Comrade Paolo Babini, a member of the International Relations department of the CARC (Committees to Support Resistance – for Communism) Party in Italy, wrote in the comments section of my post on the latest issue of Maoist Road magazine that:
As a matter of fact, the lack of involvement of the (n)PCI and organizations ideologically linked with it, as the CARC Party, in the debate developed in Maoist Road is due to a sectarian attitude by PCm Italy. I myself and other comrades of the CARC Party tried to participate in some international seminars by Proletari Comunisti (this is the italian name of the group named PCm Italy) but they said always that the meetings were not open. So we were not invited at a Paris seminar on 30-31 January 2010, A comrade of the Delegation of the (n)PCI went there anyway, You’ ll find the statement he read in www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/letsreal.html.
I am neither in a position to verify or debate the allegations that Comrade Paolo Babini has made however, I have decided to re-post the entirety of the statement that the members of the delegation of the (new)Italian Communist Party [(n)PCI] read, despite the fact that they and the CARC – according to Comrade Paolo Babini – had been actively excluded from the Paris seminar on 30-31 January, 2010 as I think it sheds light on serious ideological and political differences that really do exist inside the Maoist movement. The statement is interesting because, besides two more open-ended critiques of dogmatism and economism, it critiques unnamed Maoists and the PCm Italy on three significant points: 1) an assumption that socialist revolution is only possible when an anti-imperialist new democratic revolutions develop on a large-scale in the oppressed countries; 2) a misunderstanding on the party of the PCm Italy regarding the nature of the economic crisis inasmuch that the (n)PCI believe that this is a terminal crisis, whereas the PCm Italy believes that this it is a cyclical crisis, or at least the (n)PCI has come to understand the PCm Italy’s line to be; and 3) a defeatist attitude towards the Italian working classes by assuming that the current period of Italian politics is already a case of “modern fascism”, which suggests that the ideological struggle and struggle for revolutionary mobilization has already been one by the reactionary classes. Interestingly, the problem of how and when to employ electoral tactics and work inside organized trade unions is also briefly raised as the (n)PCI make it clear that they see electoral politics and existing trade unions as sites of political struggle, and regard any abandonment of these sites of struggle as a form of defeatism.
Again as I am not deeply familiar with the PCm Italy’s line on these matters I cannot discuss their line, but would like to briefly make a few points regarding these questions as similar issues have been raised in regards to the line that the RCP(Canada) has practiced, and I think probably marks some general differences between different tendencies inside the Maoist movement as a whole. The RCP(Canada), who has never described Canada as a ‘modern fascist’ state and thus differs from the PCm France and PCm Italy on this account, has advanced two basic correlated propositions regarding electoral politics: 1) that large swathes of the working class, indeed a major section of the 45% of the electorate, already do not vote and that this lack of electoral participation is not due to political apathy but rather, due to political dissatisfaction with the political status quo. Thus, they assert that the Canadian working classes are in fact practicing an implicit boycott of the electoral system; and 2) that the Canadian working class and proletariat is already implicitly predisposed towards a revolutionary politics, but has been unable to organize itself due to construction of a clandestine party and the lack of a proper revolutionary strategy that is appropriate for our current situation. Thus, the RCP(Canada) argues that rather than support the NDP or other electoral social democratic parties, thereby re-instilling bourgeois illusions about electoral politics, that the Party should promote a boycott call and use the electoral period as a means by which to advance explicitly revolutionary politics. Indeed, the role of any revolutionary communist organization is to unveil the apparatus of bourgeois power and prepare the working classes for a revolutionary overthrow of the State. This of course is closely related to the question of involvement in trade union struggle as the RCP(Canada) asserts that the trade union movement is not a primary site of struggle, as many of the Left have suggested, as the trade union movement is oriented towards a form of class collaborationism and this orientation is reflective of the class composition of the trade union movement itself. The RCP(Canada) claims that nearly 40% of the trade unions are comprised by the salaried petit bourgeoisie and the upper-layers of the working class that have been bought off by imperialist super-profits (it must be noted that they differ from groups like the LLCO and MIM as they continue to assert that 65% of the Canadian population are still proletarians) and that this section of the trade unions controls the trade unions themselves. Furthermore, they also point out that the large majority of the working class continues to be unorganized and outside of the formal structure of any trade union, and that thus a disproportionate amount of energy and activity is expended on a very small section of the proletariat. Although, I am sure that the (n)PCI may regard much of this as also being a form of dogmatism.
Let’s really embrace Maoism as the superior phase of the theoretical communist heritage!
Statement submitted by the Delegation of the Provisional Commission at the meeting convened in Paris on 30-31 January 2010 by Maoist Communist Party – Italy (Communist Proletarians), Maoist Communist Party of France, Maoist Communist Party of Turkey/Northern Kurdistan
There is the crisis. Millions of proletarians are sacked or anyway put on the fringe of the economical activities and are forced to live on social security cushions, on assistance, on misery and expedients. Riots and turmoil are breaking out here and there. The conditions have become more favorable to the revolution. It is essential to build a Marxist Leninist-Maoist Communist Party in every country. Is all this true or is it wrong? It is true, but it is also wrong!
The ones who think that it has become possible to make the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries only today because there is the crisis, because the conditions of the masses and in particular of the workers are worsening and therefore the socialist revolution will break out, are misguided. The parties who think this way will not make the revolution, even if they say they are Maoists and sincerely believe to be Maoists, because no socialist revolution will break out, as it did not break out in the past.
Anyway, is it possible to make a socialist revolution in the imperialist countries: in Italy, in France, in Germany, in Great Britain, in the USA? It is possible today, but it was possible in the last century as well, during the first wave of proletarian revolution. Notwithstanding, still today and also among the Maoists, some say that, in order to do the socialist revolution in imperialist countries, we need first that an anti-imperialist revolution of new democracy develop on a large-scale in the oppressed countries. This thesis is wrong. It is the result of a deterministic conception of history, a caricature of historical materialism. Lenin was right, Stalin was right, already in the early decades of the last century, when they both claimed that it was possible to make the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and rightly denounced the Social Democrats because they did not want to make it, because they were saying that socialist revolution was impossible. Actually, the movement of the masses cannot develop over a certain level if it is not headed by a communist party able to lead it. The socialist revolution is possible only if the vanguard of the workers is organized in a party that wants to make it.
It was possible to make the revolution in the imperialist countries: so, why was no communist party able to make the socialist revolution in its country? The parties that today do not answer to this question clearly and correctly, basing themselves on the evaluation of the experience, do not know the way to manage to make today what the communist parties did not make yesterday: the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries. So they will not make it, even if they call themselves Maoists and sincerely believe to be Maoists. To make the socialist revolution is not only, and even not mainly, a matter of goodwill and of dedication to the cause. The first communist parties of Italy, France, Spain and of other European countries led heroic struggles against Fascism and Nazism, they made the Resistance, yet they did not make the socialist revolution. Why did not they make it?
They did not make it because they did not have a sufficiently good understanding of the conditions in which they fought and did not have a strategy to seize power and establish socialism. They did not know how to make a socialist revolution in an imperialist country. Maoism has given us the intellectual tools for understanding at a higher level the situation in which we fight and for defining the strategy that we follow, it gives us a higher method for knowing and acting. The glorious and heroic communist parties that have preceded us did not have this nor developed it by themselves. That is why they did not make the socialist revolution.
But which are the main contributions Maoism gives to the communist thinking?
The socialist revolution is not an event which breaks out because capitalism is in crisis and the masses are in a bad situation: substantially the communist parties should only get ready to take the opportunity. The socialist revolution is a revolutionary people’s war, the party organizes it stage by stage, it collects forces in every front of class struggle in order to carry it out on a growing scale, it identifies, organizes, directs and combines the thousand threads, episodes and cases of class struggle. These develop spontaneously in open order and sometimes even neutralize each other: the party instead combines them together so that they reinforce each other, giving rise to clashes of a higher level until the constitution of an invincible force, which makes bourgeoisie and clergy’s life impossible. If the party does not organize and conduct the class struggle in this way, there will be no socialist revolution, no matter how much the crisis of capitalism becomes serious. It will be the bourgeoisie that will find some way out on its side.
The comrades who say that the system we live in today in Italy is modern fascism, although they say they are Maoists and sincerely believe to be Maoists, do not understand that the most reactionary and criminal groups of the bourgeoisie and of the clergy, are trying to promote the mobilization of the masses under their orders to throw part of the masses against the other part, and to lead them to plunder other countries. They do not understand that the communist party must promote the revolutionary mobilization of the masses around itself, under its direction; even less they understand how to do it. They do not see the competition between reactionary and revolutionary mobilization that is going on. They declare already lost a war that is just beginning. They take for granted that the most reactionary and criminal groups of the bourgeoisie and of the clergy have already won and created a system of modern fascism. Not by chance they borrow this thesis of the regime of modern fascism by the bourgeois left (Asor Rosa & Co.) that really has indeed already lost the game and has been already excluded from the direction of the movement of popular masses. The comrades who do not see the struggle that they must lead, of course they do not even lead it; even less they lead it effectively.
They say that we are electoralists, because we contest the ground with the bourgeoisie during election campaigns, even in representative bodies, wherever we are able to take the struggle. They say that we are entrists because we also contest the ground with the bourgeoisie in the trade unions of the regime. We only need they say that we are policemen because we promote the struggle also in squares and streets and also in police corps; that we are magistrates, because we promote the struggle in the courts and also among magistrates; that we are jailers because we promote the struggle also in jails and also among jailers. And so on, because we actually promote the struggle wherever we can understand and exploit the contradictions between the masses and the ruling classes or the contradictions between the groups of the ruling classes.
The comrades that say that the current crisis is a cyclical crisis, even if they say they are Maoists and sincerely believe to be Maoists, are not over the level of understanding of imperialism already got by the parties of the Communist International, which was an insufficient level to make the revolution. Those parties continued to talk about cyclical crises as well and have been repeatedly caught by events. By its nature, a cyclical crisis is a crisis during which the collapse of the business creates the way for the resumption of business in itself. The Authorities would be able to mitigate the effects of the fall of business on the masses with social security cushions and the reformists would then be realistic competitors of us Communists (the argument that “reformists are our worst enemies” feeds on this, whereas, if we have a right line, we actually can use them as auxiliary forces of the revolution). But we are not going through a cyclical crisis: we are at the terminal stage of the second general crisis of capitalism for absolute overproduction of capital.
What is the Protracted Revolutionary People’s War in the imperialist countries, in our country, according to these comrades, who sincerely believe to be Maoists? Besides universal characters, the PRPW has particular characters and laws in every country. In order to lead the PRPW successfully every communist party must discover and use them. We have to experiment, to try, to verify, and to correct wherever necessary, and to improve. It is essential to understand the nature of the political regime in each one’s own country. Italy is Papal Republic. The Criminal Organizations have a political role that the (n) PCI indicates in its Manifesto Program.
Comrades, we must build Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties!
That is why we must put an end to the dogmatism which leads us into repeating empty phrases, maybe even beautiful and resounding, but empty. In every country we have to understand the concrete situation which we live in, the nature of the ongoing crisis, the nature of the ongoing political conflict, the conditions, the forms and the results of class struggle that was fought and that is being fought in our country and on the international level, drawing a line from it and verifying this line putting it into practice. It is not enough to put the term Marxism-Leninism-Maoism at the place of the term Marxism-Leninism as the RIM did in 1998 with its founding Declaration of 1984. The word has been changed, but the substance remained the same: what are Mao’s major contributions to communist thinking? It is not enough to dress up as Maoists, if we continue on the old way.
That is why we have to put an end to the economism, which puts the economic demands as the main issue always and everywhere for mobilizing and organizing the workers and the rest of the popular masses, which neglects or puts in the second place the school of communism, the communist conception of the world, the political struggle, the clandestine party, its public work, mass organizations, the construction of the New Power, the establishment of socialism. A communist party that is not built starting from clandestinity and that does not work in view of the civil war as second phase of the ongoing revolutionary people’s war is not fulfilling its task today and will not fulfill it even tomorrow. The terminal phase of the crisis makes increasingly difficult to defend and even more difficult to improve the conquests of civilization and welfare, if we don’t build the socialist revolution. On the ground of only immediate and practical demands, the reactionary mobilization of the masses has the upper hand. The most reactionary and criminal groups of the bourgeoisie and of the clergy can give something to a part of the masses for mobilizing them against the rest of the masses and against other countries as they did in Germany with Hitler and in Italy with Mussolini. If we do not involve the masses in the struggle to establish socialism, the reactionary mobilization empties the merely claiming organizations: the popular masses pass from the left bourgeoisie and from the claiming organizations to the Northern League, to the racists, to the fascists, to the Criminal Organizations. Rosarno teaches it. The metalworker who today at the same time belongs to FIOM [the Italian Federation of Metalworkers, leftist wing in the CGIL, the greatest Italian trade union, translator’s note] and to the Northern League [the racist party, which is in Berlusconi’s government, translator’s note] will go to the left if we Communists develop the revolutionary people’ s war with incisiveness and create the conditions for constituting the People’s Bloc Government, and then drag FIOM to the left, by the mass line and the method of levers. Otherwise he will go to the right.
To build true Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties in our countries means to give to all these questions answers clear and based on a just evaluation of the experience. Maoism itself has taught us how to fully understand also the class struggle that has gone on in the first socialist countries. Today we can draw huge teachings from their glorious experience, although it ended ingloriously in a long period of decline until they collapsed or changed side. In fact they showed to the humanity that socialism is the only alternative to capitalism and present barbarism.
Strengthened by the example of Soviet Union, of the People’s Republic of China, of the first socialist countries, armed with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism we can make the revolution in every imperialist country leading the protracted revolutionary people’s war.
Let’s go forward with courage comrades!
We can win! The future is ours! Long live Maoism!