Delegate: Josh Porter (August 19)
Dates: August 18 & 19, 2023
Preface: The opinions contained within this report represent those of the delegate who attended the Congress and may not be representative of the views of all ACB members and should not be construed as such.
In July 2023, the ACB was invited to attend the first Congress of the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP) via video conference or in person in Bloomington, Indiana. I was selected to serve as the delegate for the ACB. While initially planning to attend in person, due to miscommunication regarding the list of attendees on August 19 as well as a change in location, I only attended remotely during the initial proceedings on day 2 of the Congress.
The second day of the Congress began with a recap of the events of the previous day, mainly focusing on criticism and self-criticism with some members feeling the proceedings were rushed the previous day and acknowledging a number of unforeseen issues had come up while deliberating. Some other points that were brought up were the division of labor in setting up the Congress, some issues with communication between local groups and national leadership, as well as general concerns about participation in debates and the possible reasoning behind that.
This was followed by a mixture of criticism related to the locations and timing of the Congress, with comrades offering suggestions on possible timelines and locations. The planning of the next Congress was then set up to be an ongoing task for the party leadership with a suggested goal of 30-50 fully developed cadres by the time the Congress takes place in the next 3-5 years.
The Ideological section of the day began with a discussion on Marxist tendencies and how this would play a role in recruitment for the organization. It seemed that most attendees were in agreement that a non-sectarian approach would be preferable and that the party being united under the same program should take precedence, although a number of speaking members consistently mentioned “anti-revisionism” as being a key ideological cornerstone.
The second part of the ideological section began with an emphasis from comrades that there is a need for the party to clearly have working definitions for terms like “revisionism,” “multipolarity” and “imperialism.” This began with a general introductory discussion on revisionism. This discussion continued until the intermission, after which time I unfortunately was unable to return and left the Congress.
As a preliminary note, the ACB reserves its right to commend and criticize any other group. These 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. In this case, it should also be noted that I was only able to attend the first part of the second day, with the bulk of the decision-making and ideological work being done after I had left. A follow-up article will discuss these issues in more depth.
To start, the PRP are dedicated Marxists looking to bring about working-class victory. Despite only being able to view a small portion of the Congress, it is obvious that these comrades are hardworking and dedicated to taking the time necessary to fully develop their ideas. The PRP’s commitment was demonstrated by engaging in fearless criticism and self-criticism in front of non-party members and the decision to continue work on developing the program going forward from the Congress when it was made apparent that would be needed. I look forward to seeing the fully realized results of the comrades’ work here.
To move on to criticisms, it was apparent that there was an element of rushed planning for the event, as confirmed by comrades in the initial period. There was also a level of miscommunication between me and the PRP leadership as to when invitees would be present. Separately, the dedication of time to criticism and self-criticism was admirable, but there was a lot of discussion surrounding how the next congress taking place in 3-5 years would be planned while agreeing to set it up as a continuous task for leadership going forward.
Finally, while I respect the desire for the PRP to be an organization that reaches the maximum amount of Marxists while avoiding infighting between tendencies, my initial concerns are that as they grow, the conflicts the PRP is trying to avoid will show themselves with the organizational line being established regarding key questions that distinguish certain tendencies from one another, risking factional fighting and disputes around the times of focus for these key issues.
To finish, I am grateful to have been able to serve as the ACB delegate to the First Congress of the PRP. The comrades were welcoming and very earnest in their work. I look forward to reading the work put out by this organization going forward and continuing the work our organizations have both set out to do.