Towards A New Marxist-Leninist Communist Party

First Published: Turning Point Vol. VIII, No. 2, May 1955
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Against Deep Sleep Therapy in Politics

Far be it from us to waste space in a spaceless periodical, proving EARTHLY FACT NUMBER ONE – that Communism is winning out on this planet. However, the seemingly impenetrable “depression in depth” of American Communists forces us to at least state this fact as a reminder. Certainly, it cannot be that the road to Socialism in the U.S. is as long as the face of Socialism’s dispirited advocates.

What is wrong? What makes things so hard? We are strongly advised by weak liberals (infringing on a Trotskyite patent) that all our ills are due to “slavish imitation” of our Soviet brethren. Since the Communist Party leadership unfortunately is Foley-Square-infamous for its violent allergy to “Soviet Models?” [1] We believe that the “slavish imitation” accusation is a misfire – a perfect illustration of a cringing American gymnastic known as anti-foreign radicalism (or more accurately, radical anti-foreignism). There may be, however, one wry iota of unintended truth in the accusation – pertinent to this article. And we will face up to it at once.

According to Carter’s “News Facts,” Soviet Doctors have been experimenting with deep sleep therapy. They seem to be getting excellent results with this method in the treatment of mental depressions, etc. In all fairness to American radicals accused of “slavish imitation”, it should be stated that the current American Communist hibernation developed independently of Soviet medical experiments. If, however, some American Communists did apply the Soviet treatment to their own political depression, we suppose that was mechanical. In any case, we will buy no stock in any prospecting which attempts to deep-sleep it out of capitalism on the theory that there is no difference between medical deep sleep and political hibernation.

It would be a mistake to take our point on hibernation lightly because many people believe that there are no longer any Communists in America. We, on the contrary, believe that American Communists are not so dead as hibernating – en masse, in fact.

We would like to interrupt this hibernation for the purpose of collecting a little help in an elementary project. Therefore, we take this opportunity to restate our aims.

The Aims of Turning Point

In working towards a true Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, we urge the cooperation of all who realize that the opportunist CPUSA has corrupted its own science, betrayed the working class, and incapacitated itself, and that only a principled Marxist-Leninist Communist Party can be the vanguard in the struggle for Socialism in the U.S.

* * *

We stress a correct theoretical base for a new Communist Party through a return to the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

We circulate information and literature necessary for this task – both our own and that published by other individuals and groups. Because the CPUSA has proven itself little interested in promoting “foreign” journals, we are forced to the best of our limited ability to advertise and circulate them.

We work to coordinate the forces for a real CP through systematic contact and discussions.

We systematically expose and explain the cause of the leaderless-ness of the American working class – the opportunism of the CPUSA.

Because of the “lowered resistance” of the confused progressive movement at this time, we remain especially alert to the latest devices of American Trotskyism.

Despite assorted obstacles, we remain active in the anti-war, anti-fascist movements, the Labor-Farmer Party movement [2], the Campaign to Vindicate the Rosenbergs and Free Sobell [3], etc. In the course of this activity, we try to point out the repeated mistakes made, and we try to prove other methods preferable by specific demonstrations.

How You Can Help

Contact Turning point. Let us know your agreements and disagreements. Pose your problems and ours for open discussion.

Send us news and information – either through clippings or your own account.

Express your ideas through TP. Use your judgment as to space (what there is of it!) but we will not cut without the specific authorization of the writer. Even if we disagree, we will be glad to print your opinion as an essential contribution to the discussion.

If you agree with us basically, consider yourself an organizer and find number two. Help us get TP to the right people. Send us names for sample mailings. Subscribe to TP. Circulate an extra copy. If possible become a TP sustainer at $1.00 per month.

Form study groups in Marxism-Leninism. We have to train ourselves and our friends so that we really know what we’re doing. Because America is the citadel of opportunism within which many good people fall, only the most theoretically, aware movement protected by theoretically aware people can survive and form a strong magnet capable of holding the confidence of the American working class. We can’t bluff our way into Socialism – CPUSA style. We will be glad to help with suggestions and literature.

Keep active in the progressive organizations and committees. Nothing is static in this world – not even confusion. A little coordination can mean constructive ideas carried.

Help us circulate foreign periodicals which throw light on our confused movement – New Times, People’s China, For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy, News Facts, Japan Letter, Democratic German Report, etc.

About Failure

What there has been of a movement for a real CP in the U.S. has failed so far, because, as a whole, there wasn’t enough Marxist-Leninist theory in its foundation. This deficiency started in the CPUSA itself – long before it degenerated. Theory was disdained in the CPUSA. One went along loyally depending on loyal leaders. When the leaders turned disloyal to their principles, one went along loyally supporting the disloyal. Many people, who honestly fought the opportunism of the CPUSA, left the CPUSA carrying opportunist baggage – and its counterpart, leftist baggage.

This was not so strange. There was nobody to lean on. Nobody to tell “with authority” wrong from right. In one corny word, there was no big “leader” holding the loyalties of the independent dissidents. People don’t learn to think for themselves in a day. Nor does a movement as a whole. There was much floundering about. Even this could have been constructive if an important attitude had been kept in mind – the correct attitude of open discussion. Strangely enough many dissidents did not allow dissidence!

The day that we can involve a lot of people in a real discussion in which disagreement is not farewell will be the day on which we start up the road to elementary organization. That’s what TP is interested in. As long as talented, honest people detour around open discussion, they will have no elementary organization – or, they will start it and watch it crumble.

Besides all this, there is another, usually unspoken factor – the “impossibility” of really recreating a real CP. in the U.S. This position is more often formulated with a raised eyebrow than with the tongue. Let us dim the lights, pull the shutters, and talk this one over in whispers.

What goes through the minds of those who desperately want a new CP, who are “wise” to the present fraudulent CP, but who seem to be incapable or unwilling to lift one (“left-of-center”) finger to implement their hopes?

At first glance, it almost seems that some of these comrades are quite defeated and/or cynical. (Maybe a few are – but only a few.) But, on reconsideration, do they really believe that “nothing will come of it all”? Let’s check. They readily admit that the present CP is incapable of leading us to Socialism. Nevertheless, they still believe that they are going to get Socialism. The itchy question then erupts; who is going to bring the Socialist Revolution – a Supreme Court Judge costumed as “Father Time”?

Most Communists in the U.S., although at the moment dispirited, do have faith that Socialism will be victorious. They are doing nothing about it because they are waiting for someone else to work up the momentum. Certain “die-hards” are trying to do the preliminaries – and are having a rough time. They would welcome help. Why shouldn’t the dispirited help a little and see what happens. They might see some tangible results for their pains. At the worst, they could always subside again without having lost anything. But our guess is that they might not subside, that as soon as we rake up enough comrades to go to work organizationally, the results might cheer them into chronic health!

What mighty impetus can one wait for? A mighty name? A moment’s inventory will establish the fact that big names are out of stock. If anyone wants to wait for the CPUSA leadership to mature politically, we grant him the right, but we also accuse him of spiritualism. In the U.S. of this world, we have exhausted the big names – or the big names are exhausted. Unavoidably, in the U.S., the new CP will arise from ordinary names and extraordinary principle. This, we grant, is the hard way, but at least it’s a non-mysterious way, capable of materialization.

Perhaps some wait for the economic catalyst. A depression will not of itself give us a real CP. If we are not ready when the real depression hits, there will only be extra confusion. We should be preparing now for the debut. For the unrehearsed, a debut is a scheduled failure.

In 1945 the CPUSA still had the loyalty, though divided, of its membership. Now it doesn’t; it doesn’t even have much of a membership. In 1946 the progressive movement still looked to the CP, no matter how little impressed it was. Now the progressives are becoming disgusted with the CP. The betrayal of the working class by the American CP has created such a vacuum that the Trotskyites have revamped and come out with new models.[4] American Communists who realize this but fail to move can blame themselves for the advances made by the Trotskyites.

The progressive movement has begun to develop new progressive leaders who do not look to the CPUSA. This is encouraging, but usually these leaders have little theory to lean on. They tend to be eclectic. They grope their way from one “sensible” attitude to the next “sensible” attitude. This may be an improvement over the “insensible” groping of the CP leadership, but it is not quite as good as a consistent perspective which comes only from a basic theory. The existence of a Marxist-Leninist corps in this country would help provide this.

Degeneration of the CPUSA

A real Marxist-Leninist Communist party is needed in the U.S. because the degeneracy of the CPUSA leaves the American people unled in the face of threats of war and fascism.

Most people who have become fed up with the CPUSA have not followed their own reactions down to the root. Let us consider the Communist who until recently read the Daily Worker but has now given it up. Why? Because he saw the third party murdered from the inside, because he is being handed over to the Democratic Party, wrapped like a dying fish in yesterday’s Daily Worker? Perhaps he’s an aware trade unionist who cannot stomach the D. W.’s adoration of the bureaucratic-big leaders of labor: one day – Reuther, the next day – Meany, the next – Quill, etc. Perhaps the lack of anything more than a token sigh in defense of Guatemala did the job?

But underneath the specific sellout of the day (a regular feature, it seems of the D. W.) does the Communist realize the consistent absence of the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism? When the revolutionary essence of Marxism .was put on trial in Foley Square, the D. W. and the Party rejected it. In the most commonplace way, CPUSA writings square Marxism-Leninism with the demands of the U.S. government.

The CPUSA believes in a peaceful social reorganization – instead of a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system. It is embarrassed by the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and most of the time denies its belief in this. (Sometimes it admits belief in it with explanations!) It is for the class struggle as led by Reuther or any other big shot; it is against any independent ideas in the class struggle. These it calls adventurous.

It is not a vanguard but an anchor. The anchor hit bottom with Browder’s liquidation of the CP. It bounced up once and settled back on bottom with the fake reconstitution of the CP after the Duclos article. It went below bottom in the Rosenberg-Sobell Case when, in complete hysteria, the D.W. lost it’s voice for nine months – during which time the name Rosenberg did not appear in the D.W.

Or, more simply, where is Socialism in the pages of the D.W.? Strange word – Socialism! A Communist paper that mentions the future society only on ceremonial occasions – if then? A Communist Party which is afraid to define its own name? Ridiculous!

It took time but the CPUSA and the D.W. have finally disillusioned the loyal. Somebody high up in the CP and the FBI can take satisfaction (and perhaps, an increase in pay) for this.

The U.S. without A Real Communist Party

As long as there is no real CP in the U.S., many good people who inaugurate many good committees and organizations will see their work chewed up by opportunist termites. As long as there is no real CP, an independent third party will tend to gravitate towards the Democratic party. Generally, without a real CP, there will be nothing much with which to fight for peace, Democracy, and Socialism.

A great opportunity is being lost to secure world peace – now when our government is fast losing the ability to make a new world war or even to talk one up to its former style. Although we must always guard against the dangers of another world war, there is an objective basis for seeing the growing impossibility of another world war. It is not that the capitalists are becoming reasonable; it is rather that weapons are becoming stubborn and unreasonable. The A and H bombs have within them an ancient unreasonable device known as the boomerang.

Way back in 1946, Churchill urged world imperialism to destroy the Soviet Union while there was time – or, we might add, before, the path of the boomerang was completed. In our SOS to All Communists from the P.R. Club, CP (Oct. 1946) we said:

“In his Fulton speech, Churchill became the basic theoretician of the anti-Soviet war and of atomic power diplomacy. Speaking of the Communist menace, Churchill said that ’...we have at least a breathing space to set our house in order before the peril has to be encountered...’ breathing space means to him the time left to fight the Soviet Union before she develops atomic power ’equality.’ Churchill thinks he must fight the S.U. someday – the sooner the better. This has become the guts and the metronome of the Byrnes-Bevin get-tough policy. Of course, when the S.U. demonstrates her atomic development one day soon, the Anglo-Saxon will sadly settle back into slightly longer range, more ’polite’ war plans. Then, perhaps, the whole world will have a breathing space.

If the U. S. government failed to get a world war out of the Korean war, how much harder is it after the Korean war? If the U.S. was incapable of turning Indo-China into – at least! – a Korea, she must obviously be losing the ability to promote even minor conflicts (the kind in which only a few million die). One must not confuse American bluffs with Pentagonal impotence when it comes to bringing the world into mass suicide. Washington can drop the word-bomb all over America, but that was insufficient to prevent an American defeat at Geneva – a defeat that reverberated through the world. If America was incapable of preventing the Bandung conference (or even of torpedoing it after it had started), it is hardly capable of forcing World War III. Where can the U.S. attack? Asia? Europe? Or are there just a few special areas left – like Guatemala?

Because all atomic weapons are, by nature, stamped with RETURN POSTAGE GUARANTEED, there is no vault safe enough to give personal protection to our leading maniacs. Since America can’t have its World War III so easily, since it can no longer even play at war with test bombs in the pacific, it has to settle for the “Atomic War of Yucca Flat.” And it looks like even this “has got to go.”

Once it was taken for granted among intelligent people that there would of course be another World War. But “strange things are happening. ” The venom of a certain rattle snake is so strong that after a brief and ugly historical spree, it is paralyzed by its own venom. What better example than the historical role of the A-bomb can we give to illustrate the change from quantity to quality, the unity of opposites, and the negation of the negation. At a certain point, destructive technique goes too far, neutralizes itself and becomes a force for peace and enrichment of life. This we are having the highly tense privilege of watching.

There is nothing complacent in this – in noting that the rattling anachronistically outlives the venom. The rattler, grotesquely suffering from lock-jaw, is still capable of a horrifying but misleading rattle. In fact, even some of the MacA-type rattles are becoming defective.

Fascism becomes more important to the U.S. ruling class all the time – especially for the reason that war isn’t so easy anymore. There will be a scapegoat, a crisis, a leader – and Wall St. will desperately try its hand at fascism. Against this only a real CP: can protect America. Isn’t this good enough reason for thinking of first organizational steps?

Even a small Communist Party will be strong protection against fascism because it will see clearly through the eyes of people who take the offensive. And a new CP. won’t stay small long. The hardest part is the beginning. A new CP, based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism instead of the conveniences and advisabilities of the CPUSA leadership, will receive the respect and loyalty of the advanced American workers.

We have addressed this appeal to Communists. We have not argued the merits of specific Marxist-Leninist principles. We would, however, before closing like to bring one exception to the attention of non-Communist readers – the revolutionary Communist solution as against the anti-revolutionary “socialist” solution to the evils of capitalism.

A good liberal (sometimes under the impression that he is a Communist) who is satisfied with the status quo but disturbed by its individual sins, can spend a lifetime in self-delusion (or even less pleasant forms of frustration) correcting the evils of capitalism in a manner prescribed by capitalist law! Perhaps he doesn’t want more than this – because he doesn’t know more than this. Perhaps he does know more but prefers to stop at the borderline between liberalism and “dangerous” radicalism.

Some people decide that more than the specific evils of Capitalism are at fault; capitalism itself is played-out, its constructive aspects long dead and its decadence supreme. To choose the respectable approach to Socialism is to settle for futility. To choose Marxist revolutionary theory is to rely on a scientific instrument.

The camp of ambiguous socialism attracts a motley crew – honest people “in transition,” Trotskyites who masquerade within the left, conservative liberals, and – most important – the CPUSA. The CPUSA is trying politely to replace capitalism within capitalism (the Emily Post Road to Socialism). In effect this means trying to rehabilitate capitalism to the enlightened point at which it replaces itself.

Those who want an easy, peaceful road to a non-existent Socialism do not have to re-organize. They already have the shadow-boxing forces of Socialism – the Socialist party, the CPUSA, the Trotskyite parties, etc. But those who want a return to the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism have to re-organize. They can have only what they build. Many Communists in the U.S. would like a new CP; somewhat fewer are helping to build it. But there is – at the moment – only one publication which stands for the return to Marxism-Leninism, for the building of a new Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. That is Turning Point. And that is good enough reason for giving us your cooperation.


[1] See TP Vol. II. Nos. 3 and 4, “American Communists on Trial Before the World.” Also Vol. II, No. 6 and III, Nos. 2-3, “Foster’s New Route to Socialism.”

[2] See TP Vol. VII. Nos. 1 and 2.

[3] See TP Vol. VII. Nos. 2-3.

[4] See Feb. ’55 TP: “Consumers’ Guide to Trotskyism – 1955 Convertible.”