Delegates: Philip Thomas (July 8th & 9th) & Sydney D. (July 8th)
Dates: July 8 & 9, 2023
Preface: The opinions contained within this report represent those of the delegate(s) that attended the Convention and may not be representative of the views of all ACB members and should not be construed as such.
During the month of May, the American Council of Bolsheviks (ACB) received an invitation from the Communist Workers’ Platform of the United States of America (CWPUSA or CWP) to attend its founding Convention via Zoom teleconference. Philip Thomas and Sydney D. served as delegates to this Convention on behalf of the Provisional Central Committee (PCC) of the ACB.
The Founding Convention of the CWP took place under the slogan “Towards the Regroupment of the Communist Party!” The Convention opened with the ACB’s Greetings to the CWP Convention, the text of which is included at the end of this article. This was followed by greetings from a representative of Politsturm, a Marxist-Leninist media organization apparently based in Russia. The online U.S. publication “ML Today” ended the greetings section on day 1. The Communist Party of Mexico (PCM) also had an observing delegate, though their greetings to the Convention were given on day 2. The main highlights of the first day were the reports from the CWP’s Interim Executive Committee (IEC), the Editorial Board of the CWP’s official publication, New Worker, and the Greater Miami Local Committee (GMLC).
The report of the IEC briefly mentioned the CWP’s split from the PCUSA in early 2022, followed by an assessment of the progress on the immediate tasks of the CWP. These tasks were initially outlined in the CWP’s “2022 Year in Review” article published on New Worker. It was mentioned that progress had been made on all 6 tasks, though (as is to be expected) there was noticeable unevenness in the progression of the various tasks. The report mentioned how the CWP has taken most of its ideological and organizational inspiration from the self-described “Marxist-Leninist pole” within the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP), headed by Parties such as the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the PCM, and the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP).
The New Worker report was perhaps the most impressive portion of the Congress, as it outlined the hard work that the CWP has been doing to build up a Communist central organ. The Editorial Board of New Worker correctly identifies the paper as a party organizer and intends to use this organ to develop ties via their local committees while connecting such work to national and international struggles.
We wholly applaud the efforts of our comrades in the CWP on this front, and we seek to use coordination between New Spark and New Worker to develop both of our groups’ understandings of the role of a Communist newspaper. Such collaboration may include but is not limited to joint statements on pressing matters, official and publicly available correspondence between our publications, and principled polemical debate over important ideological and strategic questions.
The report of the GMLC outlined the formation and development of the CWP’s first local committee up to this point. The Committee’s inception owes itself to a CWP member involving themselves in their local Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) chapter, identifying potentially revolutionary converts within this chapter, and developing who they could into recruits for the CWP. Once the member ascertained that the efforts had been exhausted, their in-person work ultimately netted 2 additional CWP members.
Notable was the GMLC’s efforts on the campus of Florida International University (FIU) in agitating against reactionary laws imposed by the Ron DeSantis administration in Florida (the state’s current governor). Their timely and relevant article combined with their physical concentration and distribution of literature provided them with a noticeable increase in their website’s readership (the ACB had a similar experience on May Day of 2023).  We, again, applaud the efforts of our comrades, in combining this agitation with their central organ and seeking to expand their influence through their collective organizer.
It was mentioned that much has been learned in the approximately 7 months since the birth of the GMLC, namely how meetings are to be conducted and what work is to be done in them. Their experience has provided valuable insight into organizing a local Communist cell, and all U.S. Marxist-Leninists concerned with the construction of Communist cells would benefit from an examination of the GMLC’s work on this front.
Day 1 ended with the election of the CWP’s Central Committee (CC) and Audit Committee (AC). The delegates noticed that the way the CWP conducted their internal elections differed from the ACB. The number of nominees was limited to the number of seats available on the CC, which we thought limited discussion on the qualifications of all possible nominees. When positions are open for election in the ACB, all those eligible for the position have an equal opportunity to propose themselves (or another comrade) as nominees.
We offer an example. Let us suppose that an organization of 15 people is going to elect a CC of 5 people, though 8 of the 15 people are nominated for the 5 positions (whether they nominate themselves or are nominated by another comrade). In the ACB, each of the 15 voting members would be given a ballot of 8 names where they would only be allowed to vote for 5 options. This allows for all members to cast their own slate ballot for who they think should be on the body and allows for those with the most collective support from their comrades to attain leadership positions.
We do not doubt the ability of the newly elected CC of the CWP, nor do we doubt that this CC has the confidence of the CWP’s membership. However, we are obliged to point out that we see the internal election system of the ACB as being more representative of the thoughts and desires of all members.
Day 2 opened with greetings from the PCM, and the day’s work consisted of the passing of the CWP’s Program, Statutes, and Political Theses. Going section by section, the Program and Statutes were quickly passed unanimously, with the only corrections made being grammatical ones. The Political Theses also quickly began to be passed unanimously until the GMLC proposed an amendment to Section 4 of the Theses regarding the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This seemed to set off a chain reaction, where the unanimous acceptance of resolution after resolution was replaced by critical examination after critical examination: a development that we applaud. It soon became evident that insufficient study had been conducted on a variety of topics, namely LGBTQIA+ struggles and national/colonial struggles. For the several sections that were deemed to be a product of insufficient investigation, they were removed from the Theses before their passing. These sections were deferred to the CC of the CWP to hold wider discussions within the formation over the next 2 years, with a focus on addressing these pressing questions.
The ACB is likewise conducting its study of these and similar issues for its draft program through the Institute for Marxist-Leninist Education (IMLE), and we intend to learn from the CWP’s mistakes in being inadvertently hasty in providing answers to essential political questions. A decision was also made to develop an internal party organizer à la the CPUSA of the 1930s and 40s with the intention of fostering effective internal discussion to answer burning questions.
Questions and Answers
The last section of the Convention on day 2, called “announcements,” allowed our delegate to reiterate our appreciation for the invitation, as well as the opportunity to ask a question. Comrade Philip asked about the decision to not adopt the moniker of “party” despite this being the group’s founding Convention. One of the group’s newly-elected CC members explained that, although this question did come up in debate in the lead-up to the Convention, they are retaining the usage of the word “Platform” in order to reflect the size and humility of their organization before the international Communist movement.
It was explained that the CWP is still working to act as a Party, and that they refer to themselves as a party in their theses but are currently only striving to become one. The CWP tells their membership that they are striving for these goals, but they admit that they are still very much in the initial learning phase. The CWP doesn’t pretend to call themselves “the” Communist Party of the U.S. yet. When the CWP gets to that point, they would feel more comfortable saying that about themselves. They also noted that many organizational changes are likely to occur between now and the emergence of a vanguard for the U.S. proletariat, and that the usage of the “party” label does not currently apply to any group.
The CWP is a sincere organization of Marxist-Leninists trying to work towards the building of a Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S. We unreservedly applaud the aspirations toward this goal, as the ACB also exists to work towards this end. In the interest of the advancement of the American Communist movement, the ACB will always reserve its right to both commend and criticize any other group, even those with which we have developed comradely relations. So long as it is understood that our criticisms are conducted from the standpoint of Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism with the intention of identifying errors and correcting mistakes within the movement as a whole, we are sure that our comrades in the CWP, as well as other groups within the American Communist movement, will take our criticisms in stride, examine their contents, admit when errors have been correctly pointed out, and criticize us when we ourselves have erred.
With that being said, we primarily applaud the CWP for their initiatives with New Worker and the GMLC. The ACB understands the paramount importance of a Communist newspaper as a collective organizer, and we are thrilled that our comrades in the CWP are engaging in a similar central organ-building effort. The ACB also understands that organizing both in the workplace and one’s immediate local area are the backbone of communist party organization, and we laud the GMLC’s efforts on this front to connect their local work with the national and international work of the CWP. Last but not least, we appreciate the initiative taken by the CWP to interact with our organization for the shared goal of organizing a Marxist-Leninist party capable of leading the masses of workers and oppressed peoples in establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat.
We now proceed with our criticisms of the CWP’s work thus far. We see the debate that occurred on day 2 of the Convention as being at least partially a result of the mechanical application of statutes and resolutions from international parties like the KKE and PCM. Notably, the section of the CWP’s Political Theses on women (that was removed and set aside for further discussion), was largely a mirror image of the resolutions adopted by the PCM at their 6th Party Congress, where in-depth discussions and debates were held on the subject of women in Mexico being an oppressed group under capitalism.
Other delegates quickly pointed out how the conditions of women in the U.S. and women in Mexico, while undoubtedly having their similarities within the framework of the global imperialist system and under respective capitalist governments, have distinct features that necessitate detailed analysis from U.S. Communists. We see the CWP’s deferral to the opinions of the majority of the parties within the “Marxist-Leninist pole” within the IMCWP as somewhat reminiscent of the CPUSA’s lifelong blind servitude to the CPSU, where support for another Party within the international Communist movement, perhaps unintentionally, overrode the need for furthering the struggle for revolution in the U.S.
We do not argue that the CWP have already taken this road, rather we offer a general warning to all U.S. Marxist-Leninists to analyze every position from every Communist party independently and scientifically, withholding the right to criticize all other Parties, even if they have greatly assisted in our organizational and ideological development. Without this essential precaution, our movement risks repeating a previous mistake of a party wholly submitting its existence to the whims of another Communist party (or group or “pole” of Communist parties) within the international Communist movement.
The ACB, while recognizing the great services provided to our organization by the contemporary international Communist movement, namely the PCM, proudly withholds its right to criticize all the ideas and positions of all other parties, both domestically and internationally. For instance, the PCM published a pamphlet entitled “Vidas consagradas a la lucha de los Estados Unidos: Gus Hall y Henry Winston (Sacred lives to the struggle: Gus Hall and Henry Winston).” We see Gus Hall as a largely revisionist figure who championed such opportunistic theories as “Bill of Rights Socialism” and the “left-center coalition.” Hall is also notably the “personal hero” of PCUSA General Secretary Angelo D’Angelo. Such criticisms of CPUSA revisionism will be expounded upon more in our upcoming polemic(s) against the PCUSA.
Another criticism of ours that was already sufficiently detailed earlier in this article was the conduct of the CWP’s elections. In essence, we believe that this election could have been more representative of the opinions of all of the present voting delegates, though we admit that the outcome would likely not have changed.
Finally, from our standpoint, the CWP has thus far insufficiently analyzed the historic role of the PCUSA in the American Communist movement, where its opportunist and revisionist tendencies emerged from, and specifically how the ideological and organizational mistakes that defined the PCUSA can be sure to not be repeated. Specifically, their analyses (as presented in articles like “Democratic Centralism and the PCUSA” and “On the Alliance of the CPI and PCUSA: Opportunism Under the Mask of ‘Anti-imperialism’”), despite many of their correct contents, thus far have only superficially alluded to the ways in which CPUSA revisionism led to and manifested in revisionism within the PCUSA.
We believe a correct analysis of the history of the CPUSA to be an essential component of forging the ideological foundation upon which a successful Marxist-Leninist party can be built in the U.S. We hope that our upcoming polemics will help to pioneer this effort, and we hope that our comrades in the CWP will work collectively with the ACB (via interaction and collaboration between New Worker and New Spark) to construct this vital analysis.
In all, we are grateful to have served as delegates to the Founding Convention of the CWP and to have opened the Convention with our comradely greetings to your organization. The seriousness of the work that we are engaged in cannot be understated, and we appreciate the disciplined, Communist approach with which the CWP is treating this effort in building a Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S., and we look forward to continuing working with them in this regard.
Towards the construction of a Communist Party in the U.S.!
Greetings from the ACB Delegate to the 1st Convention of the CWPUSA
To our comrades in the Communist Workers’ Platform USA,
The American Council of Bolsheviks (ACB) sends warm and comradely greetings to your organization upon your founding Convention in July 2023. We are grateful to serve as observers of this Convention and seek to learn more about your organization’s struggles and accomplishments leading up to this point.
We hope that this Convention will serve to strengthen the comradely relations between our organizations and further the unification of the Marxist-Leninist forces in the U.S. for the building of a Communist party capable of overthrowing capitalism and establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat.
With Communist greetings,
The Provisional Central Committee (PCC) of the American Council of Bolsheviks
 Member of CWPUSA, “To the Students and Workers of Florida International University, the Communists Stand Resolutely With Your Struggle!,” New Worker, April 12, 2023, https://newworker.us/domestic/to-the-students-and-workers-of-florida-international-university-the-communists-stand-resolutely-with-your-struggle/.
 New Spark Editorial Board, “New Spark May Day Statement 2023,” New Spark, May 1, 2023, https://newspark.news/statements/new-spark-may-day-statement-2023/.
 “The Practice of Bolshevik Self-Criticism,” New Spark, May 12, 2023, https://newspark.news/theoretical/the-practice-of-bolshevik-self-criticism/. This article written by S. Tsirul was published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) in September 1932. The contents of the article originally appeared in Volume 9 No. 15 of the magazine Communist International. It was republished with a preface by the New Spark Editorial Board on May 12, 2023.
 CWPUSA Editorial Board, “Democratic Centralism and the PCUSA,” New Worker, August 27, 2022, https://newworker.us/editorial/democratic-centralism-and-the-pcusa/.