PLP, "U.S. Depression Opens the Door for Revolution" [1975]

War and Fascism are Inevitable; Workers Will Turn Imperialist War Into Civil War as.. .

US Depression Opens the Door for Revolution


It was only a short time ago that the "truce" accord was reached in the Vietnam War. If nothing else, it unified a seemingly diverse group of political forces. Those singing Hail Mary's to "peace" in our country ranged from Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon to the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, various pacifist groups, and not least the Kennedy-type politicians. What irony! -- while Nixon and his goons turned the CIA loose to investigate "dissidents," the "dissidents" were inadvertently his most ardent supporters.

Since the late sixties, the world has entered the Era of Peace -- supposedly. Detente between the world's two leading adversaries, the Soviet Union and the United States, is supposed to be a harbinger of things to come.

But is this the real world? Is it a reflection of the true nature of imperialist powers? (Remember the "Entente Cordiale" and the Kellogg "Peace" Pact before the last World War?)

Only recently, Dr. "Strange-love"-Kissinger, using his most compelling croak, spoke of the "possibility" of US armed intervention in the Mid-East to secure the oil interests of his boss, Rockefeller. Naturally, within days, that great virtuoso of nothingness, Ford, had to echo the Kissinger statements. (Previously there had been talk that Kissinger was only speaking for himself, i.e. Rockefeller, and some said that Ford was in disagreement. Ford's hasty "O.K. Rocky," soon laid that fiction to rest.)

In the last few weeks, US chieftains brazenly announced they were starting new spy flights over Vietnam in violation of the "truce" agreements. What a burlesque! What truce? Since the "truce," the war in Vietnam has not abated. And now Ford intends to use the latest US provocations to try to increase the intensity of the Vietnam war one way or another.

Even poor old Anthony Lewis and Tom Wicker of the N.Y. Times have to cry out; What the hell are you so worried about Vietnam for when we are about to lose out or are being seriously challenged in the Mid-East?

Obviously, the various fake leftists and liberals are concerned about peace only if it directly affects them. The war in Vietnam was terrible because US soldiers had to fight and die. Now that most US troops are out of Vietnam, the war is bad, but not so terrible. Obviously, the collection of fake leftists, liberals and pacifists have settled nothing. In fact, they have only succeeded in setting back the cause of peace by acting against the only force capable of eventually winning real peace -- revolution.

Based on history, we can expect every new peace treaty signed between the Soviets and the US to bring us closer to war. Every trip to the Mid-East by Hopalong Henry has only succeeded in making the Mid-East war more likely. Are these crucial developments accidents of history? Are developments merely a question of which individuals are in power?

We think not!

War and fascism are the results of the profit system. And the only way to end these twin blights and others is by the elimination of the capitalist system. This is the root cause of the problem. But what has brought us closer to World War III, and fascism, at this particular moment?


MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE RULING class, have a view of the world that either negates change, or develops the notion that change can be slowed and stopped. This is nonsense. History should prove that change is inherent in all things.

Remember, only a short time ago Hitler spoke of the "Thousand Year Reich." The "Thousand Year Reich" lasted about twelve years -- that left the Nazis about 988 short. But when Hitler uttered his absurdity he believed it. More important, most forces in the world saw some possibility of it. The Germans had conquered Europe, they took over much of Africa, they had brought England to its knees at Dunkirk, the US was isolated, and the attack against the Soviet Union seemed a sure winner. Leading political and military strategists in this country, like Hanson Baldwin, then writing for The New York Times, agreed with the Hitler prediction that the war against the Soviets would be over in "six weeks."

The "Thousand Year Reich" seemed not to be so absurd at that. After all, "everyone loves a winner," or "you can't argue with success."

This superficial view was based on the lack of understanding of what creates change. Basically, the estimate of the ruling classes of most countries was that the Soviets couldn't repel and crush Hitler. Thus, they believed that sooner or later they would probably have to make a deal. But, whatever errors the Soviet leadership made, they did organize the workers to fight Hitler, and they did win. US bosses, caught in their false estimates about workers' power, about Stalin, about Hitler's strength, came up with a wrong view of the world.


NO SOONER HAD THE GUNS OF WORLD WAR II quieted, than US bosses trumpeted the glorious arrival of the "American Century." This was the US bosses' version of the "Thousand Year Reich." Obviously, they learned little. On the face of it things looked fine. The Soviets were bled white by their stupendous war effort. Japan, Germany, etc. were defeated and economically ruined. The rest of Europe was not much better off. Only the US emerged unscathed. The war had seemed to solve several problems for the ruling class at once. Just before the war there were still ten million workers unemployed. Enormous war production and an army of about 15 million solved that. New war industries were quickly converted to increase consumer production and expand arms production. The US indeed seemed the best of all places. And, if there was racism, well who's perfect? The American dream, the "American Century," looked pretty good.

But as we all know the US economy is on its ass today. US power is being challenged and rebuffed from Vietnam to Beirut. The "American Century" might be more aptly called the "Century of the bread line." Let's see, the "American Century" idea started about 1949. It's now 1975. That's about 25 years. Not bad--the prediction is only 75 years off.

But even during the 25 peak years millions have been racially oppressed. There has been consistent mass unemployment and virtually constant war, from Korea and Vietnam to the Dominican Republic. And don't forget the Cuba Missile Crisis in which the US money bags were "eye-ball to eye-ball" with the Soviets. It was at this juncture that the world was faced with atomic war with the rapidly growing Soviet economic and political machine. Soviet power was by now firmly in the hands of counter- revolutionaries, and was starting its bid for world supremacy. This confrontation gave the people of the world a clear view of what was eventually emerging as the main contradiction in the world. This contradiction is between the ruling classes of the Soviet Union and the US

Facts are stubborn things; during the war in Vietnam Johnson told us how we could have guns and butter. The liberals loved to regale us about how LBJ was good at home and bad abroad. During the Nixon years Dicky, speaking from his mansion in San Clemente. told us this wasn't possible, guns and butter. He spoke of "sacrifices" for the "American Way." But things grew steadily worse for the U.S. rulers. So the big guys pushed out the sleazy Nixon crowd who had begun to move in around the administration of LBJ. These newer bosses were from industries that grew up after World War II, and which had some independence from Wall Street.

Now poor old Jerry is in the saddle, or Rockefeller's lap. One week he barks out about the soundness of the economy. Then several million workers are laid off. One week he talks of raising income taxes. The next week he asks to lower them. One week he yips about no raises in gas and oil prices because of the inflationary effect that would have. Then he asks that these prices be raised. One day he talks of no more war; then he claims maybe we will have to fight in Vietnam and the Mid- East. (Two wars in one week. He's going them all one better.)

But after all, how different is this pragmatism from those "leftists" and liberals who were telling us only a couple of years ago that if only the war in Vietnam would be over all the money spent there could be used to help us poor fellows at home. What a profound demonstration of knowledge about how this system operates! It almost appears that every time some force in the ruling class, liberal or conservative, or one of their lap dogs on the "left," tells us how things are getting better -- they grow profoundly worse. One reason for their inability to explain very much or predict with any accuracy is that they always see things standing still. and have little understanding of why or when things will change.

In other words, in a milk bottle you might have made the proposition a few years ago that if the Vietnam War were over, concessions to U.S. workers could be made at home. After all, this would have had some similarity to what did happen after World War II. But the world is much different today. The U.S. is not the big boy on the block any more.

The U.S. bosses have to keep up with the German, Russian and Japanese bosses now. This means squeezing extra profits-- profits lost overseas--out of the workers at home.

THE U.S. IS SLIPPING BADLY. IT HAS BEEN in decline for some time. But the manifestations of the decline aren't always apparent clearly or at once. There are certain signs along the way and then boom: the "new" situation. In this particular case, a contracting economy and mass unemployment.

There are many reasons given for the inflation- depression. The bosses never tire of telling workers that it is our fault because we ask for too much pay. Then they throw in the "large" government spending. They hold us responsible for this because the examples of "waste" they point to have to do with spending for schools, hospitals, and other things necessary to maintain a minimal society. Naturally, waste spending for the military, tax breaks for the rich, etc. are essentially ignored. In the past, the depression of the thirties and the recessions of the fifties and sixties were solved in the traditional manner. Over-production was curtailed, and surpluses were sold off. Military spending was increased, which provided quick stimuli for the economy and strengthened the ability of the bosses to hold power at home and abroad. In this manner fuller production was restored, and if military spending was kept within certain limits, inflation was modest.

In the late fifties another important step was expanded significantly to stimulate production. This was the fantastic era of credit buying. Anything and everything could be bought on credit by almost anyone who could show some steady income. This spending is now in the hundreds of billions.

The credit spending bender is now coming home to roost. Huge purchases of consumer items are based on the ability to pay them off over a period of time. In this way the ordinary profit is maximized because the interest rate more often than not doubles and triples the original price. And when the item is paid off, it's just about finished so a new item must be bought. Not only can't unemployed people pay off their debt, but they can't buy a new item on credit. An economy which relies on credit buying grinds to a halt when a sufficient number of buyers are eliminated from the market.

But a newer and more fundamental aspect is at hand in the current situation. It is true to a great degree that higher prices are, in fact, due to the need of the producers to continually raise their prices to maintain profits -- but this is not the entire story. The U.S. is in a state of decline. An important aspect of this decline is competition from new emerging bourgeoisies, like the Arabs, demanding more of a say over the price of resources they control. So, in this instance, energy in the form of oil is no longer cheap. U.S. bosses and other ruling classes have to pay through the nose for it. The Arab rulers, because of changed relationships of forces in the world, are now in a position to hold up the oil moguls for a bigger pay-off. The basis for this change of forces is the development of the ability of the Soviets to challenge the military might of the U.S. and its stooge Israel, by arming the Arabs.

THE ABILITY OF THE U.S. RULING CLASS to gobble up raw materials around the world for virtually nothing has declined. Prices won't automatically drop drastically when inventories fall. Therefore, consumption won't necessarily drastically rise. Control of the supply of raw materials is no longer solely in the hands of the U.S.


Another factor not fully appreciated is that military spending will not play the same role in the economy as it did before and after World War II, or prior to the Korean War. During the Vietnamese War, the U.S. was pouring billions in "dead" capital into Vietnam. While the U.S. was spending untold billions in Vietnam, its competitors all over the world were not. In Germany, Japan, France and elsewhere they were investing the overwhelming bulk of their capital in new productive equipment. In many areas of the world their technique outdistanced the U.S. Nor did they have the balance of payment problems the U.S. has because of large-scale military forces positioned all over the world.

Being the "policeman" of the world is very expensive. U.S. bosses are constantly bickering with their allies over this question. The answer they have generally received is "we thank you for protecting us from the Soviets, but we ain't going to pay for it."

If one capitalist nation is plowing huge sums of money into military hardware and others are spending money on modernization of new equipment and expansion, the Marxist concept of ''dead '' capital is fairly clear. True, profits can be made from the sale of a tank. But a new lathe can keep producing articles for a long time which can be sold for profits. One tank or plane can't produce another. When one country has the advantage over the other in turning out the means of production as opposed to military production the concept of dead capital becomes pretty clear. Military spending only seems extremely profitable when it is done with equanimity between major capitalist powers. Or, as in World War I and World War II, it requires developing new capital investments and new production technology.

At this stage of development military spending has turned into its opposite for U.S. bosses. The fundamental profit value involved in military spending is that it gives the U.S. (in this case) the ability to secure investments and to hold state power. In this sense it is necessary and profitable. However, if its competitors can avoid the same costs, they have an advantage. A store owner who doesn't pay rent obviously has an advantage over a competitor who does. It appears that this advantage that some capitalist powers have had over the U.S. will be less important as the bosses arm to the teeth to hold onto what they have, secure markets, fight for the source of supply and engage in combat with one another.

Within the last few years: Japan has been plowing 30 per cent of its national income back into productive investments, West Germany nearly 20 per cent, while the United States, with all those missiles and tanks to maintain, has invested only 10. The conclusion, in Melman's words, is this: "The relatively poor condition of plant and equipment in many United States industries is no mystery. United States policy traded off renewal of the main productive assets of the economy" -- transportation, manufacture, energy, you name it -- "for the operation of the military system." New York Times Book Review, 1/26/75 (on a recent book by Seymour Melman).

Finally, a crucial factor involved for the bosses in determining the price of things is their ability to exploit workers. Workers have proven over the years that they are going to resist exploitation. The class struggle never ceases. Surely the workers of various sections of the world have made important strides forward since the Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution and the emergence of the fledgling Soviet state in the hands of the working class taught the bosses one lesson they will never forget. Workers organized under the leadership of a communist party can win state power. They learned that a resolute communist party, armed with the science of Marxism-Leninism, can win. As a matter of fact the ruling class knows that it is no match for a united working class bent on revolution. The bosses fear communists more than death itself. Socialism means the death of the ruling class. Bosses understand that they can deal or handle all else. But they can't deal with revolution.

The early triumph of the Soviets made it possible for some workers all over the world to win concessions and hang on to them. Bosses' fears of workers moving to the left made them more skittish, to say the least, about dealing with the working class. This fact of life helps to explain the ability of workers in Europe and to some extent in Japan to close the gap between themselves and U.S. workers, and in some cases even surpass living standards of most U.S. workers. This is a fact of life U.S. bosses try to hide. Not many years ago it was fashionable for bosses to say that U.S. workers were the best paid, fed, etc. Therefore, they shouldn't complain too much. This is no longer the case.

Since the Russian Revolution there have been many fainter copies of the Russian Revolution. They are all ominous signs to the ruling class. The rulers understand that a serious move for power with no holds barred by the working class will do them in. Revolutionaries and radicals often underestimate this question. The ruling class does not. Many forces are imbued and limited by the same type of pragmatism which grips the bosses. Why not? We are all trained by the bosses. The rulers have imbued us with the notion that things will remain as they are. Given the current objective situation, if we can cut our umbilical cord from the ruling class, fasten onto Marxism- Leninism, the question of the seizure of state power is not as remote as it may appear.

ONE IMPORTANT WAY WORKERS ARE HELD back is to make it appear as if the ruling class is omnipotent. This is a sophisticated method. Take the energy or oil crisis. When it broke out, and to a lesser extent today, the answer provided by the liberals and their Trotskyite and "Communist" lapdogs was that it was all a trick by the oil companies to raise their prices. Now, if that is true, then it denies our party's premise: THAT THE U.S. RULERS ARE IN A STATE OF RAPID DECLINE AND THAT THERE ARE MANY THINGS IN THE WORLD THAT THEY CAN'T HANDLE IN THE SAME WAY THEY USED TO, NOTABLY THE SUPPLY OF RAW MATERIALS, THE CONTROL OF THE WORKERS, AND COMPETITION WITH ALL OTHER MAJOR INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES. So, by raising the cry of "trick" it denies the actual state of things. It therefore denies that the solution to the problem is the destruction of the state apparatus.

(See previous articles in Challenge-Desafio on other reasons for the current depression. These articles will be published in a forthcoming pamphlet.)

The ruling class faces the concrete problem of a decline in their rate of profit, not only as a result of the previous factors, but also because the workers are organized in many key industrial countries to sharpen the fight over the source of profits -- surplus value.

Surplus value is determined by the varying ability of the ruling class to pay the workers only the minimum necessary to enable them to keep producing. If a worker works eight hours, but his wages are equal to the amount of value he created in four hours' work, the value produced in the remaining four hours is the source of the bosses' profit -- the surplus value.

Profits are made only from the value added in production by workers' labors. Nothing gets produced in the absence of workers. Moreover, with all other things being equal, a worker who works longer hours will create more surplus value than one who works less hours at the same wage. Similarly, a worker who works, say, six hours and gets paid for eight will reduce the surplus value time extracted by the boss. (If the worker is still paid a wage equal to the value produced in four hours' work, the boss will only get surplus value equal to the value produced in only two remaining hours, thereby cutting surplus value in HALF from the amount produced in an 8-hour day.)

Thus, if through class struggle another hour or two is chopped off the entire work-day, profits are reduced. This is why the fight for the shorter work-day has always been the crucial fight of workers around the world.

Of course, it is true that bosses try to take back these workers' gains in many ways: raise prices, taxes, cut spending for social needs and services, etc. However, if this process goes too far, it becomes very dangerous for the bosses. Workers who can no longer win concessions or who can't maintain them once won tend to become angry and rebel. In any event, the results of workers winning the fight for the shorter workday qualitatively sharpens the entire class struggle.

The Russian Revolution has been a model for workers' rebellion. And, of course, workers and others are going to improve this model. The ruling class, always fearful of the example of workers' revolution, attempts to maneuver away from pushing workers to the brink and past. The bosses cannot resolve a decisive contradiction: they can't control or organize their economic system so that it works rationally. The root cause of this is the withdrawal of surplus value -- profits -- from society.

Under socialism, surplus value is eliminated in the sense that there are no private profits; the entire efforts of the workers are used to better society. All value, over and above wages, is channeled back into the needs of a workers' society as a whole -- the needs of workers and their families. This would range from new plants and means of production to social requirements like education, hospitals, etc. Since capitalism requires increasing private profits made from workers' efforts, it means increasing neglect of workers' needs. This creates an inevitable contradiction out of which the ruling class cannot maneuver.

Thus, it has been getting harder and harder for the bosses to oppress and rob all workers at will. This key problem, which is an integral part of the general demise of capitalism, has accentuated the falling rate of profit. This rate of profit, as Marx explained, is the crucial barometer of capitalist development.

The falling rate of return on the nation's invested capital is perhaps a greater threat to future capital spending than the shortage of funds. The trend in return has been down since the mid-sixties. If it continues, companies will be reluctant to undertake a good deal of needed investment. By far the most pessimistic of the forecasts of an impending capital shortage comes from the economists at the New York Stock Exchange. Their most likely scenario, the one that the Exchange has widely publicized, envisions a $500 billion gap between business investment demands and the supply of saving in current dollars over the/period of 19741985." (Business Week, Dec. 14, 1974)

The January 27th issue of The New York Times features on its front page a statement by Leonard Woodcock, the head of the U.A.W., who speaks as if he were chairman of the auto companies. He bitterly protests any suggestion to lower auto prices as a means of stimulating sales-hence employment. Woodcock says: "The nation's car makers cannot lower prices because it would mean losing money ... The auto companies' profit margins have been paper thin for more than a year. You can't cut prices if you are losing money on every car that is sold."

Obviously. if you have the same class outlook as the bosses this seemingly shocking statement from a union leader is, after all, not unreasonable. Woodcock is basing his statement on a similar analysis made in this paper, but is drawing different conclusions.

To sum up: The ruling class in this country is caught in a bind. They can't control the price of raw materials any longer, are unable to dominate world markets because of sharp competition from "allies," and now from the Soviets. U.S. bosses are no longer able to ride roughshod over U.S. workers. As their crisis deepens, our answer is to speed up the process and crush them via the revolutionary route. Woodcock, liberals, and their herd of fakes on the "left" say, "Don't be too tough on them; the bosses have lots of trouble let's try and save them."

THE U.S. RULING CLASS IS IN ITS DEATH throes. It is thrashing around to preserve its life. Internationally it is preparing for small wars and World War Three. At home it is intensifying its movement to fascism, as in Boston, to prevent workers from moving to the left and revolution. Additionally, it is consolidating its economic and political base in order to hold power longer.

Undoubtedly U.S. bosses would like to maneuver out of this deepening crisis short of World War. Nothing would please them more than to provoke a war between the Chinese and the Soviets, in which they could be neutral on the side of the Chinese. Such a war could knock out the Soviets as serious rivals. An unlimited Chinese army dumping- ground could prove to be a bonanza. Perhaps local wars could be limited, such as wars in Southeast Asia, Latin America, or the Mid-East. However, whatever the various plans the U.S. rulers have, it's not likely they can succeed in the long run, given the nature of the world today. (In the next sections, the development of U.S. fascism and world war is discussed in detail.)

Our main job is to prepare for the period ahead. It is going to be a period of war between various ruling class forces in their particular interests, or it will be a period in which the working class turns imperialist war into civil war -- revolution -- to save itself and to realize a future. All indications, presently and historically, point to the latter. This is why a small party geared to this analysis can emerge as focal point of the revolutionary forces. This has been the history of other revolutionary movements. It was their approach to war and fascism which enabled them to move ahead. They have shown us the way. We can learn from their errors to prevent reversals can of power which have occurred in countries like China and Russia. But a revolutionary party cannot evaluate things only as they are, it must try to see ahead -- to anticipate change. Those who see things only as they are, are finished in terms of making revolution. Marxist-Leninists base themselves on change.


It is useful to try to evaluate the relationship of forces in the world in order to anticipate developments. This should help us in developing strategy and tactics. This was especially helpful on the eve of full scale war in Vietnam. It enabled the party to play a more vigorous and vanguard role. It is important to try to ascertain the main contradiction for this period. If we can more clearly see developments, our party can use all its past experiences and apply them more constructively to the period ahead.

In trying to evaluate the primary contradiction, we should agree on a few criteria in order to make a determination. In thinking about the main contradiction, we are trying to determine it for the coming period. The main contradiction in the long run is the fight for power by the working class. This implies socialist revolution. Hence, the battle between socialism and capitalism. For a time in the past this was the primary contradiction. But it has been temporarily superseded by other contradictions which exist simultaneously. Some are: the battle between the forces of national liberation and imperialism, the inter-imperialist rivalries, and now specifically -- and seemingly new -- the fight between the new and old imperialists, i.e., the revisionists. Generally, the primary contradiction amongst all those that simultaneously exist is that contradiction which has the most impact on the world at a particular time and period. This contradiction is always marked by a struggle for political, economic and military supremacy. A brief look at history might make this clear.

Prior to through half of World War I the main contradiction was between imperialist states, especially in Europe. The German ruling class was contending for world markets and power. Its main antagonists were the French and British. Later the U.S. ruling class came into this struggle fully committed against Germany. Obviously, World War I was the most profound development in the world. This fight for the redistribution of world markets was a gigantic fight resulting in tens of millions of casualties, mostly workers. However prior to the war the class struggle was sharpening between workers and bosses. But even though workers were drawn into the war on the side of their particular ruling class, by the time the war was over the first socialist revolution was in process. As we know the workers took power in the new Soviet state, and the communist party of Lenin was the leader of revolutionary forces. So, in fact, we saw the primary contradiction change over a period of years from inter-imperialist rivalry to the struggle between different classes --the fight between socialism and capitalism.


From about 1919 to the end of the twenties it was pretty clear that this was the main contradiction in the world. The imperialists were driven out of Russia by the Red Army. The White Army was crushed, and despite ups and downs, socialist construction and socialist redevelopment of society was going on.

This historic development took away one sixth of the earth from the imperialists. This was a shattering blow to them. Additionally, in this period workers all over the world looked to the new Soviet state as their own. They also looked to emulate it, as economic instability became more the rule of the capitalist world. The German economy was in a shambles. Germany had been stripped of its colonies at Versailles. Germany was forced to pay reparations, and the cost of occupation. It was prevented from re-arming. Alsace-Lorraine was placed in the hands of France, while Danzig was named a free port, basically under Polish control.

The communist movement spread rapidly in Germany. Socialism was on the minds and in the feet of most German workers. Large communist movements sprang up in the rest of Europe.

Finally, the capitalist world was rocked when the U.S. had its major depression. Germany, which did start to make a little economic headway because of allied loans and concessions on reparation, etc., quickly hit bottom again. The German ruling class, as well as the international bourgeoisie was afraid that Germany would be the next country to fall to the working class and its communist vanguard. In order to reverse this trend, some stood aside or in many cases encouraged and aided the German bosses to opt for fascism. Make no mistake about it, fascism, in this case Nazism, is a response to the inability of the ruling class to hold power through bourgeois democracy, and to ward off the threat of socialism.

In the U.S. workers were faced with massive unemployment. Over 40% of the workers were out of work. A giant organizing drive of industrial workers started. This drive was largely inspired and led by the Communist party. The development of the C.I.O. was the main fruit of this period.

U.S. bosses were deathly worried about the growth of communist forces in Europe -- and now in their own backyard. The Roosevelt administration, which had been forced by U.S. workers into some concessions, showed its true colors. It declared an embargo on the Loyalist forces in the new democratic republic in Spain. The latter had come under siege internally by the "Five Insurgent Generals," led by the butcher Franco. The Hitler-Mussolini axis poured arms into Spain to help the fascists. The Loyalists were supported by the Spanish working class and by the new Soviet state. Workers the world over supported the cause of the Loyalists, despite their political weaknesses.

The question of which side you were on, or supported, in Spain was the touchstone of all questions in the world during that war. The bosses of the world basically supported the fascist Franco. Working class detachments from around the world were sent to aid the embattled Loyalists in order to stem the tide against the fascist butchers. There was the International Brigade from Europe, and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the U.S. (A significant sign of the times saw the Abraham Lincoln Brigade members forced to travel clandestinely to Spain because of Roosevelt's embargo.) The purchase and sale of arms to the Loyalists from the U.S. was prevented by the embargo. Roosevelt cloaked himself in the veil of "neutrality." But this "neutrality" was, in fact, a show of support for the fascists, inasmuch as they got all the weapons they needed from Italy and Germany. Thus, the U.S. bourgeoisie, despite its sweet talk, planted its class flag squarely on the side of Nazism.


So in Spain the focus of the world contradiction was sharp and clear -- revolution vs. counterrevolution. But the term primary or main contradiction doesn't mean the only contradiction. The German ruling class, led by the Hitlerites, was having a field day. The U.S., French, and British made concession -- trying to direct them eastward, to destroy Socialism -- after concession to the Nazis. They betrayed every offer the Russians made to stop the Nazis.

Then Hitler & Co. got the bright idea that they could take all the marbles. Not only did the German ruling class think that they could accomplish their aim to "destroy Marxism," the "Drang nach Osten," (march to the east); they also believed they could take over their imperialist rivals as well. Hitler felt a quick victory over the Russians could pave the way to the defeat of Britain. This, he hoped, would lead to a passive, possibly Nazi U.S.

Thus the contradiction between imperialists came into sharper play. But the main aspect of World War II was the attempt by German imperialism to destroy workers' revolution in the Soviet Union. (This became sharper as the Allies dragged their heels in opening up the second front in the west, and the speed with which the U.S. and others shifted gears near the end of the war created the conditions for the "Cold War.")

It is not the purpose of this section to try to evaluate the tactics of the working class forces (see section IV) which in effect was to organize and fight like hell against the Nazis while making alliances with that section of the imperialists which was in sharp contradiction with the German imperialists. But for all intents and purposes the German dream of the Thousand Year Reich world domination came to an end in the first Battle for Moscow, and was finally destroyed in the battle of Stalingrad.

As the capitalist allies saw the ultimate triumph of Soviet forces, they developed a number of stalling tactics to weaken the Soviets. They delayed the "second front." (This was to be an early Allied landing in Western France in 1942; it wasn't launched until June 6, 1944, and then also because the Western capitalist rulers realized the Red Army could conceivably drive all the way through Germany and into France.) Instead, in 1942 and '43 they grabbed parts of Africa, invaded Sicily and then Italy. (Actually Churchill wanted to go even further East, through the Balkans, to beat the Red Army to Eastern Europe.) All this was to avoid a real "second front" which would draw Nazi troops away from the Eastern Front and force Hitler to fight a two-front war, considerably relieving the pressure on the Red Army.

They purposely omitted bombing major German industry which they owned anyway and which would be necessary in their long- range struggle with the Soviets. Instead, they feigned militancy by bombing German population centers. Bosses always figure lives are not nearly as important as factories. (By the way the Soviets rarely, if ever, bombed German population targets.) By the time the war ended, the U.S., French and British ruling classes were on better terms with their Nazi counter-part than with their Soviet "allies." So the cold-war scenario was drawn, and it only took Churchill's Fulton, Missouri speech about the "iron curtain" in 1946 to formalize it. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan was the opening gun in the Cold War -- a warning to the Soviets of what was in store for them -- rather than the "end" of the war against Japan. (See Fear, War & the Bomb, by P.M.S. Blackett, Chapter 10.)

Thus, the contradiction seemingly shifted to socialism vs. capitalism. But several things were at play. By the mid-Fifties the Soviet state was turning into its opposite, so that the contradictions between Soviet rulers and U.S. rulers were turning more and more into contradictions between imperialists. Soviet errors over the years finally came home to roost. French, Japanese, German and other capitalists were, from a historical point of view, rather quickly getting back on their feet. They were beginning to groan under the domination of U.S. imperialism. On the one hand, U.S. bosses had to help the recovery of their counter-parts in Japan and Europe in order to prevent socialist revolution. But this only intensified imperialist contradictions, enabling Western Europe and Japan to compete on more nearly even terms with U.S. bosses.


ADDITIONALLY, AND MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, the Chinese revolution after World War II set the stage for the new period. This period of the sixties was marked by the battle for national liberation. The main focus of this era was to be in Vietnam. During World War II the Japanese were unable to complete their occupation of China. Beset by U.S. naval power, resistance in China by the revolutionary forces and threatened by full-scale Soviet military might, the Japanese imperialists were crushed. The revolutionary forces were then able to turn their full attention to Chiang Kai-shek and wipe out the counter-revolutionaries.

The success of the Chinese revolution was, of course, a victory for the world's workers. But even more so, it became a symbol and inspiration to all oppressed people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It proved that an industrially "backward" or even semi-feudal country could go socialist, that workers and oppressed people guided by Marxism-Leninism could take power. In addition, U.S. imperialism was exposed as the main enemy of the people of the world. U.S. military power was seen as the main obstacle people faced in their quest for liberation.

Given Chinese support, both politically and otherwise, many people moved militantly against U.S. bosses. This was true from Cuba to the Congo to Vietnam. Variations on the Chinese experience developed. In Cuba Marxism-Leninism was hidden from the workers and peasants until the middle-class leadership took power. In the Congo it was simply a case of national liberation, or a shift from one imperialist to another. Such was the case in Algeria. In Vietnam, under the tutelage of the north Vietnamese, the scenario was supposed to be similar to the Chinese: from "New Democracy" to socialism.

The victory of the Chinese revolution was a danger signal to the U.S. imperialists. Over the years the U.S. had made steady progress in penetrating Asia, Africa, and especially Latin America. The U.S. bosses viewed the Pacific Ocean as another Great Lake. Generally speaking, the Japanese were their only serious contender. Even the development of Soviet naval strength didn't seem very ominous to the U.S. as a real rival in the Pacific. The defeat of the Japanese appeared to have left the U.S. as the only viable Pacific force. The U.S. was poised to move into the Asian continent and take over from all its old imperialist competitors. Absolute control of the Pacific gave logic to the U.S. bosses' perspective of world domination. The "American Century" was to replace the Thousand Year Reich.

Another danger signal to the bosses' dreams of Pacific domination was the development of a socialist North Korean state, backed by the Soviets and the Chinese. U.S. bosses, emboldened by their apparent strength, and guided by their aspirations of world domination, attacked North Korea in 1950.

This war was to serve several purposes: it was to wipe out North Korea and secure U.S. Asian flanks; it was a warning to the Soviets and the Chinese that the Truman Doctrine extended beyond Europe to the rest of the world (U.S. bosses were saying stop now or face the consequences); it was a warning to all people moving towards liberation that their efforts would be dealt with ruthlessly by U.S. bosses; and it was intended as a possible stepping stone to an attack on China. While the Korean War didn't assume the same significance as Vietnam, it set the stage, and proved some things about the ability of the U.S. bosses to achieve their goals.

The U.S. invasion of North Korea ultimately met with stiff Soviet military support for the North Koreans. This reached its apex with the introduction of Soviet air power and anti- aircraft weapons which, startlingly, virtually blew the U.S. air force out of the skies.

The Chinese made it clear that they would brook no aggression against their territory. When U.S. forces almost reached the Yalu river Chinese military forces (then called volunteers) intervened in large numbers and quickly crushed the U.S. Army. Morale sagged throughout the U.S. armed forces. The U.S. population was quickly rejecting the Korean war. And by the time Eisenhower was running for president he had to make his main platform plank ending the Korean War.


The U.S. was not the only Pacific power. The Soviets clearly had their interests, and were not going to relinquish them. The Chinese weren't going to back off their revolution -- and were going to encourage others, even if the Soviets were fast entering their counter- revolutionary stage. The dream of U.S. invincibility was not to be taken seriously

But the only lesson U.S. bosses drew was that they made several military blunders: that they didn't bring enough forces to bear, and that they would have to adjust their tactics to take into account the development of Soviet imperialism as a possible conciliatory and sellout force.

Furthermore, in the fifties the Soviets had developed the atom bomb. During the Korean War General MacArthur was given the option to use the A-bomb. But when this fact became known, U.S. allies quickly made it clear they would not accept its use. And the U.S. population also made their feelings clear on this point by their rejection of the war. This forced Truman to retreat. He finally removed MacArthur from his Pacific command in what is now referred to as a real confrontation between sections of the ruling class.

Obviously, U.S. bosses were working with limits which they didn't fully comprehend. This brought them to the Vietnamese War.

Drawing on the success of the Chinese and Korean efforts, forces of national liberation were spurred on. The U.S. was indeed a "paper tiger," with teeth, but who could be forced to back off.

Forces of revolution gathered in south Vietnam as the objective situation deteriorated. U.S. bosses reacted violently, finally seeing this revolution as a real challenge to their Asian empire. More isolated than ever around the world, they began to move into Vietnam on a large scale. Driven by their various illusions of world domination, and racist myths that no oppressed people "could stand up to the Marines," etc., they were engulfed in People's War

As we know now, the Vietnam War was generally a very costly affair for the U.S. bosses. This was true militarily, politically and economically. We in PLP also learned the different political lessons spelled out in "Road to Revolution III"(see PL Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 3). By the time the Vietnamese war ended, the relationship of forces in the world had shifted dramatically.

The U.S. rulers were no longer the sole economic, political and military supercollossus they thought they were. The U.S. was just another imperialist country; perhaps the strongest, but one with a lot of problems. On the other hand the Soviets emerged as its chief rival. Japan and Germany were greatly strengthened as industrial producers and exporters. (China assumed its place as a growing industrial power taking the imperialist road, no longer the center of world revolution and no longer' the impetus behind national liberation. China still claims national liberation to be the primary contradiction in the world. This is now a hollow slogan tailored to meet China's needs for ties to so-called 'third world' reactionary leaders with whom she wants to curry favor.)

Perhaps it could be concluded that the Vietnamese war had the paradoxical aspects of being both the turning point for the development of U.S. imperialism, and for the development of socialism in China. By the end of the war in Vietnam it was clear that the U.S. had slipped badly as a world power. Despite massive intervention it couldn't defeat tiny North Vietnam and its allies in the south. And it had to rely on maneuvering by the Soviets to wiggle out. While the U.S. bosses needed to expend huge sums and resources in Vietnam (this limited many economic endeavors by U.S. bosses, such as more capital investments),the Soviets made modest military commitments and didn't have to use one solitary soldier to keep their hold over the area.

On the other hand, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) which had developed in China during the Vietnamese war came to an end. The left forces were defeated. The right took power behind the fig leaf of Mao. Soon, virtually all the "enemies and devils" which had been removed as "power-holders" during the GPCR were back in power; except Liu Shao-chi.

The defeat of the GPCR was the final turning point, the demise of the previous international communist movement. Obviously, the Mao leadership was afraid of the Vietnamese implications. They were afraid that real revolutionary efforts would provoke the U.S. into a war against them. And they probably thought that at that point the Soviet Union and the U.S. would join forces in such a war. Naturally, it was only a short step to the conclusion that stimulating or supporting revolutionary action anywhere might result in the same thing. Thus they finally evolved a strategy of making a détente with the U.S. for the purpose of splitting the Soviet Union and U.S. And they deduced from a national-interest viewpoint that the Soviet Union was the main danger because of its proximity to China. They saw the obvious decline of U.S. imperialism and the ascendancy of Soviet imperialism. (The falseness of this type of politics is spelled out in Road to Revolution III.)


Here, it might be useful to try to review lessons from this section. Many of these points are not fully dealt with in Road to Revolution III:

  1. The primary contradiction changes constantly based on the class struggle. Inter-imperialist rivalry can quickly give way to the contradiction between revolution and counter- revolution. One has to be constantly alert to all the contradictions which exist in order to make long range plans. Obviously, the revolutionary process isn't a simple upward and onward development (except in the long-range historical sense).
  2. It seems that during war between imperialists the workers, oppressed people, and revolutionary forces can make their largest strides. This has been true since The Paris Commune, in which the setting was the war between France and Germany. The First World War gave rise to the Russian Revolution. The Second World War gave rise to the Chinese Revolution. And the Korean and the Vietnamese Wars gave impetus to wars of National Liberation as distinct from workers' revolution. The reason this lesson is vital is because many revolutionaries are afraid of war. The Second World War intensified Soviet nationalism and protectionism. The horrors of war (not in any sense to be glib) weakened much revolutionary resolve amongst the workers as well as their leaders. Soviet policy is now obviously tailored to preventing revolution. Thus, war can give rise to revisionism and pacifism. It seems that the Chinese aren't too anxious to push revolution because this would encourage U.S. and Soviet retaliation. And finally, atomic weaponry has weakened the will of many revolutionaries. The fear of "world holocaust" has deep roots amongst all people. When faced with this dire possibility revolutionaries may tend to back off.

    So the question of war is two-sided. OUR MAIN LESSON IS NOT TO BE AFRAID OF WAR. WAR IS A SERIOUS BUSINESS. BUT WAR MEANS THE WEAKENING OF A PARTICULAR IMPERIALIST AND A CHANCE FOR WORKERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IMPERIALIST CONTRADICTIONS. One of the differences in the future is that in the next World War. and there is every reason to believe there will be one, the entire imperialist system, from the revisionist countries to the old- line imperialist countries, will go.

  3. By now we should be clear that fascism and war are inevitable under capitalism/imperialism. Just as revolutionary progress can soar under conditions of war, so too can revolutionary progress advance under fascism. This was particularly true during World War II. But again it is two- sided. In this country the revisionists, pacifists and liberals are always warning of the fascist consequences. Their strategy of fighting is to give in to all the excesses and brutalities of bourgeois democracy. We are constantly told of and shown the horrors of the fascist alternatives. Naturally, it's important to know these things, but to be overly frightened of fascism means political impotence.

We should realize that fascism isn't something we bring. It is inevitable under capitalism -- as its political and economic systems falter and collapse, as the people rebel against all the inequities of these systems. We should warn of war and fascism. We should organize against them. We should create United Fronts, without the ruling class, not for the purposes of acquiescing to the capitalist system, but for winning working class power. War and fascism are inevitable under imperialism. The only way to stop them is to do away with imperialism.

Neither war nor fascism necessarily leads to advance. Advance by the working class requires conscious political leadership. Revolution does not happen spontaneously. Nor do communists gleefully sit back and rub their hands saying: "Gee, war and fascism -- good; now we can make some progress." Communists take the lead in exposing the war-makers. They take the lead in opposing fascism. They take the lead in smashing those who visit these horrors on the working class. But communists stop being communists if they capitulate to pacifist or opportunist notions in order to "prevent" war and fascism.


In this current period we are generally involved in, and witnessing, the following contradictions: The imperialist world is generally divided into five spheres. One is the Soviet bloc plus countries in which it has growing or dominant control -- India, Cuba, Vietnam, Indonesia and a few others. Then there is the U.S. bloc. This includes almost all of Latin America, Canada, Pakistan, much of the Middle East (although it is in this area that the Soviet-U.S. rivalry is sharpest), and others. Then there is Europe. This area seems to be being picked over by the U.S. and the Soviet Union with the outcome still in doubt. You might say that the Soviets are picking up ground, inasmuch as they had no place to go but up in this area.

Japan has a unique situation. It has become the third most important producing nation in the world. It has a very small military force. At this point it is primarily tied to U.S. imperialism much like Europe. But, like Europe, it is casting around to secure independence. Its main outlook now seems to be in developing Soviet trade. But it is also casting a furtive eye on China. Japan has much in common with European countries. It is not self-sufficient. It must develop alliances in order to survive.

Then there is China. China has a vast potential in every way -- manpower, markets and resources. Its main limitation at the moment is that it is industrially backward compared to the other imperialist countries. Its main enemy has now become the Soviets and its main ally has seemingly become the U.S. If there are no dramatic changes in the class struggle during the next twenty years it seems like the alliances in the world which will predominate will be between China and the U.S. on the one hand and everyone else on the other. Of course this could all get knocked into a cocked hat if there is a revolutionary upsurge.


Naturally, within all this inter-imperialist rivalry there are numerous other contradictions, in addition to the main one among the imperialist states themselves. There is the contradiction between the newly emerging ruling classes and the 'old money' crowd. The sharpest of these is in the Middle East. A recent Challenge-Desafio article goes into this at length. However, we should underline the fact that U.S. oil companies no longer have the sole voice in this area. The Arab overlords have their aspirations. And it seems that they are in the process (a long-range one, to be sure) of developing the Mid-East into an industrial producer. This would be based on a combination of oil capital and Egyptian labor. Thus, these forces constantly play off the U.S. and Soviet imperialists for their own ends. This explains the constant shifting from pro-Soviet to anti-Soviet positions. The touchstone of this process is the U.S. policy on Israel. As we know, in the past the U.S. policy was based on Israeli fascism. The recent Mid-East war changed this. Now the U.S. is breaking with this policy and getting more secure in its relations with the Arab oil chiefs. It may even follow that there will be some hind of Israeli-Soviet détente or alliance. Nor does this rule out further war between the Arabs and Israelis. Bur for the moment, the Israeli fortunes are on the wane, sacrificed on the altars of US imperialism.

Another similar situation, but not quite so intense, exists in Latin America --particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Brazil is a large country with vast resources. It relies on U.S. investments, but is too large a plum for the national bourgeoisie to give away forever. At some point in its development this will terminate. In Argentina there is a sharper battle between European and U.S. capital. The U.S. will win out in the short run because it is much more self- sufficient, especially in oil, than Europe. However, the national bourgeoisie will eventually come more into sharper conflict with U.S. bosses.

While these various groupings of bosses scramble with one another for the world's markets and resources, older capitalist economies are in decline. On the one hand the classical Marxist explanation of over-production and the falling rate of profits is in force. The rate of profits is bound to fall in the industrial countries as it gets harder and harder for them to completely control and exploit all countries at will. Today there are more imperialist countries than ever. China, the Soviet Union and some of the newer emerging countries join the old lists of the U.S., Europe and Japan. This intensifies competition, limiting exploitation and profits.

Other countries are no longer the simple victims of imperialism. All national bourgeoisies want a bigger piece of the pie. And they can all play the game of Russia -to - U.S.- to -Japan. (The political version of from "Tinker to Evers to Chance.") This in turn spirals prices upward and generally worsens conditions: the ruling classes cut services as profits fall. This sharpens class struggle.

One of the main problems generally is that the international communist movement has been wiped out by its own internal weaknesses. -- its capitulation to the "national interest" and thus to the private profit system. A new movement must be built. Workers cannot contest for power without a vanguard party. The other side of this process is that the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat has not been wasted on the workers of the world. One indication of this is the way in which the revisionists still must pay lip service to Marxism-Leninism in order to hold power. This is still true even in the Soviet Union and certainly in China. Recently, the liberal reforms in Portugal allowed for a May Day. One million people turned out for it -- one eighth of the country's population!

Then there is the general anti-imperialist consciousness built during decades of various levels of anti-imperialism. For example, in the U.S. there was the Vietnam experience. By the war's end, a good many people understood the war was not in their interest, but in the interest of a small ruling class. A good deal of the sentiment was clearly pacifist. But make no mistake about it -- U.S. bosses' hands are momentarily stayed by anti-imperialism. These lessons are carried on to the next generation. While much of this feeling is routed into cynicism, or "you-can't-change-things" philosophy, it can still be a positive force on which to build.

The same is true of anti-racism. While the bosses are pushing racist ideas and practices harder, there is more opposition to racism than ever. This is true of minority people, and the logic of the class struggle is eroding many racist myths among white workers, too. No workers can win while divided from their fellow workers. While naturally anti-racism and anti-imperialism are not yet dominant, counter-trends strongly exist. People's consciousness is more than sufficient to build on. These are strong building blocks towards the socialist development.


Also within the newer industrial countries, particularly in Latin America, the newer working classes are fighting for what is theirs. So the class struggle grows as imperialism declines. But at the moment the thing which predominates as the primary contradiction in the world is inter-imperialist rivalry. This is true even though in a subjective way we would prefer to believe otherwise (i.e., that the class struggle of workers vs. bosses is primary). But when faced with the question: in what area is the working class in, or close to, a contest for power? -- the answer is none. The more likely occurrence is war between the Soviet Union and the U.S., before a workers' challenge for power develops.

What makes this particularly the case is the strength of revisionism. In Western Europe, the Soviet Union and in China, revisionism has momentarily won out. The working class will have to refute and defeat revisionism before it can win. In the meantime the revisionists in China and the Soviet Union are using a left cover to build imperialism. And for the most part, from what one can see, they are getting away with it for the moment.

The current period once again has many similarities to the period preceding World War I. There is mounting inter- imperialist rivalry coupled with collusion. The air abounds with the words of peace. Nixon travels to Peking and Moscow for détente. But the bombs are being built more profusely than ever. There is sharpening class struggle as workers and the oppressed people are being forced to pay the price of capitalist crisis. There is a fledgling communist movement, in our country and elsewhere. It seems weak but it is inherently strong, because it is rooted in history and based on current reality. As the imperialists go at one another's throats, the workers and their vanguard can get stronger. The differences are that there are atomic weapons-and imperialist states that call themselves communists. But the laws of Marxism-Leninism are in full force. War between bosses no matter what they call themselves is inevitable. (Remember Hitler called his movement 'national socialism.' This was an attempt by the German ruling class to mask its real policies with a left cover. This was necessary because of the consciousness of German workers.)

At this moment in history the bosses are restraining themselves from war. They know that atomic war would be very costly and open the way for their demise. But a seriously threatened ruling class, either by its own efforts or through one of its client states, would be forced to opt for war. As inter-imperialist rivalry grows sharper collusion will give way to antagonism.

The highest level of collusion between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was achieved at the Glassboro conference in N.J. in 1967. There, the "Spheres of Influence" policy was formalized. For a number of years collusion between the "superpowers'' was the primary aspect of their relationship. However, as we have pointed out from time to time, there were built-in antagonisms inherent in their relationship. These antagonisms are coming to the front. They are sharpening. The Mid-East crisis, the Cyprus War, and the intensifying general economic and political rivalry bear this out. These inter-imperialist contradictions will lead to war. Collusion may still be the primary aspect of the relation,. but the gap between collusion and antagonism is rapidly closing.

When war does come, its intensity and length will be determined by the strength of the existing communist movements which would have the strength to disarm the warmakers. Thus, building a communist movement is the only salvation for the working class, its only chance for life. Remember, between World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the ruling cliques killed over 100,000,000 people They wounded around 500,000,000. For those who think they wouldn't use atomic weaponry for profits, think again.

There was a very short transition from the end of World War I to the Russian Revolution, in which the main contradiction shifted from inter-imperialist rivalry to socialism vs. capitalism. We believe the contradiction can be changed from inter-imperialist rivalry to socialism vs. capitalism again as the new war develops.


During the coming period building our Party is crucial. This seemingly obvious statement is not fully understood by any of us. The working class can win only if it has a powerful communist party. Only a working class led by a strong communist party can defeat fascism. Only a growing vigorous communist party can place workers on the offensive against racism and for major economic and political gains. The question of the Party is central to the life of the working class.

For their part, the imperialists cannot develop fascism and war without winning at least a significant section of the working class to part or all of their reactionary outlook. The imperialists are now trying hard to erase all anti-imperialist consciousness from the minds of U.S. workers. To the degree they fail, this limits their possible action against rival imperialists.

In this period of intense competition and sharp class struggle, the bosses will try to shift the blame for workers' deteriorating condition away from themselves and onto others. At first, it will be to minority workers and the so-called "illegals"; then to workers in other countries who are supposedly willing to work for less pay. And finally they will try to combine all these into a racist jingoistic patriotism in order to try to convince workers here to fight against other countries' workers.

The biggest obstacle to this ruling class plan is our Party and our line of uniting workers of all nations in a common struggle against all the imperialists.

This is not a hollow threat. During World War I, when the imperialists tried to draw workers onto their side, Lenin fought this nationalist scheme. Inside the Russian revolutionary movement, he exposed one after another "left" leader who made a case for Russian workers to shoulder arms against German workers, and the Bolsheviks exposed similar fakers in other countries as well. Unity under the bosses, for all intents and purposes, was the nationalist slogan during that period. The terms motherland and fatherland were trumpeted from the big business press around the world (sad to say, they continued to be used by the Soviets and Chinese even at their best). But the little Bolshevik Party, with its bold line of international workers' unity, proved to be the downfall of the Russian Empire and turned the whole world situation around.

Today, the same imperialist/nationalist propaganda machine is being cranked up again. We must alert all workers against being drawn into the bosses' war. We must try to win workers to take power from the bosses, using the enemy's weaknesses, economic and military, which are often most apparent during wartime.

As the strength of the working class grows, as our Party grows, and as the bosses' contradictions deepen and multiply, we must be prepared for fascism.

Many people have a lot of questions about fascism. For example, how do you identify it? As often as not, it is dressed in a business suit rather than jackboots and a swastika armband (more on this point below). But regardless of its dress, there is a mass fascist movement growing in our country today. It is virile. It is not the usual bunch of freaks. This movement is well-heeled. It has an open and a covert leadership. It is backed by the bosses in order to prevent workers from moving to the left. And it diverts workers and others from the burning issues of jobs, living conditions and the need to fight back against a new boss-controlled war


THE U.S. RULING CLASS' RATE OF PROFIT (and often the profits themselves) is declining. They no longer control the world economically or militarily. The Vietnam war bled them economically into near bankruptcy and showed the. world's rebellious workers that the U.S. military machine could be beaten.

They are faced with four immediate problems:

  1. How to streamline their economy at home to compete better in the international marketplace (this means controlling those U.S. companies which are trying to turn a quick buck by private deals with the Arabs and others, often at the expense of the "national interest" of the U.S. capitalist class).
  2. How to keep workers at home from rebelling as the rulers try to squeeze more profits (lost around the world) out of them.
  3. How to prepare for military aggression against "uncooperative" newly-rich ruling classes in such areas as the Mid-East, and eventually a military confrontation with their chief rivals -- the Russian capitalists.
  4. How to whip up a new patriotic fervor ("Deutschland Uber Alles") so that masses of people can be conned into supporting their polities, including fighting a war against rebelling workers and peasants in some other country, or within our own country. (Right now, after Vietnam, they would have trouble getting an army up to fight anyone anywhere.)

Fascism is the obvious solution for the problems for the U.S. ruling class. And while some of them may have some qualms (the "democratic processes" are very useful if only to fool people about what's really happening), they are moving fairly rapidly in this direction.

The enemy must be some group which can be made to appear as a threat to the majority of U.S. workers (some group besides the U.S. bosses, that is). That means the racial minorities -- the black people, immigrants, "foreigners," Jews . (The N.Y. Times on 2/6/75 reports that in predominantly white Rosedale, N.Y., "four black families have reported incidents and a cross was burned on the lawn in front of a Jewish family's home.")

The campaign has begun--the hysteria over "illegal aliens" who are supposedly "taking our jobs " (as if one's nationality should now determine who is to eat and who is to starve) has become nationwide.

But the center of the fascist movement today is in Boston, Massachusetts and like other fascist movements it is organized around the question of racism! In this instance, it is against the black population.

In the instance of the raids carried out throughout the country against foreign born workers, the bosses use the machinery of the State itself, the Immigration Department, to carry out fascist activities.


The way this movement got started goes something like this:

Many racist theorists are located in the large universities. The center of the university system in our country is in Boston. Harvard University is the main center of ruling class education. Therefore, it was no accident that one of the leaders of the racist wolfpack was Harvard Professor Richard Herrnstein.

The gist of the racist theories runs along these lines: Minority people and all workers are born inferior to the offspring of the middle and upper classes. Therefore, they are dumb, stupid, and animal-like. (Probably one of the most hysterical pieces suggesting genetic inferiority was published in the January 19, 1974 issue of The New York Times Magazine.).

The logical conclusion to this nazi line is that minorities and other workers "don't need" education, food or jobs. Herrnstein and others went as far as saying that unemployment was a question of genetics. In other words, unemployment has nothing to do with bosses and their racist system. Unemployment, they claim, is an inherited characteristic, like the color of your eyes.

The cultural media, from the press to TV, push all the aspects of these nazi myths. So when the bosses in Boston, who are connected to bosses all over via the Kennedys and other ruling-class representatives, cooked up the plan of busing, they knew that a racist movement could be organized around it.

They created the climate for this racist movement by fostering racist ideas and actions. Their lap dogs on the right, like Boston's Louise Day Hicks and John Kerrigan, were ready to supply the open leadership and organizational muscle. Families of policemen and other petty city bureaucrats could be pushed to create the mass base for the fascist movement.


Obviously if the liberal leadership in Boston, centered around the same Kennedy family, were really interested in preventing racist terror and violence against black children, they could have prevented it by police action (not to mention a mass anti-racist educational campaign). However, they cooked up the busing plan knowing full well the organized fascist response that would result.

The police and army are under their control, and they use just enough police pressure to keep the racists within certain bounds, but not enough force to crush it. Its open leaders, like Hicks and Kerrigan, are allowed to run around uttering the vilest racial slanders. And, of course, the racist professors at large institutions like Harvard are still grinding out Hitlerite myths of racial superiority.

One might still ask what makes the fascist movement in Boston special. First, the racist movement there is rather large, given the size of movements these days. On varying occasions, they have gotten about five thousand people on the streets. Second, it is violent. At this point it is not openly armed. But this racist movement, which has already lasted over a year, violently attacks black children--and adults--while smiling police stand around and watch.

Recently, the Nazi White People's Party issued. material in Boston claiming leadership of this movement and that the police were sympathetic to them. We don't believe this movement needs the leadership of these crazies; it already has plenty of able nazis on hand who are so-called legitimate bourgeois leaders. However, based oh eyewitness accounts, the police generally look favorably on the Nazis. The police and the Nazis have identical points of view, so those who call for more police and army power really don't understand the role of the police and the bosses' government.

Thus, the ruling class has set off a racist movement which is well organized and violent. President Ford has openly sympathized with it. It is organized around the line of the liberal racist theorists who operate out of Harvard. At the moment, the main purpose of the movement is to split the working class and prevent it from uniting against the bosses' assault on working people.

Workers today, more than ever, need to unify to fight for jobs. Bosses realize that mass unemployment produces dangers for them so they develop schemes to prevent workers from acting in unison for their own interests. In the long run, the bosses are going to opt for full-scale fascism as their problems at home and abroad intensify, seriously threatening their rule. Thus, they start their fascist activities, not when they are defeated, but to prevent that moment from arriving. The fascist movement is pushed harder while their system still has some life left.

Mass terror against sections of the working class is one important aspect of the fascist development. This is what is going on now in Boston. We cannot sit back and think that this is just another bad thing we have to suffer. Or, "It can't happen in our city." Boston is the tryout camp for this movement. Bosses will learn lessons from this and try it elsewhere. Mass lynch mobs roaming the large cities of our country is in the plans of the rulers.

To date, our party and others, in groups like the Committee Against Racism (CAR), have been fighting hard against the manifestations of racism in Boston. But the fight against racism must be sharply increased to give the fascist scum the beating they deserve.


Racism and fascism are two rungs on the same rotten ladder. Racism which leads to fascism, affects everyone. The attack against black workers and their families in Boston is an attack against all. Its purpose is to stop all workers from fighting the bosses. The lessons of Germany must never be forgotten. Hundreds of millions of workers--in every corner of the world--were casualties in World War II. But workers proved they could unite and defeat Hitlerism.

It may be that if the German Communist Party had fought more sharply -- and earlier -- against the fascists, and even before them against the racist anti-Semitism which was widespread around the country, the world would be different today.

Historical Monday morning quarterbacking doesn't help much. But we have two concrete examples from our own Party's recent experience which make the same point:

Last year in San Francisco (which might almost be called the Boston of the West Coast) the ruling class and their press whipped up tremendous racist hysteria over the so-called "Zebra killings" in which, allegedly, black gangs were murdering innocent white people on the streets. The whole thing was a complete fabrication. But the headlines screamed, many white people wee frightened, gun stores sold lots of guns, black people were frightened, and the police started a Gestapo- style stop-and-search campaign against virtually every black man on the streets.

Our Party took to the streets with leaflets and with demonstrations to protest this racism. At first we were the only ones out there. (Many people were afraid to go out at all.) But we were bold, and loud, and persistent -- even picketing the racist Mayor's house on a Sunday. We were undeterred by the hostile or frightened remarks we got at first. And eventually the tide turned, more and more joined the protests, and the fascists' trial balloon was burst.

In Boston. on the other hand, when the ruling class started a hysterical racist press campaign -- around the same time -- because of some alleged killing of a white woman by a group of black people, the leaders of our Party there at that time reacted in fear. When their leaflets were met by hostile remarks, when one of their homes was picketed by the racists, they turned and ran. They developed a "new" theory that this is not the time for bold action but rather for ideological study and discussion. Needless to say, they no longer are in our Party nor exist as a political force. (In contrast, our present Party group was out on the streets last Fall, on the very first day of the busing operation, battling racists.) But the fascists in Boston have made gains.

Let us make no mistake about it. Standing up to racism is not always easy. Ask any black man or woman whose family tree is drenched with the blood of parents and grandparents, and on and on.

Especially today, as millions of working people suddenly find themselves non-working people, and look around for someone to blame, as the big business press whips up racist movements against black people, immigrants and others, many people are going to be influenced.

But communists are not straws in the Gallup-poll winds. And you can't beat racism by running away from it. If you run, you join the racists, and -- more serious -- you leave the door wide open for the fascists. You beat racism only by standing up to it (as our Party is doing today in Boston), and you win others to join the fight only as you fight.


As we said earlier, fascism does not always wear a swastika armband. As the U.S. imperialists find themselves in more and more desperate trouble, they will try to come up with a way of: winning working people voluntarily to support them: in their wars abroad and voluntarily to give up their living conditions at home.

For that they need a clean-cut image, a nice but-firm guy, a sales pitch that tells people not to ask for themselves but to give more and more and more "for their country." Sound familiar?

Yes, the Kennedy bandwagon (or any reasonable facsimile they can glue together) might well be the vehicle for fascism to come to the U.S. Calling forth patriotic slogans to "make America America again," Kennedy or some imitator might very well declare that any group of workers who "refuses to give up his paid holidays for the 'nation's good'" is unpatriotic and dangerous and maybe even in league with the Russians or Japanese.

Make no mistake about it: The gray flannel fascists need terror just as much as the swastika fascists to enforce their rule. The U.S. ruling class is not only in an economic crisis - -it is in a political crisis. The bosses are deeply worried about the possibility of worker rebellions. They wake up sweating from nightmares about what almost happened in the thirties when millions of unemployed workers threatened the system.

The gray flannel fascists will do their best to sway the masses of workers to work longer hours for less pay voluntarily (for the "national interest"), but when that fails -- as it must fail! -- their silver tongues will slide over and they will show their fangs. They will be as ruthless as any storm- troopers in trying to crush resistance.

Don't forget it was Bobby Kennedy who began implementing the anti-Communist McCarran Act, it was his brother Jack who sponsored the anti-labor Kennedy- Landrum-Griffin Act, and then there was the Bay of Pigs, and letting the Birmingham murderers of four black children get away scot free.

The Kennedy types are watching the current fascist movement very closely to try to see how far people can be pushed. And when they make their move -- if indeed fascism comes in its gray-flannel uniform this time -- they will keep the Boston racist mobs in the wings, ready to mobilize if they are needed.


Already, as reported in recent issues of Challenge- Desafio, many forces in Boston are coming forward and uniting to fight back. Many more forces will enter the fray. The bosses can be driven back all along the line. Ultimately, workers and their allies will wipe the fascists and those who spawn them off the face of the earth.

The fight of workers for socialism -- the fight to seize state power and run this country for our class, the fight against bosses' control and their racist terror methods of rule --must be fought now.

We cannot wait for the gas ovens and crematoria to start up.

Again we see the Party's role -- and building the Party -- as the key task if we are serious about defeating fascism. As we recruit to the Party, and as we organize and join others in bold working class action, we must simultaneously strengthen our understanding of communist politics and overcome some important weaknesses.


The internal fascist development will depend largely on four political question -- and how much the ruling class can spread them among the working class. Without these four props, fascism hasn't got a leg to stand on. We must fight these four "isms" among our fellow workers and students, and, first of all, within our own Party.

  1. The first is racism. As stated, the first barrage of the ruling class will be (already is) aimed at minority workers and foreign-born workers as the main targets. They are the traditional scapegoats. To the degree racist ideas and practices are exposed and repelled, and to the degree the working class is united, to that degree will the working class be able to give a good account of itself in the face of fascist attacks.

    Within our Party, we must root out the tendency to be casual about racism -- "ho-hum, another racist professor or another racist expulsion or another case of discrimination on the job." No! The next step is, "he-hum, another lynching, another gas-chamber.''' Every effort of every member of our Party must be directed towards winning people away from racist attitudes and towards destroying racism. Anything less makes us "part of the problem."

  2. The second is pacifism. In our Party and in our class, there is a great deal of pacifism. We tend to shy away from violence, or situations where violence is inherent -- even, unfortunately, from strikes.

    Violence is a daily state of affairs, on and off the job, for millions of workers. Industrial accidents, diseases, speed- up, layoffs, conditions in which workers (even more so for minority workers) are forced to live under capitalism -- all these, and more, violently victimize millions of workers every year. In turn, these are the conditions for training workers to deal with violence, and to learn how to use it against the ruling class However, a good deal of opportunism exists in our ranks in the shops and unions because we are afraid of violence. Violence will mount in the coming period. This will be due to the general upsurge in the class struggle and the drive of the ruling class to suppress workers.

    We need more ideological training on this question and less phony karate classes which will never prepare anyone for anything.

  3. The third "ism" is patriotism. The whole idea of a "national interest" is a fraud! It says that there is a common cause for the oppressors and the oppressed as long as they live in one geographic area called a country. Meanwhile the oppressors continue to oppress and rake in their profits, their capital, and their interest.

    The bosses would have you believe that you should risk your life and your children's lives to prevent some other country's boss from taking over his business.

    And they hammer at this theme every day all day on radio, TV and newsprint (buy American!) with the flags and the pledges and the anthems -- and while workers stand and salute, they've got their hands in our pockets.

    We say a boss is a boss is a boss in any country. And the only interest workers have is their class interest--and that is international.

    One of the biggest sources of support for this nationalism (as well as racism and pacifism) comes from the revisionists who are always looking for ways to muzzle the class war. During the coming period we will have to strengthen our efforts against revisionism. More exposures of the Soviets and Chinese will be necessary. In our country, the ruling class will lean on various stripes of "lefts" to try to pull the wool over people's eyes.

    We have had a good deal of experience on this score during the anti-war movement. One of the lessons we should draw is that we should not separate ourselves from the workers because this group or that group is there. We are going to have to fight for our ideas based on practice with other workers. We can't leave the auto industry, for example, because "Communist" Party members and Trotskyites are there. We made this mistake in the anti-war movement.

    Having an independent line doesn't mean exclusiveness. In our own Party, one of the biggest developing weaknesses is to shy away from, or abdicate, class struggle. Often the excuse is used that the workers aren't ready for vigorous leadership. "They're not ready" to do this or that. But the facts are that workers all over the country are fighting harder than ever, resorting more than ever to strikes and job actions. This will probably increase. We have to participate, encourage sharpness, and move boldly into leadership in the class struggle if we want to win workers politically.

    Here, a big danger would be to ally ourselves with the liberal imperialists. However, we must have a real base in the working class and be able to work with groupings of forces who are seriously opposed to fascism, and to work with forces who can be won away from fascist ideas. We must be prepared to work in various organizations where these potential allies may be. (For more on this, see section IV.)

  4. The fourth "ism" is anti-Communism

    In the coming period, U.S. imperialism and others will marshal tidal waves of anti-communism. They realize that to succeed in their schemes they will have to try to prevent workers from moving to the left and to Marxism-Leninism. Thus, they will single out the most militant and resourceful era of socialism and communist leadership to attack. They hope that their anti-Communist tirades can keep the working class from moving to the only solution possible for the working class.

    As their economic demise becomes apparent, the shriller they will become. This is one reason the publishing world is printing tens of millions of the anti-Communist scribblings of Solzhenitsyn. The ruling class would love to discredit the socialist achievements of the first workers' state. They are ruthlessly attaching the first dictatorship of the proletariat. The only way open for them to do this and to suck in large numbers is to resurrect the anti-Stalin slanders and horror stories. This is intended to create cynicism, futility and passiveness.

    Our party stands in the forefront of the defense of-and learning from-the experiences of the first workers' state. We cannot be driven from our position of respect for and learning from the experiences of the first leadership of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only we will determine what was useful and incorrect in the practice of Stalin and other communist leaders (Road to Revolution III initiates an evaluation of many of these questions of importance and draws some conclusion.) The ruling class hated the leadership of Stalin because under his leadership the first workers' revolution was consolidated. They are petrified of it happening again. The ruling class knows full well that there is no return from another workers' revolution, especially in this country.

    To hasten that day, we need to examine more closely the international communist movement during the last two periods of inter-imperialist wars--and learn from both the achievements and the mistakes.


What shall our line be now that inter-imperialist rivalry has emerged once again --temporarily -- as the dominant contradiction on the world scene? A look at the other recent two major periods of inter-imperialist rivalry is instructive.

In the first period, roughly from the turn of the 20th century to the end of World War I, the Social Democratic forces of Europe produced three lines to meet the threat of growing reaction and war. One line called for defending the border of one's "own" country in the event of an invasion. This line came to be known as "defense-ism." The second line called for disarmament of all nations and constituted the line of the peace movement of the time. The third line condemned all sides of the inter-imperialist rivalry and called for converting the imperialist war into a civil war between the workers and the bourgeoisie of all countries.

Needless to say, the first two lines constituted two variations on opportunism. The first, calling for the support of one's national bourgeoisie, was perhaps more blatant. However, the second was no less dangerous, and maybe more so, because it was international in its application. The class war line received the support of the Bolsheviks and represented the dearest expression of revolutionary politics and practice among the Social Democrats of Europe. It finally became the line of all those who remained within the fold of Marxism during World War I.

Here is the way Lenin put the whole issue in 1915, when arguing against the anti-war movement of that time: "The temper of the masses in favor of peace often expresses the beginning of protest, anger and a realization of the reactionary nature of the war. It is the duty of all Social-Democrats to utilize that temper. They will take a most ardent part in any movement and in any demonstration motivated by that sentiment, but they will not deceive the people with declaring that a peace without annexations, without oppression of nations, without plunder, and without the embryo of new wars among the present governments, is possible in the absence of a revolutionary movement. Such deception of the people would merely mean playing into the hands of the secret diplomacy of the belligerent governments and facilitating their counter- revolutionary plans. Whoever wants a lasting and democratic peace must stand for civil war against the governments and the bourgeoisie." (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, pp. 315-16).

In the second period of inter-imperialist rivalry, from the early thirties through World War II, a different line became dominant among the Communist Parties of the world. The line was basically an anti-war movement line and is summed up in the concept of "the united front against war and fascism."

This line developed through various stages, first taking the road of peaceful coexistence with all governments: At the Seventh Congress of Soviets (Jan. 1935), Foreign Minister Molotov of the USSR said: "Recognizing the right of every people to choose any political and social order for itself, the Soviet Government does not practice discrimination between states according to their internal regime. While it considers National Socialism and racialism the mortal enemy of all working people and of civilization itself, the Soviet Government, far from preaching a crusade against countries where these theories prevail, has attempted to preserve normal diplomatic and economic relations with them as with other countries" (A. Rothstein, A History of the USSR, p. 253).

The Soviet representative to the League of Nations made the same point in 1936, but called for an alliance of socialist and capitalist countries against fascism: "Our collaboration with other countries and our participation in the League of Nations are based on the principle of peaceful co-existence of two systems -- the Socialist and the capitalist -- and we consider that the latter includes the Fascist system. But Fascism is now ceasing to be an internal affair of the countries which preach it" (A. Rothstein, A History of the USSR, p. 253).

The same anti-war line developed in the United States. The U.S. Communist Party (C.P.U.S.A.) as early as 1937 began organizing a "broad front" of forces against war and fascism. At its tenth Convention (1938) it adopted the line of a "democratic front." At this point, William Z. Foster, the head of the C.P.U.S.A., explained that "with the development of strong left trends in the Roosevelt wing of the Democratic Party...the conception of the people's front was broadened to include this Democratic element, along with such bodies as the American Labor Party, Minnesota Farmer Labor Party, Washington Commonwealth Federation, the trade unions, the National Negro Congress, the American Youth Congress, and so on. This 'democratic front,' says the main resolution of the convention, 'under the conditions prevailing in our country, represents the beginning of the development of a real people's front against reaction and fascism.' This was essentially what later became known as the 'Roosevelt coalition."' (Foster, History of the C.P.U.S.A., p. 382)

After the outbreak of World War II in Sept. 1939, but before the invasion of the Soviet Union, the C.P.U.S.A.-- although it declared the war a rivalry between imperialisms for world domination -- called for a program only partly stressing class struggle: "protect and improve living standards, democratic liberties, and the right to organize and strike." But it made a peace slogan the central rallying cry, "Keep America Out of The Imperialist War" (History of the C.P.U.S.A., p. 388). What Foster lauded most in this period was the C.P. support of the American Peace Mobilization whose program went like this: "For a People's Peace. For a peace without indemnities, without annexations, based upon the right of all people in subjugated or colonial countries to determine their own destinies" (History of the C.P.U.S.A,, p. 388).

What a far cry are these formulations from Lenin's clear call for turning the imperialist war into a civil war against the capitalists of all countries. While there is much in these formulations that bona fide communists could support, these noteworthy demands are made in the context of giving greater emphasis to 1) a coalition of liberal capitalists, social - democrats , revisionists of various kinds, labor bureaucrats; and the C.P. under the leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie ("Roosevelt coalition") and 2) peace rather than class struggle. What this finally led to -- after the Soviet Union was invaded by Hitler and the USA attacked Japan -- was a call for "Everything for National Unity!" and "Everything for victory over worldwide fascist slavery!" (History of the C.P.U.S.A., p. 409) The C.P.U.S.A. so zealously followed these principles that it agreed to a suspension of strikes for the duration of the war. And while Foster tries to put the blame for C.P. revisionism wholly on the shoulders of Browder, it is clear that the peace policy and war policy of the C.P.U.S.A., calling for unity of the "good" capitalists and the communists against fascism, had to lead logically to Browder's position.

Another very important difference in line between the two periods concerns the communist defense of democratic rights. The line before and during World War II and ever after was that communists are the best defenders of bourgeois democracy. The line on democratic rights in the earlier period went like this: "The Social Democratic workers must counter the slightest government action, either before entering or during the war, towards abolishing or curtailing political liberties by forming illegal organizations to conduct systematic, persistent propaganda, undaunted by any sacrifices, for war against war, and explain to the masses the real character of the war" (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 139).

Note Lenin's point is not "the best defenders of bourgeois democracy," not "peace," not "national unity," not the "good" capitalists and communists against the "bad" capitalists, but illegal organizations to guarantee the democratic rights of the revolutionary movement, war against war, war against all the capitalists, "good" or "bad."

The point is not that war is wonderful, nor that fascism is not absolutely the most repressive form of capitalism. The point is that "good" capitalists (liberals. moderates, conservatives) and "bad" capitalists (reactionaries and fascists) are matters of circumstances. When circumstances are such that capitalists profit from bourgeois democracy, then we have bourgeois democracy (always with a healthy dose of ruthless pro-capitalist violence against the working class). When the capitalists need fascism to protect profit and power, then we get absolute terrorism against the working class.

The main point is that the best way for the working class and its allies to defend themselves against mass repression and war is to heighten the class struggle to the point of civil war against all capitalists. That was the line of the Bolsheviks and it led to the first successful socialist revolution. The line of the world communist movement in the thirties and forties disarmed the working class and led to the quagmire of post-World War II revisionism, from which the international working class has not yet recovered and against which the Progressive Labor Party is the leading opponent.

The ability of the Bolsheviks to make class struggle and civil war a political reality in the first period of inter- imperialist class rivalry resulted from their close ties with the working class in trade union and other political struggles The C.P.U.S.A. had equally close ties with the working class in both trade union and political struggles. Hence, objective circumstances favored the development of a class-struggle line into a civil war (revolution) line. But of course, the C.P.'s peace-and-national- unity line led the working class into the arms of the liberal bourgeoisie and the right wing-trade union leaders.

Our own circumstances are not the same as the Bolsheviks or the C.P.U.S.A. of the 30's. We do not have the ties these parties had to the working class. We are only now coming out of our isolation from the trade union movement. Hence, for us it may seem far-fetched to adopt a line of civil war. True enough this may be for us a very long range goal. But we must keep it in mind -- and in our public policy -- as our goal.

Because of the relative weakness of our ties to trade union struggle, we must recognize that in order to make civil war a realistic political goal, it is necessary to make trade union struggle on our jobs and recruitment to the party from our our jobs a primary aspect of our work. Only in this way can we develop a movement capable of beating war and fascism, which means beating all capitalists. The history of the two different lines in the two earlier periods of inter-imperialist class rivalry makes this crystal clear.

In terms of specific reform struggles we should wage both through independent mass action and within our unions and other organizations (but especially unions), these are just a few of the issues:


  1. National Interest-ism--any attempt to force workers to cut back on pay or working conditions ''for the good of the country"; any "Buy American" and patriotism campaigns designed to divide workers from our brothers around the world and to whip up workers' enthusiasm for their own misery.
  2. Anti-immigrant campaigns -- programs which will cause mass deportations and generally help split the working class.
  3. Racism -- Every racist action on or off the job by boss. foreman, policeman, principal, newspaper, etc., or by workers who have gone over to the enemy. Racist policies of unions require special attack.


  1. More international ties between unions and student (and other) organizations in different countries, especially contacts among the rank and file of these groups.
  2. Support for strikes by workers in other countries, as well as for rebellions against U.S. (or other) imperialists.
  3. Guarantees against racist layoffs written into contracts. We are against all layoffs, but the ruling class is trying to win white workers to support layoffs, firings, etc., of minority workers. Therefore, special demands can and should be put forward to meet and defeat this anti-working class move.


  1. Caucuses in all trade unions can be the most important organized rank-and-file force to move workers into action against the bosses over the immediate issues of jobs, anti-racism, contract demands and strikes, 30 hours work for 40 hours pay, health and safety, and others. Through action around these issues, and with the participation and leadership of communists in PLP, these caucuses can not only gain the confidence of workers to be able to shut production to win demands, but this, in turn, will lead to the ouster of the current crop of piecards and enable the rank and file, led by communists, to take power in the unions.
  2. Workers Action Movement chapters among all groups of workers -- in Unions and among the unorganized and unemployed; in working-class communities -- can spearhead the unity of the working class, advance a Left line in all trade union situations, mobilize support of the entire working class behind whatever group of workers is facing sharp attack or is leading the class struggle at a particular time, and spread the demand and fight for 30 for 40 throughout the entire working class. WAM can group all the progressive, fighting forces within the labor movement --from caucuses, union committees, working-class community organizations, unemployment and welfare groups -- to spark a resurgence that will organize millions of workers to fight the ruling class around demands in their class interest, and fight as a class rather than as isolated groups, separated from each other by union, craft, racism, age, sex, and (boss-created) national origin.


The main contradiction in the world is between the two imperialist juggernauts, the Soviet Union and the U.S. This contradiction must lead to war and fascism. U.S. bosses must tighten up and control the situation at home. This will lead to fascism. U.S. and Soviet rulers are preparing themselves externally through alliances. Some people throw up their hands in what seems to be an insoluble situation, a situation in which it appears that there won't be any winners. This type of passive or cynical approach ignores the lessons of history. And it repudiates Marxism-Leninism. There are things to do, and the crucial thing to be done is to build the revolutionary party

Many people see the world only as it is now. They view their lives only as they are now. They don't really believe that war and fascism are inevitable as long as there is imperialism. Therefore, they reasonably question what is so important about building the part? Only a revolutionary party can build and move for power.

Recent history should have taught us at least one thing: pacifism and other half-way measures used to cope with the sharpest manifestations of imperialism don't work. The anti-war movement didn't stop war. The integration movement and other nationalist spinoffs didn't stop racism. And unions don't stop on-the-job oppression and layoffs. Confining ourselves to reform struggles and movements won't solve anything. In fact, it only guarantees the perpetuation of imperialism and its dire consequences. Naturally, we build and work in all positive movements in order to win the movements to a revolutionary outlook based on their own experiences.

None of these movements are oriented to the seizure of state power by the working class. Only the communist party can do that. And in this country the communist party is the Progressive Labor Party. We don't want to "repair" this system. You can't live with this system. You either destroy it or perish. The realities of life are answering the doubts and questions of people who think the world is going to stay pretty much as it is. Mass unemployment lines, preparations for war, and war itself are the realities. To be passive or to contemplate minimal action in the face of these developments is SUICIDAL . This is the losing position.

A movement geared to seize power; a movement organized to win power now in the unions around more advanced political questions like 30 hours work for 40 hours pay and anti-racism - - this is the kind of movement that is training itself for the seizure of power by creating a base for it. On the one hand, it wins workers and others to acting on everything from the smallest questions which concern workers to the most advanced. Working side by side with other workers, the Party must win the working class and other forces to ideas and action for revolution. Revolution can stop imperialist war. Revolutionary action can destroy fascism. This is how people are going to be saved: This is the way the world and its international working class will live and march forward. There is no alternative to this. This outlook must and will become the center of millions of workers' lives. This will happen not only because we call and organize for it, but because the facts of life will demand it.

Many people sincerely ask the question, can we win? This is often asked after there is agreement with most or all of what we say. Perhaps we should turn the question upside down and pose it this way: CAN WE AFFORD TO LOSE? What does losing mean? It means fascism and war. It means racism and oppression. It is death and destruction to the very kids we are busy taking care of. After all a good parent, friend, comrade, workmate, relative. etc.. is the one who not only concerns himself with the obvious. or what is right under his nose. A real friend is the one who sees what is going to happen and organizes his various relations and friends to fight back against it. A good worker is not one who just works hard. A good worker is not the one who rivets attention to the things around him. A good scientist is not the one who can't enlarge views. To be good at anything one must see ahead and ACT with boldness.

Naturally, the ruling class would love to limit our views to "my" children, "my" family, "my" block, "my" job, "my" school, etc. A communist is one who can unite various forces and introduce advanced aspects of the party line into the immediate struggle. We do so not simply to be smart guys, or to raise extraneous ideas. We raise these ideas so the workers and their allies can WIN. Teachers can't hang onto their jobs if auto workers are out of work. Steel workers can't sit back and say, "Well, there isn't too much unemployment in our industry, so I'll just sit tight. " If one section of the working class suffers, it won't be long before every worker suffers. Or, as Karl Marx put it over a century ago, "The worker with white skin can never be free if the worker with black skin is not." Pragmatism and selfishness are two weapons that the bosses use to immobilize us.

Others ask the following question based on what they see -- "Will it be any better if your party is in power." Turn this question around and ask, are we workers and our friends worse than Rockefeller and Kissinger? Why shouldn't we have more confidence in ourselves than in Rockefeller? We can learn from errors of the past. All of us can. The working class is the wisest and most powerful force on earth. This is objectively the case, since we create life and production. And in our time it has always been the working class, led by communists, who have defeated the reactionary, decaying bosses. We have more than enough experience and training going for us to prevent the restoration of power to the old -- or new -- capitalists.

WE CAN WIN! AND WE WILL IMPROVE ON PAST REVOLUTIONARY EXPERIENCE! Any other point of view puts the world back in the Middle Ages. That is the only place the current ruling classes are capable of taking us. Is this where we want to go? The answer to this has always been clear: WE MARCH FORWARD! Why should those who have built and created life, technology, and progressive developments for society be doubtful of their future? Let the bosses piss and moan. Their culture, their economy, their world is tottering. Let us give it a big shove off the stage of history, and come on with our world.

Never underestimate the importance of building the Party. Building the Party is extending life. It is the answer to that which plagues this world. Building the Party is not just a casual thing which is done by some people some time. Building the Party is the thing that all communists do all the time. Nor do we limit Party -building to a charmed circle. We don't limit or hide the Party among some mystical elite. We build the Party openly, boldly because this is the central aspect of not only our lives, but of all workers' lives. Can it not be said that communists, acting around the theory of Marx, Lenin, and others have touched every person's life in the world since the communist manifesto was printed? Was this not true during World War Il? -- and since? Is not the "specter" of communism still haunting the ruling class? Of course it is. It always will until the workers sweep the ruling class from the face of the earth.

HERE are the "boxes" from the original article -- articles and quotations from articles that illustrate U.S. rulers' fascist and imperialist intentions, and -- significantly -- their awareness of their own weaknesses. | last modified 25 Apr 97