Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

J.B. and C.B.

PWOC – “The New Dogmatists”?

First Published: As a letter to the editor in The Organizer, Vol. 7, No. 8, August 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Dear Comrades:

We are writing to cancel our sustainership to the Organizer. We would however, like to maintain our subscription. In doing so we want to lay out our political reasons and hope that you will take them seriously.

For a number of years we looked to the Organizer as being the best American communist newspaper. We used to anxiously await its arrival and we made use of it at our workplace. We felt it represented an advance for the communist movement as far as its ability to apply Marxism to the issues of the day. So it’s with sadness that we have to say we no longer feel the same respect for the Organizer or the PWOC.

Since the campaign against white chauvinism has been a watershed, let us begin with our feelings about your coverage of that phenomena or should we say your lack of coverage. Just as in the OCIC there was no serious attempt to centralize the ideological struggle around the campaign, so the Organizer failed to present opposition perspectives from within the OC. This is particularly serious given the widespread exodus out of the OC. At a time when so many were leaving, a responsible approach to the struggle would dictate an article or articles from OC opposition or ex OC forces. To sum it up a la Newlin and say “the base of support for the campaign is narrow” hardly does justice to what has gone on. If the campaign was such a watershed (as you feel it was and is) then doesn’t the tendency deserve a real debate on what transpired. You disagree with ex-OC forces but to dismiss them with snide, disparaging comments or unsubstantiated charges of abandoning Marxism-Leninism hardly enlightens our movement.

Also to fail to comment in the last two issues about the widespread losses suffered by the OC, the PWOC, the BOC and other fusion party building forces seems to us a dishonest silence about what has gone on the campaign. Or is the rest of the movement “so gross” it doesn’t matter? Your silence is bluff because let’s face it, the OC, the PWOC and others are shells of what they once were.

Your non-coverage of what’s gone on with the campaign leads us to the deeper problem – your ultra-left line. The PWOC has become the new dogmatists. Some symptoms of this include: 1) your overestimation of objective conditions – specifically your view of the U.S. workers movement. 2) your overestimation of the communist movement’s development, 3) your view that right errors are the main danger in the anti-revisionist movement and 4) your absolute intolerance toward opposing viewpoints in the tendency, a sectarian intolerance not justified by the level of development of the movement. On a more general level the PWOC has failed to evaluate critically any of the lines it has developed, especially its trade union line and the fusion line on party building. These became sacred cows, a new dogma, not a guide to action.

While much more needs to be said, we hope the PWOC is able to step back from the recent period and recognize what a disaster it has been. Once again the PWOC needs to target ultra-Leftism as the main danger. Failure to recognize this will only lead the PWOC further down the pathetic and well travelled road of irrelevance.

In struggle,
J.B. and C.B.

ps: We think the merging of For the People into the Organizer was done in an unprincipled fashion. Coming on the heels of a subscription drive to For the People (in which we among others subscribed) and never receiving word from For the People about the change is a ripoff.