Direktlänk till inlägg 14 juni 2020

Poor Mao Zedong, who wasn't even a Maoist (part 2)

Av NAT:s redaktion - Söndag 14 juni 15:00

(Part 2)

Is chairman Gonzalo the greatest Maoist of our time?

 

Röed claims that the PKP inspired the people´s war in India, the Philippines, Nepal and Turkey. This must be a real exaggeration, since the people's war in both India and the Philippines started already in 1969, well before that in Peru. This means that the Maoists in India and in the Philippines were inspired by the CCP and Mao Zedong. The people´s war in Nepal was started in 1996 by the Nepal Communist Party (Maoists). Why should the NCP (Maoists) have been primarily inspired by the PKP, whose chairman and most of the Central Committee had already been captured, and not by the CCP's and Mao Zedong's theories of the people's war? The NCP (Maoists) also did not follow Gonzalo's thinking but “the path of Prachanda”. In 2006, the NCP (Maoists) signed a peace agreement with the Nepalese government and the party took part in subsequent parliamentary elections. In 2009 it changed its name to the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and after a merger in 2018 it changed its name again to the Nepal Communist Party. This party is parliamentary and currently holds the governmental power in Nepal. Exactly what the party does with this government power, however, is a completely different matter. It obviously has not smashed the state apparatus and initiated a socialist transformation.


Röed states that "Gonzalo's contribution shows him as our epoch's foremost revolutionary leader, the greatest Maoist of our time". But how can a leader who has been imprisoned and who has not led the Peruvian people's war to victory be "the foremost revolutionary leader of our time, the greatest Maoist of our time"? The document "The Line to Build the Three Tools of the Revolution" claims that "Chairman Gonzalo, the greatest living Marxist-Leninist –Maoist who leads the party, is the guarantee of the victory of the communist revolution (my bold style)." Up like a sun, down like a pancake. Just compare the CPP with the Communist Party of India (Maoists) and the Communist Party of the Philippines, which have not been defeated, but not yet won, and whose forces control large areas of their respective countries. Surely it is a greater achievement to be able to continue waging a prolonged people's war than to lose one? Röed states that PKP's defeat is only temporary, but does not provide credible reports on which areas PKP has retaken.


Question to Röed: What texts by Gonzalo, in which he "further develops" Maoism, does Röed recommend?


On the militarization of the Communist parties

 

Röed states that I fall into pure speculation about what Gonzalo meant by "militarizing the Communist parties" and referring me to "other texts". Which ones? "The line to build the three tools of the revolution"? Röed tries to explain pedagogically:


"In short, Gonzalo's thesis is as simple as it is wise – a party to wage war must be organized for war." This is just a platitude, about as wise as the party that wants to carry out a revolution must prepare and organize for revolution. But a communist party cannot always and in all circumstances organize itself for war; it depends entirely on the situation. In "A Proposal on the General Line of the International Communist Movement," the Communist Party of China writes instead:


“In order to lead the proletariat and working people in revolution, Marxist-Leninist Parties must master all forms of struggle and be able to substitute one form for another quickly as the conditions of struggle change. The vanguard of the proletariat will remain unconquerable in all circumstances only if it masters all forms of struggle –peaceful and armed, open and secret, legal and illegal, parliamentary struggle and mass struggle, etc. It is wrong to refuse to use parliamentary and other legal forms of struggle when they can and should be used. However, if a Marxist-Leninist Party falls into legalism or parliamentary cretinism, confining the struggle within the limits permitted by the bourgeoisie, this will inevitably lead to renouncing the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.”


"As a result of these characteristics, the task of the proletariat's party in the capitalist countries is to, during a long period of legal struggle, train the workers and build themselves strong and thus prepare for the final overthrow of capitalism. In these countries, it is a matter of long-term legal struggle, of using Parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organizing trade unions and school workers. There, the organizational form is legal and the form of the struggle is bloodless (non-military)… ”


It is pointless to prepare for war unless the working masses are prepared to join. It is not possible to create or provoke a revolutionary situation. It creates itself when a general deep economic and social crisis arises as the result of the inherent contradictions of capitalism or because the situation has drastically altered by war that occurred during the two world wars. The group or organization imagining a revolution can be created or provoked will degenerate into an organization linked to individual terrorism, such as the RAF (Baader-Meinhof League) in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy or Action Directe in France, which is directly contrary to the mass line. These organizations were, objectively, counter-revolutionary, their activities played the bourgeoisie in their hands, and these organizations were probably infiltrated by fascists or security services. RAF members could take refuge in East Germany, which shows that organizations were a plaything in the game between the social-imperialist bloc on one side and the western imperialist bloc on the other. Exactly how does Röed think a revolutionary organization within the imperialist bloc should prepare for war? By just talking about it?


According to Röed, Gonzalo believes that "not only the party must be militarized, but that the whole people must be armed and ergo the whole people must be militarized". Well. How does this view differ from that of Lenin and Mao Zedong? It is obvious that Röed in some way believes that Gonzalo has further developed Lenin's view, i.e that "the Communist Party is a party for revolution" when he writes that "Gonzalo sharpens (sic!) this further by stating that a proletarian Communist Party is a party to wage war and that it must therefore be a militarized Party. ". "Sharpens"? This is just phrase-mongering.


Firstly, Lenin and the Bolshevik Party never attempted to wage a people´s war, i.e encircle the cities from the countryside, but carry out an armed urban revolution in both 1905 and 1917, i.e first to conquer the cities and then the countryside, which they succeeded.


Secondly, Lenin and Comintern never launched the theory that the armed urban revolution was a panacea in imperialist and capitalist countries as well as in colonies or neo-colonial countries. This is in contrast to the CPP, Gonzales and their unoriginal backers, who claim that the people's war is universal.


Thirdly; what exactly distinguishes a party that applies democratic centralism from a party that applies democratic centralism and which is at the same time militarized?


Fourthly, Röed seems to think that a militarized party does not apply a military order structure top - down. But what does "militarized" mean? That all members from day one carry weapons? But the question of armament is a tactical issue and depends on the political situation. The Bolsheviks did not start arming the Red Guards until after the February Revolution and on the brink of the October Revolution, the Red Guards amounted to 200,000 men.


Fifthly, Lenin writes in "The Elections to the Constituent Assembly and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat" why the October Revolution could prevail:


“On the basis of the returns of the Constituent Assembly elections we have studied the three conditions which determined the victory of Bolshevism: (1) an overwhelming majority among the proletariat; (2) almost half of the armed forces; (3) an overwhelming superiority of forces at the decisive moment at the decisive points, namely: in Petrograd and Moscow and on the war fronts near the centre.” [ii]


The victory was not primarily due to the fact that the Bolshevik Party was militarized, although most members actively participated in the takeover of power. Some Bolsheviks led political strikes, for example, among the railway workers. Without this support from the proletariat and the soldiers, the October Revolution would never have prevailed. Of course, the overwhelming majority of the proletariat and the soldiers were not members of the Bolshevik Party.

The concentric circles

 

Röed writes that the PKP's line was that "the whole party must be part of the people's army to be an integral part of the people's war". Their "masterful use of Mao's dialectical method makes their guidelines appear simple and direct". Did all members of the Communist Party of China really join the Red Army? No, some members were assigned to work in the areas occupied or controlled by the Japanese or Guomindang; some were even assigned to work under cover at Guomindang. Circumstances determined whether these members followed instructions directly from the party or indirectly via the Red Army; the circumstances also determined the extent to which they were armed.


When Röed states that PKP's line that "the whole party must be part of the people's army" is something unique, does that mean that Mao Zedong's line was that only 90 percent, 70 percent or 50 percent of the party's members would be part of the Red Army? Why else emphasize the uniqueness of PKP's line? Röed states that it is wrong if the party engages in "pure politics" and the army wages "pure war". Of course. But does this criticism affect the Bolshevik Party or the CPC? Already during the civil war of 1918 - 1920 the Bolsheviks applied the system of political commissars while that there also were always strong Bolshevik factions within the Red Army; the same system was applied in China. If the CPC had one million members in 1945, then the Red Army's numbers were two million.


The three tools of the revolution in Russia

 

Röed states that I claim that the Russian Revolution did not apply the "three tools of the revolution" according to the PKP. On the contrary, I show that the three tools of the revolution, the party, the front and the army, cannot be elevated to a formula that applies in all times and under all conditions but must be applied to the peculiar conditions of each country.


The main differences between the October Revolution in Russia and the People's War in China were that the Bolsheviks fought for an armed urban revolution, which later spread to the countryside, and the people's war in China, which meant invading the cities from the countryside during the struggle against Japanese imperialism 1937 - 1945. 1945 - 1949 the principal contradiction was between the Chinese people and Guomindang, who represented the big bourgeoisie, the comprador bourgeoisie and the interests of the major landlords in alliance with US imperialism.


Röed seems to imagine that the Soviets, who were united fronts from below, existed intact from 1905 to 1917. This is nonsense. The Soviets were crushed by 1907; during the period 1907 - 1912 the Bolsheviks practiced a retreat tactic (see earlier quotes from Stalin). [iii] Only after the February Revolution of 1917 did the Soviets re-emerge and grow in strength until the October Revolution. The Bolshevik Party never established a united front from above as the CPC did with Guomindang 1937 - 1945, as the principal contradiction was not between the Russian people and German imperialism but between the Russian working people and the Russian tsarism and the bourgeoisie. The Russian ruling class was part of one imperialist bloc. After the October Revolution victory, representatives of left-wing socialist revolutionaries were briefly represented in the Soviet government. The Red Army was first formed on February 23, 1918, following the victory of the October Revolution. The nucleus of the Red Army was made up of the 200,000 men who had been part of the Red Guards that had emerged after the February Revolution of 1917, and of all the soldiers and officers who had joined the October Revolution from the Tsarist army, the main body of the new Red army. According to both Lenin and Stalin, the October Revolution triumphed in February 1918. Is this a myth, as Röed claims? In what way are Lenin and Stalin wrong? This victory was the very prerequisite for victory in the subsequent civil war, with the main forces of intervention being crushed at the end of 1920, although the struggle against them continued on a smaller scale until 1922. [iv]


Why do PKP, Röed and others have to engage in historical falsification of the October Revolution? They are aware that Mao Zedong and the CPC have never advocated the theory that the people's war is universal, on the contrary Mao Zedong and the CPC distinguished between the path of the October Revolution and the path of the people's war. They dare not openly attack Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong, as they would then reveal themselves directly as "left"-revisionists and anti-Maoists. If reality and history do not match their dogmas, then they alter without hesitation both reality and history.


The Question about Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM)

 

The Communist Party of China (CCP) and the Labor Party in Albania (LPA) led the struggle against the rise of modern revisionism in the Soviet Union. From the beginning of the 1960s, a number of Marxist-Leninist groups and parties joined these two parties, thus forming an international Marxist-Leninist movement. But this movement never worked as an International, let alone with any center.


This was partly due to the CPC's experience, which Mao Zedong formulated in a speech, "The Comintern has long ceased to interfere in our internal affairs", [v] 1943. The CCP received some bad advices from the Comintern, which Cominform and the Soviet Union continued to distribute. One of the last bad advices the CCP got was that the People's Liberation Army in the civil war with Guomindang 1945 - 1949 should not pursue the final battle with Guomindang but make a stop and accept a division of China into a northern and southern part. This would have just postponed a victory like in Vietnam. The arguments put forward by Mao Zedong in the speech are briefly three: 1) A united international organization cannot adapt itself to extremely complex and rapidly changing circumstances. Only national parties can make a detailed analysis of the circumstances; 2) the anti-fascist struggle on the world scale was so multifaceted that a centralized organization was an obstacle to the struggle; 3) the Chinese Communist Party had hardened in the struggle and knew best how the struggle would be conducted in China (which was later confirmed by the practice).


Therefore, after the split with the SUKP, the CPC maintained only bilateral relations with various Marxist-Leninist parties in the world. This meant that the discussions took place on an equal footing without the CPC trying to foist its views on the non-state parties. Of course, the CPC enjoyed a special prestige and influence until 1976; this was positive as long as Mao Zedong lived – see Communist Party of Sweden´s  campaign against Soviet social imperialism in 1974 - but negative after Deng Xiaoping's takeover of power. After the break with the CPC in 1977, LPA tried to create a kind of international with itself at the forefront, but failed.


Röed claims that the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was not an International. But in fact, as early as 1984 [vi], RIM stated that its goal was to create an International:


“At the present juncture of world history, the international proletariat has to take up the challenge of forming its own organization, an International of a new type based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, assimilating the valuable experience of the past.”


Furthermore the report from this conference criticized CPC:


“It also is necessary to evaluate the overreaction of the Communist Party of China to the negative aspects of the Comintern that led them to refuse to play the necessary leading role in building up the organizational unity of the Marxist-Leninist forces at the international level.”


The criticism is reminiscent of the rebels  [vii]who visited China's embassy in Stockholm in 1968 for guidance on how the Cultural Revolution ought to be implemented in Sweden. When the Chinese embassy staff refused to give any advice, the rebels accused them of being revisionists, tearing down curtains and leaving.


If the CPC had led a Communist International in connection with Deng Xiaoping's takeover of power in 1978, the damage would probably have been even greater than was the case.  Now, however, there were parties and groups that were used to formulate a political line regarding the specific conditions in their own country and to think for themselves. The CPC also, until 1977, encouraged its fraternal parties to think for themselves. My view is that the system of bilateral relations with other revolutionary parties worked well until 1977. The meetings always took place on an equal footing, even though the two state-bearing parties, the CPC and AAP, enjoyed greater prestige and influence than everyone else.


RIM seems to have disappeared from the political scene around 2007. My impression is that the organization disappeared because various organizations in competition with each other tried to play the first violin in the organization.


The communists and the elections


Röed states that the RIM parties did not advocate principled electoral boycotts at all, but do not cite a source. The PKP boycotted the elections in Peru in 1985 and, as far as I know, never voted in any election. I believe that election boycotts can be justified for three reasons: 1) it is not possible to guarantee the safety of your own candidates, but they risk life and limb; 2) the elections are rigged and there is extensive electoral fraud, and 3) the situation is revolutionary as in the 1905 revolution in Russia, when proposals for the establishment of a parliamentary assembly served as a diversionary maneuver. In addition, as Lenin demonstrated, the elections were not even fair. It is possible that the first and /or second reason was at hand in 1985 in Peru. But from where did the idea by RIM's Swedish sympathizers' group for a 2003 boycott of the euro referendum in Sweden come (which I quote in my article)? Was it their own invention? Or was it in line with RIM's general policy regarding elections?


Lenin, Stalin, Comintern and Mao Zedong did not support the line either to always run for elections in bourgeois democracies or to always boycott parliamentary elections. It is the situation that determines. On the other hand, they were for communists to always use all kinds of struggle, legal as well as illegal, open as well as secret. Why wouldn't voter participation be a "good tactics in today's situation"? It depends entirely on whether the parliamentary struggle is combined and based on the extra-parliamentary struggle. Most parties, which were part of the international Marxist-Leninist movement with the CPC/AAP at the forefront until 1977, did not fail because they prioritized parliamentary elections, as they had rarely won any parliamentary representation. They went down because they were not sufficiently independent in relation to the CCP and AAP.


Is there anything to learn from CPP and Gonzalo?

 

Röed asks the question: "But is it not of enormous importance to study Gonzalo and the CPP as well?"

My view is that PKP and Gonzalo should be studied as negative examples, mainly because the party failed because Gonzalo and most of the Central Committee were jailed in 1992, which led to the party's collapse. This was obviously a result of left subjectivist and left dogmatic errors. The party, especially its leadership, suffered from hubris and anticipated the victory. The party rose "Gonzalo's thinking" to the guiding-star even though the same thinking had not been confirmed in practice, that is, led to victory. The party has also given the appearance of acting as the leader of the world revolution, a supreme claim that neither the Communist Party of India (Maoists) nor the Communist Party of the Philippines have made.


Making the thumbs down for the CPP's policies does not in any way detract from the struggle that the Peruvian workers and peasants waged against the ruling class in Peru, which was righteous, until 1992. Maoists even supported the Afghan people resistance struggle against the social-imperialist occupation of Afghanistan from 1979, although the resistance movement was dominated by reactionaries and bourgeois nationalists.


The CPP and Gonzalo have not developed Maoism on a single point. The theory that the people´s war is universal is a left-revisionist distortion of Mao Zedong's theories, despite he himself warned of this distortion. The CPP and Gonzalo falsify the history of the October Revolution and do not recognize its crucial historical significance. The CPP and Gonzalo have launched a series of remarkable theories that all communist parties must be militarized and the theory of the concentric circles, theories which are not supported by the classics. CPP and Gonzalo also claim that the three elements of the people's war according to Mao Zedong, i.e strategic defensive, strategic equilibrium and strategic offensive, can be transferred on the course of the world revolution. Since I have already argued against this cracked and mechanical transfer in another article, "What is chairman Gonzalez' contribution to Marxism?", I will only briefly comment on this worldview. Gonzalo thus believes that the world revolution was on a strategic defensive between 1871 and 1945, strategic equilibrium prevailed between 1945 and 1980, with the strategic offensive continuing since 1980. Between 1871 and 1953 the October Revolution occurred in 1917, the emergence of a number of People´s democracies in Eastern Europe after the Second World War and finally the proclamation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The socialist camp then numbered a third of the population of the world. This calls Gonzales a defensive! I have set the limit for 1953, because Stalin died this year as well as the Korean War ended that year. From 1956, the contradictions between the SUKP's revisionism and the CPC grew, which gradually led to the emergence of a social-imperialist bloc with the Soviet Union at the forefront. There was still a kind of equilibrium, as a number of colonies liberated themselves during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the defeat of US imperialism in 1975 in Indochina. But since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping took power in the CPC and China, which has led to China now being a capitalist and imperialist country, the Communist movement and the international proletariat have been on the defensive. The struggle that various communist parties and liberation movements have waged since 1980 can under no circumstances be compared with the wave of success that prevailed until 1953.


It is almost pathetic to elevate Gonzalo into a theoretical fix star and testify to a very poor judgment. Gonzalo reduces Maoism to a catechism, full of erroneous or dubious Bible words. I do not believe in Röed's statement that PKP's almost religious language use was contingent on PKP "writing in Spanish in a Peruvian-Native American context". I mean that language was conditioned by PKP's left dogmatism and left subjectivism and that many of the leading intellectuals actually came from the Spanish-upper and middle class. It is the nature of dogmatism to simplify in absurdum and nature of subjectivism to distort the perception of reality. Even during 1968 the rebel movement in Sweden, one of the world's most secularized countries, there were religious elements. Meetings were organized to "expel the bourgeoisie from the body" (exorcism or expulsion of spirits) from the sect members and the major meetings served as revival meetings.


Röed "also cannot accept a claim that the development of our ideology stopped abruptly in 1976". There has definitely not been any development of Maoism to a fourth stage; Gonzalo's "development" is a caricature of Maoism. On the other hand, there are a number of Maoist parties and groups, mainly the Communist Party of India (Maoists) and the Communist Party of the Philippines, which have continued to fight and further develop the political line with regard to national conditions. In addition, there is still much to learn from the international Marxist-Leninist movement up to 1977, both positive and negative experiences.


Unfortunately, Röed's defense of the CPP and Gonzalo is a completely unoriginal repetition of their positions. PKP and Gonzalo represent a dead-end track, especially in imperialist countries, that discredits Maoism and does not lead to revolution.


Rickard B. Turesson

16/7 2018


(Published in Marxistiskt Forum nr 1/2019)

   

(This blog is connected with Nya Arbetartidningen)




https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/cpc/proposal.htm

[ii] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/dec/16.htm

[iv]  History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) - https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1939/x01/ch08.htm

[v] “The Comintern has long ceased to meddle in our internal affairs” – https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-6/mswv6_36.htm

[vi] Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement  1984 -–https://ia800201.us.archive.org/22/items/DeclarationOfTheRevolutionaryInternationalistMovem


ent_292/DeclarationOfTheRevolutionaryInternationalistMovem


ent_292.pdf

[vii]  The rebels were a left opportunistic anarchistic group within the Communist League (Marxist-Leninists), consisting of some students at three universities in Sweden, who rose up in the spring 1968  and very quickly fell apart.

 
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