Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The Organization for Revolutionary Unity

Introducing the O.R.U.

The merger statement of the Committee for a Proletarian Party (CPP) and the Communist Organization, Bay Area (COBA), March 1983

First Issued: March 1983.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The members of the Committee for a Proletarian Party (CPP) and the Communist Organization, Bay Area (COBA) are pleased to announce that we have completed the merger of the two groups.  Our new name is the Organization for Revolutionary Unity (O.R.U.).  Following a year of preparatory work, the merger solidified our unity on basic ideological, political, and organizational principles and launched our new Marxist-Leninist organization.

Some of the key ideological and political underpinnings of the O.R.U. are found in the COBA-CPP pamphlet, “New Democracy and the Transition to Socialism” and “The Cultural Revolution in China.”  We have considerable unity on the main lessons concerning class struggle under socialism, and especially the contributions of Mao Tse-tung.  A related area of basic ideological agreement concerns the Soviet Union.  The O.R.U. believes the USSR has abandoned socialism and has gone over to an exploitative society, a new form of state monopoly capitalism.  In preparing for our merger, CPP and COBA jointly debated Line of March on the nature of the Soviet Union.

Although we are small, over the last ten or more years the members of the O.R.U. nave had considerable experience in a number of Marxist-Leninist organizations, including some of the self-proclaimed communist parties.  Our members come from various political backgrounds, with histories in trade union struggles, the women’s movement, fighting race discrimination, GI organizing, national liberation support work and the Chicano national movement.  We believe that no currently existing organization constitutes a genuine center for a revolutionary ML party nor do we consider ourselves to be the only genuine force on the left.  However, we certainly hope to contribute to the formation of such a center.

We have united around a general plan of action for our first year, agreeing to make Central American solidarity work the key component of our mass-oriented work, giving emphasis to the role of U.S. imperialism both in Central America and the U.S.  Some of our members are active in Central American support organizations, and we recently participated in the U.S.-Mexico border demonstration in opposition to U.S. intervention in El Salvador.  This is one area of work we hope to explore with others in terms of setting up joint work.

We are also interested in circulating and discussing our views on women’s oppression, the result of a year-long study taken up by formerly COBA members and others.  By and large, the anti-revisionist movement has failed to really examine the situation of the majority of women workers in the U.S. today.  By focusing solely on the industrial proletariat, they often have ignored the fact that women are mainly entering new or expanding sectors of the economy, many of which are critical to monopoly capitalism.  Women are 42% of the workforce; they predominate in electronics production and clerical work.  Communists can and must tap this working class power by organizing working women and actively supporting the progressive women’s movement.

Our strategic view is that the alliance between the working class and the oppressed nationalities is the core alliance for bringing about revolution in this country.  We believe national oppression is the material basis and root cause of racism.  Developing correct political line and practice on the U.S. national questions –Black, Chicano, Mexicano, Hawaiian, Native American – is of critical importance, something which requires joint efforts by the left.  We welcome contributions toward our understanding of these national questions.

The formation of the O.R.U. comes during a difficult period.  Ten years ago the anti-revisionist movement was a rising political force.  Now it is in disarray – its forces splintered, politically confused, and lacking organization.  Formerly, China and Albania were a source of political inspiration and instruction.  But when the capitalist roaders took state power in China, and when Albania’s leaders rewrote history to their own liking, many in the movement lost their bearings.  U.S. Marxist-Leninists went in all directions.  Some followed China; others, Albania.  Some gave up on proletarian revolution and began to see national revolutions as the ultimate goal.  Many dropped out completely to become professionals or trade union officials.  And, many former anti-revisionists flocked to the pro-Soviet pole to become born-again revisionists.

Although the international communist movement is in crisis at this time, it is beginning to pull itself together on firmer ideological footing than before.  Slowly and cautiously, anti-revisionist unity is reforming.  We in the O.R.U. want to be a part of this process.  As a start, the left needs to analyze the political lessons of the 1970s in order to begin to build a genuine communist party and revolutionary movement in the U.S.

In learning from past errors, we will make every effort to avoid premature, simplistic analyses.  For example, the claim made by CWP that we are now in a revolutionary situation, such as Lenin talked of; or the similar line of the RCP which more or less banks on the seizure of state power in this decade.  We must also not go with the flow and sell ourselves out to reformism like the C.P. and SWP, among others, a huge danger in this country for leftists trying to be “relevant.”

We in the Organization for Revolutionary Unity believe we have managed to keep our bearings and unite in an organization around a relatively solid ideological orientation.  We hope to expand our relations with a variety of other organizations and individuals around the country and to develop joint practical and theoretical work.  A united left presence is critical to combat the onslaught of the ruling class in this period of capitalist economic crisis.  We look forward to discussions, exchanges of materials and views on questions facing the movement, and welcome the initiatives of others.  We have not and will not seek out only those with whom we are in 90-100% agreement.  The questions facing the movement are too complex for any one group to pretend it has all the answers.  While we will uphold our principles, and expect others will do the same, one major lesson the past 10 years has taught us is that the masses demand that leftists learn how to work much better with each other, and more importantly, how to work among the people.  We commit ourselves to these tasks.

There are a number of other basic points which make up the foundation on which the new organization exists.  We would be happy to make our views available and to receive any comments or criticisms you may have, or to discuss them in person.