Proletarians of all countries, unite!
On the Unified Maoist Conference (UMIC)
First of all, we must congratulate the Coordinating Committee for the Unified Maoist International Conference (CUMIC) for making public the text that will be the main discussion document on the basis of international unity. The publication of this document makes it possible for the various communist parties and detachments to have the opportunity to openly putting forward our positions, making public the important topics for study of the International Communist Movement (ICM) at this historic moment.
“So far as such criticism represents a class, it can only represent the class whose vocation in history is the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and the final abolition of all classes − the proletariat.”
Karl Marx. Afterword to the Second German Edition of Capital. 1873
“Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able, without betraying its woeld-historic mission, to consign all armaments to the scrap-heap. And the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.”
V.I. Lenin. The Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution. 1916.
“Basing himself on the in-depth critical study of the economic and political conditions of Russia, the character of the Russian bourgeoisie and the historical mission of the Russian proletariat, Lenin, since 1905, will come to the conclusion that, due to the high degree of class consciousness of the proletariat and given the development of the class struggle, any political struggle would in Russia necessarily turn into a social struggle against the bourgeois order.”
Antonio Gramsci. Lenin´s Work. 1918.
“When classes disappear, all instruments of class struggle − parties and the state machinery − will lose their function, cease to be necessary, therefore gradually wither away and end their historical mission; and human society will move to a higher stage.”
Mao Tse-tung. On the People´s Democratic Dictatorship. 1949.
“9. To serve the development of the Peruvian proletariat as part of the international working class, and the formation and strengthening of real Communist Parties and their unification in a revived international Communist movement guided by the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; all as a function of the proletariat fulfilling its great historical mission as the final class.”
PCP, The Basis of the Party Unity. 1988. Chapter: III Program and Statues. Section: “General Program of the Democratic Revolution”, point number 9.
The Construction Committee of the Maoist Communist Party of Galicia is based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the synthesis of the experience of the Revolutionary Movement of the proletariat of different countries, of the International Communist Movement from its birth to the present day. During the struggles of the proletariat and the oppressed masses of the 19th and 20th centuries, revolutionary authors and communist militants Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse-tung, study, question, experiment and theorize this knowledge of the struggle and warfare between social classes throughout history, in order to be able to establish a new science. One that makes it possible to understand the history of both human societies and humanity as a whole. The name of this science is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and it is an indispensable guide for carrying out a conscious social practice to create the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and is, therefore, indispensable for conquering political power, the emancipation of humanity and to be able to raise humankind towards communism.
Marx, Lenin and Mao are the main fathers of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Alongside them, Engels and Stalin form the basis on which we stand. They are the great teachers of the proletariat. There are also great revolutionaries like Gonzalo, Mazundar and Kaypakkaya, with an originality, scientific depth and historical transcendence fundamental to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement”, wrote Lenin in his famous book, What Is To Be Done?. Throughout history, the oppressed classes and the “marginalized” social sectors have risen up against exploitation and started struggles, revolts and just wars against their oppressors. But without Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the triumph of the just struggles of workers and workers, of peasants and peasants, or the just struggle for national liberation of the oppressed peoples, cannot triumph because they do not have the science that allows us to create consciousness in large masses, neither create the Party, nor the People’s Army, nor the Front, nor to create the New Power, and so without all this, it would be impossible to build a socialist society.
1. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; On the “Principally Maoism”
From our perspective, the Political Declaration and Principles for UMIC should be amended in several points. Beginning with the fact that it is a constant in this document to follow the formula of “principally Maoism”. This expression contains within it two important dangers that will lead us to lose our way if we are not careful. The first danger is that we get carried away by the repeated forms of memory that are more characteristic of religion than of the science of the proletariat. Learning a phrase from memory is not understanding, still less internalising, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Rethoric, slogans, etc., have their own place in a revolution, but they are not the main, nor the primordial, nor the essential. What is essential is the science of the proletariat, the consciousness of the history of humanity as a long road of struggle between classes, and also the conciousness of the necessity to fulfil the historical mission of the proletariat: the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, the abolition of social classes under communism. This is the particular worldview of scientific socialism, the worldview of the revolutionary proletariat. Because this particular vision is the basis of the New Proletarian Culture.
Marxism is composed of scientific theses on the human societies of different epochs. These theses can evolve through study and conscientious social practice, through mass work wich creates new social relations by transforming revolutionary theory into practice, until it becomes a New Power, a new law and, in the end, through people’s war, a new state is born.
The other reason for not using the “especially Maoism” formula, is that it makes it difficult to understand that in every advance of proletarian science there is a continuity and a rupture at the same time. In Lenin and Stalin we have a continuity and a rupture with respect to Marx and Engels in strategic matters for the world proletarian revolution, like the importance of the struggles of the colonized peoples or, at the philosophical level, we find that Lenin integrates in Dialectical Materialism the question of the internal and external conditions of social phenomena and also in the movement of nature. In Lenin we have the theory of the proletarian party of the New Type which was neither elaborated by Marx nor by Engels. If the “consciousness of the proletariat” plays a major role in Marx and Engels, in certain fundamental works of Lenin (such as What Is To Be Done?), the “consciousness”, the “conscious factor”, takes on a protagonism never before seen in Marxism. If for Marx, for Engels and for the Bolshevik Party before the October Revolution, the trade unions would be the administrative instrument with which to direct the economy, for the Lenin of 1918, it is already clear that the workers’ unions of Russia are not an adequate instrument to direct the industrial production of Soviet Russia. The rupture and continuity is a constant in the history of Marxism, just as it happens with the natural sciences of bourgeois academia, where this process of rupture and continuity also takes place. This whole exposition leads us to understand why the term “Marxism-Leninism” is correct and not simply “Leninism”, or “Marxism-Leninism principally Leninism”.
In the same way, in Mao Tse-tung we also encounter rupture and continuitywith respect to Marx.
If in Lenin consciousness is the protagonist, so too is it in Mao. If in Lenin the internal and the external enter the scene, with Mao they acquire protagonism.
If Marx could only study bourgeois revolutions and a first attempt at proletarian revolution such as the Paris Commune, Mao could study the Soviet experience, the liberation struggles of the colonies, the Chinese Revolution, etc. If Lenin encountered a spontaneously born soviets, when Lenin considers the “dual power” as a particularity of the proletarian revolution in Russia, Mao has to conciously create the “New Power” and can identify this “New Power” as a universal necessity of the revolution.
If Lenin gives us the outlines of the New-type Party, Mao gives us a detailed description of how to build the party with things like, what is the way we should treat liberal tendencies, the political line, cadres, mass work, mass line, etc.
Moreover, thanks to his own practical experience, Mao was able to elaborate the military theory of the proletariat: the theory of protacted people’s war. With the discovery of the people’s war, Mao breaks with the insurrectionist view that corresponds historically with the bourgeois revolutions but not with the proletarian revolution. With this rupture comes another, with his thesis that the epoch of the bourgeois revolutions has already historically ended, so in the backward (semi-feudal) countries it is up to the proletariat “as the leading class”, united with the peasantry “as the principal class”, to carry out the same historical mission of overcoming feudalism that the bourgeoisie fulfilled in the countries of the imperialist core during the historical epoch of bourgeois revolutions.
The need to mobilize the broad masses in cultural revolutions is another example of a break with the more linear view of history that Marxism had at that time. In Mao we can clearly see this contradictory characteristic of continuity and rupture with what was before−which is a constant in Marxism−in the ICM.
From this perspective, rhetorical formulas like “principally Maoist” are not only alien to Marxism, but are a distorting ingredient of the internal logic of the science of the proletariat, of Marxism itself. An element which distorts the absolute rationality of the revolutionary theory of the proletariat.
To really understand revolutionary theory we have to pay attention to Lenin’s point about revolutionary theory as a “guide to action”. So that revolutionary theory must indicate to us what is a priority in our work at any given moment. If we start from “consciousness” as the fundamental subjective factor to accomplish the proletarian revolution, we have two possible paths to be able to give it protagonism in revolutionary theory. These paths are either that of philosophy or that of the social science of Historical Materialism. To rely more on philosophy implies going to the philosophical categories of “itself” and “class itself” and of, “for itself”, “class for itself”. To rely more on historical materialism leads us to give it more prominence to the historical subject, the social classes.
If the working class is the inevitable result of the birth of capitalist societies, the revolutionary proletariat is the result of the birth of the conscious proletariat. A proletariat armed with Marxism and which has its own Party. The Party is the instrument which transforms consciousness into “a social being”, into something so real that it is a social relationship between different people as any other objective social relationship. Therefore, consciousness is not something spontaneous that can occur in the economic struggle itself or in the different immediate demands of the broad masses. We can say that consciousness and the revolutionary proletariat itself are a historical creation of the science of the proletariat, of Marxism.
If we study the history of the class struggle itself, we see how the construction of the Party can only be done on the basis of a correct political line, from a strong central nucleus that must create organisms to do mass work. We also see how the construction of the Party is the creation of the Revolutionary Proletarian Movement, it is expressed as the union between the vanguard and the broad masses. We can develop this thesis on the basis that the construction of the Party is the same as the constitution of the proletariat as revolutionary proletariat, something that is produced thanks to its Communist Party and the Revolutionary Proletarian Movement. The constitution of the revolutionary proletariat as a conscious subject is also the birth of the first and only conscious historical subject of history.
As we see, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the result of a succession of ruptures and continuities with Marx, but the reality is that the primary is continuity. By contrast, if we compare the theses of Marx with bourgeois science, in this case what prevails is the rupture. In this regard, we must propose to redact the part of Section “II.2 The Process of the World Revolution” in which it is stated that Marx and Engels “Igather the best” from “…German classical philosophy, English political economy…”. What Marx and Engels are really doing is not simply “gathering” the best of bourgeois science, but criticizing bourgeois science in order to overcome it and lay the foundations of the ideology of the proletariat.
2. On the principal contradiction
The CUMIC Committee document addresses the thesis of the “historically principal contradiction” but the development of this thesis is confusing.
One way of dealing with this question is to focus on the fact that social contradictions are the internal dynamics within each people but are under the influence of external factors. Besides, in the epoch of imperialism there is the phenomenon of class struggle on a global level.
To determine which is the principal contradiction we have to determine which contradiction inevitably leads to war.
Within each country, the contradiction between the different social classes is the principal contradiction in most of the history of any people. It is precisely for this reason that social classes are the historical subjects.
The epoch of imperialism is the epoch of proletarian revolution. This means that even in economically backward countries, in which the peasant population lives in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, the overcoming of feudalism through a revolution is only possible if the proletariat is the leading class. It also means that it will be the outcome of the war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on a world level which will ultimately determine the future of humanity. But this does not conflict with the study of what contradictions have led to war in the world in each concrete period of time.
The study of history is what enables us to see how the contradiction between imperialism and the semi-colonial countries was the contradiction which most often led to war, and was therefore the principal contradiction for most of our time in capitalist imperialism. Still, during World War I the inter-imperialist contradiction was the principal contradiction. We must also point out that during WW II the contradiction between the proletariat and fascism was temporally and tactically, the principal world contradiction and it was this precisely, what gave meaning to the USSR alliance with the US and UK, which were major imperialist powers.
3. On Maoism.
We do not share the formula of “imposing Maoism” [II.4. International Communist Movement] because it does not clarify the complexity of the ideological struggle between the sectors of advanced workers, the sectors of the most combative students, advanced peasants, the different independence movements, etc. We cannot impose Marxism-Leninism-Maoism on the people, but we must “raise” the consciousness of the people, through the consciousness of their social existence thanks precisely to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Another important point is the fact that we can determine historical tendencies, but we cannot know whether these historical tendencies will reach their culmination in a certain period of, say, 50, 100 or 200 years. Determining the years is a speculation which may result useful as a “poetic license” in a certain exposition for didactic reasons, but it is impossible to determine how long the period of confrontation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will last.
The CUMIC document uses the term “third world” several times. A term that does not help to clarify. A more realistic terminology would be preferable. Economically backward countries, semi-colonial countries, countries of the periphery or, “oppressed nations” as it is in other parts of the cited document, among other terms that can better express the objective social reality of the world today.
“the base for [world proletarian revolution] . . . is constituted by the oppressed nations,” [I. Introduction]
“The countries of the Third World from Asia, Africa and Latin America, as pointed out by Chairman Mao, are the zones of revolutionary storms and the base for the world proletarian revolution.” [II.3. International Situation]
The base of support for the world proletarian revolution can only be a people’s state of New Democracy or a socialist state, but at this historical moment the proletariat does not have a state and this means that the world proletarian revolution does not have even a base of support.
Right now only in the semi-colonial countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America has the class struggle reached the politically superior form of the struggle between the classes, by becoming an open war, a war of national liberation or a people’s war. But this does not mean that the mission of the M-L-M detachments from the countries of the imperialist core should be a simple support of the people’s wars of the periphery but that these detachments of the imperialist core should work for the construction of the Party in each of their countries.
4. The thesis of a single world superpower
“The United States currently bears the condition of sole hegemonic superpower” [II.3. International Situation – Third Contradiction]
“One cannot speak about ‘imperialist blocks’, this is revisionism.” [II.3. International Situation – Third Contradiction]
Most importantly, this document defends the thesis that the United States is the only imperialist superpower today and that to argue that the world is divided into imperialist blocs is revisionism. Our disagreement with this could not be greater.
Firstly because, compared to the situation in the 1990s, the United States is in a clear decline, while China and Russia are on the rise. If the United States spends three times more on arms than its competitor China, the formation of a bloc with Russia, Pakistan, Iran and other states could equal its military forces with those of the NATO bloc in a few years.
The influence of China and Russia in Africa and Asia will only increase. In Latin America, although much more slowly, Chinese and Russian influence is also increasing. Chinese companies are increasing their holdings and step by step, the Latin American countries will also enter the world division of labor designed by the Chinese bourgeoisie.
In the 1990s, there was a clear dominance of the United States as a great world empire, but right now, we can see the same generalized tendencies towards militarism, a rearmament of all states, an increase in spending to prepare for war, the formation of imperialist alliances and blocks. We can see how the tendency leads to the growing importance of the contradiction between the different bourgeoisies on a world level. A confrontation which is growing in importance every day and which is a tendency that will end up leading the world to a new world war between the imperialist blocs if the triumph of the world proletarian revolution does not come first. As Mao has said, “either the revolution will prevent the war or the war will bring the revolution”.
As we can see, it is a situation similar to what happened before World War I. A situation in which it is the tendency towards inter-imperialist war that has more and more weight until it becomes an open inter-imperialist war and not an anti-fascist one, no matter how much revisionism insists on looking for similarities with World War II.
A scenario such as World War I is a conjuncture in which the political independence of the proletariat is a factor of great importance. It also implies that the anti-fascist movement is not of strategic importance. Therefore, the anti-fascist movement in each country must receive more or less attention from the communists, according to each concrete case.
The world proletariat must oppose inter-imperialist wars with all means, knowing at the same time that even the outbreak of this war between imperialist blocs does not make revolution impossible, but that this war can create power vacuums which the Communist Party can exploit.
5. The current people’s wars
“We must lead People´s War to make revolution in all kind of countries, comprising countries and continents until advancing toward the world People´s War.” [I. Introduction]
Another section of this document talks about coordinating the world’s people’s wars. This question should not be addressed publicly, but since it is there we have to give our opinion.
First of all, we have to say that it is unrealistic that people’s wars in the world can be coordinated by people who only fully know the social reality of their country, at a time when we are trying to lay the foundations of an organization that has yet to gain international political authority. Fot an organisation that most likely will not have a member who has experience in leading an army in a people’s war, we conclude that this cannot be brought forward right now.
If the people’s wars were centrally directed at this stage, it would not bring anything positive for the revolution as it would be totally impossible for anyone outside India to improve the military strategy and tactics currently employed by the PLGA, and the same can be said for any other country. Our work in support of the revolution in India includes criticism of its political line, but it is absurd to think that from outside we can contribute anything positive to the military activity of the Indian people’s army (PLGA). Apart from criticising the general line, criticising a certain statement, or criticising its political position on a certain issue (negotiations, religions, ceasefire, etc.), apart from publicising the struggle of the EGPL among the proletariat of our countries, carrying out mobilizations among the conscious proletariat, seeking support for the peoples of India from intellectuals and democratic organizations or, at most, helping to mobilise the migrants from India in Europe; we cannot really contribute anything else as long as we do not have a socialist republic that can serve as a base of support for the World Proletarian Revolution.
6. The trade unions
“The proletariat generates the trade union and the strike within its struggle for demands, which are not only instruments for the struggle for demands, but they ‘forge the class for the great battles to come’.”
Trade Unions are historically necessary instruments for the working class. Among other things, the most politically advanced people often participate in the unions, so it can be important for a communist detachment to have a presence in the trade unions.
But the problem is that in many countries of the imperialist core, the communist detachments have forgotten some very important theses of Marxism on trade unions. One of these theses is that the trade union is the most primitive form of organisation of the working class. We have very easily forgotten what Lenin saild in What is to be Done? “working-class trade-unionist politics is precisely working-class bourgeois politics”. It is not a question of not participating in the trade unions, but of understanding that the vanguard should not dedicate itself to trade unionism. Trade unionism transforms the party cells and the committees of a communist detachment into trade unions. We go from training party cadres to training trade unionists. It creates a tendency to “hide” or forget the primitive characteristics of the trade unions for the advanced workers. The broad masses that mobilise in the trade unions and other popular organisations are fighting for causes that are just, but it is a spontaneous struggle created by the social contradictions between the classes. In countries where there is no Communist Party which can bring consciousness into this spontaneous struggle and transform it into a struggle for political power, into a struggle to create a Revolutionary Proletarian Movement, to be able to create the New Power; the result is that the communist detachments in Europe find themselves in a situation where they are really behind the masses. Thus, the communist detachments pass from the vanguard to rearguard in social practice and at the same time disconnect revolutionary theory from their social practice of propaganda and agitation.
The popular and trade union mobilisations are just and should be supported to the extent of our strengths and priorities, but a consolidated bourgeois state will not be defeated through an insurrection, nor through a strike, nor through the struggle of an armed vanguard. To defeat the bourgeois state it is necessary to have the masses armed and consciously organised thanks to the Party, with a people’s army and a united front which is the basis of the Revolutionary Movement with a New Power that is capable of creating its own institutions.
A social practice illuminated by revolutionary theory is what defines the vanguard, being qualitatively superior to the tendency to follow the spontaneous demands of the broad masses.
A social practice illuminated by revolutionary theory is a conscious social practice and this is what defines the vanguard. This conscious social practice is qualitatively superior to a practice of following the immediate and spontaneous just demands of the broad masses—demands that cannot overcome bourgeois ideology.
7. The People’s War
We must fully agree with the thesis defended in the document for the UMIC on the universality of people’s war. We must understand people’s war as the military theory and practice of the proletariat, consisting of the armed masses consciously organized by the Communist Party. A Party work which aims to fulfill the historical mission of the proletariat, which is to create a world without social classes, communism.
To deny the universality of people’s war means condemning the conscious proletariat of the countries of the imperialist core to the false hopes of insurrectionalism and foquism.
8. The United Front and the Popular Front
The UMIC preparatory document is right to point out that the “United Front” as a revolutionary instrument of the people’s war is much more than the anti-fascist “United Front” tactic promoted by the Third International.
Furthermore, the same document deals with the “Popular Front” policy adopted at the 7th Congress of the Third Communist International in 1935. A Popular Front policy which in many countries did not even mean a change from the United Front, but in Europe meant the attempt to create electoral platforms with the bourgeois programme of radicalised social-democratic reformism as a tactic to stop fascism. The most “successful” example of a Popular Front took place in the Spanish state, where communists of different peoples, social democrats, most of the nationalism of the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia, together with some anarchist sectors, created the “Popular Front” which won the 1936 elections to stop fascism, but Spanish fascism won the subsequent civil war. The Popular Fronts did not really succeed in stopping fascism in any country in the world.
The Popular Front policy was a very particular tactic of the ICM at that particular time, at a historical moment in which the contradiction between the proletariat and fascism was becoming the principal contradiction on the world level.
9. The militarisation of the Party
“Militarisation of the Party and concentric construction of the three Instruments of the revolution.”
We consider the thesis of “concentric construction” to be a very good guide for action. First, because it links the existence of a party nucleus with a periphery in one image. It expresses this idea of construction from a core very well.
Second, because the Communist Party is the union between revolutionary theory and social practice or—what is the same—the union between the vanguard and the broad masses, so creating the Party is also creating the Revolutionary Proletarian Movement and not simply a union of previously existing social struggles and social movements (trade unionism, ecologism, etc.).
On the contrary, the thesis of the “militarisation of the Party” must be clarified. We have to know what it means exactly. Today, it sometimes seems that “militarisation of the party” is a thesis of all Maoism, but neither Mao, nor Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, nor Charu Mazundar, nor in the CPI (Maoist), etc., have this thesis. Not even in the documents of the PCP before the 1988 Congress does “the militarisation of the party” appear. A “label” cannot be approved without having clearly defined its content. The thesis of the militarisation of the party should have been clarified. It should have been clearly stated in the document.
The advancement of the science of the proletariat requires an understanding of the practical consequences of defending a given position at each historical moment. Endorsing “labels” but leaving their implications undefined is not a two-line struggle, it is a formal radicalism which is not capable of being a guide to action. To transform the inevitable two-line struggle into a struggle over who is for or against a “label” which in reality does not contain within it clear theses to be our guide to action, would lead us into an aesthetic war and rhetorical “formulae” which may sound more radical, but it is a practice which does not allow the advance of the revolutionary theory which the proletariat needs.
We are in a historic moment of great responsibility in which it is necessary to take a position on various theses that are in dispute among the M-L-M organisations and parties. For our part, we would like the different communist detachments of the world to give their opinion in this important debate.
The conscious proletariat always with consciousness in command!
Construction Committee of the Maoist Communist Party of Galicia