We publish below an article written by the publication Communist International – Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Internet Review.
Proletarians of all countries, unite!
SOME FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ON MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM
In this article we deal with two questions that are fundamental to achieving a unity of understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism to be applied in the revolutionary transformation of the world, conscious of all its transformative potential as an all-powerful ideological weapon of the international proletariat organized in militarized Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communist Parties. Communist Party as a party distinct from and opposed to all others, its reason for being is to make the revolution in each country and in service of the world proletarian revolution, through revolutionary violence concreted in People’s War to conquer and defend power. The questions dealt with here are two: 1. What is fundamental in Maoism? Where one sees the content of the synthetic phrase: the fundamental in Maoism is power; and 2. What is Maoism? Where one addresses the problem of at what point does the elevation to a third, new and superior stage of our ideology take place? The answer refers to the greatest decomposition or rottenness of imperialism, a problem which has to do with the fundamental contradiction of imperialism expressed in the circumstances that every day it produces more to satisfy the most elemental needs of humanity while billions of human beings lack the most elemental things to survive, demonstrating that the expropriation of the expropriators is approaching and they are going to be destroyed, hence its advanced state of decomposition. Based on Lenin who established that imperialism matures the conditions for revolution, as much as, the son of this dying father, bureaucratic capitalism, matures the conditions for the revolution in the oppressed countries or in the Third World. And in relation to imperialism, what does it mean that we are in the new stage of Marxism?
1. WHAT IS FUNDAMENTAL IN MAOISM?
The synthetic answer is: “Political Power is fundamental in Maoism.“1 Thus, it was established from the very birth of Marxism.
Chairman Gonzalo clarifies it in this way: Is it fundamental to Marx, of course; when Engels synthesizes Marxism, he says that “it can be synthesized like this: that everything is a struggle around conquering or defending power,”2 that’s how Engels condensed and did it; it is surely known to everyone how deeply Engels knew Marx and how they debated each of Marx’s theses, these were jointly debated by the two of them, so Engels well knew when he said that. This is very opportune to remember because the International Communist Movement is celebrating this year the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Engels.
Lenin says: “The dictatorship of the proletariat as the instrument of the proletarian revolution. The question of the proletarian dictatorship is above all a question of the main content of the proletarian revolution. […] “The fundamental question of every revolution is the question of power” (Lenin).”3
After all, if this is true of both Marx and Lenin, it cannot be any other way for Chairman Mao. In every communist, it is so.
The Communist Party is for the conquest of power by the class, by the people, by the dictatorship led by him in all cases. That corresponds to all communists because that is in all three and that is fundamental. It is sufficient to remember that the thesis of Chairman Mao with which he begins “Problems of war and strategy’ where the problem of universal validity lies, there he tells us the problem is power. Now, “political power for the proletariat, power for the dictatorship of the proletariat, power based on an armed force led by the Communist Party.”4
Political Power is fundamental in Maoism; it is a synthetic sentence that has to be unravelled; one has to see what it contains, it contains three questions. “More explicitly: 1) Political power under the leadership of the proletariat in the democratic revolution;”5 Why? There is a joint dictatorship. What does the proletariat gain? The leadership, that’s it, nothing more. “2) Political power for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the socialist and cultural revolutions.”6 , easy to understand, these specifications are necessary. “3) Political power based on an armed force led by the Communist Party, conquered and defended through people’s war.”7
2. WHAT IS MAOISM?
To this question, as in the above, Chairman Gonzalo responds with the document “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” of the First Congress of the CPP: “Maoism is the elevation of Marxism-Leninism to a new, third, and superior stage in the struggle for proletarian leadership of the democratic revolution, the development of the construction of socialism and the continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship as a proletarian cultural revolution; when imperialism deepens its decomposition and revolution has become the main tendency of history, amidst the most complex and largest wars seen to date and the implacable struggle against contemporary revisionism.”8
And, in the part of the definition enunciated above, which says: it is the elevation of Marxism-Leninism to a new, third, and superior stage -well defined- in the struggle for proletarian leadership of the democratic revolution, the development of the construction of socialism and the continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship.
At what moment? In the 9th. Congress of the Communist Party of China it is said that Maoism or Mao Tsetung Thought, as it was called in China at the time, was about the collapse of imperialism and the triumph of socialism; but for the definition it was decided to take Chairman Mao’s own ideas, he speaks of the decomposition of imperialism, so he tells us, then it is better to take what is his, especially if Maoism is being defined, that is the reason: “when imperialism deepens its decomposition and revolution has become the main tendency of history.”9 The latter is also Chairman Mao’s thesis. “Amidst the most complex and largest wars seen to date …”10 Obviously: World War II, the wars of national liberation, the Great Chinese Revolution, are they immense wars or not? Chairman Gonzalo is linking it with that and clarifies the reason for the question: What did Lenin tell us? That an era of complex wars was opening up, isn’t that the truth? Well, Chairman Mao is a product of this. Moreover, the definition says: “and the implacable struggle against contemporary revisionism”11. Yes, Chairman Mao’s struggle against revisionism has been implacable!
On the decomposition of imperialism keep in mind the following:
The economic and political relations that are developing due to the process of decomposition of imperialism. How can we define this moment, this period in which we are developing? Where have we found the question? In the President himself – the decomposition of imperialism is greater every day. With his own positions, he poses that. Who can deny the greater decomposition of imperialism every day, isn’t it sinking more and more? It is decomposing, it is rotting; if some can invoke that they produce more, what the hell does it matter? That is the problem. If they produce more, what they are doing is to show that there are all means to satisfy elementary needs. Already in the Second World War, what did they say at the end of it? It would be enough to work four hours and all the fundamental needs of humanity could be satisfied. Well, the leap from 1950 to 1975 has doubled production from 1900 to 1950 and production from 1900 to 1950 is equal to all of humanity’s since its beginning. Can you imagine? That shows that the times of expropriation of the expropriators are coming and that they are going to be destroyed, that’s why they are decomposing.
Some say Lenin was wrong because it is ostensible that they have more rockets, more weapons, but is not this an expression of weakness in the whole world? Throughout history it has always been an expression of weakness. What Marxism says is that imperialism hinders all the capacity that the existing means of production have, it does not say that they do not produce; that is what Hoxha never understood in his miserable existence; they have confused and some repeat, they do not understand the problem, that is the question. That is, the decomposition of imperialism and its ever increasing artillery, a sign of weakness and not strength; look at any history or see history in depth and you will understand, any military history shows this.
On the historical location of Maoism
Here it becomes clear why the deduction that Leninism is for the whole stage of imperialism is false. And it clarifies, in the manner previously explained, the fundamentals of Maoism and how to locate it historically. From the latter a problem arises in relation to a new stage of the ideology of the proletariat, one can say “yes, but here they are avoiding the problem that we are in the epoch of imperialism”; until today it is difficult to understand what the reason is or what it means that we are in the epoch of imperialism, what does that have to do with a new stage of our ideology and why? It has been read so many times – from many organizations who state there can’t be a third stage – because we are in the era of imperialism, is that reason enough? No, what is that reason, it has no foundation whatsoever. Where does this come from? From two sources:
First: what Comrade Stalin said in 1924 at the Sverdlov University. Don’t forget how many years ago, a lot of years. It is a short time, if we count up the years that have passed since the First Congress of the CPP. It is ninety six years that he said that, but what does Comrade Stalin say? We must not only read this little piece of comrade Stalin, we must read everything that follows and is developed by the comrade; he says, for example, that Marx and Engels were in the pre-revolutionary era and what happens is that we have entered an era in which the revolution is already mature. That is what Lenin said in essence about imperialism. That is what he says, he does not say more; where does he say there cannot be another thought or another new stage? Where does he say so? He does not say so anywhere, nor can it be derived from that statement by comrade Stalin. Then, it is 96 years old and comrade Stalin said it, but he does not say that there won’t be another stage. He is placing Leninism within imperialism, but it cannot be derived from that in all imperialism it is Leninism, it does not correspond, it is a false deduction. If you read Stalin’s lecture – you can read it, it is in “The Foundations of Leninism”, we all know the text, – you have to read it completely.
“What, then, in the last analysis, is Leninism?
Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular. Marx and Engels pursued their activities in the prerevolutionary period (we have the proletarian revolution in mind), when developed imperialism did not yet exist, in the period of the proletarians’ preparation for revolution, in the period when the proletarian revolution was not yet an immediate practical inevitability. But Lenin, the disciple of Marx and Engels, pursued his activities in the period of developed imperialism, in the period of the unfolding proletarian revolution, when the proletarian revolution had already triumphed in one country, had smashed bourgeois democracy and had ushered in the era of proletarian democracy, the era of the Soviets.
That is why Leninism is the further development of Marxism.
It is usual to point to the exceptionally militant and exceptionally revolutionary character of Leninism. This is quite correct. But this specific feature of Leninism is due to two causes: firstly, to the fact that Leninism emerged from the proletarian revolution, the imprint of which it cannot but bear; secondly, to the fact that it grew and became strong in clashes with the opportunism of the Second International, the fight against which 3 Introduction was and remains an essential preliminary condition for a successful fight against capitalism. It must not be forgotten that between Marx and Engels, on the one hand, and Lenin, on the other, there lies a whole period of undivided domination of the opportunism of the Second International, and the ruthless struggle against this opportunism could not but constitute one of the most important tasks of Leninism.”12
Second source: what is written in the first part of Stalin’s quote, is the same thing as what the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of China states, or not? That is what it says: “We are still in the era of imperialism […] Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism […] the era has not changed.”13 But what is the 10th Congress? Isn’t it the return of the right, isn’t it the return of Teng? It is the return of Teng to the Central Committee and why did they return? Did the right wing have weight, or not? They recovered positions, in the intricate class struggle they recovered positions. So why then should what the 10th Congress says going to weigh, should the 10th Congress be measures in any case? Looking at the 10th Congress, one thing is what Chou En-lai said presenting the Political Report and another thing is what Wang Jun-wen specifies presenting the Statutes, one sees that there is struggle and contention, one cannot forget that. Then, the agreement of the 9th Congress, which established Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, separated by hyphens, formerly separated by a comma, which is different, begins to be questioned. To put Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought is one thing, the form it first was enunciated, then the form changed, separated by hyphens. The right-wingers’ return congress is being invoked, where there is a sharp struggle. Remember that comrade Chiang Ching was a consistent standard-bearer of Maoism. The trial that this miserable Teng has given to her proves it, could they have broken her? No. While Wang Jun-wen, who was considered as the future champion, the one that should follow Mao, miserably bowed his knee, while that Yao Wen-yuan bowed his knee and asked for mercy, comrade Chiang Ching did not bow, neither did comrade Chang Chun-chao, but it was comrade Chiang Ching who kept the flag, that is what has to be understood. Without denying the role of comrade Chang Chun-chao, it is not the same as the role of comrade Chiang Ching in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, facts are facts, they cannot be denied with words. The role of comrade Chiang Ching in the GPCR is extraordinary! And she has kept the flag without kneeling, facing Teng and her revisionist gang in the “trial”, who has called them fascists, who has called them revisionists, who has said: You are godless and lawless? Who? Wasn’t it her?14 We must remember this.
Back to topic, President Gonzalo tells us, it is not sufficient to invoke imperialism to deny, nor can it be said that there is no room for a new stage. Why? On capitalism: Is capitalism a mode of production, is it the last one or not? Or is imperialism another mode of production? It is clear that capitalism is the last mode of production. What happened is that a pre-monopolist and a monopolist have been specified. That is imperialism, nothing else. See how what was a unit – capitalism – is differentiated in two parts, or not? Now, will imperialism always be the same or will it have a process of development? In short, is the decomposition of imperialism increasing or has it always been the same? Then it is to define the moments of the process of imperialism, or will it not have a process? There is nothing on earth that does not have its process. So, as it is, there is no reason why this process of decomposition should not generate a new stage. Therefore, it is not a question of not fitting into the same stage, because this is not solid. Moreover, no foundation has ever been given, it is only said that it does not fit in a single stage but it is not said why, because it is only a statement based on what comrade Stalin said in 1924 or repeating what the 10th Congress said and it has no foundation whatsoever. Moreover those who uphold this would have to prove first that there is no room for a new stage of the scientific ideology of the proletariat in the whole stage of monopoly capitalism or imperialism.
REGARDING THE STRUGGLE FOR MAOISM
1935 is a milestone in the question of establishing Mao Tsetung thought, but one would have to look for its roots, its background, from where it begins to be generated. It is better to explain the previous: it is in 1924 itself that Leninism begins to be considered, or isn’t it like that? And it is only then that it begins to be considered as a new stage of Marxism; but Leninist ideas historically begin in 1903. We should also look at Maoism, which we believe is very important, as it dates back to 1927: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”15 The road to encircle the cities from the countryside, the People’s War, in short, a very important moment. Can it be traced back to earlier times, perhaps? What we should stress is that we need to look at the background, consider where Maoist ideas are beginning to differentiate themselves or to emerge. “In 1945 the VII Congress agreed that the CPC was guided by Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-tung Thought”16, it was comrade Jen Bi-shi who raised as an informant at the 7th Congress. In the 8th Congress, only Marxism-Leninism was said, but there was a right-wing line, that of Liu. In the 9th Congress, which is the biggest of the Congresses of the Communist Party of China – there are two big Congresses, after all, the 7th and the 9th Congresses, 1945 and 1969 -, it was there that it is sanctioned that the Communist Party of China is guided by MarxismLeninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, that was the advance that was made. In the 1950’s Maoism spread all over the world and further in the cultural revolution with even more reason; this is how the formula or formulation Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought begins to be taken in the world.
Chairman Gonzalo states that we must take into account how Maoism has developed and see it as a unity.
In the case of the PCP it is remarkable that it is the People’s War that has also enabled Chairman Gonzalo and the PCP to understand Maoism as a new, third and superior stage of Marxism. In the face of the triple revisionist attack against Maoism, it was stated that the time had come to take up the defence of Marxism and that this triple attack would only be a prologue of its new development. It is easy to understand, isn’t it? Because Marxism has always developed in struggle.
One more question of great importance is what Chairman Mao said in a meeting with representatives of the Party of Labour of Albania, analysing the cultural revolution, is going to raise and ask in a moment to the Chinese comrades – not the Albanians because being invited it is impolite to do so -; he asked them: “What is the aim of the present cultural revolution?” The Chinese comrades answer: “To regain power”. He says, “that will be a method, a goal, the objective is to remould the soul!”17 To remould! In order to have a firm and solid ideology. If that is not achieved, as long as we do not achieve that, we will always have problems. That is the point. This is what we must aim for, at the ideology, to remould the soul of the people, as he said. You crush one thousand revisionists and two thousand appear – why? The problem is not simply to destroy them. The problem is to remould the soul of the people, to transform the ideology, that is what Chairman Mao says.
Chairman Gonzalo has clearly established what needs to be emphasised most from Maoism, and therefore on THE GREAT PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION, he specifies: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in a historical perspective is the most transcendental development of Marxism-Leninism made by Chairman Mao, of course. But why do we say “in historical perspective”? He gave us a negative example, saying: For example the RIM made a campaign in 1987, “Forward Along the Path Charted by Mao Tsetung!”18 to focus on two problems: the ten years of the death of Chairman Mao and the cultural revolution; the CPP objected to it because we cannot celebrate the death of the leaders and from there they started to focus on the cultural revolution. The name given to the campaign was to avoid clashes with the CPP, because at that time some people said, Mao Tsetung Thought, others Maoism and to avoid clashes they came up with this smart Solomonic solution. Skilful, right? “The Path Charted”, neither one nor the other, a third position. What a solution? We had two problems, three problems! What nonsense! Cover! The background was the desire to impose Mao Tsetung Thought, that was its background.
Chairman Gonzalo continues on the same question: is a cultural revolution the order of the day in the USA? First they will have to make a socialist revolution, they said in the 1990s; well, it would be a great thing if it would be done. But way are they going, what are they going to do, in short, we would love it to be done, it would have immense repercussions in the world, of course. How can we not agree with the revolution being made in the USA, wouldn’t it be very good for us? And if it were to be carried out in the USSR, we would dance with our hands on the ground, happily, because it would bring down a sinister and cursed clique, wouldn’t it? Of course we agree, how couldn’t we? But we know well that reality does not drives us to that, we have to understand that.
The cultural revolution is not the order of the day ; it is the problem of defining our ideology: whether i t is Maoism or what it is? There were opposition in RIM against the definition of Maoism by Chairman Gonzalo. There is one definition by the CPP and two against, some saying Mao Tsetung Thought and others simply Marxism-Leninism. Chairman Gonzalo categorically states that the democratic revolution is on the agenda; the socialist and mainly the democratic revolution because of the weight of the masses in the history. That is why we say “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in a historical perspective is the most transcendental development”19. It is already done, of course, but it is not something we need at this moment. Today, we already have it, we know what we have to do when the opportunity arrives.
The proletarian cultural revolution: “it is the solution to the great pending problem of the continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship”20 Yes, the pending problem is already solved because if it would not be solved then we would have been unarmed in the face of peaceful restoration. Chairman Mao, years before, had already told us: “We know how to take power with weapons, nobody takes it away from us with weapons, but we do not know how to conjure up restoration, we do not know how to prevent capitalism from dominating again, from usurping the leadership of the Party, we do not know that”; well, we know that, he has already solved it. This does not mean that we do not have to deal with restoration and counter-restoration; we hope that the historical perspective will allow us to conjure it up in the end. This is possible, because if we started in 1971, from the last century, in 2071, we are already more than 100 years old, then the power of the class has to settle down, and it will settle down, in these coming decades it will settle down, and this is part of our work. But the question is already solved, comrades, the continuation is already there and this is a new problem with a transcendental perspective.
“constitutes a new stage in the development of the socialist revolution in our country, a deeper and more extensive stage”, as Chairman Mao said, “a new stage in the development of the socialist revolution in our country, a deeper and more extensive stage.”21
The decision of the Communist Party of China expresses very clearly what the cultural revolution was looking for; it is concrete and they knew very well what it was about.
Two questions must be seen: “1) The GPCR implies a landmark in the development of the proletarian dictatorship towards the proletariat’s securing political power”22 How is it concreted? By the Revolution Committees. Yes, it is a development of how to develop more, to advance the dictatorship of the proletariat, because in the proletarian cultural revolution it was not the order of the day to make the People’s Commune, as Avakian believes, who is trying to imply that the Chairman prevented Chang Chung-chao from making the Commune. That is infamy regarding Chairman Mao Tsetung. The People’s Commune was intended to be set up in the 1950s in Shanghai and it was set up, but it did not last. It failed because the time was not matured; when the proletarian cultural revolution, in Shanghai, returned to the same, comrade Chang Chung-chao – and this is not a demerit for him, he is not Chairman Mao Tsetung, it does not take away his great condition of a revolutionary and that he did not kneel, it is an honour -, but the comrade, as well as Wuan Jung-wen, raised the Commune, but the Commune was not mature and the key problem that was not mature wa s the leadership of Party.
Another question of definition is, that revolution, is the main trend of history. Yes it is the main tendency in the world, historically and politically. That is what we must emphasise, it is not just the historical perspective but it is political, it is already the order of the day. That is to say, and that is why we must struggle. This is combined with the 50 to 100 years. But why did Chairman Mao put forward a masterful calculation: 50 to 100 years? Because in that period imperialism and reaction must be wiped off the face of the earth and therefore is the world revolution. It is “the period that is opening of struggle against the US imperialism and the Soviet social-imperialism, paper tigers disputing the world hegemony”, of course, another key question of Chairman Mao. It is well combined, the military principle is well combined: world revolution, trend, weight of the masses, 50 to 100 years, period; it is specifying and that is masterly, comrades, it is regrettable that it is not seen like that. Hegemons, of course, are two; there are two that can develop or unfold a world war – Yankee imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism – paper tigers, says Chairman Mao. We should not fear them, they can be pierced, he has taught, it is a quote from Chairman Mao how to oppose atomic war: “first we must condemn it and then prepare in advance to oppose it with People’s War”. Everything is in line with what Chairman Mao has proposed.
Now, says Chairman Gonzalo, let’s look at the question of the oppressed nations. Are they or are they not the ones that host the immense masses of the Earth? Two thirds or seventy percent, immense masses, more quantity, less quantity. After all, that is not the problem because some situations can change, yes, because the revolution is not straight, it is in zigzags, but that does not deny that the oppressed nations have the immense mass of the Earth. Moreover, the growth of the masses is immensely greater than the increase of the oppressors in the oppressing nations, of the oppressing countries, of the imperialisms, even considering that they themselves oppress their own peoples. It is enough to see the growth rates, which are approximately 70% of the new children born in the backward world and this will continue to increase more and more. It is a good time, of course, because the weight of the masses has started to be expressed more and more in history and this is fundamental. If the masses make history and this is a very great truth, then the weight of the masses will decide the revolution in the world. This weight, where is it? In the oppressed nations. There is not much to discuss there, since this are material realities, facts; closing one’s eyes is foolishness.
In conclusion, in the celebration of the international proletariat and the peoples of the world for the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Frederick Engels, let us remember what was said by this genius co-founder of the scientific doctrine of the proletariat: that “only from the position of the proletariat can the contemporary world be understood”. But, to understand it means the need to transform it with revolutionary war, with People’s War that can only be led by a Communist Party and nobody else but a Communist Party. To lead it, not to do it, because it is done by the masses. As Chairman Gonzalo teaches, applying the People’s War, this leads us to understand more and more, seeing our own history, how this mass, when it is orphaned by the Party, wanders around groping, incessantly fighting, but pouring its blood because it has never ever stopped doing it and will do it. The masses are the masses. But we know that without a Party all this struggle of the masses, of the people and of the glorious international proletariat of which we are a part and the Peruvian proletariat is also a part, without the Communist Party, without this axis, without this factor that energizes, that leads, that guides, nothing will be done. Everything will be despicable, a house of cards, will collapse, because if the masses have the strength, we have the direction. That is why the Party is the axis of everything. Therefore, it is necessary to embody more Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, in order to reconstitute the Communist Parties and to start the People’s War, because it is clear that the Party is the light that tears the shadows. The masses are the force, the sap that transforms and changes everything, generating the dawn forever.
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- CPP: “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”; 1988
- Quoted from “DECLARACIÓN DEL MOVIMIENTO POPULAR PERÚ POR EL 172º ANIVERSARIO DEL MANIFIESTO DEL PARTIDO COMUNISTA”; our translation
- Stalin: “The Foundations of Leninism”; 1924
- CPP: “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”; 1988
- Stalin: “The Foundations of Leninism”; 1924
- Chou En-lai: “REPORT TO THE TENTH NATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA”; Delivered on August 24 and Adopted on August 28, 1973)
- cf. “Revolutionary Worker”, Vol. 2, No. 34; January 2, 1981
- Mao Tse-tung: “Problems of War and Strategy”; 6 November 1938
- CPP: “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”; 1988
- cf. Reference in “Mao Tse-Tung’s Thought is the Telescope and Microscope of Our Revolutionary Cause” by the Editorial of the Liberation Army Daily, June 7, 1966
- cf. AWTW 1986/7
- CPP: “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”; 1988
- Mao Tse-tung: “SPEECH AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE ELEVENTH PLENUM OF THE EIGHTH CENTRAL COMMMTEE”; August 12, 1966
- CPP: “On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”; 1988