First Published: Workers’ Unity, Issue 235, July 22, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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An important event is due shortly to take place. By the time some subscribers to Workers’ Unity read this, the event will have already happened. The Communist Unity Association (Marxist-Leninist) is to unite with the Communist Federation of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and form the Revolutionary Communist League of Britain.
Unity in the Marxist-Leninist movement is not a common occurrence. Cries of “unity” are frequently heard but real unity is seldom achieved. The unity of the CUA and the CFB is a real unity based on principle. It has taken the two organisations about one year to achieve this unbreakable unity based on principle. This may seem to the reader to be a very long time. However, every month of it was necessary in order to put every essential brick squarely in place ensuring a basis that can be further built upon. We have not been perfectionist however. We have avoided the metaphysical error of striving for total agreement in all things. We on both sides have acted in accordance with the truth about uniting and upholding unity summed up by the great Marxist-Leninist leader, Mao Tsetung. He said;
Do more self-criticism, seek common ground on major questions and reserve minor differences.
This is the materialist as opposed to the idealist, approach to unity.
At all times we have, approached questions of principle not from the, point of view “having a dialogue”, “airing views”, “discussion” etc., but from the point of view of the struggle for unity.
On matters of principle there is no room for negotiation, conciliation or compromise. When approaching a question of principle the only course that can be taken when disagreement persists is that the minority reserve their view and submit completely to the majority. We have found in the struggle between the CUA and the CFB that such occasions are rare but we have recognised from the start, that problems of that sort are resolved by this method. But this is only a small part of the overall questioning of “what is the correct ideological viewpoint of proletarian revolutionaries in the struggle to unite and, re-establish the revolutionary Communist Party of the working class?” Practice shows that the struggle is one of Bolshevism versus Menshevism. The recent conference of Marxist-Leninists in Birmingham stands for militant unity under conditions of democratic centralism. The minority submitting to the majority is the most basic rule of democratic centralism.
Bolshevism or revolutionary Communism does not tolerate within its ranks those who, do not also grasp that a proletarian party, in modern conditions, requires an organisation of a centralist kind that has higher committees that exercise proletarian authority on behalf of the whole party and the entire working class. Bolshevism or revolutionary communism, does not tolerate within its ranks political liberalism. Liberalism mixes self and the public good to the detriment of the public good. It conciliates on principle and manoeuvres for personal gain. It prefers peace to struggle and always asks the question “when will all this hard work end?” Liberalism is a disastrous corrosive that held back the development of the CUA for a long time. The struggle against liberalism is inseparable from the correct approach to unity on principle.
Menshevism on the other hand, is capable of using all terms and taking all the viewpoints of revolutionary communism but denies the means to assert the will of the class. Some modern day Mensheviks in the Marxist-Leninist movement in Britain may put an excellence case on this or that issue – just as the Russian Mensheviks, Martov and Plekhanov could. But the dividing line comes today just as it did in the Russia of 1903 when we consider how to carry forward the class struggle. The struggle revolves around the character of the proletarian party. Revolutionary communists say the party is the highest form of working class organisation. It is the vanguard of the proletariat and the rallying centre of all the oppressed masses. It is the body every member of which is a class leader, organised into a united whole following a common plan and programme.
How else can our class be united for victory?
But Menshevism says, “I've heard about democratic centralism, and I don’t like it!” Menshevism places the self-interest of the intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie before the great historic mission of the working class. No wonder the monopoly capitalist bourgeoisie so often finds traitors’ work for their idle hands to do.
The proletariat are the most consistently democratic and most thoroughly revolutionary class. They demand within their organisation real democracy. That means deciding upon real issues that confront the class and acting decisively upon them. Democracy for the petty bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia (where left to their own devices) means endless chat about “radical solutions” that effect no one and never gets carried out. That is the “democracy” of Menshevism. It is the politics of self which is the fertile soil of capitalism. The struggle between Bolshevism and Menshevism is a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
And so it is clear that the fight to unite our movement and our class is a matter of firm class struggle.
The unity of the CUA and the CFB is a result of class struggle against incorrect ways of thinking and incorrect methods of wok. Unity is small but significant step towards the Party. Its main significance is ideological.
The new Revolutionary Communist League will adopt a Manifesto which expresses the correct ideas reached by the CUA and CFB in the struggle for unity in the Revolutionary Communist League. In this the CFB took the leading role.
The Manifesto is a “semi programme” in five parts dealing with fundamental principles, the class struggle internationally and within Britain, bourgeois ideology and opportunism within the British working class and he struggle to build the revolutionary communist party. It tackles these aspects of the struggle in as all sided and concise way as it is possible at the present stage. It crystallises the correct application of Marxism-Leninism to concrete conditions in Britain and the world in the best way that our as yet very weak movement is capable of doing. The Manifesto is a militant weapon in the hands of the working class that is capable of rallying the advanced sections of the working class and ensuring greatly improved theoretical clarity of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Britain. The League will use this Manifesto as its guiding line in the next few years. It will be necessary to amend it in order to strengthen it as our grasp improves.
The Manifesto lays out clearly who the class enemy is internationally and nationally. It shows us who is for revolution and whom our allies are. It exposes the enemy within the working class, opportunism, and shows the way forward in re-building the revolutionary communist party in Britain.
On the international situation, it boldly stands up for Mao’s great strategic concept of the three worlds. This concept gives the proletariat and oppressed people’s real orientation in the struggle to isolate and defeat the main enemies of the world's peoples, U.S. imperialism and Soviet social- imperialism. It sums up correctly the, relative importance of all the fundamental contradictions in the world situation at the present time. Of the three worlds, the superpowers make up the first world, the oppressed- nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America along with the socialist countries make up the third world. The third world is the main force in the struggle against the two imperialist superpowers. The second world comprises the lesser imperialist powers such as Britain, France, Japan, Australia, Sweden etc. These powers are imperialist but they are unable to go it alone in the world without superpower backing. They are exploiters, but they are also pushed about by the superpowers and can become vacillating allies in a world front against the superpowers.
The Manifesto warns of the inevitability of war in the imperialist era especially when two gigantic superpowers confront each other and challenge for world hegemony. Of the two superpowers, U.S. imperialism has a vast, economic empire, but it is declining rapidly. It would not be to the advantage of U.S. imperialism to start a world war now, But Soviet social- imperialism is the rising superpower with few possessions and an urgent need to expand to get hold of areas of raw materials and markets. Its armies are stronger. Soviet social-imperialism is the most dangerous source of war because of this. Also it uses the terms of Marxism it can pose as the friend of the oppressed people in order to gain a foothold. This fact makes Soviet social- imperialism doubly dangerous.
The Manifesto clearly states that in this situation where invasion by Soviet social- imperialism is probable, we can only rely on the working class and working people. We cannot rely on one imperialist superpower to save us from another. As regards the British imperialist bourgeoisie – if it is ready to oppose superpower invasion, we are ready to unite with it providing certain conditions are strictly met. These include the independence and freedom of action of the proletariat and proletarian party.
On the class struggle nationally, the Manifesto firmly states that the British imperialist bourgeoisie is the main enemy of the British working class and people. It exposes the myth of the peaceful road to socialism and states clear policies on economic, political and strategic questions. It takes a firm stand against women’s oppression and national oppression in Britain.
This section is the most extensive one in the Manifesto.
On the basis of the correct stand of the Manifesto the comrades of the Revolutionary Communist League unite. Although it is not yet a programme, it is a good step towards it. The party cannot be formed until a clear leading line is established. The Revolutionary Communist League is not yet that centre. However, we will forge ahead to build that centre and the Manifesto is our correct leading line.
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