Published October 1981
|"Above everything else he (Marx put the fact that the working class heroically, self-sacrificingly and taking the initiative itself makes world history."|
V.I. Lenin, Preface to Marx's "Letters to Kugelman"
Toward A New Leninist Party
A Ray O. Light Guide To Action
Table Of Contents
II. Resolutions of the First Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference
Flowing from the Present International Situation
On the National Question
(A) The National Question in the Epoch of Imperialism and the Unfolding Proletarian Revolution
(B) 1) Independence and Socialism for the Afro-American Nation!
2) Independence and Socialism for Puerto Rico!
On the Woman Question
On the Trade Union Question
On El Salvador
On the Peoples’ Socialist Republic of Albania
III. Suggested Reading List for Participation in the Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference
IV. Ray O. Light Program: A Draft Outline (1976)
"Praise of Communism"
anyone can understand it.
You're not an exploiter,
so you can grasp it.
It’s a good thing for you,
find out more about it.
The stupid call it stupid
and the squalid call it squalid.
It is against squalor and
The exploiters call it a crime.
But we know:
It is the end of crime.
It is not madness, but
the end of madness.
It is not the riddle
but the solution.
It is the simple thing,
so hard to achieve.
With the reading of this fine poem by Bertolt Brecht, we ushered in the First Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference in late July, 1981. The Conference proceedings were marked by a high degree of proletarian internationalist spirit and enthusiasm.
The Conference was successful in accomplishing Ray O. Light's main purpose in holding it, namely, the building of maximum political and organizational unity.
World developments in the weeks since the Conference have underscored its significance.
In recent weeks the Reagan Administration has exposed before the world its war mongering, chauvinistic essence as the political-military representative of US imperialism. From naked threats of aggression to Cuba for its solidarity with the heroic people of El Salvador, to open support of the apartheid regime in South Africa as it invaded Angola, to support for the Israeli settler regime after Israel bombed Iraq and stepped up its bombing of Lebanon, to US-CIA destabilization of the Iranian regime and CIA inspired attacks on the Iranian revolutionary movement, to invasion by US military planes of Korean air space, and the shooting down of Libyan planes in Libyan airspace, Reagan and US imperialism are banging the drums of war loudly and insistently. Within the USA itself Reagan has declared war on organized labor with his open, union-busting attack on the Air Controllers Union (PATCO), and war on the oppressed nationalities and poor working people of the USA with his attacks on Social Security, on Social Relief Programs, on Affirmative Action and on Occupational Safety. The Reagan administration decision to build the neutron bomb is symbolic of the depth of misery and suffering, of oppression and repression, that US imperialism offers to the peoples of the USA and of the world at this moment in history.
The desperate need of US imperialism (as represented by the Reagan administration) to increase its exploitation and oppression of the people internationally and within the US multi-national state itself calls forth resistance from the people. From El Salvador and Nicaragua to Azania and Namibia, and even in Western Europe resistance to Reagan and US imperialism is growing. Within the USA such healthy mass organizations as the National Black United Front (NBUF) and even the PATCO union of relatively high paid, semi-professional and predominantly white workers have emerged as organized forms of resistance to Reaganomics and US imperialism. Other such mass organizations are and will continue emerging as the imperialist economic and political crisis mounts. [As we go to press 500,000 workers and oppressed peoples are marching on Washington, D.C. on Solidarity Day.]
But how can the tremendous creative energies of the masses of the oppressed peoples and the proletariat in their mass organizations for resistance to US imperialism be united so as to successfully defeat the decadent but still powerful imperialist enemy? Or, as comrade Stalin posed the question: "Where is that central organization which is not only able, because it has the necessary experience, to work out a general line, but, in addition, is in a position, because it has sufficient prestige for that, to induce all these organizations to carry out this line, so as to attain unity of leadership and to preclude the possibility of working at cross purposes?" (Foundations of Leninism, p. 16)
"This organization", according to comrade Stalin, "is the Party of the proletariat."
"The Party possesses all the necessary qualifications for this because, in the first place it is the rallying centre of the finest elements in the working class, who have direct connections with the non-Party organizations of the proletariat and very frequently lead them; because, secondly, the Party, as the rallying centre for the finest members of the working class, is the best school for training leaders of the working class, capable of directing every form of organization of their class; because, thirdly, the Party, as the best school for training leaders of the working class, is by reason of its experience and prestige the only organization capable of centralizing the leadership of the struggle of the proletariat, thus transforming each and every non-Party organization of the working class into an auxiliary body and transmission belt linking the Party with the class. The Party is the highest form of class organization of the proletariat.
"This does not mean, of course, that non-Party organizations trade unions, cooperative societies, etc. should be officially subordinated to the Party leadership. It only means that the members of the Party who belong to these organizations and are doubtlessly influential in them, should do all they can to persuade these non-Party organizations to draw nearer to the Party of the proletariat in their work and to accept voluntarily its political guidance." (Foundations of Leninism, pp. 116, 117)
Ray O. Light reaffirms Leninist Party organization both within the USA and internationally as being vital to the successful carrying out of the self-defense and emancipation tasks of the oppressed peoples and the international proletariat.
Five years ago the three largest party-building groups in the USA and the three with the strongest links with forces in leadership in the Peoples Republic of China were the October League (later the Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist)(CP-ML), the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), and Workers Viewpoint Organization, (now Communist Workers Party) (CWP). At that time, in Ray O. Light's first published document, The Present Party-Building Movement in the USA and the Materialist Conception of History, we predicted that, "their idealist based plans and actions regarding party-building are destined to be scuttled on the rocks of reality."
Today the CPM-L and RCP have almost completely disintegrated and are on the verge of extinction. The illegitimate basis for the CWP’s current survival is the widespread bourgeois media coverage it has received because of the brutal murders of five CWP cadres by the Ku Klux Klan in late 1979, the conditions for which were laid by the CWP’s adventurist line and practice. The uncritical support for opportunist leadership in China and the subjective idealist approach to the revolution (and specifically to the role of the leaders – the party – the class and the masses) of these "new communist movement" groups led to the present state of affairs.
The Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center (OCIC) was not even in existence when we published our Party-Building Document. OCIC was made up of a number of "new communist movement" groups and dominated by the Irwin Silber-led National Network of Marxist-Leninist Clubs (now Line of March) and by the Clay Newlin-led Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC). This relatively large OCIC was so decrepit from its inception that it never even got its study off the ground. And this "study" was its basic "program of action"!
The final blow to OCIC was delivered from within by its white supremacist PWOC-dominated leadership (after Line of March had left) through a phony "campaign against white chauvinism" divorced from the concrete struggle for Afro-American liberation. This "campaign" was modeled after the very destructive and counter-revolutionary campaign initiated by the political police agents in the CPUSA about 1950, a campaign which comrade Harry Haywood had just recently exposed in his outstanding autobiography, Black Bolshevik.
It is noteworthy that for all its emphasis on study circles, studying the Marxist classics, etc. the OCIC cadre were politically ignorant enough of comrade Haywood's work and the historical experience of the CPUSA to pursue a repetition of this disgusting, counter-revolutionary campaign in practice during the past few years. As it disintegrates, it too, even more then the CP-ML and RCP, is driving many of its "cadre" out of the anti-imperialist movement and into anti-communist positions. The OCIC experience dramatically illustrates the bankruptcy of the idealist conception of Party-building.
OCIC is a caricature of all the negative characteristics in the US "new communist movement" that we polemicized against five years ago. We stated then that, to the "new communist movement",
"Party-Building is a subjective process in which a bunch of people (preferably petty-bourgeois intellectuals) come together on the basis of their agreement in words with the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung".
"Little if any mention is made of so important a real force as the main enemy, international capital. Nor with all the talk about revisionism is this force ever exposed on the basis of its betrayal of the oppressed and exploited peoples in the face of the imperialist enemy. Most important of all, of course, is the fact that the necessary active role of the proletariat and the toiling masses in the ‘creation’ of a new genuine Marxist-Leninist Party is totally omitted from the calculations of the ‘new communist movement’!!" (The Present Party-Building Movement in the USA and the Materialist Conception of History, pp 19, 20)
We believe that our materialist approach to Party-building is being vindicated.
Five years ago pro-Chinese groups dominated the US left. The RCP, OL and WVO-CWP were relatively large and influential and many groups in the "new communist movement" were getting ready to embark on the OCIC debacle. It was a time when the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" ("GPCR") and Chinese revisionism had not yet been exposed by the Party of Labor of Albania (PLA). At that time Ray O. Light was a tiny group "out of step" with the rest of the US "left", for we struggled against both Russian and Chinese revisionism, and we exposed the idealist anti-working class essence of the Party-building movement in the USA.
Today Ray O. Light is still small but it is growing both in numbers and in influence in the USA and internationally. Ray O. Light's role relative to the US "left" has grown tremendously, for our growth is occurring simultaneously with the shrinking of the "new communist movement".
Our small but very successful Marxist-Leninist Conference brought together people who had struggled together among the masses in various places. As one veteran observer stated, "the Conference was remarkable for its proletarian and national composition". And the dominant proletarian and oppressed nationality composition of the Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference as compared to the white petty-bourgeois dominated conferences of most "new communist movement" groups is not the only striking difference.
It is worth noting that a majority of the people present at OCIC regional conferences, for example, have been observers who had neither vote nor even voice in the proceedings! OCIC has implemented this sectarian procedure despite, or more accurately because, their meetings have been divorced from the concrete struggle of the proletariat against capital.
The first Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference, a meeting sponsored by a group struggling in the crucible of anti-imperialist revolutionary practice, was based on the opposite approach. Despite the fact that Ray O. Light members were only a small minority of the participants in its own Conference, every participant was given both voice and vote!
We were willing and able to implement such a non-sectarian procedure because we recognize the tremendous confusion and division in the international communist movement, because we have confidence in the line and policy of Ray O. Light, and, most of all, because we recognize that Ray O. Light, other Marxist-Leninist groups and parties, the international communist movement, and the science of Marxism-Leninism itself all are property of the international working class, and not vice-versa.*
* Compare the correct, non-sectarian leadership which the Communist International gave to the Albanian Marxist movement in urging the Albanian comrades to disband their Marxist circles and send their cadre into the mass, anti-fascist national liberation movement, a decision which led to the successful founding of the Party of Labor of Albania.
Comrade Stalin taught that, "Theory is the experience of the working class movement in all countries taken in its general aspect." (Foundations of Leninism, p. 28) Having gone through some common experience of the working class movement in its struggle against capital, the Conference participants criticized, amended and overwhelmingly passed the Ray O. Light Conference Resolutions.
Comrade Lenin taught that, "Correct revolutionary theory ... is not a dogma but assumes final shape only in close connection with the practical activity of a truly mass and truly revolutionary movement". (Left-Wing Communism, p. 11)
Ray O. Light implemented its unusual procedure because we recognize that the more collective the character of the resolutions adopted the more accurately they will represent the interests and aspirations of the international proletariat and oppressed peoples, just as we recognize the limited ability of our own small organization to project and implement such a correct line on our own. In this spirit, the Ray O. Light Conference Resolutions are a guide to action which should represent a real step toward the building of genuine communist unity in the USA and internationally.
These resolutions are brief statements of the political line of Ray O. Light and what we resolve to do on some key questions facing the international working class and the oppressed peoples, particularly the working class and oppressed masses within the US multi-national state. The major resolutions presented and expanded upon here were passed following reports and discussion. The specific resolves in support of the revolutionary movements in Eritrea and El Salvador as well as in support of the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania, were passed following presentations and some discussion of the specific nationality and the current situation it faces in the cause of national emancipation, socialism and communism.
Together with our Conference Resolutions, we are publishing the Ray O. Light Draft Program (first published 5 years ago) and the suggested reading list for participants in the first Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference. Taken in its entirety, we believe this pamphlet provides a way forward for genuine communists in this difficult time when our movement remains dominated by revisionism.
We concluded our Conference with the following fragment from a poem by the fine Turkish poet, comrade Nazim Hikmet:
"...shut the gates of servitude, keep them shut,
stop man worship another man
To live, free and single like a tree
but in brotherhood like a forest –
this longing is ours."
We are confident that those whose aspirations are expressed in the poem will find that this pamphlet and closer association with Ray O. Light will serve the interest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples in their fight for freedom.
Long Live Leninism – Guide to Our Victories!
Toward a Genuine Marxist-Leninist Party! Toward a New Communist International!
Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!
Resolutions of the First Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference
Resolutions Flowing from the Present International Situation
This is still the era of imperialism and unfolding proletarian revolution, the era of Leninism. Consequently Ray O. Light has consistently opposed those revisionists who, to avoid waging the revolutionary struggle against imperialism on the basis of Leninism, seek to turn the clocks back to the pre-imperialist epoch, the period of political leadership of the international proletariat by the Second International. At the same time we have consistently opposed those revisionists who have claimed that we have moved beyond Leninism to the era of Mao Tse-tung Thought in their effort to justify their bourgeois nationalist relations with imperialism at the expense of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples.
Ray O. Light reaffirms that the Leninist Theory of the Proletarian Revolution remains valid today as when outlined by Comrade Stalin in Foundations of Leninism almost 60 years ago. This Leninist Theory proceeds from three fundamental theses and the following conclusions:
"...first conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis within the capitalist countries and the growth of the elements of an explosion on the internal, proletarian front in the ‘mother countries’." "second conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial countries and growth of the elements of revolt against imperialism on the external, colonial front." "...third conclusion: that under imperialism wars cannot be averted, and that a coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe and the colonial revolution in the East in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable." (Foundations of Leninism, pp. 33-34)
"Lenin combines all these conclusions into one general conclusion that ‘imperialism is the eve of the proletarian revolution’." (Ibid, p. 34) The victorious October Revolution not only confirmed Lenin's general conclusion but represented the birth of the contradiction between the socialist system and the capitalist system.
In light of historical development since then we note the following points:
A) To a certain extent the spread of imperialism and the development of the working class throughout the oppressed nations coupled with the bribery of a section of the working class in the West and the failure of most of the proletarian revolutions there at the end of World War I, led to a new and intensified "split in Socialism" (as Lenin called it), i.e. the split in the international working class, particularly between the proletariat of the oppressor nations and the proletariat of the oppressed nations. This split was reflected in the diluting of the revolutionary crisis in the capitalist (imperialist) countries over a large number of years. This has been especially true in relation to the proletariat in the US (North) since the late 1940’s.
B) The Soviet-led peoples victory over fascism in World War II resulted in the general weakening of international imperialism but also in the tremendous strengthening of US imperialism relative to all the other imperialist countries on earth. The political, military and economic hegemony of US imperialism in the capitalist world was unprecedented at least since the very dawn of imperialism when "the sun never set on the British Empire" in the latter part of the 19th Century. Hence the temporary post-World War II diluting of the third thesis involving the "aggravation of the intercapitalist front" and the ability of international capital to avoid an inter-imperialist war over the past 35 years.
C) As comrade Moni Guha of Calcutta has pointed out, the socialist camp formed on the basis of the anti-fascist victory in World War II never consolidated economically in an International Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, including Eastern Europe, China, etc., in large part because it was never led politically by a new Communist International. The result was imperialist repenetration of the socialist camp and bourgeois restoration there. Witness the recent dramatic events in China and Poland in this regard.
D) Simultaneous with these other developments, comrade Stalin's "second conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial countries and growth of the elements of revolt against imperialism on the external, colonial front" (Ibid, p. 34) has emerged as the principal contradiction facing international capital throughout the entire post World War II period up to the present. (Witness the victorious national democratic revolutions against imperialism such as in China, Albania, Vietnam, Kampuchea, Laos, North Korea, Cuba, Algeria, Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Zimbabwe, Iran and Nicaragua.)
Hence Ray O. Light has oriented its proletarian internationalist program and practice around the needs of the national liberation movements of the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, Arabia, Latin America and Afro-America, the focal contradiction in the world in this period.
Though the proletariat in the West is growing more and more restless, though other imperialist powers, most notably Japan and West Germany are increasingly breaking down US imperialist hegemony, and though the Peoples’ Socialist Republic of Albania has made great socialist strides in recent years, Ray O. Light believes that the principal contradiction is still between the oppressed people of Asia, Africa, Arabia, Latin America and Afro-America versus imperialism headed by US imperialism. As long as this remains the case; (1) we RESOLVE to orient our main work around the needs of the struggles for national liberation and socialism of the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, Arabia, Latin America and Afro-America while fighting for the proletarian revolution in the US (North).
In the post World War II period, when the oppressed nations struggling for emancipation from the imperialist yoke became the main arena in the struggle against international capital (and for socialism), the revisionists in state power and especially the Russian revisionists in their effort to compromise with US imperialism have struggled to make the national liberation movements economically dependent upon their industrial power and then used their influence to support bourgeois vacillating leadership among the oppressed peoples which resulted in "peaceful" resistance to and ultimately economic-social reconquest by US imperialism.
Chinese revisionism, beginning with the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", has pushed the line of "self-reliance" on the oppressed peoples and on each section of the international proletariat and their revolutionary struggles against imperialism. Yet over 40 years earlier, comrade Stalin had exposed the bourgeois nationalism of this view. Stalin said,
"Now we must speak of the world proletarian revolution; for the separate national fronts of capital have become links in a single chain called the world front of imperialism, which must be opposed by a common front of the revolutionary movement in all countries."
"Formerly, the proletarian revolution was regarded exclusively as the result of the internal development of a given country. Now this point of view is no longer adequate. Now the proletarian revolution must be regarded primarily as the result of the development of the contradictions within the world system of imperialism, as the result of the snapping of the chain of the imperialist world front in one country or another." (Ibid, pp. 34-35, our emphasis)
Today practically every section of the so-called "international communist movement" is dominated by bourgeois nationalism, "every nation for itself", "every national proletariat for itself".
The Eurocommunists are propping up the imperialist bourgeoisie of "their own" nations with their "exceptionalist" path of peaceful transition to socialism. The Eastern European members of the Soviet bloc are vying with each other for the biggest open door to western imperialism and subsequent corruption of officials and generation of a comprador bourgeois strata. The Polish revisionists are winning this "competition". The Soviet revisionists support the Ethiopian junta against the just revolutionary national liberation struggle of the Eritrean people, and occupy Afghanistan with an invasion army allegedly to protect Soviet "national interests", while leading the USSR into increasing debt to western finance capital. In the few years since their great and related victories over US imperialism, Socialist Vietnam and Democratic Kampuchea have shed each other’s blood in a border war. And even more recently, People’s China invaded Vietnam, while the Chinese revisionists pursue a modern "Open Door" policy to international imperialism.
In opposition to the bourgeois nationalism that permeates the revisionist-dominated present "world communist movement" (2) Ray O. Light REAFFIRMS THE INTERNATIONAL CHARACTER OF LENINISM and RESOLVES to fight for proletarian revolution in the USA and internationally on the basis of proletarian internationalism.
(3) We RESOLVE that the MAIN ENEMY of the international proletariat and oppressed peoples as put forth by the CPC and PLA-led anti-revisionist movement of the early 1960’s remains valid today; namely, THE MAIN ENEMY IS INTERNATIONAL IMPERIALISM, HEADED BY US IMPERIALISM. We oppose those revisionists who seek to bury the nature of our tasks in the epoch of imperialism by replacing the international enemy with a "superpowers" enemy to justify their collaboration with imperialism headed by US imperialism. (See discussions in Ray O. Light Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 2 and Vol. 2 No. 1)
4) Furthermore, we RESOLVE that the main internal struggle within the international communist movement must be: isolation of international petty-bourgeois democracy of the right-wing type (especially of those revisionists in state power) who are pushing unprincipled compromise with imperialism, headed by US imperialism. Within the USA, the CPUSA is the main vehicle of this policy.
We also RESOLVE to consistently struggle against the petty-bourgeois disease of infantile ultra-leftism which is today rising up so virulently largely in response to the right revisionist domination of the international communist movement. In the USA, the main "communist" groups that have heaped discredit on our cause among the workers of the USA in recent years have been the infantile "left" opportunist organizations such as the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and the Communist Workers Party (CWP).
Ray O. Light RESOLVES to wage THREE LINE STRUGGLE: Marxism-Leninism versus both right and "left" opportunism SIMULTANEOUSLY, (though at any given moment either "left" or right opportunism needs to be focused upon as the main revisionist danger). This is how Marxism-Leninism sheds its light on the path to freedom for the oppressed peoples and the international proletariat.
5) Finally, Ray O. Light RESOLVES to wage unceasing struggle for the amalgamation of the front of the revolutionary proletariat of the "West" with the front of colonial emancipation in the "East" in unity with the genuine socialist camp led by Albania. Hence our principal slogan:
"Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!"
Resolutions on the National Question
National Question in the Epoch of Imperialism and the Unfolding Proletarian Revolution
In this epoch, "The national problem was ... transformed from a particular and internal state problem into a general and international problem, into a world problem of emancipating the oppressed peoples in the dependent countries and colonies from the yoke of imperialism." (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, p. 77)
"...the national problem can be solved only in connection with and on the basis of the proletarian revolution, and ... the road to victory of the revolution in the West lies through the revolutionary alliance with the liberation movement of the colonies and dependent countries against imperialism. The national problem is a part of the general problem of the proletarian revolution, a part of the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat." (Ibid, p. 78-79)
Comrade Stalin taught that there were three most important contradictions of capitalism which imperialism carries to their last bounds. Of these, one is the "contradiction between the handful of ruling ‘civilized’ nations and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world". (Ibid, p. 14)
In the aftermath of the Soviet-led defeat of fascism in World War II, the Chinese National Democratic Revolution achieved a titanic victory over international imperialism. This victory was the most far reaching but by no means the only victorious national democratic revolution in the post World War II period. Throughout the continents of Asia and Africa revolutionary national liberation movements against imperialism were crowned with at least some degree of political victory and in many cases significant political-economic independence from imperialism. Inspired by the Cuban revolution, 20 years ago, the Latin American peoples have risen up powerfully in their struggle of national liberation as witness the recent powerful victory in Nicaragua and the ongoing movement of the heroic Salvadoran people.
The Ray O. Light position, following the lead of our predecessors beginning with Hammer and Steel in the early 1960’s, is that the national revolutionary movements of the oppressed peoples located primarily in Asia, Africa and Latin America have been in the forefront of the struggle against international capitalism, headed by US imperialism, in this entire post World War II period. The contradiction between the handful of "civilized" nations on the one hand and the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world on the other has been the focal point of the world-wide struggle against imperialism in this period.
In particular we note the opposite relationship that existed in the past decade between the oppressed peoples of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau with the proletariat of the "mother country" Portugal as compared with the relationship that existed in the World War I period between the proletariat of "Mother Russia" and the nationally oppressed peoples then suffering under the domination of Tsarist Russia.
In 1917, it was the working class of the "mother country" which mainly carried the burden of the Russian Revolution on its shoulders and led in the emancipation of the peoples oppressed by "their own" imperialists. In 1975 it was the national liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau which carried the burden not only of their own national revolutions but in freeing the Portuguese proletariat from the shackles of the 40 year old fascist Salazar regime and bringing the Portuguese proletariat to the threshold of power.
Hence the strategic importance of the national question today for the international proletariat including for the revolutionary proletariat in the US multi-national state, including in the US (North), the chief oppressor nation in the world.
"That distinction between oppressing and oppressed nations... is the essence of imperialism and is fraudulently evaded by the social patriots." (V. I. Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination)
Browderite revisionism emanated from the Communist Party of the USA itself as collaboration of the US proletariat with US imperialist expansionist and hegemonic aims mainly vis a vis the oppressed nations and peoples at the close of World War II. Yugoslav and Soviet Revisionism followed the Browderites in their collaboration with US imperialism. As parties in state power, these modem revisionists betrayed the oppressed peoples fight for national freedom, in particular.
In practice, the slogan of the Russian Revisionists is "Workers already in state power unite (with imperialism at the expense of the national liberation movements against imperialism)."
In the context of the continuing national liberation struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the Three Worlds Theory was a revolutionary-sounding but bourgeois nationalist alternative of Chinese revisionism to the revisionist betrayal perpetrated by the Khrushchevites.
Given its bourgeois nationalist character, this Three Worlds Theory itself represented collaboration with international imperialism including the betrayal of the oppressed peoples’ struggles for national liberation, still the focal contradiction in the world. Witness Hua Kuo-feng’s visit to the Shah of Iran while the Iranian people were taking to the streets in their ultimately victorious struggle for national liberation. Indeed the Chinese revisionist betrayal of the oppressed peoples has proved remarkably similar to the betrayal by Soviet revisionism and Yugoslav revisionism before it.
The Three Worldist slogan of the Chinese revisionists is "oppressed peoples of the world unite with China" omitting all mention of the working class and its historic struggle based on economic necessity to overthrow imperialism and establish socialism. Consequently, in practice the slogan of the Chinese revisionists turns out to be: "Compradors of the World Unite with imperialism at the expense of the oppressed peoples."
A more recent response to the Chinese revisionist Three Worlds Theory has been a return to the old Second International pre-imperialist slogan "Workers of the World Unite!" This is in reality a neo-Trotskyite rejection of the Third International slogan – "Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite!" By downplaying the importance of the national liberation movements in this period when these movements continue to represent the weakest links in the imperialist chain, this neo-Trotskyite position, like the Soviet and Chinese revisionist positions, also serves to justify betrayal of the oppressed peoples and hence the cause of proletarian revolution.
In general, Ray O. Light RESOLVES to carry out the two-fold task of Communism in educating workers in the spirit of proletarian internationalism, by struggling especially against great nation chauvinist and also against narrow nationalist deviations on the national question.
What is required? – Recognition that:
1) The national question like all others is subordinate to the class struggle for socialism and communism.
2) In the post World War II period the national liberation movements of the oppressed peoples have been the main form through which the revolutionary struggle against international imperialism and for socialism has been and continues to be carried out.
3) Despite unprecedented upsurge of heroic liberation struggles against imperialism throughout the oppressed nations in the past three decades, very few long term gains have been made anywhere due to the domination of bourgeois nationalism over proletarian internationalism in the international communist movement.
4) Historical development since the Third International projected its slogan "Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite!" has extended the proletarian class in a developed and matured form throughout the world – which has not diminished but intensified the contradiction between the handful of "civilized" nations led by US imperialism on the one hand and the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world on the other..
In light of the above Ray O. Light RESOLVES to put forth and fight for the realization of the following updated version of the Third International slogan:
"Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!"
The following resolutions are coupled for two main reasons: 1) Both the Afro-American Nation and Puerto Rico are nations which are imprisoned within the US multi-national state boundaries, i.e. within "the belly of the beast". 2) Today there is tremendous ideological confusion regarding the nature of the emancipation tasks of the oppressed Afro-American and Puerto Rican people. This is largely due to the strategic location and importance of these nations existing as they do within "the belly of the beast". A number of the points raised in one resolution are largely applicable to the other. Note in particular the treatment of the Puerto Rican national minority workers in the US (North) and its applicability to the status of Afro-American national minority workers in the US (North).
It is the position of Ray O. Light that in the post World War II period in which the focal contradiction in the world has been between the oppressor nations headed by US imperialism on the one hand, and the oppressed nations on the other, that the national democratic revolutionary movements of the oppressed Afro-American and Puerto Rican people have been in the forefront of the proletarian revolutionary cause within the US multi-national state. Hence our specific resolutions dealing with these strategically important nations.
(1) Independence and Socialism for the Afro-American Nation!
The Communist International in its collective wisdom determined in 1928 and reaffirmed in 1930 the objective existence of the oppressed Afro-American nation located in the Black Belt South. As comrade Harry Haywood put it:
"The evolution of American Blacks as an oppressed nation was begun in slavery. In the final analysis, however, it was the result of the unfinished bourgeois democratic revolution of the Civil War and the betrayal of Reconstruction through the Hayes-Tilden (Gentlemen’s) Agreement of 1877.
This betrayal was followed by withdrawal of federal troops and the unleashing of counter-revolutionary terror, including the massacre of thousands of Blacks and the overthrow of the Reconstruction governments which had been based on an alliance of Blacks, poor whites and carpetbaggers. The result was that the Black freedmen, deserted by their former Republican allies, were left without land. Their newly won rights were destroyed with the abrogation of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, and they were thrust back upon the plantations of their former masters in a position but little removed from chattel bondage.
The revolution had stopped short of a solution to the crucial land question; there was neither confiscation of the big plantations of the former slaveholding class, nor distribution of the land among the Negro freedmen and poor whites. It was around this issue of land for the freedmen that the revolutionary democratic wave of Radical Reconstruction beat in vain and finally broke.
The advent of imperialism, the epoch of trusts and monopolies at the turn of the century, froze the Blacks in their post-Reconstruction position: landless, semi-slaves in the South. It blocked the road to fusion of Blacks and whites into one nation on the basis of equality and put the final seal on the special oppression of Blacks. The path towards equality and freedom via assimilation was foreclosed by these events, and the struggle for Black equality thenceforth was ultimately bound to take a national revolutionary direction." (Harry Haywood, Black Bolshevik, pp 231, 232)
In the post World War II period, with the tremendous strengthening and expansion of US imperialism into the hegemonic power in the imperialist camp, there was exerted tremendous pressure on all revolutionaries to abandon the generally correct assessment made by the Communist International on the basis of scientific socialism in 1928 and 1930 regarding the objective existence of the Afro-American nation. The domination of the international communist movement by modem revisionism characterized by collaboration with US imperialism in particular during the past 25 years meant virtual abandonment of the Afro-American people strategically located within the citadel of imperialism in this period. Consequently, despite the massive upsurge in the Afro-American liberation movement of the 1960’s centered in the Black Belt South, an upsurge connected to the rise of the liberation movements in Africa and elsewhere, the various revisionist forces of the "left" and right have generally liquidated the Afro-American national question.
Under the immense political and economic pressure of US imperialism, not only revolutionary Black nationalism among Afro-American activists but even a "typical" bourgeois nationalism focused on efforts at liberation of the Black Belt South has been diluted, diverted and generally liquidated by a Pan-Africanist deviation which buries the right of the Afro-American people to the land of the Black Belt South and is consequently much more acceptable to US imperialism.
The fact that the Wall St.-Bourbon alliance has utilized the mechanization of agriculture to keep the aroused and fighting Afro-American masses from freeing their own territory as they were organizing for voting rights, affirmative action on jobs, etc. has not obliterated the national character of the Afro-American people's fight for freedom, nor has it liquidated their national emancipation tasks. It has merely altered the character and tasks in the road to national freedom.
It is a tragic fact that, because the national question and the land question in particular was not focused upon in the Afro-American liberation movement of the 1960’s, despite this tremendous mass upsurge US imperialism was able to carry out the most massive land stealing ever perpetrated against the Afro-American farmers in the history of the Afro-American nation at precisely the same time! Yet today for many jobless and impoverished Afro-Americans now herded into the northern and southern urban ghettoes, the demand for the land is still a burning question. The murders of the Black children in Atlanta raise up the need for the Afro-American people to have sovereignty in their own land.
Over the past several years a number of opportunist groups in the US "new communist movement" (e.g. CP-ML, CLP) have called for "independence for the Afro-American nation". But this has turned out to be mainly a recruitment device and almost universally has failed to be applied in their deeds.
Ray O. Light has continued a tradition dating back to the Communist International through the CPUSA to Hammer & Steel in its consistent support of the right of the Afro-American people to self-determination up to and including secession and independent statehood. Ray O. Light has continued the line of Stalinist Workers Group and projects and applies revolutionary strategy aimed at the achievement of Afro-American national liberation from US imperialism as soon as possible. Ray O. Light does not project a "strategy" of waiting until the working class struggle in the US (North) oppressor nation leads to socialism prior to waging the liberation struggle in the Afro-American nation.
On this basis, we have supported the creation of the National Black United Front (NBUF) and the National Black Independent Political Party (NBIPP) and have made a significant contribution to the building of the NBUF. In our message of solidarity to the 2nd NBUF Convention, we pointed out,
"In this time when U.S. imperialism seeks to drive the Afro-American people back into some form of open slavery, in this time when the Afro-American masses face increasing political and social repression as well as economic hardship, in this time when the Afro-American masses face increasing police-Klan terror, in this time when the murdered Black children of Atlanta cry out to the people of Afro-America, "we need our own sovereignty here in our own land" – the National Black United Front is emerging with organization and positive direction.
"The National Black United Front is at least the healthy embryo of a formidable National Liberation Front which can be the backbone for victorious Afro-American national liberation.
"As a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist organization we believe that victorious Afro-American national liberation will represent a great step toward working class power in the world, which will in turn usher in the final emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited peoples of this earth."
We RESOLVE to fight to make the following slogans a reality:
Land and State Power in the Black Belt South!
Afro-American National Minority Rights Throughout the Rest of the Us Multi-National State!
Independence and Socialism for the Oppressed Afro-American Nation!
(2) Independence and Socialism for Puerto Rico!
Unlike the question of the objective existence of the Afro-American nation, the historical development of Puerto Rico as an island nation has not been ideologically challenged to any significant degree.
Puerto Rico is a colony in the imperialist epoch. Since the turn of the century the US has used the island as the spearhead of its economic exploitation, military aggression and ideological penetration of Latin America.
During the first decades of this century the island was turned into a giant sugar cane plantation. After World War II it served as the haven of light, labor-intensive industry for the exploitation of the unorganized Puerto Rican workers. For the last twenty-five years refineries, petro-chemical and pharmaceutical industries have turned the island into the chemical dump of the imperialist US (North). Of course, after testing their pilot programs of exploitation in Puerto Rico the imperialists moved them into the rest of Latin America. Through these turbulent periods the proletariat (rural and urban) became the largest class on the island. In this sense the Puerto Rican colony differs from the "classic" colony of the 19th century.
While US imperialism has continued to exploit Puerto Rican rural and urban workers, its armed forces have used Puerto Rican men as cannon fodder and Puerto Rico's land as training grounds (up to 15% of the island at one point) for its imperialist wars. The U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 was partially launched from Puerto Rico. The navies of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay carry out target practice exercises bombing the coast of the island municipality of Vieques. And U.S. Marines train for fighting in a climate similar to Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Yet the Puerto Rican people are fighting back. In the early 1970's the people of Puerto Rico, under the leadership of the pro-independence forces, forced the Navy out of the island municipality of Culebra and are now waging a struggle to force it out of the island municipality of Vieques. The Puerto Rican people were also successful in stopping the military draft during the Vietnam War, when thousands of youths refused induction into the U.S. armed forces on the grounds of Puerto Rico's colonial status.
It should thus be clear that the national liberation struggle of the Puerto Rican people is important for the struggles for independence and socialism in Latin America and in the U.S.
The Movimiento Pro Independencia, an organization of petit-bourgeois and intellectual independence fighters, was founded in Puerto Rico in 1959. In the early seventies it became the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) with a branch in the US (North).
The U.S. Branch, with a strong orientation toward the struggle for Puerto Rican national independence as its foundation, developed an excellent program for revolutionary work among the Puerto Rican people in the U.S. (North). The PSP program in the U.S. (North) was called Desde Las Entrañas ("Within the Belly of the Beast") It is noteworthy that in the post World War II period in which the focal contradiction in the world has been between the handful of "civilized" nations led by U.S. imperialism versus the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world, an organization based in a nation which is a direct colony of U.S. imperialism had a better grasp of what was going on "within the belly of the beast" than just about any revolutionary organization functioning mainly in the U.S. (North) itself. In that period while the PSP focused on national independence for Puerto Rico it correctly operated in the U.S. (North) on the basis of an understanding of the dual character of the Puerto Rican national minority workers in the U.S. (North).
Most of the so-called Marxist groups in the U.S. (North) however have rejected a materialist analysis of the Puerto Rican migration and pushed the view that the Puerto Rican people in the U.S. (North) are exclusively part of the U.S. proletariat, with no organic connection to the struggle for the national independence of Puerto Rico. We oppose the view of these so-called Marxists and reaffirm that the fight for national minority rights of the Puerto Rican people in the U.S. (North) is integrally connected with the task of the liberation of Puerto Rico. Let us examine the facts and expose these so-called "Marxists".
The takeover of Puerto Rico's land and the subsequent destruction of its agriculture have been two of the main ways in which U.S. imperialism has obstructed the Puerto Rican national independence struggle. As a direct result of these actions a semi starving peasantry flooded the coastal cities of Puerto Rico in search of scarce jobs and eventually migrated to the cities of the U.S. (North). As the economic crisis on the island deepened, the puppet colonial government openly stimulated direct migration from the island's rural areas to the cities of the U.S. (North) as an "escape valve".
The great nation chauvinist view of these so-called "Marxists" denies the forced character of the Puerto Rican migration. It also denies the living connection to Puerto Rico of Puerto Ricans on the US mainland, a connection facilitated by modern air transportation. Even more, these so-called "Marxists" treat the Puerto Rican migration as something of the past although it is still occurring and is on the eve of a substantial increase as the economic crisis in the colony accelerates more rapidly than in the imperialist country. According to these opportunists with a mechanical and/or neo-Trotskyite conception of the national question (i.e. those who see the national democratic revolutions as being opposed to the "pure proletarian" revolution), the Puerto Rican people should give up their national revolutionary struggle!
These opportunists objectively seek to deprive the Puerto Rican nation of a tremendous direct reserve of the Puerto Rican national revolution. But more than that, they also weaken the national minority rights struggle of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. (North) since the attainment of independence by Puerto Rico would be a blow to U.S. imperialism and a base of strength from which the national minority rights of Puerto Rican people in the U.S. (North) could be defended.
This does not deny the stake which Puerto Rican workers have in the struggle for socialism in the U.S. (North). On the contrary, it points up the dual character of Puerto Rican national minority workers in the U.S. (North) and their dual tasks in their struggle for emancipation. To recognize this duality is to strike a blow against social chauvinism on the Puerto Rican national question in the USA; it is to give some measure of importance to the Puerto Rican national liberation struggle in the USA as well as in Puerto Rico.
By 1975, armed with a generally correct assessment of the struggle in Puerto Rico itself as well as in the U.S. (North), the PSP had gained significant leadership of the working class movement in Puerto Rico and especially of organized workers. It was at this time that U.S. imperialism intensified its attacks against organized labor in Puerto Rico. At the same time, U.S. white petty-bourgeois radicals and liberals, in association with the PSP-US Branch, organized the "Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee". This anti-working class and objectively anti-oppressed peoples "Solidarity Committee" sucked the U.S. Branch party leadership away from the base cadre and the Puerto Rican community, thereby playing an important role in weakening the revolutionary direction of the PSP in the U.S. (North). It also created reformist illusions within the PSP leadership on the island about the nature of U.S. imperialism. Even today the great lie that important sectors of the U.S. (North) population support the Puerto Rican national struggle is believed by the PSP Leadership.
By the time of its Second Congress (in late 1975) the PSP in its propaganda among the Puerto Rican national minority workers in the U.S. (North) was pushing Puerto Rican national independence while failing to appeal to and to mobilize these workers around their day-to-day proletarian struggle in the U.S. (North). Simultaneously in Puerto Rico itself the same PSP was pushing "socialism now" in conditions which, according to the Leninist Theory of the (Two-Stage) Revolution, called for the national democratic revolution, i.e. "independence now".
The repudiation of the Leninist theory of the revolution in Puerto Rico was crowned by the decision taken at the Second Congress (whose main slogan was "socialism now") to run Juan Mari Bras, the General Secretary of the PSP, for governor of Puerto Rico. The electoral path, the peaceful transition to "socialism" was the new consolidated revisionist position of the PSP.
As comrade Stalin pointed out in his brilliant discussion of the Leninist theory of the proletarian revolution,
"Lenin proposed that the work of the revolution be crowned with the transfer of power to the proletariat whereas the adherents of ‘permanent’ revolution wanted to begin at once with the establishment of the power of the proletariat, failing to realize that in so doing they were closing their eyes to such a ‘trifle’ as the survival of serfdom and were leaving out of account so important a force as the Russian [read Puerto Rican] peasantry." (Foundations of Leninism, p. 42)
And as comrade Haywood pointed out in relation to the Afro-American national question,
"As Lenin observed, the partial demands of the feudally oppressed peasantry are more revolutionary than the partial demands of the city industrial workers because they represent the belated and unfinished struggle against serfdom and feudalism. Herein lies the basic cause of the revisionists’ frantic efforts to ‘eliminate’ the agrarian question." (For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question, p. 13)
In its Second Congress the PSP revisionist leadership did in fact bury the Puerto Rican peasantry and the importance of the land question. This was key to their repudiation of the Puerto Rican national revolution in practice.
By the end of 1975, the PSP objectively backed off of its sharp anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist position for Puerto Rican national independence due to the pressure from Soviet revisionism, especially as it was exerted through the Cuban leadership and Cuban prestige among Puerto Rican revolutionaries, as well as the other factors mentioned above.
Since 1975 the PSP has criticized itself for its "socialism now" line and taken some positive steps to correct this. It presently pushes for a united anti-statehood front and a pro-independence united front. It led the fight for the past four years against the statehood plans and against the repressive measures taken by the colonial government. Though the PSP’s 1980 electoral strategy weakened the most militant union in Puerto Rico – the Electrical Workers Union– by erroneously moving its fine president to run as candidate for governor while contract negotiations were in process, its 1980 electoral campaign seemed to create few illusions about the electoral process and was key in weakening and defeating the until then vigorous annexation campaign of U.S. imperialism and its stooges.
Still, to the best of our knowledge, the land question remains buried, the excellent U.S. Branch program of the early 1970’s has not been implemented and the dominant forces within the PSP today continue to be the revisionists.
For Ray O. Light the lesson is clear: Give clear and decisive Leninist leadership to the two stage revolution in Puerto Rico – Independence now and then socialism as quickly as conditions permit. With this as the foundation, struggle for the full support of the Puerto Rican national minority workers in the U.S. (North) for Puerto Rican independence while mobilizing them on the basis of their day-to-day needs as specially oppressed proletarians whose destiny is also linked to the class struggle for socialism in the U.S. (North) itself.
Consequently, we RESOLVE to fight for:
Independence and Socialism for Puerto Rico!
Puerto Rican National Minority Rights in the U.S.!
Resolution on the Woman Question
"Not a single great movement of the oppressed in the history of mankind has been able to do without the participation of working women." (The Woman Question, J.V. Stalin, p. 44)
"The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom, unless it achieves complete freedom for women." (Ibid, V.I. Lenin, p. 62)
The proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world have a tremendous stake in opposing the special oppression of women in capitalist society and fighting for equality of women with men as part of the struggle for working class and national freedom. As comrade Mao has said, "Women hold up half the sky". Working class and nationally oppressed women can and are playing a key role in the national independence and proletarian revolutionary movements against imperialism! Recognizing and dealing with the special needs of women is key to winning their support for the proletarian revolutionary cause.
In the United States today, the direct principal enemy of more women than ever before is monopoly capital. There are more than 40 million women in the workforce. Most women work out of economic necessity – 84% of the women in the workforce in 1980 either were self-supporting or were married to men whose earnings, ravaged by inflation, were insufficient to support their families. As of 1980, more than 50% of all US women worked outside the home. More than twice as many women held full-time jobs in 1979 (45% of all US women) as did 10 years before (17% of all women)!
US women get paid on the average of $.59 for every $1.00 men earn – and the gap is growing! Afro-American, Chicana, Puerto Rican and immigrant women get paid even less and face worse conditions on the job.
Women are systematically excluded from higher paid skilled jobs through discrimination in training, hiring, upgrade procedures, etc. "Eighty percent of women still work as secretaries, salesclerks, waitresses, and at other low-paying, entry-level [factory] jobs... Only 6% are managers. Only 17% belong to unions." (1981 World Almanac p. 277)
In addition to the challenge of low wages, poor working conditions, discrimination and abuse on the job at the hands of the capitalists, working women face great responsibilities in the home as well.
Despite the tremendous movement of US women out of the home and into the workforce, there has not been a division of labor in the home between men and women! Women still carry out the main burden of housework. And women in our society still have the main responsibility for childcare.
"...45% of married mothers with children under six now work outside the home (leaving 7 million children needing care but only 1.6 million licensed day-care openings). And the number of one-parent families grew by 50% during the last decade, with the result that nearly one child in five lives with only one parent – 8 times out of 10, the mother." (1981 World Almanac, p. 277) Clearly, the needs of the children of working class and oppressed women should be a prime concern of any genuine mass women’s movement!
From the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican women, to the systematic exclusion of women from leadership in the US labor movement, to the routine sexual harassment and assaults on women on the shop floor, working class and nationally oppressed women face tremendous social oppression in US imperialist society. The domination of men over women in society has deep historical roots which are constantly fed by the profit-mad imperialists and their exploitative system of capitalism. The increasing number of assaults, rapes, and murders of women in recent years is part of the tide of neo-fascist reaction that is, among other things, working to keep women out of circulation in society. Behind a smokescreen of fighting against the promiscuity rampant in US society the "Moral Majority" is trying to shove working women back into the home and into total dependence on (and enslavement to) "their" man.
Male supremacy (the view that men are "better" than women) is based on the privileged position which men have in relation to women in capitalist and imperialist society. It is the main ideological weapon used by the imperialists to keep women "in their place" and working class and oppressed peoples divided along sexual lines.
Male supremacy in US imperialist society is providing an escape valve for the frustrations of working class men. They are encouraged by pornographic music, the movie industry, etc. to inflict misery on working class and nationally oppressed women. This special oppression of women participated in by the male masses is allowing U.S. imperialism to continue to pay women a specially repressive wage which undercuts the wages of the male workers themselves and to maintain division of the working class along sexual lines which undermines the ability of the working class as a whole to unite to fight against the organized onslaught of monopoly capital.
Male supremacy in all its forms must be resolutely opposed by proletarian revolutionaries, men and women, in order to build unity of the working class and oppressed peoples against our class enemies.
The true path to "women's liberation" for working class and nationally oppressed women lies through the struggle for national liberation, socialism and communism. Or as comrade Vito Kapo, a woman member of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania, put it at a bourgeois-dominated United Nations Conference on women last July:
"It is not the reformist and pacifist roads ... that will bring women their freedom; it is the firm and uncompromising struggle against the system of oppression and exploitation, which will bring them freedom." (Albania Today, No. 5 (54) 1980, p. 52)
The domination of men over women in society began with the creation of classes and class oppression. It will be eliminated with the elimination of classes.
This position is in opposition to the so-called "Women's Liberation Movement" which developed in the US (as well as other advanced capitalist countries like England) in the late 1960's and was based in the privileged white petty-bourgeoisie of the US imperialist oppressor nation. The "Women's Liberation Movement", for the most part, buries the class struggle between labor and capital as well as the struggle of the oppressed nations against imperialism. It substitutes instead the "battle of the sexes". According to this movement, the main enemy of all women is "men".
The "Women's Liberation Movement", with its frivolous "anti-man" actions which have been played up by US imperialism, has actually helped foster male supremacy among working class and nationally oppressed men and women in the US in the last decade! The "Women's Liberation Movement" has played a divisive role in the anti-US imperialist national movements in the US, dividing oppressed Afro-American, Chicana, and Puerto Rican women from "their" national liberation struggles. The feminist idea pushed by the "Women's Liberation Movement" that the "enemy" of all women is men has helped divide working class women from working class men precisely at a time when there has been a tremendous influx of women into the US workforce and therefore the objective basis for unity of working class men and women against capital has been greater than at any time since World War II. The most blatant exposure of the "Women's Liberation Movement" is that, in the decade of the 1970’s when the "Women’s Liberation Movement" flourished and when the objective possibilities for advances for working women were much greater than before, the gap between the wages of men and women in the US has widened!
Regarding Mass Activity:
The proletarian vanguard must lead the fight for women's rights on the shop floor, in the union meetings, in the community, including the schools, the movie houses, the discos and bars, etc. The fight for "equal pay for equal work", as well as for "organizing the unorganized" women workers into trade unions should be actively pursued and led by proletarian revolutionaries. The counterattacks against sexual harassment and assaults, against pornography and the conditions of prostitution must be spearheaded by the proletarian vanguard. We cannot allow the most reactionary and chauvinistic and demagogic right-wing political organizations to make the fight for family life, concern for infants and children, and against pornography and decadence their "domain". For they are tied up entirely with the defense of the very same decadent, violent and degenerate system which spawns pornography, prostitution, wife-beating and sexual attacks and child molestation, – namely capitalism in its imperialist stage.
1) Ray O. Light RESOLVES to be vigilant and bold in defense of women’s rights and will seek to initiate and help build special mass organizations around the defense of the rights of working class and nationally oppressed women and their families. Furthermore, in mass organizations where we function, we will fight for development of women in leadership, childcare, women's committees, educational activities and for other provisions which allow and encourage the full and equal participation of women in the struggle against capital.*
*In the just war of national liberation being waged by the Eritrean people women fighters uniformly receive a separate and longer basic training than men but are fully equal in all aspects of military responsibilities once they have completed their training and been assigned to their integrated combat unit. This is a fine application of the women question by the outstanding revolutionary leadership of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF). For by taking into account and dealing concretely with the differences in the conditioning of Eritrean women and men, the EPLF lays the conditions for overcoming these differences and establishing equality in the context of the fight for national freedom from imperialism.
Regarding Vanguard Activity:
Ray O. Light supports the position put forth by Lenin in 1920 in discussion with Clara Zetkin:
"No special [communist] organizations for women. A woman communist is a member of the party just as a man communist with equal rights and duties. There can be no difference of opinion on that score. Nevertheless, we must not close our eyes to the fact that the party must have bodies, working groups, commissions, committees, bureaus or whatever you like, whose particular duty it is to arouse the masses of women workers, to bring them into contact with the party, and to keep them under its influence. That, of course, involves systematic work among them. We must train those whom we arouse and win, and equip them for the proletarian class struggle under the leadership of the Communist Party." (The Women Question, p. 90)
2) As part of the struggle for women to participate on an equal footing with men at the vanguard level, Ray O. Light RESOLVES to resolutely oppose male supremacy in all its forms and to oppose feminism which also is an obstacle to working class and nationally oppressed women taking up their vanguard responsibilities.
3) We RESOLVE to implement the following slogans:
Equality for Women Through Equal Participation in the Anti-Imperialist Struggle!
Improve Family Life – Fight for Socialism!
Freedom and Equality for Women!
Resolution on the Trade Union Question
As communists the goal of all our work is to hasten the inevitable day when the great and just system of communism covers the earth.
Our work in the trade unions is based on our perspective of the unions, as V.I. Lenin put it in Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder, being "an indispensable ‘school of Communism’ and a preparatory school that trains the proletarians to exercise their dictatorship, an indispensable organization of the workers for the gradual transfer of the management of the whole economic life of the country to the working class..." (p. 41) Given this as our starting point we fight at every opportunity for the unions to be run and controlled by the union members, by the workers themselves.
The rise of US imperialism to a hegemonic position after World War II was accompanied by the intensified bribe of the upper strata of the US (North) working class and its top labor leaders combined with imperialist attacks on the CPUSA and CIO. From then until now there has been ever increasing collaboration of the US labor movement with the US ruling class both at home and abroad.
Given the fact that throughout the US multi-national state the existing labor unions have historically been based in the US (North) oppressor nation, we unfortunately find the class-collaborationist, bureaucratic approach to unionism being practiced and taught by these unions not only in the US (North) but also in the oppressed nations presently encompassed within the US multi-national state.
We believe it is the task of communists to lead in the fight against the class collaborationist, bureaucratic approach to trade unionism and for the building of our existing unions into organizations that are militant against the companies and democratic internally. In order to build such militant and democratic unions, the communists should lead the workers in the struggle against the company, and therefore against bureaucracy, which stands in the way of fighting the company. We should lead in this fight for democracy, through which the workers learn to wield their own mighty power through their own organization.
Ray O. Light upholds the need to work within the existing labor movement towards this goal. We strongly oppose the "left" opportunists who attempt to pull the best proletarian fighters out of the unions with their call for immaculate "revolutionary unions", or drive out the best union fighters with their provocative and disruptive anti-union tactics. We also strongly oppose the right opportunists who pursue a tailist approach of unity with the bureaucrats against militancy and democracy.
Both of these counter-revolutionary tendencies can be seen for instance in the work of the CP-ML (formerly OL) which has over the years switched back and forth between right and "left" opportunism.
In general, we uphold the strategic need for left-center unity under communist leadership within the trade union movement.
Ray O. Light recognizes within the US multi-national state the existence of the oppressed nations of Afro-America and Puerto Rico which are now in the national democratic stage of the revolution. The national character of the struggles in these oppressed nations should be reflected in our trade union work conducted within these nations. Thus we should in general fight in the unions to train the proletarian leadership which will be capable of leading these national democratic revolutions to victory and on to socialism.
In the Black Belt South and Puerto Rico an important task of the revolutionaries is to lead the trade union movement in linking up with the rest of their people in the struggle for national independence against imperialism, headed by US imperialism. An example of this was the development of Movimiento Obrero Unidos (M.O.U.) in Puerto Rico in the mid-1970’s which sparked a great upsurge in the Puerto Rican labor movement at that time on the initiative of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.
On the other hand, in the US (North) oppressor nation, an important task of the revolutionaries is to lead the trade union movement in breaking with the rest of the imperialist oppressor nation. A current example of this is the encouraging development of trade union opposition to US imperialist intervention in El Salvador.
Special forms of organization and attention should be applied to any specially oppressed group within the workplace – e.g. Black, Latino, and women’s caucuses, committees, etc.
Today with the open attacks by the Reagan Administration on the union movement and on social legislation and services, with the open terrorist attacks on the Afro-American people and the developing impoverishment of the masses of working people in the USA, with the Reagan-US imperialist war drums beating in relation to the freedom loving people of El Salvador – the trade union question is linked politically as well as economically with the self-defense capacity of the US working class.
Given the period of retreat which the working class movement and organized labor in the USA faces today, Ray O. Light projects the tactical form of a Labor Party (with strong links to the Black liberation movement and the anti-monopoly and anti-fascist movement) as outlined more or less by comrade Dimitroff in 1935 in his classic leadership speech at the 7th World Congress of the Communist International;
"Under these circumstances, can the American proletariat content itself with organizing only its class conscious vanguard, which is prepared to follow the revolutionary path? No.
"It is perfectly obvious that the interests of the American proletariat demand that all its forces dissociate themselves from the capitalist parties without delay. It must find in good time ways and suitable forms to prevent fascism from winning over the wide mass of discontented working people. And here it must be said that under American conditions the creation of a mass party of the working people, a Workers' and Farmers’ Party might serve as such a suitable form. Such a party would be a specific form of the mass Popular Front in America and should be put in opposition to the parties of the trusts and the banks, and likewise to growing fascism. Such a party, of course, will be neither socialist nor communist. But it must be an anti-fascist party and must not be an anti-communist party. The programme of this party must be directed against the banks, trusts and monopolies, against the principal enemies of the people, who are gambling on the woes of the latter. Such a party will justify its name only if it defends the urgent demands of the working class; only if it fights for genuine social legislation, for unemployment insurance; only if it fights for land for the white and black sharecroppers and for their liberation from debt burdens; only if it tries to secure the cancellation of the farmers’ indebtedness, only if it fights for an equal status for Negroes; only if it defends the demands of the war veterans and the interests of members of the liberal professions, small businessmen and artisans. And so on.
"It goes without saying that such a party will fight for the election of its own candidates to local government, to the state legislatures, to the House of Representatives and the Senate.
"Our comrades in the United States acted rightly in taking the initiative in the setting up of such a party. But they still have to take effective measures in order to make the creation of such a party the cause of the masses themselves."
RESOLVED: To defend and rebuild the US trade union movement on a democratic, class struggle basis against the US monopoly capitalist union-busting offensive ("Save the Union"!)
RESOLVED: To fight for:
Left-center unity and trade union unity.
The organization of the unorganized, especially among the nationally oppressed and women workers, and for the unity of the employed with the unemployed in the fight against capital, for jobs, social relief, and the shorter work week.
Skillful application of the national question to trade union work and for an anti-monopolist Labor Party under today's conditions.
The union movement in the USA to take a proletarian internationalist stand supporting workers and oppressed people (outside the USA) who by struggling against US imperialism are fighting strongly for our freedom (e.g. more and stronger stands like that of the West Coast Longshoremen who recently refused to load ships being sent to the ruling junta in El Salvador).
RESOLVED: While fighting in any way necessary to work within the existing labor movement, Ray O. Light recognizes its constant duty to utilize the trade union struggle for reform to strengthen the struggle for revolutionary workers power. Upholding Lenin's teaching that our unions are necessary "schools of communism", to the maximum POSSIBLE in every opportunity we RESOLVE to fight for workers power.
Resolution on Organization
In the era of imperialism and of the unfolding proletarian revolution, in the era of Leninism, the proletariat has been confronted with "the tasks of reorganizing all Party work on new, revolutionary lines; of educating the workers in the spirit of revolutionary struggle for power; of preparing and moving up the reserves; of establishing an alliance with the proletarians of neighbouring countries; of establishing firm ties with the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries, etc., etc." (Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin, p. 108)
"Hence", as comrade Stalin taught, "the necessity for a new party, a militant party, a revolutionary party, one bold enough to lead the proletarians to the struggle for power, sufficiently experienced to find its bearings amidst the complex conditions of a revolutionary situation, and sufficiently flexible to steer clear of all submerged rocks on the way to its goal.
"Without such a party it is useless even to think of overthrowing imperialism and achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.
"This new party is the party of Leninism." (Ibid, p. 108)
Since we are still in the era of imperialism and the unfolding proletarian revolution almost 60 years after Stalin's brilliant "Party" chapter in Foundations of Leninism was first enunciated, Ray O. Light believes that today a Leninist Party is still vital to the revolutionary proletariat in overthrowing imperialism and achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. Furthermore, we know that even if all of us who are coming together to participate in the first Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference were members of one democratic centralist organization that we would not yet constitute a Leninist Party. And all of us realize that there is no genuine Marxist-Leninist Party in the USA today.
Given all the above, it is our view that Party-building is an important task for Marxist-Leninists in the USA. In this stand we are joined by most members of the "new communist movement" in the USA.
Yet there are several features of the Ray O. Light approach to Party-building that distinguish our position sharply and decisively from most of the "new communist movement" on this important question.
What are these distinguishing features?
(1) In conformity with the Marxist materialist conception of history, we believe that it is the proletarian class and the masses who are the makers of history in this period and that it is the task of the communists to lead the proletariat through its own experience to make the revolution. This is in opposition to the prevailing "aristocratic anarchist and subjective idealist" view in the "new communist movement" that it is the individual "heroes" with their "magic ideas" of Marxism-Leninism who will miraculously transform society in the interest of the "passive inert mob" of proletarians (e.g. RCP year long campaign to start the US proletarian revolution on May Day 1980, CWP's adventurist "anti-Klan" work).
(2) On this basis, Ray O. Light has never narrowed its strategy down from the achievement of the proletarian revolution to one of recruitment to its own organization at the expense of the fight against capital, as so much of the "new communist movement" consistently does. In fact at times over the years Ray O. Light leadership has fought for the recruitment of their own contacts to other vanguard level organizations, when Ray O. Light forces felt that this would better serve the cause of the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and for socialism!
(3) Flowing from our materialist conception of Party-building, Ray O. Light has consistently fought for the "new communist movement" to take up and has itself practiced the position that unity of the Marxist-Leninists would largely emerge from the struggle for the unity of the class (and the masses) against capital. The prevailing view in the "new communist movement" has been just the opposite; namely, every "new communist movement" group has tried to forge unity of the "Marxist-Leninists" divorced from and most often at the expense of unity of the class (and the masses) in the fight against capital.
(4) Comrade Stalin taught that, "Proletarian parties develop and become strong by purging themselves of opportunists and reformists, social-imperialists and social-chauvinists, social-patriots and social pacifists. The party becomes consolidated by purging itself of opportunist elements." (Ibid, p. 123) The subjective idealists of the "new communist movement" take this struggle "personally", i.e. they tend to see this as a matter of personalities rather than of' classes. On this basis, struggle against opportunism in the "new communist movement" generally amounts to little more than sarcasm and slander aimed at leaders of rival political organizations in the struggle for recruitment. If leaders of such groups cook up a deal then the "polemics" cease, the "struggle against opportunism" is turned off, etc.
Ray O. Light, in conformity with Leninism, believes that the struggle against opportunism is absolutely necessary for the proletariat to wage successful struggle for its own emancipation from imperialist enslavement.
Only with such anti-revisionist struggle can the Party "absorb all the best elements of the working class, their experience, their revolutionary spirit, their selfless devotion to the cause of the proletariat." (Ibid, p. 109) Only with such anti-revisionist struggle can the Party have that clarity of vision and unity of will, required to lead the proletarian class to power, to the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and ultimately to communism.
(5) We uphold the Leninist Method: We believe in testing the dogmas and the policies of the so-called Marxist-Leninist movement "in the crucible of the revolutionary struggle of the masses" and through ruthlessly wielding the weapon of criticism and self-criticism in organizing and reorganizing vanguard work more and more in line with the requirements of leading the class and the masses to victorious proletarian revolution.
In conformity with this Method, we have stated that,
"Any genuine revolutionary Marxist-Leninists in the USA today who claim to be ‘pro-Albanian’ will no doubt feel compelled to seek out those of us who have publicly struggled against Chinese revisionism, lo these many years (while the PLA has privately done likewise), thereby meeting our ideological responsibilities to the international Marxist-Leninist movement, the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples". (Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1)
The response of most "new communist movement" forces to this Ray O. Light statement is that we are "arrogant", in effect, for pointing out the results of the testing of our own and other groups’ dogmas and policies over the past decade in the crucible of the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. To such groups, Ray O. Light is being "arrogant" in relation to them, is trying to "humble them", to "dominate them", etc.
To Ray O. Light, the refusal of these groups to apply the Leninist Method to their own (and our) dogmas and policies is itself "arrogant", not in relation to Ray O. Light, but in relation to the proletarian class which has to pay for the mistakes of its vanguard in sweat and blood. (How will these petty-bourgeois individualists ever manage to "submit" to democratic centralism?)
It is our proletarian revolutionary duty to hold each other accountable to the revolutionary proletariat for our conduct of the class struggle for socialism. But time and again the "aristocratic anarchists" that have been trained under the influence of the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" in China attack Ray O. Light for our irritating habit of criticizing or even just reminding these groups about their own words and deeds in the class struggle. Some of the leaders of such groups have even stated – "don't hold me to my word".
But the Leninist Party, comrade Stalin taught, is "a detachment of the class, part of the class, closely bound up with it by all the fibres of its being". (Foundations of Leninism, p. 110) And those who aspire to the lofty title of "Communist" have to be willing to take their vanguard responsibility and answer to the proletariat.
(6) Comrade Stalin taught that,
"Formerly it was the accepted thing to speak of the proletarian revolution in one or another developed country as of something separate and self-sufficient, facing a separate national front of capital as its opposite. Now this point of view is no longer adequate. Now we must speak of the world proletarian revolution; for the separate national fronts of capital have become links in a single chain called the world front of imperialism, which must be opposed by a common front of the revolutionary movement in all countries." (I bid; p. 35)
Every U.S. "Marxist-Leninist" "party" and group that we know of believes that a single multi-national Party either has been, must, or will be formed in the USA. In conformity with the international character of Leninism, the Ray O. Light position is distinctive on this question in two different ways: On the one hand, we believe that an Afro-American dominated Marxist-Leninist Party based in the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South, a Puerto Rican Marxist-Leninist Party based on the island of Puerto Rico and/or other Marxist-Leninist Parties based in the nations presently imprisoned within US imperialist state boundaries might well be formed and effectively lead their peoples to victory prior to the formation of a single multi-national Party in the US multi-national state being established. On the other hand, Ray O. Light believes that the struggle for a new Communist International (CI) is integrally linked to the struggle to build a Party (or Parties) in the USA. In fact, we believe that a new CI may well be formed prior to the establishment of a Party or Parties in the USA. Recall the experience of the formation of the CPUSA under the impetus of the Russian Revolution and the guidance of the Third International.
Hence our fighting slogan
"Toward A New Communist International!"
"The genuine Communist Parties and the Communist International must be the path finder, the organizer, and the vanguard of this forward march of history undertaken by the proletariat and the toiling masses of humanity. The task of the Communist Parties and the Communist International is to find the path, and to organize and lead the working class and its allies through their own experience to communism. Hence a vital task of Ray O. Light is to wage a systematic and persistent struggle for the establishment of a genuine Communist Party to lead the revolutionary proletariat to victory in the various nations within the present state boundaries of US imperialism (or where conditions ripen, perhaps a party in each nation oppressed by the US (North) oppressor nation) against the US multinational state apparatus. Hence Ray O. Light must wage a systematic and persistent struggle for the building of a new Communist International to lead victorious struggles of the international proletariat, based on proletarian internationalism, over international capital, headed by US imperialism." (Ray O. Light Draft Program, The Present Party Building Movement in the USA and the Materialist Conception of History, p. 101)
We RESOLVE to exert maximum effort to carry forward these important organizational tasks in the days and months ahead!
Toward a Genuine Marxist-Leninist Party!
Toward a New Communist International!
Resolution on El Salvador
In the spirit of proletarian internationalism we RESOLVE to support the struggle of the Salvadoran people for national liberation and socialism in any way possible and especially the proletarian vanguard forces of El Salvador. In particular we pledge to continue our mobilizing efforts toward mass and popular opposition to US intervention in El Salvador while concentrating that mobilization among the proletariat and nationally oppressed peoples within the US multinational state.
Resolution on Eritrea
As proletarian internationalists, we RESOLVE to support the heroic and just struggle of the Eritrean people for national liberation and socialism, including the outstanding leadership of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF).
Resolution on the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania
The participants at the First Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference RESOLVE to support the heroic Party of Labor of Albania in its struggle against imperialism and revisionism and to support the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania in its efforts to build the dictatorship of the proletariat on the basis of Party-People Unity. In this light we condemn the present hostile activity of the Yugoslav revisionist leadership against the Albanian population of Kosova and the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania.
We look forward with revolutionary optimism to the 8th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania coming up this fall. For we expect it to produce new advances for the worldwide front of the proletarian revolution in the struggle against revisionism and imperialism.
Recognizing the key role of the Party of Labor of Albania in the current anti-revisionist struggle, the First Ray O. Light Marxist Leninist Conference sends our proletarian revolutionary greetings to the 8th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania.
Suggested Reading List for Participation in Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference
* Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin
* The United Front Against War and Fascism, G. Dimitroff
History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), CC of CPSU(B)
History of the Party of Labor of Albania, Central Committee of the PLA
Black Bolshevik, Harry Haywood
Albania Challenges Khrushchev Revisionism, E. Hoxha
Socialism is Built By the Masses, The Party Makes Them Conscious, E. Hoxha
On Communist Education, M. Kalinin
Reminiscences of Lenin, N.K. Krupskaya
The State and Revolution, V.I. Lenin
Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, V.I. Lenin
Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism, V.I. Lenin
Combat Liberalism, Mao Tse-tung
The Communist Manifesto, K. Marx and F. Engels
Dialectical and Historical Materialism, J. V. Stalin
Main Political Report:
* Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, V.I. Lenin
* Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, "These Are the Worst of Times, They Are the Best of Times"
* Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. 1, No .2, "The US-China Alliance and the Question of the Main Enemy"
* The Theory and Practice of the Revolution, Zeri I Populi it Editorial, 7/7/77
The Revolution, A Question Taken Up For Solution, R Alia
Yugoslav Revisionism and the Role of the CPSU & CPC, Moni Guha
Revisionism Against Revisionism, Moni Guha, Communist Information Service
Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR, Martin Nicolaus
Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise, M.J. Olgin
The Role of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement, The October Revolution Vs. the "Cultural Revolution", (Youth for Stalin, 1968), With an Introductory Essay: In Support of the Struggle of the Party of Labor of Albania Against Revisionism (Ray a Light, 1977), A Ray O. Light Publication
The Tragic War Between Kampuchea & Vietnam and the Struggle for Proletarian Internationalism, A Ray O. Light Publication
Uphold the Immortal Revolutionary Leadership of J. V. Stalin, Ray O. Light
Ray O. Light Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3, "Once Again – In Support of the Struggle of the Party of Labor of Albania Against Revisionism"
Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. l, No. 4, "‘Left’ Opportunism and the Rise of Reaction: US Hostages In Iran and the Greensboro, North Carolina Massacre"
Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1, "The Polish Workers Uprising and the Question of the Main Enemy"
To the Comrades of the League for Proletarian Revolution (A Polemic on LPR’s "Our Views on the International Situation"), Ray O. Light Organizing Committee of N.E.
National Question Report:
* For A Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question, Harry Haywood
* The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, V.I. Lenin
* Toward Victorious Afro-American National Liberation (Part I), Stalinist Workers Group
The August Revolution, Truong Chinh
Hammer & Steel Newsletter, September 1966, No. 5
Negro Liberation, Harry Haywood
Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, V.I. Lenin
Internationalism and Nationalism, Liu Shao-chi
On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism, Mao Tse-tung
Desde Las Entrañas (1973) Puerto Rican Socialist Party
The Founding of the National Black United Front and Its Revolutionary Potential, Ray O. Light
Send An Afro-American National Team to the Moscow Olympics!, Ray O. Light
Marxism and the National Question, J.V. Stalin
Present Situation and Crisis in the Afro-American National Liberation Struggle, Stalinist Workers Group for Afro-American National Liberation and A New Communist International
The Memoirs of Bernardo Vega (1916-1947), (Available only in Spanish)
Women Question Report:
* The Women Question: Selections from the Writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin
The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, F. Engels
Women Who Work, Grace Hutchins
A Book For Parents, A.S. Makarenko (pp 136-178)
Trade Union Report:
* "Should Revolutionaries Work in Reactionary Trade Unions", Chapter VI, from Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder, V.I. Lenin
American Trade Unionism, W.Z. Foster
Program of Action of the Red International of Labour Unions, A. Losovsky
* The Present Party-Building Movement in the USA and the Materialist Conception of History, Ray O. Light
* "The Party" Chapter VIII, from Foundations of Leninism, J.V. Stalin
The Bolsheviks in the Tsarist Duma, A. Badayev
Twenty Years in Underground Russia, C. Bobrovskaya
Some Fundamental Questions of the Revolutionary Policy of the Party of Labor of Albania About the Development of the Class Struggle, Nexhmije Hoxha
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, V.I. Lenin
What Is To Be Done?, V.I. Lenin
On Inner Party Struggle, Liu Shao-chi
Lenin On Organization, Third Communist International
The Communist Party, A Manual On Organization, J. Peters
A Tribute to Proletarian Collectivist Leadership, Ray O. Light
On Organization, J.V. Stalin
* Strongly recommended for Conference participation
Ray O. LightProgram: A Draft Outline (1976)
The program of Ray O. Light is based upon the strategic interests of the international proletariat.
We fight for the elimination of the exploitation of man by man from the face of the earth and with it the elimination of the material and ultimately the ideological bases for antagonistic conflicts among people, i.e., in the first place, the elimination of war. Hence our program is a struggle for Brotherhood and Peace.
Ours is a program for ushering in the grand future of Communism. However, we recognize that the path of our march to that future has many twists and turns. We further realize that it is through their own experience that the proletariat will come to see the need for and make a fight for this communist future. Hence Ray O. Light recognizes the necessity of a transitional epoch from the time of the proletarian triumph over capitalism until the advent of world communism. Hence the need to fight for the Socialist Revolution which will pave the road to Communism.
Because of the deep rooted capitalist way of life, of thought, etc., that will, of necessity, be the legacy of the old, dying system of capitalism to its offspring and grave digger, socialism, a prolonged period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the form of rule under Socialism, will be necessary in order to utterly vanquish the capitalist system. The dictatorship of the proletariat will provide that training ground in which the proletarian masses will become capable both of ruling themselves and ultimately of living under and creating the Communist future.
In addition to the above, Ray O. Light recognizes that in those countries where national development has been suppressed, distorted, restricted and repressed by imperialist domination, the proletariat must play an active, leading role in the democratic stage of the revolution in order to lead the democratic revolution to a thorough and decisive resolution and to extend the field of its activity so as to be in the strongest position (to pass the rifle from one shoulder to the other [Lenin, Two Tactics]) – to quickly pass to the socialist revolution.
Even in advanced capitalist-imperialist countries, where fascism may be resorted to by the imperialist bourgeois rulers, various fronts both within the working class and of the working class as the vanguard in alliance with other classes and strata may be necessary. Such an alliance may take the form of temporary coalition governments that would include Communists, as a part of the process by which the masses of the proletariat come to the fight for socialism and communism. (See Dimitroff, United Front Against Fascism)
The genuine Communist Parties and the Communist International must be the path finder, the organizer, and the vanguard of this forward march of history undertaken by the proletariat and the toiling masses of humanity. The task of the Communist Parties and the Communist International is to find the path, and to organize and lead the working class and its allies through their own experience to communism. Hence a vital task of Ray O. Light is to wage a systematic and persistent struggle for the establishment of a genuine Communist Party to lead the revolutionary proletariat to victory in the various nations within the present state boundaries of US imperialism (or where conditions ripen, perhaps a party in each nation oppressed by the US (North) oppressor nation) against the US multi-national state apparatus. Hence Ray O. Light must wage a systematic and persistent struggle for the building of a new Communist International to lead victorious struggles of the international proletariat, based on proletarian internationalism, over international capital, headed by US imperialism.
The most consistent and principled struggle against opportunism is a vital component of the struggle for the establishment of a genuine CPUSA and/or CP’s in the nations presently imprisoned within the state boundaries of US imperialism as well as of the struggle for the establishment of a new CI. We recognize that, in this period, when opportunist parties and policies are backed by state power in the USSR and the People’s Republic of China etc., that the struggle against opportunism is especially difficult and especially important for the long run victory of the international proletariat. We believe that the Cambodian Party (though no doubt inspired by the heroic Vietnamese people’s struggle and by the Communist Party of China’s struggle against Russian revisionism in the early ’60's) because it emerged and developed independent of and in opposition to the predominant forces in the Soviet and Chinese Parties in the late 1960’s was able to chart out a path and lead the Cambodian (Khmer) masses down the path of military victory over US imperialism and inspire the heroic Vietnamese people to force their leadership to adopt a fight for military victory there as well during April of 1975. The victories of the heroic Cambodian and Vietnamese people have in turn given new life and hope to the oppressed and toiling peoples throughout the world.
The main contradiction in the world today is clearly between the "handful of civilized nations on the one hand, and the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world on the other." (Stalin, Foundations)
Of the imperialist powers, it remains US imperialism whose bloody hands are at work, whether in Indo-China, in Lebanon, in Southern Africa, in the Mediterranean, in Latin America. It is US imperialism which retains the title of international hangman of revolutions. But in Cambodia this number one enemy of the international proletariat was not only beaten militarily but has thus far been prevented from repenetrating through diplomatic, economic, and other channels.
In the international arena, the situation remains largely as described by Youth for Stalin in April of 1968; namely, "Since the death of Stalin, the two main characteristics of the international situation have been 1) the intensification of the contradiction between the oppressed nations and US imperialism; and 2) the development of a policy in most socialist countries of betrayal of the oppressed nations based on the ascendancy of the national bourgeois class in the socialist countries." (Page 1, The Role of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement: The October Revolution vs. the "Cultural Revolution")
Within the USA, there are today companion tasks of finding the path and party-building. Unfortunately, we find ourselves here in a situation not so very different from that described by Comrade Lenin one-half century ago.
"It is far more difficult-and far more useful-to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist, to defend the interests of the revolution (by propaganda, agitation and organization) in non-revolutionary bodies and even in downright reactionary bodies, in non-revolutionary circumstances, among the masses who are incapable of immediately appreciating the need for revolutionary methods of action. The main task of contemporary Communism in Western Europe and America is to learn to seek, to find, to correctly determine the specific path or the particular turn of events that will bring the masses right up against the real, last, decisive and great revolutionary struggle." (Pages 77-78, Left-Wing Communism, Lenin's emphasis)
This problem is compounded in the USA today by the fact that the predominant class composition of the so called "Marxist movement" is the privileged petty-bourgeoisie of the US (North) oppressor nation (i.e., presently the chief oppressor nation in the world). This class (and national) composition has been the material basis upon which the "new communist movement" has been totally unable to grasp the materialist reality of the present concrete situation in the USA. Since they cannot fathom where the class and the masses really are, these petty bourgeois democrats are doomed to failure in their effort to chart a path to get from where we are now to the great new human era of Communism. In fact these petty bourgeois democrats represent a significant obstacle to this development.
What then is the present concrete situation that confronts the working class in the various nations that make up the present state boundaries of US imperialism? What are the strategic tasks that flow from these conditions?
Stages of the Revolution and Strategy in the US Multi-National State
The great teachers and leaders of the class struggle of the proletariat, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao have taught us that in analyzing part of a situation we must understand the situation as a whole.
Our understanding, then, of the relationship of forces within the USA is conditioned by our recognition of the fact that internationally the main contradiction in the world is between the handful of civilized nations, headed by US imperialism on the one hand, and on the other, the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples fighting for their national independence from imperialist domination. This fact of life of the post-World War II period has been reflected in the decisive (if in many cases only temporary) victories of the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Some of these victories include the world historic victory of the Chinese revolution and the great victories of the revolutions in Korea, Cuba, Algeria, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Indonesia, Congo Brazzaville, Tanzania, South Yemen, Albania and ultimately all of Indochina.
These great struggles had a tremendous impact on the peoples of the US whose country was the target of many of these liberation struggles. Particularly the Afro-American people centered in their Black Belt homeland were inspired to exert once again a great effort in the cause of their own emancipation. Beginning in the late 1950’s and culminating in the Black Power Movement in the period ’66 to ’69, the Black people rose up in their oppressed Black Belt Nation and then in the Afro-American minority communities in the US (North) oppressor nation and shook the very foundations of the bulwark of world capitalism. Inspired by the rising peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and particularly by the Afro-American people’s struggle, the Chicano and Puerto Rican people’s movements sprung up and fought significant battles against their imperialist oppressor during the late ’60’s and into the ’70’s.
Today the finest sons and daughters of the working class in the US multi-national state have been largely produced out of the powerful struggles of the Afro-American, Chicano and Puerto Rican people for land and freedom.
Given the political history of the US in the past decade and more, and in light of the decisive victory of the Indo-Chinese peoples over US imperialism during the past few years, and particularly in light of the relationship between the victorious independence movement of the peoples of Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Angola, with the revolution in Portugal, it becomes clear that a strategy for the proletarian revolution of the US multi-national state must start with a recognition of the central revolutionary role which must be played in this period by the national liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples of the Black Belt and Puerto Rico (and quite likely in Aztlan and Appalachia as well).
The strategy we believe history has set forth for these nations is to complete the national democratic revolution against US imperialist occupation and domination and for the elimination of all the pre-capitalist remnants in these societies with which US imperialism maintains its rule in these oppressed nations.
In The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, Lenin says, "It was the Bolsheviks who strictly took into account the difference between the bourgeois democratic revolution and the socialist revolution; by carrying the first to its logical end they opened the door for passing to the second. This was the only policy that was revolutionary and Marxian." (Page 89) This is our fundamental approach to the strategic task of the proletarian revolutionaries in these oppressed nations.
The Afro-American Nation in the Black Belt:
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STRATEGIC STAGE: completely wipe out the feudal (slave) survivals, especially the plantation system, and the extra-legal KKK apparatus, and drive US imperialism out of the Black Belt, including the smashing of plantation comprador apparatus.
THE MAIN FORCE OF THE REVOLUTION: the Afro-American (Black) proletariat.
IMMEDIATE RESERVES: the Afro-American (Black) peasantry, woodhaulers, farmers etc., and the Afro-American (Black) petty-bourgeoisie, Afro-American (Black) petty-bourgeois intelligentsia, etc.
PROBABLE RESERVES: Southern white (Afro-American ethnic minority) proletariat and peasant toilers, the Native American people, Afro-American (Black) national minority communities in the US (North) oppressor nation, proletariat and national liberation movements in Aztlan and Puerto Rico, left-wing of Afro-American (Black) national bourgeoisie.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: white (Afro-American ethnic minority) petty bourgeoisie, Appalachian proletariat and national liberation movement, U.S. multi-national proletariat.
DIRECTION OF MAIN BLOW: right-wing of the Afro-American (Black and White) national bourgeoisie striving to win over the toiling masses and to liquidate the struggle by compromising with imperialism.
DISPOSITION OF FORCES: alliance of Afro-American (Black) proletariat with Afro-American (Black) peasantry [hopefully quickly to pass over to alliance between Afro-American Black and White (Afro-American minority) proletariat with Black and White (Afro-American minority) peasantry and Afro-American (Black) petty-bourgeoisie].
The Puerto Rican Nation:
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STRATEGIC STAGE: destruction of feudal survivals, driving out of US imperialism.
MAIN FORCE OF THE REVOLUTION: proletariat.
IMMEDIATE RESERVES: peasantry, landless peasants, migrant farm laborers (to and from USA), petty-bourgeois intelligentsia, etc.
PROBABLE RESERVES: Puerto Rican and Latino national minority communities in the US (North), Afro-American proletariat and national liberation struggle, Chicano proletariat and national liberation movement, proletariat and national liberation movements of Latin America, left-wing of Puerto Rican national bourgeoisie.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: US multi-national proletariat.
DIRECTION OF MAIN BLOW: right-wing of Puerto Rican national bourgeoisie striving to win over the toiling masses and liquidate the revolution through compromise with US imperialism.
DISPOSITION OF FORCES: Puerto Rican proletariat in alliance with peasantry and petty-bourgeoisie.
Ray O. Light has far less experience and has done far less research on the character of the struggle of the people of Aztlan as well as the struggle of the people of Appalachia than in regard to the other peoples considered here. Yet we believe the following outline for a revolutionary strategy in Aztlan and Appalachia is on the right track.
The Nation of Aztlan in the US Southwest:
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STRATEGIC STAGE: to drive out US imperialism and wipe out the feudal remnants in the countryside.
THE MAIN FORCE OF THE REVOLUTION: the Chicano proletariat.
IMMEDIATE RESERVES: Chicano peasantry and rural proletariat.
PROBABLE RESERVES: the Native American (Indian) peoples in the territory of Aztlan, Chicano petty bourgeois intelligentsia, the Afro-American proletariat and Afro-American national liberation movement, the Mexican proletariat and Mexican national liberation movement, the Puerto Rican proletariat and national liberation movement, the proletariat and national liberation movements of Latin America.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: multi-national proletariat of US (North), especially the Chicano national minority proletarians and other Latin and Afro-American proletarians in the US (North), Appalachian proletariat and national liberation movement, left-wing of Chicano national bourgeoisie.
DIRECTION OF THE MAIN BLOW: the isolation of the right-wing of the Chicano national bourgeoisie, striving to win over the peasantry and liquidate the revolution by a compromise with US imperialism.
PLAN FOR THE DISPOSITION OF FORCES: alliance of the Chicano working class with the Chicano peasantry.
The Appalachian Nation:
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STRATEGIC STAGE: to drive out US imperialism and wipe out the tyrannical rule of the coal baron dominated police-court apparatus.
MAIN FORCE OF THE REVOLUTION: the Appalachian proletariat, especially the coal miners.
IMMEDIATE RESERVES: Appalachian peasantry, mainly subsistence farmers and tenant farmers.
PROBABLE RESERVES: Afro-American proletariat and Afro-American national liberation movement, Chicano proletariat and Aztlan national liberation movement, Native American people of Appalachia, Appalachian petty bourgeois intelligentsia.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: multi-national proletariat of US (North), especially the Appalachian national minority proletarians, left-wing of the Appalachian national bourgeoisie.
DIRECTION OF THE MAIN BLOW: the isolation of the right-wing of the Appalachian national bourgeoisie, striving to win over the peasantry and liquidate the revolution by a compromise with US imperialism.
PLAN FOR THE DISPOSITION OF FORCES: alliance of the Appalachian working class with the Appalachian peasantry.
Recognizing that the struggle in the US (North) oppressor nation does not have the immediate revolutionary potential that exists in the oppressed nations discussed above, nevertheless the stage of the revolution in the US (North) oppressor nation is at a higher level, i.e., the socialist revolution. But the strategy for the US (North) Socialist Revolution must be undertaken in relation to the central, immediate strategic struggles in the nations oppressed by US imperialism including those within the US multi-national state. The strategic objective of the proletarian revolution in the US (North) oppressor nation is to overthrow monopoly capitalist rule and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. In light of the situation in the world as a whole, including the present conditions in the US (North) itself, the accomplishment of this objective will involve a protracted process beginning with a defense of the working class’ economic position against the cutbacks and other encroachments of monopoly capital under the impetus of the economic crisis.
US (North) Oppressor Nation:
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STRATEGIC STAGE: to overthrow monopoly capitalist rule and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.
MAIN FORCE OF THE REVOLUTION: multi-national industrial proletariat.
IMMEDIATE RESERVES: rural proletariat, national minority communities, urban toiling petty-bourgeoisie, e.g., independent truckers, self-employed carpenters, etc.
PROBABLE RESERVES: proletariat and national liberation struggles in oppressed Afro-American and Puerto Rican nations, as well as in Aztlan and Appalachia, Native American people (in US North).
DIRECTION OF MAIN BLOW: isolation of petty-bourgeois democrats who teach the proletariat either class collaboration (e.g., CPUSA, Trade Union bureaucratic leadership, CLP) or teach the proletariat premature class warfare (e.g., OL, RCP).
DISPOSITION OF FORCES: multi-national industrial proletariat-rural proletariat alliance with oppressed nations within and outside the present state boundaries of US imperialism.
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