Task of a Party: Building class solidarity
Published Nov 24, 2009 10:01 PM
Workers World Party held its 50th anniversary Workers World Party
National Conference, Nov. 14-15, in New York City. Excerpts of plenary talks
are being printed in upcoming WW issues. The following excerpts are from a talk
given by WWP Secretariat member, Monica Moorehead.
When I was first introduced to Workers World Party in the early 1970s in
Norfolk, Va., it was in the aftermath of the assassination of political
prisoner George Jackson, the Attica rebellion and the COINTELPRO genocidal war
on the Black Panther Party.
Third Plenary Session: Putting revolutionary theory into practice. Speaker: Monica Moorehead.
While my involvement with the Norfolk Party branch was educational and
rewarding, especially where the struggle against racism was concerned, there
was something holding me back from taking a leap forward in becoming a Party
Then came along a life-altering moment that forced me to look at Workers World
Party in a whole different light. That moment was the 1974 March Against Racism
in Boston, because I began to understand why a revolutionary party is
The Party saw Boston as an important battleground in the ongoing struggle
against racism within U.S. capitalist society. And therefore, the Party
understood the necessity of mounting a political struggle against the forces of
racist reaction not only in South Boston but throughout the country. The Party
wanted to send a clear message with this mobilization that wherever racism
rears its ugly head, it will be militantly opposed.
Workers World Party understood that in order to go against this growing tide of
racism, where buses filled with Black school children were being stoned by
white racists, where Black men were being beaten in broad daylight in the
streets, that it would take a broad multinational united effort to turn this
situation around. This involved a national campaign to show that the Black
community of Boston and its allies were not isolated and alone.
Workers World Party did not let its modest numbers of cadre or lack of
resources stop it from doing what was necessary to not only fight against
racism just because it was the right thing to do, which of course it is.
Fighting racism also means building class solidarity in order to advance the
struggle for real economic justice and eventually class emancipation.
Activists put aside any political differences under the banner of “Say No
to Racism” and defending the right of Black people to go to any school
they want without fear of racist attack. The Party had taken these political
demands and put into practice the Leninist conception of defending the right of
self-determination of an oppressed nation.
The Boston march was the defining moment for me that helped me to take a
gigantic leap forward to join the Party in 1975. The Boston march and countless
other examples go to the heart of what a revolutionary, working-class party
should be all about—doing everything that is necessary to unite and hold
our class together even if it means going against the tide of political
reaction; even if it means going it alone in certain situations. This is the
acid test of a revolutionary party.
Our founding members who are no longer with us—Sam Marcy, Vince Copeland
and Dorothy Ballan—left this powerful legacy of doing everything in our
power to show by example what it takes to build and maintain a revolutionary
party with all the ebbs and flows of development. It was never a question of
picking which legitimate struggle to defend or support when it involved the
struggles of workers and the oppressed in this country or around the world. It
was never a question of whether the leaders of these struggles shared a common
world view or not with us or other like-minded formations. It was about and
remains today primarily about which side you are on—is it the side of the
bosses and bankers, who view the world as their private domain to make profits
at the expense of human needs, or is it on the side of those fighting for their
democratic rights, for their national liberation, for sovereignty and even for
Other examples of class solidarity
Fighting for working-class solidarity is the antithesis of racism, national
oppression, women’s oppression and lesbian, gay, bi and trans
oppression—all of which are dangers to building solidarity within our
class. And for a Marxist-Leninist party to abandon this principle of fighting
for class solidarity, especially the right to self-determination of oppressed
nations, is tantamount to falling prey to opportunism, class collaboration,
sectarianism and demoralization.
Our Party has avoided these dangerous traps throughout our 50-year existence,
like organizing a defense committee in support of Black activists Robert
Williams and Mae Mallory, who defended their right to armed self-defense
against the KKK in North Carolina back in the early 1960s.
Our Party was the first left tendency in the U.S. to hold a solidarity
demonstration for Palestine during the June 1967 war against Arab countries
launched by the Zionist state of Israel backed by U.S. imperialism. This
demonstration, which was viciously attacked by pro-Zionists, was held in
virtual isolation when anti-war movement forces refused to support a call for
unity initiated by our Party chairperson, Sam Marcy, to support
Palestine’s right to self-determination.
And it is Workers World Party that can both defend an African-American
president against racist and neofascist attacks and, at the same time, not let
this historic moment for the Black masses stop us from calling for all the U.S.
troops to leave Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and at the same time defend
colonized peoples fighting by any means necessary to get imperialism off their
There is another important aspect to building class solidarity and that is
without dedicated, class-conscious revolutionaries, there would be no party.
But revolutionaries are first and foremost human beings living under a class
society and are subject to all kinds of prejudices, contradictions and
backwardness similar to our class. But just because revolutionaries are not
perfect, does it mean that they can’t make a contribution to the class
struggle within a party? Many people join a workers’ party, including
myself, not because we have read all of the writings of Marx or Lenin or
because we can speak with great confidence or because we understand every
The main criteria for joining a party is not solely because of our hatred for
the capitalist and imperialist system and everything that is rotten about it
but because we want to fight tooth and nail against this barbaric system, not
as individuals but as one, until this system is finally overthrown by the
workers of all nationalities and in its place will be a humane system of
socialism where every human need will be met in the absence of racism, war and
Being a comrade in Workers World Party means not taking our relationships for
granted but rather being sensitive to each other’s special oppressions
and challenges and to find positive ways to build and strengthen class
solidarity from within. Sam, Vince and Dotty were exemplary examples of what it
takes to build a fighting workers’ party inside the most powerful
imperialist country in the world, which ain’t easy. Many others gallantly
have tried and failed.
We are about taking the lessons we have learned from those before us and using
them to push today’s struggles forward as we face the biggest political
crisis ever, which rests upon the biggest capitalist depression since the
1930s. Our Party can’t carry out this challenge alone, just as the
movement can’t do it alone. It will take an historic upsurge of the
working class to turn around the mood of pessimism and reaction. But the
workers cannot carry out their historic mission of seizing power in a
spontaneous way. They will need a workers’ party with class conscious
leadership, and political and organizational tools to help lead the way.
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