Poder Proletario: STATEMENT FOR AN INTERNATIONAL MAOIST CONFERENCE
Preliminary translation, final corrections pending.
Colombia, 5 March 2022
MLM Party Organisation
DELIMITING AND SPECIFYING
For an International Conference that puts the necessity for People’s War at the centre of the revolutionary practice of the Maoists
In the framework of the preparation of our essential Unified Maoist International Conference, we have been elaborating the text “Unity among communists, fighting for the Party and for the Communist International of a New Type”. There, we continue to develop our dissociation from the opportunism of Bob Avakian’s New Synthesis1, we put forward our views on the urgent need to advance in unity of communists around principles, we set out the ideological basis of our party organisation and we summarise the principles we have reached and propose as the basis for unity among communists nationally and internationally.
In the midst of carrying out this task, which we consider fundamental, we met:
a) The material “For a Unified Maoist International Conference!” presented by the Coordinating Committee, and
b) A reply to this document prepared and presented by the Communist Workers’ Union (MLM) under the title “On the Proposal on the Balance Sheet of the International Communist Movement and its present General Political Line For a Unified Maoist International Conference!
We feel obliged to clarify our position, in the very process of the line struggle that unfolds there, in the face of perspectives which, if they succeed in gaining ground among the majority of the participants in the Conference, would put the International Communist Organisation once again outside the ranks of the revolutionary proletariat. In doing so, it is key to clarify the concepts of our scientific ideology, MLM, which are engaged there.
The UOC, by pointing out what its party organisation assumes to be errors of the comrades of the Coordinating Committee, ends up obscuring some matters of principle, contradicting fundamental postulates of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Let us begin, then, by making some necessary clarifications.
1. The Conference is and must be a place of unity and struggle. Struggle for MLM principles and unity around principles. All Conference participants will be able to write about the conception or nuance they have adopted. The text containing the common general Basis of Unity of the MLMs must be one of the results of the development of the struggle and unity at the International Conference and not its premise, therefore, it is almost impossible that the Coordinating Committee could elaborate this synthesis, before the indispensable line struggle, as demanded in its document by the UOC.
2. In the debate on whether our science is primarily Maoist, the UOC document explicitly states: “We start from the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a new, third and higher stage of Marxism, and we even admit the Maoist denomination for propaganda purposes“.2 Here, it must be made clear what it means that “the Maoist denomination” is admitted “for propaganda purposes”. Expressed in this way, it is understood as meaning that the name Maoist is accepted for practical matters, out of utilitarian practicality, because it serves propaganda purposes. To pretend to use the word “Maoist” as a mere appellation for propaganda purposes would be absolutely inadmissible. The debate should focus on whether Maoism is recognised as the highest development of Marxism in theory and practice.
3. For us it is inadmissible for the UOC to try to identify the positions of the comrades of the Coordinating Committee with Avakian revisionism in phrases such as:
“is in the pretence of reducing the general laws of motion to contradiction, interpreting its character of being the most fundamental law of dialectics or nucleus or essence of dialectics, as meaning that it is the “only law of dialectics”; a mistaken idea that was imposed in the defunct RIM (defended also by Avakian’s “new synthesis”).”
First, UOC must understand that to assert is not to prove. To prove, one must analyse and argue. Although the comrades do not accuse directly, they leave the impression of a connection of the Coordinating Committee with the ideas of Avakian revisionism.
Secondly, we can affirm that the conception of the comrades of the Coordinating Committee is in open opposition to Avakian’s New Synthesis. That the Coordinating Committee’s text states an idea or two that they have historically held in the RCPU is not sufficient reason to identify them with the New Synthesis. Moreover, that Avakian “defends” the idea that contradiction is the unique law of dialectics, (we are not certain whether Avakian defends this idea) does not make this idea incorrect; nor those who defend it, Avakianists. To demonstrate that this statement is incorrect (or that this or that organisation is Avakianist) it is not enough for the UOC to make a couple of assertions and that’s it, a profound argumentation and counter-argumentation is unavoidable, that is to say, a struggle of lines that will lead us to all the necessary demarcations.
It is important to prevent ourselves, in this line struggle (and in all line struggles), from launching accusations, tacit or explicit, which cast doubts on comrades or organisations, without arguments, for this is contrary to the spirit of unity-struggle-unity which must pervade the International Conference; thirdly, the UOC must demonstrate with arguments that from the thesis that contradiction is the only fundamental law of dialectics several revisionist ideas are derived. Mere assertions are not enough.
Incidentally, the comrades of the Coordinating Committee say exactly: Contradiction, the only fundamental law of the incessant transformation of eternal matter (the bold letters are ours). Although the UOC stresses the word fundamental, it assumes that they said only the only law, in the end, ignoring what was actually said, without arguing why it is the same thing to say, only law, as, only fundamental law, misrepresenting the position of the comrades of the Coordinating Committee. In general, a thesis is not revisionist because it is said by a revisionist, but because it revises the fundamental postulates of Marxism, and that is precisely what we intend to discern in depth in the line struggle at the International Conference.
We consider Lenin’s formulation of dialectics to be accurate, we would neither add to it nor subtract from it. In this respect, Mao says in “On Contradiction“:
“Lenin said: ‘Dialectics, strictly speaking, is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects [ . . . ]’ Lenin used to call this law the essence of dialectics and also the kernel of dialectics.”
If there are sufficient arguments to leave Lenin’s formulation of dialectics behind, and to take up a new one, they should be presented to the Conference for discussion, otherwise we must reaffirm Lenin’s thesis. In our party organisation we affirm that the movement of matter, in any of its dimensions, levels or types, is given by the struggle of the contrary aspects that make up every thing or process; that is why we recognise contradiction as the fundamental law of dialectics, which is present in all phenomena of nature, society and thought. It is the law of contradiction, or the unity and struggle of opposites, which enables us to deduce not only that all things change and develop through quantitative and qualitative changes, but also to know the causes of this movement: why and how these leaps or transformations take place.
4. The UOC “corrects” the Coordinating Committee and says: “Where it is therefore necessary to develop a “democratic revolution”, not a “New Democracy” (…)”. The fact is that Mao uses both the expression “democratic revolution” and “New Democracy” interchangeably; a simple reference to his work will suffice to prove it. It does not imply an alteration in Marxist theory, nor a renunciation of New Democracy, to use the term Democratic Revolution.
5. Faced with the controversy opened up by the UOC text on the negation of negation and contradiction as the essence of dialectics, in order to advance in this, we invite the comrades to see, first, the implications of the use of what they mistakenly assume to be dialectics in the exercise of their critique. Comrades say:
“we consider the expression “mainly Maoist” erroneous in that it corresponds to the pretension of making Maoism a “synthesis” of communism and reducing scientific socialism to the contributions of Mao Tse-tung”. (Emphasis added).
Reasoning in absolutes leads nowhere. Where it says “principally”, they mean “only”. In doing so, they are unaware that, among the constituent parts of a phenomenon, some necessarily influence or determine more than others; that is, some are primary and others secondary.
Thus, it is not true that the document “For a Unified Maoist International Conference” is “reducing” scientific socialism to Mao’s contributions; what is being said is that today, to be a Marxist, one has to recognise the developments of Marxism represented by Maoism. At the beginning of the 20th century, many followers of Marx and Engels denied Lenin’s latest developments in Marxism, becoming true revisionists. Many intellectuals who today adhere only to the theses of Marx and Engels (even in their details) are called Marxologists, not Marxists. Maoism is the touchstone between Marxists and revisionists, because it determines in a major way, strategy, tactics, plans and campaigns of today’s communists, because it characterises in a major way, today’s Marxism: let us insist… Maoism.
6. After quoting the comrades of the Coordinating Committee where they point out “(…) in these countries, on a semi-feudal, colonial or semi-colonial basis, bureaucratic capitalism develops…”, the text we have been discussing concludes: “That is to say, there is no capitalism (of any kind)”. …“, the text we have been discussing concludes: “In other words, there is no capitalism (of any kind)”. Who and how can come to the conclusion that bureaucratic capitalism is in practice “non-capitalism”? Why don’t comrades share the whole analysis showing that bureaucratic capitalism is not capitalism? No Marxist can be satisfied with a simple assertion without arguments.
Further on, the UOC says:
“But to this great error of the comrades of making the “democratic revolution”, even in the oppressed capitalist countries, are added others of no less importance, such as affirming that the “countryside is principal and the city is a necessary complement” in the revolutionary war, which in practical terms would lead not to carrying out the war of the masses who make up the majority of society and are concentrated in the cities, but a war with the minority of the population .… “
When the comrades of the Coordinating Committee say that the countryside is the main place, the UOC understands that the war will not be waged in the cities. It is not true that saying that the revolutionary war takes place mainly in the countryside implies that it will not take place in the cities. What is more, it is impossible to be sure in advance where the biggest, bloodiest battles will take place, in the countryside or in the city. What is certain is that the struggle to seize political power through the GPP is the essence of Maoism and, therefore, the proletariat must develop the strategy of destroying the old power, the reactionary power, and building the New Revolutionary Power forged and concretised in the areas where the reactionary state is weakest; to weaken the old power with people’s war in the areas where it is now strongest, by advancing the bases of support in the red zones, in a process from small to big; that is, in most cases, from the countryside to the city. By no means can it be concluded that the cities will be left out of the destruction of the old state and the construction of the New Power.
PEOPLE’S WAR AND NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE ISSUES OF PRINCIPLES AND BOUNDARIES
All the organisations participating in the International Conference and, in general, all the MLM organisations which for one reason or another do not participate in the Conference must clearly pronounce themselves on these two questions which are a fundamental part of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles. To fail to take a clear stand on these questions is to beat around the bush on fundamental issues; anyone who does not take a firm stand on the principles puts himself outside the ranks of the revolutionary proletariat.
In the discussion advanced by the UOC over the word “fusion” in the sentence of the Coordinating Committee (on the “fusion” of the forces of the international proletarian movement acting throughout the world and the national liberation movement of the oppressed nations), he asserts: “It is a great mistake to attribute to Lenin the detestable theory of the fusion of the class struggle of the proletariat with the national struggle”.
But, if we read the quotation from Lenin which they themselves bring into the debate, we see that Lenin warns us, not against the dialectical unity of the national liberation struggles and the international proletarian movement, but against the loss of independence of the proletariat in alliances or agreements with the forces of bourgeois democracy in the colonial and backward countries, and calls on the proletariat to preserve unconditionally the independence of the proletarian movement, even in its most embryonic forms.
And, in order to preserve (or prevent) itself against the dangers that bourgeois democracy represents for the proletarian revolution and National Liberation itself, the proletariat has as one of the antidotes the unity and fusion of the workers of all nations into single international proletarian organisations. Indeed, it is precisely the struggle for the Unified Maoist International Conference and the unity of the international proletariat that is an important part of the struggle of the communists, no longer in words but in deeds, to maintain class independence from the bourgeoisie and its fractions, including the most advanced ones, in the struggles for national liberation and in the people’s wars.
Moreover, Lenin did speak of the fusion of national revolutionary insurrections and wars and the wars and insurrections of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie:
“From the theoretical point of view it would be quite wrong to forget that every war is nothing but the continuation of policy by other means. The present imperialist war is the continuation of the imperialist policy of two groups of great powers, and this policy is originated and nourished by the whole of the relations of the imperialist epoch. But this same epoch must also inevitably give rise to and nourish the policy of the struggle against national oppression and the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, and hence the possibility and inevitability, first, of revolutionary national insurrections and wars; secondly, of wars and insurrections of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie; thirdly, of the fusion of the two types of revolutionary wars, etc.”. (Lenin. The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution).
In all these line discussions on unity, the meaning of the words, e.g. “fusion”, is not so much important for its meaning, but for the dialectical relationship that is revealed, in this case, between the two fused aspects. That is to say, the fusion or unity, and also the struggle, must be taken into account. In neither case, in the fusion of the two types of revolutionary war, and in the unity of the proletarian-oriented struggle with the promoters of bourgeois democracy in the colonial and backward countries, is “fusion”, unity, alliance to be interpreted literally (as an absolute union of interests, ideas, and parties, without struggle). It is about unity (unity-struggle-unity), beyond the simple unity of action within a Front bet which is only defensible for the proletariat, in terms of its hegemony.
Says the UOC:
“The erroneous theory of “merging the class struggle into the national struggle” was advocated by Prachandist revisionism before the betrayal in Nepal, being a revamped version of the old opportunism in the face of the national problem in the imperialist phase.”
As we have already seen, Lenin did speak of the fusion of the two types of revolutionary wars. Moreover, it is not because the traitor Pachandra mentioned it that it is false. We reiterate: it cannot become a valid argument against a thesis, the fact that some statement (or some idea) was referred to by a revisionist; that does not make it false, nor does it make it right and correct because it was said by the masters of the proletariat. Yes, there is a theoretical body of our science proven in the class struggle that allows us to resort to citing theory to argue; however, we must always deploy full arguments to demonstrate to the contradictor the rigour and correctness of our assertions and, in the end, the correct ideas will prevail. What plunges the process in Nepal into the swamp of opportunism is precisely the negation of the revolutionary struggle of National Liberation and its dialectical relation to the war of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie; it is the renunciation of the GPP that is the fundamental cause of the sinking of the process in Nepal into the swamp of opportunism, and this has its origin in the renunciation of the Communist Party of Nepal of Marxism, which placed this organisation outside the ranks of the proletariat3.
In the face of National Liberation we will repeat Lenin’s words in “The Socialist Revolution and the Right to Self-Determination”:
“Socialists must demand not only an unconditional and immediate liberation without compensation of the colonies – and this demand, in its political expression, means nothing else than the recognition of the right to self-determination; socialists must support in the most determined manner the most revolutionary elements of the bourgeois-democratic national liberation movements of these countries and assist in their rebellion – and, if necessary, also in their revolutionary war – against the imperialist powers which oppress them”.
We call for the most determined and coherent articulation of the most revolutionary elements and the revolutionary war of the National Liberation movement in the perspective of the construction of socialism. We stand for the overthrow of imperialism in order to achieve complete national liberation.
The Maoists who claim to support only petty bourgeois and bourgeois democratic revolutionaries must be brought to their senses by making it a condition that they participate in national liberation and wage war from MLM. With this requirement they state, the real willingness of these comrades to support the National Liberation movements is really none. The argument is that the armed struggle for national liberation that could arise in the absence of the vanguard of the proletariat as a party would lack any validity. From this logic, only the struggles of genuine communist parties are worthy of support, and any support, alliance or agreement with the petty bourgeoisie, the (revolutionary) middle bourgeoisie and other class fractions in a Front is outlawed. This is what Mao called a “closed-door attitude”: zero agreements, zero alliances, zero support. In other words: it is the renunciation of proletarian hegemony and its path.
Mao said in “On the tactics of the struggle against Japanese imperialism”:
“Only the united front tactic is Marxist-Leninist. In contrast, the “closed-door” tactic is the tactic of “imperial isolation”. The ‘closed-door’ attitude ‘pushes the fish into the deep waters and the birds into the forest’; it will push the ‘millions and millions of men of the masses of the people’, that ‘gigantic army’, into the enemy’s camp, thus winning the applause of the enemy.”
“In practice, the “closed-door” attitude loyally serves Japanese imperialism and the collaborationists and sellouts. What its supporters call “pure” and “righteous” is what Marxism-Leninism slaps in the face and what Japanese imperialism praises. We categorically reject the “closed-door” attitude; what we want is a revolutionary national united front, which is to deal a mortal blow to Japanese imperialism and the collaborationists and sell-outs.” (Bold typeface added).
“If we succeed in attracting large numbers of people to us, then the enemy’s ranks will dwindle and ours will grow. In short, two fundamental forces are fighting each other; all the forces in between, by the logic of things, will have to take one side or the other. The policy of the Japanese imperialists to subjugate China and the surrender policy of Chiang Kai-shek can only push numerous forces to our side, either to join the ranks of the Communist Party and the Red Army directly or to form a united front with us. All this will be achieved provided our tactic is not that of ‘closed doors’.”
The “closed-door” attitudes maintain a worrying sectarian policy, which condemns many Maoist organisations to isolation and ostracism. The International Conference must speak out against “closed-door” tactics and orient the work on the path of proletarian hegemony.
And, in “DISCARD ILLUSIONS, PREPARE FOR FIGHTING”, Mao emphasises:
“It is the duty of the advanced men – communists, members of the democratic parties, politically conscious workers, young students and progressive intellectuals – to unite, within People’s China, with the strata and the intermediate elements, the backward elements of various strata, with all those who are still hesitant and irresolute (these people will continue to hesitate for a long time; They will waver even after they have become firm; they will waver as soon as they run into difficulties), give them sincere help, criticise their wavering character, educate them, win them over to the side of the popular masses, prevent the imperialists from dragging them down with them, and tell them to cast off illusions and prepare for struggle.”
In the struggle to retake proletarian principles, we have emphasised that Lenin, in developing the critique of bourgeois political economy, placed imperialism as the highest and last stage of capitalism, explaining how the objective laws that govern it are the same that determine capitalism, and how its characteristics, which appear as “novelties”, are a consequence of its own development, where free competition capitalism is transformed into monopoly capitalism, parasitic and decomposing… but…. Capitalism!
Thus, with the development and leap of capitalism to its highest and final stage, we enter the epoch of imperialism and the world proletarian revolution where, the programme of the revolutionary bourgeoisie having been exhausted, from the fifties of the 19th century onwards, the bourgeoisie becomes incapable of leading the democratic revolutions and the struggles for national liberation to total victory, so that it is up to the proletariat to take over this leadership: that of the necessary unachieved democratic revolutions which, from now on, can only be led to victory by the proletariat and its party, on the very road to socialism. That is why the task of leading the People’s Wars must be a task of the proletariat and its party (which implies the alliance with the revolutionary classes and class fractions).
We reiterate it: Lenin made it clear in his line struggle against Martov and his revisionist faction at the time: it is not a question of supporting the bourgeoisie in making the bourgeois democratic revolution and opening the way for the proletarian revolution, but of the proletariat making its historical perspective concrete by leading the democratic revolutions that are in force and necessary, while leading the alliance of classes and class sectors that will make it possible to strike the targets of the revolution, according to the conditions defined by the character of the respective social formation.
Moreover, let us look at Lenin’s dialectical conception of the tasks of the Party of the proletariat which many sectarian Maoists fail to understand: To be the vanguard in the conquest of political power in order to organise socialist society and to be the defenders of the oppressed masses in general and to support the progressive classes and parties against the reactionaries, i.e., to be the vanguard of 90% of the population. Let us read Lenin:
“The proletariat must aim at founding independent workers’ political parties whose main aim is the conquest of political power by the proletariat in order to organise socialist society. The proletariat must by no means regard the other classes and the other parties as ‘a reactionary mass’; on the contrary, the proletariat must take part in all political and social life, supporting the progressive classes and parties against the reactionaries, supporting every revolutionary movement against the existing regime, it must be the defender of every oppressed race or people, of every persecuted religion, of the disenfranchised sex, etc.” “Protest of the Social-Democrats of Russia”.
People’s War, imperialism and bureaucratic capitalism
In paragraph 5 entitled “On the erroneous method of avoiding the concrete analysis of the concrete situation”, in the text we are discussing, the Coordinating Committee is criticised because in the analysis of the oppressed countries they say that in these countries “on a semi-feudal, colonial or semi-colonial basis, bureaucratic capitalism develops.… “
The UOC then asks “What does this mean, is it not the capitalist mode of production, but a superstructure of semi-feudalism?”, and further on concludes:
“That is to say, there is no capitalism (of any kind) but semi-feudalism which is the economic basis of society in ALL oppressed countries. Where therefore a “democratic revolution”, not New Democracy, a “unitary war” has to be developed”.
Where monopoly denies free competition, that is, where monopoly imposes its conditions on the market, the compulsion to develop the productive forces and the tendency to sweep away pre-capitalist relations of production is drastically limited. This is, in essence, the reason why, in the oppressed countries, the productive forces do not have the same compulsion to develop as in the oppressor nations. Consequently, pre-capitalist relations cannot be swept away as they were in the nations where free trade capitalism was fully developed (before imperialism arose). Let us not forget, in this respect, that Lenin recognised that in Russia “modern capitalist imperialism is enveloped, so to speak, in a particularly dense network of pre-capitalist relations”. What is more: in the process of the crises of capitalism that subsist and are strengthened in the imperialist phase, a rent-seeking mechanism that is deployed as a counter tendency is precisely the reproduction of different pre-capitalist forms that deepen, as in the case of Colombia, gamonalismo and the problem of land in its factors of ownership, appropriation and use. Why, then, some are surprised, or say they do not understand how or why pre-capitalist relations “subsist” in the countries and nations oppressed by imperialism.
Let us recall what Marx said in “MARX’S FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE CAPITAL”:
“Alongside modern miseries, we are burdened by a whole series of inherited miseries, the result of the survival of very old and outdated types of production, with all their entourage of anachronistic political and social relations. We are tormented not only by the living, but also by the dead. Le mort saisit le vif!”
Let us remember that monopoly denies and limits free competition and makes that “free competition” that of the monopolies and their infighting. That is why, precisely because of this, imperialism is the last phase of capitalism.
Lenin says in “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”:
“Imperialism has arisen as a direct development and continuation of the fundamental properties of capitalism in general. But capitalism has become capitalist imperialism only when it has reached a certain very high stage in its development, when some of the fundamental properties of capitalism have begun to become its antithesis, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher economic and social structure have taken shape and manifested themselves along the whole line. What is fundamental in this process, from the economic point of view, is the replacement of free capitalist competition by capitalist monopolies. Free competition is the fundamental property of capitalism and of commodity production in general; monopoly is in direct opposition to free competition, but the latter has become monopoly in our eyes, creating big production, eliminating small production, replacing big production by still bigger production, bringing the concentration of production and capital to such an extent that monopoly has arisen and arises from its bosom: cartels, syndicates, trusts, and, merging with them, the capital of a dozen or so banks handling billions. And at the same time, monopolies, which are derived from free competition, do not eliminate it, but exist above and alongside it, thus engendering a series of particularly acute contradictions, frictions and conflicts. Monopoly is the transition from capitalism to a higher regime”.
Imperialism has divided the world into an increasing number of small or weak nations and a handful of very rich or very strong countries. But the capitalism that develops in the strong nations such as the USA does not take shape in exactly the same way in the oppressed nations. In the strong nations, it is fundamentally realised as finance capital and, in the oppressed nations, as bureaucratic capital. If this difference did not exist, it would not be possible to distinguish between oppressor and oppressed nations. If all nations developed finance capital and bureaucratic capital did not exist, it would not be possible to distinguish between the economies of oppressor and oppressed nations. The crumbs that finance capital leaves in the oppressed nations, for no logical reason (of bourgeois logic, of course) of the imperialist system, can be reproduced as finance capital. The basis lies precisely in the way the states and their regimes handle the capture of surplus value at the discretion of the ruling classes, the relationship between variable capital and constant capital, all in the process of centralisation and concentration of capital. Finance capital, imperialist capital, and monopolies in general, necessarily swallow up all important concentrations of capital that are a threat of strong competition to their interests; however, imperialist and monopoly capital develop, in the oppressed nations, capitals that are absolutely functional for their purposes of domination. These are bureaucratic capital and comprador capital, which create the conditions for imperialist accumulation and plunder.
Lenin says in “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”:
“Three or five of the most important banks in any of the most advanced capitalist nations have achieved the “personal union” of industrial and banking capital, they have concentrated in their hands billions and billions which constitute the greater part of the capital and money income of the whole country. A financial oligarchy which has a thick network of relations of dependence over all the economic and political institutions of contemporary bourgeois society without exception: this is the most important manifestation of this monopoly”.
Although imperialism is capitalism in its last phase and, as imperialism (capitalism), it has reached every corner of the globe, this does not mean that all countries export capital. Only a handful of countries reserve for themselves the most essential economic basis of imperialism: the export of capital. The reproduction of finance capital remains in the hands of a very exclusive financial oligarchy, which is unwilling to socialise its financial capital, even with the staunchest lackeys of the oppressed nations. The financial oligarchy (which builds a dense network of relations that subordinate all the economic and political institutions of bourgeois society) stimulates the formation, in the oppressed nations, of a bureaucratic bourgeoisie that gains access to and accumulates capital in the management (administration) of the state, on condition that it governs in the service of imperialist exploitation. But there is also, linked to this process, a comprador bourgeoisie in charge of doing business with the imperialist monopolies, also in an absolute manner, in order to facilitate the imperialist plunder of the oppressed nation. In other words, imperialism, capitalism in its last phase, needs a bureaucratic comprador bourgeoisie in the oppressed nations, a key link in imperialist domination.
But, also, to conclude from the theses of the Coordinating Committee that what is being affirmed is that capitalism does not exist, is to affirm that capitalism is inconceivable wrapped in a network of pre-capitalist relations from which it itself benefits, is to reduce the multicoloured world to black and white. It is to fantasise about a world where there are no social formations. It is not to understand the dialectics of the monopoly phase of capitalism, it is to ignore the dialectics between a handful of oppressor nations and a great majority of oppressed nations (precisely because of the monopoly, imperialism) and, of course, it is not to understand Lenin’s “Imperialism, the highest phase of capitalism”.
Is there or is there not a difference in the development of the productive forces between, for example, China and Colombia, or between the USA and Haiti? How can we fail to recognise this and at the same time affirm that “(…) imperialism, as an internationalised mode of production, chained all countries – with their specific modes of production – into a single world economy”?
The UOC fails to understand in depth their own sentence where they state: with their specific modes of production, and overshadow it with phrases such as:
“… the rise and expansion of industry in the oppressed countries and the introduction of major changes in agriculture, destroying the traditional systems of production and accelerating the process of decomposition of the peasantry, causing at the same time the accelerated urbanisation of the oppressed countries, the development of the cities and increasing the international migration of the proletariat”.
What can be stated in all categories is that the UOC does not correctly interpret the reality of its own country. When talking about the expansion of industry and the introduction of important changes in agriculture, it ignores the fact that Colombia has one of the highest concentrations of land in the world, and that this land is used by landowners, such as Álvaro Uribe, as a factor of power (not of production of use values), that most of the fertile land is not in agriculture, but in extensive livestock farming with pre-capitalist exploitation processes or is kept as fattening land, that most of the land used for the cultivation of oil palm, were not owned by the landowners (who already had the highest Gini index of land concentration in the world, 0.89, where zero is full equality, and one is full inequality, data f rom 2019) but belonged to poor and middle peasants and were expropriated by the armies of paramilitaries of the landowners, that the peasants end up in the cities, not attracted by employment opportunities, as is often the case in Europe and North America, but fleeing from the paramilitaries who kill, rape and chop off their heads to steal their land; It is an absolute incoherence.
What in Colombia has been a campaign of terror to further concentrate land and consolidate the landlords and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie in power cannot be presented as simply the development of the productive forces of capitalism; what in the world is called displacement (five million displaced for Colombia) cannot be euphemistically called “migration” or “accelerated urbanisation”. In short, the crimes of a state, in order to consolidate the bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the landowners in power, cannot be disguised in phrases that distort the truth like this:
“… the rise and expansion of industry in the oppressed countries and the introduction of major changes in agriculture, destroying traditional systems of production and accelerating the process of decomposition of the peasantry…. “
What industry are we talking about? For example, in Colombia, the five thousand largest companies4 in the country are located in the service sector, the banking sector, department stores , food processing, health and in the extractive sector such as oil and coal. There is no producer goods industry. The banking sector, which is erroneously called the “financial sector”, is not the result of the merger of banking capital with industrial capital, as is the case with real financial capital, but the union of banking capital with a bourgeoisie embedded in power, capturing rents in the administration of the state and corruption.
This is precisely what is called bureaucratic capital; bureaucratic because it accumulates mainly through the state. Incidentally, it is much better business for the clans that dominate the Colombian nation to buy presidential and congressional elections than to found an industrial company. For example, Sarmiento Angulo, the richest man in Colombia, with his capital, does not promote industry, does not develop the productive forces, as the text we are analysing assures us. What he does is to put in place presidents, governors, mayors, prosecutors, congressmen, judges, etc., not out of a desire to govern for the sake of governing; it is about implementing concrete mechanisms to steal profits from the state administration, monopolise contracts, steal public funds through corruption, steal elections, and other “little games”. Let us point out that the accumulation of rents is not a moral problem, nor is it defined by whether they are legal or illegal. This in Marxist terms is bureaucratic capital, no matter if in the media, which is owned by Sarmiento Angulo himself, they call it the “financial sector”. Sarmiento Angulo and the Democratic Centre are now the spearhead of bureaucratic capital.
We cannot criticise the lack of concrete analysis of the concrete situation, and do without it.
Industrial capital is not the same as commercial and usurious capital. It is fundamentally industrial capital which, under certain circumstances, develops the productive forces as a constraint. Usurious and commercial capital do not; and, in this sense, Marx considered them reactionary and Lenin, parasitic.
The proletarian revolution, in general, fights to put the wealth and the development of the productive forces at the service of the masses, without differences, without segregation. But, if what exists in the oppressed nations is not a vigorous industry, but capitalism takes the form mainly of commercial, usurious capital (all intertwined with bureaucratic and financial capital, with a supremely reactionary character), the tasks of the revolution cannot be indifferent to this reality. The communists must solve the problem of imperialist domination, of the domination of the monopolies; and this is nothing other than National Liberation. Yes, the communists must sweep away the obstacles to industrial development, both in the industry of productive goods and in the industry of consumer goods and agricultural production; and this is achieved by defeating the landlords, democratising land tenure, defeating the bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie; all in a New Democratic revolution, building New Power with Protracted People’s War. To opt, in oppressed nations like Colombia, for a supposedly shorter road, which saves the construction of New Power and the prolonged people’s war, is to make socialism in these countries an impossibility.
Lenin says that “everyone knows to what extent monopoly capital has sharpened all the contradictions of capitalism”. It is precisely the contradictions, imperialism versus oppressed nations, which have an open, very sharp antagonistic character and therefore determine the strategy of the revolution (the targets of the revolution, the forms of struggle, etc.) in the oppressed nations in the first phase of the proletarian revolution.
Today, in Colombia, it is a privilege to have a formal job; the conditions of unemployment, landless peasants, hunger, misery and repression are the main ailment of the masses and are generated precisely by imperialism, the landlords, the bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie. It is with this reactionary oligarchy that the contradictions are most acute; therefore, these are the contradictions that must be resolved in the first instance, in order to clear the road to socialism. It is precisely these contradictions that impede the development of the productive forces. That is why, also for that reason, the landlords, the bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie, the imperialist nations, are the fundamental targets of the revolution in the oppressed nations.
Analyses that ignore this reality and have these limitations do not reveal the contradictions of the class struggle in Colombia; rather they hide them. But what is most serious, what we cannot ignore in the preparation of a Maoist Conference, are positions such as those which give rise to texts which do not clearly state their position on the central issues of Maoism: the People’s War, the New Power.
On the main form of struggle and the main form of organisation
Defining and assuming the main form of struggle and the form of organisation are key elements which, based on the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, must be defined and promoted by the International Conference in order to grasp them with determination. If it does not do so, it is embarking on a path that will turn all those who do not take them up into its opposite.
Lenin said in “Urgent tasks of our movement”:
“Our main and fundamental task is to contribute to the political development and political organisation of the working class. Whoever relegates this task to the background and does not subordinate to it all the partial tasks and the various procedures of struggle, places himself on a false path and inflicts serious damage on the movement.”
But “political development” cannot be anything other than raising the working class and the exploited masses to a conscious class struggle; that is, it is the exercise of revolutionary violence to build the new power and maintain it. But this requires the organisation of the exploited into Party, Army and Front. The Party being the vanguard (cadres) of the revolution, therefore, the highest form of organisation; the Army, the main form of organising the masses, because it is with revolutionary violence that socialism is built and it is the masses who make history; and the New State Front, where the New Power becomes concrete, articulated to the front-movement, which will agglutinate the most diverse resistance struggles of the masses. Whoever does not understand and assume this process, fails to locate where the main efforts for the greatest political development and the highest level of organisation of the masses for the revolution and in the revolution should be focused, so that he will end up hopelessly submerged in partial, complementary, secondary tasks. Communist cadres who do not work for the formation of the Party, Army and New State Front simultaneously, will help to maintain the divorce of the masses from their historical role in the social revolution, and to diminish the tasks of the Party as the vanguard of the revolution to that of radical trade union leaders, tenacious community leaders, pedagogical expositors of Marxism, etc.; this, in the best of cases.
In other words, there is a dialectical relationship between leaders and led; postponing the task of creating the subjective conditions of consciousness and organisation of the masses, postpones the formation of the Party as the vanguard of the revolution, leaving us unarmed in the face of a powerful enemy. Building a real Communist Party is closely linked to forging the masses in and for the different tasks and levels of the armed struggle, the highest form of class struggle. And, this means doing it from now on, no matter if the battles are not around the corner. When they break out, we will not be surprised, we will have already advanced: the real vanguard Party and the masses must make history with the army as the main form of their organisation and the Party as the highest. But the army as the main form of organisation of the masses cannot be reduced to the merely “operational”.
Mao in “Problems of War and Strategy” said:
“The central task and the highest form of every revolution is the seizure of power by armed force, i.e., the solution of the problem by war. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution is universally valid, both in China and elsewhere.” (Emphasis added).
Postponing the process (which goes from small to large) of arming, training, gaining a war mentality, conspiracy, etc., of the masses, until the days of the great battles arrive, is like taking a group of athletes and training them 365 days a year, for several years, in strength, power, flexibility, agility and dexterity, but, one fine day, they are stopped off the shores of the English Channel and told that the challenge consists of swimming the 33 kilometres of cold water that separate the European continent from England. No matter the quality of the training, nor the discipline of the athletes, nor the tenacity of the people, if they have not trained in cold water, they will hardly make it to the other side. Committed coaches have no other way but to take their athletes and train them in cold water so that in future events they can achieve their goal successfully. If any coach had known about the challenge beforehand and refused to train his athletes in cold water, he can only be described as a charlatan.
We must put all the procedures of struggle, all the partial tasks, in terms of the main form of struggle and the main form of organisation, the armed struggle and the formation of the army, we must take this with the greatest responsibility, commitment and seriousness, no matter how far away we can foresee the battles are, no matter if it is in an oppressed or oppressor nation; if we fail to do so, we will lose the right path, and, like coaches who fail to get their athletes across the English Channel because they did not prepare their athletes for swimming in cold water; a communist party that does not prepare the masses, (despite knowing the challenges beforehand), for the building of the New Power will not be able to achieve important victories and everything will be reduced to a mere charlatan’s adventure.
In “Problems of War and Strategy” Mao said:
“According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the main component of state power. Whoever wishes to seize and retain state power must have a powerful army. Some people ridicule us as adherents of the theory of the omnipotence of war. Yes, we are of the theory of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is not bad; it is good, Marxist. With their guns, the Russian communists created socialism. We will create a democratic republic. The experience of the class struggle in the era of imperialism shows us that only by the force of the gun can the working class and the other toiling masses defeat the armed bourgeoisie and the landlord class; in this sense it can be said that only by the gun can the whole world be transformed.
Protracted People’s War is a synthesis of Marxism that encompasses: revolutionary violence, the masses making history, power as central to revolution and the dialectic between the destruction of the old power and the construction of the New Power.
If we are true Maoists we must recognise that the main form of struggle is armed struggle; obviously, it cannot be understood as the only form of struggle, but, rather, that the other forms of struggle must serve the armed struggle. In other words, the economic struggles, the resistance struggles of the masses, for communists, are not an end in themselves, they are not only a means to alleviate the hardships of the masses, but, primarily, a means to help or strengthen or prepare the armed struggle, the GPP; they must serve to create its subjective conditions, that is: they must contribute to the political development and political organisation of the working class and the masses for the revolution, to exercise revolutionary violence.
Whoever considers that there is, in a given period of development of the revolutionary forces, a main form of struggle other than armed struggle, a main form of organising the masses other than the army, must state this openly; but to raise the matter in this way is to make it clear that the main form of organising the masses and the main form of struggle for the revolution will be relegated to the background, subordinating them to other partial tasks and other procedures of struggle, thus placing oneself on a false path and inflicting serious damage on the movement.
Finally, we repeat with Mao: All communists must understand this truth: Power comes from the gun and politics commands the gun.
SOME CLARIFICATIONS ON THE PROPOSAL ON THE BALANCE SHEET OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT AND ITS CURRENT GENERAL POLITICAL LINE FORMULATED BY THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE, CCIMU
On fundamental contradictions
The capitalist mode of production, and thus imperialism, is determined by its fundamental contradiction, a contradiction which determines its essence and development throughout the existence of capitalism. The disappearance of capitalism means the disappearance of its fundamental contradiction.
In “On Contradiction” Mao says:
“In applying this law to the study of the economic structure of capitalist society, Marx discovered that the fundamental contradiction of this society is the contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of property. This contradiction manifests itself in the contradiction between the organised character of production in individual enterprises and the anarchic character of production in society as a whole. In terms of class relations, it manifests itself in the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.” (Emphasis added).
So, if we are talking about capitalism in this phase (of imperialism), to call the contradiction between capitalism and socialism, the inter-imperialist contradictions and the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism fundamental contradictions is not accurate. These are derivations of the fundamental contradiction. The end of capitalism puts an end to these contradictions and not the other way round. The contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is part of the fundamental contradiction and its solution will put an end to capitalism. Without capitalism there is neither bourgeoisie nor proletariat, without capitalism this contradiction disappears, giving way to a higher stage in the development of history.
The contradictions between capitalism and socialism, the inter-imperialist contradictions and the contradictions between oppressed nations and imperialism are real contradictions and some may be the main ones, but they cannot be the fundamental ones.
Says the Coordinating Committee:
“On the basis of Lenin’s thesis, the economic relations of imperialism are seen to form the basis of the present international situation. Throughout the whole of the 20th century this new phase of capitalism, its highest and last phase, has been completely defined, and that the division of the world into oppressed and oppressor countries is a distinctive feature of imperialism. Therefore, in order to understand the present situation we cannot start from the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, since we are in its highest and last phase, imperialism.”
To understand the dynamics of imperialism it is necessary to start from the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, but it is absolutely necessary to find how capitalism, in its highest stage, sows and reproduces bureaucratic capitalism in the oppressed nations as its essential form.
To start from Lenin’s theses, it cannot be overlooked that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and, therefore, does not change its fundamental contradiction. The solution, then, of the contradictions between capitalism and socialism, the inter-imperialist contradictions and those between oppressed nations and imperialism, do not by themselves resolve the problem of capitalism, for they can only be resolved when the contradiction between private appropriation versus socialised production is resolved. That is to say, for example, the contradiction, imperialism versus socialism, can only be resolved by using the socialist countries as a base of support for the proletariat of the imperialist nations to advance with the socialist revolution, resolving the contradiction of the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat. So it is not by means of a conventional war, where the red armies invade imperialism, not by a surprise attack by the socialist countries on the imperialist countries, but, through social revolution, where the proletariat of the oppressor nations, with the solidarity of the international proletariat, builds the New Power, which resolves, in the final analysis, the fundamental contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of property.
Says the Coordinating Committee:
“Third contradiction: inter-imperialist. As Lenin taught, imperialism is not one, there are different imperialist countries. That is to say, there are imperialist powers and superpowers which divide the world among themselves according to their relations of force, economic, political and military; relations of force which are changing all the time and are developing in collusion and struggle”. (emphasis added).
First of all, it must be clearly established that the present mode of production is capitalism in its ultimate stage, i.e. imperialism; in that order of ideas, there are not many imperialisms, for, the capitalist mode of production (imperialism) is one. However, the imperialist countries or nations (or forces) are a handful, and it is clear that this is what the Coordinating Committee meant by the phrase imperialism is not one, which we fully agree with; but the exact expression should be: the imperialist nation or country is not one.
On imperialist bloc as a revisionist concept
Says the Coordinating Committee:
“The imperialist dispute is absolute and collusion is relative, this determines the circumstantial and passing character of the imperialist alliances; that is why one cannot speak of “imperialist blocs”, that is revisionism“.
The truth is that unity, of whatever character, is inconceivable without struggle. So, we could change the word “bloc” to “unity”, “agreement”, “alliance”, “contract”, “compromise”, “support”, “pact”, “agreement”, “treaty”, etc., and with all of them we would have to say that the dispute of (imperialist) opposites is absolute and collusion is relative. So, is it revisionist to speak of a bloc, coalition, unity, agreement, alliance, contract, compromise, support, pact, agreement, treaty between imperialist nations? What happens in reality is that any bloc that is put together is going to have disputes, no matter whether the participants are aware of it or not; in any case, the struggle will be absolute. Blocs, coalitions, agreements, alliances have always existed, the way forward is not to deny their existence, the wrong thing is to analyse them metaphysically, without contradiction. Having an analysis of the formation of these alliances and their transformation not only helps to define our tactics.
In this respect Lenin said “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”:
“That is why “inter-imperialist” or “ultra-imperialist” alliances in capitalist reality, and not in the vulgar petty-bourgeois fantasy of the English priests or the German “Marxist” Kautsky — whatever form they take: an imperialist coalition against another imperialist coalition, or a general alliance of all the imperialist powers — can inevitably constitute only “truces” between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare wars and, in their turn, arise from the bosom of war, mutually conditioning each other, engendering a succession of forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist relations and of reciprocal relations between world economy and world politics.”
On an epoch that will shake the earth
The Coordinating Committee correctly states:
“The revolution will triumph all over the world and communism will shine on earth sooner rather than later, depending on the action of the communists”.
However, when they refer to the epoch that will shake the earth in the next 50 to 100 years, they sometimes mention it, not as a task for us to accomplish, but as something that will happen independently of us, as when a law is imposed, as if we can sit back and watch the defeat of imperialism coming.
If Marx’s analysis of the crises of capitalism contributed anything, it was to understand the existence of counter-trends as the intersection of objective laws which, in fact, generate spaces of struggle between those who seek to “cure” the fall in the rate of profit at whatever cost, and those who take on the task of resisting and, fundamentally, of building a new world, where the monster of capital and capitalism does not and cannot exist.
But let us see what exactly Mao is referring to:
“The next 50 to 100 years or so, beginning today, will be a great epoch of radical change in the social system of the world, an epoch that will shake the earth, an epoch to which no previous historical epoch can compare. Living in such an era, we must be ready to wage a great struggle whose forms will have many different characteristics from past epochs.” (Emphasis added).
Mao could foresee the sharpening of contradictions in 50 or 100 years. It was impossible to foresee the subjective conditions at that time for the proletariat and the masses; that is why he says that we must be ready to wage a great struggle. It is clear that the development of these contradictions will depend very much on the development of the subjective conditions of the proletariat and the revolutionary masses. That is to say, if we fail to build the Communist Parties, if we fail to build the Communist International, if we fail to overcome the dispersion of the communists, we will not be able to take advantage of this sharpening of the contradictions to sweep away imperialism and world reaction. The important thing about the meeting is not that we believe that times of change are coming, but that we fight tirelessly to have the subjective conditions for change. So, the important thing is not to believe that change is coming, but to fight tenaciously for it.
Finally, it is necessary for the conference to study, debate and clarify our position as MLM in the process following the Second World War. Taking up the heritage of Stalin, Dimitrov and the position and developments of Leninism, to make a critique of the derivations of the populist front in which, in practice, the conception of the Popular Fronts was revised. The sacrifice and commitment of workers and peasants who took on the tasks of the war to confront the different manifestations and concretions of fascism, ended up being manipulated and led by the bourgeoisies which strengthened and developed the European capitalist states with a historic defeat of the proletariat.
Forge the Communist Party as the immediate task of the revolution in all countries, in the heat of the people’s war, developing the struggle between two lines and in close connection with the masses!
Organise the clamour of the masses for people’s war!
Down with capitalism and its entire system of exploitation and oppression!
Drown imperialism in a sea of people’s wars!
Pro-Party MLM Organisation
1The RCP EU persists and has been aggressively campaigning to spread it internationally. See our first pronouncement on the Avakian Renegade’s “New Synthesis” prepared in February 2017, at: https://poderproletario.blackblogs.org
2Bold typeface is ours.
3With regard to Nepal, we invite you to study the assessment of the 2008 NCP’s disorientation published at: https://poderproletario.blackblogs.org
4Of the five thousand largest companies in Colombia, 43 are in the machinery and equipment sector, with the military industry Indumil being the most important and occupying 258th place in the national ranking. Dinero Magazine, 28 June 2019.