The Collapse

Note: This essay, written by a long-term member of the Red Guards/CR-CPUSA, is likely the most comprehensive account of the internals of the revisionist clique available. It was published on the Revolutionary Study Network blog, however neither I nor the author are associated with the Revolutionary Study Network. Again, sharing does not imply any agreement with the political lines nor association with the writer(s).


The “Committee to Reconstitute the Communist Party of the United States of America,” or CR-CPUSA for short, has collapsed and those Maoist revolutionaries are left scattered, stuck in a process of defining their reorganization. “Red Guards” was often the pejorative label for them, harkening to their prior self-description before they reformed into a more centralized political organization. This “Maoist center” in the U.S. has gone without an obituary that summates its manner of death, beyond the private commentary of individual posters online who have come with their own interpersonal engrossments over the very real wrongs done to them by the leading group in the Political Bureau. In looking at what happened, we have to first deal with discussions of what happened, and from what should be seen as an error in trying to understand the nature of why this ‘thing’ happened.

These individual claims are not entirely reliable, not because their authors are lying (not at all!) but because we cannot gather the necessary knowledge to understand what happened objectively by just looking at individual actions or events devoid of where they politically came from. In many ways we can be reminded in looking at why it collapsed in using a metaphor, using the story of the prophet Elijah. Elijah goes into the desert looking for God and walks for 40 days and 40 nights, eventually crawling into a cave and calling it quits to wait for God to appear to him. Then, as the was said:

“A mighty hurricane shattered the mountain and split the rocks before God. But God was not in the hurricane. And after the hurricane, an earthquake. But God was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire. But God was not in the fire.”

The point being that it was not hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires that defined the phenomena Elijah was seeing, but they were indeed forms that showed that phenomena’s apparent appearance. This encapsulates the prominent idealism of the petty bourgeois ‘left’ today: what exists on the surface of a ‘thing’ is what the thing is itself, and following from that, the aspects of the contradiction is nothing but the contradiction itself and can be judged on that basis. Since the collapse, it has been attractive among certain good elements to attribute the surface elements of abuse and mistreatment of Committee members on the theory of a militant and revolutionary vanguard party, as if engaging in generic activism and preaching spontaneism would act as a silver bullet.

This document is for demonstrating how, historically, we are all still in the stage of militants coming together and doing the work of reconstituting, or re-establishing, a communist party and how we cannot join these ex-leaders in helping to liquidate this work. This will be done by showing how it was not the leading group’s Marxism but their revisionism that failed at everything it had attempted, including its organization’s own survival. Its program for building its revolution and its membership had exhausted itself after 7 years and were easily able to collapse under the weight of its crimes. They could no longer speak to or for these times. They attempted in the last 2 years of its existence to flog events and relationship with the masses into life in a way that was disconnected from the world around them, which is the principal source of the pessimism among many, as good comrades have been left exhausted and defeated.

This should be situated there because there are still many nationwide in the revolutionary camp who are committed to such work, they have not gone away, but they also were not strong enough to assert the correct politics and line of march in the organization from its destruction. Part of our investigation must also be looking at this. This camp has always existed but it was not confident enough in going its own way.

We must start our investigation of this event from the point in the style of work that Chairman Mao pointed out: “the Communists have to ask the why of all things and use of their own judgment to carefully examine whether they correspond to reality and whether they are well founded; they must absolutely not blindly follow others or advocate servile obedience.” We must not be subjective and dispersed in how we present information, we must have political maturity and patience in engaging in ideological class struggle. This work was produced as objectively as possible with the input of older senior members, supporters and activists who were expelled or departed years ago, those who were initiators of the work, and those who entered late but saw the organization’s end. We hope that this serves as a contribution to the International Communist Movement (ICM) and to the red line in its development in Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, USA, Germany, Austria, France, and Ireland.

We want to assert that the comrades in the United States are still in a complex process of building the instruments of revolution, that these efforts have faced a defeat, and that in our error of interpretation and application of the correct ideological line, we have been led to experience losses which, without being overly definitive, cost us greatly politically. Some formerly within our camp have been understandably demoralized by this fallout and have gone elsewhere. This collapse has happened because we were weak, we were not well equipped with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and therefore we handed over the initiative to reaction. This document should serve as a starting point for taking up study on our line and conception of applying MLM to the particularity of this country, study which does not look like passively burying our heads in books or staying in small study circles, but in coming to actually understanding Maoism and concretely applying it to our conditions nationally. We cannot and will not abandon this task. We must repudiate looking and acting subjectively and instead produce and fully study the ideology.

Last spring is when the Committee experienced major upheavals which led to splits between the rest of the organization. From the outside, it can be difficult to assess the nature of this crisis and to understand its ins and outs. But on March 1, 2022, comrades voted unanimously at an expanded plenary session of the Central Committee to oust elements hostile to the organization who were part of that historic leadership in the Political Bureau (Politboro), and to replace this executive body of the Central Committee with a reorganization committee led by the only “leftist” who was thought to be part of the Politboro. This ejection was fully justified but the endorsement of this supposed “leftist” was a critical error. The next day, in response to this event, the opportunist clique that dominated the Central Committee instead openly defended the hostile elements through this “leftist” and attempted to order the isolation of those who led the recall of the previous day not on the basis of the organization’s line struggle but on various organizational and procedural offenses, for “having an agenda,” with this reorganization committee leader ordering for members who were in good standing and recognized for their exemplary militancy in the months prior to the meeting to be expelled.

Since then, the Committee’s whole Austin and Los Angeles branch, it’s various sections and areas of influence in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Charlotte, Wheeling, Houston and elsewhere, and its generated organisms have ceased to recognize the legitimacy of the Central Committee, as it has been usurped by an opportunist clique. The work of much of these groups have continued in some places but have mostly collapsed. We will establish in this paper what caused this collapse, namely, because there was not a unified ideological line around Maoism in the first place within the Committee to preserve it, which would have been the only way to battle the revisionism of the clique.

But we must understand the revisionism of the clique, represented by the following:

1) At the 1st Maoist Line Struggle Conference (2018), the 2nd Maoist Line Struggle Conference (2019), and the First Conference (2020), there was always an eclectic and empiricist distortion of Maoism by the clique even when previous sequences or thoughts were repudiated on paper. Still today there is a struggle around unity to Maoism, with many delegates or historical members repudiating their prior membership and a commitment to the ideology altogether.

This is worth pointing out to the Coordinating Committee of the Unified Maoist International Conference, as the opportunist clique should be prevented from speaking on things they know nothing about.

2) A lack of even having an actual Leninist Party style with operating democratic centralism along with a programme and class perspective to liason with the working class.

3) The leadership, had a line not of “going to the deepest and most profound” but of pragmatist opportunism, tailing activist fads as fashionable among the student and petty bourgeois left.

4) The leaders acted as militarists, seeing the question of violence as separate from politics, of tactics as separate from strategy. “Combativity” of the militants subordinated to its leadership was substituted for the military strategy of incorporating the workers into engaging in popular violence. There was a gross rendition of “antirevisionism” acted out, of “attacking in all directions” irresponsibly at those who could potentially be friends or at least who could have been won over to a “friendly neutrality.”

5) A backward conception of the role of the Party in an advanced capitalist country, a backward conception of the role of Communists in the workers movement, and a backward conception of the united front.

6) The humiliation and abuse of earnest proletarian elements within the Party embryo, the suppression of two-line struggle, and a right opportunist protection of bourgeois elements
These low blows and activities of the clique have existed from the start, and it was only when the study of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was taken up by younger and energetic members that the petty bourgeois subjectivism that threatened the Communist movement was noted—and the gangrene that had been developing for years within this purported Party embryo became apparent. This process of study and ideological consolidation is ongoing, but we must lay down our case from this start.


In the early 2010s the beginning of the movement to defend Black lives, with the explosion of popular violence in proletarian centers in Ferguson and Baltimore, had created a renewed interest in progressive and revolutionary ideas among the youth. There was very little study or mention of past experiments at constructing a new workers’ Party, such as with the aftermath of the CPUSA’s capitulation between 1943 to 1965 (the polemics of Harrison and Dunne on the Left, the Provisional Organizing Committee) and then the New Communist Movement between 1965 to 1985, but the question of reconstituting a fighting Communist Party was back on the mind of many. This enthusiasm and desire for action met at a point of low level of theoretical struggle and discussion—it was amateur’s hour everywhere.

In February of 2014, the first such organization to emerge was the New Communist Party (Liaison Committee) in New York City, initiated by former members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Their stated mission was to unite dispersed Maoist revolutionaries nationally, create Party groups and do mass work, most of which was concentrated around student activism through groups like the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC). There is very little known about why the split within the organization occurred beyond what has been written by the organizations which helped hasten its collapse, which was Red Guards Austin (RGA) in 2016 (“We Will Not Integrate Into a Burning House”). It was established in this polemic that NCP-LC and RSCC leadership had harbored abusive men and continued relationships with a rapist and that the line on Party construction was to rapidly admit and expand membership without regard to quality and to likewise have chapters on paper even if such chapters only had one member. The theoretical positions and practical actions of NCP-LC are now a mystery, but given that many Red Guards groups would fall in line with their “heterodox Maoism” before RGA worked to wreck them, they are nevertheless worth noting.

The group would continue thereafter with the same name except with the description of being an Organizing Committee (NCP-OC). The latter, which carried with it chapters in Virginia, New York, NY, and Boston, Massachusetts, would break from the former’s conception and instead established that the central task was “ideological consolidation,” renaming themselves the Maoist Communist Group (MCG) in 2015. Mass Proletariat—or MP (based in Virginia, Boston) – would break from MCG, claiming that the latter had bureaucratically suppressed democracy, was sectarian and was not serious of dealing with the sexist contradictions in the former NCP-LC. MP would dissolve years later, though MCG remains and has developed mass work among students, cafeteria workers, and tenants, though it is unclear what the status of this work is.

In this period, many of these collectives had a conception of building the Party “from the bottom” and advocated a federal form of organization where everyone is autonomous from the other. All were infected with a small group mentality, trying to evade the challenge of uniting under national leadership and thinking that there would be some sort of spontaneous transition from their study circles to the Party. There emerged with time a drive to pry these stubborn goats off their mountains with the lever of an overly abstract “ideological struggle” and the call for organizational rules. The NCP-LC was supposed to be this first attempt.

The groups who would fall in with the NCP-LC whose members would become part of the Committee was the Progressive Youth Organization (PYO)/Kansas City Revolutionary Collective (Kansas City, Missouri), Red Guards Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California).

The Red Guards

Reactionary conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones enjoyed crowds and attention, so it was natural, when he organized a protest to attack the right to abortion in 2015 against an abortion clinic in Austin, TX that he’d be on the megaphone addressing his motley crew of supporters. Suddenly, to his shock and panic, and that of the security guard who was tasked with watching him, he was met with a group of counter protesters who struck him in the face and stole his megaphone. Jones would use his bully pulpit of Infowars to expose this small and mostly unorganized group of young radicals who called themselves “Red Guards Austin” in such a way that caused the group to temporarily go defunct (they declared it a “hiatus” but all originating members were scattered to the wind, Dallas and Avanti even moving to Los Angeles for a period).

RGA emerged a year prior in 2014 out of the revolutionizing of some parts of the mass movements of the time, the organizers of which were comrade “Dallas” and his partner and co-organizer “Avanti” (their aliases would change multiple times but we’ll refer to them by this). Both had experienced significant heartache and hardship together, which I feel bonded them closely in spite of Dallas’ constant emotional volatility. Covered in tattoos, and Dallas with a Lenin encrusted golden tooth, they were personally imposing and even a little intimidating to be around. Both were also humorous and could strike up conversations easily with someone, excellent at agitating and breaking down political analysis to whoever they chatted with. They both had an opposite side which included being incredibly domineering, both to each other and to all who would become their subordinates.

There were more shady details about their background, which they sometimes would brag about to prove how hard they were, such as that Dallas had sold heroin and profited handsomely while he was in active addiction in New York. Dallas had an incredibly bizarre fascination in serial killers, cults, and bourgeois psychology. On a camping trip he told comrades that he had become a revolutionary because of a “death drive” – Freud’s description of how while some humans oriented towards pleasure and self-preservation, there were those with this drive who had traumatic experiences and tended towards misery and self-destruction because of these experiences.

The name “Red Guards” was adopted out of unity with their primordial understanding of Maoism, mostly embodied in the concept of continuing revolution under socialism to prevent capitalist restoration and in constituting or reconstituting a new Communist Party for Protracted People’s War, and based on the fact that like the “Red Guards” of revolutionary China they were all youth. “Condemned to Win” became a zine that they would distribute nationally through their webstore “Urban Guerrilla Outfitters” that described these positions. CtW elaborated the position of federated collectives, of service provision in order to build “biopolitical power” in poor neighborhoods, among other incorrect and non-Marxist positions, but it also smuggled in correct positions, such as the need for a communist party, on armed struggle, among other important questions. This was one of many reasons why so many stayed and attempted to struggle for unity.

Many in left circles first took note of RGA not for its flawed theoretical positions but for its militancy. This was apparent when it organized a May Day march in 2015 in solidarity with the rebellion in Baltimore, marching with 200 people through downtown Austin before attempting to cross S. Congress Bridge. Two militants would burn a flag on the bridge to the sounds of tourists screeching in horror, leading to a physical confrontation with one of the onlookers.

RGA would adopt the tactic of creating cover organizations that would permit non-Communists into membership in order to create “support points” by which RGA “cadre” could recruit more into the organization and move further towards reconstituting a Communist Party. The first of these would become to be known as Serve the People, which would provide free food and clothes in East Austin in hopes of developing close links among the people. While attempting to demarcate itself from nonprofits and churches with slogans like “solidarity, not charity,” the grungy hobbling together of free food and clothes to help in social reproduction along with handing out newsletters or literature made them not all that much different.

Parallel but initially independent to it, was the organizing effort of Defend Our Hoodz (DOH) to fight gentrification and Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against People (RATPAC) against social violence faced by trans people which came into RGA’s orbit as they worked closely with each other. Each of these would be gravitationally pulled into RGA with time, the former rebranded under the national United Neighborhood Defense Movement and the latter dissolved on grounds of “postmodernism” but also because its founders cooperated with local police after the arrest of an activist at a DOH event.

When the Alex Jones debacle took place, its two initiating members would go to Los Angeles, where they linked up with Red Guards Los Angeles. RGLA emerged from a Youth Communist League chapter that was critical of the CPUSA’s policy on national oppression and race, as well as out of an increased unity with the NCP-LC’s Maoism, and started a successful food program in Serve the People-Los Angeles that did coalitional work with anarchist group Ovarian Psychos (called “Ovas” today) and other left groups in Defend Boyle Heights, the neighborhood where most members were based. DBH would make local and national headlines for its militant anti-gentrification organizing, boycotting and confronting art galleries brought in by developers to “artwash” the displacement of people there. Netflix even featured a fictional group based off of them in their show “Gentefied” – which DBH protested. This somewhat effective coalition would collapse as the Ovas, and others, would exit as the movement entered a more sectarian course.

With RGA’s publishing of it’s polemic against the NCP-LC, its dissolution sped up and RGA declared a “Cadre School” in which trips to Austin would serve as a training ground for developing Party members. Months later RGLA would declare ideological unity with RGA. The KC Revolutionary Collective (which lead the PYO) would likewise come along a year later. In spite of being critical of NCP-LC’s model of Party development and seemingly taking lead to organic construction on paper, they supported the federated system described earlier, of “autonomous collectives” (Condemned to Win) coming to learn each other through time and at some point hoping leadership would magically appear.

For as much as the Red Guards would later protest “postmodernism” and “pop leftism” among student circles, as these trends being alien to the working class, their organizing often put them among the unemployed urban poor and parts of the petty bourgeoisie as opposed to the working class they claimed to represent. This is not to say those groups shouldn’t be organized and that these were not valid struggles, but it is to say there are “principal” and “secondary” contradictions and this is different from “fundamental” contradictions. For example, on the world stage, the principal contradiction Is between the imperialist nations and those oppressed by imperialism. However here the fundamental contradiction remains between the proletariat and bourgeoisie.

The RGs at first de facto erased the objective existence of the proletariat in their own and focused on the secondary phenomena in their mass work from this main goal. One such way RGA would stand out in particular was public and militant denunciations of sexual aggressors, devoting considerable time on denunciation campaigns, taking the form of showing the face of the accused online, theatrical and artistic performances, criticism of other left-wing organizations and disruption of their events on charges of harboring, and graffiti in front of the homes of the accused. Given that these actions often targeted other members of the petty bourgeois left, such campaigns rarely did much to rouse popular support in spite of how morally correct they appeared. Regardless of the later shift to industry, and attempts to edit the work among tenants to bridge it with other housing groups and present some sort of a program, we still see this same dogmatism and narrow sectarianism in how the work was envisioned.

One could say the preoccupation with gentrification was representative of this similar trend. Gentrification describes the contradiction between the value of land and the rents that are charged on the property erected on said land, and in the scheme of capitalist society, the accumulation of capital and changes of productive forces alters the way commodities are distributed, and changes the face of cities and neighborhoods based on those needs. This results in workers inevitably being spatially relocated to where they are needed for production, but the “anti-gentrification” activism of the Red Guards and their affiliated organizations, while nonetheless fighting the high cost of living righteously, were preoccupied with defending neighborhoods from transformation no matter what. The petty bourgeois left, in looking at this contradiction, had focused on the identity of the dispossessed and their neighborhoods, a form of thinking that definitely influenced this work. In a way, they presumed workers would never acquiesce to moving, and as so, tailed the petty bourgeois parts of a neighborhood but not so much the workers. For example, Defend Our Hoodz in Austin could barely muster people for defending a working class apartment complex but many students and petty bourgeois came out to protest a restaurant that took over an old gas station and used racist iconography.

One of the main areas of activism that drew many under the American Maoist movement was its antifascist activity, particularly in Austin, TX. The federal and local police took particular interest in this and targeted those that they suspected were leaders for surveillance, clumsily and destructively labeling people as being drivers behind certain actions. Actions included an instance where the picketing and boycott of Blue Cat Café, whose owner Rebecca Grey violated a community boycott to not rent space that a pinata retailer was displaced, hired her Vanguard America/Patriot Front brother to physically attack the rally. This resulted in two of the fascists being hospitalized after the protestors defended themselves. Another was confronting Nazis at a Marduk metal show, physically confronting the police and members of anti-immigrant ‘March for America’ to successfully shut it down, and many lesser actions of attacking the homes of the fascists and flyering to expose them in order to fire them from their jobs.

In the aftermath of Trump’s election RGA would successfully help to lead a walkout of UT Austin students organized by Palestine Solidarity Committee lasting several hours and disrupting traffic for most of the work day. After that, Communists took to the street and urged protesters to take up street space and actively resist riot police who tried to corral the protest. Three nights later, at a protest that was organized by a Democratic Party-affiliated organization, Dallas, along with several other protesters, was arrested and given several charges. During this the arresting officer attempted to break Dallas’ neck after he wrapped his hands around them and pinned him forcibly against the ground through strangulation, leading to a civil suit against the city which was destined to be successful. As much as one can empathize with the pain and struggle it put him in, this was a completely preventable arrest.

In this moment, Dallas had acted out of discipline in an inopportune moment to steal the hat of a lone Trump supporter who was counterprotesting. This poor discipline was also evidenced by being the person at Marduk who went to strike a loser fascist. While some of the ‘foot soldiers’ on the ground could argue that they saw this as heroic, a trait of a leader who modeled the sacrifices they themselves had to take on, democratic centralism entails the continuity of leadership and the recognition of the weight of class struggle that creates its leaders. This absolute egalitarianism of equating generals to soldiers would both politically and physically disable Dallas and give him continued chronic pain he has till today, as well as open the movement up to repression.

RGA often conflated reactionary or racist groups in with fascist organizations in light of the Trump elections, taking every opportunity to increasingly “militarize.” Given that there was no differentiation between reactionaries who supported bourgeois democracy from real fascist elements, there was an inordinate amount of energy spent on tailing and protesting every reactionary Trump protest. RGA was one of the first modern groups to openly carry firearms at progressive demonstrations, with some of their militants open carrying as a “partisan unit” at a White Lives Matter protest as some of its “mass organization” members attacked the police line along with anarchists and other leftists to get to the racists. This promotion of armed protest on one hand proved to be necessary in light of the murder of Heather Heyer and of how fascists RGA attacked often were armed and willing to attack, but was even more often unnecessary and served only as the showing off of props. The people who showed up to battle fascists were the best weapon that they were able to gather—the pathetic arsenal of revolutionary wannabes were mostly useless. It also roused the extreme scrutiny of local and federal authorities who saw them as threat. Likewise, when replicated in other cities those who carried were not prepared or trained to use firearms and in some cases, such as in Kansas City, a city whose members were enthusiastically for counter-protesting a Trump rally were later humiliated by the state while some of their activists open carried. The police demanded that they not be present with loaded magazines (an order which was not extended to Oathkeepers there), one young member nervously surrendered their firearm so the police could empty the magazine as the other activists agreed to the demand and did so themselves. There were times when the presence of firearms played the role as an important deterrent from reactionary attacks, but often, it represented a complete militarist deviation that subtracted the necessity of organizing the working class against fascism in substitution for armed brigands.

This armed showboating would later be repudiated as a “purely military view,” of thinking that fatigues and carrying guns in itself was revolutionary. It also referred to how confrontations absent of mass mobilization were ineffective. This same criticism and self-criticism around the purely military view did not apply to later sectarian disruptions and infighting however, it was sincerely believed that reformist groups would be so frightened by a bit of paint going up on a building they were doing a study group at or through being yelled at that they would be weakened in their resolve and stop organizing, allowing Maoists to fill the vacuum of where they once were. This militarism would be a characteristic of the organization from its inception to its end, and where it may have been momentarily effective in crippling small nationalist and fascist organizing networks it largely served to isolate the movement, open it up to repression, and after the repression hit, closing off sympathetic contacts – those people who previously supported their work and donated towards the defense of those arrested.

There would be an early foray into labor organizing done by the Kansas City Revolutionary Collective (KCRC)/Red Guards through their “mass organization” Revolutionary Workers Movement, when unemployment people from PYO and STP were placed to work at an auto parts facility which was under the Autoworkers union. However, beyond reporting on conditions and advising workers, by the time RWM launched only two people had remained at the factory. Many were not good and disciplined workers, facing termination for being tardy and poor work performance. The founder of PYO and KCRC would start a line struggle over email with RGA leadership and other collectives on this question, penning the Labor Paper.

Dallas would criticize the paper, commending its analysis but claiming the Labor Paper they wrote around doing this work was “economistic” and supportive of yellow unions for arguing that the unions are “basic economic defense organizations” of the working class. Dallas had pushed the line that unions and unionization no longer principally served the role of economic defense (effectively flattening all contradictions within the labor movement) and that they were now corporative and reformist, always out to prevent and stop strikes. He argued that revolutionaries doing workplace organizing had to create new semi-clandestine unions and clandestine groups. There was no looking at union drives dialectically, to support one or take part in organizing one was to support the workers being enmeshed into government boards that regulate the class struggle by legally ratifying the legitimacy of the union and the contracts they won.

In these main cities, the Red Guards organizations were able to build up a small, but active number of “cadres”, some organizations were considerably large enough to branch out and attempt to start branches in other cities that could copy their work. RGA in particular became a center for seeding other organizations, from Houston (where it co-organized relief work in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey), to Pittsburgh, Houston, San Marcos and elsewhere, with only Los Angeles, Charlotte and Kansas City being formed prior to working with RGA. But no one knew what Party reconstitution looked like, including Dallas and Avanti, and as evidenced by the method of debating and synthesizing the Labor Paper into concrete lines, there was an asymmetric summation of what the ailment was. The ailment being lack of understanding of the ideology and of their organizing method which would inform it. Likewise, it was not even clear to most what the long-term political aim of their organizing looked like on a few years’ scale, beyond tailing activist trends.

By the end of 2016 Red Guards Austin was entering the new year of several mass organizations, the Revolutionary Student Front (RSF) based out of University of Texas, RATPAC, and the increasingly won over and coexisting Defend Our Hoodz. Many members felt confident in leading an effort to build a Party underneath them in spite of there being a spurious foundation, and the endorsement of other collectives seemed to give them that drive. Likewise formed at this time was Incendiary News. This periodical would cover the mostly small actions that the movement was able to create, history and theoretical topics, and also would print graffiti and murals which were put up by the movement. But already these groups would be stressed by an inability to grow.

Towards Unity – And Disunity

The 1st Maoist Line Struggle Conference was to be the remedy to this problem, where it would discuss the problem of persistent postmodernism in the movement, on the need to move towards “Party militarization,” on the need to form revolutionary women’s mass organizations and prioritize developing women leaders, on the Chicano national question and how to relate to nationalism among oppressed groups, on antifascism and tactics to defeating fascists – all for the purpose of introducing members of different collectives to each other and to debate over these positions. RGLA reached out to Mass Proletariat and MCG, groups who were once tied in to the former NCP-OC, to attend the Conference. Both rejected the invitations. The objective of this Conference was to build a national organization of some sort, though it was clear no one there knew what that was. What was established by the Conference was regular communication and plans for shared solidarity rallies over internationalist events, the first of which was solidarity actions with Dr. Sernas in Mexico.

There was at this Conference good examples of activist work established, yet with no real unity around Maoism established, without Communist leadership or organization, without striving towards professionalism, there was no such pole by which to draw in those organized by that activist work around Maoism. In terms of such “good work,” it was clear that organized fascists in Austin were having trouble with organizing above ground, and in Austin, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Pittsburgh there were numerous summations shared of tenant committees being formed and victories snatched from landlords around poor conditions and the cost of living. The latter would serve as the basis for what would become UNDM.

Explicitly excluded from this event was the founder of Serve the People-St. Louis, who would go on to found the Maoist Communist Party-Organizing Committee and become a popular YouTuber and social media persona under the name “BlackRedGuard” (BRG). RGA ordered STP-STL to not use the name of their “mass organization” if they were only going to serve the homeless and not orient enough with workers, causing the founder to publish a polemic where RGA was accused of anti-Black racism for trying to bully him into not organizing. The drive to be behind branding STP was absurd and the distinction did not materially matter, as if both weren’t already just giving to the needy, which most often included the homeless.

Beyond the egos that created this schism in the American Maoist movement, there was little political difference between the Red Guards and the FTP/MCP-OC groups as one would think, at least in that period. BRG’s group, For the People, would create its own organizing networks and leaders who followed the STP path in doing tenant organizing. These organizations continue to exist, but are “decentralized.” RGA leadership had always acted like these groups were pathetic (and, like the STPs they never did seem to grow beyond the core of those involved), yet Dallas had elevated their founder to the level of literally calling him the Maoist movement’s Trotsky. BRG was often untrustworthy, saying one thing and then doing another, also acting in a sectarian way towards others, but his group’s permanent relegation to the sidelines was unproductive. There was no reason, in spite of important ideological antagonisms, to not practically be able to work together and struggle overtime on key questions.


The DSA made a meteoric rise as a result of the 2016 “Bernie bump”, with new chapters appearing across the United States and filling already existing, old, geriatric chapters with young members who often brought more militant politics in. The Red Guards had always seen the DSA, being an essentially social democratic organization, as “social fascist” – excluding the potential of Communists who were in a weaker subjective position to work with the local leaders and among their base on shared goals. But by the end of 2016, there was a de facto policy of ignoring the DSA as a political force, perhaps labeling them as reformist, but not going out of the way to confront them.

Starting in 2017, this began to change. RGA and its mass organizations, along with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee and individual anarchists, planned a May Day rally in downtown Austin. It was the first of its kind since 2015, as in 2016 there was an “anti election” rally outside of a polling station that basically no one attended. The Austin Socialist Collective, which had collaborated with RGA many times before, had planned a parallel rally with several Trotskyist and student leftist organizations at the State Capitol, a move which RGA leadership declared to be “splittist.” Nationally, in email correspondences, other collectives were informed about how social fascism was “not antipodse of fascism, but twins” and how it needed to be combated. Orders were given to cut off communication with ASC, and that the rally would proceed as planned.

The disorganized rally of around 50 people started slowly, with people filtering into a launch area where a growing crowd of reactionaries was already fully assembled and prepared to confront “antifa” at. Immediately, the rally was on the defensive as the reactionaries started snatching flags and posters from the marchers, with the police initially holding them back. A sympathetic activist with the Peaceful Streets Project, a cop watch organization which would later be decried as “social fascist” a year later by RGA, had started antagonizing the police by equating them with the fascists attacking the rally, leading to the police being less open to protecting the red march. Miraculously, no one would be arrested as the red contingent would move at a snail pace to a dispersal point. After this rally, ASC leadership, Brad Crowder (who was arrested at the 2009 Republican National Convention by FBI informants who conned him into making Molotov cocktails) and Andrew Dobbs (a long time union organizer and environmental advocate who was once a Republican) were blamed for not sending effective support to help the “real” May Day rally that was happening down the street, and were labeled enemies of the people by the RGA leadership.

It is hard to imagine that if people actually studied reality (and Marxism) how this course could have been avoided. Lenin in 1920 suggested the British Communists offer to cooperate with the Labor Party, candidly admitting that their support would be “in the same way as the rope supports a hanged man.”

The United Front and Communists maintaining organizational independence and initiative within it is always key, as the “left” petty bourgeois and bourgeois would always vacillate and surrender when push came to shove. The reasons for entering into relationships with those groups relates to specific questions of practical unity (whether it be agreeing to unite around counter protesting a specific fascist, or pushing for a work stoppage) but such unity cannot be maintained indefinitely. As is especially the case in imperialist countries, where the labor aristocracy is large and conservatism prevails, it is important for Communists to seek unity from below with revolutionaries in non-revolutionary “socialist” or progressive organizations while also negotiating with non-Communist leaders, or else they will remain small and uninfluential within the mass movements they work in. With such a large number of young people drawn into such organizations, to flatten contradictions within them and between chapters is contrary to this understanding.

Such lessons were not grasped, at least at that time. This would start in the 2018 election year with several publicized agitations and disruptions of DSA and PSL events and rallies at first but would escalate—including the use of pig carcasses which labeled the DSA “capitalist pigs” later in the fall. Another action campaign was started that involved someone being sent into a Cajun restaurant, throwing over a table with Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL) literature on it, over MicKinley Forbes allegedly being a member of their organization. Forbes had serious accusations of rape levelled against her. In truth this was not to “combat revisionism” nor was it to seek genuine accountability for the crimes this person committed, it was instead an open and unprincipled attack on the PSL as evidenced by the insufficient investigation and coordination with PSL to even discover if there was an association between her and the group.

In a completely ahistorical and aprioristic way, the formula of “social fascism” was placed wholesale on the entirety of the organization. One of these such embarrassing actions involved sabotaging a small rally of about five people organized by revisionists (the PSL) to denounce U.S. imperialist intervention in Venezuela. Maoist militants dressed in olive colored fatigues approached the group, seizing their megaphone and signs while pushing them around. They then made a video which could only described as squirm-inducing that depicted themselves burning the signs they seized, signs which demanded the U.S. not intervene in Venezuela, making the Maoists look more reactionary than the revisionists themselves. This actions was never self-criticized for, though the fatigues and open carrying was ended as a “Lin Biaoist” deviation that put military action and aesthetic ahead of actually leading the workers.

As for the ASC, which had rebranded itself as the “Austin Revolutionary Organizing Collective,” an RGA member infiltrated the organization to push pessimism and for the liquidation of their organization, all under the direction of Dallas. AROC members faced harassment by having flyers posted around their apartment buildings. Eventually the AROC, burnt out by its failure to build its organization and many of its members frightened by these threats, would dissolve.

RGA’s leadership urged other collectives to follow suit with their tactics, arguing that embracing the election boycott and recognizing “revisionism as the primary threat” meant copying these actions. It was not until CR-CPUSA was consolidated away from the Red Guards that these actions would become generalized, but when they did, they did it harder and with perhaps more negative impact than RGA alone ever could. How were the actions received by members? Some were bewildered and unsure how to manage their relationships with other left groups and organizers, others by enthusiastically and mechanically taking up this line, ridding of them their alliances with other groups and activists.

Likewise, the failure to organize co-jointly with the other nominally “Maoist” organizations for shared actions or summits, as others do nationally and internationally, seemed to be held back by RGA leadership’s capacity to hold grudges and not seriously consider that their opposing line could be valid. Later in 2020 when Tribune of the People News called for a solidarity campaign among their support committees for arrested PSL members in Denver that were charged for “kidnapping” because they protested outside the police headquarters, it should come with little surprise that many local PSL members did not see these gestures are genuine or principled.

What would follow in 2018-2020 was the systematic harassment of the DSA and “revisionists” everywhere they planned to hold a public event, news articles “exposing” them, and agitating against them. In Los Angeles, DBH would fall apart due to similar sectarian behavior inside their coalition, culminating with the disruption of the the Ovas’ anarchist study group, leading to a physical confrontation. In Charlotte, A Habitat for Humanity symposium was disrupted. In Pittsburgh, a tenant organizing meeting the DSA put on was disrupted. But most infamously, the Kansas City DSA’s educational event on antifascism was disrupted when several red-hooded militants showed up before it started and started taking literature from the organizers, starting an altercation with an elderly DSA member that led to his hospitalization and the destruction of the equipment. Local DSA leaders in remarking on this event ignored certain details, such that this elderly DSA member had actually worked with PYO in the past and that he had escalated with the disrupting group in some part because the RGKC had criticized his wife for anti-Communism, but it was nonetheless what it had appeared us, which was an unnecessary and counterintuitive attack.

Incendiary News initially labeled the Kansas City event to be a great “anti-revisionist confrontation.” After more details came to the surface, it became clear that the local leadership in Kansas City were dishonest in their reporting to national leadership about what had happened, and were called to Austin to be put in front of a “trial” to determine whether they would be expelled. Incendiary News issued a retraction, declaring that the Kansas City Maoists were “entering into a period of reorganization” and that their action flowed from the “purely military viewpoint” as well as “floundering mass work.” The more experienced KC leader who organized the action had upheld it in spite of nothing good coming from it, and was called to Austin to participate in a “trial” over the affair, had decided to not face trial. He refused to take the trip there and was expelled as so, believing that the “trial” was a show trial meant to humiliate him (he was not incorrect, as we should see in how such “trials” were handled). To give credit to those who participated in spite of the massive error, national leadership never held itself accountable for creating and ordering these attacks on “social fascism” and instead acted like Kansas City moved in a vacuum.

The impotence of the movement’s mass work, increasingly so as mass activity around the new Trump presidency became less frequent, had devolved into attacks on other left groups in hopes that this would make Maoists the only shop in town. This sectarianism also came out in its politics itself. Unions and driving to create a union was not revolutionary enough, nor were tenant unions. Dogmatically, “political content” had to be injected into everything even where it had not subjectively made sense and even if the quality of such propaganda was low, making revolutionaries seem removed from the workers they talked to.

One problem of America’s Maoists was the inability to adopt language and analysis creatively to conditions here. Incendiary News’ (and later Tribune’s) would constantly be criticized for having “stereotypical Party language,” shared not just in the articles but in other propaganda produced by the movement on walls and on banners by the movement’s activists. There was an alienation of the masses from the language of the “revolutionaries” that wanted to lead them and an alienation of its propagandists from the practical experience of the masses. This was a serious failure that marked the mass work of the movement and its propaganda.


The BlueLeaks Data Dump in 2020 revealed over 24 years of police records which included significant portions of intelligence done by the Austin Regional Intelligence Center (ARIC) on the Red Guards as a “threat.” The report explained:

“The Red Guards Austin is an organization that promotes anti-government and anti-law enforcement. Comments members have posted on open source websites indicate that they are frustrated with the lack of change that comes from peaceful protests. In planning for protests, they provide tips on how to ‘de-arrest’ (a tactic which involves using distractions and sheer numbers to attempt to pull arrested subjects from officers), how to counteract the effects of pepper spray, and how to prepare for going to jail.”

The report noted significant activity by the group and its affiliated organizations. There was a Department of Homeland Security report which likewise referred to the Red Guards as “anarcho-communist” and “antifa” organizations. The fact that the organizations were being watched was no surprise to any member. But what would come not long after were intense attacks on those the federal police suspected of being leadership.

Dallas and Avanti were both arrested for assault, and then Dallas again for possession of firearms as a felon, spurring a call for an international campaign around his release. This chain of event begins when activists Jesus Mares and Angela Clarke were to be part of an armed security detail for a particular event (members of the ‘Partisan Unit’) and bailed at the last second. They would be charged by Dallas for abandoning their post and set for expulsion. As they went to return books to Dallas and Avanti’s apartment that they had borrowed, court documents for the case claims that Dallas confronted Jesus with a gun, pistol whipping and beating him, while Avanti beat Angela.

Dallas would be arrested and then Avanti not long after that, a “Make America Great Again” hat left behind by the arresting officers. As Avanti was getting bail posted for Dallas’ release he was arrested again on federal gun charges. It was erroneously claimed that Dallas was a “leader of a radical breakaway group from Red Guards,” showing that the state’s prosecutors were not all that effective in gathering information.

While Jesus was posed as a potential informant, it was confirmed through legal counsel familiar with the case that he was not an informant and, as alleged, just a snitch. While the existence of informants and secret agents within the ranks of the organization cannot be discounted, Dallas was prone towards violent behavior and had an authoritarian streak in such a way that the story of him trying to hurt Jesus and Jesus responding by calling the police can’t be discounted. Jesus was into cop watching and always had progressive politics, to imagine him as someone who was always an informant is spurious.

It became almost a rite of passage to face arrest in the organization and for a GoFundMe to come up providing legal support. It was also one of the less sectarian practices, though it was less common, to start legal funds for other socialists and leftists arrested even if they weren’t from the Maoist movement, and to acknowledge militancy where militancy was due, such as when there was a campaign to support arrested PSL members who were charged with kidnapping for marching outside a police station. In Pittsburgh an arrest occurred outside of a jail while protesting conditions prisoners faced there that involved the new Three River Reds collective. Charlotte, there were arrests over a flag burning. In Los Angeles, 40 protesters with STPLA on a May Day march were arrested. Austin seemed to always top it off however, with arrests for nearly every proletarian holiday they marked almost guaranteed.

FBI visits and surveillance created many problems for the organization, which was becoming more aware of its monitoring by state and non-state forces. In training for a May Day march once, for example, police took pictures from afar. Dallas was followed frequently by feds by car, and they stayed down the street from his house to monitor his movement. All of this impacted the internal life of the organization which promoted a militarization that was based on “taking measures to ensure the Party embryo can promptly pass to an illegal basis in case of necessity.” What it did, in reality, was the opposite: it ensured that the Party embryo would be forced into an illegal basis before even developing capability or mass support.

Militants were trained in special communication links, codes, and ciphers. Safe houses and refuges for storing items were rented out with fund-raised money and dues. For travel to actions they were trained to note where cameras and license plate readers were, and were likewise trained in meeting protocol, in how to dodge potential police tails, and in how to deal with the police interrogating you. The slogan that people were called to take up was “turn your homes into barracks,” all which detailed not having any at-risk material (or unruly roommates) inside. Members were made to take on pseudonymous “street names”, which made every individual practically anonymous from one the other, except in face to face meetings. Phones had to be left at home, and certain members were barred from communicating except in meetings, or by email if absolutely necessary (and even here, coded language had to be used). The most onerous thing to do was traveling. There was a lot of traveling by car to avoid the documentation that air travel created, and if air travel was ever permitted, one had to take a flight to a city hours away from the place you were traveling to. To break security protocol even for traveling to a basic meeting would be met with a reprimand usually, though a few people would be expelled in part because of them breaking security protocol repeatedly.

A Communist movement in this country will inevitably need security, it will need some level of a “need to know” policy, but it was hard to not notice the chilling effect it had on political life and how it was often applied without regards to what was organizationally needed at the very embryonic stage of development, not just for certain bodies but also for individual members. Everyone recognized that there was an inherent need for levels of secrecy which can and will affect some aspects of democracy within the organizations that are internal to that movement. Every detail of the organization (every problem, controversy, person, action, etc.) can’t be known by everyone, since anything known by everyone is inevitably known by the movement’s enemies and the state’s persecutors. If we can’t have secrets, then we can’t be effective opposition to an imperialist state, and while some top leaders should be known to the membership and to the public as part of producing support for the Party (be it for criminal defense cases or because they are capable leaders that are drawing people to the movement), there are good reasons to keep part of leadership in secret to survive potential decapitation strikes and roundups. But it was clear that such protocol was mechanically applied, and more maliciously, opportunistically applied.

The problem became increasingly apparent, internally, especially towards its end, when the lack of democracy justified by secrecy had left many feeling angered that they hadn’t a part in picking leaders that decided the political direction of the organization. It was impossible, though, for membership to pick all top leaders, as everyone would have to be familiar with all current leaders at various levels and all promising people in the rank-and-file, along with their past, their responsibilities, their shades of views in detail and their differences. Perhaps it was possible at an earlier time when the groups were very small and not just minuscule, but with time, it proved impossible without opening up debate over the direction of the organization to more. The lack of quality comrades guided and in unity with Maoism, and the general neglect of quantity to actually draw in and process the practical experiences of many people at the time around this ideology, made secrecy more of an impediment to the processing of advanced ideas into a correct political line.

The Marxist-Leninist style historically is having trusted, legitimized leadership selected by representative bodies of leaders at Congresses and conventions. There would be a Central Committee (C.C.) which would be elected and govern the organization, and a Political Bureau (Politboro) which would be elected by the C.C. and serve as the day-to-day leading body of the whole Party organization. This process of selection however was often fake, with leadership that existed by “cooptation,” Dallas picking who joined what bodies and voting being done by pro forma (unanimous, unvetted, uncontested). Constraints on traveling and the refusal to use “insecure” channels (which would be a pragmatic concession that would have permitted easier debate and inquiry). This looked like strangers coming together to vote for people whom they had never met, nor knew anything about, beyond what they see in news stories produced on Incendiary and Tribune of the People that featured organizers with blurred faces.

Likewise, in between national meetings, while there was an attempt to create commissioners and some standing committees to follow on work determined at national meetings, specifically labor, housing, women, etc. commissioners, this would never be followed up on.

What of practical work, what effect did the repression have? With the activism of the group, there was an overly schematic structure demanded to be created on the local level, members were to pick up methods of strict secrecy without being taught on how to seriously tackle the question of securing the best contacts among the workers with these new methods. This small organization, operating under general legality in most cities save for Austin, had leadership which ordered its members to form deep and strong roots with workers with a broad organizational basis in the workplaces they were placed into, yet this same leadership had prohibited such members from utilizing all legal possibilities to develop mass work, to link up legal and illegal work. Many were removed from the workers and found themselves unable to recruit and retain, having to make them mechanically adopt such procedure.

By early 2019 RGA would lead an effort in consolidating the collectives into being the Committee to Reconstitute the Communist Party – USA, but with its leadership facing repression, this meant others would have to step into their place. The successive Chairman would be from LA, and there would be an Central Committee formed, composed of the heads of the Red Guards collectives in the other cities.

Dallas unilaterally told the other collectives that RGA would dissolve on paper to confuse opportunists and to throw off reactionary state and non-state actors who were monitoring the group. The announcement that this project “was no more” on the group’s Facebook surprised many and delighted those who had been following the circus from afar. As much as Dallas hated internet leftism and was repulsed by the focus on it by the St. Louis splinter project of FTP, he was consumed by it himself. This sophomoric move would be done with Incendiary a year later – dissolve it on paper but retain all of its same methods and politics.

The Founding of CR-CPUSA

At the “Second Maoist Line Struggle Conference” in spring 2019, several delegates from the main cities were invited to meet. Unlike the first MLSC, in which “advanced individuals and activists” were able to attend allowing for more discussion, only select leaders of the collectives were in attendance. Some leaders, actually, were not even present. At this meeting, unity was found around centralizing the movement with a Central Committee, and a Political Bureau at this head that would oversee all tasks of Party Reconstitution, and all the aspects of construction of the instruments. This was a welcomed development for an otherwise chaotic movement, with there being an emphasis at this meeting to building lower city units and sections, increasing financial accountability, and strengthening organizational work. Many appreciated what seemed like a professional (“business-like”) atmosphere on the surface and took to the work.

There would be new organic “inventions” in this period. “Points On Mass Work” emphasized the need for improving mass work, calling upon building new nationalized mass organizations for students, for women, about removing housing work from general anti-imperialist and more explicitly “red” organizing, around solidarity organizations for international movements, etc. “The Labor Paper” that came from Kansas City that was used as the initial basis for attempting to salt workplaces was adapted to be the Labor Commission Paper. Struggle Sessions, a new theoretical journal, would be created in late 2018 to act as the theoretical bulletin board of the movement.

For the purpose of clarity, there is the Party embryo which contains cadres and members, the intermediary organizations for which developing members were put into but did not enjoy the same voting rights. This intermediary area included a youth organization, the Embryonic Youth Communist League, and another larger instrument of those who did propaganda work and mass work. Those in this latter intermediary section which did that propaganda work had to “follow orders” and were kept out of the meetings of the cells. For practical purposes I am going to include them all as being part of this Committee.

Slowly but surely, new people were starting to be brought into the organization after the lull of the end of the anti-Trump uprisings came to an end. But they were entering and being put into an intermediary area that forbid them from taking part in the political life and decision-making of the Party, mobilized effectively as soldiers on the whim of bureaucratic leadership. They were, in other words, Party members in all but their rights that should have been afforded to them. Likewise, among the new youth who were joining and taking up study, they themselves were leading and developing their fellow young auxiliary and mass organization members.

Later, in 2020, there would be a shakeup in Committee leadership again over the new Chairman advocating a ultra-left, focoist, militarist shift and the liquidating the mass movement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic starting, with the crisis of mass unemployment and absence of masks and medical supplies, leading to the subsequent encouragement by this leadership of raids on warehouses to grab these items for redistribution to the people. There would be an attempted “military attack” on a member of the Central Committee from Austin (i.e. jumping him) after he arrived in LA to deliver criticism on this focoist/ultra-left line. The members of the LA branch genuinely thought this delegate was coming to their city to physically harm them and planned to attack him at their meeting place, before a younger member urged them to call off the beating. This caused the Chairman of the Politboro and a member of the national Central Committee from LA who planned the ambush to be brought in front of a “peoples tribunal” in Austin where they were shouted at and humiliated, after which they were demoted and declared to not be in good standing with the Committee. Dallas, in spite of preparing to go to federal prison, would emerge as the new national leader (again) along with several Austin-based members of the Central Committee being appointed by him.

Dallas and Avanti would lead a “rectification campaign” in this period, with every city urged to do education around the “attempted coup” that took place, around “professionalization,” and to more enthusiastically recruit. It also led to the founding of Tribune of the People News from the ash heaps of Incendiary News, supposedly because the latter had agreed with the “Covid alarmism” of the former Chairman and were responsible for inaccurate reporting and stereotyped and jargoned news articles. While perhaps there was some political basis to these criticisms, in reality the worst culprit of these laid in leadership’s lap and not just in the hands of this or that editor, though the latter was expected to take the full blame both to their new leaders and to their former subordinates.

Necktie Party

After a distressingly long period of inertia, compounded by continued disaster from “anti-revisionist” actions that did little more than to isolate the movement, Party membership and involvement grew next to nothing. Only 25-75 new people entered into various higher level organizations nationally, a number which would continue to increase by even lesser numbers in spite of favorable conditions. One cannot underestimate the frustration of this period as, in spite of so many opportunities, relatively little was accomplished in recruitment and influence. Very few members were brought in, and it still exerted tiny authority in comparison to the “revisionist” organizations it claimed to be superior to.

Why was it so hard to recruit? What caused the problem of membership fluctuation? On one hand I would argue inefficiency and incompetence, as there were hundreds nationally who had taken an interest in Maoism and who either preached about it online or that took initiative to reach out to organizers to be part of the various mass organizations, but were never assigned to be followed up with by a branch leader. Aside from bureaucratic mismanagement, the main problem would be the unsatisfactory – and abusive – inner Party life.

The list of complaints faced by cadre in cells or those members in intermediary organizations were legion. The total hours of meetings that these people would have attend would range between 3 to 5 hours weekly, most of which was spent on details of relatively small importance or to hand out onerous tasks already determined by the (subjective) rhythm set by higher leadership. Beyond interminably long and uninteresting meetings, actual discussion on politics and policy was a rarity, sometimes with leaders or branch heads handing down diktats and announcing assignments. It was impossible to keep up with the extreme dues system, and an inordinate amount of time was spent tracking who owed what and where cash was to be held.

What was required was enormous patience and tolerance for petty details to sit through such meetings, but outside of them, Party members had onerous demands placed on them. People would be given so many tasks that it was impossible (!) to maintain family and social life, which often removed people from approaching the working class in a normal way. Directives, directives, directives, and members could not even do one tenth of what was asked of them. Many were striving to be just as much a “Communist” as ever, but they were not 10 Communists!

The natural reaction of everyone at every level was to avoid or shuck off many responsibilities or tasks as possible and self-criticize for it later, to indirectly go against the productivism of the movement with liberalism. This productivism was a policy of leadership around producing more and more without concern for whether the politics informing such work was Marxist or not. Older, more experienced leaders often became the worst offenders, and used the need for secrecy to justify denigrating mass activities and shift many burdens as possible onto the shoulders of enthusiastic but inexperienced newer members. Even in the “mass” organizations and above that, in the lower parts of the Party, new members were not greeted with outstretched arms but with a schedule seemingly designed to exhaust the vitality of the newer person. Caught up in a whirlwind of activity, no one seemed to know what their principal task was, and national leadership was never really there to provide answers as to what that looked like in spite of complaints and calls for guidance from local bodies.

What is communication supposed to look like within such a Party? In a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Party, the leadership of the organization follows the mass line method of leadership, in which local branches and cells which make up the rank and file members and bodies have gone out to the deepest and most profound to organize them, and send the raw material of decision making up towards higher leadership. This is comprised of a rich, steady, even comprehensive flow of reports, of questions and requests for advice, “experiences” and summations on certain actions and activities, details of the pulse of the masses, research by specialized teams, etc. This raw material is then supposed to be appropriated and “synthesized” at the leading levels, turned into plans and decisions. But often proposals based on an appraisal of the situation, reports from the ground, and the like were absorb into more of a black hole at the center, never actually synthesized. To put it simply, leadership would not “concentrate” ideas brought up to them, and if they tried to or occasionally succeeded, they certainly did not do it well or took a fatalistically long time to adapt.

Whenever these problems were analyzed by the Political Bureau, it seemed the chief responsibility was placed on a shortage of capable leaders, which was to a degree true. Each “cell” was led by a chief cadre, the most politically developed comrade, who theoretically was there to direct all work and report on things to the higher level. Others in a given cell would develop a division of labor of leading certain tasks based on the capacity and ability of each member, in theory. The main problems were that there was a disparity between the Party’s size and the tasks set to it by the Politboro, making any ameliorative efforts largely futile as it would require calling to task those overly ambitious plans that took years to set. For example, a group of 3 people were expected to produce what a city with 10 only could, and were often threatened with disbandment if they were not able to meet targets.

While Mao had decried criticism being used as “ruthless struggle and merciless blows” against cadre and urged for it to only be used against enemies, the organization often was quick to punish and banish members for indiscretions, be they real and amplified to a level of severe ideological malady, or fake and perceived. Expulsions and subsequent isolation of past members was one method, and for those who stayed along for the ride, facing hours-long “struggle sessions” was another. For the worst offenders (usually misogynists, those who either explicitly or implicitly put members at legal risk, those who threatened other members with violence, or even just severely embarrassed the movement) “people’s tribunals” were another such treatment.

What the trials involved was being in a room of 3-5, but sometimes more, leaders of the movement. In such “trials” it was the preference of Dallas to make members buy expensive last-minute tickets to Austin where you would sleep on the floor or couch of someone’s apartment before waking up the next day to appear in front of the trial with these judges and jurors in the case of the trial. You would be given a defense attorney who could even write up remarks in their absence if they couldn’t afford the trip, or who could attend with you. Occasionally after certain sentences, those being struggled against may be sentenced to get beaten or to face some sort of public humiliation, such as wearing a demeaning tshirt or being required to self-describe as a rightist when talking to other comrades in the movement.

Struggle sessions were similar but could involve non-leaders and were more often organized locally and generalized to other cities. The objective of the struggle sessions would be those doing the struggling to announce the accusation and then to shout investigative questions, very vocally expressing displeasure with the person for their real or perceived errors, all so that they can start a process of rectification with those on the receiving end. You could not cry, or this would be answered with discipline, and ordering those being struggled against to stand while being shouted at was also common.

Far more common however were other punishments. For example, fines were regularly imposed, even on members who were unemployed. You may be made to do pushups or run laps, or carry heavy objects up a hill again and again. This bureaucratic system created a culture of fear rather than debate and discussion as such an organization is supposed to have. There could be several stories – many of which ex-members know – which could be told about the kind of abuse that was delivered dressed as “criticism.” These stories are not ours to tell, but they happened.

There was a culture of vindictiveness towards those who were demoted or expelled in a way that fostered the lack of security of the organization’s members. Punishing bad (or even wrongly removed) elements too severely and then isolating them spurred the lack of security the organization actually had. It helped spur whisper campaigns and the publishing of internal debates by expelled members. This was again another example of “security” being conceived of in a mechanical way, rather than its need being propagated and understood so that it could be more voluntarily taken up and re-enforced.

The Party’s Social Composition

The organization member’s social background was more often than not an indictment of its inability to create the mass base it sought to develop.

In 2019 when it reached what would probably be its height, the embryonic Party was mostly Chicano and white native-born Americans, with most membership concentrated in Los Angeles and Austin. Austin was its own branch, with three different cells falling under the branch at its height, with most members being white. In terms of age, around 85% of the organization was between the ages of 25 to 35, with the remainder being between 35 and 45. Most were graduates, students or those who at least had some college experience. It was argued by many, especially in the final two years of the organization’s existence, that this class composition was one of the causes for the political defects of the group and that it was never adequately addressed.

Towards the end two geographic areas with a larger number of members and mass organization supporters were Oxnard outside of Los Angeles and the Pittsburgh-Ohio River Valley region. In these areas older obstructionists were replaced with newer, younger, more optimistic members there. The revamping of Incendiary as Tribune of the People encouraged growth among those who joined support committees in other regions as well. Though, I want to emphasize, the marginality of such gains even in new places.

Few aspects were as disappointing for the Party composition as its base among workers. No more than 1 to 5 workers external to the movement already were ever recruited into the CR-CPUSA’s organizations and auxiliaries after it made its turn towards industry. In Austin especially, less than 10 percent of its active members were in working class jobs at all in spite of orders to do so. The Party’s attempt to build factory shop units never got off the ground. Six months after the ratification of what would be called “The First Integration Plan” only around 5-10 percent of national membership had been converted into workers and this number would continue to drop. The bulk of new recruits came not from the shops but from unemployed friends and students who were drawn to the work.

From its inception, certain sections were more diverse or likely to draw from the foreign born. Los Angeles, for example, as well as certain members of auxiliaries in that southeastern region, had members which were of Mexican descent or from Central America. But overall, while Committee leadership very much wanted to recruit more Black and other non-white members, making earnest efforts to work closely with Black leftist organizations and to support those comrades in auxiliaries in regards to their development, they had trouble recruiting in most cities. There were likewise very dishonest methods, for as critical as the Committee could be of identity politics, they used it opportunistically when it needed to be. The Struggle newsletter, led and involving mostly Black writers, was an attempt to address pro-capitalist lines within Black communities (buy Black, buy back the block) but it received little support from leadership.

Despite the prominence afforded to many Communist women leaders, the Party would likewise have problems recruiting women. The founding of the Popular Woman’s Movement (PWM) in Austin and talks of creating a national womans organization was part of remedying this problem, but little developed out of this beyond a (rightfully) greater skepticism at the mostly male leaders among the newly organized women. The percentage of women the organization was around 20-30 percent, higher if you included mass organization and auxiliary supporters but nonetheless still small.

One of the bothersome aspects of the Party’s composition was its geographic composition. Austin was top heavy with Communists, in spite of attempts to make many of them mobile and send them on assignments to San Marcos, San Antonio, Houston, and even to other states. There was clear preference and attention placed to this city, and Party leadership was of course headquartered there, often earning them accusations of “Austin chauvinism” by other cities for the focus. In second place was of course Los Angeles, but the decline of membership made both of these mountains into just hills. In fact, there were few places that had such a precipitous decline in former members and supporters than in southern California, with the suburb of Oxnard becoming a larger center into the last 2 years.

Because of the turnover and hardships associated with Party membership, it is hard to be fully reliable with these numbers, and there were many Communists who did not want to become Communists as a result of sectarian inner Party life. Towards the end of 2020, it could be argued that those who were sympathizers, who belonged to mass organizations, was at around a pathetic 300 people at most (which is a generous estimate), and around 50 to 100 people in the Party. The largest mass organization towards the end of its life was Tribune of the People News, with around 100 people at its height. And this was a game of bluff and bluster.

By 2021, there was a website and newspaper that published weekly and had a print issue monthly that had a circulation of a few hundred. It printed and published in both English and Spanish. But again these numbers were inflated on accord of the Editorial Board, which was actually members of the national Central committee, putting an expectation on support committees to order for how many they project they can distribute.

The “Mass Organizations”

Mass organizations were the “go between mechanisms” between the Party and the broad people—“nominally non-Communist” but “under Party leadership.” Their purpose is based on the recognition that not everyone can initially agree to the discipline or politics of the Party, that the Party must be able to wield influence larger than its membership and to recruit towards the purpose of armed struggle with time on the basis of the immediate struggles and around political demands that would raise the consciousness of the workers and increase their confidence in the Party. Detractors who saw new organizations of these kind pop up in cities would label them “fronts.” Many were formed for a variety of purposes, such as defense of political prisoners or relief of those struck by hurricanes, and were carefully controlled through Party cadres or party workers on the ground.

The first mass organization was Serve the People, organized first in 2014 when Red Guards first appeared. In the RG period, there was Antifascist Austin, 1917 Crew, Revolutionary Student Front, Stonewall Militant Front (formerly RATPAC), and Defend Our Hoodz. With the foundation of CR-CPUSA however, the manufacture of new mass organizations was stepped up, with hardly a month going by without some new organization popping up. They ranged in their functions and who they were formed to organize. There would be the Popular Women’s Movement, Fire the Abusers, Mike Ramos Brigade, United Neighborhood Defense Movement, Oxnard Revolutionary Study Group, The Struggle (a newspaper focused on Black liberation to be written by and distributed by Black members), Incendiary/Tribune of the People News, among several others. Some seem to continue in another form as they have split from the old CR-CPUSA, others were absorbed into others, but most have died along with the Committee that birthed them.

The theory behind these was that they served the purpose of being a training and recruiting ground for people into higher organizations, of construction of the united front. Within each one there were was caucuses or fractions which were there to ensure Committee control, or sloppily, cadre were just outright made into leaders. Towards the end, when the Committee perhaps too late had attempted to adopt less sectarian tactics and worked in non-generated mass organizations formed by the people themselves, similar fractions and caucuses would be formed. These were all part of the united front, the third instrument of revolution, and it was important to unite with a diverse array of people, with the variety of political opinions and “lines” they had even where non-Communist, in order to prepare them for revolution.

“Mass organizations” was of course a misnomer, for a few of them had actually attracted the masses. Some leftists who criticized the Maoist movement were often wrong in that these organizations had indeed shown themselves as capable of mobilizing thousands, particularly during spontaneous high tides, and had very capable organizers who could channel rallies into being more confrontational in a way that raised the morale of members and convinced them of the correctness of what they saw as Maoist politics. But fundamentally they were correct, in that actually recruiting and retaining people to be part of this organization never happened. In theory, while they were supposed to have a bigger membership than the Committee itself, they were often far smaller with few exceptions.

Part of the explanation was the Committee leadership’s heavy hand. In theory, the Party was supposed to control through persuasion, as required by the mass line, but abstain from mechanical leadership. In reality, the Committee pretty crudely manipulated these organisms. It wasn’t too alien to a non-Communist sympathizer or activist auxiliary for it to be announced that certain top functionaries said the wrong words at the last meeting and that they had to suddenly self-criticize for it, or for new organizers to suddenly float into meetings out of nowhere who were close to the old organizers. While there were exceptions, overall the rank and file people were not actively participating members of a real, thriving organization, but were tolerated wall decorations in sham organizations.

The failure to actually develop mass work caused the Party to stew in its own juice because their organisms were more or less lightly camouflaged replicas of the Party itself. They were more like departments of the Committee rather than genuine organizations among the people that Communists were able to win leadership over through fractions that induced workers to take part in Party campaigns and read the Party press. Not to mention, the violent sectarian posturing made them easy targets of red baiting – antagonizing reformists so aggressively so early on and attacking all at once fated them to stay nanosized.

This is not to absolve the Democratic Socialist, liberal, and revisionist leaders and act like they do not have their own objectives contrary to socialism, but when overriding motive comes into place (be it around organizing against fascists, against a plan to displace residents in a building, a worker’s strike, etc.) lack of cooperation can become fatal and further the disempowerment of the workers movement. It also weakens the ability to win over the rank-and-file of the membership of these organizations and campaigns, who are able to confirm the sectarian nature of this external ‘Maoist’ movement when it engaged in its stunts. There were many opportunities to work closely, and were even periods where there could have been tactical unity, and all the Politboro would do is urge local bodies to “agitate against the presence of [insert reformist or revisionist group] at rally” or “agitate to expel [x politician] from rally, and if [insert reformist or revisionist group] doesn’t do this, we expose it later.”

Later when this problem was diagnosed and members joined non-Communist trade unions, tenant unions, etc. of their own volition towards the end of 2020, it seemed the solution was found but the leadership never truly was willing to build a different kind of united front. There were many ways the dysfunction of the movement appeared, but the drive to construct these generated organisms in an artificial way was one of them, albeit one that gave its cadres work to do. We cannot say the clique “applied Maoism incorrectly,” we can only say that their political line had not listened to enough of the masses and instead was counter-revolutionary in its application of work, demanding misguided actionism without evaluating the defects.

Interval of Despair: Revisionism At the First Conference

The coming of the mass uprisings around George Floyd rejuvenated the Committee and again provided a brief bump to the organization’s life and activity. The Mike Ramos Brigade (MRB) led a massive protest at Austin Police Department headquarters and were able to occupy Interstate 35, arguably one of the most important highways in the United States, for nearly a whole day. The FBI and APD, in coalition with the local capitalist media, were quick to claim the Ramos family was a monolith who all opposed the organization using Mike’s name, that the MRB were responsible for the violence of the protest even as the APD used projectiles against youth protesting that day, and were moving to open new rounds of repression of those they claimed were leadership.

After a protest outside of a local Target which erupted into looting, several individuals from the movement, one which was a high ranking national leader of the Committee, were arrested. This was a completely adventurist blunder entirely cooked up by Committee leaders (with one being on the ground almost the whole period of early MRB) that had almost no genuine roots among anyone but some youth willing to smash up a Target. This leader would have a highly visible stream of the protest both at Target and on the streets with everyone watching on Facebook live. This high ranking national leader who was arrested was Avanti, the organizer of the Popular Woman’s Movement (PWM) and wife and housemate of Dallas. It was claimed that they were “antifa” and that they had instigated the looting, spurious charges with no basis. She and her compatriots became to be known as the Targeted Three, and a solidarity campaign was spurred internationally to demand that their charges be dropped – for which they would be in time on account of insufficient evidence. Tribune of the People News and MRB would see new participants joining up and taking part in the struggle.

But in spite of the new members, there were signs of general exhaustion. The 1st National Conference in September 2020 was called and there were proposals sent out for what should be discussed at this, but leadership had already pre-selected several resolutions. It would set elections of local bodies and of the Central Committee and it’s Political Bureau. It would theoretically “debate” over and pass these resolutions. There was an eerie feeling at this meeting that things were not as they seem.

One proposal suggested by Dallas and presented by the head of the intermediary body was that they had to enact “War Communism,” which made what was already de facto bourgeois centralism and lack of Party democracy an official policy. In Austin the “ideological leader” of America’s Maoists was going to federal prison, they had faced many arrests and repression as a result of the George Floyd protests, many of their old fronts in mass work were being neglected, and people who were seemingly around for a long time were now leaving left and right, which was compared to the condition the Soviet Party faced under the civil war. The proposal was unclear, beyond calling for a hardened centralism that emphasized cadres following orders and being as mobile as needed at the demands of the Political Bureau, with the theory that using such centralism would eventually invigorate democracy in the organization by increasing the quantity of membership.

Another policy was the First Integration Plan (FIP), which would take all members of the intermediary level of the Party embryo and place them into heavy industry or warehouses. This proposal sought to re-orient the petty bourgeois class composition and stand of the movement without a solid plan for doing so.

The final one was around forming a youth Communist league. Embryonic Youth Communist League would allow younger activists who had joined in the preceding years an opportunity to form their own cells or, when appropriate, join already existing cells but not enjoy the same voting rights as regular members.

Elected to the national Political Bureau were Dallas’ yes-men –including former Austin branch leader and initial main organizer for Defend Our Hoodz “Rio” (aka “David Martinez”) and Pittsburgh branch leader “Jeremiah” – after he had nominated them to the room of delegates who had formerly knew nothing about these people who were selected. For the elections to local bodies, several people were likewise “recommended” by the formal historical leadership. All of Dallas’ recommendations were voted in unanimously with the exception of the delegate from St. Louis, whose non-present co-organizer was elected instead.

In the history of the ICM, it is not uncommon under periods of intense repression when a Party has been forced underground to have strict centralism and it is necessary, even under conditions of relative legality, to use legal methods of work to develop the underground and illegal methods of work, in order to retain an active Party which can give leadership and work and fight under these changed conditions. In Nazi-occupied France, for example, it looked like there being several Communists meeting in units of three individuals, in groups that exist from bottom to top, each responsible for some function (be it propaganda, organization, providing political leadership), and each one in each unit having contact from another single person in the higher units with the like responsibility, that way each Communist was only being exposed to three to four people at a time. Yet even under these conditions there was continuous directives, check-up and struggle, even if messages had to be relayed several times over before it circulated to district and Central Committee leadership. All in the U.S. Maoist movement were educated in a formalistic “Leninism,” around the need for iron discipline, monolithic unity, and democratic centralism, but little understood how criticism and reports of failing work were not getting to the top in spite of relative legal conditions.

Often Rio and Dallas would violate the security protocol they encouraged members to take so seriously if it was an ’emergency’, often micro-managing comrades.

The new Chairman, Rio, had been a capable organizer and had close relationships with people in the East Austin community in his first years of organizing. But he had a mean streak, lacked patience, and was generally unpleasant to be around, becoming more and more isolated from his friends and community contacts the closer he got to RGA. Rio and the other Committee sycophants would see Dallas off as he finally entered federal prison, and would move to feverishly push a subjectivist and productivist drive to launch as many organizations as possible and forcefully recruit as many new people as possible, even if such people only existed on paper.

Into the Workplace?

The ratification of the FIP was supposed to mark a change. No aspect of Party activity was going to be as crucial as worker organizing, all else was deemed “secondary struggles” in other documents. There was little to no strategic focus established by leadership in regards to this organizing however, no look at what subjective forces which existed at the moment should be deployed. For example, while the CPUSA in its revolutionary period had focused its cadres on organizing in steel, coal, mining, auto, the docks and textiles, there was no such area where industrial concentration was to take place at, local bodies were told to do analysis of where made the most sense and to then put Party workers there to start. Simultaneously, people were told to merely integrate first, to not do anything that could be described as organizing (this was the “first stage” of integration).

By fall 2021, a year into the FIP, the results were predictably poor. Only a small percentage of the intermediary parts of the Party had formed any sort of core in a workplace. Some cities, percentage-wise, were higher than others, with Pittsburgh and Austin having some of their militants placed in strategic areas, but otherwise the movement was inactive from the lives of proletarians and their day to day struggles.

There was an attempt to salt before in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, at a non-union auto plant and steel foundry. They both suffered from the brigandism of the Red Guards, focusing on managers and snitching coworkers and the most low level and fast moving grievances of their coworkers rather than working on winning over the majority of the factory floor for strikes and into the political struggle. This included trying to bring a red contingent to a United Autoworker picket line with an effigy of the CEO to burn for a photo opportunity, which led to the removal of the Maoists at the picket after a local DSA member agitated against them, and to the defacing of a managers home who refused to give workers a heat break, the latter which led to management bringing in anti-union consultants. The first experiment fell because of reasons described in a few sections above, the second because the sole person there got laid off as the economic crisis started, but would have failed regardless because of the organizational anarchism of both.

Even with the FIP being enacted, leadership never told local bodies what form worker’s organizations should take, that is, what the position on trade unions were. There was an erroneous and reactionary line by the clique around Dallas that all existing trade unions were tools entirely in the hand of the “labor aristocracy” and the bourgeoisie, ergo, there needed to be “grievance committees” and other organizations formed by revolutionaries that were external from real economic struggles and economic defense organizations workers belonged to. Curiously, this is the same position that many Trotskyists and syndicalists have – a position that condemns militants to complete marginal existence. If all unions, and all union drives, were yellow and there was no contradiction within that, then there would be no base among the workers. This echoed the politics Lenin criticized in his article Differences In The European Labor Movement where he noted “appearance of adherents of the labor movement who master only certain aspects of Marxism, only separate sections of the new world outlook, only separate slogans and demands, being incapable of breaking decisively with all the traditions of the bourgeois world outlook in general, and with the bourgeois democratic outlook In particular.”

The truth is that despite the federalization of unions and the NLRB, there are “independent” and often progressive-led unions, there are large reactionary unions, there are progressive caucuses and internal struggles within both kinds of unions, and there can be, through developing that work over the many years to come, revolutionary unions. The Communist fraction in any of these trade unions would have as their aim to win the organized workers to be under the influence and leadership of the Communist Party, which is work that can only advance with time. This is work that would have taken years and meaningful supervision and direction by Party leadership would have to likewise be there. Given that there were already problems in cooperating with non-Communists, it is hard to imagine how those Party workers would have ever been able to (if the Plan were given more time) lead workers in trade unions that represent workers with different creeds and beliefs.

Another error was not taking advantage of those members who were in more public service, petty bourgeois and white-collar jobs. For example, there were many members in the Committee and in their auxiliaries who were teachers, yet proposals and suggestions around connecting and concentrating their work went unanswered. There were many such proposals on how to amend and add addendums to the labor organizing documents and literature that those involved in such work received originally, but leadership was completely deaf to suggestions. The truth was that nearly every member of the Committee could have been made to join a union or to start organizing, but the interest in organizing more proletarian unions strained already limited forces.

There seemed to be promise in some of this work. In Kansas City, Austin, Oxnard, and Pittsburgh, there was strike and solidarity support efforts with juice production, agricultural, grocery and steelworkers. Austin was not a center of production, but construction played an important role there as a growing city, and militants in construction there began the work of organizing. Pittsburgh likewise had militants in Amazon, and while they were never able to build any sort of stable organization, showed that it was possible to organize actions and vigils with management nearby. But whatever good had started to develop, it seemed the movement was coming apart at its seams from its growing defects.

The Party’s Over

Party activity decreased and started to slow throughout 2021. There would be an incredible drop in morale and personnel with it. And yet, in spite of disparaging signs and dismaying reports on what had been happening, the Political Bureau was completely oblivious, and often unresponsive to calls for help from local bodies. Dallas faced poor conditions in federal prison but still controlled the movement from his cell, exerting pressure on members of national leadership, Avanti and Rio especially. His criticism was treated as qualitatively worth more than others.

In only being able to speak on Pittsburgh, Rio had identified Pittsburgh as potentially being the “rightist headquarters” of the movement for a variety of reasons. Towards the end of 2021, there was disagreement with his bad faith criticism on why certain targets for forming mass organizations and propaganda actions weren’t being met by Pittsburgh, anger over him placing fines for disorganization, over him demanding members with medical needs travel when they were not able to, and demands that activists engage in posturing and ‘combative’ attacks in an untactical way. For example, Rio criticized that women students who had just got involved in organizing didn’t target the table of a crisis pregnancy center that was present at a college health event and how they stayed protesting across the street. There was accusations that members of the local cell were postmodernists who were only interested in students on one hand, and that they harbored a yellow unionist who wanted to collaborate for unions.

After they stopped sending reports in towards the end of the year and failed to pay late fines, members of the Austin branch were dispatched on the behalf of the Political Bureau to demand self-criticism from the Pittsburgh cell for their obstinance. Those visitors were turned over to the position of the Pittsburgh cell, which was that the Political Bureau that led the Central Committee was governed by revisionism and that the national plans were unattainable. Rio, in the eyes of Pittsburgh, had not just made unrealistic demands on members and pushed national plans that would demoralize members, but was practicing revisionism and threatened a split within the organization.

Other members of the Central Committee united with the criticism made of Rio and demanded his recall, motioning for a March national meeting bringing representatives from every cell and branch to Austin to discuss this matter. Parallel to this, there was already a call for regional conferences for Tribune of the People support committees, there would be an additional vote to remove Rio from editor in chief.

The March meeting initially started just like the 2020 First Conference, like a bureaucratic and pre-planned proceeding to remove Rio and then move on like there was no crisis. But certain delegates shouted this down, demanding others in the Political Bureau resign for similar misleadership. There was a demand that there be a reorganization committee which would evaluate what actually existed nationally and reinvigorate democracy by sending its findings to the cells, discard mass organizations that were inactive or fake, investigate indiscretions by leadership, and oversee a deep rectification movement against past sectarian methods. This passed and the only Central committee member who was seen to be in good standing, Avanti, was elected to head this.

All seemed well and that a new start was in effect. However, after Avanti contacted Dallas over a tapped phoneline at the federal prison he was in, her position (and the democratic decisions of the meeting after the delegates started heading back home) was reversed. Pittsburgh’s cell was labeled factionalists, its members held in suspicion of even possibly being federal informants. Almost instantly, and overnight, all of the members and sympathizers that belonged to the Party’s various organizations and auxiliaries in Austin engaged in an organized exodus out of the body. The head of the Pittsburgh cell, still in Austin visiting old friends after this March meeting, noted Avanti’s move and immediately moved to rally this desertion among the movement activists there. He seized communications belonging to the old leadership, traveled to nearby cities to inform them of what happened and urged them to start to “debrief and rest,” and likewise relayed to the other Pittsburgh delegate who came with him to inform those in Pittsburgh of what happened.

It was also discovered that Dallas would be getting released from federal prison and would be staying at a halfway house. While he would be restricted in his ability to harm others, he would have significant intellectual and political liberties he could not get in federal prison. This motivated many in Austin to immediately break from him even more strongly for fear that his release would spur others to remain on his side.

In Eugene and Pittsburgh, the regional conferences for Tribune corresponded with International Working Women’s Day and this sudden reversal by the clique around Dallas. In both Eugene and Pittsburgh, revolutionary women marched in spite of the collapse of the fake Maoist ‘Party embryo’ that originally set the date of the protests. Starting in Pittsburgh at the conference, and then moving to every support committee nationally, details of the movement’s indiscretions and the artificial nature of the organization became clear through the “Dazibao campaign,” an attempt by ex members of Tribune and other bodies to summarize the problems of the last organization. It was clear that CR-CPUSA, by this time, was now officially dead, though it has breathed its last breaths without an obituary to come within it.

This became the basis for what would become the New Working Group (NWG) which was formed from all activists within the movement to prevent the clique from organizing and to investigate their crimes and to close all organization channels that officially exist. The next step would be to then finally publish a statement. The first goal was basically accomplished once everyone left the organizations in the city where they had the most influence in, which was Austin, nothing more could have done to further ensure their isolation without the continuity of an actual organization there that could mobilize people with the correct politics. It became clear within the NWG that there was some disunity in how to proceed, some insisting “mass work comes first” (which was actually a revisionist theory of generic activism) and others insisting that there must be a new national organization but not defining what that looked like, and it dissolved under the weight of not having a clear purpose. There would likewise not be a statement on the historic leadership’s abuses, on grounds that it would “only appeal to the online left.”

Likewise, many old members, in spite of participating in the drive to split with revisionist leadership and who had long criticized and even hurt by it it, were wrongly lumped in from participating in these NWG meetings. This included, for example, the entirety of the Kansas City cell. Many were not given the opportunity to self-criticize and to participate in their rectification, told to simply sit back and wait.

In a surprise addition, the Communist International’s ( May Day statement was edited and added CR-CPUSA to it at the beginning of June. What should be clear to anyone who read such a statement is that it is clear that phony Maoists who have always ran the organization are content with just existing on paper, and as Stalin argued, paper puts up with whatever you put on it. The Communist International, as an embryionic form of international leadership, must do better in vetting their signatories. This should likewise show how the Dallas clique operates, content with manipulating revolutionaries internationally, just like they manipulated their supposed “comrades” at home.

Conclusion: Alignments and the Theory of Generic Activism

In looking at the closure of this organization, though it was not always predestined to remain this way, it was composed mostly of petty bourgeois students and youth and because of that economic position the ideas of the petty bourgeoisie came through. It was likewise initiated and lead by two lumpen individuals wearing Marxist garb who brought with them wannabe gangster ideas as well – using physical beatdowns as “reformation”, screaming obscenities at people while calling it criticism, promoting a hyper-centralist and opaque structure, elevating petty disputes to political struggle and engaging in ill-discipline when it came to personal matters, and having a general antisocial disposition. People who previously had meant well were turned into the same types as their leaders. Though this class orientation and composition was the starting point, there were militant and proletarian elements brought in who fought for the correct application of theory and towards building a genuine workers’ Party, and the political leadership of Dallas had always struggled with this line, but ultimately these elements were unable to be coherent enough to salvage the organization.

There would be a focus in activism on what the postmodern left was fixated with, treating contradictions among the people as contradictions between the people and the enemy. This included using extreme violence against male chauvinists regardless of whether were rapists, womanizers, cheaters, etc. and then declaring one to be virtuous compared to other left organizations, defending certain cultural outposts in a neighborhood even as workers looked on with indifference, and tailing after and focusing on whatever issue naive students on campus are most angry about at a given moment. Functionally, these campaigns were enacted by clandestine organizations that were more like anarchist affinity groups than anything that resembled a Communist Party embryo. There was an attempt to move away from this, to remold minds and refocus energy on organizing workers, but it largely came too late, and the organization was so profoundly unable to listen to the ideas of the workers – it’s politics the reflection of its initiating leaders – that it was unlikely the changes that needed to be made could be done.

It is hard to not look at the Red Guards-Committee continuity and think of how they bastardized the concept of criticism-self-criticism and transformation, substituting it for the sort of ‘cancel culture’ of the petty bourgeois student-left, integrating a punitive psychology that focuses on the punishment and purging of individuals to symbolically substitute for the ideological preparation that Party reconstitution requires. Its leaders criticized postmodernism for its tendency towards self-destruction and antagonistic denunciation of the relatively privileged, while promoting methods that made optics more important than substance, that considered engagement with others as endorsement, and association as complicity. Conversations and protracted discussion weren’t seen as possible methods of changing people – bad ideas always need to be bureaucratically, if not violently, deplatformed. To them, these problematic views and acts flow from malice or monstrosity and not just from mere error, people can be reduced to their worst action or idea, and the passage of time or lessons learned from that action are irrelevant. Individuals, and the masses as a whole, are complicated and contradictory, but from this viewpoint, people and things had to be flattened into one rather than divided by two. In Dallas, Avanti, Rio’s vengeance character arc, aided by their acolytes, going overboard and excessive against those who have made mistakes was their way of showing their petty bourgeois moral militancy.

We see from this period of advanced decline to complete collapse and disintegration the formation of different groups representing different roads. When forced to finally confront the many errors of historic leadership that was unmasked as revisionist, the Right (Dallas, Avanti, Rio) had emerged in the final instance with a separate opportunist platform from the line determined by those at the March National Meeting. Dallas’ line in disagreeing with the decision of this national meeting was inseparably connected with his past erroneous lines, and Avanti’s moves on his behalf representing the anti-Leninist tendencies that were consistently permitted and then finally dissolved the pretense of Bolshevik discipline of the organization. This first group represents irredeemable enemies of the Left and must be isolated as liquidators.

There is also those that have left that can be struggled with but have pushed liquidation. These are those who have left the ideology either to adopt another nonproletarian ideology or who have left out of pessimism/defeatism. This includes those who chosen to flee and not return, who felt they had wasted the best years of their life, and/or those who did not want to either submit to self-criticism over their own complicity to the first group or to criticize them for their harm.

This also includes those that have given to anarchist, postmodernist and anti-Leninist politics, some of who have continued to claim that they are “Maoists” and to organize but have taken a line that there should not be a Party. They argue that there shouldn’t be Communist groupings or organized activities independent of the mass movements of our time. These people effectively want Communists to “face-hide” in order to appease the anarchist and social democratic leaders they work with, to engage in activism around immediate demands without acting as an organized group that which does political education and exposure.

This is the theory of generic activism, which dresses itself as “mass work.” It ignores that the mass line is a method of leadership, not one of generating mass motion without politics. These proponents correctly noted how the Dallas clique mechanically sought to avoid “economism” in such a way that the organization’s militants completely abandoned fighting for immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests altogether, but overcorrected to a point that they presumed the active were the inherently advanced, and that people can easily learn whatever they need to learn from experience without synthesizing it with Marxist theory. In doing so they have fallen into their own economism and tailism.

This viewpoint consigns the need for a workers’ Party, and the final goal of communism, to a void. It assumes people can relatively and easily learn whatever they need to learn from experience, i.e. that the future will take care of itself, and our job is just to push the car into moving towards its inevitable point, we do not need to worry about steering (generating Communist leadership and politics from among the masses) until some point later. This leads to a postponement of our task as revolutionaries, and leads to a bureaucratic administration of “movements” (in “” marks because such hightides come and go).

There is no magical recipe for bringing some key consciousness in “from without” into immediate struggles, of participating and learning from mass movements so as to synthesize popular moods and insights with more, it requires actual participation in such mass movements and bringing back Communist policies, slogans, campaigns, and methods of work in constant feedback with one another. This viewpoint, in spite of not having an easy answer beyond the need to creatively experiment and test things, is at a sharp and oppositional conception to the theory of generic activism. It is a theory that denigrates both theory and consciousness, that is tied to a general lowering of sights and a pessimism of actually achieving proletarian revolution, and to the continued quarantining of communism altogether from revolutionary circles. Maoism then just becomes the language of activist machinery, rather than the ideology of the proletariat, a way of uncovering which words were emerging from the side of the angels and which were not. “Black cat or white cat, as long as it catches the mouse.”

Next is the Center, the conciliators who either seek accommodation of the Right or that which shield them from criticism. This likewise also has many earnest elements, but who threaten Party development through the blurring over of principled differences or for making excuses for unprincipled attacks and positions.

Finally, there is the Left, those who were part of the rank-and-file of the Committee and its auxiliary organization, who recognize the need to rally all the old sections, cells and auxiliaries to demand for a new Convention, to establish a new Party reconstitution effort on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. There needs to be a delineation of the basic conflicts between these sections so that there may be open struggle over problems that were in place for years. There also must be attention paid to the conciliator elements who have refined a technique of assurances, representing nothing but a siren wreck for the necessary unity that must be established. Likewise, there must be rules of leadership, organization, membership drawn up as well as unity around the basic mass work that can practically be done.

Developing actual study and unity around Maoism, an actual program of organization, identification of friends and enemies in the form of class analysis, of public exposure through new creative means rather than through sectarian media projects devoid of mass participation, and appropriate militant response to class enemies and compromised revisionists. This is our next step in constructing the instruments of revolution in the coming years. One thing the liquidators are correct about is that these things cannot be developed outside of the masses, outside of generating favorable public opinion to socialist revolution, which looks like actually integrating in with the working class and generating, in the terrain of real class contradictions that communists are organizing in, the practical and political critique of the ruling class that will actually develop the workers’ Party that is rooted in the proletariat, in the factory and warehouse, in all sectors of social production and life where there is struggle.