League of Revolutionary Struggle

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League of Revolutionary Struggle dissolved into the Socialist Organizing Network and Unity Organizing Committee in 1990.

History

The League of Revolutionary Struggle was founded in 1978 and was the result of the merging of six Marxist-Leninist organizations: August 29th Movement, I Wor Kuen, Revolutionary Communist League, East Wind Organization, Seize the Time collective, and New York Collective. Those organizations in turn trace their roots to the Congress of Afrikan People, La Raza Unida Party and other oppressed nationality organizations of the 1960’s.

Forward

In the early 1980s Anne Adams, Carl Davidson and Michael Lee were co-editors of Forward, the magazine of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.

Publications

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Getting Together Publications was the publishing company of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.

In addition to Unity /La Unidad newspaper, the publishing company also produced numerous pamphlets, magazines and a journal. Each of the publications had its unique character.

Unity pamphlets were collections of articles that had appeared in Unity/La Unidad on a particular subject. Occasionally, there were pamphlets with writings and artwork created on a special topic.

Forward began as the theoretical journal of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L) in 1979. Several years later, Forward became a journal for socialist thought, and it invited contributed articles from many activists on the left.

The Black Nation, Journal of Afro-American Thought, was a magazine that was published from 1981 to 1986. Edited by members of the LRS and led by Amiri Baraka, The Black Nation also had broad input from thinkers and activists in the Black Liberation Movement.

East Wind: Politics and Culture of Asians in America was a magazine that was published from 1982 to 1989. A diverse editorial board governed the content of the magazine.[1]

Supporting Black Self-Determination

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Supporting the Rainbow

Unity March 23 1984
Unity June 20 1984

The League of Revolutionary Struggle backed Jesse Jackson for President in 1984 and 1988.

New Electoral Majority

From Forward, Vol. 9, number 1, Spring 1989, pages 4 and 5.

The Jackson campaign also pointed the way towards a progressive electoral strategy, which the left needs to developas part of its immediate political program. Concretely, this means develop ing strategies to expand and shift the electorate, and breaking the so-called conservative electoral "lock" in the South and Southwest, which has upheld the right-wing edge in the last four presi dential elections.
People of color now approach 30% of the U.S. population. The changing demographics in the U.S. will make oppressed nationalities the majority in California and Texas by the turn of the cen tury, and they will comprise a steadily increasing proportion of the population as a whole.
With increased voter regis tration and participation, Black, Latino, Asian, poor white and other historically disenfranchised voters can constitute a new, progressive electoral majority. This new electoral majority, with its base in the South and Southwest and key Northern industrial areas, can make the critical difference in future elections. It provides the electoral basis for reversing the right-wing direction of American politics.
Electoral work is thus an important aspect of our work to build the mass movement against the right, and for democracy and social progress.

Peak influence

At its height, the League of Revolutionary Struggle had chapters in over a dozen cities with nearly 3,000 cadres and thousands of followers. Its newspaper, Unity/La Unidad, was published bi-monthly in three languages — English, Spanish, and Chinese. The LRS also published Forward, a theoretical journal; The Black Nation; and East Wind: Art and Politics of Asians in America.

Other Unity/La Unidad pamphlets helped invigorate the resistance to the regressive politics of U.S. capitalists led by the reactionary administration of Ronald Reagan.[2]

Slow demise

According to former League of Revolutionary Struggle member David Hungerford.

The League of Revolutionary Struggle continued the work of its constituent organizations through the 1980s. However, ideological and theoretical work was almost completely neglected after 1985 or so. By 1988 the LRS leadership had virtually become an appendage of Jesse Jackson’s presidential aspirations. Amiri resigned from the organization in protest. I didn’t agree with him about Jackson at the time but he proved to be right. But I think it would have been better if he had stayed in and continued the fight.
Gorbachev’s “glasnost” and the following crisis caught the LRS leadership completely unprepared. They refused to respond to demands of cadres to say something about the Soviet breakup. Instead they surrendered to bourgeois ideas and repudiated Marxism-Leninism. An attempt was made to continue the organization on a reformist basis, but without the discipline and sense of purpose that comes with Marxism-Leninism it simply faded away.[3]

Split

In 1990 League of Revolutionary Struggle split, with one group ( including most of the Asian comrades) dropping Maoism, and maintaining control of Unity, becoming the Unity Organizing Committee. The other faction kept a more traditional outlook, becoming the Socialist Organizing Network, which later merged with Freedom Road Socialist Organization .

References