First Published: Theoretical Review No. 13, November-December 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This article will trace the beginnings of the Revolutionary Union (RU), later Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), and outline the history of the RU during its first six years (until 1974) commenting along the way on elements of that history that seem relevant to the party building efforts of today’s movement. Clearly the principal purpose of this article is to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the history of “left” errors in the party building movement. In my opinion, the strengths and weaknesses of this period have never been summed up in any unified and more than superficial way, even within the new “independent” trend. By and large the same conditions that facilitated the development of these errors continue to exist. Therefore, one can be almost sure that if the source and nature of these errors is not understood history will be repeated.
If the reader is even more inclined towards discouragement after reading this article, it may be timely to make this observation: it seems to be a fact of life, actually a fact of dialectics, that problems have to mount to the level of becoming qualitatively uncomfortable enough and the present solutions clearly unworkable enough that a point of crisis is reached, then we are ready to make a radical reappraisal and to change. Fortunately, our movement is at that point of crisis. It is in the nature of things that such reevaluation and openness to new directions cannot go on indefinitely. Some consensus will be reached and the movement will settle into a groove for several more years to see if those solutions work. Therefore the quality of our analysis now and the viability of our solutions are likely to be of decisive importance to the communist movement in this country for many years to come. So, with that awesome responsibility, let’s examine the past.