded PWOC convention and the process leading up to it went considerably further. The convention concluded that the principle obstacle to advancing the fusion process was not simply a tendency to accommodate bourgeois ideology, but the strength of overt bourgeois ideas within the ranks of the PWOC. The convention identified white chauvinism and anti-working class bias as the most prevalent and destructive forms of bourgeois ideology within the organization and launched a serious struggle to combat their influence (The Organizer, July 1980).

However, the principle reason for the campaign seems to in fact be organizational. It has served, and was apparently consciously designed to serve, the purpose of rapid tightening up the national O.C.I.C. structure, consolidating the leadership of the S.C. and driving any and all real or potential opponents (such as the Theoretical Review people, and “rectification” sympathizers) out of the organization, without the necessity of a long theoretical and political struggle, which the S.C leadership, Clay Newlin in particular, were ill equipped to win.

The campaign was launched in full fury first within the P.W.O.C. itself at its annual spring meeting. The lengthy internal document prepared by Mike Simmons head of P.W.O.C.’s Nationality Commission (and ex-S.N.C.C. member) was almost exclusively a detailed description, and criticism, of paternalism and stereotyping within the P.W.O.C. This document entitled “Racism in the P.W.O.C.” described at great length how white members expected less of Black members and would not require from them the same level of discipline or accountability. How Blacks would automatically be referred to on any question dealing with minorities, but often ignored on other questions. It also dealt at great length with inter-racial sexual relationships within P.W.O.C. and critiqued the unconscious stereotyping of Blacks within and outside of the organization. To quote the P.W.O.C. internal document:

Paternalism is presently the predominant form of racism in the PWOC. It serves to undermine our political life and undercut our struggle for multinational unity and multinational leadership. Racist paternalism has two essential, interrelated components, one being a blindness to the real strengths of Black people, the other a profound underestimation of the capacity of Black comrades to overcome political weaknesses and develop their leadership in the communist movement.

The most frequent manifestation of paternalism is a patronizing recognition of Black cadres abilities and a liquidation of genuine criticism and ideological struggle aimed at the political consolidation of our Black members. Our white cadre tend to view themselves as being “sensitive,” “concerned,” and “understanding” of Black oppression, of Black people generally. Like the 18th century missionaries that preceded then the paternalism of white cadre in the PWOC is based on the premises of white supremacy.

Probably the most universal manifestation of paternalism in the PWOC is liberalism in the relations between white and Black members of the organization. This liberalism is a non-struggle, pat on the head approach to anti-racism. Actually it is extraordinarily racist both in its content and in its consequences (p. 7).

Still another expression of racist paternalism in the PWOC is the tendency toward abstract equality, a tendency to obliterate the uneven development that is a consequence of racism in bourgeois society. Black people are equal, period. Any statement to the contrary is necessarily racist. This is the mentality of the abstract advocates of equality and it is a mentality that frequently leads to serious racist errors within the organization (p. 13).

The self-righteous anti-racist tendency in the PWOC is akin to the “some of my best friends are Black” syndrome. Comrades measure their “anti-racism” not on their commitment and practice in the struggle against racism with white workers but instead on the basis of their ability to have Black friends. This tendency is expressed in a particularly acute fashion in our relations with white and Black workers. All too often white cadre tend to see Black workers as their “friends” while at the same time they maintain their distance from the white masses. This same phenomena is expressed in the residential patterns of PWOC members. Living in Germantown is as if one had an “anti-racist” badge fastened to their chest...(p. 14).

While racist paternalism leads to patronizing, non-struggle relations with Black comrades, overt racism plays itself out as liquidating these relationships altogether or openly refusing to accept leadership from Black comrades in the organization. Overt racism is an expression of the operation of classical stereotypes of Black people as intimidating, overbearing, emotional, incompetent, except of course in areas of responsibility having to do with other Black people.

Some of the most consistent expressions of overt racism in the PWOC have occurred in relation to Comrade Z [Mike Simmons]. The most common expression of racism in relation to Z is the very widespread tendency to not even acknowledge his role as a leading member of the PWOC (p. 15).

Still another expression of overt racism in the PWOC is that most aptly described as “communist segregation.” This is an approach to assignments which grows out of the racist assumption that Black members of the organization should be given responsibility only in areas they are “competent to deal with,” namely assignments in the “Bureau of Negro Affairs” (p. 16).

There is no mention in its 36 pages of any truly overt or conscious racism of P.W.O.C members nor is there a discussion of the “objectively racist” effects of P.W.O.C. policies. Further there is virtually no attention given to the official theory, announced in July 1980, that the main “block to fusion” was due to the racism of P.W.O.C. cadre. This document became essential reading for all P.W.O.C. candidate members. As a result of the spring 1980 meeting, 15-20 percent of P.W.O.C. members were expelled or quit and the joint leadership of Clay Newlin and Mike Simmons was consolidated against the Feminist assault.

In May 1980 the campaign was taken into the Mid-West as a P.W.O.C member preempted the chair of the mid-west regional O.C.I.C conference and conducted what some unprepared comrades referred to as “a reign of terror” making accusations of racism against cadre right, left and center, demanding self-criticisms and criticizing people for engaging in a “white conspiracy” for refusing to criticize other’s individual racism. Many left embittered and demoralized by this experience, an experience for which they were totally caught off guard, and which the left had probably not seen on such a scale since the hay-day of the Weathermen. In July it reached the West Coast, where under the guidance of Tyree from the S.C., comrades were intimidated and alleged “racist incidents” fabricated until on the second day of the conference, the agenda could be suspended and the meeting degenerate into the same type of guilt tripping, self-flagelating destructive ritual as had occurred previously in the mid-West and in Philadelphia. Four O.C.I.C members were expelled for refusing to participate in the charade and many others resigned in protest against the abuse of criticism-self-criticism and the off-the-wall charges of racism that were being used to consolidate the S.C. leadership. Within a few months at least 40 percent of the West Coast O.C.I.C. membership had left the organization. The focus on individual cadre’s own racism became a regular part of all O.C.I.C. meetings. Organizations were destroyed and individual cadre demoralized all around the country by the unprincipled and opportunist campaign.

The “anti-white chauvinism campaign” under the guidance of the steering committee who consistently used it to its organizational advantage assumed the form of a witch hunt ferreting out cadre’s inner racism and exposing conspiracies to protect other whites (in hope that one would not oneself be attacked). Individuals were called on to confess to possessing hideous racist characteristics and to issue long rambling and humiliating self-criticisms (allegedly after staying awake for days in horrendous criticism-self-criticism sessions). Some of the published self-criticisms approached psychotic paranoia. A member of the steering committee confessed:

... I have to give up every image of myself that I’m anti-racist, come to grips with the reality that I’m racist thru and thru; so no racist error would be beyond me, however gross; that it’s probable I hold on to the grossest racist myths; that I’m capable of doing everything from lying to using black people out of racism. And the only, only way I’m ever going to understand all these ugly racist ideas in me is to welcome every exposure of my racism, so I can begin to combat it.

The abusive way cadre were treated by leadership in this campaign, a campaign which was principally designed to consolidate their leadership rather than honestly deal with racism, is a gross abuse of the anti-racist movement of minorities in the U.S. To appropriate the just fight of oppressed national/ethnic minorities for the narrow organization purposes of a tiny predominantly white Marxist organization with a relative handful of Blacks collaborating is an offense to the cause of all Black people and an insult to all of us, Black and white, who have put ourselves on the line for the anti-racist struggle.

Of the three S.C. launched campaigns designed to consolidate their leadership (anti-federationism, anti-white chauvinism and anti-petty bourgeois intellectuals) this campaign has been by far the most vicious and devastating for the work of “the trend.” This was the case both because real racism is such a central and sensitive problem and because so many Marxists have yet to shed their New Left liberal guilt in dealing with racism and minorities, and as a result, have great difficulty keeping their bearings when they are accused of being a racist by a minority person. Most Marxists of the New Left generation tend to melt with guilt when publicly accused of racism. Who would dare defend oneself or another against such a public charge (after all, as New Leftists have chanted 1000’s of times “we are all racists”). The opportunistic charge of “racism” is a very effective way to isolate and demoralize those you want isolated and defeated for whatever reason. And it is a charge that New Left influenced organizations find it very difficult to deal with in a scientific manner. The unsubstantiated charge of “racism” or the fabrication of alleged “racist incidents” (such as set off the expulsions and resignations at the 1980 West Coast O.C.I.C. meeting) are effective ways to mobilize the guilt ridden, impress the honestly concerned and win over minorities, as well as to isolate potential opponents.

Because the campaign was never intended as a serious attempt to improve cadre who were making mistakes in adopting racial stereotypes or acting paternalisticly, but was rather designed to drive out opponents and quickly unite all that could be united behind the S.C. there were no objective standards set for the process of criticism of “racist errors,” no objective standards for identifying “racism,” and no accountability for those making the charges. Instead of the standard rules of self-criticism (unity-struggle-unity), which would have operated to undermine racial stereotypes and paternalistic behavior, demagogy and intimidation designed to humiliate and drive out were employed. All attempts to establish criteria of what a racist error was or what the appropriate way to combat it might be were systematically branded as themselves racist (for “deflecting the struggle” against immediate manifestations of racism). Those raising such arguments were dismissed as maintaining that nothing could be done against the gross manifestations of racism within the O.C.I.C. until a well developed theory of racism was first developed by the organization. The S.C. thus blatantly confused acts of conscious racism (which of course must be called when they occur within a left organization) with the much more subtle and hard to specify phenomena that both the original Philadelphia document and the official position presented in the July and December 1980 Organizers claimed to be fighting (stereotyping, paternalism and objective racism), phenomena around which there is considerable and legitimate debate both about what exactly is racist (e.g., Feminism, interracial relationships, etc.) and how to combat it. These questions obviously need thorough, careful and scientific discussion and debate before an honest campaign could be launched.

The campaign made a parody out of the category of “objective racism.” Not only were Feminism, inter-racial sexual relationships and “federationism” branded as inherently racist, but the same argument when used by a Black or S.C person against a white’s “racist error” (for advocating actions which allegedly negatively effected minorities), when used by an opponent was branded as “racist” for being “paternalistic.” The classic case is the S.C. argument that “federationism,” the idea that organizations instead of individuals should be members of the O.C.I.C. is “inherently racist,” since minorities have generally avoided local predominantly white organizations and would thus be automatically excluded from membership. Opponents of the S.C. countered with the argument that organizations such as El Comite (or numerous other minority Marxist-Leninist organizations) might well prefer to affiliate as organizations while maintaining their minority exclusiveness, and that to prevent such organizational affiliation by minority M-L groups would be objectively racist, for the same reasons that “federationism” allegedly is racist. The S.C. countered by claiming that such arguments were racist because they paternalistically advocated establishing separate and easier rules for minorities. No position or argument, if offered by an opponent of the S.C. was immune from being branded as racist (everything that effected minorities was either racist for being “objectively racist” or paternalistic). People were criticized for not being convinced after a Black made a speech (you “didn’t listen” when Blacks spoke or “didn’t respect Black people”) – if the Black was in agreement with the S.C; or being racist if one did agree with a Black person, since one was being paternalistic, condescending or manipulatively hiding behind a minority – if the minority didn’t agree, with the S.C. Nothing but abject surrender was acceptable. Any disagreement with the S.C. line was branded as racist. All those that didn’t surrender to the S.C were drummed out of the organization, mostly in the form of resigning after being humiliated and demoralized.

The campaign against white chauvinism was most effective, if effectiveness is to be measured by the success at creating a disciplined top down organization of perhaps 200 people, largely mobilized by guilt and intimidation (rather than democratic centralism and understanding). But if success is to be measured by either advances in’ building a Marxist-Leninist movement or by effectively combating racism (in any of its diverse forms) the campaign was an abysmal failure.

The O.C.I.C. which at the beginning of 1979 was still a very promising movement of non-dogmatic revolutionaries by the end of 1980 had been destroyed as an effective force with any potential to grow. It had turned into just another highly sectarian and dogmatic cult distinguished from the rest of the tiny sects mostly by its glorification of theoretical backwardness (as in its campaign against intellectuals) and its Weatherman like use of race-baiting, both internally and in mass organizations in which O.C.I.C. members worked.

Rather than rooting out vestiges of stereotyping and paternalism, among those that stayed in the O.C.I.C, so as to make them more effective in organizing minorities, the campaign in fact reinforced paternalism and patronizing forms of white chauvinism, making it all the more difficult to criticize and objectively evaluate minority comrades (out of fear of being called a racist). Such patronizing behavior, however well disguised within the O.C.I.C. becomes a joke when faced with non-political minorities who tend to laugh at whites who “accept Black leadership” or kow tow to them, rather than treat them as equals (even if sometimes awkwardly).

The central attention given to paternalism and objective racism deflected the anti-racist energies away from: (1) the general policies of the O.C.I.C. and the S.C. which were in the process of rapid organizational consolidation under the cover of this campaign; (2) the larger struggle against real racism as manifested in both the doubling of K.K.K. membership in the previous two years and the worsening condition of the urban Black masses: and (3) to the extent that stereotyping, paternalism and objective racism are real problems – and they are – from effectively dealing with these as well. Rather than targeting racist stereotyping, dedicated anti-racist comrades were condemned as “grossly racist.” Rather than carefully specifying what exactly was racist, free reign was given to subjective and opportunistic attacks that made a parody of serious anti-racist work. Rather than comradely support for people committed to change, but too inexperienced to succeed, people were subject to verbal abuse (“sharp struggle”) and robbed of their dignity, self-respect and political integrity, to the point that most of the older more experienced white cadre not in agreement with the S.C. line on party building were drummed out of the organization, many with deep demoralizing scars. Scars that can only cripple their ability to continue to be effective in the anti-racist struggle. Rather than improving the quality or quantity of anti-racist cadre, the anti-white chauvinist campaign. reduced both. A strong argument can thus be made that the campaign itself was “objectively racist” by undermining the struggle against real racism both within the left and within the greater society. An even stronger argument can be made that the campaign’s perpetuators, above all Clay Newlin, other S.C. members and P.W.O.C. leaders, are “objectively racist” for appropriating and abusing the charges of “racist” for their own short term organizational, advantage at the cost of setting back the general struggle against racism.

A very serious danger of abusive campaigns, such as that carried out by the O.C.I.C.’s S.C., is the danger of immunizing people from the charge of “racism,” as well as discouraging committed anti-racists from getting involved with either anti-racist movements or with politicized minorities (“burn out”). The prevalence of unfounded, uncomradely and in the case of the O.C.I.C. opportunistic and sometimes fabricated accusations of racism, carry with them the same danger that existed in the classical child’s tale about the boy who cried wolf. When faced with an example of real racism many veterans of anti-racist struggles and “sharp struggle against our own racism,” are no longer listening, shrugging off such criticism as “merely those crazies again.” Blunderbuss tactics are self-defeating. They either produce patronizing and mechanical cadre or immunized ex-anti-racists. They also tend to produce hypocritical cadre who publicly can beat their chest with the best of them, denouncing “their racism,” as well as their friends, in a most convincing manner without being emotionally moved by the proceedings.

The Causes of the Destructive Anti-White Chauvinism Campaign

The institutionalization of the O.C.I.C. campaign against white chauvinism between September 1979 and the summer of 1980 was a result of a coincidence of a number of factors (some might say it was a classical example of “overdetermination”): (1) The primary drive seems to have been the desire of Clay Newlin, Mike Simmons and others in the national leadership to rapidly consolidate the O.C.I.C under their control without having to actually implement the long promised Ideological Center (an institution which would probably have frustrated the national leaderships’ plans (because of their theoretical weakness). But coincident with this primary factor were also; (2) legitimate concern about the failure of O.C.I.C.. groups to fuse with the advance workers (the explicit official reason for the campaign) combined with the theoretical backwardness of the O.C.I.C. leaders unequipped to deal on a scientific and sophisticated basis with the issue and who thus tended to blame the cadres’ racism;(!) the legitimate hurt of those relatively few minority comrades in the O.C.I.C organizations, especially in the P.W.O.C. who were the unintended victims of unconscious stereotyping and paternalism by their white comrades (this comes through loud and clear in Mike Simmons’ internal P.W.O.C. document; (4) the internal struggle in P.W.O.C. around the question of whether or not to support the Take Back the Night Campaign in specific and around Feminism in general, a struggle that was won through a counter-offensive on the part of the Newlin-Simmons alliance against the feminists in the organization (which focused on calling them racists). The success of this local effort immediately suggested the power of a national campaign utilizing the same unprincipled methods to avoid theoretical or political struggle as a way of pushing back the threat of Rectification, Primacy of Theory and dissident fusion forces, which were generally better equipped than most S.C. leaders for carrying on an ideological struggle.

These four determinant factors behind the “anti-white chauvinism campaign” were certainly magnified by the high level of white liberal guilt which is our heritage from our New Left and middle class roots, and probably (if past similar events are any lesson) by police agents interested in disrupting and destroying what had been a promising movement.

The O.C.I.C. like all the rest of the small New Communist sects remains almost exclusively petty bourgeois in class background. (“Though predominantly white, our tendency is almost exclusively petty-bourgeois. . . .” “Up until recently our petty bourgeois conceit has not fundamentally been challenged.” Clay Newlin in The Organizer, December 1980). As petty bourgeois radicalized in the 1960s and 1970s O.C.I.C. members share in its values as well as in the guilt of its liberal segment.

Middle class moralism and guilt feelings about being white and “privileged” shared by most O.C.I.C members, as well as the heritage of our radicalization in the New Left, still permeate much of our work, substituting primitiveness for scientific principles of organization, struggle and analysis. There are still strong remnants, often just below the surface, of the old New Left “follow Third World leadership line” (never mind which Third World leader: Mobuto/Cabral, Castro/Pinochet, Mao/Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minn/General Thieu). Our generation thus is highly susceptible to personal attacks for being “grossly racist” especially if endorsed by minorities. Our petty bourgeois heritage thus# weighs heavily on our objective ability and leaves us open to opportunism and manipulation by dishonest comrades and police agents.

A standard police infiltrator method employed to wreck left organizations has been to create factionalism and demoralization. The F.B.I. developed such tactics against the Communist Party and improved them as part of its notorious Cointelpro campaign against the New Left beginning in 1967. The F.B.I., especially since the mid-1960s has seen organizational unity between minority and white leftists as a special danger and has focused much of its effort on undermining such attempts. Two principle means to accomplish this end have been to sow distrust of whites among minorities and divisiveness and demoralization among whites around the issue of how to deal with minority comrades. In relation to the first campaign against “white chauvinism” in the C.P.U.S.A. in the 1949-53 period Harry Haywood stated “I cannot overemphasize the effect of FBI and police infiltration, pro-vocation and incitement and their consistently and consciously disruptive activities. . . agents were involved from start to finish on both sides of the fence” (Black Bolshevik, p. 587).

F.B.I. documents released through the legal efforts of the Socialist Worker’s Party revealed how the F.B.I, operated in the 1960s and early 1970s against the New Left. The F.B.I. became very concerned in 1964-65 when it looked like followers of Malcolm X were getting close to the S.W.P. and took appropriate action (Cathy Perkus, Cointelpro, pp. 104-5). Anonymous racist letters were sent Blacks, allegedly from white comrades. One sent to Paul Boutelle, in an attempt to drive him out of the S.W.P., read “Why don’t you and the rest of your fellow party monkeys hook up with the Panthers where you’d feel at home” (Cointelpro, p. 52).

Mass organizations were disrupted by the F.B.I. which pressed the divisive issue of why leadership bodies didn’t contain more minorities. One F.B.I. letter sent to members of the New Mobilization Committee in Atlanta, which used race-baiting to stir up racial antagonisms and divisiveness, stated “Over the past several years the Trotskyites have literally taken control of the body proper and have repeatedly resisted efforts to recruit Black brothers into NMC leadership. ... In the main, NMC leadership has been no better than the racist politicians and phony liberals who give lip service to the Black community and turn their backs on any positive action. The NMC leadership has demonstrated an appalling lack of sensitivity towards the largest minority in the country. . . the situation must be rectified immediately” (Cointelpro, p. 154).

Identical techniques were also employed by local Red Squads to disrupt efforts at Black-white unity. For example, an agent for the Chicago Red Squad, John Valkenburgh, was responsible for the failure of the National Conference for New Politics Convention held in Chicago in 1967. The intention of the conference was to select anti-War candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency for the 1968 elections, securing support for such an anti-War effort through an alliance of minority and white left and progressive constituencies. Valkenburgh, one of many Black police agents used to infiltrate and disrupt both all Black and mixed left organizations in the 1960s, incited the Black caucus of the New Politics Convention to play a disruptive role in the Conference. Valkenburgh admitted having told members of the Black caucus of the convention “that since they had been freed from slavery, they still never had their freedom, and causing them to have antagonism when they didn’t have a sufficient amount of Black delegates to the convention.” Valkenburgh was responsible for a disruption of a speech to the convention by Dr. Martin Luther King whom he had labeled a “puppet of the Communist Party” convincing a group of Blacks to join in making derogatory remarks about King as well as engaging in disruptive clapping (New York Times, December 2, 1980, p. 10).

The F.B.I. and local Red Squads learned that raising the issue of minority representation in New Left organizations was extremely successful in both discouraging minority participation and demoralizing and dividing whites and by all indications used it again and again in accelerating the collapse of New Left organizations. The frequency with which this theme reoccurred in potentially promising organizations through the 1970s, including the O.C.I.C. strongly suggests that the lessons of the early successes of police agents using this issue was not lost even after the formal dismantling of the Cointelpro program. Unfortunately, the left never came to absorb the lessons of how police agents work and even in its New Communist segment, such as the O.C.I.C. remains just as vulnerable as ever to the tactics of experienced wreckers. Imagine what three or four Black F.B.I. agents (and there are many minorities working for the F.B.I. and other police organizations) are able to do in the average predominantly white leftist organization given the tremendous level of guilt feeling and lack of ability to scientifically deal with charges of racism, if after a few months of winning the confidence of cadres they launch a systematic effort to label leaders and programs “racist.” There is no hard evidence that police agents were active in the O.C.I.C. “anti-white chauvinism” campaign (as there is evidence that they were involved in many similar previous efforts), but the extremely destructive results of the campaign, clearly indicate that if they were not, they did not have to be, because their work was done for them.

Although all participants (Black and white, those on the left and those on the right of the Party) agree that the 1949-53 CP. “anti-white chauvinism campaign” was a very destructive mistake, there is disagreement among comrades about whether that campaign represented fundamentally a “left sectarian” or a “right opportunist” error. Harry Haywood, a Black on the left of the Party, summed it up as a right error, while William Z. Foster, the head of the Party, summed it up as a left error. Foster saw the campaign as a manifestation of sectarianism, while Harry Haywood summed it up as a rightist error reflecting both narrow nationalism among Black comrades and an opportunistic campaign to isolate the left of the party. He saw it as reflecting a liberal, rather than a Marxist analysis, of racism. He further argued that the campaign distracted from the work of the party among Blacks. To quote Haywood:

Rather than coming out wholeheartedly in support of our revolutionary position, a kind of moral crusade was launched which was completely divorced from any mass work. Refusing to examine the full implications of Black oppression as national oppression, it was assumed that chauvinist practices could be eliminated by wiping out wrong ideas and attitudes of the Party rank and file. White chauvinism came to be considered as a sort of phenomenon, a thing in itself, separate from the fight for Black rights and proletarian revolution. In the end, white chauvinism was strengthened as a result of this “phony war” (Black Bolshevik, p. 587).

It would seem that Haywood’s characterization of the campaign as essentially a right error would hold true not only for the 1949-1953 “phony war” fiasco, but for the cruder mini-revival of the S.C. of the O.C.I.C. in 1980 as well. Foster’s characterization of the campaign as sectarian would also seem to hold, but he appears to be mistaken in identifying such sectarianism as “leftism.”

Foster argued:

The sectarian trends in our Party’s Negro work are part of this same general pattern of Leftist errors characteristic of this period of severe political reaction and government repression.

The most serious sectarian error now being made by the Party in its fight against white chauvinism, and one which gives birth to various other sectarian mistakes, is to neglect work in general among the Negro masses and to develop the fight against white chauvinism primarily as an inner-Party campaign.... The sectarian trend cultivates the error by divorcing itself from the masses and making an unbalanced concentration upon the Party itself. Some of these comrades would seem to imply that the Party is the main source of white chauvinism in the working class.

It is a typical sectarian attitude to consider white chauvinism as a sort of detached phenomenon, especially in the Party, and to shoot into it on this basis. But this whole trend is basically incorrect and tends to cripple our work generally among the Negro people. White chauvinism cannot be fought as a thing in itself by a separate campaign. It can be fought only in connection with the struggle of the Negro people for full economic, political, social and cultural equality. The fight against white chauvinism is an organic part of this broad struggle for Negro rights and cannot be divorced from it without itself becoming reduced to an empty, harmful abstraction.

There is, in the Party, however, a strong Leftist sectarian tendency to evaluate white chauvinism as a uniform political disease and to lump together and to throw into one pot as white chauvinists all those who are in any way, however slightly, tainted by this weakness. The sectarian tendency also sharply condemns as conciliators of white chauvinists, all those others who see any difference in degree of contamination with white chauvinism. This sectarian definition of chauvinism practically eliminates education as a corrective measure and puts the whole stress upon organizational measures. Consequently, not only have comrades been unjustly disciplined, and even expelled, but the whole fight against white chauvinism has been confused and weakened.

The Leftist tendency in the Party presents some strange and dangerous remedies, to deal with this question of Negro national sensitivity. Comrade Haywood, for example, quotes a New York district functionary to the effect that, “No white comrade should ever do anything to offend a Negro.” This idea, often expressed is sheer nonsense. The good will and hearty cooperation of the Negro people in general and of Negro comrades in particular, is not to be developed by such patronizing attitudes, which really reflect white chauvinism (William Z. Foster in Political Affairs).

It seems clear that both “anti-white chauvinism” campaigns were based on an idealist theory of racism as essentially an attitude shared by whites, rather than a materialist theory of racism as a structure of exploitation. And further that both were “moralistic” rather than scientific, in suggesting that white chauvinism was the equivalent of a sin shared equally by all whites (rather like original sin) and as a result something to be confessed and purged rather than dealt with through the broader anti-racist struggle and comradely education. The un-Marxist idealism implicit in the subjectivist notion of white chauvinism characteristic of both campaigns is also reflected in the notions that white chauvinist attitudes can in fact be eliminated without changing the structures and practices which generate them, and the false notion that work can’t go until chauvinism is first eradicated. This latter notion is especially pernicious, since it systematically undermines work against real racism.

The latter day version of the “anti-white chauvinism campaign” is even more idealist, moralistic and unscientific then its model. The O.C.I.C. put forth the most un-Marxist notion of a “white chauvinist conspiracy” which appeals to guilt about being white and privileged, but does the work or the ruling class in confusing our friends with our enemies. In fact, the vast majority of whites objectively lose from racism. ”White skin privilege” is largely an illusion perpetuated by the ruling class in order to secure the loyalty of the white working class (and petty bourgeoisie). To talk about a “white chauvinist conspiracy” is promoting the ruling class ideology that white workers and revolutionary cadre interests lie with white capitalists, rather than with Black workers.

Why Aren’t There More Minorities in Our Organizations

The public reason given by the S.C. of the O.C.I.C. for the “anti-white chauvinism” campaign–the failure of “the Trend” to fuse with the advanced workers – raises a most valid question. Why did not Marxist-Leninism grow in the working class in the U.S. in the 1970s. The simplicity and crudeness of the O.C.I.C’s answer (the racism of white cadre) should not belie the central importance of this question.

It is true, as the O.C.I.C. maintains, that there is a much higher proportion of “advanced workers” among minorities than there is among whites. But what the O.C.I.C. fails to recognize is that it is also true that there is a much higher proportion of ’Marxist-Leninists (both in and outside of M-L organizations) among minorities as well. The very small minority representation in the O.C.I.C. should by no means be taken as a indicator of the failure of Marxist-Leninism to disproportionately reach minority group workers. What has happened since the mid-1960s is that the vast majority of minority M-L’s have joined organizations that are exclusively or predominantly composed of minorities (e.g., The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the Communist League, the Black Panther Party, the African People’s Socialist Party, the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, El Comite, the August 29th Movement, now the League for Revolutionary Struggle, etc.). It is clear, that the white chauvinism of white cadre has not stood in the way of minorities becoming Leninists. Although minority groups have made in-roads into the minority proletariat (especially in comparison with what predominantly white M-L groups have done) none of them has succeeded in establishing a significant and stable presence. Clearly, since white chauvinism of cadre can’t be the cause, something else, mainly the politically stable objective conditions of the 1970s,must be to blame.

But, the proponents of the “anti-white chauvinism” campaign retort: the reason minorities have been forced to form their own separate M-L organizations has been our racism–minorities are not respected, they don’t feel comfortable, etc., because of us. No. This is far too flattering an explanation. First, why should minorities join an organization that has nothing to offer them but an abstract theory. Second, each ethnic minority in the U.S. shares a common culture and traditions and a group identity/(a group identity reinforced by common discrimination and racism against it by the capitalist society). Neither this common culture, nor the felt racism is in any significant degree a product of the left. As a result minorities in the U.S. today, just as minorities have always done in this country and in other countries in the early stages of growth of revolutionary movements, have tended to first form into ethnically defined revolutionary organizations in which they feel confidence. In the early years of the twentieth century, including even the first decade of the C.P.U.S.A., the various European minorities such as the Finns were organized into Foreign Language Associations. Not because of the anti-Finn racism of native born Marxists, not even really because of anti-Finn racism in the greater society, but primarily because of shared tradition and culture that made them feel comfortable in such forms of organization. Likewise, during the early revolutionary period in the Russian empire Jews tended to form themselves into the Jewish Bund, again not because of the anti-semitism of the Russian Marxists, or even so much because of general Russian anti-semitism, as because they felt most comfortable with other members of their ethnic groups. It should be noted that the Bolsheviks waged a long struggle against the Jewish Bund, criticizing it for narrow nationalism and eventually getting it to dissolve and merge with the Social Democratic Party (a multi-national party). Likewise, there was a long struggle against the foreign language federations in the U.S. in the 1920s before they were dissolved and merged into the multinational C.P.U.S.A. In neither case was the battle for dissolution and merger waged primarily against the “chauvinism” of the majority comrades. It was rather waged against the narrow nationalism of the minority comrades.

Just as during the early years of the twentieth century it was appropriate and progressive for various minorities to organize into separate organizations (such forms in fact facilitated recruitment and the spread of revolutionary ideas at this stage), so to it is most appropriate today, and for the same reasons. At some future point, once both minority and mixed, predominantly white, organizations have established a significant presence (fusion) in the working class, it will be on the agenda to dissolve the minority organizations and merge into one single party.

In mass organizations the fact that a leading body or committee might not be composed of a quarter minority people is sometimes cited as an example of racism even though the people that the organization is working with happen to be mainly white. The fallacy of such unreasonable accusations of racism is the confusing of the racism of capitalist society with the racism of left organizations. It is true that the absence of minorities from leading bodies of organizations and their underrepresentation at conferences and organizations is a reflection of racism, but it is not at all necessarily true that it reflects any racism at all in the left organizations. For example, the racism of American society has made it very difficult for minorities to obtain positions on college faculties. Thus meetings of college people in America will be disproportionately white. This is true even for the most radical and non-racist groups. Racism has further systematically inhibited the development of leadership qualities among minorities. Thus as great an effort that progressive organizations may make in American society organizations composed primarily of people of middle class backgrounds will almost inevitably under-represent minorities unless purely mechanical rules are used which place inexperienced and unqualified people in leadership. Following this latter course has been correctly categorized by the P.W.O.C. as “paternalism,” “tokenism” and “establishing credentials.” Given the relative success of minority M-L groups as well as mass organizations together with the absence of any significant predominantly white left organization with any roots in the class, it would clearly be premature at this point to call for dissolution of the minority groups. We have nothing but an abstract and poorly articulated promise to offer minorities. Why should advanced minority workers join our sectarian and backward organizations. What do we have to offer? No matter if we totally purged any racial stereotypes and completely eliminated paternalistic behavior, we would be no more successful, because at this point we have nothing to provide. And with nothing to offer, why not join a group composed of people of similar backgrounds, in which you feel more comfortable? Most minorities will not join predominantly white Marxist groups until such time as they can see that we are playing an effective role in the working class and anti-racist struggles (i.e., are doing a lot more than talking to ourselves).

Once we begin to provide leadership to strikes, to do effective community work, to do effective work in supporting minority struggles, etc., the usefulness of our organizations and the incitefulness of our analysis will draw advanced minority workers in (as it did with the CP in the 1930s). When our work against real racism and capitalism is perceived as effective, it will then matter little to most minorities whether or not we have purged the last vestiges of racial stereotypes and paternalism. What will matter is what we can do to lead and support the struggles of oppressed minorities and workers. Rather than atavistically focusing inward we must build our work against real racism (and the secondary problems of latent stereotyping and paternalism will pretty much take care of themselves–with an occasional push and pull from friends). Minorities that see whites putting themselves on the line for them, and further, being effective at it, will certainly be willing to deal in a comradely manner with their awkwardness. The way to fight racism in all its forms is to do effective work against real racism. A multinational party will emerge because of the success of our anti-racist work, not because we successfully purge stereotypes and paternalism.

The claim of the O.C.I.C. is virtually unique in the Leninist tradition. Nowhere else has the theory been put forth that the racism of cadres was the predominant reason that a party was failing to grow in the working class. The standard Leninist answer to why a party is not growing among a given minority is either: (1) objective conditions are not ripe; or (2) insufficient attention is given to the issues that most vitally concern that group. And traditionally Leninist organizations have been most successful in organizing among minorities. The Bolsheviks had tremendous success in organizing among almost all major nationalities of the Czarist empire in spite of the fact that their early leadership was overwhelmingly Russian (and it should be added almost entirely petty bourgeois) without ever having launched a campaign against Great Russian Chauvinism and petty bourgeois privilege among its cadre. They certainly didn’t wait until the last vestiges of anti-semitism were purged from Slavic cadre before leading the Revolution. The Chinese Party was successful in organizing among the minorities in China without ever having to launch a major anti-Han chauvinism campaign among its members. Likewise, with the Cuban Party, Vietnamese and most other major parties. In all these cases the success of the Parties in combating capitalism, imperialism and racism (the strength of the Bolshevik program and practice on the national question) proved sufficient to win minorities. The theoretical and historical weakness of the O.C.I.C. leaders is manifested in their crude theory (more reflective of liberal middle class attitudes and guilt than science) that the cadre’s attitudes are to blame.

The Lessons

Given the very small size and total isolation of the O.C.I.C. it might be questioned why it is worth the bother to develop an extensive critique of its atavistic “anti-white chauvinism campaign.” If this campaign were an isolated case and if the O.C.I.C. were just another sectarian cult it clearly would not be worth the trouble. But unfortunately the premises and style of the O.C.I.C.’s campaign have been recurrent and disastrous problem on the U.S. left since the C.P.s first campaign. It became endemic in the late 1960s within and around the New Left and continued in its various remnants through the 1970s. Although Party members correctly summed up the 1949-53 anti-white chauvinism campaign as a demoralizing disaster encouraged by police agents and a major distraction from doing effective revolutionary anti-racist work, the isolation of both the New Left of the 1960s and at least segments of the New Communist Movement (i.e., the O.C.I.C.) from that experience, condemned both to repeat the same errors once again, both times with even more disastrous and disruptive consequences than were the case in the 1950s. The first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

What is particularly surprising is that those O.C.I.C. leaders who lived through the collapse of the New Left including the hysterical race-baiting and guilt tripping of those around the Weatherpeople in the 1969-70 period could so easily forget the lessons. It is clear that there had to be an opportunistic motive to revive such discredited practices. But the fact that the opportunistic leadership of the O.C.I.C. could so easily succeed in winning over perhaps as much as two-thirds of its membership by such a tactic, reflects the serious political and theoretical underdevelopment of its cadre and the ease at which those who are revolutionaries on the surface revert to the guilt ridden liberalism of their class. Party histories and biographies of CP. members are readily available, as are scientific analyses of racism. Histories of successful revolutionary movements are available as are exposes of the F.B.I.’s disruptive practices in the New Left. It would seem that the glorification of anti-intellectualism and the gross neglect of theoretical development of the O.C.I.C has proven to be its undoing. The corollary of the top down leadership of the S.C. of the O.C.I.C is the theoretical and historical underdevelopment of O.C.I.C members, a condition which the O.C.I.C now celebrates.

It is also worth the bother to criticize the O.C.I.C.’s anti-white chauvinism campaign because in its formative period that organization showed such great promise. It was initially composed of many movement veterans who had developed as Marxist-Leninists without getting swept up in the dogmatism, ultra-leftism and sectarianism of the C.L.P., R.C.P., CP.M.L., etc. People who had been able to pretty much keep their bearings through a politically difficult time. People who in good part consistently did good mass work on the local level thereby keeping their theory in tune with reality. People initially involved in the anti-revisionist/anti-dogmat1st trend of which the O.C.I.C. briefly became the primary expression, proved themselves in their ability to disengage from all the Maoist factions with their reactionary ideas about Three Worlds and Two Superpowers, to correctly analyze the nature of the events in Angola and keep their bearings on revolutionary Cuba and Vietnam, and later in good part to self-criticize their former acceptance of the Chinese thesis about capitalist restoration in the U.S.S.R. These were all tremendous accomplishments. The fact that such an organization, an organization with such good experienced and balanced people, an organization with such good positions and general analysis could so quickly “go crazy” and “self-destruct,” could be so vulnerable to manipulation by a handful of “leaders” who wanted to short-cut the party building process and move directly from talking about setting up a center for ideological debate to a top down heavily disciplined organization through mobilizing guilt feelings (perhaps with police agents from Philadelphia’s Red Squad) does not speak well for the possibility of party building in the present period.

The O.C.I.C.’s political demise was not, as those around Line of March and The Theoretical Review claim, a logical outcome of its fusionist perspective, but rather just the opposite. The O.C.I.C. debacle, in fact, demonstrated the truth of the fusionist axiom, without integration with the advanced workers to provide a firm rooting in real struggles, any attempt to form a highly disciplined Leninist organization will necessarily produce an isolated sect, no matter how correct the theory, dedicated or honest the cadre, or experienced the leadership. All that the O.C.I.C. had going for it was lost in the mad race to build “The Party.”

The greatest tragedy exemplified by the O.C.I.C.’s anti-white chauvinism campaign is net that it reflects the continuing prevalence of liberal middle class based guilt feelings and subjectivism on the part of most of the left, nor even that it underscores the prematureness of party building, given the objective conditions of the U.S. today, but that such “heroic” efforts to combat racism and build “The Party,” objectively undermine the struggle against real racism (as well as hinder the development of effective Leninist organizations in the U.S.).

It is absurd that at a time when overt and violent racism is on the rise in the U.S. as well as when the objective conditions of most minorities is deteriorating, the anti-racist white left is preoccupied with calling itself racist. The phony war against subjective stereotypes and paternalism among cadre both distracts from engaging in the real struggle against the K.K.K., the Reagan government and the transnational corporations and their state. Such subjectivist campaigns both neutralize our energy and drive many of us out of the movement into political ineffectiveness, without resulting in the massive recruitment of minority advanced workers the O.C.I.C. theory hopes for. If any contemporary practice or policy of a left organization deserves to be called “objectively racist” because of its effect on the condition of minorities in the U.S., the O.CI.C.’s campaign against white chauvinism is certainly a leading candidate. Let us stop the stupidity and get on with the struggle against racism.