By Ragnar Røed, published in september 2018 but written before the initiation of the first great rectification campaign in Tjen Folket.
First – this is just an attempt to give short presentation of what Maoism is and why communists today must be Maoists. To keep this short, the text will not contain much reasoning or many examples, it will only present some of the most important conclusions that Maoists have arrived at today.
- Maoism is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is the third stage of Marxism, which has lifted Marxism to a higher and more advanced stages. It is Marxism in our epoch, after Marxism was established in the 19th century, after the Paris Commune in 1871, after Leninism was established following the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and the establishment of a socialist camp in one third of the world with Russia and China as the most important countries, after the people’s war in China and Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 – and after the wave of national liberation wars from the 1950s until the present day.
- Maoism is Marxism today, and Maoism is Leninism today. Lenin said that Marxism’s living soul is the concrete analysis of the concrete situation. Marx, who gave the ideology its name, established this as a scientific socialism. Marxism, today Maoism, is the science that deals with how the proletariat can make revolution and create communism. No science can remain stagnant. A science for the proletariat’s revolution and power could not be complete in the 19th century, before the great proletarian revolutions in the 20th century! As a science, it must be practical. The theory must be tested against practice and must be used in practice. It must adapt in line with improved practices and be lifted to a higher level. It is only Maoism that has done this completely today, and therefore it is only Maoism that can be Marxism today. Those who wish to be Marxists or Leninists today must be Maoists.
- Maoism is the proletariat’s ideology. In a class society, all thoughts have a class character. The ideology of the bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie dominate thoughts in capitalism. This reflects the fact that the bourgeoisie has the economic and political power, and that they have power over the state and capital, and it is a reflection of the fact that parts of the petit bourgeoisie are tasked with defending the state and capital on the behalf of the bourgeoisie. The petit bourgeois layer stands in a particular position as a producer of ideology in capitalism. For instance, they create commercials, and they are priests, politicians, teachers, journalists, designers, and so on. Their ideology has the same class characters; it is bourgeois, but it manifests in infinite different forms. It manifests as anarchism, liberalism, conservativism, social democracy, fascism, and so on. The ideology is a part of all kinds of products and institutions, from news to commercials, from churches to schools. The entire culture is saturated by capitalism, by the bourgeoisie’s world image, and the petit bourgeoisie’s interpretation of it. Against all of this stands a proletarian ideology: scientific communism, today Maoism.
- Maoism must be the proletariat’s ideology because the proletariat is the most revolutionary class in capitalism. Only the proletariat is strong and great enough to organize a new state power and destroy the bourgeoisie’s power. The proletariat has their as their historical task. The proletariat is the class that is gathered in heavy collectives, in large workplaces, and in proletarian neighborhoods. The proletariat is the class that creates value in society, and is exploited, and thereby it is the proletariat’s labour that is the source of all capital. When Marx revealed the concept of profit he revealed how capitalism is dependent on the proletariat, but that the proletariat is not dependent on capitalists – that on the contrary, the capitalists are parasites in the proletariat’s side. But Marx maintained that the discovery of classes or profit was not his greatest discovery, but that it rather lies in him having revealed that capitalism only exists along a given track in the development of humanity, and that it is a historical necessity that the proletariat abolish capitalism by organizing itself as a political party, making revolution, and establishing itself as the ruling class through the proletariat’s revolutionary dictatorship. This also applies in a world where semi-feudal conditions rule in large parts of the world and where peasants in many countries make up the main power for new democratic and socialist revolution. Even in these countries, in a close alliance with the peasants, the proletariat and its party must lead the revolution.
- Maoism is developed in the first place by six great communist leaders: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Gonzalo. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed the first stage, Marxism. Engels maintained that the two most important discoveries in this stage was the law of profit which showed how capitalism functioned and the historical materialism, which was Marxism’s application to history to show how and why human society is developed through class struggle. It showed that history does not move in circles or at random, but that there exists a law of development for human societies to move forward and rise higher – despite setbacks – and that this happens erratically, and happens in evolution and revolution. It was historical materialism that revealed the proletariat’s historical role. Marxism was developed on the basis of three sources – British political economy, German philosophy, and French socialism. And Marxism transformed, with its dialectic materialism, socialism from a utopia to a science – as the proletariat’s ideology.
- Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin developed and formulated Leninism, the second stage in Marxism. Stalin says that this was Marxism in imperialism‘s time period and the time period of the proletarian revolution. Lenin showed with Marxism economy that capitalism entered into its new, higher, and final stage in the 20th century: the monopolistic capitalism, otherwise known as imperialism. He further developed the struggle against revisionism and reformism, and for the proletarian revolution. He developed the thesis of Bolshevization of the communist party, for the party as a revolutionary vanguard and general staff. And in line with this, Lenin and Stalin build the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) as a leadership for the Russian Revolution, the socialist construction, and the international communist movement. Lenin develop the theory of proletarian leadership of the democratic revolution in underdeveloped countries, of the workers’ and peasant government, and laid the basis for the ideology that guided the socialist construction in the Soviet Union under Stalin’s leadership.
- Mao Zedong gave Maoism its name, but Maoism was formulated clearly and concisely by Chairman Gonzalo, the leader of the Communist Party of Peru. Maoism developed Marxism further within all of its three parts: first, within philosophy, where Maoism maintains that the dialectic understanding of development has a fundamental law: namely the law of contradictions. All things and conditions are a unity of opposites, and therefore we must use this law to understand the development of all phenomena. Second, within economy, where Maoism reveals bureaucracy capitalism as a particular form for underdeveloped capitalism in the underdeveloped countries, held back by imperialism, along with the understanding of the socialist economy and politics in the driver’s seat; that politics is concentrated economy. Thirdly, within scientific socialism, particularly with the development of the mass line as a method and world view, protracted people’s war as the proletariat’s military strategy and the development of cultural revolution as the method of carrying revolution from socialism all the way to communism. These are the foremost examples of Maoism’s advancement of Marxism, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Maoism contains more than this, including a number of other great advances in the understanding of proletarian revolution.
- Maoism could not be formulated clearly before the death of Mao, and after socialism in China fell to counterrevolution between 1976 and 1978. Mao’s line was defended by the leftist line in the Communist Party of China (CPC), first and foremost by Mao’s wife Jiang Qing, the Shanghai leader Zhang Chunqiao, and two other comrades. They stood for the red line with cultural revolution for the dictatorship of the proletariat in all areas. They stood against the rightist line’s theory that it was not the class struggle that was the key layer, but that it was first and foremost production that would develop socialism. The rightist line led China back to capitalism, and dismantled the dictatorship of the proletariat into a fascist state. The leftist line’s leaders were imprisoned and several of them were sentenced to death. Local leaders were imprisoned, killed, or disappeared. But the cultural revolution and Mao Zedong Thought inspired millions of people all over the world, and led to the creation of a number of new communist parties on a revolutionary basis. They started people’s wars in Peru, India, the Philippines, Turkey, and Nepal.
- The Communist Party of Peru (CPP) was reconstructed under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo in the 1970s. He was in China during the Cutlural Revolution and learned a great deal there. In 1980, after socialism had fallen in China and a number of parties dissolved in confusion or became reformists (like the Norwegian AKP(m-l)), the PCP initiated the people’s war in Peru. And they initiated this under Maoism’s banner. They formulated Maoism as an “ism” for the first time and as something more than and something different from “Mao Zedong Thought”. Mao Zedong inspired communists all around the world. Maoism is not Mao’s thoughts on China, but all that is universal from these thoughts – that is to say the aspects of Mao and the CPC’s development of Marxism-Leninism that are applicable all around the world and for the entirety of the proletariat. Maoism is universal.
- Gonzalo and the PCP maintain that Mao’s mass line, the line for the protracted people’s war and the line for the cultural revolution are the foremost examples of Maoism’s universal applicability, along with Maoism’s advancement of Marxism’s philosophy and economy. They maintain that the core of Maoism is political power for the proletariat. In short, this means: the mass line as a working method and as a worldview. And that one not only sees this, but also works in line with this worldview to politicize, mobilize, and organize the masses themselves, particularly the proletariat and the poorest and most exploited parts of the proletariat. The protracted people’s war as a military strategy. That one sees that political power grows out of the barrel of the gun. That only an armed people will win over the old state and establish the proletariat’s new state. To practice armed struggle as the core in the struggle for state power, and to arm the entire people, create a people’s army and a people’s militia as a part of it, and to wage the war first on a low level using simply means, build red power and red base areas that are the core in the people’s war, and slowly but surely destroy the old state and their apparatus of violence and bureaucracy and replace it with the proletariat’s own political power. To wage people’s war by building the proletariat’s three instruments: the Communist Party, the People’s Army, and the United Front, the new state. Cultural Revolution as a continuation of the two-line struggle, the struggle against revisionism and the proletarian revolution in socialism itself. To wage this revolutionary struggle in the Communist Party itself and within the worker’s state. To wage a political and ideological struggle over which way socialism will go, and if it will continue in the communist way, or if it will go to the capitalist way. To mobilize the masses spiritedly in this struggle to expand the dictatorship of the proletariat in all areas, all the way until the entire world is communist. During both the people’s war and the cultural revolution, the mass line is used, the mass line lies at the basis of these, and the law of contradictions lies at the basis of everything, because only by grasping which contradictions exist and correctly pointing out which is the most important contradiction (the primary contradiction) and which contradictions are secondary, can the proletariat, through its party, be in the position to lead the struggle and wage it all the way until victory.
- Chairman Gonzalo has, in the formulation of Maoism and the application of it to the concrete conditions in Peru, made several clarifications and advancements: the line for the concentric construction of the revolution’s instruments. That is to say the construction of the communist party as the core in the revolution. As a Bolshevized party, as a vanguard, as a general staff, which forms the center in the entire proletariat and the entire class’s political organization. The construction of the people’s army around the party, as a new type of army that wages armed struggle, produces for its own sustenance, and which wages political and ideological struggle among the masses to politicize, mobilize, and organize the masses. The construction of the united front around the people’s army, as the source and seeds of the new state. The construction of the united front as the proletariat’s organization for political power, for revolution, and particularly in the red base areas where the proletariat is first in the position to smash the old power and neutralize the enemy. The line for the militarization of the communist parties. The recognition that a party that is to wage war must be a party for war. That a military organization must be organized militarily. That a party of a new type, a true Bolshevik party, cannot be a normal bourgeois party for parliamentarianism, elections, and reforms – but on the contrary a secret party, organized with strong security, organized militant and for militancy, with strict security. The line for an armed people, such that the masses’ power is security by the masses’ own organizing, in what Gonzalo calls the “sea of armed masses“. If power grows out of the barrel of a gun, the entire people must hold be holding the gun. This cannot be relegated to some few “experts” in a professional volunteer army, but must entail the line from Marx and Lenin and Mao on organizing workers’ militias and peoples’ militias – the entire people as the sole great people’s army to defend and expand the proletariat’s revolutionary power, all the way until communism, i.e. people’s war until communism. These points, and several others – like the analysis of bureaucracy capitalism and the emphasis on leadership (“jefetura”) – are contained in Gonzalo Thought. Gonzalo Thought is Maoism applied to the concrete conditions for revolution in Peru, but it is the universal conclusions in these thoughts that apply to the rest of the world.
- Maoism is not just a “nice thought” – it is a necessary summary, clarification, and practical use of the science of proletarian revolution. It is the integrated and coherent understanding of how the proletariat can take power, hold onto it, defend it, use it to abolish classes for ever, and establish world communism. It is a universal science for all continents and for all countries, in today’s capitalist world. It earnestly declares that it is the proletariat’s only ideology – just as the communist party must also be the proletariat’s only party. One class, with one historical task, under the leadership of one ideology and one party. Maoism reveals historical laws, is tested in practice, and summarized from practice, and is therefore it is unbeatable because it is true. The proletariat is the largest and strongest class in all history. Under the correct leadership and correct ideology, politicized, mobilized, and organized in and for the people’s war, the proletariat cannot lose. We are condemned to win. The next wave of proletarian world revolution will happen under Maoism’s banner.