In 1949, Mao Tsetung, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, summed up the experiences of the past three decades leading up to the victory of the Chinese revolution:
A well-disciplined Party armed with the theory of Marxism-Leninism, using the method of self-criticism and linked with the masses of people; an army under the leadership of such a party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party-these are the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy.
Today, in many respects, the U.S. is different from China. China, of course, was a backwards, semi-feudal, semi-colonial country while the U.S. is an advanced capitalist country. China was a country oppressed by foreign domination while the U.S. today is one of the two main superpowers in the world which dominates the smaller countries. These differences (just to name a few) change the form of the class struggle here in the U.S. from that of the Chinese revolution, but the principles which have been accurately summed up by Comrade Mao Tsetung still apply and remain universal.
The following article is an excerpt from Harry Haywood’s Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist. It is reprinted here from the theoretical journal of the October League (Marxist-Leninist), Class Struggle: Journal of Communist Thought, Spring/Summer 1976 #4-5. It is being posted here, as part of the Harry Haywood Internet Archive (for the time being hosted by The Marxist-Leninist blog) for the first time online.
October League (Marxist-Leninist) Introduction:
At what point did the building of a new anti-revisionist communist party become the principal task of Marxist-Leninists? What were the main features of the ideological, political, and organizational degeneration of the Communist Party, USA in the 1950s that made it necessary to do so? These are some of the questions discussed in this article by Harry Haywood, a veteran Black communist who has led and been active in the movement for more than 50 years. The article is a slightly condensed version of a chapter [Chapter 22: “Revisionism Takes Command” in the final published version] from the unpublished manuscript of his autobiography, “Black Bolshevik.”
The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s
The April 1956 National Committee meeting saw the Communist Party in its most serious crisis since 1944. The meeting itself was historic in that it was the first time the top party leadership had met together since 1951. With the exception of Gil Green, Bob Thompson, Gus Hall and Henry Winston who were still in jail, the National Committee was up from underground and out of prison.
Right opportunism, which had been thriving and undergoing continuous growth in the ’50s, erupted here into a full-fledged liquidationist line whose only logical conclusion would be the complete destruction of the Party as a revolutionary force.
The attention of the entire world is focused upon the brutal, barbaric oppression of the Negro people in the South, and the heroic struggle of the Negro masses for full freedom and human dignity there.
The promise of the Supreme Court Decision to end school segregation is proving illusory. The economic and political gains made by the Negro people during the extended boom period are menaced by the economic recession, and by unbridled reaction in the South.
The Negro masses are taking a “New Look” at the slogans of “Free by ’63” and “Integration Is Just Around the Corner” so assiduously propagandized by Wall Street apologists, and fervently supported by Negro bourgeois-reformist leaders at the height of the Cold War. As Carl Rowan, prominent Negro journalist says, the Negro people are “asking themselves whether they were naive in assuming they could win freedom through the legislative and judicial machinery of the nation.” (Scientific American, October, 1957.)
The Negro masses are looking with increased alarm upon the growth of racist terror in the South, spreading its evil influences throughout the country. Inspired by the successes of the world anti-colonialist movement in Asia and Africa, they are seeking new, militant leadership which is internationalist in outlook, free from ties of white ruling class patronage.
Our Communist Party, with its proud history of militant, uncompromising struggle for Negro rights which alone has projected a consistently revolutionary solution to the Negro question, has an indispensable role to play in the period ahead. But our Party can play its proper role only if we have a “liberation” of our own: a liberation from the paralyzing effects of revisionism – the slightly warmed over liberal gradualism which seeks to destroy our revolutionary position on the Negro question.
Class Struggle, theoretical journal of the October League (Marxist-Leninist), No.1, Spring 1975
October League (M-L) Introduction: Harry Haywood is a veteran Black Marxist-Leninist, now living in Detroit. He has spent several decades as a leading member of the Communist Party USA and as a fighter against modern revisionism.
In 1928 and 1930, Haywood helped draft the Resolutions of the Communist International as well as the position of the CP on the Afro-American national question. His thoughts on this question were summed up in his famous book, “Negro Liberation.”
Haywood broke from the CPUSA in the late 50’s after the party had thoroughly abandoned the revolutionary struggle for socialism and Black liberation. Along with other anti-revisionists, he helped form the Provisional Organizing Committee (POC). The POC, like many of the new communist organizations of today set as its main task, the building of a new Marxist-Leninist party.
The POC failed in this first attempt at a new, anti-revisionist party. Haywood’s letter upon leaving the POC shows some of the reasons why it failed and serves as a lesson to those who might try to follow in the ultra-“left” footsteps of these sectarians.
On November 3rd, 1979, the Workers Viewpoint Organization (which would become the Communist Workers Party) held a anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, North Carolina. Five WVO cadres were killed by the Ku Klux Klan with the assistance of the Greensboro Police. The following is an excellent documentary about the Greensboro Massacre, called “Greensboro’s Child“.
The Beloved Community Center, Greensboro Justice Fund, and other organizations in Greensboro are hosting a conference and other events to commemorate the “30th Anniversary of the Tragic Killing of Five Labor and Community Organizers by Klan and Nazis in 1979” from Nov. 4-7th.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization has a rich history of work among youth and students. Many of the veteran cadres of our organization were active with the youth of the Black Panther Party, Brown Berets and the Students for a Democratic Society of the 1960s, the Revolutionary Student Brigades in the 1970s, or the Progressive Student Network in the 1980s. Others worked on campuses to organize against South African Apartheid, in the historic Jesse Jackson campaign, or in solidarity with the Central American revolutionary movements. Many also organized Asian American and Pilipino (1) students, or worked in mostly oppressed nationality student formations like the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM) in New York. Today, students and youth in Freedom Road continue to do mass student organizing, mainly in the new Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) formed in 2006.
This interview was posted priviously at the Kasama Project blog. There is quite a lot in Alain Badiou’s “post-Maoist” philosophy in general as well as in this interview in particular with which I disagree, but nonetheless this article is interesting so far as the French Maoist movement shared some similarities (and many differences) with the U.S. New Communist Movement:
An Interview with Alain Badiou, conducted by Eric Hazan
Eric Hazan:One of the most striking aspects of Sarkozy’s rise to power was the support he attracted from Left renegades—from turncoats such as André Glucksmann. As someone who still wears his coat very much the same way round, how would you explain this strange phenomenon?
Alain Badiou: I think you have to put this in perspective, or rather look at it more closely. First of all, it would be better to ask: why so many Maoists from the Gauche Prolétarienne? [GP was one of the main Maoist groups, whose name meant Proletarian Left in French] Because it is among them that you find those who ‘went wrong’ in this way. Secondly, as far as I am aware, only a few rank-and-file activists in the GP made this about-turn. So, to give your question a slightly more technical character, I would say: why did so many people in the GP leadership take such a bad turn?
There were other Maoist organizations—for example the UCFML, which I was involved in establishing, along with Sylvain Lazarus, Natacha Michel and others, in 1970.  In fact, Lazarus and Michel came from the GP, in the wake of a split of sorts, whereas my own background was completely different: I came from the PSU, the social democrats. I’m not aware of a single leader or activist in our organization who took a wrong turn, in the sense we are speaking of here. People from other organizations, such as the GOP and VLR, often went back to the PCF, and there was a sprinkling of other groups, in particular the PCMLF, whose idea was more to rebuild the good old Communist Party, which was already in pretty poor shape.  On the whole, these people are still somewhere or other ‘on the left’ today.