Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Proletarian Cause

Bill Epton

Unite Theory with Practice To Build A Communist Party!

The debate taking place among some Marxist-Leninists in the New York area is of vital importance and without its resolution the working class will continue to be short of the vital leadership necessary to overthrow U.S. imperialism. Of course, this struggle is not confined to New York – it is being waged among Marxist-Leninist forces all over the country.

In this article we are addressing ourselves to the struggle as its presents itself in some New York collectives. The questions are posed in the following way: In the contradiction between theory and practice, at this time, which aspect is principal? Further, in this paper I show, what I think to be a more correct presentation of the question: i.e., in the present period, how can we best apply Marxist-Leninist theory to the concrete conditions of the U.S. revolution? 2) How does the application of Marxist-Leninist theory to the U.S. revolution aid us in building a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party? 3) What is the correct Marxist-Leninist approach to building a party in the U.S.?

These three questions are profoundly interrelated. They constitute the essence of the fundamental question facing us: What is the principal task of the Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S. today? In order to begin to properly answer these questions, we have to examine what thread, what point of unity, united the “communist” forces over the years and hampered them from maturing and growing ideologically and politically and giving leadership to the U.S. working class. We must do that because the carrying out of our principal task must constitute a break with the errors of the past.

At each stage in the development of the left, the deviations from Marxism-Leninism took different forms. At times it was right opportunism: the capitulation of the “C”PUSA to the New Deal, the dissolution of the party by Browder and Gates, the open and public repudiation of Marxism-Leninism by the “C”PUSA during the 1940-56 period. At times it was left sectarianism: Homer Chase’s split-off from the “C”P in its quagmire of “infantile leftism”; the Provisional Organizing Committee that fought boldly against the ”C”P but disintegrated in a state of confusion; PLP and its decay into Trotskyism. At times tailism and adventurism. At times all “theory” and no practice; at times practice devoid of theory.

Despite the different forms the deviations have taken, the various stages of the development of the left have been characterized by one outstanding feature: The left has never understood or made an analysis of class forces in the U.S. This failure to rely on social investigation among the masses, analyze and summarize it, using Leninism as a guide, revealed a lack of faith in the masses and a shallow understanding of this vital science. At the height of its influence, the “C”PUSA was led by, and its top cadre were from, the petty bourgeoisie. Almost all other “Communist” groupings have been plagued with this arrangement. (It is not the fact, alone, that the petty-bourgeoisie has entered the revolutionary movement and brought its ideology with them that has impeded the revolutionary development in the U.S. It is this combined with the fact that the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist theory did not have deep roots, was not clear enough, and was not in the hands of the masses to combat this erroneous trend.) It was not only just a lack of faith in the masses, it was contempt for the masses, especially the working class, even though there is endless prattle about the need for working class leadership.

Thus, these particular petty-bourgeois “intellectuals” could not grasp the inner contradictions that moved the masses. They could only see the outward signs of the spontaneous movement. Not being able to understand the dialectical method through participation in the class struggle, they were entirely pragmatic. They were unable to unite the masses’ spontaneous hatred for U.S. imperialism with a scientific analysis of U.S. imperialism and the classes that are a force for revolution. They could not answer the question, “Who are our friends and who are our enemies?” in a dialectical manner. Because it could not make the necessary class analysis, it was unable to take advantage of the contradiction within U.S. imperialism.

It could not form united fronts with communist forces in leadership, and direct the united front as a mighty weapon against the ruling class. It either took the line of the “C“PUSA which is to submerge the communist forces in the united front or PL’s position of unite with no one! In a word it was a “communist” movement that was weak in grasping communist ideology and the proletarian political line and the communist method of work. This then brings us to the first question posed: In the contradiction between theory and practice, which aspect of this contradiction is primary in this particular period in the development of Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S.?

We have seen that a solid basic understanding of Marxism-Leninism and its relation to practice has been the left’s major and principal weakness. It was not a lack of cadre, it was not the lack of a militant, spontaneous movement among the masses, it was not a lack of numerous contradictions within the ruling class that could be exploited and, least of all, it was not due to an unfavorable international situation.

We have learned that “theory comes from practice and in turn serves practice” and we have also learned that theory is not an abstraction – divorced from practice and class struggle. Marx wrote about this kind of sectarianism in his pamphlet “The Alleged Splits in the International.” He wrote that ”the first phase in the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie is marked by the sectarian movement. This is justifiable at a time when the proletariat is not yet sufficiently developed to act as a class. Isolated thinkers subject the social antagonisms to criticism and at the same time give a fantastic solution of them which the mass of the workers have only to accept as complete, to propagate and to put into practical operation. It is in the nature of these sects, which are founded on the initiative of individuals, that they keep themselves aloof and remote from every real activity, from politics, strikes, trade unions, in a word, from every collective movement. The mass of the proletariat always remains indifferent, even hostile, to their propaganda.”... “The sects, at the outset a lever for the movement, become an obstacle as soon as this movement has overtaken them; they then become reactionary.” Marx has entered our debate in a most forthright manner!


He wrote ”this 1872, exactly a hundred years ago, when the proletariat, as a class, was just developing and he conceded that in this period, it was “justifiable” because the proletariat was “not yet sufficiently developed to act as a class.” Well, it is not only unjustifiable to maintain and develop this sectarian outlook today, but it is an “obstacle” to the revolutionary movement and will become “reactionary.” To maintain this outlook today in the U.S. among one of the most advanced industrial proletariats is to be completely divorced from the objective world – and most of all – from the concrete conditions of the class struggle.

The general working class movement, led by its most advanced section, the black liberation movement, has already overtaken these “sects” and, as a result, as demonstrated by the history of the “communist” movement in the U.S., has remained.. .“indifferent, even hostile, to their propaganda.”

Some Marxist-Leninist forces view theory in the manner Marx ascribed to the sects of his day. They view the development of theory as the reading of Marxist-Leninist books and out of this study, (the “mastering” of Marxist-Leninist theory, they contend) Marxist-Leninist theory will be developed, written and given to the working class to put into practice. This is their interpretation of theory being primary in this particular period. They say they don’t deny practice, but practice would be useless unless the Marxist-Leninist forces were operating from a sound Marxist-Leninist theoretical foundation. They contend that there is no need to engage in practice at this time, i.e. enter into the struggle of the working class, learn from them and develop theory from this practice. The primary thing to be done, if I may take the liberty of summarizing their position, is to study and develop Marxist-Leninist theory in the abstract. As regards the first part of their contention that it’s through the study of Marxist-Leninist books that theory is developed, we refer these comrades to the following teachings of Chairman Mao:

The method of studying the social sciences exclusively from the books is likewise extremely dangerous and may even lead one onto the road of counter-revolution. Clear proof of this is provided by the fact that whole batches of Chinese communists who confined themselves to books in their study of the social sciences have turned into counter-revolutionaries. When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a ’prophet,’ but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle. We need Marxism in our struggle. In our acceptance of his theory, no such formalistic or mystical notion as that of ’prophecy’ ever enters our minds. Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution. Whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well. Of course, we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country’s actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation.

How can we overcome book worship? The only way is to investigate the actual situation.” – (Oppose Book Worship) When we speak of investigating the actual situation, we do not speak of this one-sidely where we press on comrades to do only practical work and not engage in systematic study of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and Mao Tsetung and apply them to the concrete conditions of the American revolution.

Speaking on this same subject. Chairman Mao has cautioned that... .“our comrades who are engaged in practical work will also come to grief if they misuse their experience. True, these people are often rich in experience, which is very valuable, but it is very dangerous if they rest content with their own experience. They must realize that their knowledge is mostly perceptual and partial and that they lack rational and comprehensive knowledge; in other words, they lack theory and their knowledge, too, is relatively incomplete. Without comparatively complete knowledge, it is impossible to do revolutionary work well.

Thus, there are two kinds of incomplete knowledge, one is ready-made knowledge found in books and the other is knowledge that is mostly perceptual and partial; both are one-sided. Only an integration of the two can yield knowledge that is sound and relatively complete. (Rectify the Party’s Style of Work.)

Isn’t it a fact that the history of the “communist” movement in the U.S. is replete with cases of renegades, traitors, all kinds of opportunists and deviations and scores of “dropouts,” i.e. those forces who generally subscribe to Marxism-Leninism but because they failed to see it operating in practice have temporarily withdrawn from the Marxist-Leninist movement? Likewise, we have seen the “C”PUSA turn from a revolutionary party to a counter-revolutionary party and we have witnessed the same development with the PLP. Many who have examined this phenomena have drawn the conclusion that the reason for this happening was because these organizations were devoid of Marxist-Leninist theory and the best way to guarantee that this will not happen again is to develop “pure theory.” Yes, they were weak in Marxist-Leninist theory, but that is only one aspect that led them to become traitors to the working class.

They were not weak in memorizing books about Marxist-Leninist theory. They went to college and universities and they could read. They were very good at dealing with abstractions, but they could not grasp the dialectical method, the integration of theory and practice, the concept of “from the masses to the masses.” In other words, “theory was theory,” and practice was practice – and never did they complement and support one another. They also fundamentally lacked the essence of Marxist-Leninist theory: the ability to use the science of Marxism-Leninism as a guide to be used in the concrete practice of the American Revolution. Yes, they could quote passages, book and line, but in no way could they remove the theory from the pages, enrich, develop and apply it to our revolutionary struggle. This is primarily because they had contempt for that class that is in the process of making history – the working class! It is no wonder that the working class looked on these armchair “theoreticians” as being irrelevant to their needs and to the revolution.

What good is a “theoretician” who cannot understand, interpret, analyze and systematize the practical problems that come up in the process of the past and present course of the American revolution? How can an armchair “theoretician,” who is divorced from the practical struggle of the masses in the political, economic, cultural and other fields, give ”scientific explanation and theoretical elucidations” of these problems? They cannot!

One of the most important, and potentially anti-imperialist, movements in the U.S. today is the anti-war movement. It involves millions of people who are, for the moment, mainly petty-bourgeois. But that’s the top of the iceberg. The anti-war movement reflects the fact that the overwhelming majority of the American people are opposed to the U.S. aggressive war against the people of Indo-China. Where are the Marxist-Leninist forces in this movement? What are the inner contradictions within the movement? How can we exploit the contradiction between the revisionist “C”PUSA and the trotskyists? What is its class composition? What is its relationship to the BLM? How can we turn it more to the working class? And so forth and so on.

The Masses Make History!

The answer to these questions do not lie solely in Marxist-Leninist books* even though within these books we will find certain fundamental guides. But the real answers can be found if Marxist-Leninist forces enter the anti-war movement, participate in the struggle, delve into and discover its inner core, and through this practice, coupled with systematic study of Marxist-Leninist scientific works learn how to develop theory in this particular area of work. This is the only way that a theoretical foundation can be put forth as how to solve the problem of working in the anti-war movement. It is the combination, synthesis and summary of many of the essential problems facing the Marxist-Leninist forces (the black liberation struggle, the women’s movement, the trade union struggle, the student movement, etc.) that will prepare us to develop the general theory of the proletarian revolution in the U.S.

Chairman Mao asks the question: “You can’t solve a problem? Well, get down and investigate the present facts and its past history! When you have investigated the problem thoroughly, you will know how to solve it. Conclusions invariably come after investigation, and not before. Only a blockhead cudgels his brains on his own, or together with a group, to ’find a solution’ or ’evolve an idea’ without making any investigation. It must be stressed that this cannot possible lead to any effective solution or any good idea. In other words, he is bound to arrive at a wrong solution and a wrong idea. (Oppose Book Worship)

These comrades who hold the position that the best way to develop theory is through the study of Marxist-Leninist works will certainly disagree with me when I state their position as studying Marxism-Leninism theory in the “abstract.” They will accuse me of distorting their position because they claim they are all for the class struggle and active participation in the mass movement, but (the very important “but”) for the moment we should be cautious – (and sometimes it goes beyond just being cautious: it becomes don’t do anything until we have a “theory”) because we haven’t developed our “theory” yet. Let’s examine what may be called my distortion.

Some of these comrades have said that, for the moment, their primary reason for working is not to actively engage in class struggle and learn from the masses, but their primary task is to study Marxist-Leninist classics and work on “theory.” I think it has been made clear above that to study books divorced from participation in the class struggle will lead these comrades to . . .“arrive at a wrong solution and a wrong idea.” How else could it be? If theory is a result of practice and comrades state that, for the moment, they are withdrawing from practice, then they have removed the props that hold theory up. Once these props are removed, then theory falls on its face and becomes an abstraction. “Leaving aside their genius, the reason why Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin could work out their theories was mainly that they personally took part in the practice of the class struggle and the scientific experimentation of their time; lacking this condition, no genius could have succeeded. (On Practice)

And finally, Marxism-Leninism has given us certain guidelines that apply universally. Among them we see as primary in this period:

1. The need for a communist party guided by Marxism-Leninism.
2. The proletariat is the leading force among the various forces who will participate in the revolution.
3. Revolutionaries must participate in the class struggle, learn from the masses, and in turn educate the masses in Marxist-Leninist theory.
4. Build and develop the broadest united fronts with communist leadership.
5. Make Marxism-Leninism a weapon in the hands of the masses.

Doing is Learning

Given these guidelines, and without a fully developed theory on how to specifically carry out the American Revolution, we can act in many areas. It is these actions, within the above stated guidelines, that will aid us in developing our broader and more concrete theoretical foundations. Failure to act is tantamount to abandoning the class struggle. Many times being “cautious” means not acting and not intervening in the class struggle!

Yes, there is no question that our theoretical work has been deficient and has not been able to guide or even keep pace with the revolutionary developments in the U.S. Nor have we been able to take the practice of the masses and develop and raise it to the level of theory. The Black people’s movement, the anti-war movement, the general workers movement, the women’s liberation movement and the student movement, among others, have made great strides and advancements, in spite of the weak theoretical level of the left. But that is no reason not to participate in the mass movement. On the contrary, it should be more of an incentive for us to enter it and learn from it. Therefore, we must not fail to act within those general Marxist-Leninist guidelines that are universal – and as a result, apply generally to our struggle. And, through these struggles, and through our systematic study of Marxist-Leninist works, with these concrete problems in mind, we will learn how to develop theory and solve the problems of the American Revolution.

Therefore, what is meant by theory is primary at this time is that in this period, it becomes apparent to all Marxist-Leninist forces that the left has no strategy, has made no examination or investigation of the present, has not summarized the history of the “communist” movement in this country, has not analyzed and summarized the past and present struggles of the masses in their various forms and has not integrated Marxist-Leninist theory with the concrete conditions of the American Revolution.

Through participation in the class struggle and using Marxism-Leninism we should be able to analyze the various contradictions, find which is primary, discover its principal aspect and develop our theory. We cannot accomplish any of these if we do not, at the same time, make our class analysis and an economic analysis of U.S. imperialism. This process of analysis, investigation and summary are themselves creating theory. In describing the laws of war (which is the highest form of struggle) Chairman Mao makes this penetrating analysis:

All military laws and military theories which are in the nature of principles are the experiences of past wars summed up by people in former days or in our own times. We should seriously study these lessons, paid for in blood, which are a heritage of past wars. That is one point. But there is another. We should put these conclusions to the test of our own experience, assimilating what is useful, rejecting what is useless, and adding what is specifically our own. The latter is very important, for otherwise we cannot direct a war.

Reading is learning, but applying is also learning and the more important kind of learning at that. Our chief method is to learn warfare through warfare. A person who has no opportunity to go to school can also learn warfare – he can learn through fighting in a war. A revolutionary war is a mass undertaking; it is often not a matter of first learning and then doing, but of doing and then learning, for doing is itself learning. (Mao – “Important Thing is to be Good at Learning”)

Concrete Application of Marxist-Leninist Theory to Concrete Problems

We would now like to take up the second question: How does the concrete application of Marxist-Leninist theory to the U.S. revolution aid us in building a genuine Marxist-Leninist party?

There is general agreement among the Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S. that the formation of a Marxist-Leninist party is on the order of the day – even more – it is the primary task! Not only will there not be a revolution in the U.S. without such a party, but it will be impossible to accomplish the theoretical work we’ve already discussed. And conversely, there will not be a Marxist-Leninist party if this theoretical work is not done.

The American Revolution will most probably be one of the most complicated social and political upheavals man has ever known. It will be a revolution, first of all, in the heartland of the most ruthless imperialistic system that has ever existed. At the same time, unlike czarist Russia or semi-feudal China, it is the most industrially developed nation on this earth. It supports every racist, fascist and despotic government in the world. It has had nearly 200 years to establish, organize, refine and entrench its system.

The national forces that must be united in our revolution comprise the many white workers who are sometimes only or two generations removed from various countries in Europe, and many maintain their ancestor’s language and many customs: the Afro-American peoples, the Chicanos, the Puerto Ricans; various Asian minorities and the Indians. These National groups must also be united at the point of production.

Unity has to be established, under the leadership of the working class in the form of the Marxist-Leninist party, between the working class, the progressive and revolutionary students, some sections of the petty-bourgeoisie (including small and middle farmers), sharecroppers and tenant farmers and in special cases, we must unite with certain individual members of the bourgeoisie.

The entrenched racism and other forms of bourgeois ideology have to be defeated among all sections of the population. Marxism-Leninism, the working class ideology, must be studied, grasped, refined, enriched and made applicable to the concrete conditions of our revolution. We must learn how to develop armed struggle in a creative way that has never occurred before in such a highly developed industrial country.

Yes comrades, we have a number of tactical considerations before us and we can sum them up as

1. the solution to the American Revolution lies in our being deeply entrenched in the movement of the masses, dealing with and helping to solve the problems of the masses – using Marxism-Leninism as our guide, 2. developing communist and revolutionary cadre, 3. creating our theoretical foundation and political line, 4. supporting the international working class and the national liberation movements, and 5. engaging in sharp open ideological debate towards accomplishing our primary task of building our communist party along Leninist lines. We don’t see these developments as being a series of ”steps,” but simultaneous tasks. At a given time and in certain areas, they will not have equal priority and weight. In most cases how we proceed will depend on objective conditions and our subjective ability to shoulder the responsibility. Obviously, like theory, party building cannot be done in the abstract.

Build The Party From Our Main Areas Of Political Work!

The forming of a Marxist-Leninist party is not, by itself, a “new” or isolated event. It is part of, and linked to, the past history of the communist movement in this country. On the one hand, we are in the process of building and launching a “new” communist party, yet, on the other hand, we are a part of, and the inheritors of, the communist movement that was launched in 1919. We should study and learn this history well!

Because objective conditions and the working class call for it doesn’t necessarily make it so. Our subjective forces must also be mobilized. The revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist forces must work out their plan and establish priorities as to how to proceed in building the party. We must establish what are our primary strategic goals and work out a set of tactics to achieve that end, understanding fully well that our tactics are not fixed for always, but may have to be changed and altered according to the objective conditions that exist, – which are not fixed.

From the history of the communist forces in the U.S., from our own experiences and from the experiences of the masses, we have concluded that the primary obstacle in the general development of the Marxist-Leninist forces and a genuine Marxist-Leninist party is the absence of a sound theoretical foundation.

Therefore, there is an iron unity between building the party and laying down our theoretical foundations. The development of these interlocking and inseparable projects represents our primary strategic tasks for the coming period. It is more than likely that the communist party will be formed before all of our theoretical work is anywhere near the point where it has pulled up even with the revolutionary developments in the U.S. That is a handicap, but not an obstacle to our doing our theoretical work to the highest level we can and giving communist leadership to the revolutionary struggle of all the American people. It can and will become an obstacle if Marxist-Leninist forces do not seriously and systematically plan study of the Marxist-Leninist classics, U.S. history and the present situation and participate in the class struggle towards deepening and enriching their grasp of Marxist-Leninist theory and its concrete application to the U.S. revolution.

Those areas where concrete Marxist-Leninist theoretical work must be done towards the building of the party and giving leadership to the U.S. working class and its allies are:

1. A class analysis of the U.S. society
2. An economic analysis of U.S. imperialism
3. An analysis of the Black Liberation Movement
4. Development of a Marxist-Leninist publication
5. History of the U.S. from a Marxist-Leninist perspective
6. Analysis of anti-war, student, trade union, women’s and cultural movements.

Party building and developing our political line cannot be isolated from our main areas of political work. Consequently, if we determine that our main areas of work are in the BLM, the Trade Union movement, the women’s liberation movement and the anti-war movement, then it is here that our main efforts are to be made to build the party. It should not be among students or the petty-bourgeoisie, even though it is indispensable that we also do work among them, but this work is not primary.

Communists Must Give All-Round Leadership

Out of the concrete practical and theoretical work done in these particular areas and others, we will arrive at our general theoretical foundation and in the course of this work, our party will be created. And our party will grow and develop even further as we take our general theoretical understanding to the masses, further enrich it in practice and develop our theory to even higher levels. As these upward spirals develop, we will then be in the position where our theory is on a higher level than our practice or the practice of the masses and communists can give all-round leadership to the U.S. revolution.

Communist leadership is a very precise leadership. It must be precise because it bears, as its responsibility, the task of overthrowing U.S. imperialism which will lay the basis for the emancipation of all mankind from the remnants of slavery and feudalism; from the oppression of colonialism and neocolonialism; from the exploitation of capitalism and imperialism; in a word, “from the exploitation of man by man.”

Communists are but a handful Compared to the entire U.S. population, so therefore the work of communists must be to:

1. Set revolutionary examples for the people.
2. Play a vanguard role, based on concrete analysis, in the struggle of the masses against their exploitation and against U.S. imperialism.
3. Show the way how unity can be established among the various national and ethnic groups and be the most exemplary fighters against racism and all kinds of chauvinism.
4. Constantly and systematically learn from the masses and teach the masses–and in the process draw to us and the party the more advanced elements and develop cadre along these lines. At the same time, we must be vigilant to protect the party and the masses from spies and agent-provocateurs.
5. Develop communist discipline so the small number of communists can act in a more unified and concerted manner. Engage in criticism and self-criticism with the view of ”struggle-criticism-transformation” and ”unity-criticism-unity.”
6. Individual communists and the communist party will reflect the specific and general problems of society, and it is the inner-party struggle, the struggle around ideology and line and the resolution of these problems that will assist communists in resolving problems among the masses.
7. In addition to mastering Marxism-Leninism, communists must also master the history the Indians, Puerto Ricans, Afro-Americans, white workers, Chicanos and Asians in this country. Communists must know their development, the relationship to the present, their points of unity and their points of disunity.

We must be good at knowing and understanding their history, culture and political development. Communists must be the knowers and uniters of the U.S. working class and its allies.

This is how we see the concrete application of Marxist-Leninist theory to the American Revolution, the primary tasks confronting us, the unity of theoretical development and party building and the work of communists in this present period – and for a long time to come!

What Is The Basis of Unity?

We are now confronted with the concrete task of building the party. There seems to be two approaches being put forth in the current debate. They are: 1) Federate various Marxist-Leninist groupings, collectives and study groups based on the “need” for a Marxist-Leninist party, and 2) Engage in ideological struggle, theoretical and practical work towards developing a Marxist-Leninist line.

We are now in a period where there is a growth of Marxist-Leninist collectives, groups, organizations and individuals who have rejected revisionism and ultra-leftism, have adopted Marxism-Leninism as their governing ideology and who see the need for developing a genuine Marxist-Leninist party. In the main, they are petty bourgeois ex-students who were at one time active in various anti-PL factions within SDS, students formerly associated with SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, now, Student National Coordinating Committee), various off-shoots from the Black Panther Party and, not a few, broke from the PLP. In addition, there are some black and white worker groups that formed at the point of production who may have been influenced in one way or another by one or the other of these groups, but who have maintained their organizational independence. A more recent development is the new unaffiliated Marxist-Leninist forces that are entering the arena.

In the main, their political experience has been connected with ultra-leftism of various sorts. They have had very little, and some, no organized contact with revisionism in its most organized and cunning form – the “C”PUSA. Their contact and understanding of revisionism has been mainly through books. This may prove to be a danger if these anti-revisionist forces are not involved in the mass peoples organizations that the revisionists have strong influence in and combat their traitorous deeds and ideas.

The basis for unity of these groupings are anti-revisionism and anti-ultra-leftism. That, by itself, is not a strong enough basis for unity! For example, some people call themselves anti-revisionist and do not recognize that the Soviet Union is an imperialist country. They speak about the ”Socialist Camp” as if the same unity based upon communist principles still exists today as when Stalin was alive and before Khruschev’s betrayal. They do not understand the nature of Angela Davis’ defense and the very sinister role of the “C”PUSA.

Angela Davis calls herself a “revolutionary” and a “communist.” She was unjustly accused of a “crime” and was acquitted due to the changing nature of the contradictions in this country.[1]

But, Angela Davis is a member and propagandist for the “C”PUSA and publicly subscribes to their political line even though there are obvious contradictions between her militant stance before the masses and her identifying with the third world forces, on the one hand, and the racist, opportunist and anti-national liberation policy and line of the “C”PUSA, on the other. In spite of the role of the “C”PUSA the overwhelming majority of the black people correctly recognized the attack on her as an attack on them and they responded by giving her support.

By subscribing to the revisionist, counter-revolutionary line and program of the “C”PUSA that betrays the interest of the masses, Angela Davis has led many black and white radical forces down the road of revisionism. The Che-Lumumba club, where Angela Davis did her political work, is a trap laid out by the “C”PUSA to snare black and Chicano militants on the west coast who want to fight against U.S. imperialism, but, are confused about the sinister role of the “C”PUSA and are not completely clear about this “Che-Lumumba Club” cover. Those forces that call themselves anti-revisionist have much to learn from their reaction and response to this event. Revisionism is a political and class question and Marxist- Leninists must deal with it in that manner. It is revising Marxism-Leninism, changing it, taking out its class content and its revolutionary character. This is far different from revolutionaries adopting the general principles of Marxist-Leninist theory and adapting them to the concrete conditions of the U.S. revolution.

Can we unite because we say we are opposed to ultra-leftism?

There are some Marxist-Leninist forces who contend that the struggle against U.S. imperialism is a racial struggle and not a class struggle. That the primary contradiction in the U.S. is not between U.S. imperialism and the U.S. working class in general, but between U.S. imperialism and the “third world” forces. There are comrades who put forth the notion that the black people can make the revolution by themselves. Some even reject the United Front, even though they may declare to the skies that they are for the broadest unity. But, when their practice is reviewed, we find that they, in fact, do not participate in United Front activities. We know, in practice, that in New York there has been a number of so-called “United Fronts” but they only included various leftist or “third world” forces and, in the main, their points of agreement were, like their “united front,” very sectarian and ultra-leftist. And finally, there are comrades who started out with the view that there had to be two “communist parties... one black and one white.” When it became obvious to them through practice and ideological struggle that this was extreme sectarianism, they shifted and said that there still should be two parties.. . .one “third world” and the other white. More recently, some comrades are speaking of a “multi-national” party with black leadership because the Black Liberation Movement is the vanguard section of the working class!

Yes, it is quite true that the BLM is playing a vanguard role in the developing revolutionary struggle in this country. But leadership will arise because comrades will be able to correctly analyze and summarize the concrete struggle of the masses, and adopt Marxism-Leninism to these conditions in the course of building the party and advance the revolutionary struggle of the working class and its allies to the overthrow of U.S. imperialism. Any other method is “infantile leftism”, and petty-bourgeois idealism!

Ideological Unity and Political Line

Generally, all of these groups and individuals who, in one form or another, express these revisionist and ultra-leftist tendencies agree that there is a need for a genuine Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S. These tendencies are not necessarily an obstacle to unity because they can be resolved through ideological struggle, debate and in practice. But it is obvious that with all of these tendencies in existence among Marxist-Leninist forces that the “need” and ”desire for a Marxist-Leninist party is, by itself, not enough to create a Marxist-Leninist party. We should also be clear that there is a difference between making “left” and right errors and having a “left” or right political line. Both the error and the line can be corrected through sharp ideological debate and the struggle for the correct line as it applies in practice. It is much easier to correct those comrades who make errors than it is to correct those comrades who have incorrect lines. We should engage in sharp, comradely ideological struggle to correct both, among our friends and comrades and among ourselves. Thus, to federate these groups based solely on the “need” and “desire” for a Marxist-Leninist party is incorrect. It is also just as incorrect to not take into consideration the fact that these collectives, study groups and organizations objectively exist.

They came together, as we did, because they generally and theoretically see the need for a proletarian revolution in the U.S., they are internationalist, they see the leading role of the working class and they take Marxism-Leninism as their theoretical guide and they understand the need for a Marxist-Leninist party to lead the revolution. Thus, it would be a serious mistake not to consider organizing groups (a certain form of “federation”) towards the formation of the communist party. If the “need” and “desire” for a Marxist-Leninist party is not, solely, a basis for unity and forming a Marxist-Leninist party and if we also see the weakness in the concept of federating Marxist-Leninist groups, what then is the basis for unity and the creation of a communist party?

The basis for unity, and creation of the party, in addition to the points made earlier, must be a certain degree of ideological unity and a general agreement on a general line. Marxist-Leninist forces must open in a serious and principled way, the ideological debate on the correct application of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of the American revolution. It is also necessary to fight for the correct political line because Marxist-Leninists are not members of a bourgeois “debating society.” Our ideological struggles for a correct political line that can lead the masses in revolutionary action for the seizure of power is of profound significance. It is this struggle for line and the open emergence of the two lines around these sharp questions that will propel the movement forward and create the basis for the formation of the communist party.

As the ideological debate and struggle for line rages generally among Marxist-Leninist forces, it will take place specifically in the various Marxist-Leninist groups. Out of these struggles the two lines will emerge and become clearer and sharper. Some groups will come up with and adopt a correct Marxist-Leninist ideological position and political line and will be ready as a group to build and participate in the formation of the communist party. Other groups will split – some adopting Marxism-Leninism and others resisting, rejecting or coming away confused. These comrades who have adopted Marxism-Leninism will enter the struggle to build the party either as factions of their group or as individuals. And individual Marxist-Leninists will join based on their understanding of the political lines. The key link here is that the primary criteria for the development and launching of the communist party is ideological unity, general agreement on political line and revolutionary practice.

Comrades, the situation internally and internationally has never been better. We are on the threshold of launching a movement of historic importance and without precedent. The working class and the general masses are calling for – nay, demand their vanguard party. Not to take up this challenge when the masses demand it is a right opportunist error. It is up to the Marxist-Leninist forces to take it up, form its party and lead the U.S. proletarian revolution!

Fight for Marxist-Leninist ideology!
Create a proletarian revolutionary political line!
Defeat all forms of ”left” and right opportunism!
Build a vanguard Marxist-Leninist party!
Unite the working class!
Defeat U.S. imperialism!


[1] All sorts of unscientific and non-analytical reasons have been given for the acquittal of Angela Davis like: “It was a deal,” “It’s a people’s victory,” “It shows that justice can triumph,” etc. The real facts can be found somewhere else,and that is the changing nature of this society.

If we recall, in the recent period, in addition to Angela Davis, among others, the following political trials have either wound up with the defendants being acquitted or had their cases thrown out or have received favorable judgements from the juries: “Harlem 4”, ”Harlem 5,” “Harrisburg,” “Panther 21,”, “Chicago 7,” Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Fred Fernandez (arrested in June 1967 with 15 others in the so-called “plot” to murder Civil Rights leaders. He is still in jail on a variety of charges and as fast as the prosecution can manufacture a charge the juries throw them out.)

What has essentially changed is that the voter lists that are used to select juries have changed considerably. It is not just the white “middle-class” that votes and who are eligible for juries. With the mass influx of blacks into the large industrial cities (where most of the political trials used to take place) and their constituting an increasingly larger percentage of the voter lists, more and more working class blacks are now eligible for jury duty. Secondly, the average age of the U.S. population is much younger than ever before and have been influenced by the U.S. war in Indo-China (which all political trials are closely connected with). This younger population is more and more rejecting capitalism and all it stands for and see the U.S. as the main enemy of progress here and in the world. They are also voters and are eligible for jury duty. In addition there are over three million Vietnam veterans now in civilian life.

Thirdly, a great deal of political work is being done among the women by the Women’s Liberation Movement and because of the war, the steady decline of the U.S. economy and the decay and breakdown of the U.S. society more workers and members of the petty-bourgeoisie are having their political consciousness raised. As a result, the U.S. rulers are finding it increasingly difficult to get ”rubber stamp” juries in political trials. They can no longer say as easily that “I am the government, so convict!”

In response to this new situation the U.S. rulers have adopted some new measures to get around the old jury sytem. Among them are handing down indictments from and conducting trials in remote isolated areas of the country where the population is more conservative and the possibility of getting a hand-picked “hanging jury” is good. The other is to prevent defense attorneys from questioning prospective jurors and having them picked by the judge.