Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

East London Marxist-Leninist Association

Editorial: Towards Marxist-Leninist Unity

First Published: Red Flag, No. 3, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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All genuine communists in Britain face two urgent and inseparable tasks. We must overcome the betrayal by modern revisionists by uniting to reconstitute the new Marxist-Leninist revolutionary party. At the same time we must begin to lead the political and economic struggles of the working class against capitalism, and prepare the working class for revolution.

Reconstituting the new party remains the central task; we should struggle to consolidate all genuine communist groups, step by step, into a single democratic-centralist organisation on the basis of the correct ideological and political line, and found the party in the not too distant future. None of this can be accomplished without winning the really advanced workers to Marxism-Leninism and without overcoming the petit bourgeois ideology which still dominates the movement.

It goes without saying that the separate small groups, that make up our Marxist-Leninist movement, are not united, mainly because of different political ideas, approaches, emphasis; these include differences on party building, how to found the party, what kind of party are we to build, and what we should be concretely doing about uniting now.

Over the last year, the desire for unity has developed to impatience for unity. This is an excellent situation. There has been more dialogue between groups, there have been proposals and initiatives. Some success has been achieved, especially in overcoming federalism. Marxist-Leninists everywhere are emerging out of their comparative isolation and beginning to understand the tasks that face us. The recent split in the revisionist CPBML has been an important development in the weakening of that phoney party and the swelling of our ranks with new blood.

Lack of real understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and the predominance of petit bourgeois ideology in the movement have led to some false starts towards unity; the commonly incorrect approach is simply to cry “Unity”, and demand that all groups fall into line behind the proposals of this or that organisation, or be damned.

Genuine communists understand that the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything. We must put political and ideological unity first and organisational unity will naturally follow. “Getting everyone together” for discussion, with no specific aim or direction happens all too often, leading to comrades getting bogged down in secondary questions and becoming demoralised.

Another deviation is to gloss over political differences and insist that joint action and a federalist structure is the panacea. The easiest answer is to take the lowest level of political unity in the hope that joint practical activity alone will heal, in time, all divisions.

There are no short cuts to unity, all Marxist-Leninist groups should familiarise themselves with one another, publish their own views, and criticise the views of others. Through this method we can clear subjectivism and secondary issues out of the way, in order to draw clear lines of demarcation on the principal differences of line. We support joint practical activity between groups that have achieved a relatively high degree of affinity and mutual respect and for whom unity is becoming a real possibility; but not as a substitute for building unity, through class struggle, on political line.

Obviously our new Marxist-Leninist party cannot be founded by decree. Its correct ideological and political line, its leadership and cadre must be developed in the course of struggle over a period of time. Even if all Marxist-Leninists united tomorrow, we should not be founding the party. The party will be on a qualitively higher level than exists in the Marxist-Leninist movement at present. At the moment we are at the stage of preparing the groundwork and laying the foundations for the party. So the main thing is for us to integrate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought with the concrete conditions of the class struggle and solve the strategic problems of the British revolution. Striving for Marxist-Leninist unity and actually uniting, is part of this process.

The party will be built by genuine Marxist-Leninist organisations increasingly doing the work of the party and functioning as the party. We will increasingly unite, and finally found the party in the course of the struggle to formulate a correct ideological and political line and actually implement it among the masses.