Today the International Communist Movement faces a major task of averting the crisis within the International Communist Movement of re-organizing the Communist International. It is plagued by many trends like Trotskyism, Post-modernism, Revisionism, ‘Avakianisim’ as well as ‘Gonzalo thought.’
In 1984, without subjecting factors prevailing, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement was formed. Without any sufficient development of Communist parties or Movement world wide it was virtually formed as a new International vacillating between ‘Avakianism’ and ‘Gonzalo thought.’ It heeded no respect to the view s of the CPC and Zhou En Lai on why it was futile to form a new International and what factors were neccessary.It also virtually re-defined meaning of Maoism, owing it’s discovery to Chairman Gonzalo and PCP.The collapse of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in the 1990’s was proof of its coherent ideological flaws with no proper democratic centre established and thus over imposition of political views.
REASONS WHY CPC OPPOSED FORMATION OF COMINTERN (From 2003 issue of Journal ‘The Comrade’ of C.P.RC.I.-M.L.)
The CPC emphasized that other countries should not copy the Chinese Experience to-to but apply the Chinese experience in accordance to their own condition.
The main reason for the C.P.C’s caution was Imperialism was devising through its local regimes new forms of neo-colonial rule and only a native communist party could analyse and review such situations. Thus the necessity of political independence of each country’s communist party.
Chauvinistic tendencies may also develop under Communist Parties .The more developed and advanced may act chauvinistically and deliver big-brother treatment to the less developed or successful parties.
The victory of a revolution in a country under the leadership of a Communist Party indicates that certain crucial contemporary problems of the revolutionary movement have been resolved by it ,and thus the experience can be passed on to Communist Parties of the Countries. At present there is no such party in the World. The ideological political struggle against Opportunism within the revolutionary Camp is fierce and bitter in each country.
A dialectical process involving unity of Communist Parties is required. Mutual exchange has to take place Actual experience should be shared, which would pave the way for more advanced forms of collective positions on issues and rallying of more forces worldwide. Mutual Exchange and Common stands, bilaterally and laterally, and multilateral platforms on the basis of the general line are required
Today in India and in other Countries the reorganization of he Communist Party is still in the process of being realized It is crucial to struggle to implement the correct line and establish its content with opportunism. In this process Communist revolutionaries have to strive to achieve unity on the basis of settling various line questions in connection with the revolutionary practice of the masers of the Indian people.
Quoting chairman Joma Sison “The CPP has opposed the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) seeking to impose the principle of democratic centralism on communist parties in violation of the principle of equality and independence among them.”
At the same time, RIM exaggerated the status and role of the RCPUSA. Since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, communist and workers’ parties have become equal to each other and independent from each other.”
The world has undergone a 360 degree metamorphosis from 1920 and radical, transformation s has also occurred since 50 years ago. Globalization has virtually enslaved or entrapped every sphere of Society forcing Communist parties to revise their strategy or outlook. In the last quarter century classical feudalism has virtually been eliminated and Imperialism has had a dramatic impact on agriculture. Communist parties have felt the need to combine urban insurrections as a component of the people’s war.
Within the Maoist camp there are powerful tendencies sympathetic to placing more emphasis on humanism or the individual and undermining the vanguard role of the Communist party. There is a powerful current to classify Maoism as a discovery of Chairman Gonzalo of PCP in 1988 and for a new type of party. Comrade Murali(Ajith) and Joshua Moufawad Paul are the main architects of such views. On the other hand we have the Gonzaloites, who condemn Maoism being a rupture and Concept of new type of party to the very core as well as a re staunch advocates of protracted peoples war being universal and militarisation of Communist parties. However they still defend Gonzalo as the founder of Maoism to the core.
In India a theory of ‘Brahmanical Fascism’ has been formulated by Comrade Ajith. I would recognize Ajith as a great Maoist thinker or leader admiring his defence of people’s wars worldwide and quest for greater democracy within a Socialist Society itself. However I feel he is ideologically vitiated with post modernist trends. In his writings he has been critical of even Marx and Engels for Eurocentrism and is harshly critical of the Comintern.His thesis on Brahmanism ignores the Leninist class or proletarian point of view even if it raises the most valid points. It classically analyzed caste but reduces Hinduism to principal enemy .No doubt his critique of Avakianism is a kind of a classic refuting slandering of Maoism, but reflects powerful tendencies of Maoism being principal.
No doubt the existence of a party is a vital ingredient or organ for a revolution without which the Bolshevik revolution or Chinese Revolution would never have taken place, The pinnacle of democracy attained in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution would never have been achieved without the party leadership .Such experiences in history falsify those who reject concept of Communist party as a vanguard. However I still feel unlike Comrades like Chairman Sison or other Maoists that the Leninist or Maoist party has to evolve organically to incorporate more democracy within and with relation to people’s organizations, Alan Badiou is not a genuine Maoist but has made significant criticisms of the functioning of Socialist states. I am sympathetic to the quest amongst Communists to form a new type of party which evolves from the classical Leninist one to facilitate greater democracy. Quoting Comrdae Murali(Ajith) “There is a thinking that the communist party or Marxism is the last word of everything, that anything and everything can be explained by it. Yes, it is true, one can understand everything in the light of Marxism, but it cannot replace them. For example, the laws of physics have to be understood in terms of the science of physics and established as such. It is not something we can answer with Marxism. Marxist dialectics can certainly play its role in analysing the laws of physics and explain its conceptual positions. It can give a direction to this. Many scientists have done this. This issue, that the communist party is not something that should be doing everything, emerges from the basic positions of the communist movement itself. How did Marx, for example, develop his ideas? He did it by studying the various theoretical positions that were existing then, critically examining and synthesising from them. He never said all of this was said by me for the first time. But he identified the contradictions in them, and in order to overcome that he supplied certain ideas.”
The most balanced or dialectical viewpoint prevailing today in the International Communist Movement is that of Chairman Joma Sison.Most systematically he ideologically combats Trotskyism.post-modernism and Gonzaloism. He was sharply critical of attributing founding of ‘Maoism’ to Chairman Gonzalo in 1988 and to the core defends CPC as its founder in 1969.Sison analyzed the error of Gonzalo in prematurely capping insurrectionary actions in the cities to link the war with the countryside before stage of strategic equilibrium, wrongly assessing situation of strategic equilibrium and underestimation of united front. Sison also strongly attacked Maoists ideologically who advocated Strategy of protracted peoples war in developed countries or Universality of peoples War.
In his articles criticizing the church of PPW universalism, Jose Maria Sison makes the correct observation that at present there doesn’t appear to be any communist forces in imperialist countries with the adequate strength—including roots among the masses—and in favourable conditions to carry out military actions. Thus the principal task now, for anyone who wants to transform this situation, is to integrate with the masses, build organization among them, recruit communists and develop solid (and secure) communist organization through this work, and develop theory and strategy in relation to this practice.(Kenny Lake in Infantile disorder )
Sison was vociferously critical of parties and Comrades who assessed CPP International line as rightist in establishing relations with revisionist or non –maoist parties on a tactical basis. The CPP has supported progressive and anti-imperialist non-Maoists like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Kim Il Sung in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In Sisons view politically such organizations are more worthy than infantile “communists” who cannot distinguish ideological from political issues and ideological relations from political relations.
Another balanced approach has been by Basanta of Nepal who feels that neither the Russian or Chinese path can be applied to the countries worldwide today and an independent strategy would have to be devised.
The accentuating of peoples wars is of major importance in sharpening the tentacles of the International Communist Movement. Peoples Wars are gaining ground inspite of being subjected to the worst fascistic currents in Turkey, Philippines and India and seeds being sown in Brazil and again Nepal. Fascinatingly the C.P.I. (Maoist) is not mechanically imitating the Chinese path and considering the inroads of imperialism and bureaucrat capital and how to devise tactics and strategy accordingly. In many ways it is preparing for an India where corporates have the absolute monopoly and feudalism is not the determinant or base of imperialism. In the classical sense subjective factors do not exist like in China in the 1930’s and 40’s but nor are Indian conditions the same as they were in pre-revolutionary China. A profound weakness has been not to capitalise on the genuine anti imperialist resistance in Iraq or make any impact in shaping the Palestinian movement against Israeli hegemony.
Quoting Joma Sison “I admire the Communist Party of India (Maoist). It adheres to the theory of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism as guide to revolutionary action. It practices the mass line and pursues protracted people’s war with resilience and understanding. After being subjected to concentrated attack in North Telengana, it has reinvigorated itself in Dandkaranya to uphold the torch of Maoism. It has skillfully countered the attacks of the reactionary Indian paramilitary forces. Without mass support it could never have succeeded.
It is starting to overcome weaknesses and shortcomings in urban areas and in building urban-based mass organizations. Being the proletarian revolutionary party in such a big population, the CPI (Maoist) can play a major role in the world proletarian revolution, like the Bolsheviks in the former Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Mao. The CPP stands to benefit greatly from from the advances achieved by the CPI (Maoist).”
I also give credibility to writer Kenny Lake of Kites blog who feels that categorisation of semi-feudalism has to be re-analysed .In his article he also recognizes the importance of peoples war having a base in the Cities or links with urban areas and cited example of shanty slums in Lima,city Davos near Minadado in Phillipines and towns near Chattisgarh.He highlighted how the C.P.I.(Maoist) confronted the mining corporates at their very chord in Chattisgarh and Orissa. The manner the people’s war turned after intervening in city of Davos to consolidate countryside work was touched upon. The PCP people’s war only reached the highest point of stature after making inroads and consolidation in Lima in the view of Kenny Lake. In depth Kenny’s writing summarized how armed struggles in all these countries even if based in rural or tribal areas established a crucial link with the proletariat.
In the 1980s, Sendero Luminoso entrenched itself among these urban migrants, who often had direct ties to peasants in Ayacucho embroiled in the first stages of the people’s war. Sendero even sent cadre into land invasions in which migrants built improvised housing on land they had no legal right to, and made some of these shantytowns, such as the infamous Racuana, into revolutionary neighbourhoods. Its military operations and organization among the masses in the slums of Lima began to outstrip its work in rural Ayacucho by the mid-1980s. The 1988 PCP-SL Congress decided, after much internal debate that even pitted Gonzalo against his then wife, to make a strategic shift to Lima as a center of the people’s war, seeing the large newly proletarian population there and the strategic layout of slums surrounding the city center as ripe conditions for the rapid advance of people’s war. (Excerpt from Article by Kenny Lake in Kites blog)
At the philosophical level there have been powerful trends to place Stalin in the museum and even question the dialectical materialism of Lenin.
This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Souren Bose meeting Chou En Lai where a most insightful exchange took place on the Charu Mazumdar C.P.I. (M.L.) The weaknesses of not asessing united front, nature of national bourgeoisie, need to form mass organizations and movements, neglect of urban work etc was highlighted. The uneven zig zag course of development of revolution was discussed and annihilation of class enemy was condemned. To me what is most relevant is that the Chinese model of peoples war cannot be copied in toto even in the third world countries with such an extensive intervention or penetration of globalisation and such significant reduction in urban population and technological changes.
The Great proletarian Cultural Revolution was the equivalent of a fulcrum to the re-organization of International Communist movement, rectifying the major errors of Stalin. Inspite of revolutionary democracy reaching a pinnacle as never before during the Chinese Cultural revolution mass revolutionary power was not completely established.
A very important study has to be made of why the Shanghai commune was abandoned to form a revolutionary commitee and why after 1970 there was such a sensational turn in course in China. It is unfair to squarely place all the blame on Lin Biao who for long was an ardent lower of Chairman Mao. China made errors by joining the United Nations and not condemning the US toppling of Salvador Allende.Inspite of phenomenal achievements in the Cultural Revolution powerful factionalism rose after 1970 which was reflected in the practice of the gang of four. Sufficient revolutionary democracy was not sustained with mass organizations being disbanded and people’s organizations being virtually subservient to the Communist party.Inspite of Mao making great efforts to demarcate from Stalinist errors Strong vanguardist tendencies were exhibited by the CPC not giving required independence to the peoples committees or Organizations.
Even if we disagree with Alain Badiou rejecting Leninist party concept we cannot totally obliterate his view on developing a political party with greater revolutionary democracy within it. We must remember that even Lenin wished to morally call for a Cultural Revolution and only in particular circumstances banned all other political parties. In his very lifetime he witnessed the bureaucracy within the Soviets where powerful tendencies of total monopoly of the party were exhibited. The later purges of the Stalinist era exhibited the weaknesses of democracy within the Bolshevik party which no doubt Lenin would have corrected had he not passed away so early. No doubt Russia under Stalin and China under Mao made spectacular strides as no nation ever did before but gross errors were made which led to the overthrow of Socialist Societies .Whatever the historical developments in the Cultural Revolution we have to go back to the roots of Marxism and the establishment of the Paris Commune. The aspect of revolutionary democracy was reduced to 2 line struggle within the party with proper revolutionary organs of people’s power not established in China, which could enable the masses to check the Communist party. Pertinent in the classical sense the Communist parties led by Lenin and Mao could not practice the legacy of classic proletarian democracy professed by Marx.
In order to treat communist theory as something we have to continually struggle with rather than as a closed system of declared beliefs. Dogmatism emanated from the GPCR itself, the negative aspect of the greatest revolutionary advance within the history of class society. As Robert Biel puts it in his book Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement, “the big weakness [in the GPCR] was a dogmatism that blocked precisely some of the creative developments which were required We need to critically examine the dogmatism embedded in the GPCR—the incessant repetition of the same slogans in propaganda and art, the (probably tactically necessary) use of Mao’s authority to bolster the revolutionary camp, and the often factionalist and cultish conduct of some Red Guard factions (especially those consisting of the children of capitalist roaders within the CPC)—and we certainly don’t need to emulate it.
A predominant trend of the pro-Gonzalo supporters is to propagate concept of ‘Peoples War till Communism.’ This upholds people’s war to even continue during Socialist Construction or Cultural Revolution period and underestimates the proletarian dictatorship. Quoting Chairman Sison”It is quite nonsensical for any party that claims to be MLM to say that it will carry out people’s war until communism. When you win the new democratic revolution under the leadership of the proletariat, the socialist revolution can commence and proceed for a whole historical epoch until imperialism is defeated on a world scale and communism can arise. Not only eclectic but nonsensical such useless blabber of infantile “Maoists”.
In the process of people’s war, the people’s army is the main component of the provisional people’s government that is the sum total of the local organs of political power. After power is seized nationwide power, the people’s army becomes the main component of the socialist state as class dictatorship of the proletariat that takes the form of a people’s democratic state in a country like the Philippines or Peru, without any prior comprehensive industrial capitalist base.”
Powerful tendencies have risen terming Maoism as a rupture from Leninism .The chief proponent of this is Joshua Moufawad Paul in ‘Continuity and Rupture’ Without doubt he is enlightened and open -minded but divorces Maoism from it’s Leninist roots, treating it a s a separate entity and not treating it as an integral part of Leninism..However like Ajith he highlights significant chinks in the armoury of the Communist movement, particularly on the aspect of proletarian democracy. Whatever his aberrations Moufawad Paul has made valid criticisms of how Socialist Societies have functioned and less dogmatic than the pro-Gonzoloaite currents. A chief misconception of analyzing rupture by many Maoist quarters is proclaiming rupture from practice of Stalin and clubbing it with Leninism. They forget Stalin important aberrations with Leninism. No doubt Mao traversed regions Marx or Lenin did not but in no way were his theories or practice a dichotomy from those of Marx and Lenin. Even Lenin even if discovering imperialism and founding party as a vanguard never made any rupture from Marxism. Quoting chairman Joma Sison “Maoism as further development of Marxism-Leninism is not simply a mechanical addition. There is substantial advancement of Marxism-Leninism by Maoism. He developed ML philosophy (deeper penetration into the law of contradiction), political economy (socialist economy that improved on the Soviet model), social science (continuance of class struggle in socialist society), Party building (rectification movement to cure the illness and save the patient) and people’s war (more protracted than those in Soviet history). But the advancement of ML made by Maoism to make it the third stage is the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through Cultural Revolution in order to combat revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism. I do not agree with the word “rupture” because of its meaning of separation or break from a precedent. Einsteinian physics is an advance on Newtonian physics without having to violate or invalidate the latter. Newtonian physics remains valid for building houses and bridges. Maoism is not possible without its precedents in Marxism and Leninism.
Gramsci cannot be overlooked in era of Socialist Society as Lenin’s State and Revolution although a brilliant Marxist analysis could not take into account developments in a Socialist Society.
A Maoist section ‘Struggle Sessions’ unfairly slanders Joshua Moufawad Paul who in their view champions postmodernism and its thinkers and makes mockery of Lenin, Stalin ,Mao and Gonzalo. They forget that it is JMP who has shimmered the torch of the C.P.I. (Maoist) and contribution of PCP and Gonzalo at a crescendo. No doubt he exhibited post modernist tendencies but that cannot deny his outstanding creativity in synthesising work of thinkers like Badiou and Althusser of pointing apparent shortcomings even in Stalin, Mao and Gonzalo.JMP made a more rational analysis of reversal in Peruvian movement than any Western Maoist. Maoists should give him credit for trying to formulate a more Democratic Party model. I do have an admiration for the Struggle Sessions blog for defending polemics s of Lenin, Stalin and Mao like a boulder resisting a gale but feel they are very dogmatic.
A tendency that has to be refuted is calling for Communist parties to militarise like the Peruvian Communist party which does not distinguish between the function of a party and red army and virtually converts the party into a military organization.
Certain currents are even critical of Lenin’s dialectical materialism concept claiming it is dogmatic for modern times. Such tendencies have to confronted at the very root, but in a principled manner.
Today the World capitalist crisis has reached a crescendo and inter-imperialist contradictions as never before in history and revolutionaries must take advantage of it to channelize the democratic movements like Yellow vest or Black Lives to the Communist path. We cannot mechanically copy experiences of yesteryears but cannot leave any stone unturned in upholding the teachings of Marx, Engels. Lenin, Stalin and Mao like a boulder resisting all counter revolutionary winds.
Harsh Thakor is a political commentator. [email protected]