Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

U.S. Anti-Revisionism

Second Wave, 1956-1962 – Index Page

The story of the second wave of U.S. anti-revisionism is largely the history of the Provisional Organizing Committee to Reconstitute the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the United States (POC).

A number of events, commencing in 1956, precipitated a major upheaval in the world Communist movement. These included the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at which Nikita Khrushchev delivered his famous secret speech on Stalin and the events in Hungary leading up to and including armed Soviet intervention.


In the Communist Party of the United States, these events exacerbated an already serious on-going crisis, resulting from the repression that communists experienced under McCarthyism, the Smith Act trials of Communist leaders, and their expulsion and ostracism from labor unions and other organizations. The debate over how to respond to these developments divided U.S. Communists into four groups:

1. The “Right” represented by John Gates, an editor of the Daily Worker newspaper, that wanted to fundamentally and critically re-examine Communist theory and practice and loosen the ties binding the CPUSA to the Soviet Union;

2. The “Center” led by Eugene Dennis, the General Secretary of the CPUSA, which took a middle position on most issues and championed “unity,” of the different factions and groupings;

3. The “Soft-left” led by William Z. Foster and Ben Davis, which rejected fundamental reforms of Party theory and practice, remained committed to unconditional support for the Soviet Union and the CPSU, but frequently allied itself with the “center,” forces;


4. The “Hard-left,” Marxist-Leninist Caucus centered among Black and Puerto Rican communists and on the waterfront, that felt that the Party reformers was essentially revisionists and that the center and soft left was conciliating rather than actively combating them.

In the aftermath of the CPUSA’s 16th Convention in 1958 and the consolidation of a new Center-Soft-left leadership group, a campaign was launched against the Marxist-Leninist Caucus and its supporters. In response, the Provisional Organizing Committee to Reconstitute a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the United States (POC) was born.  Perhaps its most well known member was Harry Haywood, but it also included individuals such as Theodore Allen, Nelson Peery, and Noel Ignatin. Unfortunately, soon after its founding the POC underwent a number of debilitating splits and, by 1962, it was a shell of its former self. In 1968, what remained of the POC renamed itself the American Workers’ Communist Party (AWCP).

In 1977 the AWCP renamed itself the Homogeneous Party of the Working Class in the U.S.A. and began publishing a paper called The Orthodox Marxist. The following year, former members of the Marxist-Leninist Caucus, POC and the AWCP united to create the Marxist Workers Committee and began publishing a paper called the Marxist Worker.

During this same period, another small anti-revisionist group challenged Khruschev and the post-Stalin Soviet leadership and defended Stalin’s record and legacy. This was the Communist League, a small group in New York City which published a newsletter by the name of Turning Point. The Communist League had its origins in anti-revisionist communist groupings that arose in 1946 in the wake of the reconstitution of the CPUSA (pre-1956 documents from these groups can be found in our “First Wave, 1946-1958” page). This Communist League should not be confused with the totally different Communist League which emerged in California in 1966 out of the POC and went on to become the Communist Labor Party.

Index of topics covered in this section (by alphabetical order)
American Workers’ Communist Party
Background CPUSA Materials
Communist League
Coverage of the CPUSA Crisis in the Independent Socialist League’s Labor Action
Homogeneous Party of the Working Class in the U.S.A.
Marxist Workers Committee
Provisional Organizing Committee to Reconstitute a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the United States


General Background and Historical Materials


Family Tree Chart of U.S. Anti-Revisionism, 1956-1977 by the Communist Workers Group (Marxist-Leninist)

Negro Liberation by Harry Haywood

The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s by Harry Haywood

Why the CPUSA didn’t resist Khrushchovite revisionism

The CPUSA and Black Workers in the 1950s by Paul Elitzik

The American Negro and Marxist-Leninist Self-Determination: The History, Development, and Application of the Theory of Self-Determination for African-Americans by the Communist Party of the United States 1928-1959 by Jess LeMere

[Back to top]

General Background Materials on the Crisis in the CPUSA, 1956-1958

Review and Reappraisal. Why did we fail to perceive and protest crimes against Jewish culture and leaders in the socialist countries?, editors, Jewish Life June 1956

Statement of the National Committee, CPUSA on Khrushchev’s Speech on Stalin at the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Adopted June 24, 1956

On the Report of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Delivered by Comrade Khrushchev to the Twentieth Party Congress by a CPUSA trade union section organizer [from Red Papers #7, published by the Revolutionary Communist Party]

Draft Resolution for the 16th National Convention of the Communist Party, U.S.A., Adopted September 13, 1956

The Khrushchev Report and the Crisis in the American Left, by Hershel D. Meyer [1956]

A Communication, by Joseph Starobin [Political Affairs, January 1957]

16th Convention Preconvention Discussion Materials

16th National Convention Discussion Bulletin, Number 1, November 1, 1956;’s Number 2, November 27, 1956; Number 3, December 10, 1956; Number 4, January 1, 1957

The Party Forum, (California Pre-Convention Discussion Bulletin), Number 2, November 27, 1956; Number 3, August 20, 1956; Number 4, September 10, 1956; Number 7, December 1, 1956

Party Voice [internal bulletin of the N.Y. State CP], Special Discussion Issue, June 1956

Proceedings of the Los Angeles County Convention, January 1957

Opening Report to the County Convention

Convention Resolution on the Status of the Party

Resolutions and Statements on the Name and Form of the Party

Resolution on Relations with Communist Parties of Other Countries

Proceedings of the 16th National Convention, May 1957

Proceedings (Abridged) of the 16th National Convention of the Communist Party, U.S.A.

Post-Convention Materials

In Defense of the Party, an old-timer speaks out

FBI Notes on the section of Eugene Dennis’ March 31, 1958 presentation to CP leaders concerning the March 28-29, 1958 National Executive Committee Meeting relating to factionalism, the "ultra-left"

[Back to top]

Coverage of the CPUSA Crisis in the Independent Socialist League’s Labor Action

The Debate in the ’Daily Worker’ – The U.S. Communist Party Rocks-and-Rolls in the Crisis by George Post

The CP Faithful Get a Rundown-and-out on the Line – Uncle Milty at the Jeff School by George Post

A CP Leader Beats His Breast by Godfrey Denis [Vol. 20, No. 16, April 16, 1956]

Leader of LYL ’Explains’ Attack on Stalin by Edward Hill

The Discussion in the CP Continues – ’We Must Probe How It Can Happen...’ by George Post

In San Francisco – Schneiderman Says He Doesn’t Know... by Charles Walker [Vol. 20, No. 17, April 23, 1956]


CP’s New Line Woos the Negroes by George Post [Vol. 20, No. 21, May 21, 1956]

The Confessions of the Communist Party by George Haskell

Stalinists Gained from Carnegie Hall Symposium by George Haskell [Vol. 20, No. 23, June 4, 1956]

LYL: Back to the Popular-Front Fraud by Michael Harrington

LYL Leader Hands Down the New Line by Sam Taylor

CP Hacks Are Selling the Same Old Goods by C. Speare [Vol. 20, No. 35, August 27, 1956]

The Crisis Grows Deeper in the American Communist Party by George Post [Vol. 20, No. 37, September 10, 1956]

The Rock-Bottom Basic Question is Raised in the CP Discussion by George Post [Vol. 20, No. 39, September 24, 1956]

CPer Debates Stalinoids on the Future of the Party by George Hanley [Vol. 20, No. 42, October 15, 1956]

Communist Militants: Which Side Are You On? by by George Haskell [Vol. 20, No. 46, November 12, 1956]

LYL Leader Evinces Political Re-thinking by Edward Hill

The Communist Party Discussion on Regroupment in the Socialist Movement by H. W. Benson

W. Z. Foster vs. Hungary’s Revolution by H. W. Benson [Vol. 20, No. 49, December 3, 1956]

The Daily Worker Is Puzzled by H. W. Benson [Vol. 20, No. 49, December 3, 1956]

Third Phase in the CP Discussion: Foster Attacks, Gates Group Retreats by H. W. Benson

Sparks Fly as Shachtman Tilts with D.W. Editor [Vol. 20, No. 50, December 10, 1956]

Clark Reveals Truth on those ’600,000 Fascists’ [Vol. 20, No. 50, December 10, 1956]

Labor Editors Look at the CP Discussion by Ben Hall [Vol. 20, No. 50, December 10, 1956]

When D.W. Editor Says Yes by H. W. Benson [Vol. 20, No. 51, December 17, 1956]

In Detroit, CP Leader Debates Shachtman and Other Socialists by Jack Wilson [Vol. 20, No. 52, December 24, 1956]

Socialist, Communist Debate Hungary’s Fight at CCNY by R.D. [Vol. 20, No. 52, December 24, 1956]

The Communist Party Discusses Democracy... by H. W. Benson

The Fight Over the Draft Program: The CP’s Two Wings: What Divides Them? by by H. W. Benson

CP Factions Present Rival Statements for Party Vote by H. W. Benson

The ’Daily Worker’ and Hungary: Beating a Shamefaced Retreat by H. W. Benson

Budapest to Mahoning Valley: CP Leader Steuben Breaks by Jack Wilson [Vol. 21, No. 5, February 4, 1957]

’The Russians Must Get Out of Hungary’ by A. E. [Vol. 21, No. 5, February 4, 1957]

Moscow Intervenes in CP Fight With Smear Attack on Clark

CP Convention Dodges Key Issue But Foster’s Purge Drive is Given Setback by H. W. Benson [Vol. 21, No. 7, February 18, 1957]

Daily Worker Scribe Back Kadar Decree [Vol. 21, No. 8, February 25, 1957]

LYL Decides to Dissolve by Tim Wohlforth [Vol. 21, No. 10, March 11, 1957]

What DW’s Clark Said in Columbia Debate [Vol. 21, No. 10, March 11, 1957]

At the John Gates-Thomas-Wolfe Debate by Sam Taylor

Why They ’Misunderstood’ the Communist Party Convention by H. W. Benson

Howard Fast and His Stalinist Critics by H. W. Benson [Vol. 21, No. 26, July 1, 1957]

Democracy and the Shake-Up in Russia: A Dilemma for All Sections of the Communist Party by H. W. Benson [Vol. 21, No. 29, July 29, 1957]

The CP at the Crossroads. Toward Democratic Socialism or Back to Stalinism by H. W. Benson

Joe Clark’s Resignation Points to New Crisis in the CP by H. W. Benson

Djilas and the Daily Worker [Vol. 21, No. 35, October 31, 1957]

Howard Fast’s Picture of the American CP by Max Martin [Vol. 21, No. 38, December 2, 1957]

Is This the Last Round? The Fight in the Communist Party by Gordon Haskell [Vol. 22, No. 1, January 13, 1958]

John Gates, Former “Daily Worker ” Editor, on Perspectives for the Ex-Communists [Vol. 22, No. 3, February 10, 1958]

Reflections on an Article by John Gates. The Ex-Communists and the Renewal of American Socialism by H. W. Benson

[Back to top]

Provisional Organizing Committee–Primary Documents and Other Materials

Two Roads for American Communists by Milton Palmer [Theodore W. Allen]

For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question by Harry Haywood

Our Reply to the Conciliators of Revisionism

COMMUNIST CONFERENCE – Marxist-Leninist Caucus Maps New Party


A DECLARATION – The 40-year-old struggle for a Marxist-Leninist Party of the American working class enters a new stage

Marxism or Revisionism? Main Political Report to the POC Founding Conference

Immediate Organizational Tasks of the Marxist-Leninist Caucus in the C.P.U.S.A. by A. Marino [Angel Rene Torres]

5 Questions To The Provisional Organizing Committee

C.P. Sections Denounce Expulsions – Call for Reconstitution of Party

Letter from Harry Haywood to the POC

National Plenum of P.O.C.

National Committee Meets in Cleveland

The Negro Question and the Communist Party’s Revisionist Line

POC Meets on Negro Question by Malcolm Grant

Communist Party Leadership Finds New Allies by Charles Wallace

The POC, One Year Old, Champions Marxism-Leninism

New York POC Rounds Out First Year of Activity

Chicago POC Hails First Anniversary

For a Marxist-Leninist Youth Organization

Second National POC Conference

FBI Report on the POC Fifth National Conference, September 1-2, 1962


Marxist-Leninist Vanguard

Coverage of the POC in The Militant

American CP Heads Issue Decree for New Purge of Party by Herman Chauka

Group Expelled From CP Holds National Parley by Lillian Kiezel

The New Vanguard Group And the Communist Party by Lillian Kiezel

Memoirs of POC Veterans

45 Years of Communism: Letter from Comrade Kilpatrick

A Veteran Communist Speaks... On the Struggle Against Revisionism by Admiral Kilpatrick

A Veteran Communist Speaks by Joe Dougher

The POC: A Personal Memoir by Noel Ignatin

[Back to top]

American Workers’ Communist Party–Primary Documents

Main Political Report to the Second Congress, American Workers’ Communist Party

A Post-Mortem on the “Lumpen Revolution”

Nationalism in “Marxist” Disguise

“Marxism-Leninism” – A Reactionary Theory [on Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver]

[Back to top]

Homogeneous Party of the Working Class in the U.S.A.–Primary Documents

The Orthodox Marxist, Vol. VI, Nos. 7-8, April-May-1983

[Back to top]

Marxist Workers Committee–Primary Documents

Marxist Worker, No. 1, Summer 1979

[Back to top]

Communist League–Primary Documents

Towards A New Marxist-Leninist Communist Party

Against the Revisionism of the 20th Congress

Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Khrushchev (In Defense of Stalin)

Khrushchev’s Un-Secret Speech

Khrushchevism’s Boomerang

First Aid For Communists Suffering From Shock

[Back to top]