For debate and two lines’ struggle – Some critical notes on “For a Unified Maoist International Conference! – Proposal.. –
With the collapse of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), the only existing international organization grouping the majority of MLM parties and organizations disappeared.
MRI represented, after the crisis occurred in the International Communist Movement (ICM) following the death of chairman Mao and the defeat of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), a concrete effort to unite the MLM parties and organizations scattered internationally and so to give birth to a counter-tendency opposing such a harmful scattering.
Today, the consistently internationalist MLM parties and organizations cannot but fight every residue of Avakianist and Prachandist revisionism and resume the red thread of the RIM, its positive and negative lessons, to go ahead, through the construction of a new international organization of MLM parties and organizations, in the long road towards the goal of a new Communist International.
The website “Communist International” on January 4th published a document named “For a Unified Maoist International Conference! – Proposal regarding the balance of the International Communist Movement and of its current General Political Line” signed by the Coordinating Committee for the Unified Maoist International Conference – CUMIC. This committee groups some parties and organizations that in recent years claimed the will to pursue the purpose of convening a Unified Maoist International Conference (UMIC) and its document represents, from their point of view, a proposal of common “basis for discussion” (BD), but indeed it is their own political-ideological basis functional for such a convocation.
It is well known and recognized in the MLM communist movement that our party, since the collapse of the RIM, has always been at the forefront, through various political initiatives, in the work to lay the foundations for the holding of a new MLM International Conference (IC) aimed to give life to a new international organization.
Already in 2012 our party together with the CP(m)A and the CPI(ML) Naxalbari (then merged into the CPI (Maoist) held a Special Meeting of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and Organizations of the RIM (SM)1
The outcome of this Special Meeting, after discussion and struggle, was the release of two “Final Resolutions” to which they refer1
The two resolutions marked a clear and definite delimitation from the two main new-revisionist currents led by Avakian and Prachanda, and started, for the first time since the collapse of the RIM, the work for the IC, which still included a number steps to integrate in that work other MLM parties and organizations, whether they had been members of the RIM or not.
In this sense, we think that the final resolutions adopted by the SM, albeit ten years later and in a different historical-political context, even if cannot be the basis for convening the IC, still contain useful indications of method, line and political analysis that serve to form a unitary basis for the MLM parties and organizations that intend to convene the IC.
Moreover, our party together with other parties and organizations also promoted May Day joint international statement and other bilateral and multilateral internationalist initiatives, both in the years before and after the SM, with the aim of maintaining the red thread of unity in our movement, especially on the occasion of this important day of struggle for our class.
Our party, upon the publication of the document by the comrades of CUMIC, had a positive attitude thinking that it could be a further contribution to get closer to the goal but, once we have read and analyzed it, we had to express our regret along with a mainly negative opinion, due to the assessment that this document cannot represent a unitary starting point for the convening of the IC.
Our Party entrusted to a comrade of our International Commission a first critical comment on some positions expressed by the comrades of CUMIC, to be followed by others that will comment on the strongly critical evaluations expressed by other organizations, whose arguments generally – but not totally – we agree and refer to.
The revolutionary ideology on the basis of which to convene the International Conference is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
At the beginning, the document states “the main danger is still revisionism”, which can be shared; immediately afterwards it continues: “Its unity is built on the base and guidance of Marxism – today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism”.
We would like to reiterate that the science of the proletariat at any level of its development represents an organic unity: it was so in the first phase of the birth and development of Marxism, then with Marxism-Leninism and finally with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, from its birth to date.
The ideological unity and the understanding/application of all its facets by the proletariat led by its vanguard is the only key to undertake the revolutionary path in each country.
The name of our party is Maoist Communist Party, but we do not agree how the authors use the formulation “mainly Maoism” since it is against the understanding that the ideology of the proletariat is organically an indivisible whole including what it already is universally achieved by the revolutionary practice of the proletariat: are not the Marxist analysis of capital, the historical and dialectical materialist method, the Marxist analysis of the State and so on, still valid today in their universal aspects (and valid until capitalism will be defeated)?
The same can be said for the universal contributions of Leninism and Maoism to Marxism which today is only represented by the definition Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The meaning given to such a formulation by the CUMIC document is shared only by the parties and organizations represented by the CUMIC itself, that are the expression of a fraction of our movement, having put forward various documents in recent years and often added the formulation: “with the universal contributions of chairman Gonzalo” and even raised the issue of “the six faces”2.
We think that a “basis for discussion” functional to the convening of the IC should uphold the formulation “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” and put it as a delimitation against revisionism.
Coming back to the document by the comrades of CUMIC, we point out another point, expressed in the following paragraph:
“The demarcation line between Marxism and the new revisionism consists in: 1) acknowledging or not acknowledging Maoism as the third, new and superior stage of Marxism and the necessity to combat revisionism and all opportunism; 2) acknowledging or not acknowledging the necessity of revolutionary violence – as People’s War – to make revolution in one’s own country; 3) acknowledging or not acknowledging the necessity to demolish the old state apparatus and replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with the dictatorship of the proletariat; 4) acknowledging or not acknowledging the necessity of the revolutionary party of the proletariat”.
We generally agree with the content of this paragraph but, as regards the second point, we think that to identify people’s war and revolutionary violence is not correct from a MLM point of view. It is obvious that revolutionary violence is the central practice of the people’s war (PW), but it cannot be said that people’s war is just that. The history of the people’s wars themselves disproves this, just look at the great people’s war of the CPC led by Mao Tse Tung; but also the people’s war in Peru, the 10 years of people’s war in Nepal, and the ongoing people’s wars in India and the Philippines. They all deny it. People’s war is at the same time a struggle on the political, ideological fronts, for the construction of base areas, etc. Instead, such identification leads to a militarist understanding/position, which is anti MLM.
The International Conference as a step forward in the fight against imperialism
We think that the holding of an International Conference of MLM parties and organizations will represent a second step (after the first represented by the RIM) in the long path of the struggle against imperialism and its final defeat with the victory of the New Democratic Revolutions and the Socialist Revolutions, marching to Communism.
Therefore, it necessarily important to understand and masterfully handle the theory of imperialism formulated by Lenin and applied by Mao through his own leadership of the revolutionary process in China, the understanding of which is also favored by the concrete revolutionary experiences (the ongoing people’s wars) to understand what is the strategy to fight and defeat imperialism.
In this sense, the concept of “world people’s war” presents a problem of theoretical-ideological understanding and ambiguity.
We are partisans of the launch and development of people’s wars in all countries3, we think that the path of people’s war should be universally applied in each country, according to the specific conditions of each country, and particularly according to the nature of each country whether it is an imperialist country or a country oppressed by imperialism (in both of them taking into account any changes, which we will treat briefly later). We think that PW is a world revolutionary strategy but, as known, the conditions of the development of each country in the world are and will be uneven until Communism and, consequently, the beginning and development of revolutionary processes also are uneven and so the people’s wars.
History has already shown how some countries achieved socialism, albeit temporarily and with uneven developments, while capitalist relations of production continued to be dominant in most of the world.
Based on concrete revolutionary experience in the era of imperialism since the October Socialist Revolution, we know that uneven conditions create uneven revolutionary developments, by which the countries that achieve socialism first have to defend this result as the main aim in the internationalist interest, to serve as a base for the World Proletarian Revolution (WPM).
On the contrary, the concept of “world people’s war”, taking not into account this, in our opinion is out of Maoism.
The concept of “world people’s war” expressed in the document is in our opinion in contradiction with both the theory of imperialism and the protracted people’s war as synthesized by chairman Mao who always understood it as a revolutionary strategy to seize the political power and not as a form to exercise the proletarian dictatorship after the seizure of power.
Instead, “World People’s War” prospects an “uninterrupted people’s war” in each country, confusing the strategy to win the power and establish the proletarian dictatorship with the fight to construct the proletarian dictatorship itself. The strategy to counter the attempts to restore is the Cultural Revolution, which does not take the form of a people’s war.
Another important issue is related to the fact that in the document, later, refers to the “theory of the three worlds”. It means to attribute this theory to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and in particular to the analysis of chairman Mao, while it was put forward by Deng Hsiao Ping4.
We disagree with the assertion that considers the oppressed countries as “the bases of the world revolution”, and the peasantry as the main force; a position that has to do with third-worldism, not with MLM and disregards that the contradiction bourgeoisie/proletariat is the fundamental contradiction and today the working class is developing with increasing force, in terms of quantity and quality, even in many of the most important oppressed countries.
The first final resolution “On the International Situation and the tasks of the Communists” adopted by the SM in 2012 stated:
“The imperialist bourgeoisie all over the world take advantage of the crisis to restructure imperialism on a global scale and save the interests of their class for their profits.
This leads to unloading the vicious weight of the crisis on the workers and masses. In both the oppressed countries and imperialist countries, unemployment, job insecurity and the cost of living increase, exploitation is ratcheted up to modern forms of slavery, workers’ rights are reduced, social achievements won through years of struggles are erased, factories are closed with massive layoffs, peasants are ruined and driven to suicide, cuts in social expenditures and privatization of education and healthcare grow, the logic of commodification and profit is extended even to primary goods, such as water, air, sun, etc..
These policies are carried out within the contention for domination on the imperialist world market and geopolitical strategic areas, but the unitary character of the policies to unload crisis on the proletarians and the masses is emphatically clear.”.
We think that this analysis is still valid after ten years and shows the sharpening of contradictions in both types of countries. The changes occurred during the last decades must should lead to not see statically the countryside and the peasants as the principal and the cities and the working class as a complement in the oppressed countries.
The comrades of CUMIC in their document wrote:
“Not acknowledging the semifeudal character of the oppressed countries and, thus, the necessity for an agrarian war to solve it, ends up denying the necessity of the democratic revolution in those countries, the necessity to develop the People’s War as a unitary war, in which the countryside is principal and the city is a necessary complementary, to end with imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and semifeudality.”
We think that in many oppressed countries, due to a huge process of urbanization and proletarianization, began as a slow trend in the 1960s and increased since the 1980s continuing today in ever larger scale, the countryside tends to lose its “main” importance in favor of the cities and, consequently, it is not obvious that the people’s war in some countries oppressed by imperialism has the “classic” form of “agrarian war” as main shape.
The theory of the development of PW in each country should necessarily take into account the social changes and the “demographic” distribution of the population and -again- cannot be a mere mechanical re-proposal of the theory of PW elaborated by Mao who -we repeat- took into account the concrete conditions of China and the world almost a century ago, so as Lenin did at his time and yet then warned that the path of October could not be repeated mechanically in other European countries.
To think that everything remains unchanged is anti-dialectical idealism.
On the contrary, dialectical materialistic analysis is alive, in close dialectical relationship with historical, economic, social and cultural changes. It cannot be embalmed by mechanically re-proposing the analysis made by our masters. The Marxist-Leninist-Maoists must be able to distinguish what is universal (valid always and everywhere, until capitalism is overthrown) from what is particular.
The main problem is that the authors of the document put the centrality of oppressed countries at the international level, asserting that the fundamental contradiction worldwide is that between imperialism and oppressed nations and peoples.
Both Stalin in “Principles of Leninism”, 1st chapter; and, especially, Mao in “On the contradiction”, fundamental working for the International Communist Movement clearly wrote that “the first contradiction is that between labor and capital”. Both Stalin and Mao explain that the fundamental contradiction, that between proletariat and bourgeoisie, is always the same even in the epoch of imperialism. Mao wrote: “… when the capitalism of the era of free competition developed into imperialism, there was no change in the class nature of the two classes in fundamental contradiction, namely, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, or in the capitalist essence of society; however, the contradiction between these two classes became intensified…”
Having not changed the epoch, this contradiction remains the fundamental one. Therefore, it is wrong to assert, as the comrades in this and other documents do, that the contradiction between imperialism and oppressed nations and peoples is fundamental, universal.
This wrong analysis is also based (and “necessarily” for the comrades) on a forcing, by which many countries are classified as oppressed countries, when they are capitalist countries. An example is Ukraine (and all the Eastern Europe, former socialist, countries) which is considered an oppressed country, hence the erroneous position, today in the ongoing war, to support Ukraine as an oppressed nation against Russia. Consequently, the revolution should be new democratic there, when these countries have already passed through the socialist revolution and the capitalist restoration.
The fundamental contradiction determines and affects the other contradictions
In some periods one of the other contradictions can become the main one. For example, again referring the war in Ukraine, the contradiction between imperialists is clearly the main one here, but it does not replace the fundamental contradiction at the universal level.
Instead, making the contradiction between imperialism and oppressed countries and peoples the fundamental one, not only denies the changes that imperialism brings to the class composition of the people in the oppressed countries, as said before, but leads to a wrong analysis and therefore to take a deviated position.
To abandon the theory of imperialism and the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist analysis turns into a real “short circuit” between the analysis of the comrades of CUMIC and reality when they dogmatically repeat the quotation from Chairman Mao who in 1967 stated that the WPR would triumph “in the next 50-100 years”.
Mao’s statement was certainly right in the context in which has been formulated by the great teacher of the international proletariat based on a concrete analysis of the concrete situation 55 years ago, but, following to the letter the method of the comrades of CUMIC, taking up the quote in a mechanistic way, the victory of the RPM on the face of the Earth would be certain within 2067 (in 45 years). Furthermore, the comrades reiterated this idea even more explicitly in the recent May Day statement, openly emphasizing that this period of “50-100 years” should be understood as from when it was stated by Mao (sic!)
Obviously, today the situation described by Mao in the 1960s has changed, and therefore its assessment. Since 1976 there is no longer even a socialist country in the world that acts as base area for the WPR and the two most advanced parties leading People’s Wars, the CPI(M) and the CPPh, declare to be in the stage of strategic defensive.
This first “short circuit” directly originates a second one: the at least questionable assertion that the ICM is in the stage of strategic offensive.
Here too there is a deformed use of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and in particular of Mao’s theory of the PW and its stages: if we were in the phase of strategic offensive, it would mean that the enemy is no longer able to defeat us and we are able to wipe out it and, therefore, close to seize the power on a global scale. It is clear that this condition is far away in every country in the world, including India and Philippines, according to the comrades from the respective countries themselves, as we have seen.
For the comrades of CUMIC, on the other hand, the current phase (whether it is strategically defensive, in stalemate or offensive) is not determined by the concrete analysis of the concrete situation (which and how many revolutions are developing, how many MLM parties exist and at what stage they are, and so on), but rather is idealistically determined by a subjectivist interpretation of the glorious history of the proletariat, unilaterally considering only its historical achievements, but “de-historicizing” them and removing the defeats, including the current phase in which we are, which requires us to overcome of the strategic defeat suffered (represented by the restoration of capitalism in socialist China).
The comrades write:
“By applying the law of contradiction to the process of the world revolution, the process of sweeping away imperialism and the reaction from the face of Earth, there are three moments – because contradiction reigns over everything and every contradiction has two struggling aspects, in this case, revolution and counterrevolution. Those moments are: 1st Strategic defensive; 2nd Strategic Stalemate; and 3rd Strategic offensive of the world revolution. The strategic defensive of the world revolution, which is opposed to the offensive of counterrevolution, pulls out since 1871 with Paris Commune and ends in World War Two; the strategic stalemate takes place with the triumph of the Chinese revolution until the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the development of the powerful movement of national liberation; afterwards, revolution enters strategic offensive of the world revolution that moment would be around the decade of 1980 in which we see the war Iran-Iraq, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, the initiation of People’s War in Peru and it is countering the counterrevolutionary offensive of general character, the epoch within the “next 50 to 100 years”; from there on the contradiction between capitalism and socialism – whose solution will bring us to communism – will develop.”
The first final resolution adopted by the SM stated, among other things:
“This is the context in which a potential new wave of the world proletarian revolution develops and emerges. It has as its reference points and strategic anchor the people’s wars led by Maoist parties.
To this we must add the preparation of several new people’s wars, particularly in Turkey and South Asia, with the potential for it in Latin America, and throughout the rest of the world, with the constitution of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (MLM) communist
parties. In this framework, the new MLM communist parties in the imperialist countries represent the potential for a quantum leap in revolutionary struggle and the unity of the two currents of the world proletarian revolution: the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and the new democratic revolution, marching towards socialism, in the countries oppressed by imperialism.(…)
In the current international situation the task of communists is to make revolution in the different countries, because the revolution is the only solution to the crisis, the only way out from imperialism and the only road to achieve the ultimate goal of the struggles of the proletarians and oppressed people.
This demands the strengthening and building of MLM communist parties in each country, as a new kind of communist party, as vanguard detachments of the proletariat and leading core of all the people, as a party fighting for the revolution.”
This is still the current phase, to take a triumphalist attitude does not help us to advance collectively but favors stagnation.
The same final resolution of the SM stated: “We must learn from both our victories and defeats, from our correctness as well as from our mistakes.” In the document of CUMIC, on the other hand, subjectivist triumphalism leaves no room for such consideration and critical/self-critical assessment.
Finally, regarding the understanding and application of the theory of imperialism, we believe it is incorrect in strategic terms to use, as the document does, the formulation “the only hegemonic superpower” referred to the USA and that it is even less correct and unscientific the “nuclear superpower” referred to Russia.
Once again we consider valid and far-sighted, especially in the light of recent events, the analysis carried out in the SM in 2012, – we quote again the first final resolution “On the International Situation and the tasks of the Communists”:
“The balance of power among the imperialists is in a flux. Though the US still remains the sole super power its capacities have been considerably weakened, by the resistance of is victims and the crisis. This gave some room for the EU grouping. However similar factors have negatively impacted on their position too. Russia had not been affected so much by the crisis. Through its axis with China and consolidating ties with erstwhile Soviet Union republics, it has gained some advantage and has stepped up contention. Overall collusion is still principal in inter-imperialist relations. But imperialism in crisis, develops within it contradictions that can become potential sources of a new world war. Imperialist powers, mainly the US, unleash and accentuate wars of aggression, invasion, and neo-colonialism in the different regions of the world where their interests are vital or threatened. In developing these wars, it continues with the arms race and gets equipped with more and more devastating military instruments, surpassing all limits enshrined in international conventions and human rights.”.
Some concluding remarks
In conclusion, we reiterate once again that the common goal of MLM parties and organizations must be the calling for a IC as broad as possible respecting two delimitation principles:
1) An IC whose participants fully adhere to MLM. Hence, in this IC there is no room for revisionism and new-revisionism. No to the participation of forces that refer directly or indirectly to Bob Avakian’s “new synthesis” of RCP US, or to Prachandism, or to Right Opportunist Line in Peru. Furthermore, as stated in the second final resolution of the SM in 2012 named “Towards an International Conference of MLM Communist Parties and Organizations of the world” we still reiterate: “We believe that this task must be jointly taken up with the involvement of the Maoist parties leading people’s wars, and all the Maoist forces…”.
2) An International Conference of MLM Communist Parties and Organizations of the world, which can be reached with a shared unitary convocation call; in which a genuine discussion and sharp Two-Lines-Struggle are developed at the aim of reaching a higher level of unity towards the goal of founding a new MLM International Organization as embryo of a future International. Any result below the organizational, theoretical, political and ideological level achieved by the RIM would be a step back, not a step forward.
A comrade of International Commission
Maoist Communist Party – Italy
2“Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, with the universal contributions of chairman Gonzalo”, is mentioned, for example in: Thesis on the international situation and the tasks of the International Communist Movement (March 2017); Long live the 200 year anniversary of the birth of the great Karl Marx! (March 2018), Learn from Chairman Gonzalo! – Joint International Declaration (September 2020); 200thanniversary of Frederick Engels – International Declaration (November 2020)