Marcyism is Crypto-Fascism


Revisionism spreads on the US ‘left’ like a plague, with many different mutations of its disease. This article is concerning a specific strand of revisionism which is fascist in essence; this is expressed most perfectly in the politics and history of Workers World Party.

WWP itself is an outgrowth of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The Hungarian uprising in 1956 was one of the factors that led to the split, with Marcy claiming that the Hungarian revolt could only serve imperialism.

In 1959 Marcy along with Vince Copeland and others broke with SWP to found WWP. Though their central point was defending all existing socialist states, Marcy’s “Global Class War” focused heavily on the need to fight so-called Stalinism. Marcy defended the conception of the first socialist state according to Trotsky, who he claimed was the true continuator of Lenin. Hence WWP played a game of opportunism that sought to flatten the class struggle internal to the International Communist Movement by giving equal credence to both lines in a two-line struggle, with the explicit purpose of rehabilitating Trotsky. That which grows from the tree of Trotskyite revisionism can only bear ugly fruits.

In a 1976 piece masquerading as a defense of the Chinese revolution, member of WWP’s secretariat Deidre Griswold said, “The founding of Workers World Party in 1959 signified the emergence of a tendency in the U.S. that championed all the socialist countries,” [1] At a time when the Great debate between Mao and Khrushchev was unfolding, the very qualifier “all” signified a tradition that ignored the class struggle in which Mao represented the proletariat against revisionism. The fact that WWP published pieces “supporting” both sides of this struggle then comes as no surprise.

Inconsistent with a true defense of the Chinese Revolution, in 1991 Sam Marcy wrote that Khrushchev had been responsible for “the showdown with US imperialism” which “revived the revolutionary image of the USSR as the ally and protector, with qualifications, of the anti-imperialist worldwide struggle.” He went on to claim that the Cuban missile crisis represented the class struggle with Krushchev representing the “workers and oppressed”. [2] This stood in stark contradiction to the anti-revisionism Mao fought so hard to establish, and instead offering cover and defense to Soviet social-imperialism.

One divides into two, but WWP’s conception is that two converges into one. On the off-chance that they do choose to pick a side, they do so in a way that refuses nuance and dialectics. Marcyism is defined by its main characteristic of flattening two-line struggle. In the view of Marcyites, Trotsky is good, so is Stalin; Mao is good, so is Khrushchev, and so on. Maoists comprehend line struggle as a form that class struggle takes internal to Parties and the ICM. The Marcyite concept promotes the forced class collaboration of fascism with the tacked-on appropriation of communist aesthetic.

WWP’s Support for Fascism in its Official Positions
Fascism and bourgeois democracy are two sides of the capitalist’s coin. Fascism being the more inherently unstable of the two which fade in and out of each other; bourgeois countries tend toward a mixture of elements from both, with some closer to the definition of one end of this bourgeois spectrum. While fascism and bourgeois democracy are distinct, both have a bigger threat: socialism. Fascism is the backwards negation of bourgeois democratic rights, while socialism is the further development of society beyond bourgeois democracy with the working class controlling the state, and the means of production. Therefore, socialism is workers controlling their own lives. Confusing this, WWP instead views anything that negates bourgeois democracy as “socialist”. WWP has no real definition for what fascism is, beyond a vague notion of “white supremacy”. Internationally, this translates to their legitimizing fascist political parties either by calling them “anti-imperialist” or worse, “socialist”. Often, they just label anything that vaguely opposes US imperialism as socialist. They collaborate with the bourgeoisie not only in its democratic form but in its rawest form, fascism.

Corporativism is the structuring of the state like a corporation. [3] One good example was the Aprista government that the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) was fighting. When your exalted form of “socialism” matches the form of a government which actual Communists are still in prison for fighting, you have chosen the darkest side of reaction. One example of corporativism which WWP still publicly defends is China.

In 2013 WWP said of China, “It is partly socialist and partly capitalist.” [4] This remains one of their lines today, but depending on who you talk to, they mostly defend it as wholly socialist.

Socialism and capitalism cannot peacefully coexist; capitalism and counterrevolution in China came at the expense of blood of the masses along with their staunchest defenders. WWP does not accept that class struggle continues under capitalism let alone socialism. The failure to recognize that capitalism has taken China over comes from the flattening of line struggles and failure to view things as changing. As capitalism and socialism confront each other one must overtake the other, and in the case of China capitalism took over long ago.

WWP continues:

“Coming back to Marxist analysis, it is clear from the way the Chinese leadership handled this crisis that the socialist side of the economic foundation is still dominant in China. And the same can be said for the political superstructure. The enemies of socialism claim that capitalism is responsible for the great successes in China.” [4]

Here we witness WWP try to give credit for imperialism to “socialism”. Like all capitalists, WWP turns the meaning of “socialism” completely on its head, which becomes something the masses want no part in. Indeed, communists are enemies of their rotten capitalist conception of “socialism”. WWP later lends “the capitalist reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping” legitimacy as “what should have been a temporary retreat”. [4] A temporary retreat is a legitimate change in tactics to be used in the same strategy (international communism), while Deng changed the strategy altogether towards capitalism. The two cannot be confused.

Chinese imperialism has undeniably been used to subjugate various countries in Africa. In the wake of the Cold War Africa remained plundered yet without infrastructure of its own. Seeing a chance to export capital and import profits, China has built a “trade volume” with Africa at least as big as $170 billion in 2017 [5]. One of these forms of “trade” involves Chinese state-owned banks (particularly China Exim Bank) lending low-interest bank loans to African infrastructure projects namely power, railways and roads. While the Chinese try to polish this as a sincere attempt to build up the countries of Africa, this cycle keeps African states indebted based on Chinese interest rates. The only reason the interest they collect is low is to compete with comparable loans from American banks. Keeping Third World countries at the whim of paying back interest loans is something a socialist country would never do. China has already done this in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

China also recently instituted a “social credit score” system which uses various rule-following factors to grade a person’s behavior. While organizing society itself is not the root of the problem, what makes this fascist is that having a higher social credit score gives people access to capitalist rewards. These include access to luxury hotels, quicker bank loans, and even admission of the person or their children into the state’s universities. These rewards are like the results of a capitalist credit score (which supporters of the social credit score claim it is juxtaposed to) except that this social credit score factors in surveillance of the person’s political opinions, which is no doubt being used to repress those in China who long for the days of Mao and the true People’s Republic. When Chinese socialism existed, democracy was widespread and the masses were encouraged to present their views, debate them and political education was the preferred method of correction, except for hardcore reactionaries. In capitalist China fascist control relies on surveillance and economic coercion to crush particularly the revolutionary clamor of the masses, this is seen in the devastating blows the state carries out against labor unrest. Most importantly China’s working class is not allowed to organize in its own interests, distribute propaganda, assemble, or protest. [6]

We are obligated to take this criticism a step further from just calling it mechanical materialism, though it is that too. By upholding China as a model for socialism, WWP is concealing a fascist view. China is socialism’s opposite: fascist.

In 2018 WWP sent official greetings of “solidarity” to Kim Jong Un, claiming the DPRK was based upon “socialist planning”. [7] The DPRK is one of the best examples of corporativism, since most business owners pass their inheritance off to their sons. Current leader Kim Jong Un is the son of Kim Jong-il, who was the son of Kim Il-sung. In a socialist state leadership would be determined not by bloodline but by class struggle. Class struggle does indeed exist in the DPRK but the Kims are on the side of the ruling class.

The International Action Center (IAC)
The International Action Center, one of WWP’s cardinal organizations, was co-founded by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. [8] Earlier this man had founded the Interdivisional Information Unit to coordinate COINTELPRO’s communications with the CIA. He had also defended ultra-right and fascist political figures both inside and outside their court cases. His private defense cases included US “New Federalist” Lyndon LaRouche as well as Nazi soldier Karl Linnas. [9]

As the commanding officer of an Estonian concentration camp, Linnas had been responsible for the murders of at least 12,000 Jews and other fighters during World War II. He fled to the US shortly after the war and had been living a quiet life as a land surveyor. But in 1987 the US cooperated to have him deported to the revisionist Soviet Union, where he had been sentenced to death. Clark defended him in this court case, with Clark questioning the need to try Nazis, “forty years after some god-awful crime they’re alleged to have committed.” [10] No amount of years can excuse fascism’s worst crimes:

“Eyewitnesses testified that Linnas supervised the transportation of prisoners from his camp to a nearby anti-tank ditch. On such occasions innocent Jewish women and children were tied by their hands and brought in their underwear to the edge of the ditch, where they were forced to kneel. The guards then opened fire. The ditch became a mass grave.” [11]

In the Linnas case Clark also said he thought the US government had more “courage and justice” than to deport him. Aside from the fact that this rests on a patriotic view of the US, it is not courageous to exonerate Nazis. Linnas was indeed deported and died in a hospital three months after his deportation.

Not only has WWP collaborated with this ex-COINTELPRO fascist sympathizer, they have given him a position of leadership in their movement, taken over an organization he founded with them, and mirrored his legal defenses with their political lines. Clark was directly responsible for the fascist repression of revolutionaries during COINTERLPRO, and his intentions in founding the IAC should not have been taken at face value. History cannot be dispensed with, and WWP began working with Clark only a couple of years after he defended the infamous Nazi. Undoubtedly, WWP joined with Clark to gain from his namesake with no care for who that meant they were aligned with. Having this close of ties with a Nazi defender should be enough for all opposed to fascism to stop supporting WWP.

Recent developments
Sam Marcy died in 1998, which created a vacuum of leadership in the party. While Larry Holmes gained support for himself to become First Secretary and replace Marcy as the centralized ideological figure, another faction of WWP opposed the need for such a centralized figure at all. In June 2004 this erupted in the branches in San Francisco and Washington DC (led by Gloria La Riva and Brian Becker, respectively) leaving WWP to form the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (ANSWER) then became a PSL operation; before it had been a WWP project centered on fighting imperialist wars in the middle east through mechanical support for all (even superficial) opponents of US imperialism. WWP members still tell horror stories of PSL having changed the locks to the ANSWER offices on the day of their split.

WWP seeks to become the foremost “left” organization in the US, without proving the militancy that it takes to truly earn this position. Their main interest is gaining popularity and money—not a real interest in the people’s organic movements, whether against the police murder of members of the Black Nation, anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ­­­­­­­hurricane relief, etc. They swoop in at every chance to consume the momentum in its infancy, copy and pasting the same formula for their approach to each.

First, they send cadre and activists to whatever city the spontaneous rebellion or crisis is happening in and set up at least one fundraiser page to fund the struggle there, usually raising tens of thousands of dollars, and organize consecutive toothless protests to “keep the movement going”. They then try to start a WWP branch on the coattails of the struggle by attempting to convert the local movement’s organic leaders into WWP “candidates”, insistent on dragging the struggle back into their nonprofit fronts and dead-end demonstrations. All the while the masses’ clamor for revolutionary violence is met with WWP’s respectability politics and explanations for why it will not work.

The Durham, NC branch of WWP is at the head of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose donations are protected by 501c3 status. These play by the system’s rules and must answer to the government about their earnings. This stark show of legalism refuses the creativity that would force them to think outside of the existing system and towards a New Power. They hide behind these legalist methods as so-called “dual power”. This is not actually Power so it cannot be dual: instead it conforms to capitalism, the power already dominant. Their reasoning for this is that they do not want to risk going to jail for tax evasion, but no gains can be made without risks. In essence they just seek inclusion as capitalists in the capitalist system, only making “activism” their business, running their “Party” like a corporation instead of a Communist Party.

WWP’s leading figures are paid salaries based on the NGO money they generate from these fronts, which means they have a material investment in the movement as it stands right now, the crises of capitalism, and therefore the spontaneous rebellions of the working class. WWP has simply found a way to maximize profits from the pain and misery of the masses. The fight against revisionism is the fight against capitalism with a red flag, and the existence of this wide web of nonprofits makes WWP’s status as capitalists quite clear.

Ignite NC, started by the founders of WWP’s Durham Branch, is a big-tent that pays young people to organize. This usually includes $500 to $1000 stipends in six-month pay periods, depending on the activist’s level of personal involvement in various NGOs. WWP has even claimed that this organization exists to train people into “professional revolutionaries,” when what it really does is groom them for NGO careers. Ignite NC has amassed a significant amount of popularity in NC and has attracted many young Black activists.

Southern Vision Alliance (SVA) is the so-called umbrella 501c3 that funds many of the “left” organizations in NC. When newer grassroots organizations spring up in North Carolina, SVA is there to start an account for their operations and often offers them some amount of seed money, which increases the hegemony of WWP along with its say in their political operations. For nascent organizations this stifles any attempt to organize outside of the nonprofit structure, making them think the only way to survive is to come under the leadership of SVA. What this accomplishes in essence is turning the organic rebellion of the masses into a mild-mannered salaried profession; one that can be easily corralled back into the parameters of the legal-left—this is nothing short of organizing the disorganized rebellion of the masses into dead-end legalism. WWP is a sophisticated counter-insurgency operation in the strictest service to social peace, which is the peace of the bourgeoisie. Their forced class collaborationist line finds expression in the mass movement this way.

Durham Solidarity Center (and Solidarity Centers in other cities) raise money to get activists out of jail when they are arrested. While no one deserves to be arrested for protesting racism and the other causes this is used to support, the money raised by DSC far exceeds the amount of money the organization needs to spend on bail, bond, and lawyers. The DSC money goes into a big pot that helps all WWP’s other projects, again using legitimate profits to fill the pockets of WWP elite, whose mode of living and mode of thinking is that of the bourgeoisie.

While it is not a solely nonprofit project, “People’s Power Assembly” (PPA) is one of the first fronts that WWP tries to establish in cities it attempts to start a WWP branch in. The national leadership of WWP in New York cannot even explain what it really is or offer guidance in how to start a PPA since it is based solely on whatever is popular at the time.

There are undoubtedly more NGO fronts than those described here. The links between these NGOs and WWP has been uncovered before, though less clearly. In the recent split of WWP’s oldest branch, Detroit wrote: [12]

“The material basis for this degeneration of WWP seems to lie in the subordination of the Party leadership to the North Carolina branch. In this branch many of the leaders are executives and board members of non-profit entities with large funding coming from the liberal bourgeoisie, including the heirs of the RJ Reynolds family (whose fortune in part derived from slavery), Arcus Foundation (Stryker Corporation), Ford Foundation, Overbrook Foundation (Wall Street) etc.”

The Ford Foundation is the fifth wealthiest charitable foundation by endowment, and has funded projects championing eugenics and its twin, population control. [13] If these claims based on insider knowledge of WWP’s oldest branches are true, that means much of WWP’s operations are at the whims of the bourgeoisie which they receive funding from; this would explain much of their insistence on legality and getting permits for their demonstrations. While individual WWP members have displayed some instances of militancy, the party in general hesitates to use violence or illegality.

Wherever they have a contingent present, WWP can be found at the end of the march. In the past, any talk of weapons or armed self-defense has been flagged by WWP as infiltrator behavior. While security is crucial, it is incorrect to cop-jacket people simply for suggesting more militant action or appropriate means of self-defense. A clear double standard is seen in the report from Incendiary News in which a WWP cadre is seen flashing a handgun to try and intimidate those who accused him of working with a federal informant. What we can understand from this is that WWP, in their efforts to smother the mass movement for profit, are fully against the masses arming themselves for self-defense against fascists and the state but are perfectly fine with working with informants and using guns themselves.

The job of communists is to grasp the people’s anger and develop it even further, rather than stopping it dead in its tracks. A failure to even allow discussion of weapons for self-defense objectively serves fascism regardless of the crypto-fascist lines they hold because it leaves the left unarmed against an armed right. Maoists, on the other hand seek to command the gun and unleash the sea of armed masses against the old-state.

To elaborate on this defection of the Detroit branch and members from other cities from WWP, in a document calling themselves the “Communist Workers League” (CWL) they detailed a recent history of their attempt to reorganize the leadership of WWP, which they correctly said has never had true democratic centralism. According to CWL their efforts to reorganize the leadership caused them to become isolated from WWP’s decision-making.

The CWL side said, “When the West Virginia teachers strike occurred, the West Virginia WWP branch attacked the strike and called for the teachers to pay reparations.” CWL claimed that identity politics had taken over WWP, and that CWL’s attempts at organizing the struggle against “finance capital” in the Black city of Detroit was opposed by WWP, “saying we should be struggling to get streets renamed instead”. CWP goes on, “In fact the ideological current of labeling white workers as settlers and abandoning the multinational working class as an agent of revolutionary change is prevalent in WWP.” [12] This is true, and such a failure to include the white working class in WWP’s analysis paves the way for the emboldening of some members of the white working class as ultranationalists in service of fascism.

The final act of this split was when a young man in Baltimore was accused of rape and sexual assault by 13 people. CWL claimed that as a result, “Comrades were expelled without due process whatsoever” while the WWP side said, “It is unacceptable to question, call for investigation, proof, or details of whether and how sexual assault happened.” [14]

The projects of Detroit have been reformist regardless, with the Moratorium NOW campaigns for housing rights being focused mainly on local government decisions regarding evictions and fair housing. Despite having broken off, CWL still appears to be organizing in same exact campaigns as WWP. They have joined WWP’s days of mobilization in support of Venezuela, even using the exact same graphic used by WWP.

The fascist Caleb Maupin got his start with WWP, seen in their propaganda as early as 2007. While with WWP he wrote for the theocratic fascist regime in Iran who funded the news outlet “Press TV” and the Putinite New Eastern Outlook. He left WWP in 2013 and founded “Students and Youth for a New America” (SYNA) in 2015.

SYNA’s propaganda makes it clear that they are a fascist organization. Their founding statement champions SYNA as patriots “who love their country” and calls for an “American Rebirth”. [15] In October 2018 Maupin gave a presentation called “Socialism Will Save America” which is not far off from the Trumpite slogan “Make America great again”. SYNA uses a fascist variation of the American flag in their propaganda (all of which is red, white and blue) and is spreading their filth particularly on university campuses.

To support his fascist, nationalist agenda Maupin has used blatant antisemitism. In 2014 he was present at the New Horizons Conference in Tehran which included many Holocaust deniers; one of their topics for discussion on the agenda was “9/11 and the Holocaust as Pro-Zionist Myths”. [16] The conference also attracted Nazi leaders from “Parti Solidaire Francais” among many other outright fascists. In 2015 Maupin wrote “Satan at the Fountainhead: The Israel Lobby & The Financial Crisis”, which employed many antisemitic tropes to blame the 2008 financial crisis on Jews. This shifting of the blame from imperialism to Jews is a ploy of classic fascism.

Anyone who would defend SYNA based on their claiming to be “socialist” must recall that fascists have a long history of borrowing from or trying to reclaim socialist imagery—the Nazi party was always the “National Socialist” party, and it did not choose the red flag at random.

WWP privately claimed to be sad about Maupin’s leaving but their “party line” is to never publicly, directly say anything bad about anyone they interact with. This leads to collaboration with fascism or apologizing for it. By refusing to publicly disavow Maupin as a fascist they are cosigning him as an organization he got years’ worth of experience from. Further they coddled the young fascist by having him defend WWP’s mechanical positions on Iran and Russia. It is nothing other than the crypto-fascist ideology of WWP which produces more transparent fascists like SYNA.

Refusing to say anything bad publicly about anyone is a fake, vain way for WWP to posture themselves as more principled than their opponents. If they were to publicly announce their breaks it would alienate much of the base for their “broad mobilizations”, since instead of breaking with those who leave them on stark ideological bases, they keep them in the loop, and this includes fascists. This is more flattening of class contradictions and refusal to acknowledge that one divides into two.

Showing that they truly believe two converges into one, at the 2016 Workers World conference First Secretary Larry Holmes gave a speech lamenting about PSL’s split, saying WWP wanted to work with them again. In the video he said:

“All of the struggles that went on in the communist movement years ago are of great importance, and there’s a lot that we can learn from it. But we don’t base ourself on those struggles now. Because that was then, and this is now.” [17]

Met with much opportunist applause, he goes on to proclaim:

“So why don’t we just push that aside and figure out how we can unite communists based on what is happening now?” He then refers to the history of the ICM as, “All that stuff that happened…but don’t get stuck in all of that”.

When he finally reaches the topic of PSL he says, “It was dumb…it hurt the movement,” and apologetically continues, “If there was a basis for reuniting with those comrades who left this party, Workers World would be the first party to explore it.”

Holmes’ remarks here are reminiscent of WWP’s past official request for Freedom Road Socialist Organization- Fight Back (FRSO) to merge with WWP into one big party. FRSO declined the invitation citing WWP’s history as a Trotskyite organization, and this use of anti-Trot principles was ridiculed by WWP for years to come, with WWP using the same tired sentiment, “That was then, and this is now”.

Indeed, WWP and PSL work together often, so much so that they work as parts of a whole, taking similarly crypto-fascist lines in international affairs, with both claiming the legacy of Marcyism. The fact remains that WWP and PSL are almost identical ideologically and have carbon copy working methods; their split comes down primarily to a contradiction between personalities, which they always prize above political line.


Crypto-fascists like any capitalist entity seek influence and profits, and they are organized. Their efforts to spread what is, in the final analysis fascism must be stopped at every turn.

The class struggle is represented by line struggles within the Communist organization. WWP aims to address the antagonistic class struggle peacefully, and as an expression of this they don’t take line struggle within any organizations seriously, least of all their own. This contributes to the fascist lines winning out in their organization.

In practice WWP has responded very stressfully to line struggles that naturally pop up like they expect them not to happen, instead of embracing them in pursuit of principled unity. They seek to run and hide from struggle. No one claiming to be a communist can approach line struggle in that same exhausted and cowardly manner, putting on heirs as they do.

Labelling everything “struggle”, WWP causes a lot of confusion to those who follow them. Their dogmatic application of “anti-imperialism”, mechanical chanting, pacified protests, electoral frontism, along with other aspects, amount to negating the class struggle. They diffuse struggle everywhere instead of focusing mainly on the class struggle and sink into the rabbit hole of defending fascist regimes and fascist groups from US imperialism. With this they are emboldened to lead those wanting to be active in political life into the marsh of class collaboration and fascism.

Their failure to produce actual summations (whether internally or externally) shows clearly that they do not organize their line struggles nor learn from them. They are therefore forced to learn the same lessons repeatedly in a way the resembles a merry go round and not a spiral of knowledge and practice. Within their own organizations they seek conciliation with the opposing lines instead of sharpening of a correct line that wins out and consolidates a stronger group. They do not get stronger; they remain the same, a veritably rotten organization doomed to eternal splitting.

Article written by Ira


[1] Griswold, D. In Defense of the Chinese Revolution: The record of Workers World Party.

[2] Marcy, S. The USSR and the oppressed nations.

[3] El Diario. Interview with Chairman Gonzalo.

[4] Goldstein, F. Marxism and the social character of China.

[5] Ministry of Commerce of China. Statistics on China-Africa Bilateral Trade in 2017.

[6] Scott H. A Short Introduction to the MLM Conception of Fascism.

[7] Holmes, L. Solidarity with the DPRK.

[8] IAC. About the IAC.

[9] IWW Environmental Union Caucus. An Investigation into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, and the Western Left.

[10] Countervortex. The Mysterious Ramsey Clark: Stalinist Dupe or Ruling-Class Spook?

[11] Noble, Kenneth B. (1987, April 21). US Deports Man Condemned to Die by Soviet Union.

[12] CWL Facebook post

[13] Horvath, A. How Birth Control Morphed into Population Control, via Margaret Sanger

[14] Screenshot from BLACKDIAMAT’s Twitter thread

[15] SYNA Facebook post

[16] Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The Second International ‘New Horizon’ Conference in Tehran Draws Leading Holocaust Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, And BDS Activists From Around The World – And Is Backed And Supported By Iranian Regime.

[17] Larry Holmes’ 2016 WWP Conference closing speech video

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