From Revolutionary Organization to Neo-Trotskyite Sect
By Former PRRWO Cadres
We would like to start this document with a self-criticism for its unforgivable lateness. In the process of writing and producing this document we have had many struggles, which we feel reflect in part the types of struggles going on in the movement today. We have had to constantly battle demoralization, pessimism, feeling isolated to the point of belittling the importance of the document which was sectarianism in its essence. We had to fight an overwhelming tendency to self-cultivate and wallow in our own self-pity, for whatever particular reasons. We had to view the world through different eyes, settle old accounts and re-orient ourselves after having, by our purger or resignation, been outside the realm of a Neo-Trotskyite sect of social-fascists. Most of all, we all had to see objectively what part we played in the history and degeneration of PRRWO, on whatever level and be willing to dissect ourselves so that we could sum-up for other comrades.
This document is a testament to two things; one, that the process of repudiation is not easy, painless, smooth or quick and that there is a lot more criticism and self-criticism in practice to be done before we can say we have repudiated the line we held and believed in; but the other, and this is principal, is that we were finally able to do it and share it with our comrades across the country, and that even the struggles to stop vacillating and finish the sum-up have helped us to be better communists.
We dedicate this document to the memory of the Great Chairman Mao Tsetung and to all of the genuine communist and revolutionary forces who will be like him and Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win in building our Party, and prove as Chairman Mao taught us that:
"Make trouble, fail, make trouble again, fail again.... till their doom" is the logic of all reactionaries, and that "fight, fail, fight again.... till our victory" is the logic of all revolutionaries.
We will prove by our practice that the opportunists and agent provocateurs, most notably Gloria Fontaρez, have not succeeded in turning us away from the masses and our responsibility, and in fact have made us even firmer on the need to expose them all and drive them back into the rat-holes from which they came. We hope that the many genuine forces that are still under the domination of the opportunists in the movement will read this document, learn from it, expose the hidden scabs before they do more harm to the cause of the proletariat.
The intention of the following analysis is to attempt to sum-up for Marxist-Leninist, advanced elements, and revolutionary minded people, the history of the PRRWO and to outline the basic reasons for its present state that of an ultra-leftist sect outside the communist movement, wrecking and splitting in the infamous tradition of Neo-Trotskyism.
This is by no means to be considered the final work, the ultimate sum-up of the PRRWO; This task must be seen as an on going one, integrally related to the overall duty we have to do an in-depth analysis of the theoretical work that must be combined with giving leadership to the struggles of the masses in order to build a genuine communist party. This is offered as a starting point, because it has been a number of months without any analysis of PRRWO by its former members, having come forth.
It is our duty to thoroughly "dissect" ourselves and get to the reasons which gave rise to the degeneration of an organization with a history of progressive struggle. As former members of PRRWO, any analysis would indeed be shallow if it did not include serious self-criticism. In fact, at the initial stages of this writing, we did not place enough attention on this most important question, which showed us even more clearly the need to examine our role in the degeneration of PRRWO. It is upon accepting the righteous criticism of fellow Marxist-Leninists that we make this the starting point of our analysis.
In examining this question, we must as always apply a dialectical historical materialist outlook. To begin with, let us make clear that we do not consider the situation that developed a unique one; the history of the international communist movement is filled with the accounts of M-L-MTTT [Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought] in the very fire of class struggle, as is reflected in the bourgeoisie and its older ideology constantly battling with the proletariat and its ideology. Marxism itself developed in such a battle, Marx and Engels creating scientific socialism in the process of defeating manifestation after manifestation of bourgeois theories designed to keep the proletariat enslaved forever. This birth right of Marxism continued to be illustrated as Lenin, Stalin, and our departed comrade Mao Tsetung developed the science in the battle against those, who would distort it. This struggle has historically been one of twist and turns, ups and downs but M-L-MTTT has emerged triumphant in the long run, and always will. It is with this spirit that we must approach the events facing the present day U.S. communist movement, or else we will get demoralized, pessimistic, and take the isolated experiences we're going through and view the whole communist movement as equally bankrupt and. Hopeless. This can serve no one but the bourgeoisie, who celebrate every time their agents succeed in turning another conscious element away from becoming an active part in their inevitable downfall.
For many of us, it was precisely this kind of pessimism and demoralization which resulted in us not firmly grasping the tasks of putting out this analysis sooner. This held true on a much higher level for some of us than for others, but the neutralizing effect that our experiences in PRRWO had on us was felt by all. Credit must be given to those among us who pushed harder patiently struggling in the spirit of unity struggle unity for us to take action and recognize our responsibility to the communist movement and advanced and revolutionary forces.
One of the first things we must examine is the objective conditions that gave rise to our development as communists. No one enters into a meeting or gets involved in a struggle given leadership to by communists and becomes a full-blown communist overnight; the process takes years of struggle. In most cases, particularly those of us who developed from the broad revolutionary movement to the communist movement while in or around one organization (YLP-PRRWO), our understanding of M-L-MTTT was shaped by the organization we had the most contact with. In fact, since it is true that Marxism must be introduced from outside the workers and other social movements, there is always the possibility of its incorrect interpretation and application when beginning the process of becoming a communist. Marxist-Leninist principles, such as the attitude of a communist towards the masses and their struggles, the attitude of a communist towards making errors in the course of that struggle, which include methods of thinking and work, as well as the M-L-MTTT principles of organization Democratic Centralism were introduced to us in a live way in the course pf our participation in the revolutionary struggle. In a young, growing, organization these things are not internalized perfectly or in total harmony with one another. The way in which we learn of these things is to a large extent based on the social and ideological basis of the organization we struggle with or are part of. Since no organization in the U.S. communist movement was born on a solid stable proletarian base, it's clear that the class make-up of the organization, which in the case of the YLP was lower petty bourgeoisie and unstable proletarian elements, would reflect the strength and weakness of its grasp on Marxism. This in turn would be reflected in how its members were introduced to Marxism. In the early history of YLP-PRRWO, the principal thrust of this introduction to Marxism was positive, being as it was part of an overall motion in the growing young communist movement, which was putting an end to ideological eclecticism and accepting M-L-MTTT as the sole ideology.
Through our studies of the Red Book, and other limited M-L-MTTT teachings we affirmed our belief in M-L-MTTT and saw its irrefutable truth manifested in practice most especially on two questions the need for communists to be among the masses, the seed to the soil as Mao-Tsetung taught us, and the need to do serious criticism and self criticisms, to get rid of incorrect ideas by putting the interests of the masses first and transforming so that we could become better revolutionaries. It was armed by these two fundamental principles that we committed ourselves to the cause of communism. The secondary aspect, reflective of the social basis, manifested itself in petty-bourgeois infantile application of some of these principles, examples of these are left-adventurism "revolutionary" garb and style of talking and acting, tendency towards hero worship based on charisma instead of the correct relationship between leadership and cadre, anarchistic style of work as opposed to planned, protracted outlook on tasks. However, we must remember that under those time, place, and conditions, the principal aspect was positive.
How then did we get to where we are today finding ourselves looking back and facing the stark reality that we were participants, on a higher or a lower level depending upon our level of responsibility in the organization, in the development of an organization which got involved in three sham party building attempts (NLC, NCC, PBC) and which stands today indicted by all genuine and honest revolutionaries as a counter-revolutionary sect? There are no simple answers nor is it possible (or wise) for us to go through each of our individual histories in this paper. But we must take from our collective experience and our study of M-L-MTTT and take the essence of the reasons for this phenomenon and sum it up.
We have already outlined some of the process of our development as Marxist-Leninists which we are sure is generally true for many M-Ls. But regardless of the conditions that give rise to our development as communists, there is an internal basis for us to become good communists or degenerate into opportunists. This internal basis shows itself when we are faced with the fact that M-L-MTTT and the commitment to revolution is larger than any individual or organization. Once we realize this, we can do one of two things we can either conscientiously study Marxism on a consistent basis, understanding that the more we know about revolution the more we need to know, devoting ourselves to combine our theory with practice and contribute to the fullest to the overall revolution, which concretely for us means to place our immediate sights on our central task of building the party; and subordinating our interests to what is coming into being; or we can take the task lightly, and idealistically try the easy road to Marxism (which is impossible) and cultivate instead of repudiate the alien class ideas we bring into the communist movement. For the former this means upholding what has been summed up by the late Chairman Mao-Tsetung as the three great styles of work of a communist, which are:
(1) The style of integrating theory with practice.
(2) The style of work of maintaining close ties with the masses.
(3) The style of work of practicing criticism and self-criticism.
The first means to always insure that the only reason we should and do study is to make revolution, in order to be able to give better and more concrete leadership to the masses as well as learn from them, in short we only study to practice in a better way and from our practice sum-up and study some more to learn what we did right and wrong.
The second means that we should gauge our success or failure in accomplishing our tasks as a whole by our relationship to the masses, remembering of course that in the pre-party period, this is going to mean principally, but not exclusively, our relationship to those who will compose the vanguard, the advanced. We must be one with the masses, and when we find ourselves isolated from the masses we must ruthlessly examine why this is taking place. This brings us to the third style of practicing crit-self-crit, to be unafraid to struggle if you think something is wrong as well as willing to have your weaknesses pointed out to you so that we can learn from our mistakes and turn our weaknesses into strengths.
Now obviously none of these things will be done in a perfect way; in fact, it is precisely the struggle to constantly transform and become better and better communists that is the driving force that will enable the international communist movement leading the oppressed masses, most especially the proletariat, to overcome all of its obstacles in the way of proletarian revolution and on to the ultimate aim, world communism. The important thing is that we must take this task as a lifetime one, and never stop trying, even if at times we get demoralized.
PRRWO did not degenerate over night, nor was it possible for it to degenerate by one or two "evil persons" alone. For those of us on higher levels of responsibility, the criticism must be more severe, for we were in a position, if we had fulfilled our duty as communists rather than our own narrow interests, to struggle harder against the different quantitative steps that led to the qualitative leap into the marsh that PRRWO has taken. We did not seriously enough take on our responsibility to the cadres, the communist movement and the masses to uphold and defend M-L, even if it meant that the line of PRRWO on many questions had to be changed. We did not study Marxism in the correct way. Many times we would study M-L to prove the line of the organization correct rather than to study M-L in order to weed out the incorrect tendencies that arose. If we did raise struggle against incorrect tendencies, we would be content if a convincing argument temporarily proved us wrong. Rather than go back and do the hard work of basing a position on a firm foundation of study and investigation so that we could take line struggle to a higher level, we relied on the lazy bourgeois method of abstract debate to out talk and intimidate rather than scientifically refute or affirm a position, many times conciliating with the opportunists, and in a cowardly way giving up the struggle for the sake of unprincipled peace, or hiding behind someone else who held similar views and who had been singled out for isolation, rather than standing up and fighting for what we believed in. This cowardice is unforgivable. We maintained a narrow circle spirit being slack in study of other organizations' newspapers and other forms of propaganda, whether "opportunist" or not. When such study was undertaken, it was in the spirit of proving another organization's line to be incorrect, rather than taking as our starting point how we could help to advance and develop the whole communist movement and the party building motion.
In many cases, the struggle would not be one between a correct line in battle with an incorrect line, but rather would consist of two careerist elements struggling for top position. In other cases, opportunist elements would put forth an objectively correct position in a struggle to hide their real intentions. The overall result of this was that those with the greatest skill at tactical maneuvering would remain secure. It was such a clique, headed by Gloria F., that managed to seize control of the organization and lead it to its present degenerate state. She, most especially, was able to seize upon the forward motion of the organization, being as it was only a part of a bigger, developing whole. The net effect of this was that rather than functioning as a collective which truly acted in the interest of its cadres, the leadership, under the control of the opportunists, leeched onto the genuine wishes of the cadres, and would put forward anarchistic programs of action which would make it seem as if the leadership was listening to the cadre. (This will be seen in the YLP split, as well as other later occurrences.)
This explains why, although the leadership was dominated by opportunists from its early history, the organization many times was at the front of many of the important periods of development of the young communist movement (e.g., YLP to PRRWO, split with the RU, etc.)
We point out the above to explain to many comrades unfamiliar with the particular history of the YLP-PRRWO why it is that an organization with such a seemingly progressive, consistent history of development degenerated so rapidly and so totally.
Sectarianism Towards Cadre, the Masses and the Communist Movement
We did not take to heart the criticisms of the cadre, who were the life-blood of the organization. Instead of listening carefully to every position minority or majority and treating each one in a serious, scientific manner, we participated in subjective labeling of many comrades as "anti-leadership elements" without taking into account what was being said and why. After all, the cadres were the ones who were most among the masses, and their suggestions and criticisms were based on their practice among the masses. To be anything less than serious to all comments and suggestions from the cadre is, in essence, contempt of the masses, which was pushed by the opportunists on the leadership.
This attitude was also reflected in terms of criticisms raised by other organizations. Many times, rather than be warned by the words, not the speaker, we had a conceited view of not humbly learning from other comrades. This attitude could most clearly be seen in many of the forums and activities. This was also true of our attitude towards our own particular strengths and weaknesses. We were often swell-headed, believing ourselves great leaders, rather than taking a humble attitude that leadership means greater responsibility and commitment to transform, so that one can fulfill that responsibility. We would be content with our successes and learned to look elsewhere when things went wrong. This many times led to blaming cadres and the masses for our own mistakes.
Conciliation and Political Cowardice
All of these things reflect either unity with or conciliation to the ultra-left bloc which controlled PRRWO. This led to a situation where we left PRRWO thinking that we were truly Mensheviks, and that the organization was better off without us. We actually believed the ultra-leftist line on key questions, most especially the fantasy that our organization was the most Bolshevik, blazing the trail for the party building motion, and that we were slowing it down. We would struggle with a sectarian view of looking upon any difference with the line of the Secretariat dictated by Gloria Fontaρez and Carmen Cruz as "raggedy" and opportunist, rather than examining it to see if it conformed with M-L-MTTT, and so participated in the unprincipled attacks and purges of comrades who are arbitrarily deemed unworthy of our elite "Bolshevism," or stood by and watched it happen to others passively until the finger was pointed at us. Yes, we were guilty of Menshevism, but not for the reasons the ultra-leftist bloc laid out; we were guilty of never mounting a concentrated struggle against their maneuverings, which would have meant some serious repudiation. Instead, we went out the back door and became so utterly demoralized that we did not immediately take up the task of summing up and seeking out other comrades on the basis of unity-struggle-unity. We played right into the hands of the bourgeoisie, standing on the sidelines while Marxists-Leninists and advanced forces throughout the country were left without the benefit of an internal view of why PRRWO degenerated. This could only serve to hold back the process of building the party and putting to rout all opportunist wreckers like Gloria Fontaρez and Carmen Cruz. For us on the leadership, this sum-up is only the beginning of a long process of repudiation.
Those of us who were cadres in PRRWO recognize that our first debt to the communist movement and its supporters is to put out this sum-up, so that other genuine forces may learn from it and not make the same mistakes we have made. On the one hand, it is objectively true that the vast majority of PRRWO members were honest cadres, who had devoted their lives to making revolution and bringing the science of M-L to the masses. Yet, we see today how we ourselves both helped to purge others and allowed ourselves to be purged and attacked by these super-professional opportunists, because we had internalized to such a great extent the garbage these lice peddled to us as Marxism-Leninism. As cadre, we propagated this anti-Marxism among each other, to other organizations' cadres we came into contact with and to our study groups and other contacts, many of whom have been turned off to M-L because of the struggles we had with them to stop "bowing to spontaneity and study M-L in the abstract, as we were doing. We negated more and more the correct things that were raised to us if they didn't conform to the organization's ultra-leftist line. In reflecting back on precisely these things, seeing how isolated we had become both from the masses and from each other, we accepted the label of "Menshevik" that the opportunists put us. These opportunists took advantage of the fact that the discontent of the cadre was still at a perceptual level and before it could develop into two-line struggle that would place their control in jeopardy they moved on the purges.
Thus we left the organization thinking that the failure of a bankrupt line was due to our own personal failures, and since the opportunists had told us we were opportunists and could never transform, we didn't know where to turn. But thanks to many contacts and fellow cadre, who struggled with us in a principled way and saw we were honest forces who had committed serious errors, we began to make an ideological break with neo-Trotskyism we thought was Bolshevism. People who had stopped coming around PRRWO came to us and told us how good it was we had left, and struggled with us to understand how they had been able to sum up that PRRWO was opportunist and would never build a genuine party. These things helped us to be more objective again, to return to study M-L (which PRRWO had told us that, as opportunists, we had no right to do) and to help us see the need for this sum-up and for us to remain in the communist movement. But unfortunately, there are still many demoralized ex-members and ex-contacts of PRRWO who are going around either telling people they're opportunists or at least being convinced of it themselves, We urge these comrades not to isolate themselves, to study M-L and to depend on the masses to help them see how distorted a view they hold. It has been a very difficult period for all of us, comrades, but we must remember that if we turn our backs on the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat in this country, we are doing precisely what the bourgeoisie and its number 1 lackey inside PRRWO, Gloria F., tried to accomplish isolating and neutralizing us so we will be no further threat to them. We cannot allow their plan to destroy us as communists to succeed, the way their plot to destroy PRRWO, an organization which all of us built, succeeded.
I Development of YLP-PRRWO
In order to most correctly sum up the total degeneration of PRRWO into a neo-Trotskyite sect, it is necessary to trace its development. This is crucial, because PRRWO has always put itself forth to the communist movement as an organization which constantly summed up its errors, did self-criticism, and shared these lessons with the rest of the communist movement. We shall prove that, in fact, PRRWO has given lip service to the task of summing up its historical strengths and weaknesses, and that this is one of the main reasons for PRRWO's degeneration: not learning from, but covering up, its mistake.
It's very important to approach this matter dialectically; there is definitely a tendency to see the entire history of PRRWO as a series of cover-ups. This would fly in the fact of the objective truth that, at one time, YLP-PRRWO made tremendous contributions to the development of the communist movement. We believe that, in the main, the contributions that the YLO-YLP-PRRWO made can be directly traced to its roots. In the period of the spontaneous upsurge of the masses, advanced as well as intermediate forces came forward, seeking answers to the questions the struggle placed before us, seeking organization to channel their revolutionary zeal in the most concentrated and efficient form. It was from these forces, the most conscious sectors of the masses, that different organizations BPP, SNCC under H. Rap Brown, DRUM, HRUM, etc. sprang up and took shape. This was the situation that gave rise to the YLO-YLP. It was an organization marked from its beginning by self-sacrificing, loyal cadre who were committed to the struggle for socialism, who came from the masses and were not afraid, but rather willing, to go to the masses to spread the word of revolution as best they knew it. This was and has been the overwhelming strength, the source of contributions of PRRWO.
Early History of YLO-YLP
In the early, history of the organization, it was-this basic strength that was the cause of the respect YLP had among the masses, as well as among the young communist movement. But, at the same time, as many honest forces came forward in the struggle, political swindlers as well as paid agents of the bourgeoisie, flocked to infiltrate the ranks of the revolutionaries. This could be seen in its crudest form in the destruction of the BPP. With the YLP-PRRWO, this manifested itself chiefly through a historical concentration of consolidated opportunists on key areas of control in the organization's leadership. In many cases, these elements were much more developed culturally; many had already been familiar with revolutionary ideology, especially Marxism-Leninism. From this position, these elements were able to gradually isolate the leadership cadre by leeching on to their strengths and playing on their weaknesses. Honest leadership cadre were usually put in a position of having more direct contact with the rank and file of the organization, and their dedication and hard work were opportunistically used to keep the organization functioning on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, these comrades' weaknesses were not struggled against correctly. Various political weaknesses, particularly those which, if corrected, might lead to challenge of the opportunists' power (such as liberalism, not questioning enough, not taking a struggle through to the end, going against the tide) were played down, leading to these comrades becoming swell-headed and easy prey to be swindled. Persistence in a struggle was seen as being a diehard, and failure to quickly accept new changes in the line of the organization meant that one would be classified as an "anti-leadership element," which meant sure isolation.
Key Lines Within YLP
YLO-YLP played an important role in furthering the unity between peoples of color in the U.S., as is shown in the acceptance of leadership from the Black Panther Party when it also was a truly revolutionary force. The most important thing to remember about the YLO-YLP period is that it was a period of development from a broad revolutionary organization to a higher level of organization. The organization's main characteristic was that it tried to serve the people in a genuine way. It was for this reason that even though the masses disagreed, and rightly so, with many of the methods of the YLO-YLP, they accepted them as freedom fighters who were fully devoted to the masses from which they came. In this period of its development, no one can deny the role YLO-YLP played as part of the broad revolutionary movement, mobilizing the masses in a revolutionary way around many issues facing the Puerto Rican national minority, which related directly to the issues facing the entire proletariat of this country, as well as raising the colonial status of Puerto Rico and mobilizing the masses around it, while all MPI would do was collect money for the Party in Puerto Rico from its petty bourgeois contacts in the U.S.
However, all was not rosy with the YLO-YLP. There were many serious weaknesses that, if left unchecked, could, and eventually did, turn the organization into its opposite. Again, it is no freak of nature that this occurred. It is only natural, given the treason to the proletariat committed by the CPUSA, and the vacuum of ideological eclecticism that was left, that many incorrect lines and tendencies would manifest themselves. In fact, some of these tendencies have plagued the movement in this country ever since Marx and Engels corresponded with American Marxists in the 1800's.
These weaknesses were only a reflection in line and practice of the social basis of the organization unstable proletarian and petty bourgeois elements. We have analyzed the most dangerous incorrect lines which were never repudiated as the following:
1) Dual Unionism a carry-over of the anarcho-syndicalist tendency which has historically plagued the U.S. working class. Instead of utilizing the trade unions, parent boards, or other forms of organizing initiated through struggle by the masses, but now led by bourgeois lackeys, and doing the long, hard work necessary to turn these organizations back into organizations which represent the interests of the masses, the YLO-YLP (and, as we shall see later, PRRWO) chose to work outside the realm of these organizations, creating dual organizations like HRUM, the Worker's Federation, etc. The theoretical justification for this left line was the objective truth that these organizations were under the total control of the state, and the masses were fed up with the sell-out nature of the leadership. This line led to the wrong conclusion that the solution was to build alternative organizations, outside the structure of the existing organizations, to remove many cadre and contacts from where they had a history of practice, rather than to develop any strategy and tactics for work in the trade unions or similar organizations. Although on the surface this may have seemed ultra-revolutionary, it was in essence and in practice abandoning the mass movement, because the masses, the makers of history, know full well that trade unions, parents' associations and other forms of mass organizations were built with sweat and blood, and the real demand is to expose and eliminate the bloodsucking henchman of the bourgeoisie who are in leadership. The dual unionist line seeks easy solutions to one of the most complex of all tasks facing communists, to win the leadership of these organizations as an integral part of our move towards the seizure of state power. This line can be historically traced to the Dualists, whom Lenin defeated in Left-Wing Communism, who contended that it is possible to share dual power with the tsarist rulers.
2) Sectarianism This trend can be divided into two: a) the sectarianism of the organization towards other organizations and towards the masses; b) the inner-organizational sectarianism.
The former manifested itself in a resistance to do work with other organizations in an ongoing and consistent way. It was definitely at a lower level in the YLO-early YLP period, but even the formation of the "Party" itself reflects the narrow outlook, the sectarian approach of the tasks in the national movement, let alone the other tasks. This view was never formally expressed in documents, but internally the cadre of the organization were geared towards viewing themselves as the vanguard of the vanguard, the "baddest revolutionaries around," a form of organizational self-cultivation. For example, look at the Palante book (a book of photographs and quotes of YLP cadre); although the principal aspect was progressive, there is a definite trend to make the YLP cadre look glamorous and exciting superbad. This type of view developed to a much higher level as the organization covered up more of its errors, until today you have the "Leninist core of the revolutionary wing" garbage.
This was expressed in the early YLO-YLP period as the cult-of-the-individual type relationship between the leadership and the cadre. The most eloquent, expressive, flamboyant types were very often found on or around the leadership of the organization. A lot of emphasis was placed on how well one could run the line, on charisma, rather than on hardworking leaders who could relate in a humble way to the cadres, who were the life-blood of the organization. This led to a definite tendency towards factionalism, both in terms of not laying out things to the cadre, as well as not laying things out to other leadership members. Examples of this were the "Yorubans," the nickname for the Ministry of Information, headed by Yoruba; the defense ministry, particularly in the period when they were connected to Felipe Luciano, the HRUM clique, made up of cadres recruited from HRUM. This is not to say there isn't a natural tendency towards this type of occurrence in a young organization. The point we're making is that these very obvious tendencies were never seriously combated by the leadership, and this led to future situations where leadership would act as a "united front" to squash internal struggles, as well as situations where different leadership members would be isolated and kicked out without cadre having a full-rounded understanding of what was taking place. Later on, in this part of the sum-up, we will illustrate two such examples; the split in the YLP and the NLC period.
3) The other major trend that we could identify in the early history of the YLP-PRRWO was anarchy. Although this deals principally with the organizational sphere, it is very important, because this trend was one which, left uncorrected, led to the tactics-as-a-process approach to our work, which belittled and finally negated the need to sum up periodically the history of the organization, In the early period, it was identified as "crisis orientation," which was a good enough analysis for that period of time; however, the analysis was never deepened and taken to practice in a whole-hearted way, precisely because the opportunist manipulation hid behind this cover of anarchy to keep the cadre off balance, going from one project to another without sufficiently summing up, all the while consolidating the ultra-leftist line which was to become the principal aspect of PRRWO.
(We would like to note that these are by no means all the anti-Marxist trends which existed in the early days of YLP-PRRWO. We lay these out as a starting point. The other point we wish to make is that all of the above trends speak to the weaknesses, or in many cases, distortions of, cadre training in the organization, which PRRWO now brags that it has always put first.)
With this admittedly skeletal understanding of the social basis and major strengths and weaknesses of the YLP-PRRWO, we would like to point out some of the major cover-ups in the early history of the organization as they are laid out in both the Resolutions of the YLP Congress and in "In the U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism" (section on the history of the organization).
Distortions of Major Struggles
One key example of these distortions is in reference to the social composition of the organization.
A. The 1972 Resolutions of the Congress of the PRRWO lays out a pretty accurate description of the social composition of the organization:
"The social base of the organization was composed of unemployed proletarian youth, students who came from the lower petty bourgeoisie (ideologically), permanent unemployed, and a minority of workers employed in services work... although the organization has never been strictly Puerto Rican, but composed of Blacks, Dominicans, Mexicans, Cubans, Panamanians as well."
Congress Resolutions, p. 4.
Just to illustrate our point about how PRRWO, as it developed, covered up rather than revealed things about its history, let us quote from "In the U.S. Pregnant with Revisionism" regarding the composition and let us note the difference:
"The organization in the main developed from Puerto Ricans, Blacks, Dominicans, Mexican-Americans from the working class, students and unemployed proletarian youths. There were a few petty bourgeois intellectuals." Ch. 4, p. l (emphasis ours)
This is not just a matter of semantics. By just switching a few words, the opportunists in PRRWO at that time (1974) wanted to paint the picture of the organization as multi-national and working class to the bone, when in practice its principal aspect was national, and working class cadre were in the minority. This is not to fall into a priorism and say "the YLO-YLP should have been multi-national and proletarian based." We must state the facts without reservation, laying out the origins, the roots of PRRWO.
B. Another major struggle that is pointed out is the struggle with Diego Pabon, a revisionist who proposed that the organization had to first study the 45 volumes of Lenin before it engaged in revolutionary practice. Whether or not Diego Pabon was a secret revisionist cadre of the CPUSA as it was claimed by Gloria at the time is up for question; what we would like to point out is that the line that he was pushing, which PRRWO stated to be right opportunist, was in fact an ultra-leftist position, one that broke the dialectics between theory and practice by not wanting to put M-L to its proper use as a guide to action. At first glance, this might seem like a minor point, but it's not when you realize that the organization has gone full circle to the point where today they say essentially the same thing that Diego Pabon said before all theory before mass practice. The ultra-leftist position of Diego Pabon being analyzed as a right line is only part of a historical trend of raising right opportunism to cover up the danger of "left" opportunism.
It is a fact that the resolution of this struggle did not lead a perfect dialectical relationship between theory and practice. At that time, how could it? However, the main thrust of this motion was forward, consisting mainly in the firm belief that we must learn from the masses as well as give leadership, and that this is impossible unless we did practice among the masses on a consistent basis, summing up our errors as we go along. We make this point because as the years went by, cadres in the PRRWO were trained to view that period as just bowing to spontaneity, which was purposely done by the opportunists on the leadership as part of cultivating a disdain for the spontaneous movement. There is no question that theory was belittled, and that this did lead to the worship of the spontaneous movement. But painting a negative picture of that period, as if we were just kind-hearted fools running around in circle can only lead to negating the rich lessons we must draw if we are to go to a higher level.
C. The next major struggle that is outlined is the struggle with Felipe Luciano, which led to his demotion and eventual departure from the YLP. The major thrust of this analysis is correct Felipe was and is an anti-Marxist element with a history of careerism, although we have to point out that he never professed to be a communist, which is in some degree better than those who speak communism out of one side of their mouth while practicing the opposite. However, this struggle was characterized as a struggle against "crisis orientation and charismatic leadership." This is acceptable in the 1972 YLP Congress Resolutions, but the same analysis appears again in the 1974 pamphlet. We feel that the essence of this struggle was the incorrect relationship between the leadership and the cadre that was referred to earlier. It wasn't just one charismatic leader, Felipe; this kind of elitism existed on the leadership as a whole. It was at its highest level with Felipe, in that period. Why wasn't this problem as a whole laid out? Because it was preferable to point to Felipe as the only example of this and not expose how this was a problem affecting the organization as a whole and that had to be dealt with. In fact, this problem was swept under the rug because it was in the interest of the opportunists to cultivate a view of leadership as a little group of super-revolutionaries who couldn't and shouldn't be questioned. It cannot be denied that one of the main ways PRRWO leadership gets over, within coalitions, meetings or internally, is through charismatic raps, with a lot of phrase-mongering, shouting and gesturing: the so-called "Bolshevik form of struggle." This is particularly true of Gloria Fontaρez.
D. The next major struggle we would like to point out is one that has historically been covered up in any analysis of the history of the YLP-PRRWO: the events that led up to the YLP split. This event led to the consolidation of the opportunist core in the leadership of PRRWO that was to exist up until the time when its leader, Gloria F., stabbed her cohorts in the back one by one until she alone remains to leech onto the leadership of the RWL today.
The YLP Split
To begin, let us lay out what PRRWO had to say about the early YLP split, from the most recent '74 analysis and the Resolutions.
"May 21, 1972 was another stage of our development which has much importance. The division of the party, as any division in any organization, will hurt us and cause subjectivity and an initial lack of analysis. But at the same time, it made us analyze the YLP objectively. In an investigation initiated by the central committee and cadre assigned to Puerto Rico, an analytical process of our development starts. The first thing in question is the ideas of the YLP, whose interests do we represent, and third, how would we correct our mistakes and move forward.
Congress Resolutions, p. 16
"Our not having studied Stalin on the National Question led us to adopt the line of Browder and Co. on the Puerto Rican National Question. This erroneous and opportunist theory was a clear deviation from Marxism. It led us to make erroneous plans and policies such as opening a branch in Puerto Rico and that we were the party of the proletariat. In the middle of all this, we were preparing to hold our "Party Congress" at which we were going to proclaim ourselves the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party. But as a result of the struggle inside the organization and struggle with other organizations in the communist movement, comrades began to question these theories. Objective reality forced us to study for the organization was headed towards chaos and disorder."
"Honest comrades who were raising correct positions became one-sided in their approach, making it difficult and drawn out. The dishonest, opportunist and wavering elements tried to seize control of the situation, knowing that their days were limited, by promoting subjectivism and narrowness."
In the U.S. Pregnant With Revisionism: The Struggle for Proletarian Revolution Moves Ahead, chapter 4, p. 4
Now the truth. At the period, YLP was in difficult circumstances. Offensiva Rompecadenas (a campaign to open up a YLP branch in P.R.) based on the bankrupt divided nation theory that YLP held, was a big failure. It was obvious for the world to see that YLP had no business in Puerto Rico. In the U.S., the ultra-leftist line of "the Party and the State" the fantasy, which flowed from Trotskyism, that we could set up a new state apparatus before destroying the existing state apparatus was also proving itself to be bankrupt. All of the existing dual organizations the Workers' Federation, Committee to Defend the Community, Women's Union, Third World Student League, etc. had dwindled greatly in mass support. Although many people still respected the YLP, it was clear that the direction of the organization was towards extinction, further and further isolation from the masses. The cadre of the YLP, who had to go out every day and push this bankrupt line, believing it to be correct, were becoming very demoralized. Against this background, a series of simultaneous things began to happen. (We feel it is more important to deal with the essence of this period rather than deal with the exact dates in time sequence.)
The cadre from Puerto Rico were among the most demoralized, understandably, and began to voice serious questions about the line, especially in regards to the divided nation theory. The leadership cadre in Puerto Rico, led by Juan "Fi" Ortiz, began to do some study of M-L-MTTT on the national question. At that time Fi was one of the most progressive elements in the organization, who constantly studied M-L-MTTT and raised many questions. Cadre began to have open discussions as to the bankruptcy of the line that Puerto Rico was a divided nation. At this time, the communication between Puerto Rico and the U.S. was very light, but whatever communication did exist painted a rosy picture of what was going on in the U.S. Cadre had no grasp that the same line that proved bankrupt when implemented in P.R. was causing was causing great problems even in the U.S., "the base," as it was called. This was done deliberately by the chairman and co-chairman of the organization Juan Gonzalez and Gloria who were in charge of communications.
Around this same period, a delegation of U.S. revolutionaries, including a representative from the Central Committee of the YLP (Yoruba), was invited to the People's Republic of China. Obviously, the CPC representative pointed out the many incorrect premises upon which the line of the YLP was based and, in accordance with their proletarian internationalist duty, laid out a number of points with related M-L works to study. Upon returning to the U.S., Yoruba began to relate these experiences to the leadership and cadre. At the time of his return, Juan G. and Gloria had gone to P.R. to check out the problems there and Fi was sent back to the U.S. It was obvious that Juan and Gloria went to Puerto Rico to attempt to save a sinking ship. However, the Marxist Leninist trend that was developing was gaining strength. Back in the U.S., Yoruba and Fi instituted a rectification campaign of study designed to lead to a change in the line of YLP. Again, these acts must be seen as objectively progressive, because they could just as well have chosen to cover up what was happening and closed ranks with Juan and Gloria to squash struggle in the organization.
Upon their return to the U.S., Juan and Gloria were faced with the stark reality that, their "thrones" were in danger. It was they who were primarily responsibly for the "Party and the State" line the same Trotskyite line of dual power we referred to earlier; now there was clear evidence that the tide was turning against them. They had to stall for time, and they did it by opportunistically raising d distorted democratic centralism, which they proceeded to do constantly in the future as a means of squashing opposing lines. Instead of calling for an immediate meeting of the leadership to hash out the struggle and unfold it throughout the ranks, placing principal emphasis on what was being said rather that who said it or how it was said, they placed the two members of the Central Committee that were most responsible for voicing the sentiments of the cadre under suspension for "breaking democratic centralism." They banished them from New York Area, the nerve center of the organization, and then set out to squash the struggle.
By this time, the cadre in Puerto Rico, seeing what had taken place in N.Y., decided that there was no room for struggle, and that everything would be twisted around. On this basis, they decided to leave the organization as a splitting faction. They laid out that the position of YLP in regard to the tasks in P.R. and the U.S. was ultra-leftist and Trotskyite, and said that the YLP did not belong in P.R., nor was it a party in the M-L sense in the U.S. They raised the ML, correct line that was in the minority in the organization at that time.
Cadres in N.Y. and other parts of the U.S. were given a totally subjective view of the faction that split off from the organization. They were told that the faction had ridiculed cadre in N.Y., saying that "cadres in N.Y. could wage ideological struggle to defend the line of the YLP for 10 minutes" (which was true); that the faction said that PSP was the vanguard, and that Juan Mari Bras was the leading M-L in P.R. (which was never verified); in short, anything and everything that could get the cadre in the U.S. one-sided about the cadre in P.R. was done, including charging them with being Trotskyites themselves.
A goon squad was sent to P.R. to force the comrades who had raised correct M-L positions from their homes in the middle of the night. A scandalous supplement to Palante was put out, "exposing" the faction, filled with unvalidated facts and phrase-mongering, even going so far as to put photographs and names in the paper to mark those comrades for repression either by the state or by honest comrades thinking that these were truly opportunist elements.
In this way, the leadership of the YLP, led by Juan Gonzalez and Gloria F. (Gloria Gonzalez at the time, we may note) squashed the ideological struggle around the direction the organization should take. At that time, preparations were being made to even more fully consolidate the organization on the bed of quicksand that was the ultra-leftist line of the YLP. There was going to be a Congress proclaiming the YLP as the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party. Buttons had been manufactured with the new name in preparation for this. At the June 1972 Puerto Rican Day Parade one month before the Congress at which YLP became a communist organization! thousands of the Ideology of the YLP, which was the concentrated form of the YLP line, were given out. However, one month later, the organization does an about face and "repudiates" the ultra-leftist line. How did this happen?
We have already laid out how Juan and Gloria secured their positions on the Central Committee by raising their distortion of democratic centralism to squash the struggle. However, these two trained opportunists knew full well that the cadres had already been exposed to the correct M-L line through the efforts of the two suspended C.C. members, who had begun to initiate a rectification campaign. They also knew that objective reality was pointing out that the YLP had no future. So they instituted a plan that would make it seem that they led the correct M-L trend to change the line of the organization. This is a good example of how the state works with opportunists to secure a position of power so as to wreck future plans for the revolution. The bourgeoisie knew full well that the M-L trend was rising all over the U.S., they had to have some agents right on top of the situation, whether paid or unpaid, even if at times they have to temporarily hold the correct line.
A series of meetings were held wherever the YLP did work among the masses. These meetings, called People's Assemblies, were set up to hear the criticisms of the masses and to do self-criticism for errors that the YLP had made. Regardless of the fact that opportunists initiated them, it must be said that the basis for these assemblies being held were the hard-working cadre of the YLP, who went among the masses consistently and raised many of these criticisms themselves. It is interesting to note at this time some of the things the masses raised to the YLP and some of the responses of the YLP to the masses:
"We don't do enough work among the people. We accepted this criticism and also pointed out that if more people joined mass organizations and do daily consistent work, our work among the people improved."
"Another criticism was that we had not involved ourselves in the attacks on the workers, in particular the wage and price freeze. We didn't accept this one because the Federation of Puerto Rican Workers and the Young Lords Party has kept the wage and price freeze in mind while organizing. We don't separate the economic issues from the overall oppression of our people. We do demand decent wages. But we know we won't receive them until we have control of our workplaces, state power and the liberation of Puerto Rico. We just don't struggle for wages alone."
"We did organizing on an extreme many times, for example, we didn't get involved in organizing within the unions. We learned from practice that we should organize within unions as a place of advancing the struggle. It is progressive to push for unions in non-organized jobs. We also realize that we should relate to mass organizations already set up like PTA and tenants organizations."
" ., a member of the Young Lords who was part of the faction in Puerto Rico gave a self-criticism. He said he was incorrect in leaving because he had an incorrect idea of looking at the movement in Puerto Rico in quantity (numbers) and not quality."
"An overall self-criticism for the People's Assembly was for the defensiveness of the Party when the criticisms were given. We should be more willing to accept criticism from people who want to see us grow and develop. Also, we criticized some people because we felt some criticisms came out subjective."
Palante, Vol. 4, No. 13, pages 3, 10)
Thus, it can be very clearly seen that at that time, the cadre who had split from the YLP had been slandered among the masses. In that same issue of Palante, there is an article (editorial) that relates that a Congress of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party (PRP) will be called.
This was another indication that the opportunists, Juan G. & Gloria F., had no intention of listening to the ideas of the cadre and the masses. Only the stark reality that if this line was pursued, they would lose their position of control over the organization, forced them to turn around. The correct motion was too strong for them to go against, and they maneuvered by opportunistically leeching onto the ideas of the comrades who had raised the struggle for the M-L line and whom they had ruthlessly cast out and slandered.
So two nights before the Congress, the cadres were called together in a series of meetings at which the line was "repudiated." Most of the members participated in breaking down why the line had to be changed, citing most of the main arguments, that the faction and suspended C.C. members had put forth just 2 months before! No mention of this was made. The cadre were given the impression that the leadership, especially Juan G. and Gloria, had led the repudiation of the old YLP line.
It is interesting to note that at this time, Gloria was already planning her next move, of stabbing Juan in the back and making him the scapegoat for the ultra-left line. She did this by laying the root cause of the line as Juan G.'s Trotskyite ideas which he brought with him from his days in SDS while she justified her errors by saying she was influenced by anarcho-syndicalism which was "only" a reaction to the main danger of Economism.
There can be no doubt that the move from YLP to PRRWO was a forward step. Most of the cadre were searching for solutions to the problems they had been facing, trying to implement a line that was opposed to their revolutionary interests, and were definitely eager to hear a scientific explanation of how and why the line had to be changed. This was a part of a nation-wide break with the old eclectic period, and the rise of the M-L trend with within the broad revolutionary movement. The cadre honestly believed that the leadership had led them out of the dark and into a bright new road. The cadre firmly believed that the person most responsible for this was the treacherous Gloria F. Under these circumstances, we believe that although the Congress of PRRWO was a forward step, reflective of the forward motion being experienced throughout the U.S., it was not, nor could it be, the qualitative step PRRWO has always claimed it to be.
The Congress did not represent the consolidation of the organization around M-L-MTTT; what it did represent was the organization's acceptance of M-L-MTTT as the guiding ideology. Many of the cadre were not clear as to what was taking place; members of the previously mentioned "mass organizations" were even more confused, but being revolutionary-minded elements, strove to understand and internalize the theory of scientific socialism. (The cadres received a collection of M-L works at the Congress itself, rather than having received them a few months or even weeks prior to it, so that they could be seriously studied and applied.)
There was no attempt made to train them ideologically or politically to understand these changes in line and what they would mean. Already, those that questioned what this meant or were not ready to make a break with the old period and the old line chiefly due to lack of clarity began to be iced or labeled whatever the equivalent was of "Menshevik" at that time.
However, the fact that the Congress was hailed as a great step forward was due to the undeniable truth of M-L-MTTT, which had been squashed by the very forces which were now parading around as the ones responsible for the repudiation of the line of the YLP. This shows clearly the utter bankruptcy of Gloria F., who secured a position on the C.C. from which to direct her wrecking and splitting activities on the entire Communist movement.
Another main point about the Congress is that it did reflect the growing unity of the revolutionary movement in the U.S. under the banner of M-L. This could be seen by the many groups which were present at the Congress. However, even here we can see how the contacts made at the Congress were used by the hidden scabs to further their own hegemonic plans. This is particularly true of the leaderships of the RU, and elements of the leadership of BWC and PRRWO specifically again, Gloria F. Even as the Congress was going on, these hegemonic forces were concocting another scheme to take control of the growing communist movement, with the main force behind it being the RU. (Back to this point later on.)
Immediately after the Congress, it was very apparent that there had been no thought-out plan for how the change in line was to be reflected in practice. The organizational structure, with many of the dual mass organizations, still existed after the Congress. They were left in a state of anarchy, despite ongoing struggles of the cadre and contacts to deal with these problems scientifically, until most of them and most of the contacts in them were abruptly dropped (a method of work which has historically been characteristic of PRRWO and still persists to this day). This showed that the line change in the organization had not been followed through with a thorough sum-up and repudiation of how the incorrect line had manifested itself. The struggle in the organization, which showed precisely the lack of consolidation of PRRWO around M-L, were over such fundamental questions as whether we were a communist or workers' organization, what was our role in the national movement, should we continue working with principally national form organizations or should we move to principally multi-national forms of work. There was a study guide drawn up with various readings related to these subjects, but there was no systematic method of sum-up instituted.
For example, when the Workers' Federation was dissolved, there was no thorough ideological and political analysis of why this form of organization was incorrect. There was an exposure of the Trotskyite line of "The workplaces belong to those who work them," and some very shallow reference to the historical problem of dual unionism but there was no study done throughout the organization as to the tasks of communists in the trade unions, which would have led to some initial work on the development of strategy and tactics in trade union work. To this day, PRRWO has no formulated strategy and tactics for work in the trade union movement.
There was a set of questions regarding the tasks of the organization in the national movement but this was never followed up on. No systematic sum-up of the work of YLP in the national movement was done. The only analysis of the work in Puerto Rico was in the Congress Resolutions, and this was just a new variant of the old line:
"Anyone who is a member of this organization who wishes to shoulder this responsibility can volunteer to live and work in Puerto Rico. So that we minimize confusion and maintain our principles and unity, all such volunteers will remain as members of the organization. The group in Puerto Rico will be autonomous, with its own decision-making apparatus and chain of command."
Congress Resolutions, p32
For this reason, PRRWO lost many of its roots and its contacts among the P.R. national movement right after the Congress, and never regained them. Although it is true that work in the Afro-American national movement was stunted by the revisionist line (Nation of a New Type) we were operating under, there were some areas that did reflect an attempt to deal with particular issues arising from national oppression. Examples of this are: creation of third world caucuses in different locals; Third World caucus of UWOC, where special attention was placed on the particular manifestations of national oppression in these fields; some limited work in Frente Unido for Puerto Rican political prisoners; and PRSU, although it became just an appendage of PRRWO. Most importantly, it was during this period that the understanding of Puerto Ricans as an oppressed national minority inside the U.S. was developed to a higher level, as was witnessed by the series in Palante. This work, which was carried on not only by the PRRWO but also by the LPR (then Resistencia) was instrumental in winning over many elements from the revisionist PSP.
In fact, this work in the national movement far outshadowed anything done since the break with the RU. A clear example of this is the fact that there has been no further development of the PRRWO's line on either the Black or Puerto Rican national question. In terms of the former, no repudiation has been done of the sham position taken after the RU split, which essentially was the same position as the RU's, because it proclaimed the Black nation without making a clear reference to territory, which is essential to any discussion of the national movement.
These examples show that the leadership of the organization did not fully take on its task to make the change in line reflected in the real world. This is not to say that there were no comrades on the leadership who attempted to do this. But the over-all anarchist manner in which tasks were dropped and new ones picked up at random never allowed for real follow through a conscious method utilized by Gloria which served to cover herself as main proponent of the of the opportunist line.
How does this relate to the internal basis which led to the unity with the RU? This must be reviewed from two aspects:
Absence of Independent Program
1. The opportunists on the leadership had been meeting with RU leadership for some time already. The internal life of the organization was already beginning to follow the line of the RU. Examples of this were that, almost immediately after the anarchistic dissolution of different forms of organization the organization had worked with (Workers' Federation, Women's Union, Committee to Defend the Community, etc.) cadres were being assigned to tasks which had direct or indirect connection to the RU, like the Intermediate Hospital Workers' Organization, UWOC, PRSU-Attica Brigade working together, November 4th Coalition, etc. With no thorough sum-up of our work, or outline for our present tasks, it was obvious that the vacuum that existed would be filled with the RU's ready-made formulas.
Low Level of Theory
2. Many of the elements who were in the YLP-PRRWO were being introduced to Marxism for the first time after the congress. Of course, many right views existed, as well as carryovers of the old ultra-leftism. But the elements who could be called right-opportunists, meaning that they knew M-L-MTTT but purposely distorted it to suit their interests, were very few. Add to this the fact that cadre were in no way being trained properly to apply M-L-MTTT in a correct way, through sum-up and repudiation of past errors, led to many misapplications of M-L. Emphasis was being placed on the RU's Red Papers rather than on the M-L classics. With this kind of situation, it was obvious that theory was belittled and there was fertile ground for the RU to take hegemony.
We would like to make a note about the RU period. It is a fact that the RU represented the main danger in the communist movement with their distortions of M-L on most of the fundamental questions facing the communist movement. However, this period, speaking specifically for the history of PRRWO, was a progressive step forward. Whereas before, the honest and hardworking cadre of YLP were bringing a line proclaiming the lumpen to be the vanguard, the divided nation theory, the dual party structure to the masses, now they brought M-L to the masses as best they understood it. The line was on a higher level than what came before it. It was a period where the majority of PRRWO cadres still had contact with the masses, were out there struggling for the truth, making errors, principally flowing from the right line, but they were participating in the struggle of the masses, and therefore, still had some respect among the masses. If we examine the RU period from where we are today, we will fall into the same a priorist, subjective view perpetrated by the left opportunists, that view that the only positive thing in that period was the break with the RU. We must be able to dissect that period of development, divide the one into two. On the one hand, the RU's political swindlers had all sorts of hidden agendas plans for the forces of the communist movement, which had the ultimate objective of placing the RU at the head of a huge, multi-national organization, where the credibility of that organization among the masses would come as the result of the practice of the bulk of third world cadre (from the BWC, PRRWO and IWK).
An example of these hidden agendas was the liquidation of Palante as the central organ of PRRWO, into a "mass organization" without a central line. There was an internal basis in the leadership of PRRWO for this right opportunist line, one of many right lines that led to serious economist errors in our work. The careerists on the leadership were promised positions of power in return for the liquidation of Palante and the ultimate dissolution of PRRWO into a Puerto Rican section of the RU.
On the other hand, for these cadre, whose training had been historically belittled, the RU period was a break with a line or sets of lines which had already proven to be utterly bankrupt. It was an introduction to Marxism, regardless of the fact that those introducing it were a sham. The RU cut off their nose to spite their face, like all opportunists do, by giving those genuine cadre the only weapon that could expose the RU and all other opportunists. Cadres were beginning to get a more scientific understanding of the tasks of the revolutionaries in the U.S. For PRRWO, the RU period meant broadening the scope of the organization, getting involved in areas of work that before were belittled. For example:
1. Unemployed Workers' Organizing Committee (UWOC) was an attempt to deal with an issue that we knew very little about. From this work, PRRWO did learn some basic things about the problems of the unemployed, made contacts with some advanced and intermediate elements (which was never followed up due to the anarchy of PRRWO) and drew some general lessons about how to organize the unemployed.
2) Trade Union Work Aside from the work of HRUM, which was dual unionist, and the sparse activity in other trade union struggles, PRRWO was totally unprepared to go about accomplishing, on even a small scale, the tasks of communists in the trade unions. The work in the RU period did result in making inroads in various locals, getting a better understanding of the structure and other particulars about trade union work, i.e., rank and file caucuses. Valuable experience was gained in many struggles we participated in.
3) Student work PRSU, an organization with roots dating back to the YLP days, had a long, rich, militant history of struggles and represented some of the most advanced forces in the student movement. The work of PRSU was mainly around the students as it related to the particular needs of the Puerto Rican national minority and other Third World student struggles. The RU period represented a broadening out of the scope of the task of communists in the student movement. The work with the Attica Brigade and Black Student Union in the N.Y. area as well as contacts made throughout the country made N.Y. the focus of the growth of a multinational anti-imperialist student movement which had not existed before.
4) National Question Although it is true that work in the Afro-American national movement was stunted by the revisionist line (Nation of a New Type) we were operating under, there were some areas that did reflect an attempt to deal with particular issues arising from national oppression. Examples of this are: creation of third world caucuses in different locals; Third World caucus of UWOC, where special attention was placed on the particular manifestations of national oppress ion in these fields; some limited work in Frente Unido for Puerto Rican political prisoners; and PRSU, although it became just another appendage of PRRWO. Most importantly, it was during this period that the understanding of Puerto Ricans as an oppressed national minority inside the U.S. was developed to a higher level, as was witnessed by the series in Palante. This work, which was carried on not only by the PRRWO but also by the LPR (then Resistencia) was instrumental in winning over many elements from the revisionist PSP. In fact, this work in the national movement far outshadowed anything PRRWO had done since the break with the RU. Since then, there has been no development of PRRWO's line on either the Black or Puerto Rican national question. In terms of the former, no repudiation has been done of the sham position taken after the RU split, which essentially was the same position as the RU's, because it proclaimed the Black nation without making a clear reference to territory, which is essential to any discussion of the national question. In terms of the latter, no concrete program of action was ever developed by the PRRWO for work in the Puerto Rican national movement.
It is important to review these facts, not because we think that the RU has been unjustly exposed; on the contrary, a deeper analysis of their line as expressed in the RCP program has to be made. Their intentions were clearly to serve the bourgeoisie. What we must view is that part of the effect of the RU influence, the introduction of many advanced elements to M-L, is the very thing that enabled us to so clearly call them revisionist today. We must not, however, throw out the baby with the bath water and forget that the advances of today are based on the experiences summed up from yesterday. We are laying this out because the "left" opportunists, hiding behind the right opportunists, try to tell us that that period was one where no contributions were made, where all we did was bow to spontaneity and go backwards, rather than move forward. This undialectical view serves them well, for how else could they justify their present line of no work among the masses if not by saying that all we did before was tail behind the masses. It is very similar to what the CL used to say about the communist movement that before they came around, everything was garbage.
The fact is that the leadership of PRRWO, while leaving the cadre to flounder around, implementing M-L as best they knew it, was busily working on their first sham attempt at party building, the National Liaison Committee (NLC). The initial purpose of the NLC was "to coordinate the activities of the communist movement in local areas," but it quickly showed itself to be a sham party building plan. If not much can be said about the inner workings of the NLC, it is precisely due to the fact that none of the cadres were notified as to its activities. Not even general features of the line struggles between the organizations on the NLC were laid out. What can be said is that the PRRWO cadres, implementing the organization's line, laid the concrete basis from which to break with the RU (as happened later also with WVO). This was true of most of the communist cadre in the U.S. Coming face to face with the RU in daily practice showed better than any polemic the national chauvinism and opportunism of the RU. The cadre of PRRWO saw clearly that the RU were phony revolutionaries, who wouldn't practice what they preached. As a result of this, the first signs of the split with the RU were around the national question, and not around party building, as many people are led to believe.
The struggles around the national question led to a more serious study of M-L, as reflected in their charges that the main danger in the communist movement was narrow nationalism. This brought up the question on the central task, which up to that time had been "Build the Revolutionary Unity, Consciousness and Organization of the Working Class." There were also heated struggles with the RU's blatant reformism, as manifested in their "Throw the Bum Out" campaign.
We don't feel it is necessary to go into all the aspects of the split with the RU. We would like to concentrate on how, in typical fashion, the opportunists of PRRWO and BWC used the split, based on the genuine wishes of the honest cadres of the communist movement, to again further their plans for hegemonism.
This split with the RU should have led to some serious reflection on how we had united so firmly with the RU in the first place. This would then have to be connected to the history of the organization, and the real reasons why the theoretical level of the cadre was so low; in short, a sum-up of the history of organization. A delegate Congress should have been called, because the split with the RU represented a major portion of the post-YLP history. Instead, all of this was swept under the table. The NLC was summed up as an honest attempt at party building initiated by honest forces, but corrupted by the RU, even though the cadre were never told about what was going on in the NLC, a reflection of opportunism.
Other examples of distortions in the sum-up of this struggle was that little attention was given to the error of narrow nationalism that had been committed in reaction to the national chauvinism of the RU. It was simply covered over and thus led to serious errors shortly afterward. To illustrate further on how the "left" was covered by the right, a study guideline was drawn up, with some good readings concerning the party and the party-building period. The principal aspect of this was correct, but there was evidence of the ultra-leftist line creeping up because there was no mention made of the dangers of ultra-leftism in the guideline. In fact, it was stated that "we don't have to worry about being armchair revolutionaries." (This P.E. guideline was never completed; it was shelved when the NCC scheme came along.)
To sum-up, the split from the RU was initiated by the masses of cadre who had come up with the bankruptcy of the RU through their day-to-day practice. The PRRWO and BWC leadership, which up to this time had covered up for the RU and themselves on the sham NLC, seized upon the sentiments of the cadre and made the split formal. The PRRWO leadership didn't use this opportunity to sum-up and repudiate the errors of opportunism that led to the unity with the RU, because this would have led to a more thorough sum-up of the organization's history and exposure of the opportunists on the leadership. Instead, the finger was pointed only at the RU, and the errors were covered up.
From this point on, the opportunists on the leadership would consistently lay the basis for most of the problems of the organization during that period on the RU. Even more important, the post-RU period was one where vigilance over manifestations of the organization's historically ultra-leftist trend (for example, the anarcho-syndicalism and anarchy) were covered up by constant reference to the main danger the right opportunist line.
II The Break With The R.U.
The break with the RU on the part of PRRWO and BWC was a step forward for honest Marxist-Leninists, and also created the condition for the struggle of two tendencies within PRRWO: the tendency of "left opportunism and that of Marxism-Leninism. The leftism, which was not thoroughly repudiated from the YLP days, was only covered by the right; which was and is the main danger in the communist movement, led at that time by the RU. The Marxist-Leninist tendency was never able to consolidate.
In the course of struggle to break with right opportunism, many questions arose that had to be answered by honest Marxist-Leninists, such as who were the advanced, what period we were in, the question of propaganda and agitation, the correct relationship between theory and practice, the training of cadre and advanced elements, the relationship among the three weapons of Marxist-Leninists (the Party, United Front and armed struggle) and the drawing of lines of demarcation with opportunism. The answer to these questions resulted in our reaching a perceptual understanding of certain fundamental things. We grasped that the main danger was right opportunism, which was reflected in the central task defined as "Build the Revolutionary Unity, Consciousness and Organization of the Working Class." We grasped that this was a view that negated the need to build conscious leadership of the class the Party and that to deviate from this meant the belittlement of theory and the worship of spontaneity, the basis for all opportunism. We understood that the party was the highest form of organization of the proletariat; composed of its most advanced elements, and that to build such a party we must concentrate on the training of the vanguard the communist cadre and advanced elements. We saw that this training must be done in the fire of the mass struggle, which meant that the party building process had to be interconnected with giving leadership to key spontaneous movements, especially struggles of the industrial proletariat.
We struggled to see that essential to this task was communist propaganda P.E. curriculums for cadre and study groups which would relate M-L classics to key class questions; the role of independent communist newspapers and shop newsletters, combined with propaganda and agitation leaflets. The understanding was, however, not taken to a rational level, due to the opportunists on the leadership who sought to deviate the organization from the path that it had been starting out on. The ideological weakness of the leadership and cadres of PRRWO which was reflected in the course of these struggles left the doors open for the opportunists and agents to create more confusion in the organization.
Instead of fully opening the polemic within the organization on our ideological, political and organizational tasks, in order to correctly sum-up and rectify our errors in areas such as the hospitals, factories, schools and unemployment, where the cadre had a certain mass base, we just abandoned the majority of the areas where we had had joint work with the RU. Among the most important examples of this was the total liquidation of Palante. Instead of summing up the right error previously committed in practice, Palante ceased publication for over a year. Another key example is the fact that the work done by PRRWO in the Puerto Rican national movement which was important in combating the revisionist PSP was dropped. This allowed PSP to fill the vacuum created by the lack of revolutionary leadership in the Puerto Rican national movement, in practice turning the leadership over to the revisionists.
A line emerged at this time saying that we must retreat from the spontaneous struggle and study, study, study. The other line at the time said that we should call for a black liberation conference, which did take place on February 23, 1974 the Determined to be Free Conference to refute the lines of the RU on the national question. We believe both lines were incorrect. Why? Because the conference was a deviation from what should have occurred, i.e. thorough sum-up and repudiation and outlining of the tasks of Marxist-Leninists in that period. PRRWO summed up the Conference as principally correct, and narrow nationalism and right errors committed, as secondary. Comrades, how can we sum-up this conference as being principally correct? First of all, the slogan of the Conference was "Black Workers Take the Lead," which reflected this narrow nationalism. To take this even further, white people were excluded from coming and participating in the conference.
We must see that after the rationalist approach to struggling with the RU, the results were no follow-up or consolidation of the advanced who did attend the Conference. The opportunist manner in which the Conference was called (just a reaction to the RU) and the lack of follow-up, far outshadowed attempts by honest Marxist-Leninists to put forward an advanced line at the conference, such as the need to consolidate the advanced in all social and class movements, and the need to fuse the national movements and party building. Certainly many people attended this conference looking for a concrete, correct analysis on the national question. PRRWO struggled against RU'S revisionist line on the "Nation of a New Type," but itself did not have this correct analysis.
At the conference, BWC laid out the position that the Black Nation existed in the Black Belt South, and had a definite territory from which to exercise its right to self-determination. PRRWO was united around 3 main principles regarding the national question self-determination for the Black Nation, the black bourgeoisie being comprador, and that the liberation of the Black Nation could only come about through proletarian revolution. But on the question of territory, crucial for any analysis of the national question, PRRWO did not unite.
A sum-up of this conference should have been done, but it was brushed aside. No attention was paid to the fact that many cadres in the organization were raising that the main slogan of the conference was narrow nationalist, and rather than create unity, it created further division.
So, comrades, among the cadres these struggles were raised, but again we can see that the leadership was separated from the cadres. If the leadership of PRRWO, particularly the chairwoman of the organization, would have seriously summed up what the cadres were raising in a scientific manner there definitely would have been a Congress to deepen our understanding of the main danger at that time, as well as training cadres to be able to distinguish between dialectical materialism and idealism in combating future errors and deviations.
This raises the important organizational question of democratic centralism. Within the communist movement, there is a very shallow understanding of this, and in fact, it has led to many errors in the training of professional revolutionaries. We believe that the PRRWO leadership summed up from the RU period that bureaucratic centralism was the main organizational error, but this error was never rectified. After the break with RU, the interest of the majority was to, according to the last Congress, "subordinate ourselves to what was coming into being. The Party." We had just been deviated from our line as laid out by the Congress. The interest of the majority was to call another Congress so that the leadership could answer to the cadre for this deviation. Instead, this was not done, and in reality the organization began to take on the direction of the central committee without answering to the cadre the minority was running the organization. The failure of the central committee to answer reports and do evaluation of cadre, and therefore synthesize the cadre's ideas, led to a total breakdown in the democratic centralist process. The left opportunists developed a whole theoretical justification for this lack of democratic centralism. This justification, in which all matters of democratic centralism were viewed from a militaristic standpoint, flow from a Trotskyite trend which had existed in the YLP days. Under this view any questioning of directives, or opposition to policy and line, was seen as treachery in the face of the enemy. The cadres were trained to accept orders without question. Comrades' orientation towards struggle in the organization was, rather than basing positions on their content, an ingrained "opposition mentality," whereby any dissenting view was seen as opposition to the leadership, regardless if what was said was valid. Elections of leadership, necessary in maintaining Democratic Centralism, especially under legal conditions, was opposed as being Social Democratic. A strict policy of cooptation (where leadership members are hand picked by the existing Central Committee) was adopted. This Trotskyite view laid the basis for the future tactics of social-fascist repression and purges.
There were always attempts by honest elements to call for a scientific summation of our errors. The cadres always criticized the leadership for the lack of having been trained to distinguish M-L from opportunism. This showed itself in many ways, the most blatant of which was around the leadership putting out communiquιs (internal document). PRRWO cadres would go for months without receiving any communiquιs, because the leadership would lock itself in meetings debating differences around party building. It is not incorrect for leadership to discuss Party Building, but it is incorrect not to fully involve the cadres in the two-line struggles which affected the direction of PRRWO, as well as our relationship to the everyday struggles of the masses. Instead of calling an organizational congress to sharpen the two-line struggle, to develop a political and tactical view on our tasks, to consolidate an organizational constitution and policies, the method used was to consolidate the so-called "advanced" cadres, separated from other "underdeveloped" cadres, in the form of advanced cadre conferences. This served to split the leading cadre from the rank and file, rather than unite the whole organization around the line.
So we can clearly see that the process of rectification which had begun to sum-up the RU period, which would have led to another Congress, re-evaluation of the tasks of the organization, and the exposure-ouster of the opportunists who had been most responsible for the RU deviation, was sabotaged. The cadres were disarmed by these treacherous swindlers, their level of understanding was stunted, and the way was cleared for deviating the organization away from the correct M-L path and towards ultimate degeneration.
Struggles During the CL Period
Utilizing the objective reality that the cadres were on a low theoretical level, but genuinely committed to building the Party, the CL scheme was introduced to the cadre. We know that this was a reflection of what was going on in the entire communist movement. Cadres in PRRWO were being told by the leadership that the CL represented the most developed communists in the U.S., with a firm base in the industrial proletariat and among the national movement, as well as large representation of women cadre. The CL cadre had supposedly such a high theoretical level, that their cadre-in-training had to study 15 chapters of Das Capital before joining the organization as full members.
"Upon the meeting we had with the CL leadership, we found out that we had some definite disagreements with their line, although at the beginning, we had been impressed, particularly with their training of cadres."
(Pregnant with Revisionism, pg. 13)
This was in essence, comrades, unity with the Trotskyite line of the theory of cadres. The unity of the organization was that the CL's lines and motion towards party building had to be investigated, but what actually took place was that on the Central Committee unprincipled unity already existed to join the NCC. We can definitely say that the cadres did not participate in making that decision, but found out about it after the fact. Those cadres who did have contradiction with uniting with the CL motion were told that they were "in contradiction to party building" and held a right opportunist line in the form of small circle spirit. In fact, they were dealt with in a very subjective manner and their questions and struggles were attacked and squashed. Externally, organizations like Resistencia (now League for Proletarian Revolution), Workers Viewpoint Organization and ATM, who were raising that the CL motion was incorrect, were viewed in a very sectarian way. The opportunists used the fact that the theoretical level of the organization was low, and pushed the rationalist line of all study and no mass practice. On the other hand, the growing theoretical demands of the honest M-Ls was deviated by implementing the 40-Day Study Plan under this disguise (we quote):
"Our time in the opportunist muck has placed us in a position of having to do some mean homework and catching up to reach the general level of other comrades in the movement (CL, of course ed.) who've upheld the party spirit against the junior revisionist trash. We do not want to be a drag on the congress."
(Intensive Plan for Educational Campaign Internal Document, June l974) our emphasis)
This "catching up" meant stopping almost all our work among the masses. We would like to use a quote showing how in practice this was done.
"Political education will be conducted a minimum of 4 (maximum 5) days a week. For cadre not going to school or work, this will mean 8 to 10, hours of study on those days; for working or student cadre, 3 to 4 hours each evening."
(Intensive Plan for Educational Campaign Internal Document our emphasis)
So, comrades, the cadres were taken away from struggling within the spontaneous movements. All the cadres had time for was to study. In the community and student areas, as well as in hospital and factory work, cadres were demanding theoretical and political answers to the questions facing them in the mass struggles, which we had to lead and give direction to.
In this period, many "left" lines emerged, lines like "Revolutionary practice is the study of M-L theory, which meant that communists do not involve themselves in the spontaneous struggles until the party was built; that fascism was inevitable; all countries would go through a one-stage revolution; internationally, the Second World was not part of the United Front against the two superpowers; the petty bourgeoisie was not an ally of the proletariat. At this time, what took place was the study Plan, presided over in true demagogic style by the members of the Secretariat. It was here that the "left" trend consolidated itself within the organization. The 40-Day Study Plan was well under way. We would like to quote from Mao showing that theory must be linked closely to practice:
"Lenin always links up theoretical problems with everyday practice. Stalin gives us examples of how to combine the most complicated theoretical problems with everyday struggle. And yet, many of our red professors put theory into one compartment and practice in another, and are quite unable to combine these two compartments." (Mao Tsetung, Selected Works, Vol. III)
During this 40-Day Study Plan, for which the slogan was "Study Hearty for the Party," what took place in the collective meetings can be divided into two aspects. Principally, most of the struggles did become abstract and one-sided, as well as sectarian to other views and methods. The cadres were forced to take quick positions on questions which they did not understand and hadn't had time to fully study. Secondarily, however, it showed the honest M-Ls the theoretical and political weakness of the organization and the weakness of the communist movement as a whole. To be able to understand such questions, the national question as well as the international situation, etc., we must listen closely to what Mao Tsetung lays out in the process of development of knowledge:
"Thus, it can be seen that the first step in the process of cognition is contact with the objects of the external world; this belongs to the stage of perception. The second step is to synthesize the data of perception by arranging and reconstructing them; this belongs to the stage of conception, judgment and inference. It is only when the data of perception are very rich (not fragmentary) and correspond to reality (are not illusory) that they can be the basis for forming correct concepts and theories." (Mao Tsetung, Selected Works, Vol. I, "On Practice," p. 302)
Again, we must point out that even though PRRWO parades around shouting how well they understand the Marxist theory of the development of knowledge, they in fact do not practice Marxism, but opportunism. We again use a quote from Mao Tsetung to show what exactly is PRRWO's practice:
"A good number of them are doing research work, but have no interest in studying either the China of today or the China of yesterday, and confine their interest to the study of empty 'theories' divorced from reality. Many others are doing practical work, but they too pay no attention to the study of objective conditions, often rely on sheer enthusiasm and substitute their personal feelings for policy. Both kinds of people, relying on the subjective, ignore the existence of objective realities. When making speeches, they indulge in a long string of headings, A, B, C, D, 1, 2, 3, 4, and when writing articles, they turn out a lot of verbiage. They have no intention of seeking truth from facts, but only a desire to curry favor by claptrap. They are flashy without substance, brittle without solidity. They are always right, they are the number one author under heaven, 'imperial envoys,' who rush everywhere." (Mao Tsetung, Selected Works, Vol. III, "Reform Our Study," p. 21)
III Break with the CL
During this period, cadres knew very little about what was happening within the NCC. In the latter part of August 1974, the leadership put forward that we were breaking with the CL's motion because the CL did not allow for ideological struggle, and that the CL wanted to implement democratic centralism within the NCC. We must make it clear that the left bloc in PRRWO was forced to break from the NCC because 1) the CL's blatant attacks on Mao Tsetung, the CPC and Albania, published in the Mayday article of the People's Tribune (which some of the PRRWO leadership had read before joining the NCC) was openly attacked by most of the communist movement. Therefore, to have remained in the NCC would have exposed the true colors of the left bloc in the PRRWO leadership to the entire communist movement, and most importantly, to the honest PRRWO cadres.
2) The hegemonic plans of the opportunists of PRRWO and BWC were challenged by the opportunists of the CL; the opportunists of PRRWO saw that their time hadn't come yet, and what they had to do was consolidate the cadres further around the left line. There was still too much intense struggle being waged internally against the left line; cadres saw that it was being proven bankrupt in practice. The cadres had been criticizing our lack of ties with the masses, and demanding better training in having a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, about the importance of opening up contacts in many of the areas of work in the organization, and about the need to take more of a role in the struggles facing the masses.
At this time, the left bloc knew that there were serious differences within the Central Committee over the direction of the organization and they had to isolate the differing views while keeping the middle forces from uniting. These differences were crystallized in the development of a two-line struggle over what was the principal task facing us. Those who held the minority position on the C.C. called for a merger with the BWC, stating that PRRWO had sufficient unity with the BWC to join forces and develop a "bold plan" for party building. Those who held the majority position called for increased cadre training, the need for the organization to become Bolshevized, which included a thorough sum-up of our participation on the NCC, so that we would not be so easily duped again. The ultra-left bloc, seeing which way the tide was turning, united with the majority position under the guise of "fighting ultra-leftism" and again covered themselves.
The two positions developed to higher levels. Those who held the minority position now called for the creation of an Iskra-type organization as the key link to party building. Those who held the majority position, reasoning that Bolshevization was impossible unless we were rooted among the proletariat, developed the view that factory nuclei, the basic unit of a communist organization, was the key link to party building. The ultra-leftists eagerly seized on and pushed this position, yet another left line, and were able to rally the majority of the C.C. around it, since it seemed to be a concrete solution to the lack of fusion between the communist movement and the proletariat, which we all felt. The minority position, which was blatantly ultra-leftist and voluntarist, was isolated and defeated, and the organization thus won over to a new ultra-left line to deviate us once more from our central task.
This line put out by the leadership could never solve the problems of the communist movement. The line of factory nuclei as the key link was an ultra-left, rationalist approach to party building, which placed attention on a form of organization without discussing the line that would guide that form. (This is not to deny the necessity of building factory nuclei where possible, and trying to emulate the factory nuclei style of work if conditions are not set for the formation of actual factory nuclei. The fact that the line of "factory nuclei as key link" did raise a fundamental question that had been ignored by many communist organizations, like the WVO, was a secondary positive aspect. The principal aspect is that, by speaking of party building principally in terms of an organizational question without placing emphasis on the development of a concrete political line to guide the work, it outstripped what our tasks in this period are and for this reason, we believe it was a left opportunist line. We are certainly open to different views on this, because we know we don't have a firm, rational grasp on this question.)
Some very general directives were given, that seemed to reflect the cadres' interests; examples of these were the need for the cadres to have work plans and division of labor, with cadres assigned to specific tasks to facilitate the work. But these directives were so vague and general that many times cadres tried to implement them in their particular areas, and then were criticized for ultra-democracy! The line of factory nuclei was doomed to failure. The cadres were temporarily fooled, because the major blame for the weaknesses of the leadership was laid on the minority of the C.C. and their merger position.
The intense debates in the C.C. developed further. The cadres' scattered ideas, which now reflected the difficulty they were having implementing the "factory nuclei-key link" line, were opportunistically leeched upon, which led to the left bloc doing a sham "self-criticism" for the line of nuclei as the key link and the concession that the left was the main danger (of course, since then they have done a complete about-face on this, too, blaming all of it on the "Mensheviks"). The position of political line as key link was then arrived at two weeks later, and once again, it appeared as if the C.C. had honestly listened to the cadre. To get a broader sense of this development, we must realize that after the break with the C.L., the honest communists all over the country were drawing lessons to be learned from the sham NCC. Most important were the discussions around the fourth principle of the NCC, which was a struggle that general ideological principles alone were not enough to unite M-Ls around party building plans. There was also the struggle against the CL's demand that the NCC function under democratic centralism, when democratic centralism is based on voluntary unity on political line, and no unity on line had been reached in the NCC.
We lay this out because if we view that PRRWO leadership alone was responsible for a line which is objectively correct, we will miss the essential point that trained opportunists must make a show of voicing the sentiments of M Ls, whether they be in or outside of any organization. In fact, the process of the development of this position by the C.C. of PRRWO was not one of study, investigation, analysis and summation of mass practice; it was a process of deduction, whereby the left bloc was able to remove itself from blame for the left errors in that period, while at the same time rallying many genuine forces around an objectively correct line. (We can see that the opportunists both within PRRWO and within the larger communist movement continue to make sham unities based on the flimsiest ideological unities, e.g., WVO and RWL, the formation of the "wing," OL's "unity trend," etc.)
Inside PRRWO, cadres, seeing this objectively correct line was drawing great support, felt much enthusiasm and a false sense of security and even superiority. Outlines for work in the different areas were developed, including the research and investigation which led to a political-economic analysis of the N.Y. area, plans for work in plants, community and schools. This was reflected in the participation of PRRWO in many mass struggles. The organization began to sum up the break between the objective and subjective factors, which is the basis for all opportunism. The cadres of the PRRWO were dedicated Marxist-Leninists and honestly wanted to set their roots back into the mass movement. This dedication and honest attempts to understand and link theory and practice were utilized by the left bloc time and time again. We will examine first the attempts of the honest M-Ls to break from abstract debates and implement what we understood to be key link political line, unite Marxist-Leninists and win the advanced to communism.
Our unity and understanding was that the only way to unite M-Ls was on the basis of political line, meaning that it was imperative to deepen our understanding of political questions facing M-Ls and the masses. We felt at this time that we were moving in a correct way towards rectifying our blatant left deviation. What proceeded from this time on was a fruitless attempt to get a base among the masses and proletarianize our organization. The first step was to try and understand the objective conditions in N.Y.C. and in the U.S., especially the economic crisis, which the communist movement had and still has a weak understanding of. In N.Y.C. the crisis was manifested by default and budget cuts. We began to develop a work plan based on our summation of the key issues facing the masses. In each area, we were to organize the masses by consolidating the advanced primarily around the attacks on the working class and particularly the oppressed national minorities; we were also to establish liaison work with other M-Ls and M-L organizations. The key issues we saw were: 1) the question of unemployment, primarily felt by oppressed national minorities and women; 2) the increased exploitation of workers in factories and hospitals by speed ups, forced overtime and corruption of the union sell-outs; 3) the cuts of schools and day care centers, especially programs fought for by oppressed national minorities; 4) the fascist attacks on oppressed national minorities, particularly the youth, such as the shootings of Black youths, the degeneration of the youth through drugs, prostitution, gangs and illiteracy; 5) the need to unite with the struggles of the teachers and para-professionals against lay-offs, cutbacks in programs and the sell-out leaders of the U.F.T. These are but a few of our unities. We were to link the particular issues in each area to the overall struggle against the imperialist crisis the plans of the ruling class to prepare for war and their placing the burden of their losses on the backs of the working masses and oppressed national minorities and classes. This was to be done by communist propaganda, such as newsletters in particular areas, Palante and agitation of the struggles of the masses, to consolidate the advanced, who would unite with a correct political line and actively struggle to apply it and give leadership to the mass struggles; by developing study groups in relationship to the mass struggle; and by organizing forms of organization in areas of work, such as rank and file caucuses in unions, student organizations, and committees and caucuses in parent associations, day care centers, etc. This work was supposed to lead up to a city-wide demonstration under communist leadership to respond to the repressive actions and control of finance capital through Big MAC. This demonstration was never held, because of the line that developed that all demonstrations were "bowing to spontaneity" and would be a deviation from party building.
We would like to give certain key examples of the gains made during this period, bearing in mind that because of the never-repudiated leftism, they were inherently doomed to failure.
In the trade unions, two areas where temporary successes were achieved were in a plant and in an industrial training program. In the former, the main issues that existed were the question of union democracy, the national oppression of Afro-American and Latin workers and the issue of labor intensification, which included struggle around speed-ups, unemployment due to the rise in technology (machines replacing workers), forced overtime (overproduction) and the doubling and tripling of job classification (where workers assigned to one job were forced to do added jobs to make up for the decreased work force).
In the course of the struggle, communists were able to consolidate the most active workers into a rank and file caucus. Certain of the most advanced workers were grouped into a study circle, from which a factory nucleus was formed an organizational collective composed of workers recruited into the organization, which gave direction to the struggles of the workers. Some of the things accomplished as a result of this work were: 1) The workers were able to oust a corrupt local president from the union and open up the struggle for democratic election of union representatives. 2) A struggle for democratic rights of oppressed national minorities took place, specifically, a struggle over respecting the right of Latin workers to have union meetings and to publish newsletters in both English and Spanish. 3) Workers were mobilized into a work action in protest against forced overtime. 4) There was good propaganda work done, primarily in the training of the study group and nucleus members, but also the shop newsletter put out by the rank and file caucus which related to the key issues facing the workers.
In the other area, the industrial training program, the main issues were around the cutbacks in the budget, which had led to the situation where students had no supplies and dwindled staff, and the national oppression suffered by the black and Puerto Rican students, who were the hardest hit by the cutbacks.
A core was developed, composed of the most active students, where propaganda was done linking this struggle to the overall crisis of imperialism. There was much agitation done around the particular issues at the school, which led to a political demonstration of the majority of the student body under the banner of calling for the unity of employed and unemployed workers against the ruling class. Out of this work, study group was developed.
One of the other major areas of work which dealt with an issue facing the working class was the struggle around day care. The main issue was the effects of the crisis of imperialism on the essential service of day care for the children of the working class. Research and investigation of the concrete conditions in this area, combined with an analysis of the history of the day care struggle, resulted in PRRWO developing one of the most advanced political analyses of this area. Most importantly, this analysis resulted in the development of a political line which, when implemented in the beginning, reaped many gains. The most active elements within different centers were grouped together to function as the particular leadership in specific day care centers. From this base work, which strived to develop a struggle which linked the parents and staff while placing emphasis on the former, contact was made with different day care centers. A Contact Committee was formed, composed of the most active forces covering a broad number of centers. Those who were advanced were grouped around the open communist cadre. Communist propaganda, which exposed many different moves of the bourgeoisie and its social props, most importantly, an in-depth analysis of the fascist Title XX bill, was done through newsletters, parent meetings, etc. Because of this work, a political demonstration protesting cuts and lay-offs in day care that was called for under open communist leadership was able to draw approximately 500 parents and staff city-wide.
Another area of work was around the education struggle; specifically, the struggle in District I in N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side. Again, the main issues focused around the effects of the crisis on the education of the children of the working class and its special effects on the oppressed nationalities. Although this work was started as a repudiation-in-practice of the ultra-left deviation, there were many weaknesses, chiefly the lack of consistent work with the parents, in the form of providing open communist leadership to a struggle in an area which has had a long history of progressive and revolutionary struggle. PRRWO did little actual work with the Por Los Niρos slate. On the positive side, however, we must point out that active bi-lingual teachers and para-professionals were grouped together in a caucus to deal with some of the specific issues facing the bilingual (mainly Puerto Rican) teachers. A study group of the most advanced contacts was formed. The cadres put out a communist newsletter attempting to link the budget crisis to the crisis of imperialism, and attempting to link the struggle of day care and education as part of one struggle against imperialism.
Perhaps the most visible area of work done by PRRWO cadres in that period was the work in the revolutionary student movement. This was not simply due to the more open nature of student struggles. It was mainly due to the fact that the work was on such a high level, both quantitatively and qualitatively, that it was an example of communist practice the entire movement learned from. Starting from the point of view of analyzing the student struggle as part of the struggle against imperialism, and placing primary emphasis on the training of the advanced in the heat of the class struggle, great gains were made, especially in Brooklyn College. We won't go into all the details; for one thing, the comrades who were responsible for this work are much better equipped to sum it up the practice of the comrades is proven history. We can safely say that PRRWO cadres' work in this area, which included the summation of this revolutionary practice into a synthesized analysis of the tasks of the revolutionary student movement (put forth at the Student Conference held in N.Y.C. in February 1976), was the highest level of communist organizing on the campuses in many years.
The same held true for PRRWO cadres' initial work among high school students, an area which had been sorely neglected for many years. Students were organized around the fight against cuts in funding, against the historic repression of the democratic rights of youth, especially oppressed nationality youth. Excellent work was done within a mass organization of high school youth dealing specifically with the oppressed Puerto Rican national minority. Many fine and dedicated revolutionary youth came forth in the process of this struggle.
These positive things represented genuine communist cadre trying to repudiate a historical trend of ultra-leftism that had plagued the organization. However, there were two fundamental reasons these honest attempts were doomed to failure: 1) The left line was constantly underlying all our attempts at giving leadership to the mass struggles and carrying out our two tactical tasks towards party building. The main reason was that although we were able, up to a point, to analyze certain objective problems facing the masses, we were never able to offer any concrete solutions. We found ourselves constantly restating the problems to each other and to those we worked with and were supposed to give guidance to, but we weren't given the necessary guidance or direction by the leadership to enable us to make a real, deep analysis, or to take what understanding we did have to try for specific aims and win successes or concessions through concrete, step-by-step development of our work. For example, we were told to set up rank and file caucuses in certain unions with no real explanation of what should be the process involved, how contacts should be developed, how concretely the bureaucrats should be exposed, etc. in other words, no particular guidance, only general phrase-mongering, that at first sounded good, but in practice failed. 2) There was no clear understanding of the true nature of the leadership; the left opportunists were able to hide behind the advances made, and even opportunistically promoted themselves as shining examples of "great Bolshevik leaders" both internally and to the rest of the communist movement. Since cadres were shown only the "good" side of the PRRWO leadership, we felt that the failures that appeared in our work were due to our own weaknesses, which were constantly harped on. The left bloc pushed self-cultivation among the cadres as a response to the demoralization that was again setting in due to the fact that the left line had never been defeated. For example, cadres in the community area were constantly told that the reason the work in that area was, not going well was because they were "backwards" and petty bourgeois. By pushing this self-cultivation, the left bloc temporarily covered itself while it planned how to totally squash the rectification movement. They feared and thorough sum-up and repudiation of the organization's historical ultra-left trend, for it would have led to their exposure and purge. Notice the parallel to the pre-Congress period, the consistency in the opportunists' methods. They had to sabotage the rectification movement, and the vehicle of that sabotage was in the organizational sphere.
We have pointed out that anarchy was always a problem in the organization. But in this period, this already existing tendency was given new impetus through the ultra-left bloc's systematic degeneration of follow-up of tasks. Without follow-up, errors would continue, the cadres would get discontented, and the left bloc would be in a safe position to erect another scapegoat to deviate the struggle for repudiation of ultra-leftism.
The first effects of this were felt in the discussions around party building. At first, the discussions around the need to grasp political line as the key link and repudiate the left as the main danger internally had served to open up and unleash the initiative of the cadre, channeling the theoretical questions to the concrete practice of giving leadership to the working class and other social movements. Cadres had even been encouraged to "criticize" leadership, who, as previously mentioned, had copped to being principally responsible for the organization's errors. But now, the discussions began to get more and more abstract. Hours would go by while all sorts of points would be debated, while sum-up and follow-up on the areas of work were left for last, rushed through or ignored altogether. Subtly, and then more openly, lines began to be changed e.g., the left was not really the main danger in PRRWO it had always been the right around party building; the duty of our contacts and of mass organizations was to contribute to party building and not participate in or lead the mass struggles. Through this process, the cadres began to view the task of party building as isolated from all other tasks of communists, laying the basis for the now famous "onlys." The leadership, rather than train the cadres in a correct way, just stabbed them in the back and left them to flounder. It was sheer contempt for the cadres.
In matters of organization, there are numerous examples to be given to show clearly how this contempt for the cadres of the organization, study group members and other contacts in essence, towards the masses was manifested. More clearly than any of their phony phrase-mongering, we can show what PRRWO's real line on cadre training and training of the advanced is in practice.
Except for the student area, there was minimal recruitment done into PRRWO or into study groups of the organization since the NCC period. Basically, the ultra-left line was firmly in command in this area, and we only recruited the most "advanced of the advanced" which in practice was those people who almost totally agreed with PRRWO's line. It was not enough for an advanced element to want to study M-L and actively propagate it among the masses; these elements had to go through whole interviews in which they were asked their positions on everything from Soviet social-imperialism to the correct line on the advanced. Cadres had to often personally take up the cases of Individuals they felt were "ready" to be in our study groups; there were cases of people left dangling for more than a year before their recruitment was approved.
There was always a two-line struggle in PRRWO around the super-cadrification of the study groups. Study group members had to write reports, pay dues, sell Palante and defend the line of PRRWO just as if they were cadres. Although the line officially was that they were not supposed to be under democratic centralism, in practice they were. Their criticisms were looked at not as something to be learned from, but, as with all criticisms we received, as something to look for differences in and then to prove wrong.
A particular point must be raised about the report system in the organization. Cadres and study group members had to write reports; their importance was constantly stressed as a means of communication between higher and lower levels. But they were seldom read and never answered, and therefore, people became very discouraged about writing them. Cadres who consistently raised this point were told that leadership was "too busy" and answers to particular questions could not be given, though general comments would be given "soon." They never were. From the top down, cadres were supposed to receive reports of the meetings of the District Leadership in the area, so that we could have a grasp of what was going on in the area as a whole. Each area of the organization student, community, trade union and hospitals was left to struggle on its own, not knowing what the other areas were doing, not being able to sum up errors and draw lessons from one area of work to another. (Of course, even though we had no way of knowing it at the time, this was part and parcel of the opportunists' plot to cover their bankrupt line, so that the cadres would think the failure of their practice was due to their own inadequacies and "Menshevism," not knowing that what was happening in their particular area was also being reflected in all the others.) Thus leadership was not made to be responsible or accountable to the cadres; we were not supposed to ask too many questions about, for example, what leadership was doing since they were "too busy" to answer our reports, or what was happening in other areas, etc.
The left line also showed itself in promotion and assignment of cadres and study group members. More and more, the opportunist leadership gave assignments almost exclusively to the "responsible cadres"; all other cadres, who were not as "firm" on the line, were neglected. So there would be situations where responsible cadres wouldn't have a minute to breathe (or sum up), running around trying to do everything, while other cadres would have nothing to do. This created many incorrect ideas of insecurity and hero worship of leadership on the part of the cadres; it killed their initiative and their own leadership abilities which it was intended to do. Promotions were made more and more on the basis of how much that cadre supported the leadership and accepted the organization's line to the fullest, not on the basis of their practice among the masses, how they applied the theory of Marxism-Leninism. They were made selectively and used to divide the cadres. In one section of the organization, evaluations were not made for over 2 years since the NCC period with excuse after excuse given to the cadres, who struggled to have a scientific assessment made of their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, comrades, contrary to all the claptrap they try to put out in Palante, all this speaks to the way PRRWO practices their training and taking care of cadres and contacts.
Of course, there were struggles around this shameful anarchy, which was leaving all our work in a shambles. Many cadres voiced the sentiment that we were getting too abstract, and many of the advanced and intermediate elements were getting turned off by the empty phrases without concrete application to change the world. The leadership quickly moved to squash this struggle and nip it in the bud by turning the tables on the cadres and blaming the errors on the cadres' weaknesses, saying the internal basis is always primary. For example, when cadres raised the need to be more concrete in our application of M-L-MTTT to give conscious leadership to the struggles of the masses, we were told that to deal with these vital questions was "bowing to spontaneity" and we should encourage the masses not to waste their time fighting the inevitable, either! This clearly showed the contempt of the leadership towards the problems facing the working class and its allies.
In fact, PRRWO took left positions more and more on the struggles of the masses, especially illustrated by boycotting a teachers' strike in N.Y., with the excuse to the cadres that the teachers, being members of the petty bourgeoisie, were too privileged anyway. In the trade unions, the so-called rank and file caucuses that were formed reflected an anarcho-syndicalist error because in practice they were divorced from the rank and file struggles. The understanding that was pushed of a rank and file caucus was definitely a left view.
Basically, it was a view which made no distinction between the core of communists and advanced elements necessary to give leadership to the trade union movement, and the broader form of organization, which encompasses those active union members who are willing to unite in the struggle against the sold out union leadership for union democracy, as well as fight actively against national, racial and sex discrimination. Instead of grasping the need to win the leadership of the rank and file through concrete practice, raising the communist line as applied to the issues facing the working class which, of course, means the political and economic issues facing the proletariat as a whole, to accomplish the strategic aim of transforming the unions into revolutionary organizations PRRWO cadres were taught to treat rank and file caucuses as study groups, involving them in abstract debates over the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, without concretely relating it to the class struggle in the plants. In the day care area, the Contact Committee, a mass committee that was developed by PRRWO within the day care area, where cadres had established a firm mass base, was used ultimately to remove contacts from the day care center struggles they were involved in and the day care workers' union to involve them only in abstract debates on party building.
In relation to the communist movement, the demands of honest Marxists-Leninists to sum up the history of the communist movement were utilized by the left opportunists, especially the chairwoman, to consolidate their attempts to sabotage the real party building motion and a real summation. We realize today that Gloria took the task of "summing up the history of the communist movement" because the correct ideological summation would have exposed many sham attempts at party building, as well as exposing the schemes of all careerists, opportunists and agents within the communist movement who were still hidden, including herself. There was a total distortion of the M-L theory of knowledge, as laid out by Chairman Mao in "On Practice," in the way that these left opportunists distorted the development of the communist movement. Thus, in "Party Building in the Heat of the Class Struggle," they distorted Stalin and Mao in order to knock Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, which we feel is the method of neo-Trotskyism, as summed up by Stalin in On the Opposition.
Using this method, which is in unity with the line of the CL, it was stated that everything was negative in the communist movement until the birth of the PRRWO at its 1972 Congress. We urge comrades to study this pamphlet, particularly two articles, "Party Building in the Heat of Class Struggle," p. 13, and "The Dialectical Materialist Theory of Knowledge Applied An Internal Document," p. 42. These articles, which have certain correct concepts, such as periods in party building, the historical weaknesses of empiricism, pragmatism and voluntarism in the communist movement, as well as the principle of making demarcations of line with opportunism, apply these theoretical understandings dogmatically and mechanically. This pamphlet was used internally to further consolidate the cadres on an idealist, sectarian view of the history of the communist and social movements. The articles show contempt for the M-L experience among the masses, by blaming all errors on the cadres of PRRWO and on other organizations. We quote:
"Many comrades fall into blaming and turning fingers at other comrades. They say, 'the problem is not sufficient communication with the leading bodies,' or 'the problem is not enough specific guidance,' or 'the problem is that I work all day and don't have the time.' All this, as they turn their noses up at the conscientious study and application of Marxism-Leninism to solve problems."
"This is not to deny that, in, fact, we must get down to more specific guidance, or that comrades who work full-time on a salaried job don't have problems, or that the problems we have raising our children aren't real, etc., etc. These are real phenomena, but the essence of the problem is sheer narrow empiricism for many of our comrades." ("Party Building in the Heat of Class Struggle," p. 46)
This shows the contempt of the chairwoman towards the criticisms and problems of the cadres of PRRWO. Stalin lays out something very different:
"The slogan 'Cadres decide everything' demands that our leaders should display the most solicitous attitude towards our workers, 'little' and 'big,' no matter in what sphere they are engaged, cultivating them assiduously, assisting them when they need support, encouraging them when they show their first successes, promoting them, and so forth. Yet, in practice, we meet in a number of cases with a soulless, bureaucratic and positively outrageous attitude towards workers." (Stalin, On Organization, p. 14, emphasis ours)
IV The "Genuine Wing"
In PRRWO's relationship to other organizations in the communist movement, there was a similar quick degeneration of an initially progressive motion. A good example is the relationship between ATM and PRRWO. The relationship started out on firm footing. Both organizations had initial discussion, clarifying points of unity and differences. Out of these discussions, a unity statement was drawn up and distributed to the cadres of PRRWO for internal discussion. Information was shared about the general weaknesses and strengths of our work, which was more important since there was little other way of sharing experiences between the communists on the East and West Coasts. PRRWO sponsored a forum, where ATM was able to put forward its line, one of the most positive things about it being the thorough analysis of RU's revisionism that was presented. This development seemed to indicate that PRRWO was in practice repudiating some of its historical sectarian tendencies.
However, conditions were being set inside the organization for this development to be stunted and finally sabotaged. One of the most critical areas of work which was neglected while the left bloc perpetrated the abstract discussions on party building was the development of liaison work, especially with the ATM. Only when a crisis occurred was attention placed on our relations with ATM.
This crisis took the form of the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee, a band of petty bourgeois intellectual careerists with no practice and a very flaky history. MLOC presented a plan for party building to the ATM which was based on a military strategy (concentrate a superior force to destroy the enemy one by one). It was a plan which was founded on the careerist wishes of these "theoreticians." It was clearly a get-rich-quick scheme. But MLOC, feeding off the right error of conciliationism in ATM, was able to sell ATM this phony bill of goods. When PRRWO heard about this, there was immediate concern.
However, the concern was not all coming from the same place. Many comrades were legitimately concerned with preventing the MLOC swindlers from getting over. The ultra-left bloc seized on this concern, which served to hide their real concern over losing another base off which to leech.
At about the same time period, the leadership of PRRWO had begun to build unprincipled unity with WVO. This unity was unprincipled because there had been fundamental differences of line with WVO from the early beginning, and cadres from PRRWO had constantly raised the opportunist practice of WVO in the trade union, community and student work. The clearest points of difference were around WVO's right opportunist line of building phony "Ad Hoc Committees," where conciliation with the worst type of Trots, revisionists, trade union leaders, etc. would go on as the WVO would tail the bourgeoisie and its agents, while promoting themselves in the communist movement as mobilizers of the masses. Theoretical justifications for this practice gave rise to the differences over their position on the advanced, tasks in the trade unions, "unite to expose," etc. Knowing this, the leadership of PRRWO made an unholy alliance with WVO leadership, against the wishes of the cadres, who demanded at least a process of more thorough investigation of WVO's history and line. Although practically every meeting would result in an even clearer understanding of why there was no basis for unity with WVO, more and more back room deals were made, placing both the PRRWO and WVO cadres in a position of having to function together. What happened in practice was that to most of the communist movement and contacts among the masses, WVO and PRRWO would constantly clash in coalition and other mass meetings, while from the top leadership levels, the cadres were being told that it was our own sectarianism that was bringing on these difficulties.
Objectively, a positive aspect of this was that open polemics between two organizations with clear differences on line were held, an example being the WVO-PRRWO forum in N.Y.C. in November 1975. Here, the differences were more apparent than ever. However, the basis for this seemingly progressive step was the maneuvering of opportunists on the WVO and PRRWO leaderships, particularly Gloria F. and Jerry Tung. Frantic over the OL's plans for party building, as well as the development of the ATM-MLOC party building plan, Jerry Tung, who had been meeting with the chairperson of PRRWO outside the realm of scheduled liaison meetings, stressed the importance of coming up with a plan to provide an alternative for M-Ls and advanced elements. Rather than base a plan for party building on extensive scientific study and investigation, combined with sum-up of revolutionary practice, these opportunists were talking o yet another scheme in reaction to the ones already out there. Rather than deepen the line struggle over the fundamental differences on line that existed between WVO and PRRWO for the sake of building true unity, the unprincipled unity was taken to an even higher level by collaborating on a plan for party building, effectively sweeping the differences under the rug to pull ATM away from the clutches of MLOC. This blatant scheming and conspiring was justified as "strategy and tactics in party building."
The plan that was submitted to the PRRWO and later WVO did contain certain correct theoretical principles, as well as outlining certain practical activities to be undertaken by M-L organizations in this period. In essence, the plan called-for a Party Building Commission, based on political line unity on certain key questions (analysis of communist movement, political line as key link, uphold Lenin's definition of the advanced, uphold the chief form of activity propaganda, uphold self-determination for the black nation in the Black Belt South). According to the internal document put out by the Party Building Commission, the Principle of Unities of the wing were:
"a. Party Building is the central task of communists. Marxist-Leninists are today faced with the historic task of building the Bolshevik Leninist Party of a New Type, because we understand that without building such a party, it will be impossible to forge the two mighty weapons of the proletariat the United Front and the Armed Struggle, so that we can make our contribution to the international proletariat by establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat through violent seizure of power and wipe U.S, imperialism, one of the main enemies of the world's people, off the face of the earth. The Party cannot come from the "advanced of the mass movement" or by sitting in a closet studying theoretical works all day. It must come as a result of the fusion of communism with the workers' movement a fierce battle against all forms of opportunism to interject scientific socialism to the mass movement and give the spontaneous movement a planned conscious character. This party must be based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and must follow strict Leninist principles of discipline, key of which is democratic-centralism and factory nuclei as the basic unit of the Party, and practice criticism and self-criticism.
b. Political line is the Key Link. This means that at the present time the task which crystallizes and moves forward our ideological, political and organizational tasks at this time is the fight to hammer out the Party's basic line and program. It is in the struggle over political line that we will be able to disclose Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, which is fundamental, running throughout our struggle to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and even beyond. This in turn, serves our organizational work because it is the political line which is the basis for voluntary unity of will among Marxist-Leninists, which must be concretized into unity of action and discipline. To hold ideology is the key link lags behind the development of the struggle for the Party and is a right, tailist approach to party building, and would negate a period we have already been through. To hold organization is key link outstrips the given stage of the struggle for the Party because it presupposes that the political line of the Party has been determined. Although "left" in form, seeming to speed ahead of the process of development of the Party, in essence it would hope to unite Marxist-Leninists based on ideological principles since the line has not been hammered out.
c. That today Right Opportunism is the main danger in the workers' and communist movements. By this we mean that the belittling of the role of theory and the advanced element; leading to the worship of spontaneity, the basis of ALL opportunism, must be smashed if we are to make headway in our Party Building work. We must rid ourselves of the economism the path of least resistance the failure to link long and short-range goals in a concrete way that leads the workers' and communist movement in a direction acceptable to the bourgeoisie, a direction of reformism. Right opportunism is trade unionism (bourgeois ideology) in trade union questions, chauvinism on the National question; and Social-Democratic, loose knot traditions in the sphere of organization. It is the form of bourgeois ideology that tries to hold back the wheels of history, attempting to stave off the coming of our Bolshevik Party and the Proletarian Revolution it will have to lead.
d. Marxist-Leninists Unite! Ours is the responsibility to think in terms of the whole, to concentrate our forces so that we can most effectively deal with the tasks at hand. We must staunchly combat hegemonism, that bourgeois tendency of one organization or organizations swallowing-up other organizations in a chauvinist way, without regard for the internal affairs of organizations. We must struggle for the hegemony of the proletarian line. The hegemonist tendencies feed into the small circle spirit, a fear to join the rising genuine Marxist-Leninist trend, a longing to hold on to their own little grouping at any cost. We must combat the small circle spirit, and for this we must unite on a principled basis of mutual equality and cooperation. At the present time, the hegemonist tendency is the primary one. We must through a process of unity-struggle-unity, forge the iron unity that will culminate in the highest unity possible of Marxist-Leninists our formation into the democratic-centralist Party.
e. Win Over the Advanced to Communism. Our Party must be the general staff of the proletariat, the best elements that the working class and oppressed masses have to offer. For this it is imperative that, in the heat of the class struggle, we show the masses, most especially the advanced, their interests and how to fight for them and in this process make them see that only the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought applied to concrete conditions in the world today and to bring the message of their resolution revolution! The advanced workers must be trained and developed so that we ensure that our Party is rooted among the class that is rising in strength and which holds the historic mission of society, the abolition of classes, in its hands. This is the rock upon which the Party must be built.
f. Factory Nuclei as the basic form of organization. In order to avoid the Social-Democratic traditions of the Second International which have characterized modern revisionists on questions of organization loose-knit, undisciplined, based on territorial, electoral districts and not rooted in the point of production, we must establish the factory nuclei. The factory nuclei are the organizational link between the Party and the masses, most especially the working class. It is that form of organization which ensures the implementation of the Party's line, program and policies, and forges ever-firmer ties with the most advanced class in society. It is an illegal unit, by that we mean it hides among, not from, the masses. It is open to the masses, in that the work it directs leads the masses in the onslaught on capital, but it is closed to the bourgeoisie. It is through the factory nuclei that we make every factory our fortress, and make sure that the Party will have control of those strategic areas of the country (i.e., the industrial Mid-West) in the period of armed insurrection; moving over to the establishment of the Dictatorship and the construction and consolidation of socialism.
g. The right of self-determination of the Afro-American nation. The political essence of imperialism is the oppression of nations. Historically, Black people served as the foundation for the growth of capitalism in this country, from the history of oppression under slavery, moving on up to the consolidation of capitalism in the U.S. as the main mode of production (Civil War) and the sold-out bourgeois democratic, revolution (Reconstruction Period) Black people historically evolved into a nation in the black-belt South. They meet the five criteria for a nation as developed, by comrade Stalin although of course the development has been stunted and distorted, as in all nations that rise during the era of imperialism. The national liberation struggle of Black people in the South has been a clarion call for the masses in the U.S., with a rich, militant history of heroic resistance to oppression. We hold to the Comintern resolution of 1930 in regard to the Afro-American national question that the Afro-American nation in the black-belt South has the right of self-determination, up to and including secession. Although we realize that there have been changes in the objective conditions, particularly the development of capitalism, since the 1930's, and, that we must study these changes to update the Comintern's position, we reject the view of the revisionists who claim that capitalism's highest stage has "integrated" black people throughout the U.S. and .has in effect, solved the national question for us. We hold that to refuse to uphold the right of self-determination for the Black nation in the black-belt South is to essentially liquidate the question, and represents a slander of proletarian internationalism, it represents chauvinism, one of the key features of all forms of bourgeois ideology. We also hold that Black people in the north constitute a national minority, the material base for their oppression being the oppression of the Black nation in the black belt South, and that we must raise the demand for their full, democratic rights in connection with raising the demand for self-determination for the Afro-American nation."
(Taken from document of Party Building Commission)
Such were their alleged principles of unity. The Commission also proposed the development of a joint political education curriculum and areas for research and investigation, as well as coordinated activities on certain key fundamental revolutionary holidays, such as International Working Women's Day and Mayday. It called for the pooling together of the resources of communists who united on these questions to develop the party program as a basis to call for the first party congress.
On the surface, this plan seemed positive. In fact, it was a synthesis of the things many cadres had been raising for some time. But there were some things inherent in the development of this plan that would eventually overshadow any positive aspects about it. Most importantly, the plan was never put out for struggle in the entire movement. This would have insured the input of more M-Ls in the struggle for the party and would have intensified the struggle over who united just on paper and who united in reality. It would have unleashed much initiative and promoted struggle throughout the movement, which could only have had a positive effect on the genuine, while having a negative effect on the sham. Specifically, such intense struggle would have given the cadres more strength to find the truth, and there would have been little room for the opportunists to hide. The ultra-left bloc purposely developed this plan and kept it under wraps so that they could remain in the driver's seat. In fact, this plan was written by Gloria overnight and presented as the unity of the Central Committee, to be implemented without any discussion in PRRWO. Any differences with the plan were labeled as anti-party and objectively in unity with the opportunist "wing." The important thing to remember is that on paper, it's not too difficult to outline a plan for party building. But if this plan is built on a series of maneuvers and schemes to gain hegemony over the party building motion, it's not worth the paper it's written on. Let's not be fooled this was a battle between opportunists to deviate honest Marxists-Leninists' attempts at party building.
WVO and PRRWO went out to the West Coast to persuade ATM to see through MLOC's scheme and unite to expose MLOC. ATM correctly summed up the internal basis for this unprincipled unity as right opportunism and united with PRRWO and WVO to isolate MLOC. We would like to state here that it is a serious right error for ATM never to make public the sham plan of MLOC. As for WVO and PRRWO leaderships, once the immediate danger of MLOC had been dealt with, it was of no concern to them who would be swindled by these abstract theoreticians.
In the process of repudiating the sham plan of MLOC, ATM united with PRRWO around their plan for party building. This, we feel, was another serious right error. The comrades should have taken more time and more thoroughly summed up what had led to their unity with MLOC, building on their correct analysis that it was due to conciliation with opportunists. It is important to note, however, that ATM did attempt to deal with this criticism in practice, in the case of WVO. ATM had put forward in an above-board manner that they did not have sufficient unity with WVO to agree to their participation in a joint party building plan unless WVO "repudiated their line on a number of questions, the most important of these being:
1) the position on the advanced, which was and is opposed to the essence of Lenin's "Retrograde Trend" definition,
2) the position on the key link ideology as particularly reflected in their "Anti-Revisionist Premises";
3) the position on the Afro-American national question, which is no position at all.
The opportunists on the WVO leadership, realizing this was a prime opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and gain prestige in the communist movement, quickly "repudiated" although only in private all of these positions. PRRWO was propping up WVO. Meanwhile, ATM stated at that time that although this was a start, they had to see this in writing, including public self-criticism. WVO agreed to this. The PRRWO leadership pushed for quick unity around the party building plan, and thus, the "revolutionary wing" was born. This unprincipled unity was in complete contradiction with the objective and subjective conditions in the communist movement, was rejected by honest M-Ls in the movement, and in practice showed itself to be sham. As Mao Tsetung would describe it:
"They alienate themselves from the current practice of the majority of the people and from the realities of the day, and show themselves adventurist in their actions."
"Idealism and mechanical materialism, opportunism and adventurism are all characterized by the breach between the subjective and the objective, by the separation of knowledge from practice." (On Practice, p. 307, Vol. I)
As was mentioned earlier, anything built on such shaky ground was bound to explode over the first real test of such professed "unity." But this move by the opportunists did serve to temporarily stall their eventual exposure. Internally, for PRRWO cadres, the news that WVO was willing to repudiate its line on so many key questions made the previous criticisms over the unprincipled manner in which we united with them seem unfounded. The ultra-left bloc promoted itself not only as proving their leadership qualities to the cadres, but also as providing the necessary tactical leadership to the entire party building motion.
IWWD 1976: The "Wing" Disintegrates
However, as the "revolutionary wing" approached one of its tasks that of coordinating activities for International Working Women's Day 1976 it became obvious to the entire communist movement and advanced forces throughout the country just how sham the unity was.
On the surface, this sham unity could clearly be seen by the events that took place in the IWWD coalition. Here the communist movement was able to see an example of how in the struggle for correctly applying M-L-MTTT, one tendency covers another. The WVO showed itself as two-faced jellyfish, all talk of repudiation cast aside. Instead, WVO promoted itself as the organization with the overall most correct line," but was unwilling to put its line out clearly, hiding as they always do behind the masses, submerging M-L within a number of community organizations in the Asian community without relating the task of IWWD to party building. They even went so far, in an extension of their infamous "unite to expose" line, to invite revisionists, Trots, lesbians and other degenerate elements to the coalition. They clearly personified the main danger, right opportunism.
PRRWO, promoting itself as "fighting for the purity of M-L," used the opportunity given them by the blatant right opportunism of the WVO to engage in typical demagoguery and sophistry, turning the coalition meetings into forums on party building, and specifically into an arena for attacks WVO's line. Never was anything said about why, just a few months before, WVO and PRRWO were so united they considered themselves in the same "wing" of the movement. By engaging in such phrase mongering dogmatism, PRRWO in essence separated the task of building the party from the tasks of communists in the mass movement.
All of this has been put out and polemicized over in the movement in the past months, as WVO and PRRWO show themselves more clearly for what they are two sides of the same slimy coin. We feel it is important here to concentrate on what wan going on behind the scenes how exactly the WVO-PRRWO "unity" fell apart, as it was bound to do.
Unknown to PRRWO or ATM, WVO had for some time been establishing relations with the RWL, an organization with roots in the Afro-American national movement. The RWL, although supposedly an independent organization, had a history of conciliation with opportunism, of tailing helplessly behind whatever line happened to be dominant at that time. RWL had been under the influence of RU in its early history, had broken with them much later than the rest of the communist movement did, and almost immediately entered into relations with the OL The OL had been the major influence on the organization for a period of time until a struggle developed inside the RWL resulting in identifying right opportunism as the main danger inside the organization. As RWL was involved in this process of identifying and repudiating the dominance of a right opportunist line in their organization, WVO conveniently appeared to give "assistance" to the RWL. In reality this process of giving assistance to RWL was a process of hegemonistically seizing control of the RWL. This could be seen n the fact that rather than stay out of the internal affairs of the RWL, which was most important, especially since it was obvious that different organizations had historically wormed their way into positions of control, WVO immediately established joint commissions with RWL on party building, strategy and tactics, woman question and national question. These joint commissions merely served as a vehicle from which to get the RWL leadership to unprincipledly adapt most of WVO's positions. RWL began to see the world through WVO's eyes, just as it had previously seen the world through RU's and OL's eyes. All of this was supposed to be a prelude to the actual merger of both organizations. In later meetings, WVO justified this blatant opportunism with a new form of the same garbage the RU peddled to the movement, particularly to Afro-American communists. They reasoned that since RWL represented "strategic leadership" in the movement (which in reality meant that because they were principally Afro-American, WVO would automatically acquire a base in the national movement) and since WVO had "overall most correct line," the merger would be a great step forward for the party building motion. This, in essence, is the old line of "niggers and spics got the practice, we got the theory," that the RU pushed on us years ago.
When PRRWO leadership got word of these developments, the ultra left bloc flew into a panic. If the WVO pulled this off they would be in top position, something that the left bloc would never permit. It must be understood that among such opportunists, the interests of the masses is the farthest thing from their mind. All they are interested in are their own selfish careers. They all fancy themselves future leaders of the revolution, such is their contempt of the masses. They really believe that they will be able to fool people forever. Therefore, they jockey for top position on what they fantasize will be the leadership of the future revolutionary movement.
PRRWO leadership contacted RWL leadership, and once again, one tendency covered another. It was relatively easy to show RWL leadership that the whole manner in which they approached unity with WVO would only lead to them being once again dominated by another right opportunist organization. At the same time, the struggle from genuine M-Ls all over the country against WVO's right opportunist line made it clear to RWL's internal opportunists that they were about to join an organization with no future. It was at this time that the ultra-left bloc concentrated its major efforts at consolidating RWL around PRRWO's line, and formed a united front to kick WVO out of the "revolutionary wing."
We had spoken earlier of how the anarchistic manner that communications with ATM were handled was one of the ways the unity with ATM was sabotaged. Certain key differences with ATM's line had developed, particularly in regard to the positions on ERA and busing. Although we feel that ATM's support of ERA and busing are serious errors, these differences do not constitute a basis to terminate a relationship with an organization there had been a history of struggle with. These differences were opportunistically used by the ultra-left bloc of PRRWO to begin laying the grounds for future attacks on ATM. ATM did not know of all the behind-the-scenes deals that were giving rise to the new unity with RWL. However, once they were aware of what had taken place, ATM conciliated with PRRWO by not waging a relentless struggle to expose the way in which such quick unity was established with RWL, while WVO was suddenly being exposed as revisionist. ATM should have taken a firm stance against the maneuverings of PRRWO. By conciliating to PRRWO, ATM left themselves wide open for the stab in the back they so promptly received. The newly formed PRRWO-RWL bloc immediately began to launch attacks against ATM for "Menshevism." The "revolutionary wing" lost another feather. The "purge" of ATM from the "revolutionary wing" coincided with the purging of cadres from both the PRRWO and RWL.
In a move designed to persist in the fantasy of the "revolutionary wing," PRRWO leadership absorbed the Revolutionary Bloc into the organization, in secret from both the communist movement and the cadres of PRRWO, and put them principally on leadership levels. The "Revolutionary Bloc" was in essence a group of cadres, both from leadership and membership of BWC, who had come together in the midst of its disintegration, which is the topic for a whole analysis in itself. What is important to note about Revolutionary Bloc is that they had formed themselves into a collective before the BWC finally split up. The leading cadres from the "Bloc" and the chairwoman of PRRWO met constantly during this period, and in fact, Gloria F. would urge the Bloc to try and take over BWC before it split up. After the split, relationships with this collective continued, with the obvious purpose of recruiting them into PRRWO.
Independently, the "Revolutionary Bloc" never even got close to accomplishing the task of analyzing the split in the BWC and in the process putting out any synthesized line for struggle inside the communist movement. In essence, it never was a communist collective, let alone an organization with a clear line and policy. The fact that the "Revolutionary Bloc" had any credibility at all was due to PRRWO's saying that it was a genuine organization and represented the correct line in the BWC split, even though in practice, no one ever saw this. However, this was not to say that there wasn't intense struggle around this within PRRWO, with cadres demanding to know and see why the Bloc should be considered genuine, and leadership telling them not to be empiricist, that an analysis by the Bloc would be forthcoming (of course, it never was).
Making the "Revolutionary Bloc" part of the "revolutionary wing" and finally secretly recruiting them into the organization was just another clear example of the hegemonistic maneuverings of the ultra-left bloc. True to their backstabbing style, many of the people from the Bloc were purged as "Mensheviks" once they had outlived their usefulness to the left opportunists.
V Complete Degeneration, Massive Purges
All of these events speak to the level the bourgeoisie's agents go to in their attempts to stop the party from being built. We definitely agree with the neo-Trots of the "wing" when they speak of a bourgeois plan to subvert the party building motion it has been implemented by the "wing" and its leaders, especially Gloria Fontaρez, who are willing agents of the bourgeoisie, trying frantically to prevent their own downfall and exposure to the masses, whom they fear like the plague, and trying to prevent the real fusion of the communist movement with the masses.
Thus, we must analyze the latest round of purges, under the cover of the so-called "bourgeois plot" the opportunists "exposed," see them in light of other historical purges PRRWO has undertaken and understand why they did and had to take place when they did.
We have tried to show, throughout this history of the development of PRRWO, the way the left opportunists had gradually gained leadership of the organization, through defaming, discrediting and ultimately purging any members, particularly those on the Central Committee, who dared to raise opposing lines for struggle particularly again, those who dared to struggle against the historical left trend. In so doing, these left opportunists began to distort more and more the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The ideological basis had definitely been laid for the cadres of PRRWO to internalize many left views on key questions. The opportunists had been able to use the method of taking a kernel of truth and weaving from it a whole network of fabrications, distortions and outright lies
PRRWO, like the opportunist RU in the earlier period, had been able to establish certain credibility and respect among the masses and the communist movement. The attempts by the honest cadres in PRRWO to defeat the ultra-left trend, plus the development of the "political line as key link" formulation, had resulted in PRRWO's temporarily attaining leadership of the anti-revisionist communist movement. (It is important to remember that the communist movement as a whole, at this point, had a very perceptual understanding of what political line as key link meant in practice, which is why PRRWO, whose words and deeds didn't match, was able to get over.) This gave rise to feelings of security and even superiority on the part of PRRWO cadres, as well as almost implicit faith in the PRRWO leadership, who seemed to be proving themselves equal to their own boasts of being "staunch Bolsheviks defending the purity of Marxism-Leninism."
But cracks were beginning to appear in the opportunists' armor. The line of political line as key link, meaning that ideological unities had to be tested in the heat of the class struggle, that people and organizations would be judged by their deeds as well as words, being an objectively correct line, could not be upheld by opportunists. So the left bloc of PRRWO had begun to distort this concept, particularly internally, playing on PRRWO's successes. It had already begun to push in practice its famous "onlys" (only party building, only propaganda, only the advanced), little by little creating justifications as to why these were correct. It did this by trying to convince the cadres that ours was the only correct line, and that those who didn't support it were either totally opportunist or hopelessly "backwards.
The method of struggle in PRRWO, especially since the CL period, had been ultra-left and sectarian, seeking to create distrust and division among the cadres in an atmosphere of all struggle, no unity. This was consolidated in the beginning of l976. To do this, the left opportunists took a kernel of truth, being 1) the WVO had been proven many times over to be right opportunists in theory and practice; so no unity with them was possible, and 2) the need in this period of party building, to draw firm lines of demarcation with opportunists, enabling us to build a Leninist party of a new type. From this kernel of truth, the left bloc invented a whole web of intrigue that resulted in the destruction of PRRWO as an organization and the purge of at least 3/4 of its membership.
The left bloc began its plot by explaining to the cadres of the organization that since WVO had been purged from the "revolutionary wing" and since PRRWO had taken the "leading role" in the struggle against opportunism, we were sure to be under heavier repression from the state and the opportunist forces. Therefore, we had to close ranks, by increasing our security consciousness and adhering firmly to democratic centralism. While at first, this seemed correct under those circumstances, let's examine how in practice it was carried out.
We've shown that there had always been a distortion of the principle of democratic centralism within PRRWO. Cadres had struggled correctly for more democracy; the ultra-leftists constantly emphasized centralism. What was practiced was bureaucratic centralism; e.g., no Central Committee members had ever been democratically elected since the YLP Congress they were "co-opted" from the membership to insure their support of the existing leadership. Thus, they distorted the relationship between democracy and centralism, and the principle that the whole organization or party is subordinate to the Central Committee. So it was that from the top down, the ultra-leftists had gained control of the organization, with certain lackeys in key places to inform them of any threat to their power. At this point, the ultra-leftists, seeing that they had to make their move before their bankruptcy became any more apparent, gave a directive telling this was the time (again) when centralism had to be emphasized, since they, the Secretariat, the most Bolshevik of all, were bound to be the most under attack. Therefore, the organization had to rally unswervingly and, as we soon found out, unquestioningly around them.
The organization was also given a directive to increase our security consciousness. While this is always necessary, it was approached here on a ridiculous, ultra-left level. For example, cadres were given different names in each different collective of work they were involved in, which no one could ever remember. Cadres had never been trained correctly in the question of security; security matters, such as the exposure of agents or preparing for self-defense, were discussed by one or two top leadership members and never opened up to the membership. Because of this, a clear break between the legal and illegal aspects of work, cadres did not understand the dialectical relationship between the two. On the one hand, legal forms of struggle were negated as being reformist, while on the other hand, cadres didn't know how to defend themselves against attack by the bourgeoisie and its lackeys (blacklisting, redbaiting, legal tactics, etc.).
These things soon led to an attitude of paranoia in the organization. As we had been taught to view ourselves as the "vanguard of the vanguard," we were being prepared for the attack that the leadership said was sure to come down on us. Of course, since the left bloc had finished manufacturing their "plot," this was soon to be proven true.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned earlier, the ultra-left method of struggle was being pushed on us as the way to be "staunch" and to "Bolshevize" our ranks.
"The comrades who in the past loudly advocated 'ruthless struggles' and 'merciless blows' against comrades who occasionally made mistakes did so because, for one thing, they failed to make any analysis of the persons they were dealing with, and for another, were striking a pose in an effort to intimidate." Mao Tsetung, "Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing," p. 58)
At this time, we had already pulled out of much of our mass work and lost many of our contacts. In meeting after meeting, we phrasemongered about party building, with little concrete understanding of how to go about it. Even though there were comrades who saw perceptually that things were going wrong, they didn't see that it was that we were functioning under an incorrect line. Comrades who asked for concrete guidance to give communist leadership to their areas of work came under attack for being narrow empiricists. As a matter of fact, it was at this time that a whole campaign was waged internally against empiricism as being the main danger in our organization, which had as its hidden aim to brainwash cadres and contacts of PRRWO into thinking that we could not sum up our own work or draw lessons from direct practice, but that we had to wait for the leadership to do this for us. (The left bloc had already flip-flopped from copping to the left being the main danger in the organization to saying that around party building, which was key, our main danger had been historically right.) We were taught not to seek truth from facts, but to accept whatever version of things the Secretariat, controlled by the left bloc, would hand down. Lines were brought to the cadres only after they had been struggled out by the Central Committee, labeled as "correct" or "incorrect," and then the cadres had to defend the "correct" line without having been able to study it. Psychological warfare was carried out against those who dared to disagree with or even question these lines. Comrades were attacked as to their class basis, and errors they had made were blown all out of proportion. Comrades were beginning to feel more and more isolated and unsure; we began to engage in self-cultivation and do self-criticism for our "right errors."
Having scored another temporary success in gaining hegemony over the N.Y.C. International Working Women's Day Coalition (1976), although Resistencia (LPR) had had already begun to point out PRRWO's ultra-leftism, the left bloc prepared for its coup: They had discovered a "bourgeois plot" led by paid agents to usurp power in the organization, along with a faction that was going to raise to PRRWO cadres that the line of PRRWO was ultra-left and that their was an ultra-left bloc on the leadership. A call was put out to the organization as a whole to find out who was involved in this or who supported it, and purge them from our ranks. To the already paranoid cadres, this meant that we were being attacked and had to counterattack and deal "merciless blows" to anyone holding the "enemy line." As Gloria put it, "No mercy to the Mensheviks!"
We would like to raise here that in scientifically examining these charges of factionalism and accusations of cadres being paid agents, we have found absolutely no basis in fact to support this. If there had been a faction, we see that in this case it would have been a good thing and might have saved PRRWO from total destruction. But, unfortunately, PRRWO cadres had not organized themselves into any organized opposition, which would have fought against the neo-Trotskyites.
Six cadres, two of them on leadership levels, were chosen to compose this "faction." Both psychological and physical torture were used on these cadres, and under these conditions, some of them broke and admitted to these phony charges. The left bloc now had its "evidence."
From there, a witch hunt was started in all areas of the organization to find anyone who had any unities that PRRWO's line was left and that there was a left bloc on the leadership. Secretariat members were sent to section meetings to obtain more "confessions." No vacillation or repudiation was allowed. In each area, a "main proponent of the right line" (that of the "faction") was chosen attacked psychologically and in some cases, physically. The errors committed by these cadres were all "proven" to be conscious acts designed to help the "faction" take over the organization. As a matter of fact, all errors committed in their areas of work were blamed on these "Menshevik" cadres. Before they were purged, these cadres, for the most part, had been totally convinced they were opportunists, and since there was no chance for them to ever repudiate (nowhere in our study of M-L-MTTT have we ever found this!) or become Party members or supporters, the best thing they could do was just withdraw from all struggles and most certainly never hope to contaminate the "wing" with their impurity.
Since areas of work were not allowed to communicate with each other, we had no knowledge of how many people were being purged, or that the same fabrications were being spread throughout the organization. Honest comrades fell into serious conciliation and unity with the ultra-leftists and began to look around at each other for any signs of "weakness" (lack of consolidation around the left line). Therefore, cadres helped to purge each other, only to find themselves purged next. Some cadres left the organization on their own with a vague feeling that something was wrong, but still not knowing what. It is important to note that none of us left PRRWO thinking the left bloc was opportunist or even wrong, but believing that we were indeed opportunists.
They key point to remember is that these purges were carefully planned and executed one by one to create long-lasting division among the cadres and convince them they were "Mensheviks" and traitors to the revolution and to party building; that is why so many ex-PRRWO members are still afraid today to unite with each other, and some even are still going around begging for PRRWO's forgiveness, by doing so showing they haven't broken with the left line. These people must look at the facts and break with idealism and one-sidedness. The method used by the ultra-leftists to carry out their scheme shows definite preparation way beforehand, and behavior that can only be described as social fascist. A few months before the actual purge, the notes and old internal documents of cadres were all collected, under the guise of "security." The left bloc began to personally take over such key areas as finance and propaganda and agitation, especially Palante. The first cadres to be purged were all veteran cadres, cadres with a long history in PRRWO and much inside knowledge about past dirty work of the left opportunists. When the purges were going on, the entire Central Committee of PRRWO was purged, with the exception of Gloria Fontaρez. Several cadres were robbed by other cadres on the grounds that they were "Mensheviks" and unworthy to possess anything the "wing" wanted. Cadres were beaten and stomped on in section meetings. Mass organizations, long under PRRWO's dominance, such as PRSU, FFM, Revolutionary Youth Collective, etc., now had become mere appendages of PRRWO, even though in most cases there is nothing left of them; social-fascist acts were carried out on some of these people also, as well as mass purges of entire study groups.
In light of all these facts, we want to state that we see that Gloria Fontaρez, the mastermind of the destruction of PRRWO, is clearly an agent-provocateur, as her work of sabotage has been at too high a level to have been planned by any one person, no matter how opportunist.
We see that some of the cadres who participated in the process of the purges are guilty of conciliation and unity with ultra-leftism to a high level, some even having participated in these social-fascist acts. For these very serious errors, we are attempting to repudiate in practice. But we must state that we believe that this was due in many cases to blind faith, political naοvetι and amateurishness, which the opportunists used to manipulate us. We see that there is a basic difference between us and other comrades who are ex-members of PRRWO who have committed serious errors, and the die-hard ultra-leftists who now compose what remains of PRRWO a tiny circle of neo-Trotskyites, outside the communist movement. It is also our position that after Mayday 1976, when PRRWO had consolidated its left line and when its social-fascism had become common knowledge, there were no more honest elements left in PRRWO. After this time, even though there were more purges, they were of the type of the left opportunists stabbing each other in the back such as the purges of Carmen Cruz, a key part of the left bloc, and Robert Johnson ("Murphy"), who helped Gloria consolidate RWL into neo-Trotskyism.
Today, PRRWO as an organization no longer exists. Being a tiny sect, they can only hope to hide behind what is left of RWL and their "revolutionary wing" fantasy. Certainly, they soon will build another sham "Communist Party" in this country, which they'll have the gall to name "Bolshevik." They have already plainly distorted the teachings and science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, even though they still phrasemonger about supporting China and fighting opportunism. They use Palante, once a revolutionary newspaper, but now a scandalous rag sheet, to expose people to the bourgeoisie (as Trotskyites are famous for doing), giving directives to the masses and praising themselves amid their self-proclamations of being the vanguard "Leninist core of the revolutionary wing."
Because of the degeneration of PRRWO/RWL, the right has been able to temporarily gain momentum, particularly the WVO and OL, who lost no time in taking advantage of this situation. WVO capitalized on the degeneration of PRRWO. They put out a pamphlet on PRRWO very rapidly at the time of the purges, which proved that they were well prepared long beforehand. They also overtly or covertly tried to recruit ex-PRRWO and ex-RWL members under the guise that they, as genuine communists, had to follow the "overall most correct line, the Northern Star" WV, of course. This shows very clearly how both PRRWO and WVO aided in splitting RWL, and how the opportunists in these organizations helped to cover each other. It is important for communist to see this excellent example of how the ultra-left and right opportunists are but two sides of the same coin.
"It should not be forgotten that rights and "ultra-lefts" are actually twins, that consequently both take an opportunist stand, the difference between them being that whereas the rights do not always conceal their opportunism, the lefts invariably camouflage their opportunism with "revolutionary" phrases. We cannot allow our policy to be determined by what scandal-mongers and philistines may say about us...." (Stalin, The Fight Against the Right and "Ultra-Left Deviations)
We see it of great importance for honest Marxist-Leninists and honest communist organizations to consciously consolidate themselves into a political trend inside this country. At this time this trend is in its embryonic form, consisting largely of individuals, study groups and collectives. We see the organizations that are part of this trend as the August Twenty-ninth Movement (ML) and the League for Proletarian Revolution (ML). These comrades have the responsibility to struggle together and with us all to help us complete our party building tasks, that of preparing ourselves and winning and training the advanced, in close connection to waging a tit-for-tat struggle against the bourgeoisie's plans for war and fascism.
We feel that the comrades of ATM have to thoroughly analyze their history if they are to be able to assume this responsibility. The errors of conciliation to the OL (refusing to call them opportunist and saluting their Congress), MLOC, PRRWO, all have an internal basis which must be drawn out and repudiated. We disagree with the comrades "old PRRWO new PRRWO" analysis because it is not at all dialectical-materialist outlook. It is mechanical and does not, cannot, explain the degeneration of PRRWO, nor can it explain ATM's role in the development of the "revolutionary wing" correctly. We disagree with ATM when they reason that their main danger must be left since they were united with PRRWO, an ultra-leftist organization. This too, is a static view which does not see that the left and right can unite, and have united, many times in the history of the international communist movement. However, our main concern is that if the comrades do not sum up their history correctly, they will commit the same errors again and begin to justify these errors, which would be a terrible setback to an organization with such revolutionary potential. It is our opinion that in ATM's history, the right and not the left has been and is the main danger. We urge all Marxist-Leninists and advanced forces to deepen this struggle so that we can resolve it with a higher level of unity among us.
Finally, in order to accomplish the conscious consolidation of the Marxist-Leninist trend in this country, we must seriously take on the struggle against small circle spirit, which has led to many political errors among honest forces. We see the weakness of the honest MLs to develop theoretical and practical plans, such as investigating thoroughly the class composition of the U.S., the social movements, the economic and political trends in the country, the growing spontaneous movement of the working class, the national movements, and creating a systematic plan for the creation of a true Bolshevik Party.
Lenin describes, in Where to Begin, what we see in the communist movement today:
"It is not a question of what path we must choose, but of what practical steps we must take upon the known path and how they shall be taken. It is a question of a system and plan of practical work. And it must be admitted that we have not yet solved this question of the character and methods of struggles fundamental for a party of practical activity, that it still gives rise to serious differences of opinion which reveal a deplorable ideological instability and vacillation."
It is not enough to say that the key link is political line, or hammering out the program of the party, which still today has been left in the abstract, but a vehicle must be developed to link the work of Marxist-Leninists to the overall task of creating the party. This form must take up correctly the political and organizational methods uniting M-Ls and winning the advanced to communism. We must put to an end the vacillation of not grasping fully the main task ahead of us, and subordinate ourselves to the over-all tasks of proletarian revolution.
Comrades, we also have been guilty of implementing and uniting with many of these different left opportunist lines, as we have tried to lay out. We feel that this summation is part of transforming our incorrect ideas, stands and methods in struggling to uphold and grasp the correct M-L viewpoint and method. We write this for the purpose of aiding the genuine motion inside this country. We are open to all responses to this summation in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity and to aid in consolidating out ties with other M-Ls.
Former Members of PRRWO
"Make trouble, fail, make trouble again, fail again... till their doom; that is the logic of the imperialists and all reactionaries the world over...
Fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again... till their victory; that is the logic of the people."
Win the Advanced to Communism!
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